How painful are honest words! But what does your argument prove?
. Consider the power of truth - the force of right Words -
I. IN RESOLVING THE ENTANGLEMENTS OF ERROR. Truth is the right, the straight, line which reveals and thereby condemns the crooked departures. Its own clear, calm utterance resolves the confusion of tortuous commingled error. It is by the simple statement of truth that the wrong of error is discovered and rebuked. Loudness of denunciation cannot contradict error, or unravel it, or expose it. Nor will mere logical demonstration; noise will not destroy darkness; nor will the gloom be illuminated by proving it to be darkness. But the quiet shining of the lamp will scatter the shades of black night. So truth in its own simplicity and realness effectually and alone disperses the gloom and guides the feet of the wanderer through the tangled path of error. Such words Job had not yet found. But the good Teacher was not far away; and finally Job was led to the open plain and the clear light and the straight way.
II. RIGHT WORDS ARE FORCIBLE IN THE PRESENCE OF DEEP SORROW. So Job thought. It was for such words he pined. He longed for the teaching that would bring him comfort, and not for the accusations that would make his burden heavier and his heart sadder. There is a deep truth relating to all human affliction. Looked at only as a derangement of human happiness, it is devoid of that completeness of view that would constitute it a truthful one. But looked at as a Divine correction, a discipline, a sharp warning or departure from law, and a just punishment for such departure; and looked at as under the control of the Almighty Father, it is seen to be invested with a momentous character, and to be. inflicted for the wisest and best purposes. Right words on it bring the mind to peace. They are forcible to counsel and to comfort; to warn of danger, to guide to safety, to console in suffering. Happy the sufferer who has an interpreter at band, who with right words can unveil the mystery, and make clear the ways of God to man!
III. RIGHT WORDS ARE FORCIBLE IN THE ADJUSTMENT OF DISTURBED RELATIONS OF LIFE. They are wise words and kind. Even enemies are overcome by them. The right word is a word in harmony with the truth. Spoken with lips that speak truth habitually, and from a heart where truth finds its home, they carry conviction. They win the ear and the confidence of the listener. They have a force peculiar to themselves. They command. They are strong and cannot be shaken. They pierce, as doth an arrow, when they are words of condemnation founded on truth; and they comfort, and heal, and restore, and readjust, when they are spoken in kindness. The wise man searches for right words, and, having found them, speaks them in all simplicity. And the seeker after truth, or rest, or comfort welcomes them. They bear help on their wings, and are as reviving as the beams of the morning. - R.G.
How forcible are right words!
I. THAT WORDS MAY POSSESS A RIGHTEOUS OR UNRIGHTEOUS CHARACTER. "Right words." God declared to Job's friends, "Ye have not spoken of Me the thing that is right, as My servant Job hath."
1. The power of speech is a Divine gift. Whether words were originally given, or were elaborated by the faculty of speech, does not alter the question of the Divine origin of the gift. Without speech, where would have been the outcome of man's spiritual energies? How the soul speaks in the voice! "Burning words" proclaim the power of the spirit that is in man.
2. The Divine gift of words is intended to be a righteous power. By perversion of words sin was introduced; by the righteousness of words error and evil shall be destroyed. The words of God "are spirit and life."
3. In proportion to the excellence of the gift will be the responsibility of the speaker. "By thy words shalt thou be justified," etc.
II. THE POWER OF WORDS FOR GOOD OR EVIL IS IN PROPORTION TO THEIR RIGHTEOUSNESS OR UNRIGHTEOUSNESS. "Doth not the ear try words?" "Righteous words reprove."
1. The words of God are instruments of righteousness. "Do not My words do good?" (Micah 2:7.)
2. The words of man are only righteous as they harmonise with the words of God. "Let your speech be always with grace" (Colossians 4:6).
3. In the "war of words" the righteous words shall be victorious. Great is truth, and must prevail.
4. Divine power operates through the words of the good. "I will be to thee a mouth and wisdom." Therefore "how forcible are right words!"
5. Evil words are destructive. "Whose word doth eat as doth a canker." The unrighteous words of Job's friends possessed a power that forced him to exclaim, "How forcible are right words!"
I. IN THE MATTER, when they are true.
II. IN THE MANNER, when they are plain, direct, and perspicuous.
III. IN THEIR USE, when they are duly and properly applied; when the arrow is carried home to the white, then they are right words, or words of righteousness. When this threefold rightness meets in words, how forcible, how strong are such words!
(A. T. Pierson, D. D.).
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