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piration, and related simply and truly what had just passed between him and his companions. The young lady listened attentively, and when he ceased to speak; she said, blushing, but with great sweetness, “If by so little a thing so much good can be effected, it would be foolish for me to refuse your request;' and she kissed the young man publicly in the open square.
Next day the student was sent for by the Governor. He wanted to see the man who had dared to seek a kiss from his daughter in that way, and whom she had consented to kiss so. He received him with a scrutinizing brow, but after an hour's conversation was so pleased with him that he offered him to dine at his table during
his studied with him in brow, but not
Our young friend now pursued his studies in a manner which made him regarded as the most promising scholar at the University. Three years were not passed after the day of the first kiss, when the young man was allowed to give a second one to the daughter of the Governor, as his intended bride.
He became later one of the greatest scholars in Sweden, as much respected for his learning as for his character. His works will endure forever among the works of science; and from this happy union sprang a family well known in Sweden at the present day, and whose wealth of fortune and high position in society are regarded as small things, compared with its wealth of goodness and love.
Beside the springs of Dove,
And very few to love.
Half hidden from the eye;
Is shining in the sky.
When Lucy ceased to be ;
The difference to me!
Passing in glory away,
On the open brow of day ;
And all of light is fled-
Call back the dear ones dead
. NO. II.-SPEAKING EVIL.
BY THE EDITOR.
"O how good is it and tending to peace to be silent about other men, and not to believe promiscuously all that is said, nor easily to report what we have heard."
THOMAS A KEMPIS.
The scriptures enjoin upon us not to speak evil of any one. We venture to set this down as one of the much neglected commands. It is with many professing Christians practically obsolete; and can be indulged in without the protests and reproofs of conscience.
Let us see whether it is plainly a command. “Speak evil of no man.” Tit. 3, 2. “Speak not evil one of another, brethren.” James 4, 11. “Let evil-speaking be put away from you.” Eph. 4, 31. These are all plain, and to the point. It is therefore just as much a command as, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me." Yet how weak, how forgetful, how wicked are we on this point. How easily and how often do we fall into this sin.
This is a sin of the tongue. The members of our body, like the faculties of our minds, and the affections of our hearts, are all to be instruments of righteousness. We are to hear good with our ears, see good with our eyes, and speak good with our tongues. But how easily do these members—and the tongue not the least among them become the instruments of unrighteousness unto sin.
The tongue is a noble member. It is remarkable that the word which, in the Psalms, is often translated “glory,” is the same as the one which is translated “tongue." When the sacred poet says “my glory rejoiceth,” he means my tongue rejoices. The tongue is the glory of man. In man, too, it reaches its highest perfection and honor; for in man alone does it speak intelligent words. As the tongue is thus the greater glory of man, the evil use of it becomes his greatest disgrace.
It seems that the crowning honor which grace confers upon man is upon his tongue. When the Holy Ghost, the author of all the graces came, he crowned the disciples tongues with glory. When any one has once had his tongue completely sanctified and devoted to God, he has attained the heights of grace. “If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.” James 3, 2. The same James represents that the tongue controls the whole man, as the helm turns the ship whithersoever the pilot will, or as the bit and bridle controls the horse. “ It defiles the whole body.” The tongue is a kind of general, commanding hosts; either directing them to rest or retreat, or else
to advance to battle. Words are the signals for fight. Words open the fountains of bitter waters. Words kindle the fire of hell.
Speaking evil is therefore an evil worth attending to; and the command which forbids us to speak evil, ought not to loose its practical power upon our hearts. Let us endeavor to understand it. What means the injunction: “Speak evil of no man?”
Does it mean that we are not to speak of the evil of others ? No, no. The evil which exists in others is a proper subject for observation and remark, when it is done in the right spirit and for a proper purpose. The sacred writers spoke often of the evil of men, both in their presence and in their absence. The Saviour spoke publicly and freely of the evil hearts of the Scribes, Pharisees, Publicans, and others. They did it to hold up their evil as evil, to reprove them for it, and to warn and instruct others, taking them as examples of the sins against which they spoke. So we may do, and not be guilty of speaking evil.
So far from being sinful it sometimes becomes a duty to speak of the evil of others. As, for instance, when the civil courts or the church council calls upon us to testify of the evil of which we know another to be guilty. Here truth and right, the ends of civic justice, and the purity of the church require us to reveal the evil which we know. In these cases we may speak of the evil of others without speaking evil of them.
It may also, in more private cases, be our duty to reveal to others the evil which we know. Thus: it may be necessary for us to guard our friends against the evil of evil men by speaking to them of their evil. If we know a certain one to be a dangerous companion, it becomes one of the most sacred duties of friendship to warn him who is in danger of being drawn after him to his own hurt. If there is one in the community who is a sharper, and we know the fact, we must not be silent when we see a friend, or even a stranger, about to fall into his hands. It is the very height of love, and consequently in full accordance with the spirit of piety to point out serpents, pit-falls and snares, wherever we know them to exist, and see that others are in danger from them. Thus, too, We may speak of the evil of others, without speaking evil of them.
