The Fool—His Character, Affliction, and Deliverance
Preached at Providence Chapel, London, on July 27, 1851
"Fools, because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, are afflicted. Their soul abhors all manner of food; and they
draw near unto the gates of death. Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distresses. He sent
his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions" (Psalm 107:17-20).
The dealings of God with the souls of his people are similar, yet diversified; similar in substance, diversified in particulars. "All your
children shall be taught of the Lord;" "When he has come, he shall convince the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment;"
"This is life eternal, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent;" "He shall take of mine, and
shall show it unto you." These, and many other texts of a similar kind, point to the uniformity of God's teachings and dealings with
And yet, if we were to converse with God's people, one by one, we should find, that though in many points there was in their
experience a great similarity, yet in others there would be a great diversity. The Apostle Paul, speaking of the gifts of the blessed
Spirit (and in these gifts we may include also his graces) mentions this similarity and diversity. "There are different kinds of gifts, but
the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God
works all of them in all men. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he
determines. (1 Cor. 12:4-6, 11.)
Psalm 107 is an epitome of Christian experience; an abstract, as it were, of the gracious dealings of God with the soul. And did time
and opportunity permit us to run through the leading points of that Psalm, we would find these two features stamped upon it--diversity of experience in each case; with similarity in four things--distress, cry, deliverance, praise. In this epitome of Christian
experience, Psalm 107, four characters stand prominently forth, which we may thus briefly characterize—
the Wanderer (verses 4-9),
the Rebel (verses 10-16),
the Fool (verses 17-22),
and the Mariner (verses 23-32).
I shall with God's blessing this morning, take up the character of the "FOOL," and, in looking at his experience as drawn by the pen
of inspiration, I shall hope to consider, First, his character. Secondly, his affliction, with its cause and consequences. Thirdly, his cry.
Fourthly, his deliverance.
I. The fool, his CHARACTER. We are forbidden to call one another "fools," but there is no Scripture against calling ourselves "fools."
If I am not mistaken, there are those here (at least I know one) who have called themselves fools, and the worst of fools, a
thousand times over, and sometimes many times a day. If, then, we have called ourselves "fools," you will not be offended if the
blessed Spirit call you the same. It is only bearing his witness to what you have often borne against yourself.
"Fools," says our text, "because of their transgressions, and because of their iniquities, are afflicted."
What is a "fool?" naturally, I mean. He is one who has not the least regard for his own interest, whom everybody can dupe and
deceive; who will barter gold and silver for sticks and stones; whom his best friends cannot manage, and whom his enemies can
securely deride and ridicule. Such is a fool. And as there are fools naturally, so there are fools spiritually; and I may justly say, far
greater fools spiritually, than the greatest fool that ever lived naturally.
But let us see, by a little closer examination, how far this portrait corresponds to what many a child of God feels himself to have
been or to be.
Now you would not think that if the Lord had quickened a man's soul into spiritual life, planted his fear in the heart, and made him
sensible of the nature of sin, and given him repentance and godly sorrow for it; taught him to feel how dreadful and detestable all
evil is; brought him to the feet of Christ—revealed to him the love of the Savior, and manifested a sense of mercy and goodness
to his soul; you would not think that after the Lord had done thus much for him, he could ever trifle with, or in any way indulge, or
caress this monster, sin, which had been shown to him in so hideous a light. And yet this is what this fool does. He can trifle in his
imagination with sin, though he has seen what a detestable thing it is; he can, in his wickedness, indulge that evil which caused the
dear Lamb of God such acute sorrow, and has at times caused his own soul sorrow also.
Again. Is not God our only Friend? Where shall we find such another? If he be our Friend, need we be fearful about any foe? If he
be our foe, of what value is any friend? But if you had a friend who had been heaping benefit after benefit upon you, and you did
everything to offend, to grieve, to distress, to pour contempt upon him, and if possible to alienate all his regard and affection from
you, would not this be the height of folly? Yet who can say he is not guilty of this folly before God? Who can say he has not thus
provoked his best, his only Friend, that Friend without whose friendship all is misery, and wretchedness, and woe? Who dare say
that he has not grieved, offended, slighted, and neglected this Friend that sticks closer than a brother?
