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Thursday, July 18th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Proverbs 12

Bridges' Commentary on ProverbsBridges' on Proverbs

Verse 1

INSTRUCTION, as the contrast teaches, chiefly implies discipline (Judges 8:16 . Jeremiah 6:8 ) — that most needful course for acquiring spiritual knowledge. (Psalms 119:67, Psalms 119:71 .) For so contrary is it to our proud hearts, that the submission of the will is our only road to Christian attainment. (Matthew 18:3-4 .) Yet the value of this attainment abundantly covers the cost. (Philippians 3:8 .) A faithful Ministry, therefore, is a most valuable blessing; and all instructive discipline may well be loved as "the way of life." (Proverbs 9:8 . Psalms 141:5, with Proverbs 6:23 . Compare Psalms 16:7 ; Psalms 94:12 ; Jeremiah 31:18 .)

But that irritable pride, that hates reproof, as if it were an affront to be told of our faults, argues not only want of grace (Proverbs 10:17 ; Proverbs 15:10 ), but want of understanding — brutish folly (Isaiah 1:3 . Jeremiah 8:7 ): ’like the horse, which bites and kicks at the man, who performs a painful operation upon him; though absolutely necessary for removing a dangerous distemper. He is surely a brute, and not a rational creature, who has swallowed poison, and will rather suffer it to take its course, than admit the necessary relief of medicine, lest he should be obliged to confess his folly, in exposing himself to the need of it.’†1 O for a teachable spirit to "sit at the feet of our Divine Master," and learn of Him!

Footnotes:

†1 Lawson in loco. Compare Psalms 32:9 .

Verse 2

Goodness is "the fruit of the Spirit." (Galatians 5:22 .) The good man therefore is a man filled with the Spirit. He reflects the munificent goodness of God. (Matthew 5:44-45 .) He is not only the subject, but the almoner, of grace; not only "enriched" with all blessings for himself, but "unto all bountifulness" (2 Corinthians 9:11 ) for the service of his fellow-creatures. As a benefactor to mankind, he commands our devoted gratitude. But as a far richer reward (of grace indeed, not of debt) (Luke 17:10 ) he obtaineth favour of the LORD. (Isaiah 58:8-11 . Nehemiah 13:14 . 1 Peter 3:12 .) What are all this world’s treasures compared with it? (Psalms 4:6-7 .) Is it not the joy of our salvation; our soothing mercy (Psalms 119:76 ); our covering shield (Psalms 5:12 ); in the near prospect of eternity, our absorbing interest? (2 Corinthians 5:9-10 .) And if here, in a world of sin, it be "life, yea, better than life" (Psalms 63:3 ); what will be that unclouded sunshine; "the path of life;" "the fullness of joy in his heavenly presence; the pleasures at his right hand for evermore!" (Psalms 16:11 .)

The contrast to the good man is — not the man — (which alas! may be a child of God) (2 Samuel 11:12-15 ) in whom, wicked devices are found, but the man of these devices. He lives in them as his element; his mind is set upon them. He contrives them. He follows them as his course and delight. (Proverbs 1:10-12 ; Proverbs 6:18 . Isaiah 32:6-7 .) Instead of favour, he "is condemned already." (John 3:19-20 .) His sting of conscience and the curse of God is present condemnation. (Zechariah 5:3-4 . 1 Kings 12:25-30 ; 1 Kings 14:10 .) And in the great day, the All-seeing Judge "shall be a swift witness against him!" (Malachi 3:5 . Psalms 50:16-21 .)

Verse 3

The man of evil devices may prosper for a time, but he shall not be established by wickedness; except as God may permit it, in the sovereignty of his purposes, and the judicial chastening of his wrath. But how soon was the successful treason of Abimelech (Judges 9:54-57 ), and the Israelitish kings (1 Kings 16:9-10 . 2 Kings 15:10-14 . 2 Chronicles 21:4, 2 Chronicles 21:13-15 ), brought to an end! Ahab strove to establish himself in despite of the threatened curse of God. He increased his family, trained them with care under the tutelage of his choicest nobility. And surely one at least out of seventy might remain to inherit his throne. But this was the vain "striving" of the worm "with his Maker." One hour swept them all away; and not a word of the threatening fell to the ground.†1 The evil device of Caiaphas also, to establish his nation by wickedness, was the means of its overthrow. (John 11:49-50 ; with Matthew 21:43-44 .) Such is the infatuation of sin!

Firm and unshaken is the condition of the righteous. Their leaves may wither in the blast. Their branches may tremble in the fury of the tempest. But their root — the true principle of life — shall not be moved. They "are scarcely saved," not without many tossings. But they are surely saved, beyond the powers of hell to destroy. Does not thy faith — Christian — sometimes faint in the wearisome assaults of thy implacable enemy? Rejoice in the assurance, that it cannot fail. (Luke 22:31-32 .) Thou art "rooted and grounded" in a sure foundation. (Ephesians 3:17 . Colossians 2:7 .) Let "the LORD, who is thy strength," — be "thy song." — ’He only is my Rock and my salvation; I shall not be greatly moved: I shall not be moved at all.’ (Isaiah 12:2 . Psalms 62:2, Psalms 62:6 . Micah 7:8 . Romans 8:31-39 .)

And how bright is this prospect for the Church! It shall not be moved. (Psalms 125:1-2 . Isaiah 26:1 .) Triumphant is her confidence in the day of conflict. "The gates of hell shall not prevail. No weapon that is formed against her shall prosper." (Matthew 16:18 . Isaiah 54:17 .)

Footnotes:

†1 1 Kings 21:21, with 2 Kings 10:1-7 . Compare the striking figures in the book of Job 15:29 ; Job 20:5-9 ; Job 27:13-17 .

Verse 4

Faithful (Proverbs 31:11-12 ), chaste (Titus 2:5 . 1 Peter 3:2 ), reverentially obedient (Ephesians 5:22-23 . 1 Peter 3:1, 1 Peter 3:4-6 ), immovable in affection (Titus 2:4 ), delighting to see her husband honoured, respected, and loved; covering, as far as may be, his failings; prudent in the management of her family (Proverbs 14:1 ), conscientious in the discharge of her domestic duties (Proverbs 31:27-28 ); kind and considerate to all around her (Proverbs 31:20, Proverbs 31:26 ); and as the root of all — "fearing the LORD" (Proverbs 31:30 ) — such is the virtuous woman; "the weaker vessel" indeed, but a woman of strength,†1 with all her graces in godly energy. She is not the ring on her husband’s finger, or the chain of gold around his neck. That were far too low. She is his crown; his brightest ornament;†2 drawing the eyes of all upon him, as eminently honoured and blessed. (Proverbs 31:23 .)

