Would it not be a great degradation of your [pastoral] office if you were to keep an army of spies in your pay to collect information as to all that your people said of you?
And yet it amounts to this if you allow certain busybodies to bring you all the gossip of the place.
Drive the creatures away. Abhor those mischief-making, tattling handmaidens to strife.
Those who will fetch will carry, and no doubt the gossips go from your house and report every observation which falls from your lips, with plenty of garnishing of their own.
Remember that, as the receiver is as bad as the thief, so the hearer of scandal is a sharer in the guilt of it.
If there were no listening ears there would be no talebearing tongues.
While you are a buyer of ill wares the demand will create the supply, and the factories of falsehoood will be working full time.
No one wishes to become a creator of lies, and yet he who hears slanders with pleasure and believes them with readiness will hatch many a brood into active life.
—Charles Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students, p. 328.