Proverbs 22:2
The great problem of excessive wealth and pitiable poverty confronts us still, and seems likely to task our united wisdom for many years, if not for several generations. We may regard -

I. THE BROAD AND NAKED FACT VISIBLE TO EVERY EYE. The fact that, while this world is stored with wealth beneath the ground, and is capable of bringing forth upon its surface ample supplies for all the need of the race, there is found amongst us vast mass of miserable indigence. Children are born into the world in homes where parents do not know how to feed and clothe them, where an early death would seem to be the happiest fate; and other children are born into and brought up in homes where parents have a great deal more than they need to provide for their necessities, and where life offers every opportunity for enjoyment with no necessity for labour.

II. HOW FAR THIS DISTINCTION IS OF GOD.

1. Such deep and wide distinctions as now exist must be contrary to his purpose. We cannot possibly suppose that it is in accordance with his mind that thousands of his children should be starving, unclad or ill clad, homeless, exposed to the saddest sufferings and the darkest evils, while other thousands of his children have more than they need or know how to make good use of.

2. These distinctions are the ultimate result of the laws which he ordained. Poverty has its origin in sin; it is one of the penalties of wrong doing. All the evil we see and sigh over, of every kind, we must trace to sin and to the consequences which sin entails. It is a Divine law that sin and suffering go together.

3. Some inequalities amongst us are directly due to his Divine ordering. He creates us with very different faculties. Some are fitted and enabled to do great things, which raise them in position and in circumstance above their brethren; others are not thus qualified Much, though very far indeed from everything, depends upon our natural endowments.

III. THE UNDESIRABLE SEPARATION WHICH EXISTS BETWEEN THE RICH AND THE POOR. We do not know our neighbours as we should. We pass one another with cold indifference. Too often men turn away from their inferiors (in circumstance) with a contemptuous disregard which signifies that the poor man is beneath their notice; too often men fail to appeal to their fellows because they think themselves unworthy to address them. Between man and man, between brother and brother, there is a gulf of isolation which must be painful and pitiful in the sight of the common Father, the Maker of them both.

IV. THE OCCASIONS WHEN THEY MEET.

1. Those on which they must feel the distinction between them - in business and in society.

2. Those on which they should not do so - when they meet in public worship or for Christian work, then all differences of a material and social kind should be forgotten and ignored.

(1) What are these in presence of that which separates both rich and poor from the Infinite and Almighty One?

(2) What are these in comparison with the question of moral and spiritual Worth? In the sight of God, the poor but holy man is far more acceptable than the rich but unholy man. With him all questions of income or of title are utterly insignificant, positively invisible in presence of the questions of moral rectitude and spiritual worth.

3. One on which they will not do so (Revelation 20:12).

1. Do your best to bridge the gulf, or, still better, to fill up the chasm which separates one class from another.

2. Take care to have that distinction which will survive the shocks of time and change. - C.







The rich and poor meet together: the Lord is the maker of them all.
I. IN ALL CIVIL SOCIETIES THERE ARE RICH AND THERE ARE POOR PEOPLE. This is the unavoidable consequence of the constitution of things. It will appear so if we examine whence ariseth wealth and whence poverty. Riches arise from three causes.

1. The virtues and abilities of men.

2. From the vices of men.

3. From chance or good-fortune; from events towards which the rich man himself contributes little or nothing.To the same three causes poverty may also be ascribed. Not only nations are necessarily divided into rich and poor, but there must be also a perpetual fluctuation of property, by which the rich becomes poor, and the poor become rich, so that neither state is of a fixed and permanent nature. The poor will always be far more numerous than the rich. Whilst there is human liberty, whilst there are virtues and vices, whilst there are vicissitudes of fortune and revolutions of affairs, there must be in all times and places a mixture of high and low, rich and poor. Providence permits it, and in some sense may be said to appoint it, since it results from the nature and constitution of this world.

