Ready At the End
Proverbs 19:20
Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter end.

The wise man always shows his wisdom by looking well before him. It is the sure mark of a fool to content himself with the immediate present. We do not wonder that proverbs should deal much with the future. "Passion and Patience" is the picture which is always being exhibited before the eyes of men.

I. THE NEED OF READINESS AT THE END. "How shall we enjoy the present time?" asks one; "How shall we make ready for the end?" asks another and a wiser soul. The question presents itself to the youth, as he looks forward to the end of the term and the coming of the examination or the writing of the report; to the young man - the apprentice, the articled clerk, the student - as he considers how he shall go through his trial hour and be prepared for his business or profession; to the man in middle life, as he foresees the time coming when he can no longer do as he is doing now, and must have something to fall back upon in his declining days; to the man in later life, as he is compelled to feel that his powers are fast failing, and that the hour is not distant when he will stand on the very verge of life and confront the long and solemn future. It should also be present in the mind of those who are soon to go forth into the sterner conflict of life, to meet alone, away from home influences, the serious and strong temptations of an evil world. Whatever the stage through which we are now passing, it moves towards its close - an end which is sure to open out into something beyond, and, most likely, something more important, weighted with graver responsibilities and leading to larger issues. Are we so living, the wise will ask, that we shall be ready for that end when it comes?


1. There is much need to learn of men - from our parents, from our teachers, from every form of instructive literature, from all that the experiences of men, as we watch their life, are saying to us. Whoso would be wise at the end of his career should have an open mind that everyone and everything may teach him. Lessons are to be learnt from every event, however simple and humble it may be. The wide world is the school which the wise will never "leave."

2. There is much more need to learn of God, to learn of Christ. For:

(1) He can speak authoritatively, as man cannot.

(2) He gives us wisdom unmingled with error, as man does not.

(3) He can tell us how to find his Divine favour and how to reach his nearer presence, as no man can.

Let us learn of Christ and be wise. - C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.

WEB: Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter end.

Instruction and Counsel Placed Before the Young
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