The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: but violence covers the mouth of the wicked.…
I. SPEECH THAT QUICKENS AND SPEECH THAT KILLS. (Ver. 11.)
1. The speech of the wise and good is sound, "seasoned with salt;" that of the wicked is hollow or else poisonous.
2. The former edifies, builds up and strengthens the good principle in the minds of those who convene with him; the bluer destroys the good, and sows evil in its stead.
II. QUARRELSOMENESS AND AMIABILITY. (Ver. 12; see on Proverbs 6:14.) The former begets evil, increases that already existing, inflames wounds lets nothing pass that may serve as fuel to its fire. The latter puts an end to much evil, prevents the rise of more, soothes every wound, and mitigates every mischief. The former is ever dividing, the latter reconciling. They undo one another's work; but love in the end prevails (Proverbs 17:9; 1 Corinthians 13:4; James 5:20; 1 Peter 4:8).
III. THE GRACE OF WISDOM AND THE DISGRACE OF FOLLY. (Ver. 13.) The pure eloquence of the good man attracts admiration and wins confidence; while the fallacies of the pretender, the spurious rhetoric of the insincere certain to be exposed and castigated. The life of the, House of Commons, or of any great assembly, furnishes constant illustrations.
IV. PRUDENT RESERVE AND PERNICIOUS LOQUACITY. (Ver. 14.) There is a time end place for silence, the wise man knows - both for the recovery of his own thoughts, and for the opportunity of watching others. By a bold figure of speech, it may often be that silence is the greatest eloquence. In many instances we think we have produced no effect, have not committed ourselves to the expression of opinion; on the contrary, our reserve has spoken. In all this lies a science and art of living. The fool does not see this; he is too self-absorbed to see anything that passes in others' minds, or too unsympathetic to feel; and hence blurts out things that had better have been left unsaid, hurts sensibilities, blackens reputations, causes false positions for himself and others.
1. The heart must be watched. There is no other source of pleasing, gentle manners, nor of sound behaviour in society. Reserve and unreserve of the right kind are simply the government of the tongue by charity.
2. The tongue must be watched. And regulated by good models of Conversation. Never must it be forgotten how much we learn by imitation. - J.
Parallel VersesKJV: The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.