II. THE MORAL REFLECTION MADE BY SOLOMON UPON THIS INEQUALITY. The Lord is the maker of them all. They have one common parent. In that respect they are equal. If so, there should be no great difference as to real happiness between them. Is there much disparity in point of happiness between the great and the small, the master and the servant, the gentleman and the labourer, the rich and the poor? Superficial observers of human nature and human life will judge without hesitation that the rich have every advantage on their side. But to have honour and authority, unless it be honestly acquired and decently supported, is to be raised to splendid infamy. Power wantonly exercised is the undesirable opportunity of doing mischief. Wealth used for vile purposes, or for no good purposes, can be no real blessing to the master or the hoarder of it. Independency rightly understood is sometimes a blessing, but it is sometimes a calamity. The poor are, or may be, more free from uneasiness than the rich. They have fewer desires, fewer false and artificial wants, more moderate expectations, etc., and these sorts of cares and commotions are no small abatements of human happiness. The poor have usually better health. The extremes either of plenty or of indigence usually occasion various distempers, and shorten the thread of human life. They therefore who are in a middle state between wealth and want should be thankful for their lot, and instead of envying those who ere above them, should consider how many are placed below them. If the whole property and revenue of a country were equally divided amongst the inhabitants, they would be reduced to a state approaching very nearly to poverty. If all the inhabitants of a Christian nation were to live up exactly to the precepts of our Lord and the exhortation of His apostles, excessive wealth and extreme indigence would hardly be found among them. There are three precepts or laws of Christianity which tend directly to remove these extremes; and they are the law of charity, the law of industry, and the law of temperance.

(J. Jortin, D.D.)

The constitution of things being such that the labour of one man, or the labour of several, is sufficient to procure more necessaries than he or they stand in need of, this immediately gave room for riches to arise in the world, and for men's acquiring them by honest means. Thus some would acquire greater plenty of necessaries than they had occasion for; and others, by contrary means, or by cross accidents, would be in want of them. A family with more than was wanted for necessaries would soon develop secondary wants, and inventions for the supply of them, the fruits of leisure and ease, came to employ much of men's time and leisure. Hence a new species of riches came into the world. By and by the superfluities of life took in a vastly larger compass of things than the necessaries of it. Then luxury made its inroad, and all the numerous train of evils its attendants, of which poverty is far from being the worst. If riches had continued to consist only in things necessary or luxurious, this must have embarrassed trade and commerce, and kept riches in the hands of a few. It was agreed to substitute something more lasting and portable, Which should pass everywhere in commerce for real natural riches. Money was to answer for all things. The improvement of trade and commerce has, very happily, enlarged the middle rank of people, who are, in good measure, free from the vices of the highest and the lowest part of mankind. The ranks of rich and poor being thus formed, they meet together — they continue to make up one society. Their mutual want unites them inseparably, but they meet upon a footing of great inequality. The superiority on the one hand, and the independence on the other, are in no sort accidental, but arise necessarily from a settled providential dispensation of things for their common good. This implies duties to each other. The lower rank of mankind go on for the most part in some tract of living, into which they got by direction and example; and to this their understanding and discourse, as well as labour, are greatly confined. Then what influence and power their superiors must have over them! The rich have the power of doing a great deal of good, but this power is given them by way of trust, in order to their keeping down that vice and misery with which the lower people would otherwise be quite overrun. The rich are charged by natural providence, as much as by revealed appointment, with the care of the poor. This is not a burden, but a privilege attached to riches. Observations on public charities:

1. What we have to bestow in charity being a trust, we must satisfy ourselves that we bestow it upon proper objects of charity.

2. Public charities are examples of great influence.

3. All public charities should be regarded as open to counsels of improvement.

4. Our laws and whole constitution, civil and ecclesiastical, go more upon supposition of an equality amongst mankind than the constitution and laws of other countries.

5. Let our charity towards men be exalted into piety towards God, from the serious consideration that we are all His creatures.

(Bp. Butler.)

In the distinction between the rich and the poor there is something not altogether pleasant to the human mind. We are apt to recoil from it. Frequently the dissatisfaction increases as we can discover no just rule for the unequal distribution of riches. The mind of the author of this proverb was led away from the distinctions between these two classes to notice agreements between these classes.

