Better is the poor that walks in his uprightness, than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich.…
The poor man who walks in his integrity, must be supposed to possess that practical wisdom so much spoken of in this book. The rich man who is perverse in his ways is destitute of this wisdom. The presumed difference between the poor man and the rich is in the possession of true religious principle.
I. THE INFLUENCE WHICH TRUE RELIGION EXERTS IN REFERENCE TO THE DUTIES OF LIFE. There has been a tendency to speak of useful knowledge as if it did not include religious knowledge. Useful knowledge must be that which equips man for immortality. If a man is imbued with the fear of God, he has a principle which must accompany him into all the intercourse of life, and exert an influence over each portion of his conduct.
II. THE INFLUENCE WHICH TRUE RELIGION EXERTS IN REFERENCE TO THE TRIALS OF LIFE. The poor cottager finds in the promises of Scripture a mighty counterpoise to all the troubles by which he is oppressed. Christianity does not diminish labour or prevent sorrow or death, but it does give strength, and cheer, and hope. Religion has such a power of softening what is rugged, enlightening what is dark, sustaining under the heaviest pressure, and encouraging in the most perplexed circumstances, that as nothing can supply its place, so its possession more than compensates every other want.
(H. Melvill, B.D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich.