There are those that are not only vicious themselves, but spiteful and mischievous to others, and they are the worst of men; two sorts of such are here described:—1. Such as envy a man the honour of his good name, and do all they can to blast that by calumnies and misrepresentations: They dig up evil; they take a great deal of pains to find out something or other on which to ground a slander, or which may give some colour to it. If none appear above ground, rather than want it they will dig for it, by diving into what is secret, or looking a great way back, or by evil suspicions and surmises, and forced innuendos. In the lips of a slanderer and backbiter there is as a fire, not only to brand his neighbour’s reputation, to smoke and sully it, but as a burning fire to consume it. And how great a matter does a little of this fire kindle, and how hardly is it extinguished! Jas. 3:5, 6. 2. Such as envy a man the comfort of his friendship, and do all they can to break that, by suggesting that on both sides which will set those at variance that are most nearly related and have been long intimate, or at least cool and alienate their affections one from another: A froward man, that cannot find in his heart to love any body but himself, is vexed to see others live in love, and therefore makes it is his business to sow strife, by giving men base characters one of another, telling lies, and carrying ill-natured stories between chief friends, so as to separate them one from another, and make them angry at or at least suspicious of one another. Those are bad men, and bad women too, that do such ill offices; they are doing the devil’s work, and his will their wages be.
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