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I. It is a very hard thing to live through a month without being unkind or angry. Calm and sweet tempers are rare; and perhaps we may say, without disparaging their value or their beauty, that it is not to these to which we naturally look for the most conspicuous services in the cause of God. Their province is to heal, to calm, to sweeten life; but perhaps it is from more fiery yes, and more turbulent natures, that we must expect the initiative in works of good.
II. "A soft answer turneth away wrath." Some provocation is presupposed; some one has, or fancies he has, a grievance. Such grievances must arise in our common life. In this sense, "it must be that offences come." What an opening there is here for our putting in practice Solomon's wise and truly Christian proverb: "A soft answer turneth away wrath"!
III. If there be such happiness in a soft answer, how is it that it is so hard to give it? There is one great obstacle to which all others may be reduced the obstacle of pride. When harsh words are addressed to us which we feel to be unmerited, we cannot bring ourselves to forego the delight of a successful retort, still less can we bear to admit that any part of the wrong is of our doing. Pride disguises itself very cunningly, so that even a high-minded Christian is misled by its craft.
IV. Remember the blessing pronounced on the peacemakers. No man ever repented the endeavour to rekindle "quietness, peace, and love" among friends who ought never to have been parted.
H. M. Butler, Harrow Sermons, 2nd series, p. 163.
References: Proverbs 15:1 . W. Arnot, Laws from Heaven, 1 st series, p. 424.Proverbs 15:1-6 . R. Wardlaw, Lectures on Proverbs, vol. ii., p. 20. Proverbs 15:3 . Proverbs 15:11 . W. Arnot, Laws from Heaven, 2nd series, p. 9. Proverbs 15:4 . W. Gladden, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxvii., p. 132.Proverbs 15:6 . T. Wallace, Ibid., vol. xi., p. 174; H. J. Wilmot Buxton, Literary Churchman Sermons, p. 153.Proverbs 15:7-12 . R. Wardlaw, Lectures on Proverbs, vol. ii., p. 29. Proverbs 15:11 . Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. iv., No. 177. Proverbs 15:13 . W. Arnot, Laws from Heaven, 2nd series, p. 30. Proverbs 15:13-20 . R. Wardlaw, Lectures on Proverbs, vol. ii., p. 40. Proverbs 15:14 , Proverbs 15:31 . W. Arnot, Laws from Heaven, 2nd series, p. 37. Proverbs 15:16 , Proverbs 15:17 . Clergyman's Magazine, vol. xi., p. 152.Proverbs 15:19 . Spurgeon, My Sermon Note 19 Genesis to Proverbs, p. 172.
I. Consider in what this wisdom consists. Wisdom in the Proverbs does not mean simply intellectual greatness, or intellectual acquirements; a man may be very learned and clever, yet be quite destitute of that excellent wisdom of which Solomon speaks. Wisdom means goodness; it means striving to discover what is God's will as regards the conduct of our lives, and acting upon it when discovered. It means keeping God's commandments and loving and fearing Him, and doing unto all men as we would they should do unto us.
II. Consider how a wise son will treat his parents. (1) A wise son honours and respects his parents no less in their absence than in their presence. For him their wish is law, whether they know at the time, whether they will ever know, that he is fulfilling it or not. (2) The honour and respect which we owe our parents will be shown, not only in our acts, but in our words, when we speak or write to them, and our very looks when we are with them. He that refuses a proper reverence to age, though he may fancy he is asserting his superiority, is only proving in reality his own littleness. (3) A wise son is not content with honouring his parents, he also loves them very dearly, and does his best in absence to keep up that warmth of affection which was realised when he was with them.
III. These things are an allegory. Our earthly relations are but a figure of our heavenly relations. The tenderness, the loving care, the joyful self-sacrifice of our earthly parents, are meant to assure us of, and to aid us in believing in, the exceeding great love of our heavenly Father towards us.
E. H. Bradby, Sermons at Haileybury, p. 265.
I. It is of importance to take notice of that habit which is opposed to the duty for which the text contends; I mean the habit of reserve. It would be a grievous mistake to suppose that this habit is wholly a bad one. But the important point to notice is, that the reaction against the counterfeit of devotion is likely to rob us of what was intended by God to be a true aid to devotion. How often have we seen persons of the greatest ability, and the purest hearts, who yet dared not produce what was in them, because they saw other persons to be insincerely and offensively doing the same. This reserve is incomparably superior to a frivolous superficial interchange of religious experiences; but it is far inferior to Christian simplicity. It does not represent the spirit of Paul or John, or of great reformers, or of the most heroic characters. It certainly does not represent the mind of Christ.
II. "A word spoken in due season, how good is it!" (1) There is the word of warning; (2) the word of encouragement; (3) the word of sympathy; (4) the word of congratulation; (5) the word of explanation and apology. To be in any sense "a son of consolation," to be able to make life a little sweeter for others, good a little easier, evil a little more hated and despised, this would be a high privilege for the oldest as well as the youngest among us. Words can do much in this Christian work. Think of the blessing involved in these words of Isaiah, "The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary." If God has not given to each of us the tongue of the learned, He has given to each, if we will but use it, the tongue of truth, of kindness, of purity, of sympathy. There are many, who are "weary" of other sounds, who would gladly listen to sounds like these.
H. M. Butler, Harrow Sermons, p. 217.
References: Proverbs 15:23 . H. J. Wilmot Buxton, The Children's Bread, pp. 49, 56. Proverbs 15:33 . Clergyman's Magazine, vol. ii., p. 10; W. Arnot, Laws from Heaven, 2nd series, p. 45; Spurgeon, Evening by Evening, p. 96. Proverbs 16:1-3 . R. Wardlaw, Lectures on Proverbs, vol. ii., p. 65.
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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Proverbs 15". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany