21 July 2019

“What weak creatures we are!"

Your weekly Dose of Spurgeon


The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from the lifetime of works from the Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  The following excerpt is from The Golden Alphabet, pages 150-151, Pilgrim Publications.  


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Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word. Psalm 119:67 

Often our trials act as a thorn-hedge to keep us in the good pasture; but our prosperity is a gap through which we go astray. If any of us remember a time in which we had no trouble, we also probably recollect that then grace was low, and temptation was strong.

It may be that some believer cries, “Oh that it were with me as in those summer days before I was afflicted!” Such a sigh is most unwise, and arises from a carnal love of ease: the spiritual man who prizes growth in grace will bless God that those dangerous days are over, and that if the weather be more stormy it is also more healthy.

It is well when the mind is open and candid, as in this instance: perhaps David would never have known and confessed his own strayings if he had not smarted under the rod. Let us join in his
humble acknowledgments, for doubtless we have imitated him in his strayings.

Why is it that a little ease works in us so much disease? Can we never rest without rusting? Never be filled without waxing fat? Never rise as to one world without going down as to another?

What weak creatures we are to be unable to bear a little pleasure! What base hearts are those which turn the abundance of God’s goodness into an occasion for sin!

14 July 2019

Home spun wisdom


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Your weekly Dose of Spurgeon


The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from the lifetime of works from the Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  The following excerpt is from John Ploughman's Talk, pages 92-94, Pilgrim Publications.  


"Husbands should try to make home happy and holy."

It is an ill bird that fouls its own nest, a bad man who makes his home wretched. Our house ought to be a little church, with holiness to the Lord over the door, but it ought never to be a prison where there is plenty of rule and order, but little love and no pleasure. Married life is not all sugar, but grace in the heart will keep away most of the sours.

Godliness and love can make a man, like a bird in a hedge, sing among thorns and briers, and set others a singing, too. It should be the husband’s pleasure to please his wife, and the wife’s care to care for her husband. He is kind to himself who is kind to his wife. I am afraid some men live by the rule of self, and when that is the case, home happiness is a mere sham.

When husbands and wives are well yoked, how light their load becomes! It is not every couple that is a pair, and the more's the pity. In a true home all the strife is which can do the most to make the family happy. A home should be a Bethel, not a Babel.

The husband should be the houseband, binding all together like a corner stone, but not crushing everything like a mill-stone. Unkind and domineering husbands ought not to pretend to be Christians, for they act clean contrary to Christ’s commands. Yet a home must be well ordered, or it will become a Bedlam and be a scandal to the parish.

If the father drops the reins, the family-coach will soon be in the ditch. A wise mixture of love and firmness will do it; but neither harshness nor softness alone will keep home in happy order. Home is no home where the children are not in obedience, it is rather a pain than a pleasure to be in it. Happy is he who is happy in his children, and happy are the children who are happy in their father.

All fathers are not wise. Some are like Eli, and spoil their children. Not to cross our children is the way to make a cross of them. Those who never give their children the rod, must not wonder if their children become a rod to them. Solomon says, “Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight to thy soul.” I am not clear that anybody wiser than Solomon lives in our time, though some think they are.

Young colts must be broken in, or they will make wild horses. Some fathers are all fire and fury, filled with passion at the smallest fault; this is worse than the other, and makes home a little hell instead of a heaven. No wind makes the miller idle, but too much upsets the mill altogether. Men who strike in their anger generally miss their mark. When God helps us to hold the reins firmly, but not to hurt the horses’ mouths, all goes well.

When home is ruled according to God’s Word, angels might be asked to stay a night with us, and they would not find themselves out of their element.

07 July 2019

Turn away



Your weekly Dose of Spurgeon

The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from the lifetime of works from the Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  The following excerpt is from The Golden Alphabet, page 96, Pilgrim Publications.  


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“Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way.” Psalm 119:37

Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity.  He had prayed about his heart, and one would have thought that the eyes would so surely have been influenced by the heart that there was no need to make them the objects of a special petition; but our author is resolved to make assurance doubly sure.

If the eyes do not see, perhaps the heart may not desire: at any rate, one door of temptation is closed when we do not even look at the painted bauble. Sin first entered man’s mind by the eye, and it is still a favourite gate for the incoming of Satan’s allurements; hence the need of a double watch upon that portal.