Truly affecting is the contrast of a contentious (Proverbs 19:13 ; Proverbs 21:9, Proverbs 21:19 ), imperious, extravagant, perhaps unfaithful, wife; in the levity of her conduct forgetting her proper place and subjection: seeking the admiration of others, instead of being satisfied with her husband’s regard. This is indeed a living disease — rottenness in his bones;†3 marring his usefulness; undermining his happiness; perhaps driving him into temptation, and "a snare of the devil." Let a young woman in contemplating this holy union, ponder well and in deep prayer its weighty responsibility. Will she be a crown to her husband, or one that maketh ashamed? Will she be what God made the woman — "an help meet" (Genesis 2:18 ); or — what Satan made her — a tempter — to her husband? (Genesis 3:6 . 1 Kings 21:25 . Job 2:9 .) If she be not a crown to him, she will be a shame to herself. If she be rottenness to his bones, she will be a plague to her own. For what is the woman’s happiness but to be the helper of her husband’s joy? Oh! let their mutual comfort be sought, where alone it can be solidly found, in "dwelling together as heirs of the grace of life." (1 Peter 3:7 .) Better never to have seen each other, than to live together forgetful of this great end of improving their union as an indulgent gift of God, and an important talent for his service, and their own eternal happiness.

Footnotes:

†1 Heb. 1 Peter 3:7, with Proverbs 31:10 . Ruth 3:11 . Greek: ’gunh andreia’ — LXX (<-- note to e-Sword users: the word processor coverted this from Greek characters to English, & may not have done it correctly). Strenua, Schultens, Fortis, Geier. The etymology of ’areth’ (<-- note to e-Sword users: please see the book: this is the word processor’s attempt to transliterate the Greek characters into English) in Greek, and ’virtus’ in Latin, gives the meaning of manly courage. In the first ages of barbarism this was the primary virtue, and therefore it naturally became the generic term of virtue.

†2 Perhaps there may be some allusion to the crown on the nuptial day. Compare 1 Corinthians 11:7 .

†3 Jerome aptly compares it to the worm eating into the heart of the tree, and destroying it. Trapp in loco.

Verses 5-7

The workings of good and evil are here traced to the fountain-head. (Genesis 6:5 .) The thoughts of the righteous, "renewed in the spirit of his mind" (Ephesians 4:23 ), are right. (Proverbs 11:23 .) He learns to measure everything by the unerring rule, and to lean upon his God in the careful distrust of himself. Many indeed are his deviations. But there is an overcoming law within, that, in despite of all oppositions, fixes his thoughts, with delight on God and his law (Psalms 139:17-18 . Romans 7:15-23 ), and gives to them a single bias for his service. Widely different are the thoughts of the wicked, ripening into counsels fraught with deceit. Such were the counsels of Joseph’s brethren to deceive their father; of Jeroboam, under a feigned consideration of the people; of Daniel’s enemies, under pretense of honouring the king; of Sanballat, under the guise of friendship; of Haman, under the cover of patriotism; of Herod, under the profession of worshipping the infant Savior.†1 Indeed from such "a corrupt fountain" as man’s heart, what else can be expected but "bitter waters"? (Jeremiah 17:9 . Matthew 15:19 .)

Then look at words — the natural organ of the thoughts. How murderous were the words of Ahithophel; the trap laid for our beloved Lord; the conspiracy against the great Apostle†2 — all lying in wait for blood! (Proverbs 29:10 . Psalms 37:12, Psalms 37:14 .) The fiercer ebullitions of humanity may indeed be softened down and restrained.†3 But the principles remain the same. The fiery elements only lie in slumbering cover, and often break out, wasting the very face of society. Yet even in this bursting storm the mouth of the upright preserves them. (Proverbs 11:9 .) The wisdom of our Divine Master was an unfailing preservative. (Matthew 22:34-35, Matthew 22:46 .) The same mouth was a cover to his upright disciples, with little of man’s help, and much of man’s opposition; "None could gainsay or resist." (Luke 21:14-15 . Acts 4:13-14 .)

We cannot but wonder at the long-suffering, that suffers the wicked thus to load the earth with such a mass of guilt and misery. Yet their triumphing is but for a moment. (Job 20:5 . Psalms 37:35-36 .) Look at Haman — his deceitful counsels, his bloody words. He is overthrown, and is not. (Esther 7:10 .) "And shall not God avenge his own elect?" (Luke 18:7 .) Their house, feeble as it often is, and brought low (Proverbs 12:3 . 1 Kings 15:4 ), shall stand. They shall "have a place in the Lord’s house" immovable here (Isaiah 56:4-5 ), and in eternity. (Revelation 3:12 .) Yes — those, whose thoughts and words are upright, shall stand, when all is sinking around — "They shall be mine, saith the LORD, in that day when I shall make up my jewels." (Malachi 3:17 .)

Footnotes:

†1 See Genesis 37:18-20 . 1 Kings 12:26-28 . Daniel 6:4-7 . Nehemiah 6:2 . Esther 3:8-10 . Matthew 2:7-8 .

†2 2 Samuel 17:1-4 ; Luke 20:19-21 . Acts 23:14-15 .

†3 See Romans 3:15, as the proof of universal and total depravity, Romans 3:9-10 .

Verse 8

The ordinary judgment of this world is to "put darkness for light" (Isaiah 5:20 ), and therefore to commend according to folly, rather than according to wisdom. And yet even hated wisdom often caries its voice of conviction both to conscience and judgment; and a man is commended according to it. Hence the elevation of Joseph and Daniel; the honour paid to David in private life; and the universal respect shewn to his wise son.†1 Our Lord’s wisdom was also commended, not only by the popular voice (Matthew 7:28-29 ), but even by the testimony of his enemies. (John 7:46 ). The wisdom of Stephen, "making his face to shine," overpowered his beholders with solemn awe. (Acts 6:10, Acts 6:15 .) How thrilling will be the commendation of wisdom before the assembled universe! (Luke 12:42-44 .) Who will not then acknowledge the wise choice of an earthly cross with an heavenly crown? (Matthew 5:11-12 .) Wisdom (2 Samuel 20:18-22 ) then not dignity, riches, or talent — brings honour. This is the Lord’s commendation. It must be right. (2 Corinthians 10:18 .) It will stand for eternity.

