Pungent Truths

By William B. Rose


Topics Beginning with "T"

574 -- TACT, Commendable

     Paul's tact with the Athenians is deserving of study and imitation. His self-control was wonderful. "His spirit was stirred in him when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry." But he did not use toward them the language of denunciation. He did not even call them idolaters. On the contrary, his words were highly complimentary. He did not say they had no religion, but "Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too religious" (Acts 17:22). For the word translated "superstitious," in our common version, should be rendered "religious." You reverence all the gods you know, and one that you do not know. Their philosophers had charged Paul with being "a setter forth of strange gods." Without directly replying to the charge, he says, "For as I passed by and beheld your devotions. I saw an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you." He did not compromise, but he did not needlessly provoke their prejudices. He stood with them on a common platform and laid before them some of the great truths which they admitted, and emphasized them. They were a hard class to labor among -- the self-conceited always are -- but he made a few converts.

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575 -- TALENTS to be Employed

     If we belong to God, all our talents belong to God. This is as true of one kind of talent as of another. All alike should be employed for promoting the kingdom of God. The man who has a talent for making money, should make money for God, just as the one who has a talent for preaching should preach for God. A farmer, or a teacher, should be as thoroughly consecrated as a preacher. The one can no more keep back a part of what belongs to God, when he calls for it, than can the other. The sanctity of the gospel should be carried into every avocation of life. Every employment becomes a holy calling when it is carried on from holy motives and with holy hands. Different departments of God's service should never conflict with each other. All are members of one body. "And the eye can not say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you."

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576 -- TEACHABLENESS, a Mark of True Conversion

     A desire to learn is one of the marks of a true conversion. A disciple is a learner. That is the meaning of the word. When one gets where he can not learn -- when he has grown so large that no one can teach him -- he has left the school of Christ. He has set up for himself. Christ has also left him. He manifests a spirit of intolerance, of impatience of contradiction, that is utterly inconsistent with the spirit of Christ. He is lacking in that charity without which salvation is impossible. He is puffed up with a feeling of his own consequence; and whoever opposes him, he takes it for granted, opposes God. The learned college professor is a hard student; and he who truly knows most of divine things is most eager to learn divine things. The "beloved disciple" who had most of the spirit of Christ, got nearest to Christ that not a word might escape him. "Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him" (Prov. 26:12).

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577 -- TEACHING, Accuracy in

     In religious teaching avoid all hair-spun distinctions. Some make a difference between being justified by faith and through faith. There is no ground for any such distinction. The same Greek word is in the New Testament translated in many places "by" and in many places "through." We should aim at accuracy in our teaching; but we should be careful and not make distinctions that the Bible does not make. A critical spirit does not help souls, as does a tender, loving spirit. One may speak wrong and mean right. God understands him, and takes him as he means. Inspired writers do not descend to theological niceties and definitions. We do well to imitate them in a careful avoidance of mere technicalities. The main thing is to minister the Spirit.

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578 -- TEMPER, Control of

     One measure of our strength is our power of resistance. A wooden ship can fire as heavy bullets as an iron-clad, but it stands no chance of success in a conflict with one; for the balls which the ironclad could easily ward off penetrate its vitals and send it to the bottom. One may talk eloquently, but if he can not control his appetites or his temper; if he gives way to petty resentments; he easily falls a prey to the enemy. The career of some of the most gifted preachers we have ever known was short; and it ended in ignominy and disgrace, from their lack of power to resist evil. Gifts can never take the place of grace. And no church, however pure. can supply its members with grace. It may show them their lack, but to obtain it they must themselves come to God for it.

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579 -- TEMPER, Uncontrolled

     Some men will never occupy the position for which they are otherwise fitted, because of their neglect to govern their tempers. Instead of ruling their spirits, their spirits rule them. Two of our greatest statesmen might have been successively president of the United States, but for an unfortunate quarrel between them. It began, it is said, over a matter of absolutely no importance -- a criticism upon a word. Many a person owes the failure to achieve success to a waspish disposition made such by indulgence in stinging repartees and remarks. Whatever one's natural disposition, he may strengthen it, modify it, or completely change it, by suitable effort. As education puts men more nearly on a level as to their ability, so does grace as far as disposition is concerned. No child of God should ever be peevish or irritable. "He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city."