The prayer is not so much that the eyes may be shut as “turned away”; for we need to have them open, but directed to right objects. Perhaps we are now gazing upon folly, we need to have our eyes turned away; and if we are beholding heavenly things, we shall be wise to beg that our eyes may be kept away from vanity.

Why should we look on vanity?—it melts away as a vapour. Why not look upon things eternal? Sin is vanity, unjust gain is vanity, self-conceit is vanity, and, indeed, all that is not of God comes under the same head. From all this we must turn away.

It is a proof of the sense of weakness felt by the Psalmist and of his entire dependence upon God, that he even asks to have his eyes turned for him; he meant not to make himself passive, but he intended to set forth his own utter helplessness apart from the grace of God.

For fear he should forget himself and gaze with a lingering longing upon forbidden object, he entreats the Lord speedily to make him turn away his eyes, hurrying him off from so dangerous a parley with iniquity. If we are kept from looking on vanity we shall be preserved from loving iniquity.

30 June 2019

Did you set out but not hold out?


Your weekly Dose of Spurgeon


The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from the lifetime of works from the Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  The following excerpt is from the MTP, volume 14, sermon number 843, "Effectual calling."  


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"Brethren, it is no child's play to be a Christian." 

Many have I known who have had a call of a certain sort, who have tried to go to Canaan and yet to stop at Haran. They would fain serve God and yet live as they used to live. They think it possible to be a Christian and yet to be a servant of the world. They attempt the huge impossibility of yoking the Lion of the tribe of Judah and the lion of the pit in the same chariot, and driving through the streets of life therewith.

Ah, sirs! the call which comes from God brings a man right out, while the call which only comes to your fleshly nature leaves us with the rest of mankind, and will leave us there to be bound up in the same bundle with sinners, and cast into the same fire. Many come out of Egypt but never arrive at Canaan, like the children of Israel who left their carcasses in the wilderness, their hearts are not sound towards the Lord.

They start fairly, but the taste of the garlic and the onions lingers in their mouth, and holds their minds by Egypt’s fleshpots still. Like the planets, they are affected by two impulses: one would draw them to heaven, but another would drive them off at a tangent to the world; and so they revolve, like the mill-horse, without making progress; continuing still nominally to fear the Lord, and yet to serve other gods practically and in their hearts.

Beware, dear friends, of the call which makes you set out, but does not lead you to hold out. Pray that this text may be true to you, “They went forth to go into the land of Canaan, and to the land of Canaan they came.” Do not be content with praying to be saved, never be satisfied until you are saved.

Do not be content with trying to believe and trying to repent; come to Christ, and both repent and believe, and give no slumber to your eyelids till you are a penitent believer. Make a full and complete work of your believing. Strive not to reach the strait gate, but to enter it. For this you must have a call from the Lord of heaven.

I can call you as I have called many of you scores of times, and you have gone a little way, and you have bidden fair to go the whole way; but when your goodness has been as a morning cloud and as the early dew, it soon has been scattered and has gone. God grant you yet to receive the call of his eternal Spirit, that you may be saved.

24 June 2019

The Complementarian Responsibility Toward Women

by Hohn Cho

fter 13 years of ministry alongside college-and-career-aged single folks, I've witnessed and counseled and comforted more than my share, perhaps, of dear people who have suffered from the tragedy of sexual and physical abuse. And in a culture that is seemingly degrading by the day, especially sexually, it should not surprise us that we are seeing more and more reports of it, even within the church, sadly. I laid out numerous examples in paragraph 12 of a previous blog post, and since that time we've seen more and more and more examples, including one from earlier this week at Matt Chandler's Village Church.[*] Interestingly, that last article appeared to validate certain concerns that I and others have raised previously about the "Ministry Safe" organization, particularly the dangers associated with possible conflicts of interest and institutional bias.

On a brighter note, also earlier this week, the SBC sexual abuse advisory group released its "Caring Well" report. Although I don't agree with everything and continue to be concerned that terms such as "abuse" and "spiritual abuse" are too vague to be helpful, the report has many helpful points, and appears to represent some positive movement. In particular, I appreciated large portions of pages 17-22, which included this sobering view from Rachael Denhollander, "Predators often target faith communities because our mishandling of sexual assault means that churches are one of the safest places for predators to flourish", as well as some reasons why that could be, explained under subheadings such as:

  • Failure to Recognize and Value God's Image in Every Person
  • Failure in Understanding the Doctrine of Sin
  • Misapplication of Confession, Repentance, and Forgiveness of Sin
  • Confusion Over Doctrine of the Church
  • Misunderstanding that Sexual Abuse is Not Only Sin—But a Crime
  • Misunderstanding of Church Autonomy
And while of course not every church in the SBC or the United States might be guilty of these theological failures, one needs only to consider the average state of biblical literacy and understanding across American evangelicalism as a whole to realize that the list is probably pretty spot-on. Indeed, having read many dozens if not hundreds of articles and stories on the topic, themes such as "I was pressured to keep this within the church" with little thought to the protection of the governing authorities in Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2, and "my pastor told me I had to forgive" with no regard for genuine repentance in 2 Corinthians 7, are so common as to be nigh-constant.

Meanwhile, all of this is happening against the backdrop of a parallel conversation in evangelicalism, specifically the issue of complementarianism vs. egalitarianism relating to women in leadership roles within the church. The secular Washington Post has summarized the recent discussion in a way that links the two issues, and speaking as a staunch complementarian, I agree with that linkage in one important way.

Complementarian Churches Ought to be the Safest Places for Women
Whenever we look at human authority structures in the Bible, we see a dynamic between the one in authority and the ones under authority. The ones under authority are to submit to the one in authority—but the one in authority should be trembling under the weight and responsibility that the Word of God places upon those in authority. Some patriarchal Christians might be quick to point out the three verses dealing with the wife's submission to her own husband in Ephesians 5:22-24, but then downplay the next six verses in Ephesians 5:25-30 dealing with the husband's sacrificial (even unto death itself) obligations to his own wife. Parents might be eager for their children to memorize Colossians 3:20, and yet conveniently forget that Colossians 3:21 commands parents not to provoke their children. Bosses might be thrilled that servants are to be subject even to unjust managers with all respect as it says in 1 Peter 2:18, but nevertheless the masters are commanded to treat their servants justly and fairly in Colossians 4:1. Governing authorities might shout "obey" to its citizens per Romans 13:1-2, but woe to those authorities if they fail to approve the good and avenge God's wrath upon the wrongdoers per Romans 13:3-4.

And when it comes to the church, the language is arguably the strongest of all. Jesus in Matthew 20:25-28 clearly told the disciples that followers of Christ must not lord it over others the way the rulers of the Gentiles did, but rather that they must be servants, and the one desiring to be first among them must be a slave, following in the example of Jesus Himself, who came not to be served, but to serve. This archetypical example of servant leadership is a radical departure from both the authoritarian leadership styles of the Romans, as well as most concepts of leadership today, whether in the United States generally or even in much of the evangelical church, sadly.

One needs only to consider the example of certain high-profile Christian leaders—and in many cases, their sad falls—to see this borne out time and time again. Whether it's the heavy-handed leadership of Mark Driscoll, who charmingly referred to wives as homes for penises, or Doug Phillips, who was disgraced and then sued for the sadly all-too-banal story of grooming and seducing his family's nanny, or Paige Patterson, who in a sermon approved of a 16-year-old girl being referred to as "built" and in another incident told his head of security that he wanted to meet with a rape victim alone so that he could "break her down" (presumably an aggressive cross-examination of her testimony), or James MacDonald, who set up photos of some of his fellow elders' wives to use as target practice, with the ones most troublesome to him apparently designated for higher point values. Based on many reports, in all of these men's organizations, they appeared to demonstrate all of the authority and none of the servanthood—and it showed in their attitudes toward women.


The Scriptures on the nature of leadership in the church don't end there, of course. Elders are to rule well over the local church, as it says in 1 Timothy 5:17, and their very name is essentially interchangeable with the word overseer. And from Hebrews 13:17, we see that congregants are indeed to obey and submit to their elders. But the nature of the rule and oversight that congregants are to follow is the very servant leadership described by Jesus in Matthew 20:25-28 and Mark 10:42-45, and the weight of that is further established by the very same Hebrews 13:17 that talks about submission to the elders—because those elders are going to give an account before God Himself for how they kept watch over the souls God placed under the elders' care.

