Wisdom is too high for a fool: he opens not his mouth in the gate.…
I. THE GROVELLING MIND. (Ver. 7.) Wisdom is too high for the indolent to climb to, for the sensual and earthly to admire and love. They are like Muck-rake, in Bunyan's parable. From such no good counsel ever comes. They are dumb "in the gate," on every important occasion, when help, light, sympathy, are needed. The base prudence which inspires many popular proverbs - the prudence "which adores the rule of three, which never subscribes, never gives, seldom lends, and asks but one question of any project, 'Will it bake bread?'" - is indeed folly. "Self's the man," says a Dutch proverb. But those who would gain all for self end by losing self and all.
II. THE MALICIOUS TEMPER. (Ver. 8.) There are degrees in vice as in virtue. It is a short step from grovelling egotism to active malice. Extract the root of self-seeking out of any dispute, private or public, in Church or state, and the other differences may soon be adjusted. To make mischief is a diabolic instinct, and it certainly springs up in the mind void of healthy occupation and of interest for the true, beautiful, and good; for the mind's principle is motion, and it cannot cease to act.
III. SIN IN THE THOUGHT AND THE MOOD. (Ver. 9.) When busy invention and meditation are at work in the mind of the wicked and the fool, nothing good is produced. Still more is it the case with the scoffer. In him the ripened and practised powers of the mind are brought into alliance with evil desire. Such a habit of mind, once detected, excites the utmost odium and abhorrence. The man who can sneer at goodness, or hold what is by common consent good and beautiful in contempt, is already an outcast from his kind, and need not complain if he is treated as such.
IV. COWARDLY FAINT HEARTEDNESS. (Ver. 10.) The pressure of circumstances should rouse in us the God-given strength. The man who makes duty his polar star, and trusts in God, can actually do more when things seem to be against him than widen all is in his favour. Moral cowardice is closely connected with the root sin of unbelief. Indulgence in it impoverishes and weakens the soul, so that the man ends by being actually unable to do what once he only fancied himself unable to do. Here is an illustration of Christ's saying, "To him that hath shall be given, and from him that hath not shall be taken that which he hath." - J.
Parallel VersesKJV: Wisdom is too high for a fool: he openeth not his mouth in the gate.