Government of the Tongue, Richard Allestree Term Paper

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Government of the Tongue, Richard Allestree discusses the use of speech and how it impacts mankind's spiritual relationship with God. Allestree begins with a discussion of the use of speech. Next, Allestree details how people abuse speech. Afterwards, Allestree talks about atheistical discourse. After discussing atheistical discourse, Allestree talks about detraction, followed by lying defamation. Next, Allestree talks about other perversions of speech, including uncharitable truth, scoffing and derision, flattery, and boasting. Allestree goes on to speak about querulousness. Then, Allestree speaks about positiveness. Finally, Allestree talks about obscene talk.

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In Section I, Allestree speaks about the use of speech. He begins his discussion by pointing out that man enjoys a special relationship with God, and was created superior to the animals. Therefore, so that man would not be solitary, God created an associate for him. However, lower animals were also given companions. The difference is that God gave humans the ability to be intimate with one another, so that they could share the thoughts of their minds and souls. The mechanism God gave man for this sharing was speech. Allestree then speaks about the benefits of speech, which has led to the creation of human society, and has given order to the other accomplishments of man, such as the sciences and the arts. Furthermore, speech has helped mankind overcome its inherent feebleness, by giving humans friendship, a method of sharing help and caring with one another. Furthermore, Allestree credits speech with the invention of writing, asserting that without language humans would not have developed writing. Therefore, through speech and writing, humans not only provide companionship to one another, but are also able to transmit the word of God. As a result, Allestree maintains that God gave man speech so that God could praise and magnify God. However, Allestree cautions that despite its noble role, speech can be misused and points out that people will be justified or condemned by their words.

Term Paper on Government of the Tongue, Richard Allestree Discusses Assignment

In Section II, Allestree discusses the manifold abuse of speech. He points out that speech is extremely subject to depravation, so much so that it is described in Scripture as the force of all other depravation. Allestree backs up this assertion by demonstrating that original sin was facilitated by speech. The temptation in the Garden was not the only incidence of verbal temptation in the Bible. For example, Ham used speech to encourage his brethren to watch his parents together. Even the Patriarchs of the Bible misused speech. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Simeon, Levi, Moses, David, St. Peter, and Judas all engaged in lies or other perversions of speech, despite their exalted status. Because these exalted elders have fallen prey to the abuse of speech, Allestree cautions that all people must be careful, because their frailty proves that all humans are vulnerable.

In Section III, Allestree discusses atheistical discourse. He indicates that mankind wages war with heaven when it engages in atheistical speech. Not only do people inadvertently wage such a war, by violating God's laws, but also intentionally, by directly attacking God with speech. First, Allestree points out that Atheism does exist. Furthermore, he points out that atheism is making gains, and that the number of atheists rivals the numbers of people in established religious persuasions. Allestree believes that sensuality is one of the greatest appeals of atheism. The absence of a God to control, restrain, and punish mankind is another one of atheism's attractions for people, because it removes the threat of a future accounting for present behavior. Furthermore, Allestree believes that the desire to appear knowledgeable has also fueled atheism, because people do not want to appear foolish by demonstrating a belief in something that they cannot prove. However, even those people carry the vestiges of religion, fearing the possibility of judgment and Hell. Because of this belief, Allestree finds atheists to be unreasonable, because they embrace an idea that they fear is false. Allestree also believes that the ill deeds of atheists may provoke God's malice by trying to wield the power of annihilation that belongs to God alone. In this section, Allestree also touches on the topic of swearing, and points out that people even swear in order to emphasize truth. He emphasizes that some people misuse scripture for their own wit, which he believes is direct blasphemy. Allestree believes that the Scripture continues to speak to the present age, and should not be used in an ungodly manner.

In section four, Allestree speaks about detraction, which Allestree defines as speaking poorly of things on Earth and of ones neighbors. Though Allestree believes that detraction might properly be labeled a small sin, he does not believe that its relative size lessens its danger. On the contrary, he believes that the relative size of the sin may help tempt people to engage in the sin. Detraction refers to the impairing or lessening of a man by word, which is prohibited by people and by God.

Allestree also speaks against revenge, assuring that God will give take vengeance on behalf of His followers. Furthermore, he attributes the majority of feuds to injurious words.

In section five, Allestree speaks about lying defamation. He takes issue with people who make up falsehoods and those who spread information that they know to be false. He asserts that even in an age of vice, although people do make up falsehoods about one another, they do not admit to doing so because it combines malice and lying. He also condemns those who repeat the lies of others. Even those who unwillingly pass on lies are not exempt from guilt, because people who purport to speak the truth have a responsibility to make sure that they are indeed speaking the truth. Those who are not motivated by malice, but merely by personal interest, are not in a better position. Furthermore, he links these lies to idolatry, by stating that it demonstrates men worshipping their own imaginations over God.

In section six, Allestree talks about the uncharitable truth. He who divulges another's unknown, concealed fault is responsible for the consequences of that revelation. That is not to suggest that men should conceal the guilt of another. Therefore, sometimes justice requires a man to publish another's faults. Furthermore, the desire to be charitably conceal another's faults can be inconsistent with the idea of justice, especially when revealing those faults would benefit the public. In addition, people are not required to suffer their own defamation, simply from fear of proving another a false accuser. However, pointing out another's faults in order to make oneself appear better is a tremendous sin. In addition, envy sometimes prompts people to say things that are uncharitable to others, and those who feel shame about themselves try to cast that on others. The truth can also be uncharitable if one emphasizes only the good in another man. There are faults that are linked to the divulging of faults of others, which include the censuring and severe judging of others. In fact, Allestree suggests that people interrogate themselves about their right to judge others, when only God has the right or ability to judge others. Furthermore, he points out that people often have different standards for themselves and for others.

In section seven, Allestree speaks about scoffing and derision. Allestree makes the point that the use of wit allows hateful words to make more of an impression. In fact, he asserts that wit and sarcasm often survive both the speaker and the hearer, because such sayings are passed down in stories. However, Allestree does not wholly condemn the use of wit; he believes it a blessing when used as God intended it to be used. However, the perversion of God's blessings of ingenuity and quickness of parts is something Allestree views as a serious sin. In fact, those who are blessed with greater intelligence or insight have an obligation to use it to help those who do not share those blessings. Allestree indicates a belief that the importance that people place on humor has grown tremendously, and that too much of life is taken to feed that humor. In fact, he believes that people are trying to shame Christians out of their religion, despite Christ's denunciation of those who are ashamed of Him and His words. Allestree points out that people die in earnest, and should, therefore, not live only in jest. In addition, he warns that mocking God is very impudent and that exposing ones brethren to contempt offends and mocks God.

While Allestree has a problem with mocking, he also has a problem with flattery. In fact, in section eight, Allestree indicates that flattery is the most fatal wound of the tongue. The problem with flattery is that its injury is not apparent. Instead, flattery combines lying, servility, and treachery. There are two types of flattery: giving praise where it is not due or professing kindness that is not real. Lying is the root of both types of flattery, because if what is said is the truth, there is… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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