Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.
There are many interesting entries in John Wesleys journal. On June 9th, 1742, he writes of attending an unusual court case. The magistrate was a man of candour and understanding. He was to hear the complaints of some angry citizens who had brought to him a whole wagon load of these new heretics. The magistrate enquired what they had done. One of the accusers answered, Why, they pretended to be better than other people; and besides, they prayed from morning to night. But have they done nothing else? Yes, sir, replied an old man. They have converted my wife. Till she went among them, she had such a tongue! And now she is as quiet as a lamb. Carry them back, carry them back, cried the justice, and let them convert all the scolds in the town.
We may well smile at this story; yet the Word of God declares, If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this mans religion is vain (James 1:26). How deadly is the power of that little member! As the Puritan Thomas Watson put it, The sword doth not make so deep a wound as the tongue. The hasty, hurtful word we immediately regret, but cannot recall. It is well said that a word spoken is physically transient, but morally permanent. Christian, there is a time to be silent. Learn to hold thy tongue. Five words cost Zacharias forty weeks silence (Thomas Fuller). Be slow to speak. He that refraineth his lips is wiseÊ(Prov. 10:19). It has been well said, If you think twice before you speak once, you will speak twice the better for it. Pray the psalmists prayer today: Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips (Psa. 141:3).