The Scourge of the Tongue

You may smite another—and never touch him!

(Thomas Watson, “The Ten Commandments“)

SS-LipsThe tongue which at first was made to be an organ
of God’s praise—has now become an instrument of
unrighteousness. God has set two natural fences to
keep in the tongue—the teeth and lips.

“Not slanderers.” 1 Timothy 3:11

In the Greek it is, “not devils.” The same word signifies
both a slanderer and a devil. Some think it is no great
matter, to misrepresent and slander others; but it is to
act the part of a devil. This is a great sin; and I wish
I could say it is not common.

The heathen, by the light of nature, abhorred the sin
of slandering. Diogenes used to say, “Of all wild beasts,
a slanderer is the worst.” Antonius made a law, that if
a person could not prove the crime he reported another
to be guilty of, he should be put to death.

The Scripture calls slandering, smiting with the tongue.
“Come, and let us smite him with the tongue.” Jer 18:18
You may smite another—and never touch him!

The scorpion carries his poison in his tail;
the slanderer
carries his poison in his tongue!

Job calls slander “the scourge of the tongue.” As a
rod scourges the back, so the slanderer’s tongue
scourges the name.

Eminence
is commonly blasted by slander.

Holiness itself is no shield from slander. The lamb’s
innocence will not preserve it from the wolf. Christ,
the most innocent upon earth, was reported to be
“a glutton and a drunkard.” Matthew 11:19

“The tongue inflicts greater wounds than the sword.”

No physician can heal the wounds of the tongue!

To pretend friendship to a man, and slander him,
is most odious.

We must not only not raise a false report—but refuse
to hear it. He who raises a slander—carries the devil
in his tongue! He who receives a slander—carries the
devil in his ear!

You may kill a man in his name as well as in his person.
Some are reluctant to take away their neighbor’s goods;
but better take their wares out of their shop—than take
away their good name! This is a sin for which no reparation
can be made; a blot in a man’s name, being like a blot on
white paper, which can never be gotten out.

Surely God will punish this sin. If idle words shall be
accounted for, shall not unjust slanders? Oh therefore,
take heed of this sin!

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