Evil speaking

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He that speaks ill of another, commonly before he is aware, makes himself such a one as he speaks against. ~ John Selden

Evil speaking means speaking ill of others.

Quotes[edit]

  • A doctor might as well stand with his saddle-bags and scatter their contents through the community as a man tell all that he knows about people indiscriminately. Medicine is to be administered carefully. It is the work of skill to properly administer it. It is to be given according to the constitution, temperament, and condition of the patient. And truth, being a medicine, instead of being thrown about heedlessly, and indiscriminately, and with brutal barbarity, is to be administered with care and discretion.
    • Henry Ward Beecher, "The Duty of Living Peaceably", in The Original Plymouth Pulpit: Sermons of Henry Ward Beecher (1873), p. 14.
  • Abandoning false speech, the ascetic Gotama dwells refraining from false speech, a truth-speaker, one to be relied on, trustworthy, dependable, not a deceiver of the world. Abandoning malicious speech, he does not repeat there what he has heard here to the detriment of these, or repeat here what he has heard there to the detriment of those. Thus he is a reconciler of those at variance and an encourager of those at one, rejoicing in peace, loving it, delighting in it, one who speaks up for peace. Abandoning harsh speech, he refrains from it. He speaks whatever is blameless, pleasing to the ear, agreeable, reaching the heart, urbane, pleasing and attractive to the multitude. Abandoning idle chatter, he speaks at the right time, what is correct and to the point, of Dhamma and discipline. He is a speaker whose words are to be treasured, seasonable, reasoned, well-defined and connected with the goal.
  • It is our duty never to speak ill of others, you know; least of all when we know that to do so will be the cause of much pain and trouble.
  • The man recovered of the bite,
    The dog it was that died.
    • Oliver Goldsmith, The Vicar of Wakefield (1766), Ch. 17, An Elegy on the Death of a Mad Dog, st. 8; reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), 0p. 215.
  • Never incline your ear to words of mischief. For men often say an improper word to make trial of a virgin's steadfastness, to see if she hears it with pleasure, and if she is ready to unbend at every silly jest. Such persons applaud whatever you affirm and deny whatever you deny; they speak of you as not only holy but accomplished, and say that in you there is no guile. Behold, say they, a true hand-maid of Christ; behold entire singleness of heart. How different from that rough, unsightly, countrified fright, who most likely never married because she could never find a husband. Our natural weakness induces us readily to listen to such flatterers; but, though we may blush and reply that such praise is more than our due, the soul within us rejoices to hear itself praised.
    • Jerome, Letter 22, p.24; as qtd. in "CHURCH FATHERS: Letter 22 (Jerome)", New Advent, translated by W.H. Fremantle, G. Lewis and W.G. Martley. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 6. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1893.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight.
  • Idle persons and busybodies, whether virgins or widows; such as go from house to house calling on married women and displaying an unblushing effrontery greater than that of a stage parasite, cast from you as you would the plague. For evil communications corrupt good manners, 1 Corinthians 15:33 and women like these care for nothing but their lowest appetites. They will often urge you, saying, My dear creature, make the best of your advantages, and live while life is yours, and Surely you are not laying up money for your children. Given to wine and wantonness, they instill all manner of mischief into people's minds, and induce even the most austere to indulge in enervating pleasures. And when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ they will marry, having condemnation because they have rejected their first faith. 1 Timothy 5:11-12
    Do not seek to appear over-eloquent, nor trifle with verse, nor make yourself gay with lyric songs. And do not, out of affectation, follow the sickly taste of married ladies who, now pressing their teeth together, now keeping their lips wide apart, speak with a lisp, and purposely clip their words, because they fancy that to pronounce them naturally is a mark of country breeding. Accordingly they find pleasure in what I may call an adultery of the tongue.
    • Jerome, Letter 22, p.24; as qtd. in "CHURCH FATHERS: Letter 22 (Jerome)", New Advent, translated by W.H. Fremantle, G. Lewis and W.G. Martley. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 6. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1893.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight.
  • Speak against nobody, and do not slander your mother's son. Who are you that judgest the servant of another? To his own lord he stands or falls; yea, he shall be made to stand, for the Lord has power to make him stand.
    • Jerome, Letter 22, p.37; as qtd. in "CHURCH FATHERS: Letter 22 (Jerome)", New Advent, translated by W.H. Fremantle, G. Lewis and W.G. Martley. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 6. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1893.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight
  • Evil speech kills three people—the one who says it, the one who accepts it, and the one about whom it is said.
    • Maimonides, Laws Concerning Character Traits, Chapter 7, Section 3
  • It is forbidden to dwell in the vicinity of any of those with an evil tongue, and all the more to sit with them and listen to their words.
    • Maimonides, Laws Concerning Character Traits, Chapter 7, Section 6
  • Remember that the first step in spirituality is not to speak ill of others. All human beings have weaknesses and faults. Yet they are all God in their being. Until they become Realized, they have their imperfections. Therefore, before trying to find faults in others and speaking ill of them, try to find your own weaknesses and correct those.
  • He that speaks ill of another, commonly before he is aware, makes himself such a one as he speaks against.
  • Hear no evil, and see no evil, abase not thyself, neither sigh and weep. Speak no evil, that thou mayest not hear it spoken unto thee, and magnify not the faults of others that thine own faults may not appear great; and wish not the abasement of anyone, that thine own abasement be not exposed.
  • To persevere in one's duty and be silent is the best answer to calumny.
    • George Washington, letter to William Livingston (December 7, 1779), reported in Theodore Sedgwick, A Memoire of the Life of William Livingston (1833), p. 343.

Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895)[edit]

Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).
  • Keep clear of personalities in conversation. Talk of things, objects, thoughts. The smallest minds occupy themselves with persons. Do not needlessly report ill of others. As far as possible, dwell on the good side of human beings. There are family boards where a constant process of depreciating, assigning motives, and cutting up character, goes forward. They are not pleasant places. One who is healthy does not wish to dine at a dissecting table. There is evil enough in man, God knows. But it is not the mission of every young man and woman to detail and report it all. Keep the atmosphere as pure as possible, and fragrant with gentleness and charity.
  • If there is any person to whom you feel a dislike, that is the person of whom you ought never to speak.
  • Never throw mud. You may miss your mark; but you must have dirty hands.
  • We cannot control the evil tongues of others; but a good life enables us to disregard them.
  • And so the blasts of calumny, howl they ever so fiercely over the good man's head, contribute to his juster appreciation and to his wider fame. Preserve only a good conscience toward God, and a loving purpose toward your fellow men, and you need not wince nor tremble, though the pack of the spaniel-hearted hounds snarl at your heels.
  • Is the scrupulous attention I am paying to the government of my tongue at all proportioned to that tremendous truth revealed through St. James, that if I do not bridle my tongue, all my religion is vain?

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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