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by an idle word the Jews did commonly understand inmodeft and unchalte speech, fcurrilous and obscene words, And then it follows, for by thy words thou shalt be juftified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.
Men are commonly apt to make a very light matter of such words; but because they hew the mind and manners of tbe man, his inward temper and disposition, therefore men shall be called to a strict account for them in the day of judgment, and be condemned for lewd and diffolute words, as wellas for acts of filthiness and uncleanness; because these come from the heart, and defile the man, they proceed from an impure spring and fountain; and though we only perceive them to come out of the mouth, yet they proceed out of the abundance of the heart, from an evil disposition of mind.
So that our Judge hath exprelly warned us of this fault, and declared to us the danger of it. And therefore whosoever believes this declaration of our Saviour, and dreads the judgment of the great day, ought to take heed that he offend not with his tongue, in this or any other kind. · Men make but little account of such words now, but they shall all be strictly accounted for another day; and what we utter now so freely and without blushing, will then strike us dumb, and be matter of greatest Name and confulon to us, in the presence of God and his holy angels.
And fo St. Paul likewise, not only here in the text, does forbid and reprove this practice, when he says, Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth; but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minifter grace to the hearers : but in several other places of his epistles he most severely condemns it, as utterly misbecoming Christians, and moft directly contrary to our moft holy profession. Eph. v. 3.4. But fornication, and all uncleanne's, or covetaufnels, let it not conce be named among you, as becometh faints ; neither filthines, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient. Here he forbids all lewd and filthy talk, as. utterly misbecoming the conversation of Christians, who should give no occafion to have the vices of this nature so
uch as once ioned, much less practifed among Chriftians, Let not these things, says he, be once named among you, as becometh faints ; but rather giving of thanks. Here he directs us to that which is the proper employment of the tongue, and one of the chief ends of speech; which is to praise and glorify God, and not to dishonour him by lewd and filthy talk. And this he urgeth again, as the proper fruit of our lips, ver. 20. Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
And, at the 5th'verse of this chapter, he appeals to Christians, whether they had not been constantly taught and instructed, that all lewdness and filthiness, not only in act but in word, will certainly fhut men out of the kingdom of heaven. For this, fays he, ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person (referring to those several sorts of uncleanness he had mentioned before; among which is filthy and foolish talk) hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ
, and of God. The Apostle here speaks to the Gentile Christians, who were newly converted from Heathenism, and had been accustomed to make light of these kinds of fin, which were so common among the idolatrous Heathen, and part of the worship of their obscene deities: but he tells them, that the Christian religion, which they had embraced, required another fort of conversation, and did strictly enjoin all manner of purity, both of heart and life, in all our words and actions; and that as he that has called us is holy, fo we should be holy in all manner of conversation. And whatever false teachers might infinuate, as if the Christian religion did allow a greater liberty in these things, and made that a cloak for licentiousness, hereby turning the grace of God, that is, the doctrine of the gospel, into lasciviousness, as St. Jude speaks, ver. 4. yet they would certainly find things quite otherwise in the issue, and that God, who punished the Heathen for these vices, and fent such terrible judgments upon them, would much less let Christians go unpunished, that thould be found guilty of them. Eph. v. 6. Let no man deceive you with vain words : for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience, that is, the Heathen world, who continued still in their infidelity, and lived in the praEtice of those sins; and would fall much more heavily
upon Christians, if after they had embraced this holy religion, they should allow themselves in any of those vile and impure practices, which they had been guilty of before, and which they had so folemnly promised to renounce and put off in their baptism.
And fo likewise, Col. iij. 5.6.7. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth i fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: for which things fake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience, or unbelief; in the which ye also walked sometime, when ye - lived in them; that is, whilft yê were Heathers, and conversed among them, ye practised these vices : but now, that is, now that ye are become Christians, put off these, anger, wrath, malice, evil-speaking, filthy communication. Ye fee that filthy communication is reckoned amongst those lins of the Gentiles, which Christians were utterly to quit and forsake, as contrary to the purity of the Christian profession. And fo St. Paul tells the Thessalonians, 1 Theff. iv. 7. God hath not called as unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. And be gives the fame precept to the Colossians, chap. iv. 6. Let your Speech be always with grace, that is, acceptable and useful, fomething that is worthy the hearing, seasoned with falt, that is, with prudence and discretion, which should always govern our speech, and keep it within the bounds of fobriety and modesty. As our talk should not be insipid and foolish, so much less rotten and unsavory, immodest and lewd.
