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Wisdom the Builder
Men everywhere are engaged in house-building. Some in dreamy castle-building; some in material fortune-building; all in inward character-building, building up, each one of them, the history of a life, the destiny of an eternity.
I. To begin at the bottom of the scale, let us glance at that kind of building which with so many people is the first and chief concern of life the building up of their material fortunes.
While heavenly wisdom will not permit us to make material success, the pursuit of mere fortune, a chief end of life, it is nevertheless true that the possession and practice of this wisdom has much to do, both in the individual life and on a larger scale in society, with the building up of a stable, a durable prosperity. We know very well that for sound, stable, durable prosperity in a country, as in the individual, we must have as a foundation, before all else, character, honesty, probity, reliableness; strict, just, and honourable dealing between man and man.
II. Turn now from this outward building to that which is at first sight its very opposite. But you see how closely they are connected. From the building up of material fortune, I mean, to the inward building up of character.
Every man, by every thought he thinks, by the habits he acquires, the actions he performs, is building up a house for himself, a habitation for his soul, none the less real that he cannot just walk out of it and leave it behind him when he wills. The mind is its own place, and may become to its possessor a palace or a prison. You enter one soul: it is a foul, contracted, base, poison-laden chamber, the inlets through which one might enter into it are choked up. You enter another soul: it is a broad and spacious habitation. There is a lofty and noble outlook, towards heaven and upon earth. And whence this difference? Simply that the one has been building without this heavenly wisdom, and the other has been building with it.
III. Take now another step, and look for a moment at the building up of a house of knowledge and art. It might seem at first as if knowledge, and certainly art, were independent of character, or of the possession of this moral wisdom. But in reality it is not so. The keystone of all true knowledge is found in reverence for God.
IV. In church building also we need the reminder of our text. The more evils abound around us, and the more we think they abound, the more earnestly we should set ourselves to what is specially the duty placed before us by Divine Wisdom Himself, the. work, the task, of building up the kingdom of God in the hearts of men and in the world.
J. Orr, Christian World Pulpit, vol. LXVIII. 1905, p. 134.
References. XXIV. 4. W. Skinner, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lvii. 1900, p. 108. XXIV. 10. J. A. Picton, Pulpit Discourses, p. 3. XXIV. 11, 12. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture Esther, Job, Proverbs, etc., p. 263. J. Guinness Rogers, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xlix. 1896, p. 193. Mark Guy Pearse, Christian World Pulpit, vol. 1. 1896, p. 273. W. Arnot, Laws from Heaven for Life on Earth, p. 485.
Ruskin says: 'The plea of ignorance will never take away our responsibilities. It is written, "If thou sayest, Behold we knew it not; doth not He that pondereth the heart consider it? and He that keepeth thy soul, doth not He know it?"'
References. XXIV. 21. W. Arnot, Laws from Heaven for Life on Earth, p. 491. XXIV. 30, 31. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture Esther, Job, Proverbs, etc., p. 269. XXIV. 30-32. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxxiv. No. 2027. XXIV. 30-34. W. Gray Elmslie, Expository Lectures and Sermons, p. 178. W. Arnot, Laws from Heaven for Life on Earth, p. 498. XXIV. 31. F. B. Cowl, Straight Tracks, p. 50. XXIV. 32. J. Parker, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xlvii. 1895, p. 323. XXV. 1-5. W. Arnot, Laws from Heaven for Life on Earth, p. 500. XXV. 2. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xlix. No. 2838. XXV. 3. J. B. Lightfoot, Ordination Addresses, p. 30. XXV. 11. S. Cox, Expositions, p. 149. XXV. 13, 19. W. Arnot, Laws from Heaven for Life on Earth, p. 505. XXV. 21, 22. Ibid. p. 509. XXV. 23. Ibid. p. 515. XXV. 26. Ibid. p. 519. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. 1. No. 2866. XXV. 28. W. G. Rutherford, The Key of Knowledge, p. 117. A. L. Lilley, A Lent in London, p. 214. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture Esther, Job, Proverbs, etc., p. 274.
The Legs of the Lame Are Not Equal
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Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Proverbs 24". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany