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EPHESIANS - Chapter 4 - Verse 25
Verse 25. Wherefore putting away lying. It may seem strange that the apostle should seriously exhort Christians to put away lying, implying that they were in the habit of indulging in falsehood. But we are to remember,
(1.) that lying is the universal vice of the heathen world. Among the ancient heathen, as among the moderns, it was almost universally practised. It has been remarked by a distinguished jurist who had spent much time in India, that he would not believe a Hindoo on his oath. The same testimony is borne, by almost all the missionaries, of the character of heathens everywhere. No confidence can be placed in their statements; and, where there is the slightest temptation to falsehood, they practise it without remorse.
(2.) The Ephesians had been recently converted, and were, to a great extent, ignorant of the requirements of the gospel. A conscience has to be created when heathens are converted, and it is long before they see the evils of many things which appear to us to be palpably wrong.
(3.) The effects of former habits abide long, often, after a man is converted. He who has been in the habit of profane swearing finds it difficult to avoid it; and he who has been all his life practising deception will find himself tempted to practise it still. It was for reasons such as these, probably, that the apostle exhorted the Ephesians to put away lying, and to speak the truth only. Nor is the exhortation now inappropriate to Christians; and there are many classes to whom it would now be proper—such as the following:
(1.) He who is in the habit of concealing the defects of an article in trade, or of commending it for more than its real value— let him put away lying.
(2.) He, or she, who instructs a servant to say that they are not at home, when they are at home; or that they are sick, when they are not sick; or that they are engaged, when they are not engaged— let them put away lying.
(3.) He that is in the habit of giving a colouring to his narratives; of conveying a false impression by the introduction or the suppression of circumstances that are important to the right understanding of an account—let him put away lying.
(4.) He that is at no pains to ascertain the exact truth in regard to any facts that may affect his neighbour; that catches up flying rumours without investigating them, and that circulates them as undoubted truth, though they may seriously affect the character and peace of another—let him put away lying.
(5.) He that is in the habit of making promises only to disregard them— let him put away lying. The community is full of falsehoods of that kind, and they are not all confined to the people of the world. Nothing is more important in a community than simple truth—and yet it is to be feared that nothing is more habitually disregarded. No professing Christian can do any good who has not an unimpeachable character for integrity and truth—and yet who can lay his hand on his breast and say before God that he is, in all cases, a man that speaks the simple and unvarnished TRUTH?
The idea is, that falsehood tends to loosen the bonds of brotherhood. In the human body harmony is observed. The eye never deceives the hand, nor the hand the foot, nor the heart the lungs. The whole move harmoniously as if the one could put the utmost confidence in the other—and falsehood in the church is as ruinous to its interests as it would be to the body if one member was perpetually practising a deception on another.
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