Reinforcing this point, 1 Peter 5:1-4 commands elders to shepherd the flock of God, willingly and not under compulsion or for shameful gain, and explicitly not domineering but as an example, once again bringing to mind Jesus and the servant leader. Indeed, as we search through Scripture for what elders are to do, it sounds like a whole lot of service and precisely the opposite of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. Elders are to preach and teach and even rebuke those who contradict sound doctrine, a necessary task, but one that is often arduous and hardly enjoyable, except perhaps for the pugnacious and quarrelsome (who ought to be disqualified from eldership in any event). Elders are to pray, and tend to the sick, and care for the church of God, and shepherd the flock for whom they are accountable before the Lord.

Speaking from my own experience as a lay elder, it is a blessed and joyful task, and a deeply fulfilling one, but it is also an enormous amount of work, and I'm truly grateful for treasure laid up in Heaven, because it certainly isn't a source of material profit. On some levels, I believe complementarian leadership in the church would be quite a bit less controversial if the focus were more on the endurance and perseverance needed for the often inconspicuous and sometimes thankless tasks of shepherding and caring for the flock and the least of these, and not at all on the (mostly) American phenomenon of the glamorous and successful "celebrity" Christian preacher.

Opening Your Mouth for the Mute
And as we do shepherd and care for the flock and the least of these, complementarians should remember that yes, 1 Corinthians 14:34 says what it says, and yes, 1 Timothy 2:12 means what it means, and although these might be controversial topics today, the Scriptural words and concepts are not hard to understand—even if they are hard for some to bear. But as we consider the weighty Scriptural call for men to lead the church, we must also remember what that means with respect to the women. I have previously questioned the helpfulness of frequent attempts to apply Proverbs 31:8-9 to the larger "social justice" debate in the US, especially in light of the fact that in our age of social media, just about anyone can have a voice, and in our society of casual wealth that would be unimaginable in the Ancient Near East, just about no one is truly destitute. One obvious example of where Proverbs 31:8-9 would indeed apply are the untold millions of murdered unborn, who truly lack a voice (although they have a heartbeat) and are truly destitute (not only of material wealth, but also of basic human rights).

But another example would be right here, where women as a matter of biblical structure are necessarily absent from the plurality of elders, and indeed, they are explicitly called to be silent. In these cases, should we not be vigilant to apply Proverbs 31:8-9, and speak up for their rights and defend their interests? This could of course take many different forms, but in a (largely) peaceful and wealthy society where neither murder nor death are lurking around every corner, should we not be especially watchful and protective, then, in the area of physical and sexual abuse, which sadly runs rampant throughout our society?

In a previous article, I mentioned how in 2016, actually reported cases of rapes and sexual assaults numbered nearly 300,000, while domestic violence incidents were over 1,000,000. Underlying those horrifying statistics is the sad reality that only a fraction of each type of crime is reported, and that when one considers the terrible human cost of this suffering as it ripples outward, sometimes compounded down through the third and fourth generation, the direct and indirect impacts of these grievous and sinful crimes are far, far worse than the sterile numbers indicate. So often, Christian men say they would defend Christian women from any physical threat, even with their own lives. I honestly trust this is usually a genuine sentiment, and not mere lip service. And so here is an area that presents a perfect opportunity to live this out.

Are you, complementarian man, approachable if someone that you care about has a secret to disclose that she deems to be sensitive, shameful, or even sinful? And what will your response be if she recounts an event of physical or sexual abuse? Remember, complementarian pastor, in our dealings with women, 1 Timothy 5:2 would have us treat older women as mothers and younger women as sisters. So if your own biological mother or sister came to you with such a recounting, what would your first reaction be? I know mine would likely be to strive to mortify my immediate outrage and thirst for vengeance, before offering as much comfort and tangible assistance as I could, including reporting the matter to the governing authorities (which might even be a legal requirement, depending on your jurisdiction) and helping her to seek justice, regardless of who the alleged perpetrator was.

Speaking as a lawyer, this does not mean we throw out the idea of due process, of course, nor does it necessarily even mean #BelieveAllWomen in the ideological or political sense of that hashtag. What I'm talking about is more along the lines of bearing your fellow Christian's burden, mourning with those who mourn, and remembering that pastors and elders are neither the governing authorities with respect to crimes, nor the investigating detective, nor the cross-examining lawyer on the case. Proverbs 18:13, 17 would indeed tell us that the accused has his own story to tell, and he should absolutely have the opportunity to tell it. It may be, however, that you, complementarian leader, will not be the one to hear or adjudicate that story.

