A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children, but the sinner's wealth is passed to the righteous.
I. SIN AND SUFFERING ARE INSEPARABLY ASSOCIATED IN THOUGHT, In our judgment and in our feeling they go together; they belong to one another. There is no need to go beyond this point; it is ultimate. If we sin, we deserve to suffer, and must expect to suffer. It is right that we should, and the hand that brings it about is a righteous hand.
11. THEY OFTEN SEEM TO BE DIVIDED IN FACT. As we observe human life, we see that the murderer sometimes escapes the reach of law, that the swindler sometimes flourishes upon the losses of his victims, that the tyrant sometimes reigns long over the nation he has defrauded of its freedom, that sometimes the man who lives in the practice of vice continues to enjoy health for many years, that the dishonest author may reap a considerable reputation and may long remain unexposed, etc. but in this case -
III. PENALTY IS PURSUING SIN AND WILL OVERTAKE IT. "Evil pursueth sinners" Justice is on the track, and sooner or later will lay its hand upon its victim.
1. It will most likely do so here. Very frequently, indeed almost always, some penalty immediately overtakes guilt; if not in bodily loss or suffering, yet in spiritual injury. And if not at once, penalty soon follows crime, vice, wrong doing. Or if not soon, yet after many years, the "evil" comes and lays its stern hand upon the shoulder. The man may not, probably does not, see or even believe in its approach. Its step is silent, and it may be slow, but it is constant and certain. The "evil" may be physical, and very of, on it is so; or it may be mental, intellectual; or it may be circumstantial; or it may be in reputation; or it may be in character, and this last, though least seen and often least regarded, is in truth the saddest and the most serious of all, for it affects the man himself - he "loses his own soul." Thus, "though leaden-footed," penalty is "iron-handed."
IV. THERE IS ONE MERCIFUL INTERCEPTION. If we truly repent of our sin, we shall be freely and abundantly forgiven.
1. God will change his condemnation into acceptance and parental favour, so that we shall walk thenceforward in the light of his countenance.
2. He will avert the heavier consequences of our sin by introducing into our heart and life all the remedial and restorative influences of righteousness. And there must be considered -
V. THE CONVERSE BENEFICENT LAW AFFECTING THE RIGHTEOUS. "To the righteous good shall be repaid."
1. All right acts are immediately followed by an inner and spiritual blessing; we must be something the better in soul forevery really right thing we do.
2. All right actions, done in a reverent and filial spirit, will bring God's blessing down further on. He is "not unrighteous to forget our work of faith and our labour of love." Such blessings come in many forms, and at various intervals; but they do come; they are following the upright, and they will overtake them and cream them.
A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children
I. THE INSTRUCTION OF A GOOD MAN IS AN INHERITANCE TO HIS CHILDREN. The habits which a young man acquires under his father's eye are the foundations of his character. Even talents are subordinate to virtues, and good affections are of more importance in human life than the most splendid ornaments of an unprincipled mind. He who adds to good paternal character the principles of liberal knowledge and the views of a liberal mind sends his children into the world with those precious endowments without which the wealth of the rich serves only to render them more conspicuously contemptible or unhappy. Men of the same worth are not equally qualified for the duties of parental tuition, and their children have not the same advantages. But there is a minuteness and an affection in the paternal care of a good man which supplies the lack of many talents. His children venerate his intentions, even where his judgment has failed him.
II. THE EXAMPLE OF A GOOD MAN IS AN INHERITANCE TO HIS CHILDREN. The character of a father lies at the foundation of his influence, and the effect of his paternal solicitude depends on it. His habits are his most successful admonitions, and the examples of religion and probity which his children receive from the general tenor of his temper and conduct are his most permanent instructions. If he has convinced his children that he derives his motives and his consolations from the sincerity of his faith, and that he allows no competition to be in his mind betwixt the praise of men and the approbation of God, his example does more to determine their habits than his best instructions. There are certainly defects in all human characters which render our best examples to our children very imperfect. But even habitual errors in a good man are not vices, and defects and infirmities do not prevent the influence of substantial virtues.
III. THE CARE AND PROTECTION OF PROVIDENCE ARE AN INHERITANCE TO A GOOD MAN'S CHILDREN. A good man will use his best endeavour to qualify his children for the business and duties of life; but his chief dependence is on Providence. He commits his children to God. His paternal labours are sanctified by prayer. It is an ever-working law that God "shows mercy unto thousands of them that love Him," and to their children after them. The testimony of ages shows that this law has its full effect, and warrants the confidence with which devout men commit their children to God. The influence of God on the circumstances which regulate our lot is real and perpetual, amidst all the irreligion and incredulity of the world. The plan of Providence is not so uniform as to render it certain that the children of good men will be always prosperous, Their own misconduct often determines their conditions; so may errors in their early education; so may the moral discipline which they require.
IV. THE KINDNESS OF FAITHFUL MEN IS AN INHERITANCE TO A GOOD MAN'S CHILDREN. Their success in life must in part depend on the assistance and the friendship of other men, and the purposes of Providence in their favour are accomplished by means of those whom God raises up to assist, or to guide them. God selects the instruments of His purpose from all the variety of human characters. Kindness done to the child of a good man may become the means of transmitting virtue and prosperity through successive generations. Practical conclusions:
1. The indispensable obligation of every father to give to his children the inheritance of the faithful.
2. The children of good men ought anxiously to preserve the moral and religious advantages which they have received from their fathers.
3. Every conscientious man should feel a personal obligation to help in ensuring to the children of good men the inheritance bequeathed to them by their fathers.
(Sir H. M. Wellwood.)
I. THE CHARACTER IN QUESTION IS A GOOD MAN. None are good perfectly; none are good naturally; some are saved, and God has begun a good work on them. This is the origin of the character; but what are the features of it?
1. In a good man we must have piety.
2. We must have sincerity.
3. We must have uniformity.
4. We must have benevolence and beneficence.
II. SUCH A GOOD MAN MAY BE FOUND IN CONNECTED LIFE. His religion will improve all those views and feelings that tend to make him social and useful. The Scripture knows nothing of any pre-eminence attaching to celibacy. Though the subject is spoken of in reference to the man, the woman is by no means excluded. To a family, a good mother, no less than a good father, is an invaluable blessing.
III. EXAMINE WHAT THE INHERITANCE IS which a good man leaves to his offspring.
1. It comprehends religious instructions.
2. Pious example.
3. It takes in believing prayers.
4. It consists of sanctified substance.
5. The death of a good man is another part of this inheritance.
6. God bears a regard to the descendants of His followers.
The wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just
Homilist.I. AS ENTAILED BY THE GOOD AND ALIENATED BY THE EVIL. Here we have it —
1. Entailed by the good. "A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children." It is a characteristic in man that he feels an interest in posterity. This is an indication of the greatness of man's nature. It is here intimated by Solomon that the good have some special security by which their property shall descend to their children's children. And truly they have; and what is it? The probable goodness of their children's children.
2. Alienated by the evil. Wickedness, from its very nature, cannot hold property through many generations: the fortunes it inherits must crumble away.
II. AS GAINED BY INDUSTRY AND SQUANDERED BY IMPRUDENCE. Every acre of land is full of potential wealth. Skilled industry can make more of one rood of earth than some men can an acre. But it requires even more sense to retain and rightly use property than to get it.
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