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count My people ; you say none are good-all hypocrites. What do you think of My servant Job ? What have you to say about him?"
“Oh, of course," says the slanderer, “ you have him hedged around-blessing him continually. It pays Job to be good; just take away your special care of his material welfare and see-he will curse Thee to Thy face.”
An artist once painted a picture of the human tongue in a way to represent his conception of how the “tongue of slander" should appear. long, coiled like a serpent, tapering at the end into a barbed spear point; from each of the papilla, scarcely visible, was a needle point, from which oozed a green, slimy poison. The slandering tongue is “a fire, a world of iniquity-it defileth the whole body—it is set on fire of hell.”
The slanderer is no respecter of persons; he rakes and scrapes the uttermost parts of the earth for victims: king and peasant, rich and poor, priest and prophet; living or dead suffer alike when once this vile, inhuman spirit touches them. Bacon said: “ Calumny crosses oceans, scales mountains, and traverses deserts with greater ease than the Scythian Abaris, and, like him, rides on a poisoned arrow.” The winds of the Arabian desert not only produce death, but rapid decomposition of the body; so doth slander destroy every virtue of human character. The cloven-hoof slanderer, like the filthy worm, leaves behind a trail of offal and stench though his pathway wind through a bower of earth's sweetest flowers. A writer has said: “So deep does the slanderer sink in
the murky waters of degradation and infamy that, could an angel apply an Archimedian moral lever to him, with heaven as a fulcrum, he could not in a thousand years raise him to the grade of a convict felon.”
“ Whose edge is sharper than a sword; whose tongue
Iago is said to be the greatest villain in fiction or history; the revolting crimes of Herod—slaughtering the innocent-does not compare with lago. Herod saw in the Man Child a possible rival, and blinded by jealousy and ambition, he becomes the most heartless murderer-of all times. But what was the crime of Iago ? Slander! With no object in view, no advantage to gain, and too much of a coward to make an open charge, he slanders by insinuation the beautiful Desdemona until the enraged Othello strangles her to death.
How can we reconcile this base passion in human character, as slander has no other avenue of expression? It is unnatural, inhuman, and hellish. The wolf and tiger devour to satisfy hunger; the vulture eats and fattens on rotting carcases, but the slanderer does neither. With the blood cruelty of a savage beast, the degraded appetite of the scavenger, the destroyed victims of fiendish passion only intensify and burn, but never satisfy the slanderer. This spirit was never born among men; its origin is the region of the damned, where hunger gnaws, thirst fires, lust arouses, revenge consumes-but satisfaction is unknown. The hot breath of slander comes from a bourne where dead hopes spring up eternal.
The caption of the chapter denominates the Devil as the arch slanderer; we use it because there is no word of sufficient strength to convey the idea ; “arch ” fails to convey the whole truth in this case. Archangel is an intelligible term, as there are many of high order; there is, however, but One slanderer. Just as he is the “father of liars "-propagating all lies—his relation to liars does not admit of comparison. He slandered from the day of his fall; he is the father of slanderers. Whether it be circulated in the “submerged world,” the quiet circles of church life, or among the “ Four Hundred " of fashion--it is a deflected arrow from the one great quiver.
No being—holy men, angels, or the Son of Godcan escape the tongues dripping the venom of slander through the subtle incarnation of that fountainhead of every evil suggestion or insinuation. Whatever destroys happiness, creates doubt and suspicion among the people, 'ending in litigation, divorces, and murders, fulfills the mission of slander. The caldron from which exudes this vile stench--filling all the earth-is seething and boiling in the Bottomless Pit, or wherever the throne of his majesty—the Devilis located. The society of earth will never be free from the poison of evil-speaking until the Archslanderer is arrested, chained, and located in the penitentiary prepared for him from the foundation of the world.
THE DOUBLE ACCUSER
“ Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side ? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.”—Job i. 10.
“ Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ : for the accuser of our brethren is castdown, which accused them before our God day and night.”— Revelation xii. 10.
WHEN we consider the Diabolus character-his strength and opportunity, whereby he visits his vengeance upon a weak, susceptible race, we can readily understand that his make-up would be far from complete without a continuous outflow of slander. But his courage and audacity stand out in glaring relief when we find him an Accuser. It does not require large intelligence or bravery to be a slanderer-only baseness of character—but to be an accuser, face to face with false charges, especially in the presence of One who has power over all things, reveals an impudent bravery that dazes the judgment.
When questioned of God about his presence among devout spirits—as they were assembled for worship-he answered in the manner of a guilty boy :
Just going to and fro in the earth.” Peter tells us that his mission of going to and fro is of seeking and devouring. He is then reminded of Job's characterhow that this saint is perfect and just; Satan's blighting influence has not been able to touch and overthrow the aged Job. In his shrewd rejoinder Satan accuses God of two sins : partiality and falsehood.
Translated into its literal meaning, the language would be about as follows: “ I deny that Job is perfect; but for the protection you have thrown around him he would be as other men. His pretended piety is hypocrisy; he serves you because you have blest him with abundance; he has not fallen into sin because you have hedged him about. If you treated Job as you treat others, his holiness would soon be about as genuine as mine."
Satan accuses God of protecting His servant and blessing him in material things in a special and partial manner, viz: "a respecter of persons.” But the fiercest accusation is hidden in his reply to God's question, also put in the form of a question, and finished by an emphatic declaration : Job is not the man God said he was ; “ but put forth Thine hand and touch all that he hath, and he will curse Thee to Thy face." A being who can stand before the Lord God, of whom the hosts of heaven sing and shouthe, himself, once among the number—saying :
Holy, Holy, Holy," and accuse Him of being guilty of partiality and falsehood—what may we expect from him? The Word says he accuses the saints day and night.
Observe that he accuses the saints, those who are striving in righteousness. The man who lies, cheats in business, accumulates a fortune, and lives all the vices without apology is not an object of malicious