Jonathan Edwards on Gossip

Name and Place for December 30, (’14)


Pre-Revolutionary American pastor/theologian Jonathan Edwards, whose grandson, Aaron Burr, shot and killed in a duel the man who graces our ten-dollar bill, preached a series of sermons through 1 Corinthians 13 called “Charity and Its Fruits.” If you haven’t read them, do it, and learn what love actually is. Here’s a quote about gossip, and how love “thinks no evil.” Maybe it describes you.

“Very often, again, persons show an uncharitable and censorious spirit with respect to the actions of others, by being forward to take up and circulate evil reports about them. Merely hearing a flying and evil rumor about an individual, in such a thoughtless and lying world as this is, is far from being sufficient evidence against anyone, to make us believe he has been guilty of that which is reported; for the devil, who is called “the god of this world,” is said to be “a liar, and the father of it,” and too many, alas! of his children are like him in their speaking of falsehoods. And yet it is a very common thing for persons to pass a judgment on others, on no better ground or foundation than that they have heard that somebody has said this, or that, or the other thing, though they have no evidence that what is said is true. When they hear that another has done or said so and so, they seem at once to conclude that it is so, without making any further inquiry, though nothing is more uncertain, or more likely to prove false, than the mutterings or whispers of common fame. And some are always so ready to catch up an ill report, that it seems to be pleasing to them to hear evil of others. Their spirit seems greedy of it; and it is, as it were, food to the hunger of their depraved hearts, and they feed on it, as carrion birds do on the worst of flesh. They easily and greedily take it in as true, without examination, thus showing how contrary they are in character and conduct to him of whom the Psalmist speaks (Psa. 15:1-3) as dwelling in God’s tabernacle, and abiding in his holy hill, and of whom he declares, that “he taketh not up a reproach against his neighbor”.

Jonathan Edwards, ‘Charity and its Fruits’

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s