The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction, Proverbs 1:7 (KJV).

Interpretation.—These words form a motto, as it were, shadowing forth the teaching of this Book [Proverbs], For by “the fear of the Lord” (so often referred to) is meant true religion. It comprehends all the principles of godliness….

Illustrations.—How wise was Abraham, who brought up his family “to keep the way of the Lord” (Gen. 18:19); and Isaac, who followed on in that way! … How pitiable was their boast of knowledge, those Greek philosophers to whom the cross of Christ was “foolishness!” How real their knowledge is to whom that cross has become “the power of God unto salvation!”

Application.—Let me be sure of this, that until I know God I know nothing. Whereas, to know Him comprehends all knowledge. But how can I attain to know Him who is so infinitely above His creatures? The Word teaches me that “the fear of the Lord” is the first step towards so high an attainment; that out of religious practice spiritual light comes. Would I achieve that best education for heaven, I must begin by (with God’s help) putting away all wilful sin, and aiming at holiness. Thus the soul will be purged and prepared for the instruction which takes of the things of God and reveals them unto man. This is the first lesson to be learnt in youth.…


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