1. Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity, than he that is perverse in his lips, and is a fool.†
POVERTY is never a disgrace, except when it is the fruit of ill-conduct. But when adorned with godly integrity, it is most honourable. Better is the poor man, than he whom riches lift up in his own eyes, and he is given up to his perverseness and folly. (Chapter 28:6.) Often man puts under his feet those, whom God lays in his bosom. He honours the perverse for their riches, and despises the poor for their poverty. ‘But what hath the rich, if he hath not God? And what is a poor man, if he hath God? Better be in a wilderness with God, than in Canaan without him.’† Was not Job on the dunghill, walking in his integrity, better than ungodly Ahab on the throne? (Job 2:7, 8.) Was not Lazarus in his rags better than Dives with his “fine linen and sumptuous fare”? (Luke 16:19-21.) Calculate wisdom by God’s standard, who judges not by station, but by character. Estimate things in the light of eternity. How soon will all accidental distinctions pass away, and personal distinctions alone avail! Death will strip the poor of his rags, and the rich of his purple, and bring them both “naked to the earth, from whence they came.” (Job 1:21. Ecclesiastes 12:7.) Meanwhile let us hear our Lord’s voice to his despised people — “I know thy poverty; but thou art rich.” (Revelation 2:9.) How glorious the stamp upon the outcast professors walking in their integrity — “Of whom the world was not worthy”! (Hebrews 11:37, 38.) For such is prepared “the honour that cometh from God only” — his seal, his smiles, and his everlasting crown.