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3. Lying and deceit," and whatever else belongs to bearing false witness," are works of the devil." He forged the first lie, Gen. iii. 4. "He abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it ;" thus speaks the mouth of truth concerning him, John viii. 44. Shall not a man then, yea, a believer avoid these abominations? If he do not, he declares himself to be a "child and of his father the devil, and that the lusts of his father he will do," according to the words of him who is true, John viii. 44.

6. Once more; he who defiles himself with this sin, "brings down upon himself the heavy wrath of God." Among "the six things which the Lord hateth, and the seven which are an abomination to him, are also a lying tongue, and a false witness that speaketh lies," according to Prov. vi. 16, 17, 19. «A false witness shall not be innocent, and he that speaketh lies shall not escape, but perish," saith the same wise man, Prov. xix. 5, 9. The Lord will punish such persons, until he hath destroyed them: "Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing," saith David to the Lord, Psalm v. 6. John teacheth, Rev. xxi 8, that "liars have their portion in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone."


But, friends, how is it with you in this respect? are ye entirely innocent of these transgressions? Ye will say no; "all men are liars." It is true, the word of God teaches us this, Psalm cxvi. 11. Rom. iii 4. But do ye believe this of yourselves, so that ye see it in your actions, and are ashamed of it? surely no; for if any person should look upon you as liars, and should tell you that he did, would it not provoke you to anger against him? who indeed will suffer such a reproach? Is it not then evident, that ye have not such an impression concerning yourselves, and that ye do not be lieve it? Ye believe that the word of God, which declares that all men are liars, is true, and that bearing false witness is a shameful sin, and deserves a severe punishment; and nevertheless when this matter is applied to you, ye then look upon yourselves to persons, at least, your hearts are not broken on acco sins. It is therefore not enough to know only from VOL. II.

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we are called transgressors of this commandment, but we must also see it in ourselves, that we may be ashamed, concerned, and humbled on account of it. Therefore examine yourselves by what is forbidden and commanded here, and pause a while, until ye see the most, if not all these abominations in your minds and actions, and until this affects you thoroughly. Come, ye who have at any time acted as plaintiffs, as defendants, as witnesses, as lawyers and attorneys, or as judges in courts of judicature, have ye never borne witness to aught but the truth, and have ye always spoken the truth, without any clokes of shame? Yea, hear, all ye who hear me this day, are ye faithful in relating the words of another, forbearing either to add or, diminish aught by your words or gestures? are ye strangers to backbiting, never bespattering your neighbour's skirts? do ye never defame, nor reproach him, either in his presence or absence ? is your soul so filled with love to your neighbour, that ye do not suspect, nor judge him, rashly or unheard? do ye shudder at every kind of lying and deceit? do ye love the truth? always speak and confess it with sincerity, when it is proper? and do ye do your utmost to defend the honour and good character of your neighbour? ye are then "perfect, since ye do not offend in word," according to James iii. 2. But friends, how can ye, and how can we believe this of you? your actions, words, and behaviour condemn you, and declare that ye bear false witness of yourselves. Your angry, raving thoughts concerning your neighbour; the pains, the grief, the sorrow and complaints of those who are condemned in courts of judicature; your prating the whole day long against your neighbour; all that discontent, and all those complaints, which we hear daily of the injuries which some suffer from their neighbour's tongues, manifest how abominable and guilty our people are before the Lord. We may indeed say now from Isaiah lix. 14, 15, "Judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off; for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter. Yea, truth faileth, and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the Lord seeth it, and it displeaseth him." It would be your happinesss, if ye also saw it, and that ye were wholly perverse, hateful and guilty before the Lord. O see with brokenness of heart, that your "throat is an open sepulchre, that ye have used deceit with your tongues, that the poison of asps is under your lips, and that your mouth is full of cursing and bitterness." It is so of a truth, whether ye know it or net. Paul, who was led by the Spirit of truth, accuseth you of this, Rom. iii. 13, 14.

Do ye see these things in yourselves with anxiety and concern, permit me to afford you my advice, in order that ye may escape the wrath to come, and may be delivered from your evil disposition.

