Chapter 10

On Avoiding Talkativeness

Avoid public gatherings as much as possible, for the discussion of worldly affairs becomes a great hindrance, even though it be with the best of intentions, for we are quickly corrupted and ensnared by vanity. Often I wish I had remained silent, and had not been among men. But why is it that we are so ready to chatter and gossip with each other, when we so seldom return to silence without some injury to our conscience? The reason why we are so fond of talking with each other is that we think to find consolation in this manner, and to refresh a heart wearied with many cares. And we prefer to speak and think of those things which we like and desire, or of those which we dislike. Alas, however, all this is often to no purpose, for this outward consolation is no small obstacle to inner and divine consolation.

We must watch and pray (Matt. 26:41) that our time may not be spent fruitlessly. When it is right and proper to speak, speak to edify (Eph. 4:29). Evil habits and neglect of spiritual progress are the main cause of our failure to guard the tongue (James 3:5). But devout conversation on spiritual matters greatly furthers our spiritual progress, especially with those who are heart and soul with us in the service of God (Acts 2:42).

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