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Lectures on Proverbs Chapters 14 Thru 16

Lectures on Proverbs Chapters 14 Thru 16

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Aug 17, 2013
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EDITED BY HIS SO,THE REV. J. S. WARDLAW, A.M.LECTURE XXXV.Prov. xiv. 25—31."A true witness delivereth souls: but a deceitful witness speaketh lies. Inthe fear of the Lord is strong confidence ; and his children shall have a place of refuge. The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death. In the multitude of people is the king's honour : hut in the want of people is the destruction of the prince. He that is slow to wrath is of greatunderstanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly. A sound heart isthe life of the flesh : but envy the rottenness of the bones. He that oppresseththe poor reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoureth him hath mercy on thepoor.""A true witness delivereth souls" The words might berendered with greater propriety, and wider comprehensive-ness — " a true witness saveth lives." But it may he said,and said justly, that a faithful testimony does not alwayssave life. Such a testimony may evidently condemn a manas well as acquit him. It depends entirely, not on thefidelity of the witness, but on the facts of the case. If the facts are criminatory, a true witness must tell them asthey are — " the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but thetruth," — and the fault rests not with him that his testimonywarrants a sentence of condemnation. The duty of givingsuch evidence may often be most painful; but the "truewitness" must submit to this: the truth must be told. — Andwhile true testimony may condemn, false testimony mayacquit; while the former may destroy life, the latter maysave it. Many a time has a false and perjured witnessbrought off a pannel that was guilty and deserved the pun-ishment pronounced by the law against the offence charged.
II. A2 LECTURE XXXV.It is probable, therefore, that the intended antithesis re-lates, not so much to the actual fact of truth saving andfalsehood condemning, as to the dispositions and intentionsof the faithful witness on the one hand, and the lying wit-ness on the other. The faithful witness delights in givingtestimony that will save life — that will be salutary andbeneficial to his fellow-creatures. The lying witness will, ingeneral, be found actuated by a malevolent and wicked pur-pose, having pleasure in giving testimony that will go tocondemn the object of his malice. The sentiment will thusbe, that truth is most generally found in union with kind-ness of heart, and falsehood with malevolence. And this isnatural ; the former being both good, the latter both evil ;falsehood more naturally akin to malice, and truth to love." A deceitful witness" is evidently not intended to be under-stood of a witness who deceives for the good of others.A man may occasionally deceive for such a purpose; butthis is the exception, not the rule. The deceitful man de-ceives for his own advantage: — while the man of truthregards not the results, whether to others or to himself;but, be they painful or pleasant, considers only what fidelityand veracity demand of him : not things as he may wishthem, but things as they are*Verse 2 6. " In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence ;and his children shall have a place of refuge."He who fears God, according to the revelation He hasgiven of himself, may well have " strong confidence." Thatin which he confides is all infinite: — the truth, the love,the wisdom, the power of his covenant God! What con-fidence shall be strong, if this is not strong? The Godwhom he fears and loves (for in the Scripture sense he can-not fear without loving) has given, in the name of his Son," exceeding great and precious promises ; " — precious inthemselves, in the fulness of blessing, for time and for eter-nity, which they contain; precious, as given by divinefidelity; precious, as pledged and made sure of fulfilment* Comp. chap. vi. 19; xii. 17; xiii. 5.
PROVERBS XIV. 25—31. 3by all tlie resources of divine wisdom and divine power.Whatever the love of God has induced Him graciously topromise, no power or combination of powers in existencecan stay from being done.The psalms abound with expressions of confidence, corre-sponding with the phraseology of the latter part of the verse — " And his" (the Lord's) "children shall have a place of refuge." This does not mean merely that God in His pro-vidence will see to their protection and preservation in sea-sons of danger and calamity — true though that is, but that,to them, as His children, He himself will be " as a hiding-place from the storm, and a covert from the tempest ; " sothat they shall fully realize the security ; and, in the enjoy-ment of " perfect peace," say with the prophet, " The Lordis good, a strong hold in the day of trouble ; and he know-eth them that trust in him," JSTah. i. 7.What is before said (chap. xiii. 14.) of "the law of thewise" is in next verse said of " the fear of the Lord." " Thefear of the Lord is a fountain of life, to depart from thesnares of death."There is a perfect and beautiful harmony between the two." The law of the wise," is the great practical principle bywhich their whole character is formed and their whole con-duct regulated, and that principle is " the fear of the Lord."And if the "law of the wise" be interpreted in the formerpassage, more generally, of the divine word, which thewise take as the " light of their feet and the lamp of theirpath," the authoritative guide of all their ways, — what, westill ask anew, is the leading lesson of that very word % Is itnot that the fear of the Lord is wisdom, and the beginningof wisdom 1 ? Is not the very purpose of God's word to revealHim to guilty men in the appropriate character of the Godof their salvation? And is not the very purpose of themanifestation of God's mercy to rectify the state of theheart toward Him? Is there not "forgiveness with Him thatHe may be feared?"ow " this fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, to departfrom the snares of death." From these it effectually pre-

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