Commentary on Proverbs 2:10-11 by William Arnot

Commentary on Proverbs 2:10-11 by William Arnot


“When wisdom enters your heart, And knowledge is pleasant to your soul, Discretion will preserve you; Understanding will keep you…”

Proverbs 2:10-11


CHRIST’S prayer for his disciples was not that they should be taken out of the world, but that they should be preserved from the evil that is in it. Life is a voyage on the deep: there are perils (dangers) which we must pass; how shall we pass them safely? The grand [remedy] is the entrance of wisdom into the heart. As already explained, you may understand by Wisdom either the Salvation or the Saviour. The entrance of the word gives light, and chases away the darkness. If the truth as it is in Jesus come in through the understanding, and make its home in the heart, it will be a purifier and preserver. “Sanctify them through the truth.” The word of God and the way of the wicked are like fire and water; they cannot be together in the same place. Either the flood of wickedness will extinguish the word, or the word will burn and dry up the wickedness.

If we understand the Word personally of Christ, the same holds good. Where He dwells, the lusts of the flesh cannot reign. Evil cannot dwell with Him. When the Light of the world gets entrance into the heart, the foul spirits that swarmed in the darkness disappear. His coming shall be like the morning.

The other strand of the two-fold cord which keeps a voyager in safety amid all these perils is, “when knowledge is pleasant to your soul.” The pleasantness of the knowledge that comes in, is a feature of essential importance. Even the truth entering the mind, and fastening on the conscience, has no effect in delivering from the power of evil, while it comes only as a terror; what the law could not do by all its fears, God did by sending his Son. The love of Christ constrains[1] us, when all other appliances have been tried in vain. The Spirit employs terror in his preparatory work; but it is only when the redemption of Christ begins to be felt sweeter than the pleasures of sin that the soul is allured, and yields, and follows on to know the Lord. It is pleasure that can compete with pleasure. It is “joy and peace in believing” (Romans 15:13) that can overcome the pleasure of sin. Felix trembled under Paul’s preaching, yet offered to sell justice for money, and, to curry[2] favour with the multitude, kept the innocent in bonds. The word of God, though it ran through him like a sword in his bones, left him wholly in the power of his lusts. A human soul, by its very constitution, cannot be frightened into holiness. It is made for being won; and won it will be, by the drawing on this side, or the drawing on that. The power on God’s side is greater than all on the side of sin. As long as that power is felt to be repelling, the sinner creeps still farther and farther from the consuming fire. But whenever the love of God in the face of Jesus becomes “pleasant” to his soul, that love keeps and carries him, as the central sun holds up a tributary world.

[1] “Constrains” means ‘to compel or to energize’.

[2] “Curry” here means ‘to gain a person’s favour by pleasing the person’.

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