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no restraint upon their own, which is so great indiscretion, that to them we may apply that of Solomon, A fool's mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul.” And now, who can sufficiently wonder that a practice that so thwarts our interest in both worlds, should come universally to prevail among us? Yet that it does so, I may appeal to the consciences of most, and to the observation of us all. What so common topic of discourse is there as this of backbiting our neighhours? Come into company of all ages, all ranks, all professions, this is the constant entertainment; and I doubt he that at night shall duly recollect the occur. rences of the day, shall very rarely be able to say he has spent it without hearing or speaking (perhaps both) somewhat of this kind. Nay, even those who restrain themselves from other liberties are often apt to indulge in this. Many who are so just to their neighbour's property, that, as Abraham once said, Gen. xiv. 23.

They would not take from him even from a thread to a shoe latchet, are yet so inconsiderate of his fame as to find themselves discourse at the expense of that, though infinitely a greater injury than the robbing of his

By way of recapitulating this chapter. I would remind the reader,

That having proved the right of my work to the title of Detraction Displayed,” I have ventured to give some preventives for the diseases of detraction and defamation.

That their religious belief, however sincere,


is not sufficiently operative on men and women of the world to teach them the government of the tongue, but that there are motives of worldly policy sufficient to teach them the necessity of it.

That by ceasing to be talkers-over and laughers-at, they would be acquiring a claim to impunity for themselves.

That men and women of the world have so many amusing subjects to talk upon, that they have no excuse for indulging in evil-speaking.

That I recommend SELF-EXAMINATION as a preventive against the risk of incurring ridicule for censuring in others the faults which we ourselve commit.

That even detractors and defamers are alive to the superior charm of those who never utter an unkind remark, and are ready to admire and praise them.

That as fighting in the streets is allowed to . continue because by-standers feel it difficult, and perhaps dangerous to interfere; so from the same want of moral courage, we let detractors and defamers pursue their evil-speaking in our presence; yet that the difficulty of reproving would soon vanish if firmly met.

That a knowledge of self is the most difficult of all knowledge, and I give a fable to illustrate this position.

That defamers are permitted to shed their poison with impunity, because no one likes to expose them to the punishments of the law.

That defamers even would be gainers, in a worldly point of view, by learning to suppress

their malignant accusations; for that they run the risk of being shunned at length on account of the terror and aversion excited by their character for defamation, and that if they require assistance and promotion, even their best friends must skrink from the obloquy of bestowing it upon them, and I conclude with a confirmatory quotation.



I now address that class in society, which professes to be guided and restrained by motives and views of the very highest kind, namely, the constant presence of RELIGIOUS INFLUENCES; and if they be enabled to act up to this high profession, they do not require to be warned against the sin of detraction and the crime of defamation. But even religious professors are not secure from the temptations of the soul's adversary: their only advantage is, that they have stronger weapons at hand with which to oppose him. They know that evilspeaking is every where forbidden in that book, by which they profess to regulate their lives; but then, they also know, that " when they would do good, evil is present with them," and that unless they watch and pray they must fall into temptation like other people. But the universality of the sin of detraction, if not of defamation, in all circles, tends to veil its enormity from the view; and though we are told that " we should not follow a multitude to do evil,” we do follow them, and it is difficult to forbear, even though we

could repeat text upon text against the sin we are committing. Indeed, were I to give all the texts in scripture which forbid evil speaking, they are so many and various, that these pages would look like a concordance; but I shall only mention here the 5th and 7th chapters of Matthew, and quote only as follows, from the 13th chapter of Corinthians: “ And though," says the apostle, I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.How. evident it is that though the passage which I have given in Italics is often used as a text to a charity sermon, charity here does not mean giving alms, but christian love; that is, kindly feeling towards one another; the love or charity which " thinketh no evil,“ which suffereth long and is kind;" what, therefore, can be more opposite to the precepts of the apostle, than backbiting and speaking ill of our fellow-creatures? Yet it is much easier to clothe the naked, to feed the hungry, to visit the sick, to exhort the sinful, to deny ourselves in order to give to others, and to pray with the dying and the sorrowful, than to forbear from uttering one harsh judgment, to suppress one backbiting, angry, and injurious word, and to curb the ungenerous impulse of a suspicious spirit. And no wonder; for those who perform the christian duties, which I have enumerated above, have not only the approbation of their own consciences, and the sweet hope that their good works have been acceptable obedience to their

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