Proverbs 3:20

Perhaps the mention of the tree of life has reminded the writer of the early account of the creation in Genesis 1, it. He thus traces the visible world and its order to its spiritual root in the mind of God. He gives a brief sketch of the construction of the cosmos, according to the ancient mode of thought. Both heaven and earth are fixed and made fast; and the water masses divided into those above and those below the "firmament;" the consequence of which is the gushing forth of the clouds in rain. The modern scientific knowledge of the world may be used to impart a rich context to these simple conceptions of the early imagination.

I. THE WORLD IS AN ORDER. The Greeks expressed this idea in the beautiful word "cosmos." It includes symmetry, beauty, variety, harmony, adaptation of means to ends. To recognize these in the visible world is an intellectual delight, and a motive to the purest reverence.

II. THIS ORDER IS REDUCIBLE TO A UNITY. Formerly we looked Upon the world as a collection of independent forces. Science showed us the correlation, interdependence, interaction of these forces. Now she has risen to the grand conception of the unity of all force; and thus arrives at the same goal with religious thought.

III. THAT UNITY OF FORCE IS GOD. It is often forgotten that the generalizations of science are but logical distinctions - cause, law, force, etc. What are these without Being, Personality, as their ground? Empty names. Religion fills these forms with life, and where the scientific man speaks of law, she bows before the living God.

IV. SCIENCE AND RELIGION ARE AT ONE. When we talk of their opposition, we are using a figure of speech. What they represent, these names, is two different directions of the spiritual activity of man. What needs to be cured is narrowness and partialism on the side of both scientific and religious men. For there is no real cleft in the nature of our knowledge. All genuine knowledge is essentially a knowledge of God, of the Infinite revealed in and through the finite. - J.

The clouds drop down the dew.
There is a very remarkable and regular provision of Nature, peculiar to Bible lands, which may be observed in a first sight of Palestine on any night in the hot season when a west wind is blowing. I allude to the sea night-mist of the hot season. It explains in a very striking and hitherto unsuspected manner the numerous occurrences of the Hebrew word tal, uniformly rendered "dew" in the Authorised Version of the Bible. Some of these have presented hitherto unanswerable difficulties, such as the statement of the wise man that "the clouds drop down the 'dew'" (Proverbs 3:20), which, if "dew" in the scientific sense of the word is understood, is just what they do not, no dew ever forming when clouds are about. Again, the words in Isaac's blessing, "God give thee of the 'dew ' of heaven" (Genesis 27:28); those of Moses, summing up the precious things of heaven in the "dew" (Deuteronomy 33:13); the power of an absolute eastern king being likened to "a 'dew' upon the grass" (chap. Proverbs 19:12); and Israel's future influence amongst the nations to "a 'dew' from Jehovah" (Micah 5:7); such words as these, and those in many other passages, bespeak a peculiar excellence and value which dew does not possess even amongst us, and still less in Palestine, where it only occurs in the winter, the time of abundant heavy rains, which render it comparatively useless! It was my good fortune, as a result of my residence in Jerusalem, to discover the deeply interesting natural feature which is called in our version "dew," and fully to realise in what its importance and excellence consists (Hosea 14:5). From the end of April till about the end of October no drop of rain falls; while each day, for some ten or twelve hours, the sun shines with great strength, unveiled by a single cloud. This fierce wind is in May and October intensified by a burning wind, the sirocco, which gathers its withering, scorching power as it sweeps over the vast sands of the Arabian desert, and is the awful "east wind" of the Bible. During this period, but more especially at its close, in September and October, the west wind, which then prevails, comes up laden with moisture from the Mediterranean Sea, which is condensed in low-lying clouds of mist as soon as it reaches the land. These cloud-masses sweep along near the ground, leaving behind them an immense amount of what is misnamed in our version "dew," but which is really a very fine, gentle rain in the form of a light Scotch mist. Its great excellence consists —

1. In its coming only in the hottest and driest season, when no other moisture can be had.

2. In its only coming during the night, "when no man can work," and so interfering in no way with the business or pleasures of life.

3. In its coming in such rich abundance as far to exceed the moisture deposited by any formation of dew.

4. In its coming in such fine particles and moderate quantities as not even to hurt the gathered grain lying out on the open-air threshing-floors.

