“Be ye wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”

Proverbs 26:17-28

We will continue to read from the wise sayings of Solomon, and complete the chapter which we commenced.

Proverbs 26:17

He may expect to be bitten and he is not likely to get any good. He has done a very needless and absurd thing, and he will get nobody’s thanks for his pains. It is honourable to suffer as a Christian, but disgraceful to smart for being a busy-body. Blessed are the peace makers, but very far front blessed are the meddlers.

Proverbs 26:19

To sin in jest is often to do mischief in earnest, and it will be punished in earnest at the last great day.

Proverbs 26:20

Do not talk about it and it will die out. No hurt ever comes from holding our tongues; silly tattling causes much sorrow. If we will not reply, those who slander us will tire of their dirty work, or will be powerless for mischief Evil speaking seldom injures those who take no notice of it. Do not find embers for your own burning. Let the talebearers alone, and their fire will go out for want of fuel.

Proverbs 26:21

Wherever he is, quarrelling begins, or being already commenced, it is fanned to a fiercer flame. He is a stoker for Satan’s fires. Let us never grow like him.

Proverbs 26:22

They are deadly stabs, which have sent many to their graves with broken hearts.

Proverbs 26:23

There is a film of fair speech like a coating of silver, but underneath is deceit. They appear to glow with love, but in very truth malice is smouldering in their souls. Lord, save us from lying lips and malicious hearts.

Proverbs 26:24

He is brooding mischief, and storing up revenge, yet he speaks fairly. He hangs out the sign of the angel, but the devil keeps his house.

Proverbs 26:25

All kinds of evils lurk in a dissembler’s soul. The man’s heart is a hell, full of evil spirits, the forge of Satan, the workshop of all mischief. Whenever any one flatters us, let us fly from him at once, and avoid him for the future. He would not spin so fine a web if he did not wish to catch a fly.

Proverbs 26:26

If not in this world, yet certainly in the next, all secrets will be revealed to the shame of those who acted the part of the hypocrite. Even in this life masks are very apt to drop off. Clever counterfeits fail in some point or other, and are found out: dissembling is a difficult game, and the players are sure to be the losers, sooner or later.

Proverbs 26:27

Often do we observe the law of providential retaliation at work. If any of us try to injure another, we only hurt ourselves: God will make all our ill thoughts to return to us, like birds which come home to roost. O for a loving spirit which seeks the good of all.

Proverbs 26:28

It is the nature of ill will to hate those whom it injures. Hurt another and you will dislike him, benefit him and you will love him. Above all things abhor flattery, for he who uses this detestable art is surely plotting your overthrow. Young people should learn this lesson early, or their ignorance may cost them dear.


Oh, tame my tongue to peace,

And tune my heart to love;

From all reproaches may I cease,

Made harmless as a dove.


Faithful, but meekly kind;

Gentle, yet boldly true;

I would possess the perfect mind

Which in my Lord I view.


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