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. Chapter 3.

The Tongue

1 MY BROTHERS, not many of you should become teachers, for you may be certain that we who teach shall ourselves be judged with greater strictness. 2 All of us often go wrong; the man who never says a wrong thing is a perfect character, able to bridle his whole being. 3 If we put bits into horses' mouths to make them obey our will, we can direct their whole body. 4 Or think of ships: large they may be, yet even when driven by strong gales they can be directed by a tiny rudder on whatever course the helmsman chooses. 5 So with the tongue. It is a small member but it can make huge claims. [Or: it is a great boaster.]

What an immense stack of timber [Or: What a huge forest ...] can be set ablaze by the tiniest spark! 6 And the tongue is in effect a fire. It represents among our members the world with all its wickedness; it pollutes our whole being; it keeps the wheel of our existence red-hot, and its flames are fed by hell. 7 Beasts and birds of every kind, creatures that crawl on the ground or swim in the sea, can be subdued and have been subdued by mankind; 8 but no man can subdue the tongue. It is an intractable evil, charged with deadly venom. 9 We use it to sing the praises of our Lord and Father, and we use it to invoke curses upon our fellow-men who are made in God's likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praises and curses. 11 My brothers, this should not be so. Does a fountain gush with both fresh and brackish water from the same opening? 12 Can a fig-tree, my brothers, yield olives, or a vine figs? No more does salt water yield fresh.

The Wisdom from Above

13 WHO AMONG YOU is wise or clever? Let his right conduct give practical proof of it, with the modesty that comes of wisdom. 14 But if you are harbouring bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, consider whether your claims are not false, and a defiance of the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes from above; it is earth-bound, sensual, demonic. 16 For with jealousy and ambition come disorder and evil of every kind. 17 But the wisdom from above is in the first place pure; and then peace-loving, considerate, and open to reason; it is straightforward and sincere, rich in mercy and in the kindly deeds that are its fruit. 18 True justice is the harvest reaped by peacemakers from seeds sown in a spirit of peace.

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