As men, we are sometimes inclined to put ourselves in the shoes of the accused and sympathize with him, even as specific false accusations from the past spring to our mind in a type of confirmation bias. But the reality is that the most credible studies have shown a range of only 2-10% of rape accusations being demonstrated later to be false. If you think without any supporting evidence that those statistics are fake news, well, go ahead and triple that range, sheerly for the sake of argument, and the reality would still be that the great majority of rape accusations are at least somewhat plausible.

It grieves me, then, when I hear of cases where the churchman immediately springs to protect the accused rather than the accuser, or pushes cheap grace upon the tangibly wronged, or even worse, tries to cover the crime up via pressure for silence—especially when the accused is a man of influence within the church. But simply because a man is successful or respected in the community, that does not mean he is incapable of horrific sins or crimes. Deep down, I think many of us really do know that, because whenever fathers have daughters, we're typically going to warn them against the ulterior or even dark motives of guys in general, since back when we were single, quite a few of us were those guys.

Distinguishing Ourselves from the World
I hope all of this has been relatively straightforward, because at the risk of sounding naïve, I really don't think it should be especially controversial to us as Bible-believing Christians. I also believe that a proper complementarianism that cherishes and treasures and looks out for the rights and interests of women can be an amazing way to distinguish ourselves from the secular world. Part of this will be in the area of attitude. It would be perverse, after all, for a man's heart attitude toward the biblical structure of complementarianism to be, "Yeah, we get to keep those wimminfolk down!" And may I humbly submit that in light of our fallen, sinful nature and the inevitable stumbling blocks relating to pride for those in leadership, perhaps we could even use a bit less, "Now let's go forth boldly as MEN and go do a bunch of manlike leader-man things," and a bit more time in earnest on-our-knees prayer for the weight of this responsibility and what it might truly mean for those under our spiritual care.

By the way, I am indeed aware that we live in a gender-confused society, and yes, I still stand by what I just said, because first, it should not require a macho caricature of biblical masculinity to show a contrast with the world, and second, no matter what the world might look like, biblically we are all still called to humility and servanthood and sacrifice all through Scripture (Philippians 2:3-4 being one of the most obvious and clear, and one of my absolute favorites). In the face of a Roman Empire full of sexual immorality and confusion, Christian men led, and the Gospel spread, by standing for the truth via a willingness to suffer and even die under persecution, and not by becoming political culture warriors. And on that note, I'd much rather see one tangible and sacrificial act of biblical manhood, than a hundred tweets full of empty words or even worse, chest-pounding bravado about it.

In the secular world, we see an increasingly pornified culture where women are objectified and commodified and degraded and pressured to indulge in every form of perversion, existing right alongside fourth-wave feminism and the #MeToo movement and all of their supposed attempts to empower women and eliminate gender differences. The contradictions and confusion inherent in these worldviews that lack an ultimate purpose like pursuing Jesus Christ and an objective anchor like the Word of God are patently obvious, especially when we see so much subjectivity that half of the feminists seem to glorify porn while the other half seem to reject it.

Meanwhile, as I've said in prior comments, everywhere we look, women seem to lose out whenever they're stacked against any other identity or interest group, such as ethnicity, national origin and immigration, Islam, or more recently transgenderism. Even in an area that would seem like a slam-dunk such as female genital mutilation, a barbaric and cruel practice with zero medical and health benefits, this society simply is not standing up for women like it could and should.

It must not be this way in Christianity. What an opportunity we have to demonstrate a church culture that cherishes, values, and protects women, because the Bible commands us to cherish, value, and protect women. That is my prayer for the church universal, and that is how I would strive to serve any church where I might have the immense and weighty privilege to help as a servant leader, including my own beloved local church. And that is my prayer for your church as well, dear reader.

Hohn's signature


[*] In 2015, Chandler and his elders at the Village Church also received criticism for their treatment of another woman, Karen Hinkley, a former missionary whose then-husband had admitted to possession of child pornography as part of a long-standing indulgence in pedophilic desires. The Village Church's church discipline of Hinkley and subsequent apology to her have been widely reported, including here (with paywall) and here (without paywall, although from a secular publisher that has been hostile previously to biblical Christianity, so read with discernment).

23 June 2019

Spurgeon on women preaching


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Your weekly Dose of Spurgeon

The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from the lifetime of works from the Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  The following excerpts are from the original sources cited therewith.  