1. Seek to obtain reconciliation for these iniquities of the Lord. His Son hath borne his wrath, and satisfied his justice for such transgressions, in behalf of those who flee for refuge to him. He himself bore the punishment of them, when he suffered false accusations, the falsifying of his words, backbiting, reproaches, unjust condemnations, with all sorts of lies and deceit. Yea, he purchased a perfect righteousness, which can entitle you to life, when, in obedience to his Father, he loved the truth, always spoke uprightly, and promoted in the most hearty manner his neighbour's honour. Seek then and receive by faith him and his righteousness, that with Paul ye may "be found in him, and may have his righteousness," Philip. iii. 7-10.

2. Seek another and a true temper of mind, that ye may love the truth, and may speak it upon every occasion: "God desireth truth in the inward parts," as David testifieth with truth, Psalm li. 6. Ye will never govern your tongues aright, until your minds are changed; "For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh," saith the Lord Jesus, Mat. xii. 34. But this can never happen, unless the Lord himself, who formeth the spirit of man within him, apply his hand effectually to the mind. As he alone wrote this command in tables of stone, so he also must write it in the heart, and thus, according to his promise, Isaiah lxi. 8, "direct our work in truth." As Moses then carried his tables of stone up to the Lord, that he might engrave his law in them, so do ye also commit your hearts into his hand, that he may form and dispose them according to his law, yea, that he may imprint his law in them, and that he may also direct your mouths according to it. David did so, when he said, Psalm xix. 14. "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord." See how he dreaded the sin of his tongue, and therefore prayed against it time after time, Psalm xxxix. 1. cxli. 3. Thus also Agur, the son of Jakeh did, Prov. xxx. 7, 8.

3. Let no man bear false witness against himself. A man hath none nearer to him than himself; and therefore it is much more preposterous in him to bear false witness against himself, than against his neighbour. This is nevertheless often done: "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, who can know it?" saith the Lord, Jer. xvii. 9. Therefore an unconverted person will often judge concerning himself, that he and his condi

"He feedeth on ashes: a detion are good in the sight of God: ceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand?" Isaiah xliv. 20. Moreover, a believer, who hath yet but little experience, will sometimes judge, from a prejudice against himself, that he is in a graceless condition; but as it is on the one hand dangerous, so it is on the other exceedingly sinful to judge otherwise of ourselves, than God testifieth of us in his word.

4. Hate lies and deceit of every kind, be afraid of them, as of the proper works of the devil, and those by which we bring down the wrath of God upon us: "A righteous man hateth lying," saith Solomon, Prov. xii. 5. He had also observed this in his father, who saith, P'salm, cxix. 104, " I hate every false way."

5. Beware of the causes of bearing false witness, as (a) discontent with your neighbour, by which men are easily urged to speak evil of their neighbour, and to hear it eagerly, with Seul, 1 Sam. xxii. 7-19. xxiv. 10. (b) Great talkativeness: "In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin," saith the wise king, Prov. x. 19. We must especially beware of idle talking and jesting: "Filthiness, and foolish talking, and jesting must not be once named among you," Eph. v. 4. (c) Watch particularly against your pride; for through pride we imagine that we know, and are able to say every thing better than others; In the mouth of the foolish is a rod of pride: but the lips of the wise shall preserve them," accord ing to Prov. xiv. S. (d) Watch also against a heart that is void of the Spirit; for when the heart is not filled with good things, the tongue must speak vanity: "Finally, brethren," saith Paul. Philip. iv. 8, "whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things," (e) Never think that your neighbour will keep aught to himself that ye have said to him: forbid him to speak of it again, and he will still mention it to another, and enjoin on him to keep it to himself, and it will thus pass from one to another, and often with many false additions. If ye be silent yourselves, another cannot bewray your secret but after ye have once related it, ye are then no longer milasters of your words. Therefore study to keep silence: "Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shuifeth bis lips is esteemed a man of understanding," Prov. xvii. 28.

If we would conduct in this manner, what a harmonious friendship should we enjoy with ourselves, with men, and God! "What man

Keep thy tongue from, Hear what he saith to

is he," saith David, Psalm xxxiv. 12, 13, “that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good? evil, and thy lips from speaking guile." God, Psalm xv. 1, 3, "Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour." Amen.

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