1. There is a substantial agreement between rich and poor in their origin and their situation as they enter the world. They are equally dependent, equally helpless, equally miserable.

2. In their training and preparation for after-life.

3. A value is set upon riches as a means of enjoyment or usefulness. With the rich and poor alike there is a desire for wealth which arises from the hope of making it useful to one's own.

4. But for cherished erroneous notions, the rich and the poor would act together with more efficiency and more good-will. Public good would be more promoted.

5. Between rich and poor there is a substantial agreement in all the organs of perception and enjoyment. The poor man's organisation throughout is as perfect as the rich man's.

6. In the intellectual faculties there is a strong resemblance.

7. And in the original passions of men.

8. They are alike in their natural and equal dependence upon one another. Neither class can dispense with the other and stand independent and alone.

9. There is a nearly equal distribution of the disappointments, vexations, and distresses of life. 10. There is perfect equality among men in their capabilities for religion.

(J. S. Spencer, D.D.)

Nothing is made for itself, or made to terminate in its own being.

I. THE FOUNDATION OF THE RELATIVE DUTIES OF THE RICH AND POOR.

1. They have one Creator, who is also the Father of all.

2. They are brought together into the same society or department of being. Society is a Divine constitution, and an important ingredient of happiness. In society mankind exists in different relations to each other. In respect to them the law of dependence, which pervades the whole universe, prevails.

II. WHAT ARE THE RELATIVE AND RECIPROCAL DUTIES OF RICH AND POOR?

1. One duty of the rich is benevolent bestowment; to supply the need of the poor, to aid them in their necessities.

2. Another duty is that of employment.

3. The enactment of just laws.

4. The practical recognition of the great fact of an universal religious equality. The poor owe —

(1)Gratitude to their benefactors.

(2)Contentment with reasonable wages.

(3)Regard to the interests of their employers.

(F. A. Cox, D.D., LL.D.)

I. IN THE PARTICIPATION OF A COMMON NATURE. Poor and rich have equally the power of ascertaining general principles; their moral sensibilities are the same; in devotion the two classes meet. They are alike in the primary passions of the human mind. The more we analyse actions, and trace them to their primary elements, the more we shall perceive the identity between the rich and the poor as to their intellectual, moral, accountable, and devotional capacities.

II. IN THE PROCESS OF THE SAME SOCIAL ECONOMY.

III. IN THE HOUSE OF GOD. In the presence of the great and good Being men should forget all their distinctions, and recollect their essential relation to Him who is equally the Father of all mankind.

V. IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THEIR ENTRANCE INTO THIS WORLD, AND IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THEIR EXIT OUT OF IT. Learn —

1. That those who are rich should recollect that they are rich for the purpose of benefiting their generation. Let such persons consider seriously whether they are living to themselves or to God.

2. Not to repine if we are poor and yet partakers of true piety springing from the faith of the gospel.

(Robert Hall.)

There are great points of resemblance between all men sufficient to constitute a true equality.

1. All possess an intellectual and immortal nature. Mind is a common possession. The immortality of the soul stamps all men with equal honour.

2. The fact of a common possession among all classes of the social and domestic affections establishes the doctrine of human equality. The same heart of love towards friends and kindred beats in the breast of the highest and lowest.

3. The doctrine of human equality is established by the universal distribution of vice and virtue. Everywhere you will find sin. That is a common heritage. So with virtue. You will find grand specimens of piety and goodness in the dwellings of the rich, the middle class, and the poor.

4. The doctrine of human equality is established by our common inheritance of infirmities, suffering, bereavements, sorrow, and death. The same physical weakness enfeebles rich and poor. They are subject to the same diseases. They experience the same mental anguish. Learn —(1) To see the mischief — the sin — of those who endeavour to sever, ill thought and sympathy, man from man. What is specially needed now is sympathy between the various classes of society.(2) That this doctrine of human equality supplies a basis for the adaptation of the gospel to our needs.

(W. Walters.)

1. According to the very constitution of human nature, great social distinctions do and must exist. While we acquiesce in this fact as inevitable, it is important that we take a right view of it.

2. The rich and poor, with many outward differences, meet together in the possession of a common nature, which is greater than all the circumstances of life.

