The Tongue a World of Wickedness
James 3:5-6
Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasts great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindles!…

It is a world of wickedness, because most mischiefs and greatest sins among men by unbridled and wicked tongues are attempted and performed. By the tongue thieves confer together and determine of robberies; murderers by their tongues raise up brawlings, the causes of cruel murder. By their tongues adulterous and treacherous persons first tempt the chastity of others, and with their words agree upon the wickedness. By the tongue lying, dissembling, flattery, and counterfeiting is committed. By the tongue slander, backbiting, swearing, blasphemy, and perjury is uttered. By the tongue false sentence is pronounced, either to the condemning of the righteous or absolving of the wicked, both which are abominable before the Lord. By the tongue men are led into error through false doctrine, drawn to wickedness by lewd counsel. Through the tongue, by false reports, private men and princes, kingdoms and countries, towns and cities, societies and families, are set at variance. By the tongue familiars and friends have been set at daggers drawn, and their quarrels thereby have ended in blood. By the tongue quarrels are picked, contentions caused, brawlings grow, to the great hurt of private estates, and the marvellous hurt and disturbance of public weals; with filthiness of speech it corrupteth, with dissembling and flattery it deceiveth, with lying and cogging it beguileth, with false reports it slayeth, with slanders it defameth, with vain swearing it blasphemeth, with enticing it inveigleth, with smoothness of talk it enforceth, yea, almost every wickedness among the children of men is either determined, attempted, executed, or finished by the tongue. Insomuch that Sirach, having great experience thereof, falleth into a large discourse of those evils which come of the wicked tongue, as that it hath destroyed many which were at peace, that it hath disquieted many and driven them from nation to nation, that it hath broken down strong cities and overthrown the houses of great men, abated the strength of the people, and been the decay of mighty nations; that it hath cast down many virtuous women and robbed. them of their labours, that it causeth that such as hearken unto it shall never rest and live quietly, that it striketh deeper than any rod, and devoureth more than the sword of the enemy, and such like.

(R. Turnbull.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!

WEB: So the tongue is also a little member, and boasts great things. See how a small fire can spread to a large forest!

The Tongue a .Fire
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