Sean Lucas has been reading about Charles Simeon. Here are some pearls of wisdom on evil speaking:
The longer I live, the more I feel the importance of adhering to the rules which I have laid down for myself in relation to such matters.
1st To hear as little as possible what is to the prejudice of others.
2nd To believe nothing of the kind till I am absolutely forced to it.
3rd Never to drink into the spirit of one who circulates an ill report.
4th Always to moderate, as far as I can, the unkindness which is expressed toward others.
5th Always to believe, that if the other side were heard, a very different account would be given of the matter….
The more prominent any person’s character is, the more likely he is to suffer in this way; there being in the heart of every man, unless greatly subdued by grace, a pleasure in hearing anything which may sink others to his level, or lower them in the estimation of the world. We seem to ourselves elevated in proportion as others are depressed.
. . . and on struggles with the heart:
You see yourself guilty of sins which preclude a hope of forgiveness. Your friends have endeavored to shew you that you judge yourself too hardly. In this they have erred for, if they have succeeded, they have given you a peace founded on your own worthiness, a peace that would last no longer than till the next temptation arose in your mind….if they have not succeeded, they have only confirmed you in your views.
I say to you the reverse. Your views of yourself (your own sinfulness) though they may be erroneous, are not one atom too strong. Your sinfulness far exceeds all that you have stated, or have any conception of. ‘Your heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked: who can know it?’
But I have an effectual remedy for them all–’the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin.’ I grant that you are lost and utterly undone. So are all mankind–some for gross sins–some for impenitence–some for other sins. You are lost for the very sins you mention, hardness of heart, indifference, etc…
Do this then, take a book as large as any that is in the Bank of England. Put down all the sins of which either conscience or a morbid imagination can accuse you. Fear not to add to their number all that Satan himself can suggest.
And this I will do. I will put on the creditor side ‘the unsearchable riches of Christ’ and will leave you to draw the balance.