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Lectures on Proverbs Chapters 11 and 12

Lectures on Proverbs Chapters 11 and 12

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Published by glennpease

BY REV. RALPH WARDLAW, D.D.


EDITED BY HIS SON,

THE REV. J. S. WARDLAW, A.M.

BY REV. RALPH WARDLAW, D.D.


EDITED BY HIS SON,

THE REV. J. S. WARDLAW, A.M.

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Published by: glennpease on Aug 17, 2013
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LECTURES O PROVERBS CHAPTERS 11 AD 12BY REV. RALPH WARDLAW, D.D.
EDITED BY HIS SO,THE REV. J. S. WARDLAW, A.M.
LECTURE XXIir.Pnuv. XI. 1 — 9.
" A false balance is abomination to the Lord : but a just weight is his delight.When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom. Tiieintegrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressorsshall destroy them. Riches profit not in the day of wrath : but righteousnessdelivereth from death. Tiie righteousness of the perfect shall direct his way:but the wicked shall f.ill by his own wickedness. The righteousness of theupright shall deliver them: but transgressors shall be taken in their own naugh-tiness. When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish: and the hopeof unjust men perisheth. Tiie rigliteous is delivered out of trouble, and thewicked cometh in his stead. An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth hisneigiibour: but through knowledge shall the j.ust be delivei-ed."
It is common for a general sentiment to be conveyed under alimited form of expression ; for an individual case to be selected,to illustrate and enforce a universal principle. Thus it is inthe first of these verses. The general affirmation is mani-festly couched under a particular one, that all unjust dealingis " an abomination to the Lord ; " while all righteous dealingis "liis delight." The God of the Bible is — " the righteousLord who loveth righteousness, and whose countenance dothbehold the upright." And the pervading injunctions of hisword are in harmony Avith this representation of Ms cha-racter. Under similar terms to those before us, the divineinjunctions and prohibitions are frequent and strong,* andthe violation of this maxim is one of the sins Avhich we findcomplained of by the j^rophets, as amongst the causes of the
 
divine judgments ujDon Israel. t* See Lev. xix. 35, 36: Dcut. xxv. 13 — 16: Prov. xvi. 11, &c.f Hosea xii. 7: Amos viii. 4 — 6: Mic. vi. 10, 11, &c.PROVERBS XL 1—9. 269I speak to many who are inen of business. Do not, pray,take the language literally, as if it had apphcation only tosuch as, in their business, actually require the use of scalesand weights? It involves the principle of all your mutualdealings. In all these, the eye of God is upon you.Many are pleased at the dexterity with wliich they prac-tise their deceptions. The fraud is undiscovered ; and, beingundiscovered, is unfelt by those on whom it is practised :— andwhat is never known and never felt, can be no liai-m. So theythink. But God sees it; and He estimates the action onno such principle:— no; nor is it the principle on whichvon would estimate it, were you the party defrauded. Youhave no idea, in your OAvn case, of admitting that what isnot missed is not lost; or that the cleverness of the fraud isany palhation of it. You do not think the better of themerchant with his " balances of deceit," that the unfairness otthe balance is ingeniously concealed. You do not regard itas a compensation for the property abstracted from yourplundered house or warehouse, that the impression of yourkeys has been adroitly obtained, or the mode of entranceskilfully devised and expertly executed. You do not approveof the laws of ancient Sparta, which, to encourage clevernessand sleight of hand, rewarded instead of pumshmg theyouthfal thief who could steal without detection. Dependupon it, if vou plume yourself on the dexterity with whichyou have contrived and executed a plan for cozening yourneighbour, it will be no palhation with God, nor mil anyamount of such dexterity produce any abatement of His sen-tence of condemnation. It is the moral jorincijyle, or icantof principle, in which the evil hes ; and the very measm-e of 
 
thought and contrivance expended for the purpose of ensuringsuccess s in the contravention of God's law, instead of diminisli-ing, will serve to aggravate your guilt in His sight. The" abomination " will be only the more loathsome.Many are the subterfuges, many the quirks and evasions,to which men betake themselves, ^^ith a view to shelter theirconsciences and keep them easy in the practice of iniquity.And amongst others may be particularized the commonness of 270 LECTURE XXIII.certain modes ol' deception and fraudulent dealing. Oli!say they, there is no man in the line by whom, it is not moreor less done; and if we do not conform to the custom, weshall be undersold by our neighboiu's, and may shut shop atonce. Then, I reply, if you are Clnistians, do so. Eun allrisks, incur all losses, rather than offend God. Wliat youdo is not the less " abomination " to Him, that it is done bymany as Avell as by you. That is only so much the morelamentable ; and the stronger is the reason why Chiistiansshould, by their stern adherence to integrit}^, rebuke the pre-valent practice, by acting as exceptions to it. — There are fewdepartments, for instance, in which fi'aud is so little thoughtof, as when it is practised upon the revenue of the country.And yet there is nothing as to which the requisitions of theBible are more peremptory, and wliich is more distinctly andstrongly put under the regulation of a sensitive conscience.The difference between the man who cheats a single customerand the man who cheats the revenue is, that the former de-frauds one, while the latter defrauds millions. Let not yourquestion be, fellow-christians, AVhat is interest ? but, "Wliat isduty? not, A\liat will m.pn think? but, What will God tliink]Shun every approach to what you know, from His word, to be" an abomination " to Him ; and practise imvaryingly, in defi-ance of human opinions and of all apprehended consequences,that in wliich He delights ; — for of all evils the worst is God'sdispleasure, and of all blessings the richest is God's favour.

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