Digging Deeper in Proverbs 9(a)


Proverbs 9:1 Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn her seven pillars.

Proverbs 9:13 The woman Folly is loud; she is seductive and knows nothing.

As we saw Sunday, this high end to the first section of Proverbs pits Wisdom against Folly in the most descriptive and helpful of ways. Once again we are confronted with two very different ways of understanding all of life. The Biblical Worldview, with a Creator God who has set an eternal plan in motion; and the Naturalistic Worldview – where everything just meaninglessly came to be, exists and then ceases to exist. And we saw how Wisdom was built into the original Creation so that all human beings know innately that God exists. But in the Fall, as Paul notes in Romans 1 – how we all strive to suppress that knowledge apart from God’s intervention.

This reality of a Creation made upright and holy, and now defaced by sin is a reality we must grapple with if we would live in truth.

Below, is a morning prayer by Lancelot Andrewes, 16th-17th century English Bishop who saw this reality most clearly – and demonstrates in his prayer what it is like to live in it reverently, carefully, and most joyfully in Christ.

Two things I recognise, O Lord, in myself:

nature, which Thou hast made;

sin, which I have added:

I confess that by sin I have depraved nature;

but call to remembrance, that I am a wind

that passeth away,

and returneth not again;

for of myself I cannot return again from sin.

Take away from me that which I have made;

let that which Thou hast made remain in me;

that the price of Thy precious Blood perish not!

Let not my wickedness destroy

what Thy goodness hath redeemed.

O Lord my God, if I have so done

as to become Thy culprit,

can I have so done as no longer

to be Thy servant?

If I have thence destroyed my innocence,

have I at all thence destroyed Thy Mercy?

If I have committed that for which

Thou mightest condemn me,

hast Thou at all lost that by which

Thou art wont to save?

Truth, Lord: my conscience

meriteth damnation,

but no defence equals Thy compassion.

Spare me therefore;

because it is not unbefitting Thy Justice,

nor unwonted to Thy Mercy,

nor difficult to Thy Power,

to spare the penitent.

Thou Who hast created me,

do not destroy me;

Thou Who hast redeemed me,

do not condemn me.

Thou Who hast created me

by Thy goodness,

let not Thy work come to nought

through my iniquity.

What is Thine in me, acknowledge;

what is mine, take away.

Look on me, the wretched,

O boundless Loving-kindness:

On me, the wicked,

O Compassion that extendest to all!

Infirm I come to the Almighty,

wounded I hasten to the Physician:

reserve for me the gentleness

of Thy Compassion,

Who hast so long held suspended the sword

of Thy vengeance.

Blot out the number of my crimes,

renew the multitude of Thy compassions.

However unclean, Thou canst cleanse me;

however blind, enlighten me;

however weak, restore me;

yea, though dead, raise me.

Of what kind soever I am, be it good or bad,

I am ever Thine.

If Thou cast me out, who shall take me in?

If Thou disregard me, who shall look on me?

More canst Thou remit, than I commit;

more canst Thou spare, than I offend.

Let not noxious pleasures overcome me;

at the least let not any perverse habit overwhelm me;

[Preserve me]

from depraved and lawless desires;

from vain, hurtful, impure imaginations;

from the illusions of evil spirits;

from pollutions of soul and of body.[1]

[1] Lancelot Andrewes, The Private Devotions of Dr. Lancelot Andrewes, Part II (trans. John Mason Neale; A New Edition.; Oxford; London: John Henry and James Parker, 1865), 1–3.

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