Bridges on Proverbs 20:6
 
Charles Bridges on Proverbs 20:6
 
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6.  Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find? {goodness: or, bounty}
 
The last Proverb shewed the depth of the heart; this its deceitfulness and pride. Hear a man’s own estimate of himself, and we need no further proof of his want of self-knowledge. (Chapter 16:2.) Even the ungodly proclaims his own goodness. “Jehu took no heed to walk in the way of the LORD.” Still — said he — “Come, see my zeal for the LORD.”† Absalom, while treason was at work within, “stole the hearts” of the people by his loud pretensions to goodness.† The whole nation, while given up to all manner of iniquity, boasted of its integrity.† The Pharisee proclaimed his goodness at the corner of the streets;† yea — even in the presence of his God.† Such is the blindness of a self-deceiving heart! Lord! teach me to remember — “That which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.”†
After all, however, does not this glass, honestly used, exhibit more resemblance to our own features, than we would readily admit? We all condemn the open boasting of the Pharisee. But too often we eagerly catch at the good opinion of the world. Contrivance is made to gain the shadowy prize! A seeming backwardness is only, in order that others may bring us forward. Care is taken, that it be known that we were the authors, or at least, that we had a considerable part in some work, that might raise our name in the Church. Sometimes we are too ready to take a degree of credit to ourselves, which we do not honestly deserve;† while we shrink from real reproach and obloquy for the gospel’s sake.
In opposition to this self-complacent goodness, Solomon, an accurate observer of human nature, exclaims almost in despondency — A faithful man — as a parent — a reprover — an adviser — one “without guile” — who can find? (Micah 7:1, 2.) Look close. View thyself in the glass of the word. (Psalm 101:6.) Does thy neighbor, or thy friend, find thee faithful to him? What does our daily intercourse witness? Is not the attempt to speak what is agreeable often made at the expense of truth? Are not professions of regard sometimes utterly inconsistent with our real feelings? In common life, where gross violations are restrained, a thousand petty offenses are allowed, that break down the wall between sin and duty, and, judged by the Divine standard, are indeed guilty steps upon forbidden ground. Never let it be forgotten, that the sound influence of the social virtues can only be maintained by the graces of the gospel. Never let the Christian professor deem moral integrity to be a low attainment. The man of God bursts forth into fervent praise for upholding grace in this path. (Ib. 41:11, 12.) For indeed, what can bring greater honour to God, than the proof manifested in the conduct of his people, that their daily transactions are animated with the soul of integrity, that their word is unchangeable? Never does godliness shine more bright, than in “shewing all good fidelity in all things.” (Titus 2:10.)