What then makes a man despised? Not his poverty, obscure circumstances, or misfortune; but perverseness of spirit (1 Kings 12:16 . Malachi 2:8-9 ), too proud to be taught: following a mad course to ruin. Perverse Nabal was despised by his own family (1 Samuel 25:17, 1 Samuel 25:25 ); the prodigal by his former companions. (Luke 15:15-16 .) And of all such, shame will be their present promotion (Proverbs 3:35 ; Proverbs 11:2 ; Proverbs 18:3 ), their eternal doom. (Daniel 12:2 .)

Footnotes:

†1 Genesis 41:39. Daniel 1:19-20 ; Daniel 2:46 . 1 Samuel 16:18 ; 1 Samuel 18:30 . 1 Kings 3:28 ; 1 Kings 4:29-34 .

Verse 9

A man, who has only a competency, sufficient to have a servant (Proverbs 30:8-9 ), and making no appearance, may be despised by his richer neighbors. (1 Samuel 18:23 .) But his state is better than the proud show of rank, or family, without the means of sustaining it; or than one humbled by Providence, yet unhumbled in heart. (Proverbs 13:7 . Luke 14:11 .) Nothing is so despicable as to be proud, where there is nothing to be proud of. Sometimes from ’a shabby gentility’†1 — the foolish vanity of keeping up appearances — a man debars himself from the common comforts of life — honouring himself, and lacking bread. Such slaves are men to the opinion of the world! Principle is sacrificed to pride; and men rebel against Him, who makes no mistake in his allotments, and often appoints a descent from worldly elevation as a profitable discipline. (James 1:10-11 . Daniel 4:32-37 .) Yet it is hard, even for the Christian, as Bunyan reminds us, ’to go down the Valley of Humiliation, and catch no slip by the way.’ We need our Master’s unworldly, elevated spirit (John 6:15 ) to make a safe descent. Remember — "the pride of life is not of the Father, but is of the world." (1 John 2:16 .) "Let our moderation be known unto all men," under the constraining recollection — "The Lord is at hand." (Philippians 4:5 . Mark 13:1-2 .) How will the dazzling glare of man’s esteem fade away before the glory of his appearing!

Footnotes:

†1 Bp. Sanderson.

Verse 10

The minuteness of Scripture is one of its most valuable properties. It shows the mind of God on many points apparently trivial. Here it tests our profession by our treatment of the brutes. They were given to man, as the lord of the creation, for his use, comfort, and food (Genesis 1:28, Genesis 9:3 ); not for his wantonness. A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast, duly attends to its comfort (Genesis 24:32 ), and never presses it beyond its strength. (Genesis 33:13-14 .) The brutal habits, therefore, the coarse words, inhuman blows (Numbers 22:27 ), and hard tyranny on the public roads, are disgraceful to our nature. The delight of children in putting animals to pain for amusement, if not early restrained, will mature them in cruelty, demoralize their whole character, and harden them against all the sympathies of social life. For, as Mr. Locke wisely observed, ’they who delight in the sufferings and destruction of inferior creatures, will not be apt to be very compassionate and benign to those of their own kind.’†1 Thus the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel, having no right feeling (Genesis 37:26-28 ); only a milder exercise of barbarity (1 Samuel 11:1-2 . Luke 23:13-16 ); and usually meted out for some selfish end.†2

But why is this humanity marked as the feature of a righteous man? Because it is the image of our heavenly Father, who spreads his cherishing wings over his whole creation. (Psalms 33:5 ; Psalms 145:9, Psalms 145:16 ; Psalms 147:9 .) As though the field of man was too small for his goodness, he regardeth the life of the beast. (Psalms 36:6-7 .) Witness the sanctions of his law (Exodus 22:30 . Deuteronomy 5:14 ; Deuteronomy 25:4 ), and the dispensations of his judgments. (Jonah 4:11 .) Nay, even did he by miraculous interference put into the mouth of the stupid ass to plead as it were the cause of the dumb creation. (Numbers 22:28-30 .) Must not then his children reflect his whole image of love? (Matthew 5:44-45 .) And is not the want of any feature of this image a mark of doubtful relationship to him?

Footnotes:

†1 Thoughts concerning Education.

†2 Acts 24:26-27. — ’We have been used to hear much of the benevolence of infidels, and the philanthropy of deists. It is all a pretense. Self is the idol, and self-indulgence the object, in the accomplishment of which they are little scrupulous about the means. Where self is the idol, the heart is cruel. While they talk of universal charity, they regard not the cruelty of robbing millions of the consolation of religion. While they clamour about reform, they would with unfeeling barbarity exult in the demolition of venerable establishments. While they speak of harmless gaiety and pleasure, they would treacherously corrupt piety, and pollute unsuspecting innocence.’ — Holden in loco.

Verse 11

Special honour is given to the work of tilling the land. God assigned it to Adam in Paradise. (Genesis 2:15 .) It was the employment of his eldest son. (Genesis 4:2 .) Its origin appears to have been under immediate Divine Teaching. (Isaiah 28:23-26 .) In ancient times it was the business or relaxation of kings.†1 A blessing is ensured to diligence; sometimes abundant (Genesis 26:12 ); always such as we should be satisfied with. (Proverbs 27:23-27 .)

The principle applies alike to every lawful calling. Industry is an ornamental grace (Proverbs 31:13-22 ), and a Christian obligation. (Romans 12:11 . 1 Thessalonians 4:11 .) Most ample is its reward in the work of God. How rich is the harvest for the diligent student of the Scriptures! Truly he shall be satisfied with bread. But idleness is a spot upon our royal name. (2 Thessalonians 3:10-12 .) As an old writer observes — ’The proud person is Satan’s throne, and the idle man his pillow. He sitteth in the former, and sleepeth quietly on the latter.’†2 The man therefore that followeth vain persons, instead of honest labour, proves himself to be void of understanding, and will reap the fruits of his folly (Proverbs 13:20 . Acts 5:36-37 ) — perhaps throughout eternity.†3

Footnotes:

†1 2 Chronicles 26:10 . ’Omnium rerum, ex quibus aliquid acquirtur, nihil est agriculturâ melius, nihil uberius, nihil dulcius, nihil homine libero dignius.’ Such was the judgment of the Roman Moralist. — Cicero De Offic. B. I. xliii. ’Of all the arts of civilized man, agriculture is transcendently the most essential and valuable. Other arts may contribute to the comfort, the convenience, and the embellishment of life. But the cultivation of the soil stands in immediate connexion with our very existence. The life itself, to whose comfort, and convenience, and embellishment, other arts contribute, is by this sustained: so that others without it can avail nothing.’ Wardlaw on Ecclesiastes 5:9 .

†2 Swinnock’s Christian Man’s Calling, Part I. 346.

†3 The LXX gives a curious addition to this verse, not without some wholesome application to young votaries of pleasure — ’He that is sweet in wine-parties shall leave behind disgrace in his strong places.’

Verse 12

Man is always restless to press onwards to something not yet enjoyed. The Christian reaches forth to higher privileges and increasing holiness. (Philippians 3:12-14 .) The wicked emulate each other in wickedness; and if they see evil men more successful than themselves, they desire their net (Psalms 10:8-10 . Jeremiah 5:26-28 ); to discover their plans, in order to imitate them. Not satisfied with the honest "gain of godliness," they desire a net, in which they may grasp richer treasures of this world’s vanity. (1 Timothy 6:10 .) The history of the Church strongly illustrates this energy of sin; Infidelity and Popery; one net following another with more crafty device. Such is the root of evil, fraught with destruction. But the root of the righteous yieldeth fruit — true, solid, abundant fruit; not always visible, but always acceptable. (Hebrews 13:15-16 .) Dependence on Christ is the source of this blessing; necessary in order to fruit,†1 and never failing to produce it. (John 15:5 ) The spiritual branches ’are nourished and increased by the living root of God’s grace and blessing.’†2

Footnotes:

†1 John 15:4. Romans 7:4 . It was the remark of a venerable relative of the Writer’s, who was never suspected of enthusiasm — ’As surely as the vine-branch can have no powers, independent of the root; so surely cannot the Christian think, act, or live, as such, but only so far as he derives his abilities from the stock, on which he is engrafted.’ — The Rev. William Jones’ (Nayland) Enquiry upon the Spring, p. 36.

†2 Diodati.

Verse 13

We have seen the intense desire of the wicked to snare others in the net. Here he is snared himself: The transgressions of his lips become the snare of his life. (Proverbs 18:7 . Psalms 64:8 .) ’Many have felt the lash upon their backs for the want of a bridle on their tongues.’†1 Such a snare were the lips of the Amalekite bringing the tidings of Saul’s death. Expecting a reward, he found his death. (2 Samuel 4:9-12 .) Such also was Adonijah’s deceitful petition (1 Kings 2:22-23 ); the hypocritical loyalty of Daniel’s enemies (Daniel 6:7-8, Daniel 6:24 ); the fearful imprecation of the devoted nation. (Matthew 27:25 .) The lips of the wicked miss their mark, and become the instruments of his ruin. (Psalms 35:8 .)

On the other hand, the godly exercise of the lips often delivers out of the trouble, into which the wicked rush headlong. (Jeremiah 26:12-16 .) The noble confession of Caleb and Joshua brought them safe out of the trouble, which was frowning upon their rebellious brethren. (Numbers 14:6-10, Numbers 14:24 .) And even when the just "are overtaken with" a transgression of the lips, still their faithful God makes a difference. He will not indeed wink at sin in his own children. (Amos 3:2 .) But while his covenant provides stripes for their transgressions, it ensures deliverance in the end. (Psalms 89:32-33 .) Thus a presumptuous confidence is restrained; and a humbling, self-abasing, tender confidence is established.

Footnotes:

†1 Henry in loco.

Verse 14

We have seen the snare of the tongue. Here is its blessing, not to others (Proverbs 10:20-21 ) only, but to ourselves. Have we the mark of "the saints of God, to speak of the glory of his Kingdom"? (Psalms 145:10-11 .) What a dignity will this grand subject give to our conversation! What a preservative from that frivolous "talk of the lips, which tendeth only to penury!" (Proverbs 14:23 .) What a tone of elevation to our whole character! (Malachi 3:16-17 .) How shall we be satisfied with good by the fruit of our consecrated lips! (Proverbs 13:2 ; Proverbs 15:23 .) When our God becomes, not our visitor, but our inmate, the fruit of our mouth is no constrained effort, but "out of the abundance of the heart."

From the devotedness of the lips flows the ready exercise of the hands. Every member of the body is his purchased possession. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 .) And here also is a sure recompense. For who ever served God "for nought?" (Job 1:9-10 .) "He is not unrighteous to forget our work and labour of love. A cup of cold water given to a disciple in his name shall in no wise lose its reward." (Hebrews 6:10 . Matthew 10:42 .) The meanest exercise of love will be abundantly and eternally recompensed.

Verse 15

The fool’s conceit hinders his wisdom. (Job 11:12 .) A discouraging case! (Proverbs 26:12 .) His way is right in his own eyes. (Proverbs 16:2 .) He needs no direction, asks no counsel, is stubborn in his own way, because it is his own (Judges 2:19 ), and follows it to his own ruin. His chief danger is his security. (Deuteronomy 29:19 .) There may be no flagrant sin, nothing that degrades him below the level of his respectable neighbour. He has no doubt of heaven. Instead of the way being so narrow, that few find it (Matthew 7:14 ); in his view it is so easy of access, that few miss it. Thus all his religion is self-delusion. (Proverbs 14:12 .) O my God! save me from myself — from my own self-deceitfulness.

What a proof of wisdom is a teachable spirit! What an excellent means of increasing it! (Proverbs 1:5 .) Was not Moses wiser for hearkening to Jethro’s counsel (Exodus 18:14-24 ); and David for listening to the restraining advice of Abigail? (1 Samuel 25:23-32 .) How precious then to the child of God is the office of the Divine Counsellor! (Isaiah 9:6 .) How wise the reverential faith, that hearkens to his counsel! Whom does he ever disappoint? Whom does he "upbraid"? (James 1:5 .)

Verse 16

Let the tongue be ever under discipline. An unbridled tongue is the proof of an unrenewed heart. (James 1:26 ; James 3:2 .) But specially never let it be loose in a moment of wrath. How readily is the fool known by his wrath! He has no command of himself. On the first rising, he bursts out with an ungovernable impulse. (Proverbs 14:17, Proverbs 14:29 ; Proverbs 25:28 .) Truly is wrath called shame. For is it not a shame, that unruly passions should, as it were, trample reason under foot, disfigure even the countenance, and subjugate the whole man to a temporary madness? (Daniel 3:19 .) What else were Saul’s unseemly sallies against David and Jonathan;†1 Jezebel’s boiling rage against Elijah;†2 Nebuchadnezzar’s unreasonable decree to kill his wise men, because they could not interpret his vision?†3

Yet far more painful is the sight of the fool’s wrath in the children of God; in Moses, the meekest of men;†4 in David, "the man after God’s own heart;†5 in "Asa, whose heart was perfect with God all his days."†6 Nothing more excites the scoff of the ungodly, than the sight of these gross ebullitions, which Divine grace ought to restrain. But what is "man in his best estate," left to himself! animated with the spirit of a wild beast! in that day he becomes an object of shame. (Proverbs 17:12 .)