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580 -- TEMPTATION, Decision Required in

     It is a mistake to conclude that because you yielded to temptation, after sincerely coming to God and getting blessed, that you were deceived and did not get what you thought you did. Your mistake was in supposing that the Spirit would carry you along in the right direction without any volition on your part. He never does that When temptation comes, he inclines you to make the right decision, but you must not fail to make it on your part. You must not allow some stronger will to overpower you. It can, only with your consent. You can wind up a clock so that it will run all right until it runs down. But. you can not wind yourself up in this way. You will have to take the trouble to decide right, and to act right, in each particular case as it comes along. This you may think troublesome, but it is the only possible way that you can live religion. It is easy to do it when once you see the necessity for it and make up your mind to do it. Plod along. and day by day "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure."

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581 -- TEMPTATION: Grace Will be Tested

     Genuine grace is tested grace. it was immediately after Jesus had been miraculously and publicly owned of God that he was led up into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. But Christ did not conclude that he was mistaken in thinking that God had spoken to him, because the devil was so bold and so urgent with his suggestions. The disciple is not above his Master. So if you are blessed of God you may set it down as certain that you will be tempted of the devil. But do not be alarmed. When the temptation comes, God will "with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." But as this way opens before you, without delay you must enter upon it, with a firm, decided step. The way is provided by another; our traveling upon it is done by ourselves. Step by step in the narrow way is eternal life reached; blow by blow is the battle against the powers of darkness fought, and the final victory gained. We hope all our readers will be greatly blessed at camp-meetings; but they will still need to watch and pray, that they enter not into temptation.

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582 -- TEMPTATION, Keep Away From

     A winged insect flew under the chimney of our lamp, which was not down quite close, but the opening seemed to be very small. Yet he found his way under, and though exceedingly uncomfortable from the heat, he could not find his way out. We got him out as soon as possible; but it was too late. The poor thing fluttered and died. Human beings act in a similar manner towards sin. God has put it well-nigh beyond their reach. He has given them a conscience that rises up against it. He has so hedged them about with gracious providences that it requires a special effort to get at it. But they have forced their way through all restraints and come so near the burning tires of hell that they have scorched their wings, and if in infinite mercy they are saved from death, it is to crawl about where once they mounted up with wings as eagles. Keep as far as possible from temptation.

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583 -- TESTIMONY, A Means of Salvation

     Testimony is a God-ordained means of the salvation of souls. In his last message to his disciples before his ascension, Christ said: "Ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:8). After his ascension Christ said to Saul of Tarsus: "I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in which I will appear unto thee" (Acts 26:16.) Then, to impress upon us more strongly the importance of testimony in carrying on the work of God, we are introduced to the glorified throng, and made acquainted with the secret of their victorious career. "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony" (Rev. 12:11).

     Testimony is a statement of some fact of which we have personal knowledge. When it falls into disuse in a church it is because preacher or people, or -- as is often the case -- both, have lost their experience of saving grace. That is, they have backslidden. It requires much more grace to testify honestly than it does to preach honestly A man may preach what he believes to be true; and may have help in doing it, though he does not live up to his own preaching. But he can not testify to the possession of saving grace unless he is under its influence. Preachers who have never been born of the Spirit can preach powerful doctrinal and practical sermons, but they can not give any such testimony as Paul did before Agrippa and Festus. To bear testimony so it may be believed and felt, one must be filled with the Spirit of God.

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584 -- TESTIMONY, Holy Ghost, Needed

     If there was more Holy Ghost testimony in our meetings, the work would move on better. Those who testily would be blessed and strengthened, and those who hear would be convicted and encouraged. Much of the work done in revivals is done through testimony.

     Benjamin Pomeroy gives an account of an old infidel lecturer, who attended a powerful revival that took place under his labors. "These are the very words he uttered: 'I can stand that man's preaching; I have arguments to meet him; but I can't stand these boys.' Here he wept visibly, and in a broken way continued to say, 'When I was a boy, I prayed like these, and felt as they do; but now' -- Here he stopped short, with a sensation through the house, for no one suspected that he ever had prayed."

     Let us preach so as to beget a spirit of testimony among the people; and let us not be so lengthy in our exercises that there will be no time for testimony.

