1 The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.
There is a popular impression abroad to the effect that if there is a God, He is kind without discrimination. That He is good to all is true, as Jesus says: sending His rain on the just and the unjust. But this does not mean that He takes equal pleasure in all. Far from.
"The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear Him, in them that hope in His mercy."
As for the other class His own expression is,
"My soul hateth."
This will not surprise us if we think. It is even so among men who are in the image of God. Righteous men find more pleasure in some than others. They may be equally kind and forbearing to all, but all do not yield them the same satisfaction. The wise give pleasure to the wise. It is a rule of the universe and holds good at its eternal centre.
"God taketh not pleasure in fools." "The foolish shall not stand in Thy sight: Thou hatest all workers of iniquity."
It is not in vain that we exercise our minds in this way. We may read how Daniel rebuked Belshazzar for his neglect in this respect:
"Thou hast not humbled thyself, though thou knewest all this, but hast lifted up thyself against the God of heaven and hast praised the gods of silver and gold, of brass, iron, wood and stone which see not nor hear nor know, and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways thou hast not glorified" - "whose are all thy ways" -
mark the expression: absolutely every little bit of faculty we have is His and in His hand. He could withdraw it in a moment. A sense of this will keep us dependent and humble and grateful and kind.
2 Treasures of wickedness profit nothing: but righteousness delivereth from death.
3 Yahweh will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish: but he casteth away the substance of the wicked.
4 He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.
5 He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame.
A Thorough Policy-no Half Measures
I do not mean to say that fear should have no bearing upon it; for all things are of God. By all our fears, and all our hopes, and all our expectations, we ought to give heed to the calling that is in Christ. It is almost derogatory to the matter to call it "important," or apply to it any of those mild commendations which imply a reservation in favour of something more important still. There should be no tinkering with the truth. It should stand at the top.
Some make a profession of it, but live for secular objects. They seem to consider the truth very good; but that the really important matters relate to property and family, which with them are of supreme and crowning importance. They stand on the platform of secular life, and patronise the truth. God will accept no man's patronage. Christ will not accord to any man a position in the future, who does not surrender to him the present; for his request is that we leave all things in a mental point of view, for him; that is to say, that we should prefer everything pertaining to the future, vastly before the trifles connected with the present.
To use the familiar and oft-repeated words, but which cannot be burnt too deeply into our minds,
"It any man come after me, and forsake not all things, he cannot be my disciple; if anyone love father or mother, husband, wife or children, houses or land, more than me, he is not worthy of me."
These words ought continually to ring in our ears, for we shall awake some day to the time when they will be applied. We shall find ourselves in the presence of the august personage who spoke these words, and who will compel us to witness the review of our own lives; and although he is meek and lowly, yet when he comes the second time, he is to take the position of Judge, and to manifest God's anger toward all unrighteous men; and it will be a fearful thing to fall into his hands.
The Ambassador of the Coming Age, May 1868
6 Blessings are upon the head of the just: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.
7 The memory of the just is blessed: but the name of the wicked shall rot.
8 The wise in heart will receive commandments: but a prating fool shall fall.
"Have we not preached in thy name, and in thy name done many wonderful works?"
If our fitness rises no higher than an apprehension and agitation of the theory of the truth we are not fit for the kingdom of God. The truth is intended to hew us, intellectually and morally, into a certain shape: that shape is the shape of Christ.
We have him for an example, and if we do not follow his example, we shall not stand with him in the day of his glory. We are called to holiness. Now that word is a very expressive and comprehensive one: holiness is a state of cleanness, and cleanness in its moral relations consists of freedom from all that is constituted morally polluting by the law of God. That is right which God commands -- that is wrong which He forbids.
That is holy which He calls clean, and that is unholy which He disallows.
Bro Roberts - Holiness
9 He that walketh uprightly walketh surely: but he that perverteth his ways shall be known.
10 He that winketh with the eye causeth sorrow: but a prating fool shall fall.
11 The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.
12 Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.
13 In the lips of him that hath understanding wisdom is found: but a rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding.
