Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,…
I. THE PRECEPT.
1. We should never in severe terms inveigh against any man without reasonable warrant, or presuming on a good call and commission for the purpose.
2. We should never speak so of any man without apparent just cause: we must not reproach men for things innocent or indifferent, for not complying with our humour or interests.
3. We should not cast reproach on any man without some necessary reason: in that charity which covereth a multitude of sins, we are bound to extenuate and excuse the faults of our brethren, so far as truth and equity permit.
4. We should never speak ill of our neighbour beyond measure, be the cause never so just, the occasion never so necessary.
5. We should never speak ill of any man out of bad principles or for bad ends; from no sudden anger, inveterate hatred, revengeful disposition, contempt, or envy; to compass any design of our own, to cherish any malignity or ill-humour; neither out of wantonness nor out of negligence and inadvertency; in fine from no other principle but that of charity, and to no other intent but what is charitable.
II. INDUCEMENTS TO ITS OBSERVANCE.
1. Let us consider that nothing more than railing and reviling is opposite to the nature, and inconsistent with the tenor of our religion.
2. It is therefore often expressly condemned and prohibited as evil.
3. Against no practice are severer punishments denounced. St. Paul adjudges the railer to be banished from good society (1 Corinthians 5:11), and from heaven (1 Corinthians 6:10).
4. Such language is in its nature the symptom of a weak and distempered mind: a stream that cannot issue from a sweet spring.
5. This practice plainly signifies low spirit, ill-breeding, and bad manners, and is thence unbecoming to any wise, honest, or honourable person: all such have an aversion to it, and cannot entertain it with complacency.
6. He that uses this kind of speech, as he harms and troubles others, so does he create thereby great inconveniences and mischiefs to himself.
7. Hence with evidently good reason is he that uses such language called a fool; and he that abstaineth from it is commended as wise (Proverbs 18:6, 7).
8. Lastly, we may consider that it is a grievous perversion of the design of speech, which so much distinguishes us above other creatures, to use it in defaming and disquieting our neighbour: far better were it that we could say nothing than that we should speak ill.
(Isaac Barrow, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,