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585 -- THANKFUL to Others

     It would add greatly to our own happiness to express freely to our fellow men our thankfulness for favors they bestow upon us. Even where we derive no real benefit from an act of kindness done for us, yet if a disposition to serve us has been shown, we should feel grateful; and should freely express our gratitude. It would be a blessing to us and an encouragement to others. We have known instances where valuable, useful articles have been given to a preacher, not as salary, but as presents, and yet he not make the slightest recognition of them. The well-meaning donors could not tell whether he felt pleased or insulted. It is no wonder that such preachers are poorly cared for, and leave their circuits in debt. When you feel grateful to any one, express it, not in a cold, formal, polite "Thanks," but with a hearty, sincere, I thank you, or some similar expression. Cold politeness is one thing; true affection is quite another. Be ye thankful.

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     Paul tells us to make our requests known to God with thanksgiving. The sails of the ship cost little, compared with the rest of the ship. But they are of great importance to a sailing vessel. A ship may be steered toward Liverpool, but is not likely to reach there unless its sails are spread. So thanksgiving adds wings to our prayers, and impels them on to the throne of God. A devout spirit is a thankful spirit. Notice how full the Psalms are of expressions of praises to God. In the worst calamities there is still something to be thankful for. The father of John and Charles Wesley, seeing the parsonage and all their earthly substance burning up, was full of thankfulness that his wife and all the children were saved. Let us cultivate a thankful spirit. "The Lord will command his lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life" (Ps. 42:8).

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587 -- TIME, Improvement of

     "But this I say, brethren, the time is short" (1 Cor. 7:29). This is true of the longest life. It is soon gone. But it is long enough, if properly improved, to permit us to make all needed preparations for eternity. Yet many, when urged to attend to the interests of the soul, say they "have no time to attend to such matters." Thus the more important is made to give place to the less important. The temporary is given preference to the eternal.

"He that lacks time to mourn lacks time to mend. Eternity mourns that, 'Tis an ill cure For life's worst ills, to have no time to feel them. Where sorrow's held intrusive and turned out, There wisdom will not enter, nor true power, Nor aught that dignifies humanity."

     Take time to read your Bible, to pray, to meditate, to get and keep your heart right with God. These worldly interests to which you give so much thought and attention will concern you but a little while. Be concerned mainly about the welfare of your soul. See that you do not leave this world a homeless wanderer, to find an everlasting abode with lost spirits in perdition.

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588 -- TOBACCO

     That the habitual use of tobacco gradually undermines the physical constitution there is not the slightest doubt. Many are killed by it in the prime of life. Those who use it more moderately and live longer become prematurely old.

     Reader, let tobacco alone. If you are already its slave, be its slave no longer. Escape for your life. Fugitives from sin of every kind are safe in the Canaan of Perfect Love. Tear off your fetters and accept the freedom which Christ offers you.

     There is no filthiness in Heaven.

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589 -- TOBACCO: A Destroyer

     Tobacco conquers the conquerors of men. It is not overcome by strategy, or killed by the sword. The heaviest artillery makes no impression upon the ramparts of tobacco. It is not put down by diplomacy, nor are its ravages appeased by concessions. It is the greatest foe to its greatest friends, and treats its patrons, whether they be obscure or eminent, with the utmost barbarity.      Says Brother G. W. Clark: "This foul destroyer makes no distinction between high, low, rich or poor. Among its conquered and slain victims are such men as Senator Carpenter, Senator Hill, General McClellan, General Sheridan and General Grant; and the amiable and promising 'Fritz,' Emperor of Germany. What a serious loss to Germany, where so much was expected from his reign! These able men might have been in most robust health, on duty, and enjoying active, wholesome life today, but for the useless indulgence of the poisonous and pernicious weed."      It is not enough for the church to pass resolutions against tobacco. It should not be permitted to make its dirty nest in the Christian church.

     If you have never touched it, let it alone. If you are its slave, assert your freedom in Christ, and submit no longer to its filthy bondage.

     That the nicotine of tobacco is a virulent poison is not disputed. It makes fearful ravages upon the nervous system. Men of stolid temperaments may use it for a long time with apparent impunity, but gifted, active, bright men, if they begin to use it, soon are overpowered by it.

     That staunch reformer, G. W. Clark, says further: "My next-door neighbor died suddenly of tobacco paralysis. A young man in New York, only thirty years of age, not long ago a victim of the cigar, was stricken with tobacco paralysis, and after fearfully and helplessly struggling for several days and nights, died a most pitiful death. His friends and six doctors did all in their power to save him, but in vain.

