In the multitude of words there lacks not sin: but he that refrains his lips is wise.
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Ambrose of Milan
The virtue of silence, especially in church, is very great. Let no sentence of the divine lessons escape you. If you give ear, restrain your voice, utter no word with your lips which you would wish to bring back, but let your boldness to speak be sparing. For in truth in much speaking there is abundance of sin. To the murderer it was said, “You have sinned, be silent,” that he might not sin more; but to the virgin it must be said, “Be silent lest you sin.” For Mary, as we read, kept in heart all things that were said concerning her Son. So when any passage is read where Christ is announced as about to come or is shown to have come, do not make a noise by talking, but attend. Is anything more unbecoming that the divine words should be so drowned by talking, as not to be heard, believed or made known, that the sacraments should be indistinctly heard through the sound of voices, that prayer should be hindered when offered for the salvation of all? Concerning Virgins.
How does sin find entrance? We read, “In the multitude of words you shall not escape sin.” When a multiplicity of words has come forth, sin has found an entrance, for in this very multiplicity of words what we utter is not in the slightest degree subject to measure. Because of lack of prudence we fall into error. In fact, to give expression to our thoughts without duly weighing our words is in itself a grave sin. .
I know that it is written, “In much speaking you shall not escape sin.” Would that all my speaking were only the preaching of your word and the praise of you! Then I would not only escape sin, no matter how many words I spoke, but also obtain a good reward. For it could not have been sin that a man blessed of you commanded upon his own son in the faith, to whom he wrote, “Preach the word, be instant in season, out of season.” In him who neither in season nor out of season kept back your word, none can say that there was not much speaking. And yet it was not much, when so much was needed. [But] deliver me, O God, from the multitude of words within my own soul.
If, for the sake of silence, we ought sometimes not to speak what is good, then even more are we obliged to avoid all evil talk, for fear of the punishment due to sin. Therefore, frequent leave to talk is not to be granted to those who are advanced in perfection, even if the subject is good and holy and edifying. Because it is written, “In much talk you shall not avoid sin,” and elsewhere, “Life and death are in the power of the tongue.” It belongs to the master to speak and teach, and it is the duty of the disciple to hear and obey.
Stir up your soul, so that, by his wisdom, you may know what is fitting, and that, by his will, what is in the commandment may come to pass. One who is pleasing to the wicked is more evil than they. Impure words are only verbiage and empty noise. “Abundance of words will not go blameless.” Abundance of words is the sign of no discipline. Commentary on Tatian’s Diatessaron