Proverbs 5:22

I. WICKEDNESS (LIKE GOODNESS) HAS UNDESIGNED RESULTS. The good comes back to nestle in the bosom of the giver and the doer. We never do right without invoking a blessing on our own heads. Evil, on the other hand, designed and executed, is like a snare set for one's self, a net in the meshes of which the crafty is entangled, self-overreached.

II. WICKEDNESS AND IGNORANCE ARE IN CLOSE CONNECTION. "He shall die for want of instruction" - the correct rendering of ver. 23. Socrates taught that vice was ignorance, virtue identical with knowledge. This, however, ignores the pervesity of the will. The Bible ever traces wickedness to wilful and inexcusable ignorance.

III. WICKEDNESS IS A KIND OF MADNESS. "Through the greatness of his folly he shall reel about." The word shagah once more. The man becomes drunk and frenzied with passion, and, a certain point passed, staggers to his end unwitting, careless, or desperate. - J.







His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself.
I. MAN AS KNOWN BY GOD. The fact that God knows man thoroughly, if practically realised, will have a fourfold effect upon the soul.

1. It will stimulate to great spiritual activity.

2. It will restrain from the commission of sin.

3. It will excite the desire for pardon.

4. It will brace the soul in the performance of duty.

II. MAN AS PUNISHED AT SIN. As virtue is its own reward, so sin is its own punishment. Sin punishing the sinner.

1. It will seize him as its victim.

2. It will arrest him in his career. Illustrate Belshazzar.

3. It will detach him from his comrades.

4. It will bind him as its prisoner. There are the "cords" of causation; the "cords" of habit; and the "cords" of despair.

5. It will exclude him from knowledge.

6. It banishes him as an exile.In the greatness of his folly he shall go astray. Sin banishes the soul from virtue, heaven, God; and reduces it to a homeless, friendless orphan in the universe. "The seeds of our own punishment," says Hesiod, "are sown at the same time we commit sin."

(D. Thomas, D.D.)

Nothing is so deceptive as sin. Nothing so cruel and unrelenting. Nothing so ruinous and destructive. Some think that sin is a single act, and that it passes away with the doing.

I. SIN WILL SURELY FIND OUT THE SINNER. Conscience is one of its officers. The consequences of sin lay hold of the sinner. No man can escape from himself.

II. SIN WILL SURELY BRING THE SINNER TO JUDGMENT. He must answer for his wrong doing and wrong thinking. In his personal experience something declares against the sinner. It causes a disharmony of one's nature. At the bar of judgment a penalty is declared. The judgment is a self-condemnation. The penalty will enforce itself.

III. THE CORDS OF SIN WILL HOLD THE SINNER. He cannot free, himself from them. His very being is bound and fettered with an adamantine chain. Sin can never exhaust itself. Continual sinning involves continual penalty. Sin presents only a hopeless aspect. Turning to himself, man turns only to despair. Practical lessons —

1. We should not cherish slighting views of sin.

2. We should heartily loathe and detest it.

3. We should humbly resort to the only, the gospel, remedy for sin.Christ is the only emancipator from its terrible power. Only through personal faith in Christ can any guilty soul realise salvation.

(Daniel Rogers, D. D.)

The first sentence of this verse has reference to a net, in which birds or beasts are taken. That which first attracted the sinner afterwards detains him. This first sentence may have reference to an arrest by an officer of law. The transgressor's own sin shall take him, shall seize him; they bear a warrant for arresting him, they shall judge him, they shall even execute him. The second sentence speaks of the sinner being holden with cords. The lifelong occupation of the ungodly man is to twist ropes of sin. The binding meant is that of a culprit pinioned for execution. Iniquity pinions a man. Make a man's will a prisoner, and he is a captive indeed. Who would not scorn to make himself a slave to his baser passions? And yet the mass of men are such — the cords of their sins bind them.

I. THE CAPTIVATING, ENSLAVING POWER OF SIN IS A SOLUTION TO A GREAT MYSTERY.

1. Is it not mysterious that men should be content to abide in a state of imminent peril?

2. Before long unconverted men and women will be in a state whose wretchedness it is not possible for language fully to express.

3. Is it not a wonder that men do not receive the gospel of Jesus Christ, seeing that the gospel is so plain?

4. Nay, moreover, so infinitely attractive.

5. The commandment of the gospel is not burdensome.

6. And, according to the confession of most sinners, the pleasures of sin are by no means great. Here stands the riddle, man is so set against God and His Christ that he never will accept eternal salvation until the Holy Spirit, by a supernatural work, overcomes his will and turns the current of his affections.

II. THOUGH THIS IS THE SOLUTION OF ONE MYSTERY, IT IS IN ITSELF A GREATER MYSTERY. One reason why men receive not Christ is, that they are hampered by the sin of forgetting God. Another sin binds all unregenerate hearts; it is the sin of not loving the Christ of God. What a mystery it is that men should be held by the sin of neglecting their souls!

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. WICKED MEN HURT THEMSELVES MORE THAN OTHERS CAN.

1. By their sins they set all their enemies at liberty.

2. Their plots for the ruin of others for the most part light on themselves.

II. WICKED MEN ARE TAKEN IN THE SNARES OF THEIR OWN SINS.

1. The guilt of their sins follows them wherever they go.

2. God's wrath and curse follow upon sin.

3. God delivers sinners over to Satan.

4. Punishment attends on sin.

III. THE SNARES OF WICKED MEN'S SINS HOLD THEM FAST.

1. The custom of sinning becomes another nature.

2. God ties the sinner fast to eternal punishment by his sins, and for his sins, giving him over to a reprobate sense, and by His power, as by chains, keeping him in prison till the great judgment.