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590 -- TOBACCO Nuisance

     The tobacco nuisance is well-nigh intolerable. A general outcry should be made against it. Stop at a hotel, and you are fortunate if you can get a room which tobacco smoke from the halls does not reach. Go on a boat, and the sickening odor meets you at every turn. Walk on the streets of the city, and you can not avoid breathing air vitiated by tobacco. Take a seat in the cars, and you find the floor befouled by tobacco chewers. Take a sleeping car, and the iron passageway is filled with smokers; and the foul, poisonous air is carried through the car, and if you stay there you are compelled to breathe it. We refuse to take such sleeping cars, and if all who do not use tobacco would do the same, a reform would speedily be effected. Let the nuisance be banished from decent society.

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591 -- TOBACCO Users

     We must in all our societies enforce our rules against using tobacco. We do not want a single tobacco-user in the Free Methodist church. However he may agree with us in other respects, if he will not cleanse himself from the "filthiness of the flesh," he should have no place among us. We have no smoking-room in our church. If one will insist upon defiling with the fumes of tobacco the air in which he moves, a clean church is no place for him.

     The prevailing use of tobacco threatens great harm to our country. The medical director of our Naval Academy, at Annapolis, Dr. Gibon, says in his report for 1881, "The most important matter in the health history of the students is that relating to tobacco, and its interdiction is absolutely essential to their future health and usefulness. In this view I have been sustained by my colleagues, and all sanitarians in civil and military life, whose views I have been able to obtain."

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592 -- TONGUE Employed by Satan

     Satan is the accuser of the brethren (Rev. 12:10). He earns his title from the work in which he is constantly engaged. day and night. In this work he employs all his forces -- his raw recruits and his veteran soldiers. Those who engage in this work may belong to the church, but they do not belong to Christ. The most dangerous enemies are those who wave the banner and wear the uniform of friends.

     The Psalmist gives as an unfailing mark of one that shall live in Heaven: "He that backbiteth not with his tongue. nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour" (Ps. 15:3). See among what class Paul places those who defame others: "Full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters" (Rom. 1:29, 30).

     And St. James says: "If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain" (Jas. 1:26). He is not speaking of outsiders, but of professed Christians.

     Reader, do you bridle your tongue?

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593 -- TONGUE, Governing the

     Did you ever consider what importance the Bible attaches to the governing of the tongue? The Savior says that the one only sin for which there is no forgiveness, either in this world or in the world to come, is a sin committed by the tongue. Again, "But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment" (Matt. 12:36). Every false, injurious word will add to one's condemnation. The Psalmist says of him who shall dwell in God's holy hill, that is, go to Heaven, that "he backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbor, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbor" (Ps. 15:3). How is it with you in this respect? Do you wound the reputation of others behind their backs? Do you, when one comes to you with a reproach against your neighbor, take it up and carry it to the next one? "If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body."

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594 -- TONGUE, The, Must be Controlled

     We can not maintain a good Christian experience without being careful of our words. An unbridled tongue will soon carry its possessor beyond the controlling influences of the Spirit of God. Words are weighty. They shape the destiny. The Psalmist and the Savior agree that our fate hangs upon our words. He that shall dwell in God's holy hill is one that speaketh the truth in his heart -- one that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbor. And the Savior says that the one sin which hath never forgiveness, neither in this world, nor in the world to come, is that committed by the tongue (Matt. 12:32).

     St. James compares the tongue to the little helm with which great ships are turned about; and says, "If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able to bridle the whole body" (Jas. 8:2). God hears all our words. No injunction of secrecy can keep them from reaching his ear. They are recorded in imperishable characters in his book of remembrance. Let us then give heed to our words.

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595 -- TRANCES, Fallings, Etc., Not Always of God

     Trances, failings, visions, revelations, may be of God; but they may be of the devil. Because a person's experience has been good, and his life correct, it does not follow that everything supernatural that may be manifested in him is of God. There are many avenues through which Satan may enter the heart of one who has been truly called of God. He entered the heart of Judas through covetousness. Today he enters some through the same door; others through pride of appearance, others through spiritual pride. Satan whispers to an ignorant person that, if he will only yield himself to a blind impulse, he will become useful and famous; and, if he listens to the suggestion, a demon from the pit enters the open door and begins his operations. The deviations of one thus possessed, from the right course, may at first be so slight that the most spiritual hardly dare hint a fear that he may be going wrong. He is so wonderfully operated upon, and in the main so nearly right, that many honest ones are led away and become his partisans. As soon as a following is secured, the mask is gradually thrown off, and practices are indulged in, and defended, that are in direct conflict with the plain teaching of the Word of God. The strange thing in such cases is, that those who begin to follow him in all honesty, keep right along and follow him in his crooked ways. At last they are led forth with the workers of iniquity. "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world" (1 John 4:1).

