Sirach 28:24-25

Ben Sira, Ecclesiasticus

17 The blow of a whip raises a welt, but a blow of the tongue crushes the bones. 18 Many have fallen by the edge of the sword, but not as many as have fallen because of the tongue. 19 Happy is the one who is protected from it, who has not been exposed to its anger, who has not borne its yoke, and has not been bound with its fetters. 20 For its yoke is a yoke of iron, and its fetters are fetters of bronze; 21 its death is an evil death, and Hades is preferable to it. 22 It has no power over the godly; they will not be burned in its flame. 23 Those who forsake the Lord will fall into its power; it will burn among them and will not be put out. It will be sent out against them like a lion; like a leopard it will mangle them. 24 As you fence in your property with thorns, 25 so make a door and a bolt for your mouth. As you lock up your silver and gold, so make balances and scales for your words. 26 Take care not to err with your tongue, and fall victim to one lying in wait.

Date: 195-175 B.C.E.
* Dates are based on scholarly estimates

Ambrose On the Duty of the Clergy 1.11

11 But for whom was it written, unless it was for each one of us: Hedge your possession about with thorns, and bind up your silver and gold, and make a door and a bar for your mouth, and a yoke and a balance for your words? Your possession is your mind, your gold your heart, your silver your speech: The words of the Lord are pure words, as silver tried in the fire. A good mind is also a good possession. And, further, a pure inner life is a valuable possession. Hedge in, then, this possession of yours, enclose it with thought, guard it with thorns, that is, with pious care, lest the fierce passions of the flesh should rush upon it and lead it captive, lest strong emotions should assault it, and, overstepping their bounds, carry off its vintage. Guard your inner self. Do not neglect or contemn it as though it were worthless, for it is a valuable possession; truly valuable indeed, for its fruit is not perishable and only for a time, but is lasting and of use for eternal salvation. Cultivate, therefore, your possession, and let it be your tilling ground.

Date: 390-395 C.E.
* Dates are based on scholarly estimates