A tale-bearer revealeth secrets; but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter (Proverbs 11:13).
Much of our wisdom lies in the prudent choice of friends. A well-chosen friend sweetens the present life, and assists us in our progress to a better. An unworthy friend will bring on us disappointment, vexation, and remorse. But what sort of persons are we to avoid or to chuse for our friends? We must not chuse one that takes pleasure in telling every thing he knows. You may be sure that such a one will betray your secrets; for though he should have no malignity of disposition, his anxiety to rehearse every private story that he has picked up, will prove to him an irresistible temptation to expose you.
The scripture, however, does not condemn all revealing of secrets. There are some secrets which the laws of justice and charity bind us to reveal *. But it is a proof that a man has no command of his tongue, when he can risk the uneasiness and displeasure of his neighbours, by publishing matters which can be of no benefit to him to whom they are communicated.
But that man is to be chosen as your friend, who is of an honest and faithful spirit. Your heart will be relieved of its sorrows, by pouring them into his bosom; and you may rest assured that he will cause you no uneasiness by blabbing what you would not have the world to know.
Here we see that a well-governed spirit will govern the tongue. An unrestrained tongue is an evidence of levity, or of some worse quality in the heart. And if the spirit be faithful, the tongue will be cautious and friendly. The communication between the spirit and the tongue is so easy, that the one will certainly discover the quality of the other, for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
* Lev. v, 5. 1 Sam. xx.
From “Exposition of the Book of Proverbs” by George Lawson.