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Proverbs 29:8-11 - Homilies By E. Johnson

Dishonourable passions

Such is the designation given by St. Paul (see Revised Version of the New Testament, Romans 1:26 , etc.) to the various workings of the evil leaven in the soul. Here is a description of some of these "lusts."

I. SCOFFING . ( Proverbs 29:8 .) Set on fire of hell, it inflames others, disturbs the peace of communities, produces failures and tumults in public life. But wisdom calms, and turns all things to the best. The scoffer, the malevolent critic of existing institutions, is a public pest; the judicious man, a public blessing. The one raises tumults, the other quells them.

II. CONTENTIOUSNESS . ( Proverbs 29:9 .) It delights in dispute for dispute's sake. The man of this vice does not want to elicit truth, but to find fuel for his passion. Alternating between rage and ridicule, he uses words merely as weapons of offence and defence. Egotism is at the root of all his activity.

III. THE SANGUINARY TEMPER . ( Proverbs 29:10 .) All hatred to the truth involves hatred to the truth speaker and the truth doer. Here lies the secret of all persecution and of all judicial murders. But in ourselves, whenever we detect the rising of resentment against him who exposes our faults or fallacies, we may find something of the dark temper of him "who was of the wicked one, and slew his brother" ( 1 John 3:12 ).

IV. WANT OF SELF - CONTROL . ( Proverbs 29:11 .) The impetuous, unbridled temper, which explodes with wrath at the smallest provocation, or with ill-considered opinions. He is wise who knows when to hold his peace. We are not always to speak all we feel or think, but when we do speak should ever think what we say. We must remember that "there is a time to speak, and a time to keep silence."—J.

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