3 In the mouth of the foolish is a rod of pride: but the lips of the wise shall preserve them.
All are constantly on guard to justify themselves, to wriggle out of embarrassing mistakes, to cover up humiliating evidence of ignorance or wrong judgment, to relate little self glorifying experiences illustrating how clever they are and how foolish others are in comparison. Most arguments are just two prides making a foolish spectacle of themselves.
It is hard to see all this in ourselves, though strangely everyone else seems to have it.
Bro Growcott - Search Me O God
8 The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way: but the folly of fools is deceit.
THE Proverbs are all about wisdom and folly: the infinite beauty of wisdom, and the tragic foolishness of folly.
Perhaps this is one of the biggest lessons we have to learn, and self-changes we have to make. Once "in the Truth," few of us are in great danger of what we would call "wickedness"; but ALL of us are naturally very, very prone to folly.
It takes many forms. All natural thinking is folly. Anything light or childish or silly or "funny" or selfish or unkind or fleshly or worldly-in short, anything below the ideal level to which we strive, of perfect unity and harmony with the Divine Mind - is folly.
May God in His love grant us the inestimable blessing of increasingly perceiving and overcoming our follies and growing out of them-up and into full spiritual wisdom and maturity.
10 The heart knoweth his own bitterness; and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy.
We can truly say that every man is conscious of his mortal weakness and spiritual inefficiency. We all feel life to be an imperfect and a fleeting thing, and we see it so as we look around.
There are some not present who were with us twelve months ago; where they are now, the registrar's record at the cemetery can tell; they have disappeared from the land of the living. There will be similar gaps this time next year, unless the Lord come; whose places will be empty, none can tell, it may be any of us, and once gone our little book is closed for ever, till re-opened in the presence of him who is the resurrection and the life.
To some people, this line of reflection seems lugubrious. To wisdom it ought not, and will not seem so. On the contrary, it imparts the only true cheer which can be thrown over our vain life. It takes away the gloom that otherwise belongs to mortal existence; it disperses the darkness that rests on the whole human horizon apart from Christ; it gives us the power of sustaining the present evil with a subdued and steady and lasting cheer, and imparts to futurity a beckoning incentive which it totally lacks without God. It does in fact what Paul says concerning the mission of Christ,
"delivers them through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage."
It not only takes away the fear of death, but imparts to it a degree of desirability; for whatever reason a man may have for loving life is intensified a thousandfold by the prospect which death introduces to his consciousness with apparent instantaneity. Some people say they would like to live till the Lord comes. The spirituality of this sentiment would be more apparent if the sentiment were limited to a desire for the Lord to come. Analyse the feeling and you will find it has its root in the fear of death.
Where faith and hope are strong, this fear is conquered, and replaced by a willingness for death at any time it may be the Lord will allow it. A cheerful willingness for it means an earlier realisation of faith and hope than living till the Lord comes. It means the blotting out of the interval of which in death there is not a moment's consciousness. Let reason act here, and there will be but one verdict.
It is because reason has so weak a hold on the mass of the people that most countenances fall blank and irresponsive when the idea is expressed. Living till the Lord comes means waiting in this dreariness for it; dying in the Lord means going to it without waiting.
Who that is expecting a good thing, would not rather have it sooner than later? Who that is expecting to be called into a bright and joyous mansion among happy assembled guests, would not rather be called at once than left to stand out in the cold and the rain until the moment for their name to be mentioned?
No man who realises the absolute nonentity of death and the certainty of the glory to be revealed at the return of Christ can hesitate in the least about what heathenish men talk of as the leap in the dark. A leap into the darkness in a sense it certainly is, but only the darkness of a sound, dreamless sleep that is gone before we are aware, to be broken by the glorious sunrise.Seasons 2. 7
11 The house of the wicked shall be overthrown: but the tabernacle of the upright shall flourish.
...supposing...political world-doctors could do all that they promise, we can see that what they might accomplish would be of very questionable advantage. They would bring about a state of things in which evil would reign to even a greater extent than now. If people were richer than they are now, they would become more lawless than now, more wanton, more proud, more generally disregardful of those principles whose acquaintance can only be made in circumstances of adverersity.
There would be no fear of God before their eyes.
"Our lips are our own; who is Lord over us?"-(Psalm 12:4.)
"We are the people who should make the laws; we will dispose of the earth and all things therein as we please." Such would be their cry. A spirit of Tower-of-Babel democracy would become rampant, and we should speedily have a state of things more obnoxious in the sight of God than the present, if that were possible.
I do not mean to say the present state of things is well-pleasing to Him, far from it; only the blood of well-fed wickedness is let out on every hand. The wicked punish, frustrate, and impoverish the wicked. God providentially dashes one against the other, so that they cannot combine to carry out those mad schemes which in time would extirpate all righteousness from the earth.
The schemes of the politicians, therefore, contain no blessing for the world. But the scheme with which we are identified is far different. It is one that does really involve the highest good for all mankind, and which will develop, in course of time, realities of glory and excellence far beyond the brightest visions of the most sanguine politician.
We are identified with a government that is able to conceive and carry out a government of unmixed blessing; we are identified with "another king, one Jesus," who will clear the way for true reform, by overcoming all kings, and putting down all governments, and breaking in pieces every dominion under the sun, and who will then establish his authority as the standard of universal law.