3. The rich and poor meet together in a large intermediate class. The blending of classes is not less remarkable than their separation.

4. The rich and poor meet together in the common enjoyment of all the greater blessings of life. The most valuable blessings of life are those which are scattered broadcast over the world, and which come to all alike, as does the bright shining of the sun.

5. The rich and poor meet together in all the more important and deeper experiences of life. The great events, which stir the deepest feelings of man's heart — birth, marriage, death — occur in every household.

6. The rich and poor meet together in that they are all alike, and without exception, sinners, involved in one common ruin, exposed to one common doom. This is one of the most unpalatable truths of the Bible.

7. The rich and poor meet together in this — they have presented unto them a common salvation. There is only one gospel for rich and poor. Social and national distinctions find no place in the gospel of Christ. If men are to be saved at all they can only be saved in one way, by the exercise of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the one Saviour.

(T. M. Morris.)

I. VARIOUS WAYS IN WHICH RICH AND POOR CANNOT AVOID MEETING TOGETHER.

1. They belong to the same creation. They meet together, then, as brethren — "all one Man's sons," who will have His children live together in unity.

2. They are placed together by their common Maker in the same world, and in a state of necessary dependence on each other.

3. Although there is a wide separation between rich and poor in point of education, habits, and manners, yet these outward differences are as nothing in comparison with their common nature, to which they bear the same relation as the clothes to the body. View them in regard to their natural appetites, bodily and mental capacities, social and domestic affections; in all these things they meet together as equals, and we plainly see that one "Lord is the Maker of them all."

4. If now, dismissing worldly considerations, we contemplate them as they must appear to their Maker, we shall see the distance between them absolutely vanish, and nothing to prevent their meeting together on a footing of perfect equality. All souls are alike, and religion addresses itself to all alike.

5. Rich and poor, thus meeting together in the enjoyment of the same Christian privileges, should also meet together in the exhibition of a renewed heart and a gracious character, the fruits of a common faith.

II. EXHORT BOTH RICH AND POOR TO A VOLUNTARY MEETING OF EACH OTHER; not only as being brought together by the appointment of Providence, but as seeking and making advances towards each other.

1. It is not enough that the rich should not oppress the poor; thanks to the equity of our laws, this is not to any serious extent in their power; nor that they should not despise the poor, which we hope is not in their inclination; but the rich must protect and assist and honour and sympathise with their poorer brethren.

2. But if it be the duty of the rich thus to meet the poor, it is no less incumbent on the poor to make advances towards the rich, and "meet them half-way."

(J. H. Burn, B.D.)

Rich and poor meet together in their relation and dependence on each other, as members of society and common heirs of Christ's salvation. They meet together in their duties. They meet together in their joint properties. They meet together in their dearest interests, both of this life and of that which is to come. The rich man may be reminded that the city cannot be inhabited without the artisans and smiths and labours. The poor man should be told that the capacity of his superiors is of another order from his own, and that the duty of different stations is different; each has his own opportunities, and his own responsibilities. Rich men are necessary to the well-being of the poor, and the poor are essential to the existence of wealth. The necessities of all ranks connect all. The wants of the rich convey comforts to the poor; the wants of the poor minister to the abundance of the rich. Such are the gracious dispensations of a kind Providence. Let us all be thankful for what we have, and not repine that we have no more.

(G. D. Hill, M.A.)

All through the Scriptures the point of view is God's, not man's. To understand any part of the Bible we must look at it from the Divine standpoint. This applies to the text. In that day the contrast between rich and poor was far greater than now. If man had spoken he would have said, "The rich and poor are divided; their interests are at war, and cannot be made to harmonise." The rich have manifest advantages.

1. They have opportunities for improvement which the poor have not.

2. They have means of influence which the poor have not. In other respects observe the essential sameness of these two classes.

(1)The faculties of the mind in both rich and poor are essentially the same.

(2)The same moral natures are in both.

(3)They are alike responsible.

(4)In the eye of God they meet together in their destiny.

(5)They meet together in their sinfulness.

