2003-09-02 - Lingulae
Psalm 52:2 Your tongue devises destruction, like a sharp razor, O worker of deceit.
I intend to give a short, but interesting, story which is told of Dr. John Gill. Gill is one of the greatest preachers in the Baptist tradition. He lived from 1697-1771. Before I relate the story I think I should mention that the bands mentioned in it were symbols of his highly educated status and would have been worn on the outside of his rob when he preached. I recently read some of his massive commentary on the Bible and after the story I would like to then share something interesting that I learned which relates well to this story. Here is the story:
"About ninety years ago (I am taking this from a journal published in 1859), a very zealous professor of religion, in one of the Non-conformist churches, went to Dr. Gill, and told him she had something against him, and that she considered it her duty to reprove him. 'Well, my good lady,' said the Doctor, 'what is the difficulty?' 'Why, Sir, I think your bands are too long.' 'Ah! do you?' said he. 'I have never thought anything about it: I will get a pair of scissors, and will thank you to cut off as much as you think best.'
She replied, 'I hope you will not be offended?' 'Not at all, not at all,' said the Doctor. Without much ceremony, she folded, and cut off quite a large piece of the bands. 'Are you now satisfied? Look again, and see: perhaps you had better cut off a little more while you are about it, and be satisfied.' 'I do not know but I had. I think they are still very long,' replied the lady; and she cut off a second piece, saying, 'There, I think that will do.'
'Well, my friend,' said the Doctor, 'I must now tell you I have something against you.' 'Have you, Sir,' she exclaimed: 'what is it?'
'I think your tongue is rather too long; and you had better let me cut off a piece of it!'"
That's the story and my observation from his commentary comes from his comments on Psalm 54:4. He mentions that are kinds of swords called lingulae, because they are shaped in the form of a tongue. That is something I did not know.
Regarding the verse we started with and the reference to the tongue being like a sharp razor, he says, "...the razor is but a small instrument, and the tongue is but a little member; the razor is a sharp and cutting one, and so is the tongue."
We are prone to forget how easily we can misuse the tongue. It is a good thing to be reminded of from time to time and to resolve to use this instrument of the body wisely.
Soli Deo Gloria,