‘The tongue,’ says James, ‘is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison’; ‘it sets on fire the course of nature, and it is set on fire by Hell’ (James 2). The tongue — how much mischief will it stir up in a very little time! How many blows and wounds does it cause! How many times does it, as James says, curse man! How often is the tongue made the conveyor of that Hellish poison that is in the heart, both to the dishonor of God, the hurt of its neighbors, and the utter ruin of its own soul!
And do you think the Lord will sit still, and let your tongue run as it wills — and yet never bring you to an account for the same? No! The Lord will not always keep silence — but will reprove you, and set your sins in order before your eyes, O sinner! Yes, and your tongue, together with the rest of your members — shall be tormented for sinning.
I am very confident, that though this is made light of now — yet the time is coming when many poor souls will rue the day that ever they did speak with a tongue! ‘O,’ will one say, ‘that I should so disregard my tongue! O that I, when I said such and such, had before bitten off my tongue! O that I had been born without a tongue! My tongue, my tongue, a little water to cool my tongue — for I am tormented in this flame! Even in that flame that my tongue, together with the rest of my members, by sinning, have brought me to!’
Poor souls now will let their tongues say anything for a little profit, for two-pence or three-pence gain. But, O what a grief will this be at that day when they, together with their tongue, must smart for that which they by their tongues, have done while they were in this world.
You who love your souls — look to your tongues, lest you bind yourselves down so fast to Hell with the sins of your tongues, that you will never be able to get loose again to all eternity! ‘For by your words you shall be condemned,’ if you have not a care of your tongue. For ‘I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment!’ (Matt 12:36).