Self-control, that covers the shame, and represses the rising fermentation, is true Christian prudence. (Proverbs 29:11 . Judges 8:2-3 .) Even as a matter of policy, it is most commendable. (1 Samuel 10:27 .) But as a gracious principle, it is indeed a victory more honourable than the martial triumph (Proverbs 16:32 ; Proverbs 19:11 ; Proverbs 20:3 ); not only subduing our own spirit, but melting the hardness of our adversary. (Romans 12:18-21 .)

Do we feel our temper at any time ready to rise? Cry instantly to Him, who quiets the storm. (Matthew 8:26 . Psalms 65:7 .) Keep before our eyes his blessed example, "who, being reviled, reviled not again" (1 Peter 2:23 ); and be what we behold. (2 Corinthians 3:18 .)

Footnotes:

†1 1 Samuel 18:10-11 ; 1 Samuel 19:9-11 ; 1 Samuel 20:30-34 .

†2 1 Kings 19:1-2 .

†3 Daniel 2:12-13.

†4 Numbers 20:10-11.

†5 1 Samuel 25:21-22 .

†6 2 Chronicles 16:10 .

Verse 17

This proverb may appear almost too obvious to need remark. But the Scripture not only sets out what is deep and searching, but stamps the every-day truths with the seal of God for our more reverential obedience. Yet there is here more than lies on the surface. It might seem enough for a faithful witness to speak truth. But no — he must shew forth righteousness; what is just, as well as what is true. The best-intentioned purpose must not lead us to conceal what is necessary to bring the cause to a righteous issue; "rejoicing not in iniquity, but rejoicing in the truth." (1 Corinthians 13:6 .)

A false witness does not always deal with open lying but with deceit — truth misrepresented, concealed and thus turned into falsehood. Thus was Doeg a false witness against the priests. He states the fact, but by suppression of circumstances gives a false impression. (1 Samuel 21:1-7 ; 1 Samuel 22:9-10 .) The false witness condemned our Lord by a similar perverse misconstruction of his words. (Matthew 26:60-61 . John 2:19-21 .) Oh, cherish a deep abhorrence of deceit in all its forms and beginnings. (Proverbs 13:5 . Psalms 119:163 .) Christian obligation and privilege alike forbid it. (Ephesians 4:22-25 .) Truth and deceit are not mere moral qualities, but the distinctive mark of the two classes of the world. Look to it, that the broad stamp of truth and righteousness brings out the testimony — "Behold! an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile." (John 1:47 .)

Verse 18

Who has not felt the piercings of false, unkind, inconsiderate speeches? How keenly have the servants of God suffered from this sword!†1 Many will speak daggers without compunction, who would be afraid to use them. Surely it was not without reason, that our Lord charges an angry word or tongue with the guilt of murder. (Matthew 5:21-22 .) The source of this mischief demonstrably shews its malignity. "The tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity, and it is set on fire of hell." (James 3:6 .) Indeed, ’a great and almost incredible calamity is it, that man, who was created for humanity, should be so corrupted , that no animal in the world is more ferocious and malignant.’†2

Yet is the little member no less powerful to heal than to wound. It gives instant healing to the piercings of the sword (Judges 7:1-3 . 1 Samuel 19:1-7 ; 1 Samuel 25:32-33 ), even to the very wound, which it may have constrained to inflict.†3 But it is the tongue of the wise, that is health. Its unrestrained and unregulated vent might be hurtful. Wisdom is the guiding principle; not a loose loquacity, but a delicate discriminating tact, directing us, how, when, what, to whom to speak; sometimes repressing; sometimes quickening: "the tongue of the learned, to speak a word in season to him that is weary." (Isaiah 50:4 .) This is no negative responsibility. It is not enough, that there is no poison in the tongue. It must be healing, not only purified from "corrupt communication," but "ministering grace unto the hearers." (Ephesians 4:29 .) What need have we of the "indwelling of the word in all wisdom," that in "teaching and admonishing one another, our speech may be always with grace," wholesome and edifying, to the glory of our common Lord! (Colossians 3:16 ; Colossians 4:6 .)

Footnotes:

†1 Job 13:4; 16. 19. David, Psalms 42:10 ; Psalms 52:2 . Jeremiah 18:18-23 . Lamentations 3:14 . Paul, 2 Corinthians 10:1-2, 10; 2 Corinthians 13:2-3 .

†2 Daillè on Colossians 3:8 .

†3 Psalms 141:5. Compare the healing counsel, 2 Corinthians 2:6-11, with 1 Corinthians 5.

Verse 19

How important is it to eye eternity in all our words! Truth would then be seen in its permanent value and results. The profession may bring us into present trouble. (Matthew 10:32-39 .) But its lip shall be established for ever. Who will gainsay the martyr’s testimony — ’Be of good comfort, Master Ridley; play the man. We shall this day light such a candle by God’s grace in England, as, I trust, shall never be put out’?†1 The lip also of the faithful minister of God is established for ever. For "whatsoever he binds and looses on earth, shall be bound and loosed in heaven." (Matthew 18:18 . John 20:23 .)

Truth then is eternal. Lying, even if it suits our purpose as an easy escape from difficulty (a miserable — short-lived policy!) is but for a moment. (Psalms 52:4-5 .) Nay — should it escape detection for a whole life; yet with eternity before us, what a moment is that! And what will be the relief of this short moment under the tremendous wrath of God? (Revelation 21:8 ; Revelation 22:15 .) God’s own people have always found this momentary escape from trouble to be followed by shame and confusion.†2 The lie of the Gibeonites ended in their confusion (Joshua 9.) The fruit of Gehazi’s lie was the pleasure for a moment. The shame endured unto the end. (2 Kings 5:25-27 .) Under the same withering curse, the lying tongue of false teachers passes away (2 Timothy 3:6-9 ); while truth remains constant. ’None are so visibly blasted as those who make no conscience of a lie.’†3 Children! ponder it well — Eternity is at once the gain of truth, and the cost of a lie. (Psalms 15:1-2 . Revelation 21:8 .) But oh! the infinite difference between heaven and hell!

