Proverbs 25:15

I. THE APT WORD. Compared to "golden apples in silver frames." Carved work adorning the ceilings of rooms is perhaps alluded to. The beauty of the groined sets off the worth of the object. Just so the good word is set off by the seasonableness of the moment of its utterance (1 Peter 4:11). The apt word is "a word upon wheels, not lotted or dragged, but rolling smoothly along like chariot wheels." Our Lord's discourses (e.g. on the bread and water of life) sprang naturally out of the course of passing conversation (John 4.; Luke 14.). So with Patti's famous discourse on Mars' Hill (Acts 17).

II. WISE CENSURE IN THE WILLING EAR IS COMPARED TO A GOLDEN EARRING. (Ver. 12.) For if all wisdom is precious as pure gold, and beautiful as ornaments m that material, to receive and wear with meekness in the memory and heart such counsels is better than any other decoration. "The wisest princes need not think it any diminution to their greatness or derogation to their sufficiency to rely upon counsel. God himself is not without, but hath made it one of the great names of his blessed Son, 'The Counsellor'" (Bacon). He who willingly gives heed to wise chastisement does a better service to his ears than if he adorned them with the finest gold and with genuine pearls.

III. A FAITHFUL MESSENGER IS COMPARED TO COOLING SNOW. (Ver. 13.) In the heat of harvest labour a draught of melted snow from Lebanon is like a "winter in summer" (Xen.,' Mem.,' 2:1, 30). A traveller says, "Snow so cold is brought down from Mount Lebanon that, mixed with wine, it renders ice itself cold." So refreshing is faithfulness in service. The true servant is not to be paid with gold.

IV. IDLE PRETENSIONS COMPARED TO CLOUDS AND WIND WITHOUT RAIN. (Ver. 14.) Promise without performance. Let men be what they would seem to be. "What has he done? is the Divine question which searches men and transpierces every false reputation.... Pretension may sit still, but cannot act. Pretension never feigned an act of real greatness. Pretension never wrote an 'Iliad,' nor drove back Xerxes, nor Christianized the world, nor abolished slavery."

V. THE POWER OF PATIENCE. (Ver. 15.) Time and patience are persuasive; a proverb compares them to an inaudible file. Here patience is viewed as a noiseless hammer, silently crushing resistance. "He who would break through a wall with his hand," says an old commentator, "will hardly succeed!" But how do gentleness and mildness win their way! "I Paul beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:1). - J.

By long forbearing is a prince persuaded, and a soft tongue breaketh the bone.
In the government of our words, mildness, or meekness, is specially commendable. The right disposition includes meekness, gentleness, courteousness, kindness. These are the virtues of a soft tongue. The opposites are hardness, roughness, sharpness, bitterness, clamour, brawling. By the term "breaking" is meant persuading, pacifying, convincing, appeasing, prevailing with. A meek and gentle way of discourse is the most effectual means to overcome the fiercest passions and most obdurate, cruel dispositions. A calm and gentle way in vindicating ourselves is the most effectual means to work confusion in such as would calumniate and reproach us. This truth may be confirmed by two considerations.

1. The nature of these fierce passions and this obduracy or hardness of temper, which are increased by opposition, and consequently must be abated by gentleness and yielding.

2. From the nature of lenity and gentleness, whose property it is to insinuate itself into the hardest things. It is compared with oil. How does this doctrine consist with the imprecations of Scripture? Explain that some of them, though pronounced optatively, are to be understood declaratively, as descriptive of the true state and condition of such parties. Those who used these imprecations were inspired for a particular purpose. They spoke in their zeal for God. It may be right to wish evil to come to persons for the sake of its disciplinary mission. How does this doctrine consist with the severe imprecations of Scripture? Our Saviour called the Pharisees "vipers," Herod a "fox." The apostle calls some people "dogs." To this it may be said, those who have an extraordinary power of discerning may use such hard terms. And those in public stations may thus severely chide and reprehend. How does this doctrine consist with the duties of zeal and reproving, which sometimes must be done with severity? A man may sometimes sin in not being angry. True "meekness of wisdom" directs a, man how to order his zeal and rebukes. Learn —

1. That if soft words be of such a prevailing efficacy, soft and gentle actions must be so too.

2. The folly and sinfulness of hard speeches, whereby others may be provoked to anger and offence.

3. The lawfulness and fitness of giving men the reverence and honour due to their proper titles.

4. Bitter and provoking words are unmanly, as being against the rules of morality and very un-Christian, as being against the precepts of the gospel.

