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Of the detraction among religious professors.

They who have attained to a self-pleasing pitch of civility or formal religion, have usually that point of presumption with it, that they make their own size the model and rule to examine all by. What is below it, they condemn indeed as profane; but what is beyond it, they account needless and affected preciseness: and therefore are as ready as others to let fly invectives or bitter taunts against it, which are the keen and poisoned 78 shafts of the tongue, and a persecution that shall be called to a strict account.

The slanders, perchance, may not be altogether forged or untrue; they may be the implements, not the inventions, of malice. But they do not on this account escape the guilt of detraction. Rather, it is characteristic of the evil spirit in question, to work by the advantage of real faults; but these stretched and aggravated to the utmost. It is not expressible how deep a wound a tongue sharpened to this work will give, with no noise and a very little word. This is the true white gunpowder, which the dreaming projectors of silent mischiefs and insensible poisons sought for in the laboratories of art and nature, in a world of good; but which was to be found in its most destructive form in "the world of evil, the tongue."

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