Read CHAPTER XIX. A CLEAN TONGUE. of Broken Bread from an Evangelist's Wallet , free online book, by Thomas Champness, on

One of the first things the doctor does when he comes to see you, is to ask to look at your tongue, and one glance will tell him how much difficulty he has to contend with. If the tongue is foul, he knows that there is inward mischief, and he must lose no time in cleansing that of which the tongue is but an indicator.

As we pass along our streets our ears are assailed with language of the most horrid description. If one needed any information as to the state of public morals, the foul-mouthed men and boys, aye, and we regret to say, too often, women and girls, would tell of the state of heart into which many thousands of our country people have been corrupted. And in many cases, this has become habitual, and what might be termed natural.

Can nothing be done? Is the name of the Divine Being and that of our Saviour to be profaned constantly without any check? If so, it will grow worse and worse, until we may expect national sin to bring down national punishment, and we shall have to say, “Because of swearing the land mourneth.”

Those who have charge of the education of our children might help, by constantly speaking against bad language, and by punishing those who continue to offend. Parents, also, should check the slightest tendency in this direction. We have heard of a good woman, who, overhearing one of her boys using what she called “dirty words,” took him to the sink, and washed out his mouth, not sparing the soap! Sometimes when we have heard men defiling their tongues with filthy talk, we have wished their mothers had served them the same.

Nor is this offence against God and good taste always confined to the ignorant. There are those who have been well taught men of ability, and some who make a profession of religion, who indulge in unseemly language, and delight in stories which are termed “smutty.” We know how farmers dislike the “smut” in their wheat, how an otherwise good crop will be lowered in value, because the black grain will, when ground, darken the flour. Is it not so with these men of unclean lips? The filthy allusions and improper stories which pollute their conversation make their life infectious, and their companionship dangerous. Let us reprove them, or at least avoid them, as we would the plague.

If we would keep a clean tongue, we must pray “Create in me a clean heart, O God!” This can be done, and the Lord, who has told us that He will not admit into His heaven that which worketh abomination, will gladly cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of His holy Spirit, then shall our tongue glorify Him continually.

Should this fall into the hands of one of those whose foul tongue shews that his heart is corrupt, we would ask him how he would like to have his conversation reported by a short-hand writer, and printed in the “Standard,” or “Daily News,” with his name attached? But is it not a fact, that his words are being taken down, and when the books are opened before an assembled universe at the last day, will not his soul tremble, as he finds that God has listened all the time, and the language used years ago, is to control his destiny, for He who will come to be our Judge has said to the swearer and filthy speaker

By thy word thou shalt be condemned.”


Have you ever thought how it is that in the prayer we call our Lord’s, God is spoken of as Father? Do you not see that your child calls you by one of the names the Christ-chosen name of the Devine Being? Is there not a sermon in that to everyone of us who has children of his own? Perhaps you have never given the matter a thought that for some of the early years of you children you may be giving them a caricature of God in your ungodly conduct. Let us lay this to heart, and strive, by God-like actions, to teach our little ones what God is like. By long suffering and gentleness towards ignorance and weakness; by stern denunciation, in life as well as word, of everything that is mean and deceitful; by delighting in mercy, and readiness to give to those who need, to our children, “Our Father,” may become a stepping stone to the knowledge of God.