Footnotes:

†1 Foxe, vii. 550.

†2 Abraham, Genesis 20:1-16 . Isaac, Genesis 26:7-10. Peter, Matthew 26:69-75 .

†3 Matthew Henry’s Life, Chapter xiii.

Verses 20-22

The principle of deceit is here traced to its fountain — the heart. How early it is found there, the first lispings of infancy too plainly prove. A lie is ready upon the child’s lips, when the temptation is presented to it; though nothing is to be gained by it, but the hateful pleasure of sin. Yet though deceit is the native fruit of the heart, all are not equally ready in imagining evil — "inventors of evil things." (Proverbs 14:22 . Micah 2:1 .) The principle is not equally active, or equally developed in all. But when it does operate, the wicked are filled with mischief, and reap the full harvest in disappointment and ruin. (Esther 7:10 . Job 5:12-13 .)

How frightful also is it to remark the outward expression of deceit in lying lips! Diversified indeed are its forms — falsehood, exaggeration, coloring, willful perversion, wrong impressions produced or encouraged.†1 No part of Christian Education is more important, than the training of children in the deepest reverence for the simplicity of truth. Dr. Johnson has well observed, that the prevalence of falsehood arises more from carelessness about truth, than from intentional lying. If a child was relating what he had seen in the street, ’do not’ — he advises — ’suffer him to say, that he had seen it out of one window, if he has seen it out of another.’ Let them know that every willful deviation from strict accuracy bears the stamp of lying lips, which are (and let the sentence be pondered, not only by children, but by all†2) an abomination to the LORD. (Proverbs 6:16-17 . Psalms 5:6 .) With this sin were Ananias and Sapphira hurried into eternity. (Acts 5:1-10 .) The willful liar proves his parentage (John 8:44 ), and will be classed in eternity with all that is hateful. And fearfully will a righteous God, even in forgiving his own child, "take vengeance of his inventions."†3

Here however is peace — the contrast to evil inventions: and, instead of that sorrow which is connected with deceit (Judges 9. 2 Samuel 15:6 ; 2 Samuel 18:15 ), to them that "seek and pursue it," there is joy. Thus doubtless did Jonathan and Abigail rejoice in the success of their good counsels. (1 Samuel 19:4-7 ; 1 Samuel 25:23-32 .) And most responsible is the obligation of Christians to be counselors of peace, breathing their Master’s spirit of peace and love. (Colossians 3:14-15 .) A blessed office indeed is it! pouring in the balm of peaceful counsel upon irritated feeling. They will mediate, explain, and cover with considerate prudence all the little causes of excitement. They will bring out the strong and unchangeable obligations of Christian love. They will seize the happy moment of softening to rekindle confidence. Happy indeed are they, in the joy of their own conscience, in their dignity as "the children of God" (Matthew 5:9 ), in the rich harvest of their Christian exertions. (James 3:17-18 .) Instead of being filled with mischief, no evil shall happen to them. Evil, whenever permitted, will become their good. (Romans 8:28 .) They shall be supported in it,†4 delivered out of it,†5 sanctified by it.†6 Its sharpness will pierce their corruptions. Its bitterness will wean them from the creature. Its furnace will mold them into the image of their Lord. Thus, what to the ungodly would be a mass of sorrow, to the just becomes a world of blessing.

Freedom from deceit is their broad mark in the promiscuous crowd. They not only speak, but they deal truly: uniform in light and life. (John 3:21 .) They bear the image of a God of truth, and he delights in them. (Proverbs 11:1 .) "They are children that cannot lie. So he is their Saviour." (Isaiah 63:8 ; Isaiah 33:15-16 .)

Footnotes:

†1 ’As one common but most responsible instance of this,’ (observes Mr. Goode in his valuable Sermon on this text), ’is instructing servants to say — ’Not at home.’ Great is their guilt, who thus tempt a fellow-creature to utter a palpable untruth for the paltry convenience of a master. No Christian servant will consent to defile his conscience by acquiescing in any such iniquity. ’It is a matter of common consent, and every one understands it.’ Be it so — it is untruth still, and lying lips are abomination to the LORD. Moreover, if it be so generally understood, and admitted without offense; then how much more honourable and Christian to say at once — ’We are engaged. We wish to be alone!’ Who that accepts one excuse, will not readily accept the other!’ Compare Sirach 7:13 .

†2 Lavater in loco.

†3 Psalms 99:8. Compare the example of Jacob, Genesis 27. With Genesis 37:31-35 . David’s He punished with such dreadful results, 1 Samuel 21:2 ; 1 Samuel 22:18-19 .

†4 1 Corinthians 10:13 . 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 .

†5 Proverbs 12:13. Psalms 34:19 .

†6 Psalms 119:67, Psalms 119:71 .

Verse 23

Knowledge is a talent to be wisely, not promiscuously, communicated. (Proverbs 9:9 . Matthew 7:6 .) In Scriptural knowledge indeed there must be no concealment of fundamental truths (Psalms 40:9-10 . 1 Corinthians 15:3 ); or in declaring on suitable occasions, or to suitable persons, the gracious dealings of God to our own souls. Much harm would be done by obtruding upon the ungodly those interior matters of Christian experience, which we are invited to tell to those "that fear God." (Psalms 66:16 .) Everyffor every person, or for every time. (Ecclesiastes 3:7 . Amos 5:13 .) Our blessed Lord charged upon his disciples the prudent concealment of knowledge, after his example, till a more favorable season. (Matthew 16:20 ; Matthew 17:9 . John 16:12 .) The Apostle concealed his knowledge for fourteen years, and even then mentioned it reluctantly, to vindicate his own rightful claims of Apostleship. (2 Corinthians 12:1-6 .) Elihu, though "full of matter," and longing to give vent, yet prudently concealed his knowledge, till his elders had opened his way. (Job 32:6, Job 32:18-19 .)

Circumstances also may sometimes prudently dictate concealment. Abraham spared the feelings of his family, and cleared his own path, by hiding the dreadful message of his God.†1 Joseph concealed his kindred for the discipline of his brethren (Genesis 42:7 ); Esther from a prudent regard to consequences to herself. (Esther 2:10 .) Nothing can justify speaking contrary to the truth. But we are not always obliged to tell the whole truth. Jeremiah answered all that he was bound to speak; not all that he might have spoken. (Jeremiah 38:24-27 .) In all these cases "the wise man’s heart will discern both time and judgment" (Ecclesiastes 8:5 . Proverbs 15:2 ); cherishing at once a sound judgment and an ardent love for truth.