(6)They are the same in their relation to the plan of salvation.Both are one at the centre. God equalises. The differences are slight. The differences are reciprocal and transient, while the points of agreement are permanent. Those who set the one class against the other are moving backward toward the feudal ages, whether they know it or not — a time when the poor was servant to the rich. The glory of our age is that the differences between the classes are being obliterated. They are meeting together. Our souls are being lifted to a comprehension of this exalted ideal of the Scriptures.

(R. S. Storrs, D.D.)

I. CLEARLY STATE THE SUBJECT.

II. SHOW THAT IT IS THE WILL OF GOD THAT THERE SHOULD BE DISTINCTIONS OF RICH AND POOR IN THE WORLD.

1. Evident from Scriptures.

2. It is not inconsistent with God's justice, and is an argument for His wisdom.

III. APPLICATIONS.

1. The rich should always acknowlege God in all their enjoyments.

2. The poor should be contented.

3. Apart from riches and poverty, all men are equal — they have the same nature, the same care of Providence, the same Christian privileges, and the same judgment.

(H. Grove.)

The idea of ultimate impartiality is what is chiefly suggested by the latter part of this verse, "the Lord is the Maker of them all." He is so by creation. They alike owe to Him their being, and owe to Him every moment the maintenance of that being — the rich man and the honourable, as well as the poorest and meanest on earth. Where is the monarch on the throne that, more than the lowest of his subjects, can draw a breath independently of God? He is so by providential allotment. The same Lord makes them what they are, and could at His pleasure reverse their conditions, making the rich the poor and the poor the rich. The Lord being the Maker of them all implies also the equal distance of them all, as alike His creatures, from their common Creator and Governor. The distance is the same. In both it is infinite. When God is the object of common comparison, the distance between the highest and the lowest of mankind measures not a hair's breadth; it is annihilated. All the distinctions of which men make so much sink into nothing before His infinite majesty.

(R. Wardlaw, D.D.)

The text does not mean that both rich and poor are mingled in society, that they oppose or encounter one another, but rather that they are alike, that with all their differences there is still something common to both. What is this common ground, the point of contact and agreement? Not an absolute identity or sameness of condition, but participation in a certain good common to both, and independent of external qualities. The true corrective of all social inequalities, so far as they are evil, must be furnished, not by human institutions and arrangements, but derived from a higher and independent source. Consider how and why the religion of the Bible is adapted to exert this influence. Men's schemes for the practical solution of this great problem are three.

1. The idea of obliterating social inequalities by a coercive distribution of all property. This method is condemned by its violent injustice, by the meanness of its aims, by the hypocrisy of its professions.

2. The idea of securing an equality of civil rights in spite of personal and social disadvantages. As a positive means of correcting the effects of providential inequalities, this is as worthless as the other.

3. The idea of remedying the evil by means of intellectual increase and knowledge and refinement of taste. The objection to this remedy is that when applied alone its influence is not necessarily or wholly good.(1) Christianity distinctly recognises the existence and necessity of some providential inequalities in the external situation of mankind.(2) Its remedy is the direct mitigation of the evils of society by the change wrought in the tempers and affections of the parties. And true religion attaches to the various degrees of wealth, refinement, knowledge, influence, and leisure their corresponding measures of responsibility. It makes each party, to some extent, content with his actual condition, aware of its peculiar obligations, and spontaneously disposed to discharge them.(3) By a process of moral elevation men are first taught to surmount their disadvantages, and then by one of intellectual elevation the classes are brought nearer together. Impress the necessity for popular religious education, not only as the means of personal improvement and salvation, but also as the grand corrective and perhaps the sovereign cure of the disorders which now prey upon society, and "eat as doth a canker." Religious education has a social and secular as well as an exclusively religious use. The true Secret of the "healing of the nations."

(J. A. Alexander, D.D.)

