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§ 5. The Government of the Tongue.

In thy speech be circumspect, honest, chaste, and blameless. Delight in reasonable silence. Utter not vain and trifling words, nor such as excite immoderate laughter. For Christ saith in the Gospel: “Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall render an account for it in the day of judgment ” (St. Matth. xii. 36).

Avoid also asperity and pungency of words, and abhor the vice of detraction and evil-speaking. If it be necessary, or evidently useful, to speak of the defects of others, see that thou introduce nothing be yond this, nor with any other intention. And then beware lest thou be impelled to speak by bitterness of spirit or ill-will.

Moreover, thou shalt not affirm for certain those things of which thou art uncertain. Flee most carefully from all falsehood, all hypocrisy, duplicity, and wicked dissimulation, and deceit. For God admits no one into His kingdom who is not simple and far removed from all false appearances.

If thou shouldst happen to hear any one uttering slanderous and evil, or improper words, thou must contrive to cut short that discourse, or even modestly and discreetly reprove him who so speaks. And, if thou art not well able to do this, show nevertheless by the sadness of thy countenance, or by sighs, or by departure, or by any other fitting sign, that those 134things displease thee which are displeasing to God, and close at least the ears of thy soul, lest thou consent to the evil discourse.

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