Proverbs 23:16
My inmost being will rejoice when your lips speak what is right.
Discipline in Divine WisdomE. Johnson Proverbs 23:12-18

I. THE TEMPER OF DOCILITY. (Ver. 12.) It is submission of the affections to a higher law. It is the resignation of the will to a higher leading. It is the opening of the understanding to Divine counsels. It is the realization, on the one hand, of dependence and need; on the other, of the light, the wisdom, and the goodness which ever meet that need.

II. THE NECESSITY OF DISCIPLINE FOR THE YOUNG. (Vers. 13, 14; see on Proverbs 3:27; Proverbs 19:18; Proverbs 22:15.) Luther says, in his blunt way, "Beat your son, and the hangman will not beat him. There must be a beating once for all; if the father does it not, Master Hans will; there is no help for it. None ever escaped it; for it is God's judgment." Another sternly says, "Many parents deserve hell on their children's account, because they neglect to train them in piety."

III. JOY IN DUTIFUL CHILDREN. (Vers. 15, 16.) It is next to the joy in the personal sense of God's grace. None but a parent knows the heart of a parent - the "travailing in birth" over their souls, the joy of discovering symptoms of the new life. "May all my sons be Benaiahs, the Lord's building; then will they all be Abners, the father's light: all my daughters Bithiahs, the Lord's daughters; and then they will be all Abigails, their father's joy" (Swinnock). What must be the joy in heaven and in the bosom of God over his returning and dutiful children!

IV. ENVY OF THE WICKED REBUKED. (Vers. 17, 18.) When Socrates was asked what was most troublesome to good men, he replied, "The prosperity of the wicked." Here, then, is a great temptation. It needs an antidote in reason. There is no reason for this envy. They are not truly happy. We look at them from the outside; the dark discontent of the heart is concealed from us. To live in the communion of God, on the other hand, is a secret, a certain, a profound and all-compensating joy. The enjoyment of the wicked, such as it is, must have its end; while the child of God ends only to begin anew - sinks below the horizon to rise in the power of an endless life. We have thus three resources against sin: the avoidance of evil example; reverence before God; and constant recollection of the blessings of piety and virtue. - J.

My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice, even mine.
I. THE ATTAINMENT REQUIRED. A pious youth is said to be wise in heart.

1. To show us that religion is wisdom.

2. That this wisdom is not notional, but consists principally in dispositions and actions. Religion has to do "with the heart"; and a knowledge that does not reach the heart, and govern the heart, is nothing.

II. THE CONSEQUENCE ANTICIPATED. Pious children afford their parents pleasure on three principles.

1. A principle of benevolence.

2. Of piety. God is particularly pleased and glorified by the sacrifices of early religion.

3. Of self-interest. Distinguish between self-interest and selfishness. The piety of children affords parents evidence of the answer of their prayers and the success of their endeavours, and so delights them. It becomes a means of their usefulness. By such children parents hope to serve their generation. It ensures to parents a proper return of duty. And it will free them from a thousand bitter anxieties, such as are caused by children's removal from home; taking any important step in life; or being bereaved of their dearest relations.Conclusion:

1. Address those who, instead of a joy to their parents, are only a grief.

2. Address parents. Have you conscientiously discharged your duty towards your children? If you have, and nevertheless find your "house not so with God "as you desire, yield not to despair. Never cease to pray and to admonish. Some shower of rain may cause the seed, which has long been buried under the dryness of the soil, to strike root and spring up.

(W. Jay.)


1. As it involves the possession and right application of knowledge.

2. As it gives the first attention to the most momentous concerns.

3. As it adopts the most likely means for securing these great ends.

4. As it secures the greatest amount of good both for the present and the future.


1. Because of their necessary inexperience.

2. Because of the countless perils which surround them.

3. Because the future circumstances of life depend much upon the course adopted in youth.


1. There must be a deep conviction of its need and value.

2. There must be the hearty and simple application of faith, for its realisation.

3. Let this resolution, and application of devout earnestness and faith, be adopted now.In conclusion, present the subject to your serious attention —

(1)By the evils of neglecting religion; and —

(2)The moral loveliness and excellency connected with devout and serious piety.

(J. Burns, D.D.)

Persons may form a judgment of their own dispositions from their wishes about their children. Worldly men make it their great work to provide those things for their children which they account their own best things. Saints desire above all things that the hearts of their children may be richly furnished with wisdom, and that their lips may speak right things; for the heart is the throne of Wisdom, and by the lips she discovers her possession of that throne.

(George Lawson, D.D.)

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