(Bp. John Wilkins.)

There are three kinds of power — material, mental, and moral.

I. THE MANIFESTATION of moral power. The words indicate a threefold manifestation.

1. Stillness. "By long forbearing is a prince persuaded." Forbearance implies calm endurance — a patience like that which the Great Heavenly Exemplar exhibited under insults and persecutions.

2. Speech. "A soft tongue breaketh the bone." "A soft tongue" not a simpering tongue, not a silly tongue, not a sycophantic tongue, but the "soft tongue" of tender love and forbearing kindness. Such a tongue is might: it "breaketh the bone." This somewhat paradoxical expression expresses the amazing power of kind words; they break the bone, the ossified heart of the enemy. Another manifestation of power here is —

3. Service. "If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink," etc. "In the smelting of metals," says Arnot, "whether on a large or small scale, it is necessary that the burning coals should be above the ore as well as beneath it. The melting fuel and the rude stones to be melted are mingled together and brought into contact, particle by particle, throughout the mass. It is thus that the resistance of the stubborn material is overcome, and the precious separated from the vile." There are but few hearts so obdurate as not to melt under the fires of love that blaze over and under them. These words direct our attention to —

II. THE MIGHTINESS of moral power.

1. Persuading. "By long forbearing is a prince persuaded." Thus David brought down Saul (1 Samuel 24:8-20; 1 Samuel 26:3-20).

2. Breaking. "A soft tongue breaketh the bone." Loving words can mollify the roughest natures. Gideon, with a kind word, pacified the Ephraimites, and Abigail turned David's wrath away.

3. Melting. "Thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head." "The Americans have a tract on this subject, entitled, 'The Man who Killed his Neighbours.' It contains, in the form of a narrative, many useful, practical suggestions on the art of overcoming evil with good. It is with kindness — modest, thoughtful, generous, persevering, unwearied kindness — that the benevolent countryman killed his churlish neighbour: and it is only the old evil man that he kills, leaving the new man to lead a very different life in the same village, after the dross has been purged away." How sublimely elevated is the moral legislation of the Bible!

(D. Thomas, D.D.)

There is a tremendous power in a kind word.

1. Kindness as a means of defence. Have you ever known acerbity and acrimonious dispute settle a quarrel? I have seen men moving amid the annoyances, and vexations, and assaults of life in such calm Christian deliberation that all the buzzing around about their soul amounted to nothing. They conquered them, and, above all, conquered themselves.

2. Kindness as a means of usefulness. In all communities you find sceptical men. How shall you capture them for God? Sharp argument and sareastic retort never yet won a single soul from scepticism to the Christian religion. When such are brought in, it is through the charm of some genial soul, and not by argument at all. Men are not saved through the head; they are saved through the heart. The same thing is true in the reclamation of the openly vicious. Was ever a drunkard saved through the caricature of a drunkard? You can never drive man, woman, or child into the kingdom of God.

(T. De Witt Talmage, D.D.)

Hezekiah, Solomon
Bone, Break, Breaketh, Breaks, Broken, Forbearance, Forbearing, Gentle, Judge, Long-suffering, Moved, Patience, Persuaded, Prince, Protest, Ruler, Soft, Tongue, Undergoes, Wrongs
1. observations about kings
8. and about avoiding causes of quarrels

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Proverbs 25:15

     5137   bones
     5345   influence
     5481   proverb
     5627   word
     5946   sensitivity
     7751   persuasion
     8264   gentleness
     8318   patience

