The LORD shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaks proud things:…
The language of agitators is indicated in this text, of men who think to carry everything by free speech, a free press, and a free pulpit. God forbid that we should ever see the day when either of these three great agencies for enlightening, exciting, and directing human thought shall not be free. However much they may be abused, they are still the chief glory of a country. It is not to be denied, however, that they are abused. Instead of being used only for the defence of truth and right, they are often prostituted to stirring up the most fearful passions that can agitate the human breast; to array brother against brother, citizen against citizen, section against section, and Church against Church. You may remonstrate with the men so engaged, but the only answer you can obtain from them is likely to be, "With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own; who is lord over us?" They act as if freedom of speech implied the right to say whatever fancy may dictate, where it may dictate, when it may dictate, and as it may dictate. Hence the recklessness with which not only opinions, but characters and motives, are assailed. The right of free discussion is often indulged by its advocates, till they seem to have forgotten that men have any other rights. Nor is this lawlessness of tongue confined to partisan leaders, and to those in authority; it pervades and embitters private life. We meet, in every walk of society, persons who pride themselves on their fearlessness of speech, and who, in sheer wantonness, inflict wounds upon the characters and feelings of others that time can never heal.
(David Caldwell, A. M.)
Parallel VersesKJV: The LORD shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things: