California Farmer 228:4 (Feb. 17, 1968), p. 45
I once heard a minister speak whose sermon was basically three things: blasphemy, a complaint against the way his parents reared him, and a complaint against the way God made all things.
The trouble with his parents, he said, was that their basic idea of childrearing could be summed up in three words: baptize, catechize, and chastise. He had been baptized, that is, given to God by faith by his parents as a covenant child. His parents had solemnly vowed to rear him in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. To this end he had been catechized; he had been taught the Confession and the catechism of the church and sent to good schools and universities in two countries at great expense, in order to grow into godly manhood. He had been chastised, but obviously not enough, in order to discipline him and teach him respect, obedience, and sound habits of work and living.
To me, the whole thing sounded wonderful. His complaint made as much sense as saying, “My parents were terrible because they provided me with a million dollars as my inheritance.” This man’s parents had made him wealthy in his training, and he despised it. Solomon made it clear long ago: give a fool, or a simpleminded person, as much as you can, but he will still acquire or inherit only folly: “The simple inherit folly: but the prudent are crowned with knowledge” (Prov. 14:18). According to Solomon, the fools, or the “simple,” are not halfwits; they are those who refuse to accept discipline in the school of wisdom (Prov. 1:22–32).
The root of the fool’s trouble is spiritual, not mental. The fool loves his folly, and he keeps returning to it, no matter what one does to keep him away from it. “As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly” (Prov. 26:11). Fellowship with fools is destructive: “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed” (Prov. 13:20).
The essence of the fool’s life is his rejection of God: “[T]hey hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord” (Prov. 1:29). The prevalence of fools in our day is an outcome of this rejection of the Lord and of godly knowledge.
The prevalence of fools, in high places and low, is a central fact of our life today. We are governed by fools who believe that our enemies are really anxious to love us, that debt is the road to wealth, and that God can be left out of civil government, the school, and the church. The fools believe that learning is the same as wisdom, and that a college degree makes a man wise. The fools believe that the world must be remade in terms of their dreams, and they proceed to create chaos out of everything they touch.
The only remedy for fools is regeneration, to humble themselves under the mighty hand of God, to know that “[t]he fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Prov. 1:7).