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Proverbs Chapters 21-31

Proverbs Chapters 21-31

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Sep 25, 2013
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PROVERBS CHAPTERS 21-31BY JOSEPH PARKER Chapter xxi." An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sm **(ver. 4).THE PLOWIG OF THE WICKED, ETC.BY " the plowing of the wicked " we are to understand thewhole scope of their work ; all that the wicked man doesis sinful. Here we see an operation of the law of cause andeffect. Sometimes it is supposed that a man may be very bad,and yet may do good deeds; we say a man is a drunkard, andyet he is most generous to the poor ; we say that a man is cruel,and yet that he is disposed to take a charitable view of certainactions; we say that a man is covetous, and yet that he ismagnanimous in judgment. The text will have nothing to dowith such reasoning. It first establishes the character of theman, and having determined that, everything else falls intoproper position and value. Whatever the bad man does is itself bad, not relatively but essentially. A drunkard may give analms to a poor person, and that alms may be well bestowed andmost acceptable ; yet it counts nothing to the credit of thedrunkard himself, for he may be but bribing his conscience, orenlarging his opportunities for self-indulgence, or yielding to amerely animal sentiment : the act itself is bad because the actoris bad. Beware of the discrimination which seeks to distinguishbetween the doer and the deed. If a bad man could do gooddeeds, then the necessity for regeneration would be disproved.If a good tree could bring forth bad fruit, or a bad tree couldbring forth good fruit, essential relations would be changed. TheBible teaches us everywhere that everything depends upon thestate of the heart, and that though deeds may be relatively goodand temporarily of great value, yet as water cannot rise aboveits level, so no deed can rise above the moral level of the doer2*1^ THE PEOPLE'S BIBLE. [Prov. xxi. 5, 8." Ye must be born again." Only the good man can do the really
good deed." The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness ; but of everyone that is hasty only to want " (ver. 5).*' Every one that is hasty " points to those who the more hastethey make the less speed they realise ; they do things carelesslyor perfunctorily ; they wish to get them out of hand ; instead of being critical, patient, painstaking, looking into everything care-fully with a view of securing exactness, they hurry their work,they drive along with thoughtlessness, anxious only to gain agoal, and utterly careless as to the way through which they passto its attainment. This policy of life is utterly condemnedbecause of its consequences ; there is nothing abiding that is notin itself really good ; the harvest depends upon the seedtime ; if we have not been correct in our moral basis and just in ourmoral policy, no matter what our gain may be it will evaporate,or take to itself wings and flee away, or be only an aggravationof our discontent. Only that is done which is well done.Only that is settled which is settled rightly. Only that willbring forth a great harvest which is in harmony with the structureand the purpose of the universe. We must work by the waysof God, and by eternal ordinances : all our short cuts, and readymethods, and . accelerated policies, tend to confusion, and dis-appointment, and want. This is the affirmation of the wise man,and how far it is correct can be judged by the open page of human history, and can certainly be tested at once by referenceto our own experience." The way of man is froward and strange : but as for the pure, his work is right " (ver. 8).The meaning is that if a man himself is bad, all the way ortrack which he makes in life will be marked by crookedness orsinuousness. The bad man cannot go straightforwardly. Whena man is intoxicated he reels from side to side of the road ; whena man is carrying a burden that is too heavy for him he cannotkeep steadfastly on his feet, and the way which he leaves behindhim is marked by irregularity: this is the teaching of the text ; if aman is laden with sin he will leave a tortuous track behind him;he will be here and there, he will be unsteady and uncertain ;Prov.xxi. 12.] THE HOUSE OF THE WICKED. 277it is impossible for him to go straightforwardly because of the
oppression of the weight under which he reels. The contraryis the case with the pure : his work is right or straight ; he hasnothing burdensome to carry ; his eyes look right on andhis feet are set down with solidity and precision. If we couldmark the way by which the pure man passes through life weshould see how comparable it is to a straight line. The bad manis continually dodging, eluding, or evading some real or imaginarydanger; the wicked flee when no man pursueth, but the righteousare bold as a lion. The pure man walks straightforwardly, andby the mere force of his pureness he makes a way where thereis none, and those who would have opposed him shrink out of his path, recognising in him the representative of truth andhonour."The righteous man wisely considereth the house of the wicked: butGod overthroweth the wicked for their wickedness " (ver. 12).The " righteous man " should rather be the '' righteous one,"and by that one we are to understand the Almighty himself:the text would then read : The righteous God marks the houseof the wicked, and God throws down the wicked for theirdestruction. Here is the solemn principle of judgment appliedto individual life and individual habitation. The picture is thatof God seated in the heavens, and marking the house of thewicked man, noting all that goes on under its roof, marking allthe history that is enclosed by its walls, and at the right timebringing upon the roof of the wicked man's house the rod of lightning, so that it is cleft in twain, and the wicked are over-thrown even in the midst of their orgies and the very madnessof their delight. For a long time the house of the wicked seemsto be secure ; every window is aflame with a rosy light throughthe long night-time, and through the open door are heard noisesof music and of dancing; the rejoicing is for a time only; Godis watching the whole process, and at the right moment he willoverthrow the house and plough up its foundations. Better tobe in a little house of honesty and righteousness and truth thanin a great palace of dishonesty and unrighteousness and false-hood. He that is righteous lives in a rock that cannot beoverthrown, a pavilion within which there can be no fear of the278 THE PEOPLE'S BIBLE. [Prov. xxi. 15, 27.violence of raging storms. How is this to be obtained ? Whatis the rock within which the heart of man can safely live ?Has it been named ? Has it not been called the Rock of Ages ?

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