An Unwalled City
'He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.'--PROVERBS xxv. 28. The text gives us a picture of a state of society when an unwalled city is no place for men to dwell in. In the Europe of today there are still fortified places, but for the most part, battlements are turned into promenades; the gateways are gateless; the sweet flowers blooming where armed feet used to tread; and men live securely without bolts and bars. But their spirits cannot yet
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

God's Glory in Hiding Sin
A sermon (No. 2838) intended for reading on Lord's Day, July 5th 1903, delivered by C. H. Spurgeon at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington, on Lord's Day evening, July 15th, 1877. "It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter."--Proverbs 25:2. The translation of our text, if it had been more literal, would have run thus, "It is the glory of God to cover a matter, but the honor of kings is to search out a matter." For the sake of variety in language
C.H. Spurgeon—Sermons on Proverbs

Good News
A sermon (No. 2866) delivered on Thursday Evening, January 6th, 1876, by C.H. Spurgeon at The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington. "As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country."--Proverbs 25:25. This is a text for summertime rather than for a winter's evening. It is only on one of our hottest summer days that we could fully appreciate the illustration here employed; we need to be parched with thirst to be able to feel the value of cold waters to quench our thirst. At the same
C.H. Spurgeon—Sermons on Proverbs

That a Man Should not be a Curious Searcher of the Sacrament, but a Humble Imitator of Christ, Submitting his Sense to Holy Faith
The Voice of the Beloved Thou must take heed of curious and useless searching into this most profound Sacrament, if thou wilt not be plunged into the abyss of doubt. He that is a searcher of Majesty shall be oppressed by the glory thereof.(1) God is able to do more than man can understand. A pious and humble search after truth is to be allowed, when it is always ready to be taught, and striving to walk after the wholesome opinions of the fathers. 2. Blessed is the simplicity which leaveth alone
Thomas A Kempis—Imitation of Christ

Epistle xxxix. To Eulogius, Patriarch of Alexandria.
To Eulogius, Patriarch of Alexandria. Gregory to Eulogius, &c. As cold water to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country (Prov. xxv. 25). But what can be good news to me, so far as concerns the behoof of holy Church, but to hear of the health and safety of your to me most sweet Holiness, who, from your perception of the light of truth, both illuminate the same Church with the word of preaching, and mould it to a better way by the example of your manners? As often, too, as I recall in
Saint Gregory the Great—the Epistles of Saint Gregory the Great

Epistle Xlii. To Eulogius, Patriarch of Alexandria.
To Eulogius, Patriarch of Alexandria. Gregory to Eulogius, &c. We return great thanks to Almighty God, that in the mouth of the heart a sweet savour of charity is experienced, when that which is written is fulfilled, As cold water to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country (Prov. xxv. 25). For I had previously been greatly disturbed by a letter from Boniface the Chartularius, my responsalis, who dwells in the royal city, saying that your to me most sweet and pleasant Holiness had suffered
Saint Gregory the Great—the Epistles of Saint Gregory the Great

Wherefore Christ Undertook a Method of Setting us Free So Painful and Laborious, when a Word from Him, or an Act of his Will, Would Alone
Wherefore Christ undertook a method of setting us free so painful and laborious, when a word from Him, or an act of His will, would alone have sufficed. 19. Then he labours to teach and persuade us that the devil could not and ought not to have claimed for himself any right over man, except by the permission of God, and that, without doing any injustice to the devil, God could have called back His deserter, if He wished to show him mercy, and have rescued him by a word only, as though any one denies
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux—Some Letters of Saint Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux

"Boast not Thyself of To-Morrow, for Thou Knowest not what a Day May Bring Forth. "
Prov. xxvii. 1.--"Boast not thyself of to-morrow, for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth." There are some peculiar gifts that God hath given to man in his first creation, and endued his nature with, beyond other living creatures, which being rightly ordered and improved towards the right objects, do advance the soul of man to a wonderful height of happiness, that no other sublunary creature is capable of. But by reason of man's fall into sin, these are quite disordered and turned out of
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

