Plumer’s Piety – On Tale-Hearing

Commenting on Psalm 15:3, “…nor takes up a reproach against his friend,” William Plumer writes, “A good man is not willingly even the repository of evil rumors against any of his kind…Tale-hearing is one of the worst vices. No good man will allow it…The Rev. Charles Simeon of blessed memory said, ‘The longer I live, the more I feel the importance of adhering to the following rules, which I have laid down for myself in relation to such matters:

1st. To hear as little as possible what is to the prejudice of others.
2d. To believe nothing of the kind until I am absolutely forced to it.
3d. Never to drink into the spirit of one who circulates an ill report.
4th. Always to moderate, as far as I can, the unkindness which is expressed toward others.
5th. Always to believe, that if the other side were heard, a very different account would be given of the matter.’ William Penn said: “Believe nothing against another, but on good authority; nor report what may hurt another, unless it be a greater hurt to another to conceal it.’…

“The author would here record his serious belief that a full half of all the misery he has witnessed, in the course of a life neither short, nor unattended with fair opportunities of observation, was caused by a sinful abuse of the power of speech, and that more than half the misery thus caused would have been avoided, if all in the community who had no part in originating them had at once done their duty, and frowned on evil reports.”

(from Plumer’s Studies in the Book of Psalms, pages 201, 206)




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