14 Wise men lay up knowledge: but the mouth of the foolish is near destruction.
15 The rich man's wealth is his strong city: the destruction of the poor is their poverty.
16 The labour of the righteous tendeth to life: the fruit of the wicked to sin.
It is considered a legitimate object of life for a man to labour diligently to be rich now in this present time, that he may have a fine house to live in, and an honourable position in society. Men show amazing diligence, actually night and day depriving themselves ofttimes of rest and leisure, in developing business interests. A great deal of genius and a great deal of energy are expended in the promotion of purely temporal concerns. It is a kind of enthusiasm which, if attended with success, encourages its votary to wider and wider efforts.
The tendency of the world is to absorb the mind more and more. If a man once yield to the service of himself in this way, it is like getting into the suction of a maelstrom. It is a dangerous thing to put Christ out of account for a moment. The disposition to serve ourselves is instinctive to the animal man; it is one of the primitive instincts implanted for our self-preservation.
Regulated by Divine law, it has its place, but if this instinct is allowed to be the lord of our life, we get into an evil bondage from which it is difficult to deliver ourselves, and which will assuredly alienate from us the regard of Christ. It is a foolish policy. The crisis will come at last, and it may come any moment. The slave of instinct has to give it up and everything. He has to lie down and die; he has to take time to do that, although he could spare so little for Christ; and then, where are the wealth and the honour, and all the fine things that he has set his heart upon? All gone; everything left behind -- absolutely everything!
He goes to corruption; he descends to the grave without a hope. Having laid up no treasure in heaven, he is buried a spiritual bankrupt, for whom there is no prospect but tribulation and wrath and anguish! That is a fine harvest for a man to reap! That is a fine result for a man to work so hard, and so diligently, and so skilfully for! Dangerous! dangerous! dangerous to put off Christ with the idea that we are going to do differently by-and-bye. We don't know whether we will have a "by-and-bye" to do differently in.
The only time we can reckon upon is the present; and that time is not our own at all if we are Christ's. If we are as the worms, we are, of course, at liberty to spend our time as the worms, burrowing and burrowing in the earth. No one thinks a worm acts foolishly. It fulfils the law of its being and ends in nothing. So it will be with the human worms, with this distinction, that such as have known the way of life, and treat God with this contempt, it would be better they had never been born.
In how different a case stand those who are truly Christ's. They work as well as the business worm, but their labour tends to higher ends. The result of their work is not so immediately apparent, but, ultimately, it is more real and lasting. The sinner has not brains sufficient to see that although the man of Christ has scattered his seed now, it will return to him a hundredfold when the sinner's little handful has gone for ever. The man of Christ will secure all that the sinner aims to have, and more.
The sinner loses life; Christ's servants will have it without end, whereas the sinner can only get a little. Energy of body and mind! The sinner, in his healthiest moments, never dreamt of the power that will mantle the glorified saint, who will be made incorruptible. The sinner has a hankering for beauty, but will, at last, embrace rottenness and corruption, while the saint is resplendent with a comeliness never approached by the fairest of earth's daughters.
In fact, they will possess everything, because their Captain is the proprietor of the whole earth; to him it belongs.
Bro Roberts - The unsearchable riches of Christ
17 He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth.
18 He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool.
19 In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.
20 The tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of the wicked is little worth.
21 The lips of the righteous feed many: but fools die for want of wisdom.
22 The blessing of Yahweh, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.
23 It is as sport to a fool to do mischief: but a man of understanding hath wisdom.
24 The fear of the wicked, it shall come upon him: but the desire of the righteous shall be granted.
25 As the whirlwind passeth, so is the wicked no more: but the righteous is an everlasting foundation.
26 As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to them that send him.
27 The fear of Yahweh prolongeth days: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened.
28 The hope of the righteous shall be gladness: but the expectation of the wicked shall perish.
29 The way of Yahweh is strength to the upright: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity.
30 The righteous shall never be removed: but the wicked shall not inhabit the earth.
31 The mouth of the just bringeth forth wisdom: but the froward tongue shall be cut out.
32 The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable: but the mouth of the wicked speaketh frowardness.