When Boswell told Johnson one day that he had heard a woman preach that morning at a Quaker's meeting, Johnson replied, "Sir, a woman preaching is like a dog's walking on its hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all." We will add that our surprise is all the greater when women of piety mount the pulpit, for they are acting in plain defiance of the command of the Holy Spirit, written by the pen of the Apostle Paul.
Feathers for Arrows, page 260, Pilgrim Publications.



Peter’s wife’s mother did not get out of bed and go down the street and deliver an address to an assembled multitude. Women are best when they are quiet. I share the apostle Paul’s feelings when he bade women be silent in the assembly.

Yet there is work for holy women, and we read of Peter’s wife’s mother that she arose and ministered to Christ. She did what she could and what she should. She arose and ministered to him. Some people can do nothing that they are allowed to do, but waste their energies in lamenting that they are not called on to do other people’s work.

Blessed are they who do what they should do. It is better to be a good housewife, or nurse, or domestic servant, than to be a powerless preacher or a graceless talker. She did not arise and prepare a lecture, nor preach a sermon, but she arose and prepared a supper, and that was what she was fitted to do. Was she not a housewife? As a housewife let her serve the Lord.

I do not say that if you were converted a week ago you are at once to preach. No: but you are to minister to the Lord in the way for which you are best qualified, and that may happen to be by a living testimony to his grace in your daily calling.

We greatly err when we dream that only a preacher can minister to the Lord—for Jesus has work of all sorts for all sorts of followers. Paul speaks of women who helped him much, and, assuredly, as there is no idle angel there ought to be no idle Christian. We are not saved for our own sakes, but that we may be of service to the Lord and to his people; let us not miss our calling.
MTP, volume 31, sermon number 1,836, "First healing, and then service."



In like manner, you Christian people who cannot talk,—the women especially,—I mean that you cannot preach, you are not allowed to preach,—I want you to shine. Some people seem to think that there is no shining without talking, whereas the very best shining is that of Christian women, who, if they have little to say, have a great deal to do.

They make the house so bright with heavenly grace, and decorate it so sweetly with the flowers of their cheerful piety, that those round about them are won to Christ by them. Therefore, shine, dear brothers and sisters, by your gracious godliness, for so you will bring glory to God.
MTP, volume 45, sermon number 2,617, "Shining Christians."

16 June 2019

Tall talk


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Your weekly Dose of Spurgeon


The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from the lifetime of works from the Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  The following excerpt is from John Ploughman's Talk, pages 155-156, Pilgrim Publications.  

"I've known men who opened their mouths like barn doors in boasting what they would do if they were in someone else's shoes."

We must try to state the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. If we begin calling eleven inches a foot, we shall go on till we call one inch four-and-twenty. If we call a heifer a cow, we may one day call a dormouse a bullock. Once go in for exaggeration, and you may as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb; you have left the road of truth, and there is no telling where the crooked lane may lead you to.

He who tells little lies will soon think nothing of great ones, for the principle is the same. Where there is a mouse-hole, there will soon be a rat-hole; and if the kitten comes, the cat will follow. It seldom rains but it pours; a little untruth leads on to a perfect shower of lying.

Self-praise is no recommendation. A man’s praise smells sweet when it comes out of other men’s mouths, but in his own it stinks. Grow your own cherries, but don’t sing your own praises. Boasters are never worth a button with the shank off. Long tongue, short hand. Great talkers, little doers. Dogs that bark much run away when it is time to bite. The leanest pig squeaks most. It is not the hen which cackles most, that lays most eggs.

Saying and doing are two different things. It is the barren cow that bellows. There may be great noise of threshing where there is no wheat. Great boast, little roast. Much froth, little beer. Drums sound loud because there is nothing in them. Good men know themselves too well to chant their own praises. Barges without cargoes float high on the canal; but the fuller they are, the lower they sink. Good cheese sells itself without puffery. Good wine needs no bush; and when men are really excellent, people find it out without telling.

Bounce is the sign of folly. Loud braying reveals an ass. If a man is ignorant and holds his tongue, no one will despise him; but if he rattles on with an empty pate, and a tongue that brags like forty, he will write out his own name in capital letters, and they will be these—F, O, O, L.

As "by the ears the ass is  known"— 
A truth as sure as parsons preach, 
"The man," as proverbs long have shown, 
"Is seen most plainly through his speech."