The fool however everywhere proclaims his foolishness. (Ecclesiastes 10:3, Ecclesiastes 10:12-14.) He imprudently opens his heart. (Judges 16:17 .) He is dogmatical in dispute, when wiser men are cautious. He is teaching, when he ought to take the learner’s place; his self-confidence proclaiming his emptiness. (1 Timothy 6:3-4 .) Self distrust and humility are most important, to enable us to improve the gifts of God for his glory.

Footnotes:

†1 Genesis 22:1-7. Compare Moses’ conduct, Exodus 4:18 .

Verse 24

Diligence is the ordinary path to advancement. Pharaoh required men of activity for the charge of his cattle (Genesis 47:6 ); Solomon for the administration of his kingdom. (1 Kings 11:28 .) This was Joseph’s road to bearing rule. (Proverbs 22:29 .) But if it does not raise in the world, it will command influence in its own sphere. The faithful steward is made ruler over his Lord’s household. (Matthew 24:45-47 .) The active trader bears rule over many cities. (Matthew 25:21 .) Diligence therefore is not a moral virtue separate from religion, but rather a component part of it. (Romans 12:11 .)

The slothful spirit brings a man under bondage. ’He is perpetually needing counsel of others, and hanging upon it.’†1 In the grand concern, he is the slave of his own lust; in the worst service, under the most degrading tyranny; "wicked" because "slothful," and "cast out and condemned as an unprofitable servant." (Matthew 25:26-30 .) Christian Professor! tremble at this responsibility of doing nothing, of living for thine own indulgence; neglecting the great object of life — the only object that tells upon eternity.

Footnotes:

†1 Dathe in loco. ’The slothful shall become subservient to others.’ — French and Skinner’s Translation of Proverbs. with notes, 1831. Compare Proverbs 10:4 ; Proverbs 11:29 .

Verse 25

Heaviness in heart is a palsy, that maketh it stoop, as under an intolerable burden. (Genesis 37:33-35 ; Genesis 42:38 .) And gladdening indeed is a good word of sympathy and comfort! (Nehemiah 1:4, with Nehemiah 2:1-8 .) ’This maxim therefore points out an easy and cheerful way of being useful.’†1 Here we realize the precious efficacy of the Gospel. How full is it of these good words! Is it distress for sin? "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden; and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28 .) Is it the pressure of affliction? How good is the word, "that speaketh unto us as unto children;" warning us neither to "despise, nor to faint, under the chastening of the Lord!" (Hebrews 12:5 .) Is it despondency? Oft is the good word repeated — "Fear not." (Isaiah 41:10, Isaiah 41:14 ; Isaiah 43:1 .) Know we not the voice — "It is I; be not afraid"? (Matthew 14:27 .) Human sympathy may give temporary relief. But ’that was the grace, softer than oil, sweeter than roses, which flows from the Savior’s lips into the sinner’s wounds; and being poured into the contrite heart, not only heals, but blesses it, yea, and marks it out for eternal blessedness. Oh! how sweet is the voice of pardon to a soul groaning under the burden of sin!’†2 David, but for these good words, "would have perished in his affliction." (Psalms 119:92 .) What beside made glad the jailor’s stooping heart? (Acts 16:28-34 .) Precious indeed is the privilege, to strengthen the weak hands "with a good word of God" (Isaiah 35:3-4 ); to take the chair by the mourner’s side, and "comfort him with the same comfort, wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God." (2 Corinthians 1:4 .) Precious is the ministry of the gospel, commissioned with the gladdening word to the heavy of heart. (Job 33:23-26 . Isaiah 40:1-2 .) Yet more precious the office of the Beloved Savior, "gifted with the tongue of the learned," and filled with the unction of the Spirit, for the express purpose of "comforting them that mourn." (Isaiah 50:4 . Isaiah 61:1-2 .) How tenderly did he perform this office, let his last sermon testify. (John 14. — 16.) See then the provision for joy, so rich, so free, so ready. Beware "lest Satan should get advantage" by a brooding spirit. (2 Corinthians 2:7 .) Think on thy obligation and thy privilege to "rejoice in the Lord." (Philippians 3:1 ; Philippians 4:4 .)

Footnotes:

†1 Scott.

†2 Leighton’s Meditations on Psalms 130:4 .

Verse 26

God and the world are at issue in their estimate of his own people. The righteous is low indeed in man’s scale. But place him beside the wicked (Mark 6:20 ) — even upon the same level (2 Kings 3:14 ), and his superiority is acknowledged. More excellent is he in character, more abundant in privilege, than his neighbour, be his external advantage and endowments ever so great. Look at his birth, a child of God;†1 his dignity, a king;†2 his connections, a member of the family of heaven;†3 his inheritance, a title to both worlds;†4 his food, the bread of everlasting life;†5 his clothing, the righteousness of the Savior;†6 his prospects, infinite and everlasting joy.†7 Mark the honour which his God puts upon him. He is the fullness of Christ;†8 "the temple of the Holy Ghost,"†9 throwing the splendour of Solomon’s temple into the shade.†10 Angels, while "beholding the face of their Father which is in heaven," count it an honour to "minister to him as an heir of salvation."†11 How can his neighbour’s most exalted privileges compare with his? Contrast his high walk with God in "the holiest;"†12 his heavenly profession before men (Philippians 2:15 ); his Christian victory over himself (Proverbs 16:32 . Matthew 16:24 ), with his groveling neighbour. For ’what an unprofitable drudgery is the service of the greatest prince in the world, in comparison with the work of a poor Christian, that liveth in communion with God!’†13 And then — passing to the last contemplation — see him in the full enjoyment of his present prospects, "carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom;"†14 "entering into the joy of his Lord;"†15 welcome before the assembled world;†16 then fixed on the throne of his Lord,†17 to be with him,†18 near him,†19 like him,†20 for ever — what are his neighbour’s prospects, but as hell compared with heaven?†21 Can we doubt this testimony — The righteous is more excellent than his neighbour?

But we must not decide this character according to the standard of this world. It includes all that is meant in that important but despised word — conversion. What is commonly meant by amendment comes very far short of it. That is only an external work. Conversion is an inward change. That is only partial. This is total. That concerns only the outward conduct, and leaves the heart untouched. But whatever good may be in it of moral restraint, the principles are to be found with a far higher standard and tone in the inward change, which reaches the heart, infuses there a new and heavenly principle, and turns it to God by Christ, as its centre of rest, peace, and holiness. Here alone is the real excellence, bearing the stamp of God, and commanding often the reluctant admiration of the world.

