The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him.
I. THE FIRST THING THAT STRIKES US HERE IS THE MOTHER. "The prophecy which his mother taught him."
1. A mother's anxiety. What shall he be? Better not to be, than to turn out a bad man. Seekest thou great things for the little one by thy side? Seek them not; better is it to be good than to be great; to be obscure in holiness rather than to be conspicuous in sin.
2. This is a pious mother. "The son of my vows." It is a great thing to be the child of a good mother. We do not know the name of this mother — her son's nature we know. What eminent sons have ascribed all their distinction to their mother; but she is out of sight. He attains to fame; she is still unknown.
II. THE MOTHER TAUGHT HER SON THINGS PERTAINING TO CHARACTER. Men cannot command circumstances or facts, but they can preserve principles. Principles are like the piles on which you build bridges, or on which you construct railways over morasses and swamps. Principles are the piles of life. Unshaken convictions and principles are only found in profound minds. King Lemuel's mother left, as she might safely do, the technicalities of instruction to others; she looked after character; she laid the foundation strong in goodness. Women teach goodness better than men. There is the right power of woman. When the counsels of good mothers have been disregarded, how often those mothers have been avenged!
III. THE PROPHECIES WHICH HIS MOTHER TAUGHT HIM. The words of Lemuel's mother are living still. In youth we love and are loved so quickly. Then love is pure — more of the heart and less of the senses, which all true love is. In noble natures, the purer the heart, the more it is purified by the love of God. Youth is the time for the choice between God and good, and Satan and evil. "Be sober," said this mother. "Do not excite the body, lest the body should rise against the soul and dethrone her." "My soul," said John Foster, "shall either be mistress in my body, or shall quit it." Never were young men in more danger than now.
1. Young men waste time. The wise man must "separate himself." Ill habits gather by obscure degrees.
2. Young men fail in high principle. You see how everything goes down before things of money value. It is hard to reckon things by another than a money value. All fast living means low thinking, or nothing at all. These are the men who see nothing in religion, because they know nothing about it. Our sanctification must be wrought out where we are, not where we are not. Life is serious and earnest, but let us not despair over its failures, even though they abide with us to the close. "He that walketh with wise men shall be wise." Walk with them in their books, in solitude, in meditation, and join their company at last.
(E. Paxton Hood.)
Parallel VersesKJV: The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him.