Proverbs 28:8
He who increases his wealth by interest and usury lays it up for another, who will be kind to the poor.
Sermons
DishonestyJohn N. Norton.Proverbs 28:8
UsuryR. Wardlaw, D.D.Proverbs 28:8
The Source of Disturbance and the Secret of SecurityW. Clarkson Proverbs 28:1, 13, 25
The Moral Quality of LifeE. Johnson Proverbs 28:6-12
Nothing we can touch, no relation we can enter into or observe, but has its moral bearing. This, indeed, is the great lesson, in hundredfold iteration, of this book.

I. POVERTY WITH INNOCENCE, WEALTH WITH PERVERSITY. (Ver. 6.) Whatever be the compensations of poverty in a lower point of view, most men would vote for riches if they had the opportunity at the price of all its inconveniences, and we need to be reminded that he who would sell his peace of conscience for wealth does but "gain a loss." Better go to heaven in rags than to hell in embroidery. Better God than gold; better be poor and live, than rich and perish.

II. A MAN IS KNOWN BY THE COMPANY HE KEEPS. (Ver. 7.) The first example is that of the man whose delight is in the Law, who is in fellowship with the truth, and who is therefore a companion "of all them that fear God and keep his precepts." The second is that of one who keeps company with the dissipated, stains his name, and brings dishonour on his family. In society lie the greatest perils and the greatest safeguards. The Christian Church is the Divine society which aims at the true and holy ideal of living. As with books, so with men; the rule is - keep company only with the best.

III. ILL-GOTTEN WEALTH DWINDLES. (Ver. 8.) Wealth is not his who gets it, but his who enjoys it. And if gotten by ill means, it cannot be enjoyed; and "Ill got, ill spent," says the proverb. Wealth, diverted by force or fraud from its natural channels flows back by a law of economic gravitation. A man labours for himself with selfishness and wickedness, and the harvest falls into better hands; "not intending it of himself; but it is so done through God's secret providence."

IV. PRAYERS ARE VITIATED BY INJUSTICE. (Ver. 9.) They are tainted by a horrible lie. In prayer the goodness, the moral perfection, of God is assumed; and prayer implies that the holy will ought to be done. Yet how great the contradiction between such prayers on the lips and the heart bent upon defeating that will! "Just reason that God shall refuse to hear him who refuses to hear God." Without the "ceasing to do evil, and the learning to do well," sacrifices are vain oblations, and incense is an abomination to God (Isaiah 1:11-15).

V. THE SEDUCER IS SELF-SEDUCED. (Ver. 10.) So the snare of Balaam, laid for Israel, became the cause of his own ruin. If the retribution is not visible, it is a fact in the soul. Among the ingredients of remorse, none is more bitter than the recollection of having led youth and innocence astray. It is a sin most difficult of self-forgiveness. But the righteous inherit salvation. There is a real sense in which men should seek to realize the character of "just men that need no repentance." There is no salvation in selfishness - none which does not imply a regeneration of the social consciousness.

VI. POVERTY AND RICHES HAVE THEIR COMPENSATION. (Ver. 11.) Confidence in riches begins in illusory self-confidence; and there is much to abet and foster it in the opinion of the multitude; for, as the old saying runs, "Rich men have no faults." But the poor man, endued with sense and with religion, sees through these false estimates; knows that the rich feel misfortunes which pass over his own head; that they pay a tax of constant care and anxiety; and that it is ever better to fare hard with good men than to feast with bad.

VII. "THE VOICE OF THE PEOPLE THE VOICE OF GOD." (Ver. 12.) Whatever be the love of greatness and splendour, of rank and position, in the common mind, the people cannot but rejoice in good rulers, and be depressed under evil. A generous acclamation breaks from the popular heart when good men are raised to honour. "When Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in the king's royal apparel,...the city of Shushan rejoiced and was glad. The Jews had light, and gladness, and joy, and honour; in every province...a feast and a good day" (Esther 8:15-17). - J.







He that by usury and unjust gain increaseth his substance, he shall gather it for him that will pity the poor.
A matter-of-fact Englishman, writing about the uselessness of abstract preaching, says that, during ten years' residence in a country parish, he became well acquainted with the characteristic temptations, failings, tricks and vices, and crimes of the people, and he longed to hear something from the pulpit calculated to meet the emergencies of the case. Ten long years the drowsy pulpit poured forth its dull platitudes; the clergyman never coming down from the clouds long enough to let the dishonest, the cruel, and the dissipated understand that they know nothing practically concerning the imitation of Christ until they have asked themselves how He would have acted if He had vegetables to sell or horses to drive. Wealth, in days of undefiled English, meant well-being, and is now used to describe money — money more than all beside; and worth, or worthiness, has degenerated into a term to express how much of "filthy lucre" that one has contrived to get hold of. The cool contempt of money which some old cynics and philosophers expressed was little more than affectation. Had they been lucky enough to have any, their estimate of it might have been different. A man of wealth, who behaves himself properly, and puts on no airs, is as much to be respected as his poorest neighbours. Let this be remembered, however, it must be wealth honestly come by. When greed of gain has secured a lodgment in the heart, it imperiously demands satisfaction. In countries where civilisation is unknown it turns freebooter, and leagues with bands of kindred spirits; while in Christian lands it puts on more respectable shapes, not so shocking to the casual observer. The rude robber stops his victim on the highway, and holds midnight revels on the spoil; and the cunning accountant defrauds his creditors, and rides in his carriage. Does a just God see much difference between them? Christian integrity will, in the end, always receive its merited reward. Instead of worldly maxims, based on low and unworthy principles, let the solemn question of our Lord keep us from evil ways — "What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?"

(John N. Norton.)

Usury is here to be understood of every description of oppressive, unrighteous, and rigorous exaction. The providence of a just and merciful God is evidently here referred to. That providence transfers wealth from the hand of grasping and griping selfishness to that of humanity and generous kindness, to that of the man who "pities the poor." Men may not mark the Divine hand in occurrences of this kind; and it is always a delicate matter for us — one to which we are hardly equal — to interpret providence judicially. But there are cases at times in which the transference is so striking that it would be impiety not to see and own God in it.

(R. Wardlaw, D.D.)

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