5. In its effects ceasing as soon as the sun is hot, and so leaving no miasmic or other injurious results behind, whence it is well called by Hosea, "the night-mist which early goes away." This explanation exactly accounts for "the clouds" being said "to drop" it down, which is just what they do. Very beautiful are the silvery shining mist-clouds which may be seen as the day dawns being drawn up and dissolved into thin air, the fugitive clouds to which Hosea (Hosea 6:4) compares Israel's brief and transient seasons of goodness — "Your goodness is like the morning cloud, and like the night-mist (tal) which early goes away." It also displays the naturalness of the great amount of tal, or "night-mist," which fell miraculously on Gideon's fleece (Judges 6:38). It adds a new intensity to our Saviour's pathetic appeal in Song of Solomon 5:2, "Open to Me... for My head is filled with the night-mist (tal), and My locks with the drops of the night." There is an icy chill often attending exposure to the "night-mist" which is not experienced on a dewy night, the latter being always fine. In a word, let "night mist" be written in each of the thirty-four places in our Bible where "dew" occurs, and it will be found to give a new meaning and a new beauty in every instance! What fresh point and power now clothe the gracious promise in Hosea 14:5, "I will be as the night-mist (tal) to Israel"! and also that beautiful but difficult passage, Psalm 110:3!

(James Neil, M.A.)

Broke, Broken, Clouds, Deep, Deeps, Depths, Dew, Divided, Drip, Drop, Dropping, Forth, Parted, Rent, Skies
1. various exhortations
13. The gain of wisdom
27. Exhortation to goodness
33. the different state of the wicked and upright

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Proverbs 3:20

     4227   deep, the
     4805   clouds

Proverbs 3:19-20

     1180   God, wisdom of
     4026   world, God's creation
     4814   dew

March 6. "Lean not unto Thine Own Understanding" (Prov. Iii. 5).
"Lean not unto thine own understanding" (Prov. iii. 5). Faith is hindered by reliance upon human wisdom, whether our own or the wisdom of others. The devil's first bait to Eve was an offer of wisdom, and for this she sold her faith. "Ye shall be as gods," he said, "knowing good and evil," and from the hour she began to know she ceased to trust. It was the spies that lost the Land of Promise to Israel of old. It was their foolish proposition to search out the land, and find out by investigation whether
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

The Secret of Well-Being
'My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments. 2. For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee. 3. Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: 4. So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man. 5. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths. 7. Be not wise
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Gifts of Heavenly Wisdom
'My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of His correction: 12. For whom the Lord loveth He correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth. 13. Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. 14. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. 15. She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. 16. Length of days is in
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

October the Twenty-Eighth Pleasantness and Peace
"Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace." --PROVERBS iii. 13-26. In the ways of the Lord I shall have feasts of "pleasantness." But not always at the beginning of the ways. Sometimes my faith is called upon to take a very unattractive road, and nothing welcomes me of fascination and delight. But here is a law of the spiritual life. The exercised faith intensifies my spiritual senses, and hidden things become manifest to my soul--hidden beauties, hidden sounds, hidden scents!
John Henry Jowett—My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year

Question Lxxxi of the virtue of Religion
I. Does the Virtue of Religion Direct a Man To God Alone? S. Augustine, sermon, cccxxxiv. 3 " on Psalm lxxvi. 32 sermon, cccxi. 14-15 II. Is Religion a Virtue? III. Is Religion One Virtue? IV. Is Religion a Special Virtue Distinct From Others? V. Is Religion One of the Theological Virtues? VI. Is Religion To Be Preferred To the Other Moral Virtues? VII. Has Religion, Or Latria, Any External Acts? S. Augustine, of Care for the Dead, V. VIII. Is Religion the Same As Sanctity? Cardinal Cajetan,
St. Thomas Aquinas—On Prayer and The Contemplative Life

A Sermon on the Boat Race.
In finding illustrations for our teaching at the river-side, we shall be in good company, for that manly preacher, Paul, had seen wrestlers and race-runners. It is true that then, athletics had not been disgraced by betting; and it is only of very late years that the struggle on the Thames has been polluted by gamblers. There are not a few who read our paper, who will be on the lookout to know as soon as possible, whether DARK OR LIGHT BLUE has won. For ourselves we care not, but we are anxious
Thomas Champness—Broken Bread

Let Then the Saints Hear from Holy Scripture the Precepts of Patience...
11. Let then the Saints hear from holy Scripture the precepts of patience: "My son, when thou comest to the service of God, stand thou in righteousness and fear, and prepare thy soul for temptation: bring thine heart low, and bear up; that in the last end thy life may increase. All that shall come upon thee receive thou, and in pain bear up, and in thy humility have patience. For in the fire gold and silver is proved, but acceptable men in the furnace [2647] of humiliation." [2648] And in another
St. Augustine—On Patience

Christ Teaching Liberality
If we should attempt to mention all the parables which Jesus spoke, and the miracles which he performed, and the many other lessons which he taught, it would make a long list. As we have done before we can only take one or two specimens of these general lessons which Jesus taught. We have one of these in the title to our present chapter, which is--Christ Teaching Liberality. This was a very important lesson for Jesus to teach. One of the sad effects of sin upon our nature is to make it selfish,
Richard Newton—The Life of Jesus Christ for the Young

Of Self-Surrender
Of Self-Surrender We should now begin to abandon and give up our whole existence unto God, from the strong and positive conviction, that the occurrence of every moment is agreeable to His immediate will and permission, and just such as our state requires. This conviction will make us resigned in all things; and accept of all that happens, not as from the creature, but as from God Himself. But I conjure you, my dearly beloved, who sincerely wish to give up yourselves to God, that after you have made
Madame Guyon—A Short and Easy Method of Prayer

Abandonment to God --Its Fruit and Its Irrevocability --In what it Consists --God Exhorts us to It.
It is here that true abandonment and consecration to God should commence, by our being deeply convinced that all which happens to us moment by moment is the will of God, and therefore all that is necessary to us. This conviction will render us contented with everything, and will make us see the commonest events in God, and not in the creature. I beg of you, whoever you may be, who are desirous of giving yourselves to God, not to take yourselves back when once you are given to Him, and to remember
Jeanne Marie Bouvières—A Short Method Of Prayer And Spiritual Torrents

Letter xxxi (A. D. 1132) to the Abbot of a Certain Monastery at York, from which the Prior had Departed, Taking Several Religious with Him.
To the Abbot of a Certain Monastery at York, from Which the Prior Had Departed, Taking Several Religious with Him. [50] 1. You write to me from beyond the sea to ask of me advice which I should have preferred that you had sought from some other. I am held between two difficulties, for if I do not reply to you, you may take my silence for a sign of contempt; but if I do reply I cannot avoid danger, since whatever I reply I must of necessity either give scandal to some one or give to some other a security
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux—Some Letters of Saint Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux

Epistle Cvi. To Syagrius, Ætherius, virgilius, and Desiderius, Bishops .
To Syagrius, Ætherius, Virgilius, and Desiderius, Bishops [65] . Gregory to Syagrius of Augustodunum (Autun), Etherius of Lugdunum (Lyons), Virgilius of Aretale (Arles), and Desiderius of Vienna (Vienne), bishops of Gaul. A paribus. Our Head, which is Christ, has to this end willed us to be His members, that through the bond of charity and faith He might make us one body in Himself. And to Him it befits us so to adhere in heart, that, since without Him we can be nothing, through Him we may
Saint Gregory the Great—the Epistles of Saint Gregory the Great

The Tenth Commandment
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.' Exod 20: 17. THIS commandment forbids covetousness in general, Thou shalt not covet;' and in particular, Thy neighbour's house, thy neighbour's wife, &c. I. It forbids covetousness in general. Thou shalt not covet.' It is lawful to use the world, yea, and to desire so much of it as may keep us from the temptation
Thomas Watson—The Ten Commandments

The Child Jesus Brought from Egypt to Nazareth.
(Egypt and Nazareth, b.c. 4.) ^A Matt. II. 19-23; ^C Luke II. 39. ^a 19 But when Herod was dead [He died in the thirty-seventh year of his reign and the seventieth of his life. A frightful inward burning consumed him, and the stench of his sickness was such that his attendants could not stay near him. So horrible was his condition that he even endeavored to end it by suicide], behold, an angel of the Lord [word did not come by the infant Jesus; he was "made like unto his brethren" (Heb. ii. 17),
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

In Death and after Death
A sadder picture could scarcely be drawn than that of the dying Rabbi Jochanan ben Saccai, that "light of Israel" immediately before and after the destruction of the Temple, and for two years the president of the Sanhedrim. We read in the Talmud (Ber. 28 b) that, when his disciples came to see him on his death-bed, he burst into tears. To their astonished inquiry why he, "the light of Israel, the right pillar of the Temple, and its mighty hammer," betrayed such signs of fear, he replied: "If I were
Alfred Edersheim—Sketches of Jewish Social Life