(Francis Taylor, B.D.)

At one time many convicts were employed in building high walls round the prison grounds at Portland. Soldiers posted above them with loaded guns watched them at their work. Every brick laid rendered their escape more impossible, and yet they themselves were laying them.

And he shall be holden with the cords of his sins
I. THEIR FORMATION.

1. One sin leads to another by reducing the sense of odiousness.

2. By strengthening wrong principles.

3. By rendering falsehood necessary for purposes of concealment.

4. By multiplying opportunities for commission.

5. By lessening the power of resistance.

II. THEIR POWER.

1. As seen in the criminal.

2. The drunkard.

3. The swindler.

4. The errorist.

5. The gospel-despiser.Apply —

(1)Beware what habits we form.

(2)Mark the increased difficulty of conversion.

(3)Watch over the religious education of the young; the formation of early habits.

(G. Brooks.)

In Scripture, Divine providence and the results of sin are often brought into immediate and close connection with each other, as if the pain attendant on sin were a direct act of God. But there are other passages where sin is looked at, as bringing its own punishment with it by the law of the world analogous to the physical laws of nature. In the text the results of sin are represented as taking place in the natural order of things. The sinner thinks that sin is over and gone when it is once committed. If you put a Divine punisher of sin out of sight, sin does the work of the executioner on the sinner. Among these consequences of sin certain ones are often insisted upon — such as bodily evils, loss of temporal advantages, fear of the wrath of God. But there is a far more awful view of sin, when we look at it on the moral side, as propagating itself, becoming more intense, tending to blacken and corrupt the whole character, and to annihilate the hopes and powers of the soul. See some of the laws of character to which these consequences of sin can be reduced.

I. THE DIRECT POWER OF SIN TO PROPAGATE ITSELF IN THE INDIVIDUAL SOUL. Sin is the most fruitful of all parents; each new sin is a new ever-flowing source of corruption, and there is no limit to the issue of death.

1. Note the law of habit, or the tendency of a certain kind of sin to produce another of the same kind. This law reigns over every act, quality, or state, of the soul, to render the sinful act easier, to intensify the desire, to destroy the impression of danger, to increase the spirit of neglect and delay. Illustrate by the internal affection of envy, or an external habit, such as some sensual appetite.

2. The tendency of a sin of one kind to produce sins of another kind. The confederacy of powers in man admits of no separate action of any one wayward impulse, but as soon as evil in one shape appears, it tends to corrupt all the parts of the soul, to disorganise, to reduce other powers under its own control, and to weaken those which resist. One sort of sin puts the body or soul, or both, into such a state, that another sort becomes more easy and natural. There is an affinity between bodily lusts. Any one of them tends to derange the soul by a loss of inward peace. One wrong affection renders another easier. Even an absorbing passion, like covetousness or ambition, though it may exclude some other inconsistent passion, does not reign alone, but has around and behind it a gloomy train of satellites, which are little tyrants in turn. A more striking example of the connection between different kinds of sin is seen when a man resorts to a new kind of sin to save himself from the effects of the first. Another dark shade is thrown over the malignity of sin from the fact that it so often makes use of innocent motives to propagate its power over the soul.

II. THE TENDENCY OF SIN TO PRODUCE MORAL BLINDNESS. Sin freely chosen must needs seek for some justification or palliation; otherwise the moral sense is aroused, and the soul is filled with pain and alarm. Such justification cannot be found in moral or religious truth, and of this the soul is more or less distinctly aware. Hence an instinctive dread of truth and a willingness to receive and embrace plausible, unsound excuses for sin, which neutralise or destroy its power. The ways in which this overthrow of unperverted judgments, this rejection of light, tends to strengthen the power of sin, are manifold. It decreases the restraining and remedial power of conscience; it kills the sense of danger, and even adds hopefulness to sin; it destroys any influence which the beauty and glory of truth could put forth; in short, it removes those checks from prudence, from the moral powers, and from the character of God, which retard the career of sin.

III. SIN TENDS TO BENUMB AND ROOT OUT THE SENSIBILITIES. This view of sin shows it in its true light as a perverter of nature, an overturner of all those particular traits, the union of which, under love to God, makes the harmony and beauty of the soul.

IV. SIN CRIPPLES THE POWER OF THE WILL TO UNDERTAKE A REFORM. There are eases, very frequent in life, which show a will so long overcome by the strength of sin and by ill-success in opposing it, that the purpose of reform is abandoned in despair. The outcries of human nature under this bondage of sin are tragic indeed.

V. SIN PROPAGATES ITSELF BY MEANS OF THE TENDENCY OF MEN TO ASSOCIATE WITH PERSONS OF LIKE CHARACTER, AND TO AVOID THE COMPANY OF PERSONS OF AN OPPOSITE CHARACTER. In the operation of this law of companionship the evil have a power, and an increasing power, over each other. The worst maxims and the worst opinions prevail, for they are a logical result of evil characters. In conclusion, with the justice or goodness of this system I have at present nothing to do. The Bible did not set it on foot, the Bible does not fully explain it, but only looks at it as a dark fact. Sin does not cure itself or pave the way toward truth and right. The question still is this — Is there any cure? If there be any cure it must be found outside of the region which sin governs. I call on you, then, to find out for yourself a cure. I offer you one — Christ and His gracious Spirit.

(T. D. Woolsey.)

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