Evils of Popular Ignorance
Proverbs 19:2
Also, that the soul be without knowledge, it is not good; and he that hastens with his feet sins.

I. THE EVILS OF IGNORANCE. The faculties of reason, and judgment, and moral determination, must ever distinguish man from "the beast that perisheth," must for ever constitute the true dignity of human nature; but then faculties and powers are of little value in themselves, and if they be not cultivated and developed, and directed to some specific end. Instruction is to man what culture is to plants. When he is deprived of its aid, his powers will either lie wholly dormant, or that which they bring forth, like the productions of the uncultivated plant, will be wild and worthless. Ignorance "is not good" for man, in regard of his social advancement. To the improvement of the mind all nations owe whatever of social blessing they enjoy. The comforts and conveniences of life, the useful and productive arts, the blessings of law and order and good government, are all derived to us from an elevated condition of the national intelligence. Ignorance may be considered as negative of everything that is good and useful: it is the night of a nation's life, during which it can neither work for itself nor for others. Of all despotisms, the despotism of ignorance is the most tyrannical; its will is the only law it recognises, and it hates the light of reason as the night-bird dreads the sun. Ignorance "is not good" for the cause of national morality and virtue. Virtue can no more exist without a certain amount of knowledge than an animal can exist without life. In proportion as ignorance prevails morality will be destroyed. Ignorance "is not good" for a man's individual happiness. Ignorance is a state in which all the finer feelings of the human soul are locked up, and the subject of it is deprived of some of the purest forms of moral happiness and enjoyment. Right knowledge tends to promote a man's happiness, even with regard to the present state. Such knowledge will be found to have an ulterior effect upon a man's character; it will awaken within him many pure and elevating emotions.

II. THE NATURE AND OBJECTS OF TRUE KNOWLEDGE. It may be questioned whether the term education is understood in the plain, broad, comprehensive sense in which Hooker defined it, by whom it was made to comprehend the cultivation of all the moral, spiritual, immortal powers of man. The knowledge that "it is not good" for the soul to be without, includes a knowledge of Holy Scripture. Through this knowledge we get knowledge of other things — ourselves, redemption, sanctification. Without this knowledge a man cannot be moral, cannot be happy, cannot have peace in this life, cannot have hope for the life to come. "It is not good" that a man should be without knowing what are those remedial agencies which have been provided of God for lifting up his soul from its condition of degradation, and preparing it for endless happiness in the presence of his God.

(Daniel Moore, M. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Also, that the soul be without knowledge, it is not good; and he that hasteth with his feet sinneth.

WEB: It isn't good to have zeal without knowledge; nor being hasty with one's feet and missing the way.

The Lowly and Gentle Life
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