Commentary on Proverbs 2:12-19 by William Arnot – Part 2

Commentary on Proverbs 2:12-19 by William Arnot – Part 2

4. “To walk in the ways of darkness.” There is a, strictly causal and reciprocal relation between unrighteous deeds and moral darkness. The doing of evil produces darkness, and darkness produces the evil-doing. Indulged lusts put out the eye-sight of the conscience[1]; and under the darkened conscience the lusts revel unchecked. “From him that has not, shall be taken away.”

5. “Who rejoice to do evil.” This is a more advanced step in guilt. At first the backslider is ashamed of his fall. He makes his sins seem less serious than it is, alleges (blames) the strength of the temptation, and promises amendment. As the hardening process goes on, however, he begins to feel more easy. He ceases to make excuses, and at last he glories in his shame. “Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? No, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush” (Jeremiah 6:15). This is a measure of evil which should make even the wicked tremble. He has become the very essence of antichrist, when it is his meat and his drink to oppose the will of our Father who is in heaven.

6. Depravity/corruption can yet go one step farther. They who “delight in the perversity of the wicked,” are more abandoned than the wicked themselves. To take pleasure in sin is a characteristic of fallen humanity; to delight in seeing others sinning is altogether devilish. Some monsters in human form have presided over the process of torture, and drunk in delight from a brother’s pain; but it is a still clearer evidence that a man is of his father the Devil, when he lays snares for a brother’s soul, and laughs at his own success. There are not a few amongst us who have reached this stage of depravity, and yet have no suspicion that they are in any way more guilty than others. They have so drunk into the spirit, and been changed into the image of the first tempter, that they relish as dainty (rich) food the pollution of a neighbour, and let never perceive that there is anything out of the way. “Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.” Cursed are they that hunger and thirst after wickedness, for they shall be filled too. They shall be filled with food convenient for them. It is the Lord’s way both in mercy and judgment to provide for every creature, abundance of that which it loves and longs for. This principle is announced with terrific distinctness in the prophet Habakkuk 2:15-16 – “Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbour, Pressing him to your bottle, Even to make him drunk, That you may look on his nakedness! You are filled with shame instead of glory. You also–drink! And be exposed as uncircumcised! The cup of the LORD’s right hand will be turned against you, And utter shame will be on your glory”. Those who have a relish (delight) for the sin of others will be filled with the food they have chosen; and although the horrid sweet [loses its attraction] upon the taste by reason of its abundance, there is no variety, and no diluting of sin by fragments of good in the place of the lost. The same — the same that they loved on earth, the lost must abide for ever; sin — nothing but sin, within and around them.

To complete the picture of the danger, one other peril of the world’s deep is marked on the chart which is mercifully placed in the voyager’s hands – it is “the strange woman.” Thanks be to God for his tender care in kindling these beacon-lights on the rock to scare the coming passenger away from the quicksands of doom.

The deceiver is called a “strange” woman. Whoredom (prostitution) is distinguished from marriage, which God appointed and approves. When man and woman are given to each other as helps meet from the Lord, they become “one flesh.” They are not only known to each other, but, in an important sense, they lose their individual personality, and are merged into one. “A man shall leave father and mother and cleave unto his wife.” To follow the “strange woman” is the Satanic reversal of this divine ordinance. There is no love, no holy union, no mutual helpfulness; but wild, selfish passions, followed by visible marks of God’s vengeance. For it is not his word only; with equal clearness his providence frowns on licentiousness (i.e. immorality). That vice eats in like a festering sore on the body of society. If all should act as libertines[2] do, the very nation would dwindle away. We are fearfully and wonderfully made; we are fearfully and wonderfully governed. It is in vain that the potsherds (vessels) of the earth strive with their Maker. His anger will track lust through all its secret doublings. He makes sin generate its own punishment. Vengeance against that evil thing circulates through the veins, and dries up the marrow in the heart of the bones. Verily (truly), there is a God that judges in the earth. Of the strange woman, it is said, “Her house inclines unto death, and her paths unto the dead.” Mark well this description, you simple ones who are enticed to follow her. There is an “incline on the path. It goes down. She leads the way, you follow. It is easy to go down — down a slippery, slimy path; but its issue is death. What death? The death of the soul, and the body too. It leads to “the dead.” It brings you to the society of libertines, and they are dead while they live. This lust is a cankerworm (a type of caterpillar) that quickly withers the greenness of spring in the soul of youth. We have no trust in the patriotism, the truth, the honesty, the friendship of a licentious man. When you get down into their company, you are among the dead. They move about like men in outward appearance, but the best attributes of humanity have disappeared — the best affections of nature have been drained away from their hearts.

[1] “Conscience” is the ‘moral compass’ within us that condemns or justify us from wrong or right. It is based on our perceived ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. It is not the final judgment of our thoughts and actions (God’s Word is our final judgment).

[2] “Libertines” are those who freely indulges in whatever they want without care of ‘moral principles’.

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