Proverbs 18
Expositor's Dictionary of Texts
Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom.
The Deepest Stage of Calamity

Proverbs 18:14

The idea is that a calamity affects us, not according to the weight of the stroke, but according to the state of our thoughts. The spirit of a man is his mental state as distinguished from his outward circumstances.

I. The proverb says that an outward misfortune influences the life, not in proportion to its actual severity, but in proportion to the resources of the mind. I am profoundly convinced that this is true. Two men take a fever at the same time; one dies, the other recovers. The popular view is that in the former case the physical stroke was more powerful. Yet in itself it may have been weaker. The man who died may have succumbed to the fever because he was down in spirit when the fever seized him.

II. That which prostrates us and that which supports us is in every case, not a thing, but a thought. We speak of the 'ills which flesh is heir to'. I think we look for the black in the wrong direction; we should say, the 'ills which spirit is heir to'. All the crowning calamities of life are in the thinking—not in the striking.

III. The crushing wound comes ever from within. The friend who is separated from you by death may be really less removed than the friend who goes from you to a foreign country; yet between the two cases there is no comparison in the degree of your sorrow. Why is this? It lies in the thought. The foreign country has a name in your heart; the dwelling-place of the dead has as yet no name. It is the idea that makes the difference between separation and bereavement. Both equally for the time miss 'the touch of a vanished hand, and the sound of a voice that is still'; but in the one there is the hope of future communion, in the other there may be a cloud which obscures tomorrow's sky.

—G. Matheson, Messages of Hope, p. 141.

References.—XVIII. 14.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xlii. No. 2494. XVIII. 17.—W. Arnot, Laws from Heaven for Life on Earth, p. 383. XVIII. 19.—J. W. Mills, After Glow, p. 141. XVIII. 22.—W. M. Taylor, Outlines of Sermons in the Old Testament, p. 160; W. Arnot, Laws from Heaven for Life on Earth, p. 387. XVIII. 24.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. iii. No. 120; A. E. Hutchinson, Christian World Pulpit, vol. liii. 1898, p. 368. XIX. 11.—W. Arnot, Laws from Heaven for Life on Earth, p. 394. XIX. 15.—J. Marshall Lang, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xlvi. 1894, p. 58; W. Howell Evans, Sermons for the Church's Year, p. 276. XIX. 22.—W. Arnot, Laws from Heaven for Life on Earth, p. 398. XX. 1.—Ibid. p. 401. XX. 1-7—A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy ScriptureEsther, Job, Proverbs, etc., p. 220.

A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself.
When the wicked cometh, then cometh also contempt, and with ignominy reproach.
The words of a man's mouth are as deep waters, and the wellspring of wisdom as a flowing brook.
It is not good to accept the person of the wicked, to overthrow the righteous in judgment.
A fool's lips enter into contention, and his mouth calleth for strokes.
A fool's mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul.
The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.
He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster.
The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.
The rich man's wealth is his strong city, and as an high wall in his own conceit.
Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility.
He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.
The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?
The heart of the prudent getteth knowledge; and the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge.
A man's gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.
He that is first in his own cause seemeth just; but his neighbour cometh and searcheth him.
The lot causeth contentions to cease, and parteth between the mighty.
A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.
A man's belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD.
The poor useth intreaties; but the rich answereth roughly.
A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
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