When this comes to pass-when one king enforces his power-when a righteous and single despotism brings wisdom, and love, and power, to bear in the government of the world, we shall see every difficulty touched. There will be no social or political problem too hard for solution or too insignificant for notice.
Yahweh's king will be able to do what the poor political tinkers of our day cannot do; he will bring about an equal division of wealth; he will justly diffuse and distribute the abundance of God's liberality, which is now scantily and unequally divided by the selfishness, and injustice, and impotence of man. He will do more than that; because mere plenty without wisdom to use it, would not be a blessing. Plenty with wickedness is a curse.
Therefore he will do something which these men cannot do, and never pretend to do, and never wish to do; He will teach men righteousness by the judgments of God in the earth. He will, by a period of trial and great and destructive judgments, train the nations of the earth to recognize their subordination to the Deity. He will enforce, as the first law of the world, "glory to God in the highest."
He will teach them that God must be first, before there can be true blessing. He will bring them to obedience before he bestows benefit. He will teach them wisdom, which politicians cannot do, because they know not wisdom themselves. He will teach them how to be happy, which no human power can do.
He will teach them how to make a beneficent use of things, which in the hands of wickedness are accursed; and he will abolish those standing sources of misery and poverty, of which political men complain, but which no human hand can ever get out of the way, viz., standing armies and immense fleets, the maintenance of which absorbs a great proportion of the world's wealth, and embarrasses the operations of peaceful industry.
He will abolish them by abolishing the necessity for them. Armies and fleets owe their existence to the fact that the world is divided among many governments, each of which can only hold its own against the rest by the right of might. Christ will put this plurality system of government out of the way, and erect a simple and absolute monarchy "by divine right," exercising supreme power unquestioned throughout the earth, and his iron hand will keep down all opposition for a thousand years.
He will thus bring about the possibility of beating swords into plough-shares, and spears into pruning-hooks, and for that period will exhibit the prediction of the prophets, and the hope of saints, as a blessed reality. It is idle for men to dream about such a thing now, at best all expectations that it can be realized in the present state of things can only be dreams. The facts are against them.
Political deceivers assure listening audiences that the world is getting better, and is getting towards the realisation of peaceful principles, when actually there are more armed men in the world now than there ever have been in the whole course of the world's history! and there is a greater tendency to, and danger of war, than there ever has been in recent times! The increase of these armaments going on before our eyes, is itself a disproof of the fair speeches and plausible theories by which they seek to secure the votes of electors.
Ambassador of the Coming Age, Jan 1869
12 There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
Man was never made to guide himself, and if he insists on attempting the task he not only fails, but merits extinction. When fresh from the hands of his Maker he was unable to think rightly (as we know from the reasoning in Eden), how much less so now after the hardening and warping of 6,000 years of wrong-doing.
Bro AT Jannaway
The Christadelphian, Nov 1899
"The simple believeth every word;" and why not?
There would be no inconvenience in this if truth were the universal rule. Trust is a lovely thing; but it cannot stand unless it get Truth to lean upon. When its tender hand has been often pierced by a broken reed of falsehood, it pines away and dies of grief.
A man would find it easier to be trustful if his neighbours were trustworthy. The day is coming when
"all shall know the Lord, from the least to the greatest;"
when universal truth will prop and multiply and beautify universal trust. But as yet, a wise man is bound to believe but little of what he hears.
Bro AT Jannaway
The Christadelphian, Mar 1888
23 In all labour there is profit: but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury.
Drudgery is inseparable from intellectual research and moral improvement. It is the test of faculty, the price of knowledge, the essence of duty.
[Bro Thomas did the hard part]
30 A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones.
The envious man is in pain upon all occasions which ought to give him pleasure. The relish of his life is inverted; and the objects which administer the highest satisfaction to those who are exempt from this passion, give the quickest pangs to persons who are subject to it.
All the perfections of their fellow-creatures are odious. Youth, beauty, valor, and wisdom, are provocations of their displeasure. What a wretched and apostate state is this! to be offended with excellence, and to hate a man because we approve him!
Herald of the kingdom and age to come, May 1859
35 The king's favour is toward a wise servant: but his wrath is against him that causeth shame.
A wise servant
Men in business take stock. Those who omit to do this incur a great danger-they risk having to face ruin suddenly and unexpectedly. Brethren should take stock in their spiritual affairs. Disaster may be averted by so doing.
Brethren are all traders-they have all been entrusted with Christ's goods. They are required to make headway-to buy, sell, and to get gain. A time of reckoning is ahead-it must come (see Matt. 25:14-30). Let us take stock, or, in other words, let us examine our standing in the truth.
Are we going backwards or forwards? Where are we, say, in comparison with our position at the time of our baptism? Do we love the truth more? Is our Bible reading, and our attendance at the meetings, equally enjoyable? Is our knowledge of the Scriptures (the Apocalypse, to wit) greater? Are we stronger in our power of resistance in the matter of the world's forbidden pleasures?
Are we, in relation to our income, more liberal in our contributions to the various ecclesial funds? Are we more helpful in our meetings-better examples, and more enterprising and industrious? Has our longing for Christ's return increased? Have we grown more like Christ in character? These, and such like, are the questions to occupy our minds in the exercise of self-examination.
Now is the day for it.
Bro AT Jannaway
The Christadelphian, Sept 1901