Brother Beebe: If it is not asking too much, I would like to have your views of Prov. i. 24-26. Perhaps you may say it merely applies to the Jews as a nation. There are many passages like it, that I would like to see quoted in the SIGNS more frequently than I do.
Mt. Carmel, Conn., May 25, 1858.
We have never designedly suppressed any portion of the Scriptures, nor refused to give our views on any passage when called on to do so. We do not claim to have light on every portion of the word, but so far as we have any light, we desire to declare all the counsel of God. The Scriptures are in perfect harmony with themselves, however dark our minds may be in regard to them. There can therefore be no good reason for concealing or keeping back any portion. Sister Tuttle, we presume, will admit the above, and if so, she will admit that if we have one solitary passage in all the Bible to sustain our doctrine, we have every passage. But if it be as some seem to imagine, that the Bible sustains opposite doctrine, that some portions favor Arminianism, and other portions assert the opposite doctrine of predestination, election, sovereign, saving, irresistible and almighty grace, then we must regard that blessed book as a volume of contradictions altogether unreliable as a source of infallible instructions. The text proposed for our consideration, if it has been neglected by us, certainly has not escaped the notice of the Arminians, it is among the few which they have garbled from the Scriptures, and on which they seem to confidently rely to sustain them in their warfare upon the doctrine of sovereign grace as held forth by our Lord Jesus Christ and his apostles in the New Testament. But we can discover nothing in this passage, when rightly understood, that conflicts with any other portion of the Scripture as understood by us. The words of the text proposed for investigation and comment are, “Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; but ye have set at naught all my counsel, and would none of my reproof. I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh.”
The wise man, in this proverb, represents wisdom contending with folly, and shows the natural inclination of men to folly, and their opposition to wisdom. In whatever sense we consider wisdom, this proverb holds good. We will consider wisdom first in its literal signification. That wisdom which our beneficent Creator has bestowed upon intelligent beings, has from the morning of the creation had to encounter the folly of mankind. Her voice has been lifted up, and her speech addressed to the sons of men, but how few comparatively have pursued the course of wisdom without turning aside to folly. Did not our first parents in the garden, turn a deaf ear to wisdom, and listen attentively to folly, when they transgressed the orders which they had received from the Creator? Did Cain obey the voice of wisdom when he murdered his innocent brother? And finally, in the history of the world, from age to age, have not each successive generation madly pursued a course of folly against the clearest and most rational dictates of wisdom, in the things of nature as set forth in the connection in this chapter? We see the young man endowed with good intellectual powers of mind, he encounters the enticing allurements of the wicked. Wisdom bids him beware! Consent thou not. The proposition is made to him, “Come with us, let us lay wait for blood; let us lurk privily for the innocent.” “Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse.” At such a proposition, what course does wisdom dictate? She says, Consent thou not. But is her voice and dictation heard and obeyed? Not as a general thing; the foolish youth departs from a path marked out by wisdom, and is finally involved in trouble. Justice pursues the guilty, the day of retribution comes, and then these sons of folly would gladly call wisdom to their aid, but it is too late. She will laugh at their calamity and mock at their fear. The murderer on the scaffold, about to expiate his crimes, feels only taunted and mocked by wisdom when she reminds him of the folly that has sealed his doom. The drunkard, against the dictates of his better judgment, persists in his cups, and rushes on to destruction, until overwhelmed with misery. And in regard to the whole course of human action, wisdom points out the righteous course, and folly allures to an opposite direction. Sister Tuttle rightly supposes that we will apply this proverb to the Jews, for God himself has thus applied the charge. See Isaiah i.; lxv. 1, compared with Rom. x. 21. But we do not apply it to the Jews exclusively. Gentiles as well as Jews are subject to the charge of folly.
But not only do the sons of men stand condemned as transgressors of the clearest dictates of human wisdom, but equally so in regard to the wisdom of God, which wisdom Paul says we speak in a mystery. The preaching of Christ crucified is unto them that are called, the wisdom as well as the power of God; but it is nevertheless to the Jews a stumbling-block, and to the Greeks folly. And in the preaching of the cross of Christ, wisdom has lifted up her voice, and proclaimed to every creature under heaven that there is salvation for God’s people in Christ Jesus, and in no other place or name. But folly has resisted the voice of wisdom, and contends that there is salvation in the will and works of men, that there is salvation in gold and silver; in rites and ordinances of human invention; in voluntary humility and worshiping of angels; in tracts and Sunday Schools; in mission and other religious societies; in the pardons of popes; the absolution of a priest, or the benefits of an anxious bench, or the virtue of an Arminian prayer. Wisdom, through the gospel ministry has certainly protested against all these delusions, for more than eighteen hundred years, and in her solemn protestations she has invariably been justified by all her children, their experience has corroborated her testimony in all ages. “But no man,” by merely human sagacity has regarded her voice. All men by nature love darkness rather than light. The wisdom of God is foolishness with, or in the estimation of men. Men, in their inventions have set at naught all the counsel of God’s eternal wisdom, and substituted their own wisdom, and even go so far in modern times as to ask the Lord to forego his plans and purpose and adopt theirs. They represent that God’s method of salvation will not do to rely upon, and that the last hope of a sinking world is in the wisdom and works of men.
“And would none of my reproof.” The voice of wisdom in the ministry has always exposed and reproved the doctrines and commandments of men, but alas, how few have heeded these reproofs! They have reproached and persecuted those whom God has made wise unto salvation, and desired their extermination from the earth, because they hate the light, neither will they come to it lest their works should be reproved.
But the awful day of retribution is at hand when he that sitteth in the heavens shall have them in derision, according to what is written in the second Psalm.
“But wisdom is justified of her children.” The Lord Jesus Christ is of God made unto them Wisdom and righteousness, and sanctification and redemption. And as their wisdom, his goings forth have been of old from everlasting. As their wisdom, the Lord possessed him in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. And he says, “I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. “Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth.” - Prov. Viii. 23, 25.
We submit these views to sister Tuttle, and if she will name the other passages, which she regards of the same classification, which have not been sufficiently conspicuous in our columns, we will try to make room for them, for we want a whole Bible, a whole gospel a whole Savior and a whole salvation.
Middletown, N. Y.
June 15, 1858.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 4
Pages 106 - 110