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and never in any wise to resist His will concerning us, or treat His declarations of it with neglect. Thus implicitly submitting ourselves to the Divine righteousness, we shall be kept by Divine Providence, and in no case utterly be cast away. Dangers may thicken around him, until there seem no possibility of escape, yet “the just shall live by his faith,” and, possessing his soul in patience, shall eventually rise superior to them for ever. When the terror of the world is at its height, when the ungodly and the sinner are seeking in vain to hide themselves, then shall he begin to look up, and lift up his head, being assured that his redemption is at hand. And, after all, having attained the end of his faith, how delightful to him, in proportion to their amount, will be his remembrance of the trials which he hath undergone. On being exalted to the realms of peace and glory, surely with joy will each one exclaim unto God,“ O what great troubles “ and adversities hast Thou shewed me, and
yet didst Thou turn and refresh me, yea, and
broughtest me from the deep of the earth “ again. I went through fire and water, and “ Thou broughtest me out into a wealthy
place.—Thou hast brought me to great ho
nour, and comforted me on every side. There“ fore shall every good man sing of Thy praise
PROVERBS xi. 18.
The wicked worketh a deceitful work; but to him
that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward. This doctrine is variously delivered by Solomon in other verses of a nearly similar purport. The whole chapter appears to have been composed under a lively sense of the miserable disappointments, and evil consequences annexed to sin, and of the blessings, which may confidently be expected to result from a perseverance in the good and right way. He that will search, may find repeatedly described in it, the opposite events of these opposite courses, for the general warning and encouragement of mankind.
It is usual to set a high value on all sentences which have obtained the title of proverbs : we are wont to esteem such sentences in the light of well established truths, discovered and confirmed by the experience of former generations; and accordingly, to resort to them as to sure guides or resting-places, when doubts and perplexities overtake us. Still, the most current sayings of merely human wisdom are not always, and indiscriminately, to be received. Some, perhaps, there are, which would teach us to do rightly, upon wrong or defective principles, others, which would prompt us at once to think, and to act amiss, in order to extricate ourselves from difficulty. The natural man is hardly disposed to form worthy notions of what is due from him to God, and his neighbour. His sentences, touching these two main branches of conduct, will savour, oftener than not, of a culpable selfishness, and of irreligion. They are for the most part rather maxims of cold and self-interested policy than salutary admonitions and excitements. The tone and substance of them ordinarily is, as if it were our prevailing practice to have a regard to God and our fellow-creatures, beyond prudence, and the measure necessary to be observed. We should rejoice, therefore, that some proverbs have come down to us, bearing the impress of the Divine mind, and consequently worthy of all acceptation. Those of Solomon, having been suggested to him by the
Spirit of wisdom and understanding,” are on that account most strongly claiming our esteem ; among which, the one selected for my text is a proverb of lasting and universal im
portance. Hence, I will proceed to shew the truth of what it teaches, first,-concerning the wicked, that he worketh a deceitful work; and, secondly,—concerning the man who soweth righteousness, that unto him shall be a sure reward.
First then; "the wicked man worketh a de“ceitful work.” Truly the work of the wicked is answerable, in more senses than one, to this very
dishonourable imputation. Let me begin with stating it to be a deceitful work, for that it is commonly devised by him, and undertaken, with an intention to deceive his neighbour. Few of the deeds of the wicked are such as he can be willing to have clearly seen : he still wishes to stand fair with the world, and invents some disguise for every work which he supposes will otherwise destroy his character. Also, in a large number of cases, he plans his work deceitfully for the purpose of promoting it's success. None will yield themselves to be wickedly practised upon, knowing what they do. Wherefore the wicked person must needs deceive his neighbour, whenever he has occasion to make use of him. This he frequently attempts, by assigning good names to his evil pursuits ; and thus he too often prevails, not only to escape rebuke and opposition, but even to draw after him better disposed persons, who