A CHECK TO AN UNGOVERNED TONGUE: Part Five, The Malignancy of Scoffers

Taken and adapted from, “THE MISCELLANEOUS WORKS OF THE REV. MATTHEW HENRY” Volume I
Published in 1833.

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Scoffing at religion and godliness, and jesting with sacred things, is another evidence of an ungoverned tongue.

By the commonness of this sin, in this loose and degenerate age of ours, it appears that we live in the dregs of time; for the Scripture speaks expressly that in the last days, those corrupt and perilous times, there should arise scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 2 Pet. 3:3. Profane people, when they set up for wits, think they cannot better show their wit than in endeavoring to justify their profaneness.

To show you the evil of it, consider,

1   The malignant principles whence it flows. When there is in their heart a habitual contempt of divine things, and an antipathy to them, a reining enmity to the power of godliness vents itself, and holds itself up in jest and banter. When men are resolved not to make themselves serious with the things of God, they will make themselves merry with them, and think they gain their point if they can but turn godliness off with a jest. Being pleased to make the subject of their laughter looked upon as a just object of contempt. They endeavor to represent the Word of God as a sham, heaven as a fool’s paradise, and hell as merely the creature of a disordered imagination. Therefore, by playing upon the things of God, and turning them into burlesque; they sport themselves with their own deceptions. But it will prove, like the Philistines’ making sport with Samson, that it will eventually prove too strong for them, and their profane mirth will be a prologue to their own ruin. Be ye not mockers lest your bands be made strong, Isa. 28:22.

2   The mischievous consequences that flow from it. You who thus make a jest of holy things, though you make a light matter of it, ought to consider what you do, and what will he in the end hereof. Think what an affront you hereby put upon the blessed God, imputing folly to infinite wisdom, and vilifying him who is the fountain of honor. Think what an injury you hereby do to religion, and how much you serve the interest of the devil and his kingdom, as those who are retained of counsel in his cause. Does it seem like a light thing to you, that you are not only wicked yourselves, but will you do what you can to make others wicked too, that you may, besides your own torments hereafter, share in the torments of all the souls you help to ruin? Think how you will answer it at the great day, and what bitter reflections you will then make upon your daring impieties of this kind, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven to execute judgment upon all, for all their hard speeches spoken against him.

It is better to reflect, and repent, and reform now, while there is a possibility of your reconciliation to the God you have provoked, than to be forced to remember it in hell to your utter confusion, in a state of endless and hopeless separation from God.