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hushed and appeased upon the instant of bringing upon them the light of a candle or torch. Every beam of reason and ray of knowledge checks the dissolutions of the tongue. But, ut quisque contemptissimus et maxime ludibrio est, ita solutissimæ linguæ est, said Seneca: Every man as he is a fool and contemptible, so his tongue is hanged loose, being like a bell, in which there is nothing but tongue and noise.


No prudence is a sufficient guard, or can always stand in excubiis still watching, when a man is in perpetual floods of talk; for prudence attends after the manner of an angel's ministry; it is dispatched on messages from God, and drives away enemies, and places guards, and calls upon the man to awake, and bids him send out spies and observers, and then goes about his own ministries above: but an angel does not sit by a man as a nurse by the baby's cradle, watching every motion and the lighting of a fly upon the child's lip and so is prudence; it gives rules, and proportions out our measures, and prescribes us cautions, and by general influences orders our particulars: but he that is given to talk cannot be secured by all this; the emissions of his tongue are beyond the general figures and lines of rule; and he can no more be wise in every period of a long and running talk, than a lutenist can deli

berate and make every motion of his hand by the division of his notes to be chosen and distinctly voluntary.


PLAISANCE, and joy, and a lively spirit, and a pleasant conversation, and the innocent caresses of a charitable humanity, is not forbidden; plenum tamen suavitatis et gratiæ sermonem non esse indecorum, Saint Ambrose affirmed: and here in my text our conversation is commanded to be

such, ἵνα δῳ χαριν, that it may minister grace, that is, favour, complacence, cheerfulness; and be acceptable and pleasant to the hearer: and so must be our conversation; it must be as far from sullenness as it ought to be from lightness, and a cheerful spirit is the best convoy for religion; and, though sadness does in some cases become a Christian, as being an index of a pious mind, of compassion, and a wise proper resentment of things, yet it serves but one end, being useful in the only instance of repentance; and hath done its greatest works, not when it weeps and sighs, but when it hates and grows careful against sin. But cheerfulness and a festival spirit fills the soul full of harmony-it composes music for churches and hearts-it makes and publishes glorifications of God-it produces thankfulness and serves the end of charity; and, when the oil of gladness runs over, it makes bright and tall emissions of light and holy fires, reaching up to a cloud, and

making joy round about; and, therefore, since it is so innocent, and may be so pious and full of holy advantage, whatsoever can innocently minister to this holy joy does set forward the work of religion and charity. And, indeed, charity itself, which is the vertical top of all religion, is nothing else but a union of joys concentrated in the heart, and reflected from all the angles of our life and intercourse. It is a rejoicing in God, a gladness in our neighbour's good, a pleasure in doing good, a rejoicing with him; and without love we cannot have any joy at all. It is this that makes children to be a pleasure, and friendship to be so noble and divine a thing: and upon this account it is certain that all that which innocently make a man cheerful does also make him charitable; for grief, and age, and sickness, and weariness, these are peevish and troublesome; but mirth and cheerfulness is content, and civil, and compliant, and communicative, and loves to do good, and swells up to felicity only upon the wings of charity. Upon this account here is pleasure enough for a christian at present; and, if a facete discourse, and an amicable friendly mirth can refresh the spirit, and take it off from the vile temptation of peevish, despairing, uncomplying melancholy, it must needs be innocent and commendable. And we may as well be refreshed by a clean and a brisk discourse, as by the air of Campanian wines; and our faces and our heads may as well be anointed and look pleasant with wit and friendly intercourse, as with the fat of

the balsam-tree; and such a conversation no wise man ever did or ought to reprove. But when the jest hath teeth and nails, biting or scratching our brother-when it is loose and wanton-when it is unseasonable-and, much or many, when it serves ill purposes, or spends better time, then it is the drunkenness of the soul, and makes the spirit fly away, seeking for a temple where the mirth and the music is solemn and religious.


THIS crime is a conjugation of evils, and is productive of infinite mischiefs: it undermines peace, and saps the foundation of friendship: it destroys families, and rends in pieces the very heart and vital parts of charity: it makes an evil man party, and witness, and judge, and executioner of the innocent.


He that persuades an ugly deformed man that he is handsome-a short man that he is tall-a bald man that he hath a good head of hairmakes him to become ridiculous and a fool, but does no other mischief. But he that persuades his friend, that is a goat in his manners, that he is a holy and a chaste person, or that his looseness is a sign of a quick spirit, or that it is not dangerous, but easily pardonable, a trick of youth, a habit that old age will lay aside, as a

man pares his nails,-this man hath given great advantage to his friend's mischief: he hath made it grow in all the dimensions of the sin, till it grows intolerable, and perhaps unpardonable. And, let it be considered, what a fearful destruction and contradiction of friendship or service it is, so to love myself and my little interest, as to prefer it before the soul of him whom I ought to love.


CERTAIN it is, that as nothing can better do it, so there is nothing greater, for which God made our tongues, next to reciting his praises, than to minister comfort to a weary soul. And what greater measure can we have, than that we should bring joy to our brother, who with his dreary eyes looks to heaven and round about, and cannot find so much rest as to lay his eyelids close together than that thy tongue should be tuned with heavenly accents, and make the weary soul to listen for light and ease, and, when he perceives that there is such a thing in the world, and in the order of things, as comfort and joy, to begin to break out from the prison of his sorrows at the door of sighs and tears, and by little and little melt into showers and refreshment? This is glory to thy voice, and employment fit for the brightest angel. But so have I seen the sun kiss the frozen earth, which was bound up with the images of death, and the colder breath of the

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