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596 -- TREASURES, Secure the Right Kind of

     The contrast which Christ draws between laying up treasures on earth and treasures in Heaven shows that there is an incompatibility between them. One can not at the same time do both. He must deliberately choose which he will do. "Ye cannot serve God and mammon." Great earthly treasures make dying hard. Cardinal Mazarin had acquired great riches, but he said, when he came to die. as he looked around on the magnificent works of art which with great pains he had collected, "All that must be left behind!" And, turning around, he added, "And that, too! What trouble I have had to obtain all these things! I shall never see them more, where I am going!"

     Earthly treasures, however prized, must be left behind! Works of charity and beneficence, done out of love to Christ, follow one to the eternal world. "Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven."

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597 -- TRIED MEN More Dependable

     When the door of salvation was opened to the Gentiles, it was through Cornelius, a devout man of irreproachable character. God often uses, to carry on his work, men who have been notoriously wicked and profligate, but have been truly converted. Yet we do not call to mind a single instance of such a person who was used to inaugurate any great work. They are too liable to fall, and, in too many instances, they become lifted up with their success, lose the grace of God from their hearts, and fall into the scandalous sins to which they were formerly addicted. Many such instances occur to our mind. It becomes us all, if we would persevere in the grace of God, to see to it that we have the charity that is not puffed up. If there is a flaw in a tool of steel, it will not do to put it to too hard use; if a. tree was broken when young, though it may be completely healed over, it is liable to give way at the old break, under a severe gale, or even when loaded with precious fruit. If one who has been notoriously wicked is signally used in the salvation of others. do not put him forward too fast, or needlessly expose him to temptation.

     Let us walk before the Lord in all humility. "Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the Lord: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn. and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged" (Isa. 51:1).

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598 -- TROUBLE, Call Upon God in

     Learn to go to the Lord with all your troubles. He is the Lord Almighty. He has power over the physical world and over the world of spirits. The laws of nature are his laws. The hearts of all men are in his hand. No combination of devils and men can be formed against you that he can not break.

     He encourages us to come to him at all times for help. "This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him Gilt of all his troubles" (Ps. 34:6). If this had been said of the king, you might say, "I am no king." But it is this poor man -- an ordinary mortal, way down in the social scale. It is not said that he made or read a prayer, but he cried. The most illiterate can cry. It is a gift possessed by all. God is moved, not by repetitions of fine words, but by deep earnestness and sincerity of heart.

     The man was not merely made better by coming to God, but his prayer was answered. It was no temporary relief, no partial deliverance, which he found, but the Lord saved him out of alt his troubles.

     When in trouble, it will often help us in getting out, to candidly consider how we got in. Was it through our own fault? Did it come upon us in consequence of our own sins, or our own imprudence? If the cause is in us, the first thing to be done is to remove the cause, as far as possible, and to humble ourselves before God, and implore his forgiveness. If the cause can not be removed, we can ask God to mitigate the evils, and give grace to bear them. When Paul prayed for the removal of the thorn in the flesh, the answer was given: "My grace is sufficient for thee." An elephant can easily carry what would crush a horse. God can so multiply our strength that we can bear in triumph what once would have driven us to despair. We must not set limitations to his power. He has ways to work deliverance that we do not think of. There is one important item in a Christian's education that we are too slow to learn. "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God."

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     One sign of a growth in grace is a growing love for truth. The nearer we get to the Lord, the more tender the conscience becomes over making a false impression upon the minds of others. A truly sanctified person can not allow himself in any misstatement, or prevarication or exaggeration. Jeremy Taylor, in his Rules of Holy Living, is thus specific: "Lie not at all, neither in a little thing nor in a great, neither in substance nor in the circumstance, neither in word nor in deed; that is, pretend not what is false, cover not what is true; and let the measure of your affirmation or denial be the understanding of your contractor; for he that deceives the buyer or the seller, by speaking what is true in a sense not intended or understood by the other, is a liar and a thief. For in bargains you are to avoid not only what is false, but that also which deceives."