Love in the Old Covenant.
"A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another."-- John xiii. 34. In connection with the Holy Spirit's work of shedding abroad the love of God in our hearts, the question arises: What is the meaning of Christ's word, "A new commandment I give unto you"? How can He designate this natural injunction, "To love one another," a new commandment? This offers no difficulty to those who entertain the erroneous view that during His ministry on earth Christ established a new and higher religion,
Abraham Kuyper—The Work of the Holy Spirit

The Old Testament Canon from Its Beginning to Its Close.
The first important part of the Old Testament put together as a whole was the Pentateuch, or rather, the five books of Moses and Joshua. This was preceded by smaller documents, which one or more redactors embodied in it. The earliest things committed to writing were probably the ten words proceeding from Moses himself, afterwards enlarged into the ten commandments which exist at present in two recensions (Exod. xx., Deut. v.) It is true that we have the oldest form of the decalogue from the Jehovist
Samuel Davidson—The Canon of the Bible

How the Silent and the Talkative are to be Admonished.
(Admonition 15.) Differently to be admonished are the over-silent, and those who spend time in much speaking. For it ought to be insinuated to the over-silent that while they shun some vices unadvisedly, they are, without its being perceived, implicated in worse. For often from bridling the tongue overmuch they suffer from more grievous loquacity in the heart; so that thoughts seethe the more in the mind from being straitened by the violent guard of indiscreet silence. And for the most part they
Leo the Great—Writings of Leo the Great

God's Glory the Chief End of Man's Being
Rom. xi. 36.--"Of him and through him, and to him, are all things, to whom be glory for ever." And 1 Cor. x. 31--"Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." All that men have to know, may be comprised under these two heads,--What their end is, and What is the right way to attain to that end? And all that we have to do, is by any means to seek to compass that end. These are the two cardinal points of a man's knowledge and exercise. Quo et qua eundum est,--Whither to go, and what way to go.
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

Christian Behavior
Being the fruits of true Christianity: Teaching husbands, wives, parents, children, masters, servants, etc., how to walk so as to please God. With a word of direction to all backsliders. Advertisement by the Editor This valuable practical treatise, was first published as a pocket volume about the year 1674, soon after the author's final release from his long and dangerous imprisonment. It is evident from the concluding paragraph that he considered his liberty and even his life to be still in a very
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

Appendix v. Rabbinic Theology and Literature
1. The Traditional Law. - The brief account given in vol. i. p. 100, of the character and authority claimed for the traditional law may here be supplemented by a chronological arrangement of the Halakhoth in the order of their supposed introduction or promulgation. In the first class, or Halakhoth of Moses from Sinai,' tradition enumerates fifty-five, [6370] which may be thus designated: religio-agrarian, four; [6371] ritual, including questions about clean and unclean,' twenty-three; [6372] concerning
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

The History Books
[Illustration: (drop cap T) Assyrian idol-god] Thus little by little the Book of God grew, and the people He had chosen to be its guardians took their place among the nations. A small place it was from one point of view! A narrow strip of land, but unique in its position as one of the highways of the world, on which a few tribes were banded together. All around great empires watched them with eager eyes; the powerful kings of Assyria, Egypt, and Babylonia, the learned Greeks, and, in later times,
Mildred Duff—The Bible in its Making

The Ninth Commandment
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.' Exod 20: 16. THE tongue which at first was made to be an organ of God's praise, is now become an instrument of unrighteousness. This commandment binds the tongue to its good behaviour. God has set two natural fences to keep in the tongue, the teeth and lips; and this commandment is a third fence set about it, that it should not break forth into evil. It has a prohibitory and a mandatory part: the first is set down in plain words, the other
Thomas Watson—The Ten Commandments

Many specimens of the so-called Wisdom Literature are preserved for us in the book of Proverbs, for its contents are by no means confined to what we call proverbs. The first nine chapters constitute a continuous discourse, almost in the manner of a sermon; and of the last two chapters, ch. xxx. is largely made up of enigmas, and xxxi. is in part a description of the good housewife. All, however, are rightly subsumed under the idea of wisdom, which to the Hebrew had always moral relations. The Hebrew
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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