The man in want murmurs that God has given him so little; the man in affluence forgets that God has given him so much. A want of sympathy arises between the different classes; they meet in jealousy, not in love. Differences ought to be viewed, not as specially hurtful to any, but as generally good for all. One man is not nearer God or farther from God than another. God is not only the maker of all men as men, He is the maker of all as rich and poor. He fixes their civil conditions. The unequal state is the appointment of His providence. Men meet together by nature as equal; in the eye of the world as unequal; in both cases for good. None is in prosperity or adversity without affecting others. What, then, are the duties which each owes the other, and which both owe to God?

(Canon Harvey, M.A.)

How the scales seems to fall away from one's eyes directly we are enabled to see things as God sees them! The sacred worth of humanity shines far brighter than any of its tinsel happiness. We learn to estimate ourselves aright, undisturbed, and unabashed by the false estimates which are current in the world. Our true distinction is that we are men, that we belong to a race which was made in the image of God, was dear to His heart, and is redeemed by His love. The equality we claim for men is not a levelling down — it is quite the reverse; it is raising them up to the higher level, which they have deserted and forgotten. It is giving men self-respect instead of self-esteem.

(R. F. Horton, D.D.)

I. RICH AND POOR MEET TOGETHER IN THEIR ORDINARY ALLOTMENTS OF LIFE.

II. IN THE ORDINARY CHARACTERISTICS OF THEIR NATURE.

1. The body has the same number of bones and muscles, nerves and sinews, in any of which disease may fasten and pain may enter.

2. Nor is our exposure any the less in our minds.

3. Our sensibilities are the same.

III. IN THEIR DESTINIES IN THE COMMON HEREAFTER.

1. We all meet at the grave.

2. We all meet at the judgment.

3. We all meet in eternity.

IV. IN THEIR RIGHTS UNDER THE GOSPEL.

1. There is the same need in the fallen nature.

2. The same supply furnished in the inexhaustible mercy of a crucified Redeemer.

3. The same clear condition annexed to the call.

4. The same unalterable pledge annexed to the promise.

5. The same fulness of fruition held out in answer to every hope at the last.There is no property qualification whatsoever for citizenship in the kingdom of God.

(Chas. S. Robinson, D.D.)

God makes some rich that they may be charitable to the poor; and others poor that they may be serviceable to the rich; and they have need of one another. He makes some poor to exercise their patience, and contentment, and dependence on God; and others rich to exercise their thankfulness and benevolence. All stand upon the same level before God.

( Matthew Henry.)

No dispensation of Providence appears, at first sight, more advantageous to mankind than the diversity of conditions. The prince has need of his people, and the people have need of their prince; the politician has need of the soldiers, and the soldiers have need of the politician. This consciousness of the need which we have of our fellow-creatures is the strong tie which binds us to them. Yet, by the depravity of the human race, this useful order has been miserably abused. On one side the great have been dazzled by their own splendour, and hence have become haughty, disdainful, and oppressive. On the other, the low, forgetting the dignity which naturally cleaves to a reasonable soul, have become fawning and mean; have bowed down to imaginary divinities and crouched before phantoms of grandeur. Both parties have acquired their erroneous ideas from neglecting to consider themselves in a proper point of view. The nature of man consists of a spirit united to a body; and this description applies to the whole race. The soul of the poor man, as well as that of the rich, has the power of considering principles, of drawing consequences, of discerning truth from falsehood, of choosing good or evil, of seeking for the most glorious and useful attainments. His body, too, bears the same characters of skill and exquisite contrivance: it is harmonious in its parts, just in its motions, and proportioned in its powers. As their powers are the same, so too are their weaknesses. The soul of the rich, like that of the poor, is subject to the influence of the passions. Nor do their privileges differ more; for though a poor man cannot exercise the authority of the great, nor obtain the reputation of immortal heroes, yet he may aspire to honours infinitely greater. He has a right of raising himself to God by the ardour of his prayers; and he can assure himself, without danger or delusion, that the great God will regard and answer his prayers. Nothing shows so much the meanness of the great as the value which they set on exterior advantages, for thus they renounce their true and proper grandeur. The glory of man consists not in that he is rich, noble, a lord, or a king, but in that he is a man, a being formed after the image of God, and capable of the sublimest attainments. What are the views of God with regard to men? What end does He propose in placing us on this planet, thirty, forty, or fourscore years? He intends it as our time of trial. On this principle, what is the most glorious condition? It is not that which raiseth us in society; nor that which procures us the greatest honours and accommodations of life, for it is more glorious to be a good subject than a wicked king, to be a good disciple than a profligate teacher. There is no profession shameful if it is not vicious. There is, indeed, something more noble in the objects of some professions than of others. There is something much greater in the design of a magistrate making and executing laws for the good of mankind and in that of a mechanic practising the simplest arts. But God will not determine our everlasting state according to the design of our professions, but according to the execution; in that respect all professions are equal, and all men have the same destination. Mankind, then, are essentially equal in their nature, their privileges, and their destination. Above all this, equality is eminently conspicuous in their end. We may labour to acquire a portion of honest fame, to augment our fortune, to establish our reputation, and sweeten, as far as we can, the cares of life, for this the morality of the gospel does not condemn; but still we must carry this labour no farther than it deserves; it must not be our chief care. God has given to the great ones of the earth an exterior glory, transient and superficial; but to the humble and the patient He has given that glory which is real, solid, and permanent; and what is there difficult to a wise man in submitting to this order of Providence? It may, in some respects indeed, be mortifying to lurk in the lowest ranks of society when one feels sentiments of greatness and elevation in the soul. But those things will soon pass away; soon shall we enter on a world where those distinctions shall be abolished, and all that is great in the immortal mind shine forth in full splendour.