Once more, let us ask: Do we then speak evil in all cases when we speak of them that which they regard as evil? No, no. Those that made money by the soothsaying damsel thought it a very bad kind of speaking against them which the apostles did, when they “saw that the hope of their gains was gone," yet the men of God did none the less right in showing their abominations to all in the way of reproof and warning. Demetrius, who made silver shrines for Diana, and had his wealth by that craft, regarded that as evil speaking which caused that “this craft was in danger to be set at nought;" yet Paul hurled his words of exposure like scathing thunderbolts at the idolatrous trade. The age of the world in which we live is not free from men, who, steeped in stupidity and ignorance, and with consciences seared, are prone to call their evil good, and to glory in it as right and good. Do we then speak evil of them, because we declare their evil to be evil, when they themselves are either too ignorant or too wicked to see it as evil. Certainly not. Our Saviour spoke of that as evil in others which they themselves did not see and regard as such, and yet he spoke evil of no man. Men may, therefore, regard us as speaking evil of them when we are merely exposing their evil which they know not as such, to them and to others, and thus reproving them for it.
Now we have learned that neither to speak of the evil of men, nor to speak that which they regard as evil speaking, is a violation of the command, “Speak evil of no man.”
We answer now, that to speak evil of men in the sense of the scripture, is to speak that which it is evil in us to speak, and to speak that which will be evil to them. Let us look at the first of these: Speaking that whieh requires sin in us to speak is evil speaking. We ourselves are affected by what we speak. Even if our words had no effect upon others, if evil, they will burn a mark into our own hearts. It is evil therefore to speak words which will so blot and blacken our hearts; and we have no right to speak such words—if we do we speak evil.
Let us look at the second: We speak evil when we speak words which will be evil to them—words which will wrong them, wound them, injure them. We do them evil when we speak untruth of them; when we speak only part of the truth; and when we speak more than the truth. To tell an untruth is to lie. To tell only part of the truth is to detract. To tell more than the truth is to exaggerate. If you show to another only part of an object he cannot rightly judge of it. Nor can he know it as it is if you so add to it as to cover part of it, and to give wrong proportions to the rest. So it is with any representation we may give in words. To relate part will mislead; to relate more than the whole will also deceive. That is a deep and comprehensive formulary which is used in our civil courts when an oath is administered: “Will you tell the truth-the whole truth--and nothing but the truth.” This rule is worthy of serious consideration and careful application whenever we speak of others. A violation of this is the sum and substance of evil speaking.
How has reputation suffered, how has influence been destroyed, how have ties been sundered through evil speaking! What injury has man thus inflicted upon man! Man in his social relations is like a vine that can only be strong, grow and become fruitful as it fastens itself to, and leans upon something else. To cut these tender fastenings is to hurl it to the earth and cover its hopeful life with ruin. By whispers to cut a man loose from public confidence; by stabs of slander to break the social tendrils by which
with rutenings and 10 be
he has fastened himself in the hearts of others; through misrepresentation to 'cause him to be repelled and shunned by floating suspicions—this is work for a devil—this is murder that reaches deeper than the body!
We may not run riot in this sin to this dreadful extent. It is only monsters that do. Yet how often, through weakness and tomptation and thoughtlessness, are we guilty in a degree-form a rill to this dark stream. We think not as we should of the serious consequences of our many words. We watch not as we should over our lips. We pray not as we should that the Holy Spirit may so reign in us as to savor all that we say with grace.
Let us not overlook the wide range which this command takes. Speak evil of no man. Good or bad, high or low. Is he beneath us ?—why should we still more distress and debase even the worm that lies at our feet? As he is far beneath us, so be our pity and our tenderness towards him more. Is he above us? God has placed him there. Let us beware how we assail him. Is he above us in talents, in moral excellence; it is the monument which God has raised to His own honor. Is he above us as occupying a civil office?-he is God's minister, has His authority, and bears His sword. It is ours to reverence and honor him in his office. Is he above us in the divine office of the church?—then let us beware how we touch the Lord's anointed! God has put him into His own place, and says “he that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me.” Even corrupt Pharisees are to be honored as long as they are in Moses' seat; and Paul will not speak disrespectfully of the high priest, even though he be a "whited wall.” In the office we are to reverence the man; and We are not allowed to “speak evil of dignities.” How much evil speaking of this kind there is, even among professed Christians !
"Speak not evil one of another, brethren.” This speaks to Christians. Certainly in this inner and holy fellowship there should be spoken only the most careful and courteous words. “He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law.” For the essence of the law is love; to speak evil of a brother is to ignore that law. As the mouth speaks out of the abundance of the heart, it is hard to reconcile evil speaking with the existence of grace in the heart. It implies hatred to our brother, or at least an indifference to his welfare: this is the direct opposite of what grace produces. If we can speak evil of our brother whom we have seen, how can we love his God and our God, whom we have not seen. The Jewish Rabbins have a maxim: “No one can speak evil of his brother without denying God.” They also regarded the sin and fall of the devil as the result and punishment for evil speaking. Satan intimates that God had forbidden the tree of life to our first parents