An Appendix to the Beatitudes
His commandments are not grievous 1 John 5:3 You have seen what Christ calls for poverty of spirit, pureness of heart, meekness, mercifulness, cheerfulness in suffering persecution, etc. Now that none may hesitate or be troubled at these commands of Christ, I thought good (as a closure to the former discourse) to take off the surmises and prejudices in men's spirits by this sweet, mollifying Scripture, His commandments are not grievous.' The censuring world objects against religion that it is difficult
Thomas Watson—The Beatitudes: An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12

How those are to be Admonished with whom Everything Succeeds According to their Wish, and those with whom Nothing Does.
(Admonition 27.) Differently to be admonished are those who prosper in what they desire in temporal matters, and those who covet indeed the things that are of this world, but yet are wearied with the labour of adversity. For those who prosper in what they desire in temporal matters are to be admonished, when all things answer to their wishes, lest, through fixing their heart on what is given, they neglect to seek the giver; lest they love their pilgrimage instead of their country; lest they turn
Leo the Great—Writings of Leo the Great

How to be Admonished are those who Give Away what is their Own, and those who Seize what Belongs to Others.
(Admonition 21.) Differently to be admonished are those who already give compassionately of their own, and those who still would fain seize even what belongs to others. For those who already give compassionately of their own are to be admonished not to lift themselves up in swelling thought above those to whom they impart earthly things; not to esteem themselves better than others because they see others to be supported by them. For the Lord of an earthly household, in distributing the ranks and
Leo the Great—Writings of Leo the Great

"Thou Shall Keep Him in Perfect Peace, Whose Mind is Stayed on Thee, Because He Trusteth in Thee. "
Isaiah xxvi. 3.--"Thou shall keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee." Christ hath left us his peace, as the great and comprehensive legacy, "My peace I leave you," John xiv. 27. And this was not peace in the world that he enjoyed; you know what his life was, a continual warfare; but a peace above the world, that passeth understanding. "In the world you shall have trouble, but in me you shall have peace," saith Christ,--a peace that shall make trouble
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

"Thou Shall Keep Him in Perfect Peace, Whose Mind is Stayed on Thee, Because He Trusteth in Thee. "
Isaiah xxvi. 3.--"Thou shall keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee." All men love to have privileges above others. Every one is upon the design and search after some well-being, since Adam lost that which was true happiness. We all agree upon the general notion of it, but presently men divide in the following of particulars. Here all men are united in seeking after some good; something to satisfy their souls, and satiate their desires. Nay, but they
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

How the Whole and the Sick are to be Admonished.
(Admonition 13.) Differently to be admonished are the whole and the sick. For the whole are to be admonished that they employ the health of the body to the health of the soul: lest, if they turn the grace of granted soundness to the use of iniquity, they be made worse by the gift, and afterwards merit the severer punishments, in that they fear not now to use amiss the more bountiful gifts of God. The whole are to be admonished that they despise not the opportunity of winning health for ever.
Leo the Great—Writings of Leo the Great

How to Make Use of Christ for Steadfastness, in a Time when Truth is Oppressed and Borne Down.
When enemies are prevailing, and the way of truth is evil spoken of, many faint, and many turn aside, and do not plead for truth, nor stand up for the interest of Christ, in their hour and power of darkness: many are overcome with base fear, and either side with the workers of iniquity, or are not valiant for the truth, but being faint-hearted, turn back. Now the thoughts of this may put some who desire to stand fast, and to own him and his cause in a day of trial, to enquire how they shall make
John Brown (of Wamphray)—Christ The Way, The Truth, and The Life

"But Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God," &C.
Matt. vi. 33.--"But seek ye first the kingdom of God," &c. O "seekest thou great things for thyself," says God to Baruch, (Jer. xlv. 5) "seek them not." How then doth he command us in the text to seek a kingdom? Is not this a great thing? Certainly it is greater than those great things he would not have Baruch to seek after, and yet he charges us to seek after it. In every kind of creatures there is some difference, some greater, some lesser, some higher, some lower; so there are some men far above
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

"But it is Good for Me to Draw Near to God: I have Put My Trust in the Lord God, that I May Declare all Thy
Psal. lxxiii. 28.--"But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all thy works." After man's first transgression, he was shut out from the tree of life, and cast out of the garden, by which was signified his seclusion and sequestration from the presence of God, and communion with him: and this was in a manner the extermination of all mankind in one, when Adam was driven out of paradise. Now, this had been an eternal separation for any thing that
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

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