(A. Macdonald.)

I. THE DIVERSITY OF STATION, OF POWER, OF AUTHORITY, OF WEALTH, AND THE LIKE IS INHERENT IN THE NATURE OF MAN. Men are diverse in their natural capacities, abilities, and inclinations. But this diversity rests not altogether on chance or on injustice of mankind, since it originates, if not in the very nature of the soul, yet surely in the constitution of the body which it inhabits, the external objects by which man is environed, the early education that he receives and the climate allotted him for his abode, and which cannot possibly be everywhere the same.

II. The proof, however, that the difference of station is necessarily inherent in our nature WILL NOT PACIFY THE DISCONTENTED MAN. He will probably complain of this necessity, that he is subjected to it against his will. But will he justly do so if we prove to him that God in this institution had the wisest and kindest designs in view, and that it is in reality calculated to procure to every one in particular and to all in general manifold and important benefits?

1. Certain it is that without the diversity of estates and conditions of life, we should be absolutely obliged to forego very many of the conveniences which we may enjoy. We should be more independent, but we should also have less support in weakness, less protection in dangers, less help in misery, less relief in distress. And how burdensome would life become if every one were obliged to provide himself necessaries alone, every one to procure and prepare for himself whatever he wanted for his maintenance, for his food and clothing, for his recreation and his amusement!

2. By this regulation established by the Deity mankind have the best opportunity for employing their several capacities, faculties, and endowments, and of carrying them to the highest degree of perfection which they can here attain. The difference of states and conditions of life introduces a great variety of projects and designs, of occupations, exertions, labours, and amusements.

3. By means of this Divine economy every species of satisfaction and pleasure is enjoyed whereof mankind are capable, and these satisfactions and pleasures, taken together, constitute unquestionably the greatest possible sum of happiness or of agreeable sensations that could have place in the present state of man. How few the species of pleasure to which mankind would be restricted if they were in all respects equal!

4. This diversity of station and outward prosperity are excellent means of exercising us in virtue, and so of rendering us capable of the perfection and happiness of another life.Conclusion:

1. Let every one of us be contented with his situation. Acquire the habit of viewing it on the most agreeable side — that God knows us far better than we know ourselves, and is uniformly consulting our welfare.

2. Let each of us only act up to his station with all possible fidelity in every particular.

3. Let us with extraordinary diligence strive after a superior station in a future world.

(G. J. Zollikofer.)

Leslie, the painter, tells us of his hearing the preference expressed by Rogers for seats in churches without pews opposed by a gentleman who preferred pews, and said, "If there were seats only, I might find myself sitting by my coachman." Rogers replied, "And perhaps you may be glad to find yourself beside him in the next world."

(Francis Jacox.)

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