But though wicked Balaam acknowledged the higher excellence of the righteous, his own way seduced him to his own ruin. (Numbers 31:8 .) Saul’s testimony to David, and Joash’s reverence for Elisha, still left them seduced by the power of their own corruptions. (Isaiah 44:20 .) Always is this way more pleasant to flesh, and therefore more generally approved. Hence is the wicked easily seduced with the appearance of the right way, and blinded to his own ruin. (1 Samuel 24:17 . 2 Kings 13:14, with 2 Kings 13:11 .) Let me weigh my path most carefully — With whom am I walking? In what way?

Footnotes:

†1 John 1:12-13.

†2 Revelation 1:6.

†3 Hebrews 12:22-23.

†4 Matthew 5:5. 1 Corinthians 3:22-23 .

†5 John 6:35-58.

†6 Isaiah 61:10.

†7 Isaiah 35:10.

†8 Ephesians 1:23.

†9 1 Corinthians 6:19 .

†10 Isaiah 66:1-2.

†11 Matthew 18:10. Hebrews 1:14 .

†12 Hebrews 10:19-20.

†13 Manton on Psalms 119:45 . ’God knows how much rather I would be the obscure tenant of a lath-and-plaster cottage, with a lively sense of my interest in a Redeemer, than the most admired object of public notice without it.’ — Cowper’s Private Correspondence.

†14 Luke 16:22.

†15 Matthew 25:21.

†16 Matthew 25:34.

†17 Revelation 3:21.

†18 John 14:3.

†19 Revelation 7:15.

†20 1 John 3:2 .

†21 Proverbs 14:32. Matthew 25:41 .

Verse 27

How miserable and ruinous is the habit of sloth! It is a dead palsy, under God only to be checked by early discipline and constant resistance. Sometimes however the man makes a vigorous and successful effort. He rouses himself even to the toil of hunting. But his fit of exertion is soon over. He cannot be at the pains of preparing his prey for his repast. (Contrast Genesis 27:30-31 .) He leaves it to others, perhaps even to his dogs; and quickly relapses into his beloved habit.

Is not this a graphical picture of the slothful professor? He will take up religion under a strong excitement. He begins a new course, and perhaps makes some advances in it. But "having no root in himself," his good frames and resolutions wither away. (Matthew 13:20-21 .) The continued exertion required (Matthew 11:12 ) ; the violence that must be done to his deep-rooted habits; the difficulties in his new path; the invitations to present ease; the delusive hope of better success at a future day — all these hang as a weight upon his efforts. So that, not knowing the only secret of resistance to his powerful enemy — earnest and persevering prayer; he grows slack, and with just life enough to feel himself dying, he sits down upon his little attainments; thus virtually throwing them away; content to lose heaven itself, if it is to be gained at such a cost. (Proverbs 13:4 ; Proverbs 21:25 ; Proverbs 26:15 .) What use — professor! is it to make an effort, if you do not seek the grace of perseverance? No present blessing can be enjoyed without grasping something beyond. (Philippians 3:12-14 .) Godliness without energy loses its full reward. (2 John 1:8 .) The enfeebling influence of doubts and fears often arises, not from a deep feeling of corruption, but from an indolent habit, and a want of a realized conviction of the infinite stake of the soul, calling for instant and persevering labour.

Real substance (Proverbs 8:21 ; Proverbs 15:6 ) is the reward of the diligent; precious, as the fruit of his toil; and increasing by his unwearied exercise. (Matthew 25:16, Matthew 25:28-29 .) Live then — Christian — more in thy work — "spend and be spent" in it. Thy privileges will be enlarged. Thy substance will be enriched. Thy God will be honoured. (John 15:8 . Philippians 1:11 .) Thy crown will be secured. (2 Peter 1:11 .)

Verse 28

Righteousness is here crowned with "life and immortality."†1 So clearly did the wise man see beyond this dying world; and catch the sun-beams of glory "brought to light by the Gospel!" (2 Timothy 1:10 .) The way of righteousness is the way of God’s salvation (John 14:6 ), in which his children come to him; the way of his commandments, in which they love to walk with him. (Isaiah 35:8 .) In this way is present life (Proverbs 8:35 ; Proverbs 10:16 ), "a passage from death unto life" eternal. (John 5:24 .) Enjoying the sense of God’s love; confiding in his unspeakable, satisfying friendship; consecrating ourselves in spiritual devotedness to his service; anticipating the fullness of his eternal joy — this is life indeed for eternity.†2 For where the life of grace is possessed, the life of glory is secured. It is "hid with Christ in God" (Colossians 3:3 ); so that — "Because I live, ye shall live also." (John 14:19 .)

In this pathway there is no death. (John 8:51 ; John 11:25 .) The curse of the first death hath passed away. (Romans 5:21 .) The power of "the second death cannot hurt." (Revelation 2:11 ; Revelation 20:6 .) "The body is dead because of sin." (Romans 8:10 ; Romans 5:12 .) Yet it "sleeps," rather than dies, under the care of Jesus. (Acts 7:60 . 1 Thessalonians 4:14 .) "Surely the bitterness of death is passed." Now, "O death! where is thy sting?" (1 Corinthians 15:55 .) Sheathed in the body of Jesus.

And is not this cheering privilege, this glorious hope, an infinite recompense for all the crosses of the way? Contrast the ways of sin, full of death (Romans 8:6 . Ephesians 2:1 . 1 Timothy 5:6 ), ending in death eternal. (Matthew 7:13 . Romans 6:21 .) Then wonder at the multitudes "loving death." (Proverbs 8:36 .) Pity, pray for them, "pull them out of the fire." (Judges 1:23 .) Adore the riches of that Sovereign grace, which has brought you to righteousness, to life, to salvation.

Footnotes:

†1 ’In the path of righteousness is life; yea — the highway is immortality.’ — MSS. Translation of Proverbs, by the late Dr. Good. See also Schultens.

†2 ’Those who seek after righteousness preserve, and increase in themselves the spiritual life of God’s grace, and the presence of his Spirit, and so attain to life everlasting.’ — Diodati.

Bibliographical Information
Bridges, Charles. "Commentary on #REF". Bridges' Commentary on Proverb. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbp/proverbs-12.html. 1846.
 
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