And in his epiftle to the Philippians, chap. iv. 8. he earnestly recommends the virtues that are directly contrary to this vice. Finally, my brethren, whatsoever things are honest, ora geurd, whatsoever things are grave or venerable, oon ágveć, whatsoever things are pure or chafte, think on these things; that is, have great regard to them in your conversation and behaviour, there being no sort of virtue which the Christian religion does not strictly enjoin and exact from us; and consequently whatfoever is light and frothy, and much more whatever is lewd and filthy, ought to be banished from the conversation of Christians, as utterly inconfiftent with the gravity and purity of that holy profession.
And the same Apostle tells us, that all the promises of the gospel are so many arguments and obligations to purity and holiness, 2 Cor. vii. 1. Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting, or practising, holiness in the fear of God.' 'And on the contrary, St. John tells us, that all impurity will be an effectual bar to our entrance into heaven. Rev. xxi. 27. speaking of the new Jerusalem, says he, There fall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination. So that if either the promises or threatenings of the gospel have any infuence upon us, they will effectually restrain this vitious practice.
VII. and lastly, All impure and filthy communication grieves the holy Spirit, and drives him away from us. And therefore after he had forbidden this vice here in the text, that no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers; he immediately adds, and grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed to the day of redemption ; hereby intimating, that all corrupt and filthy communication grieves the holy Spirit of God, that blessed Spirit which is the seal and earnest of our redemption; that is, as the Apostle himself explains it, of the redemption of our boo dies, from the bondage of corruption, by the resurrection of them to eternal life. For, it is the Spirit of God dwelling in us, which shall raise our bodies at the last day, and make them partakers of a blessed immortality, So the Apostle fays exprelly, Rom. viii. 11. But if the Spirit of him that raised up jesus from the dead, dwell in you; he that raised up Christ from the dead, shall also quicken your mortal bodies, by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. If we defile our bodies, or any members of them by uncleanness, we grieve the Spirit of God which dwells in us, and force him out of his habitation; that blessed Spirit, which should quicken our mortal bodies, and is both the earnest and the cause of their resurrection to eternal life. For our bodies, as well as our souls, are the temples of the Holy Ghoft, and the Spirit of God
dwells in them; and we banish him out of his temple whenever we profane it by lewd and filthy speech.
And the Apostle useth this argument more than once, to deter Chriltians more especially from the sins of uncleanness. 1 Cor. iii. 16. 17. Know ye not that ye ere the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy. For the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. The holy Spirit of God sanctifieth the place where he more especially resides, and makes it his temple ; and so are our bodies as well as our souls; as the same Apostle expresly tells us, chap. vi. ver. 18. 19. 20. where he argues against the sins of uncleanness, which are comınitted in the body, and by the members and instruments of it, from this consideration, that our bodies are the temples of the Holy Ghoft. Flee fornication, says he. Every sin a man doth, is without the body: but he that committeth fornication, finneth against his own body; that is, the body is not the immediate instruinent of other sins, as it is of those of uncleanness; and then it follows, What, know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price ? therefore glorify God in your body, und in your spirit, which are God's. Under the name of fornication the Apostle comprehends all the sins of uncleanness, of which any member of the body is an instrument; so that the lasciviousness of the eye, or ear, or tongue, is a polluting and prophaning this temple of God, and drives the holy Spirit of God out of his possession.
And whenever the Spirit of God departs from us, we cease to be children of God, and forfeit the earnelt of our eternal inheritance. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, says the same Apostle, Rom. viji. 9. he is none of his, that is, he does not belong to him, in plain English, he is no Christian.
So that, as we would not forfeit the title of Christians, and the blessed hope of a glorious resurrection, we must be very careful that no corrupt communication proceed out of our mouth, lest hereby we grieve the holy Spirit