And for what? for what? For some vain gratification; for some foolish lust; for some base desire; for something which is not worth
having when we have gotten it; for something from which our eyes should be turned away, rather than looked upon; for something
evil which ought to be detested and abhorred. And yet, who that knows himself, the workings of sin in his fallen nature, and what
a depraved imagination can do—who is not sensible that all this he has done, and perhaps is doing, daily?
"Have you not procured this to yourself?" says the Lord to his sinning Israel. Who dares say he has not by his sins; his carnality,
pride, covetousness, worldly-mindedness, unbelief, foolishness, and rebelliousness, procured to himself many things that have
grieved and distressed his soul? I do not believe that there is one child of God exempt, who knows himself. If indeed we take no
notice of the sin that dwells in us; if we pass all by as a thing of nothing, and pay no regard to our thoughts, desires, words, and
actions; if we keep evil at arm's length, and take our stand on our own righteousness and holiness, we may refuse to believe that
we are such vile sinners. But if we are compelled to look within, and painfully feel that sin is an indweller, a lodger, whom we are
compelled to harbor; a serpent that will creep in and nestle in our heart, whether we will or not; a thief that will break through and
steal, and whom no bolt nor bar can keep out; a traitor in the citadel who will work by force or fraud, and against whom no
resolution of ours has any avail; if such be our inward experience and conviction, I believe there is not a man or woman here who
will not confess "guilty, guilty; unclean, unclean!" 'Lord I am that fool!'
II. The fool, his AFFLICTION. I pass on to the affliction of the "fool." Does the Lord pass him by, and let him go on unchecked in his
foolishness? "Folly," we read, "is bound in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him." (Prov. 22:15.)
A. The CAUSE of affliction is sin. "Fools," we read, "because of their transgressions, and because of their iniquities are afflicted." The
Lord does not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men. We bring affliction upon ourselves; we procure suffering by our own
transgressions, and by our own iniquities. But you will say, perhaps, these are very strong words—"transgression and iniquities."
I grant their strength, but they are not one whit, according to my feelings, too strong. Must not the Psalmist, you will perhaps say,
be speaking here of some very black and base transgressors, some 'out of the way' characters? Surely he was not fixing his eye
upon any whose lives were consistent. He must have been dipping his brush into very black colors in order to depict some enormous
backsliders. If the Lord should ever take the veil of unbelief and self-deception off your heart, and give you one little peep, one
transient glimpse into the chambers of imagery, you will not find these words too strong. It is from lack of seeing what sin is, feeling
its burden, knowing its guilt, and sorrowing under its misery, that men think only this, or the other 'outward thing' is "transgression"
Thoughts, looks, words, desires, imaginations—are not all these evil? Are not these sinful? Are not these in the sight of God
"transgressions and iniquities?" They are! The Lord tells us, "He who looks upon a woman to lust after her has already committed
adultery with her in his heart." "The thought of foolishness is sin." Iniquities and transgressions are internal as well as external. I know
not your personal sins; but there is One in heaven that knows them wholly, and one on earth—his viceregent in the heart, that knows them
partially. Let only that witness speak, let only CONSCIENCE open the pages of that long and black catalogue, let sin be seen and felt as sin, and I believe you will
confess there are many "transgressions," many "iniquities;" more or less daily—daily transgressions; hourly—hourly iniquities, transacting in the chambers of imagery.
Now in order to show us these, the Lord has to afflict us. It is usually in the furnace of affliction that we come to see the
depths of the fall, to learn the nature of sin, and to have some discovery of ourselves as sinners. Give a man health, strength,
good spirits, and abundance of worldly prosperity, what a thick evil soon covers his heart! Sin is not seen as sin; carnality and
self-indulgence are drunk down like water; one folly after another is played with, each opening a way for the next, and binding
on a fresh cord, until the yoke of transgressions is wreathed round the neck.
Now what is to be done with this "fool?" Is he to be given up? No! "How shall I give you up Ephraim?" But he must be corrected in
measure, and not left altogether unpunished. Hence the furnace.
When, then, the Lord puts the soul into the furnace of affliction, things before hidden, passed over in the whirl of business or the flurry
of carnality, are discovered. Conscience first brings to light one sin, and then another, until the sum appears innumerable and the
prospect indeed is dark and gloomy. For with the affliction comes a sense of God's displeasure; and the poor fool reflects with
sadness and remorse on his folly in bartering a sense of God's approbation for something that has perished in the using.
B. But the CONSEQUENCE is twofold. 1. "Their soul abhors all manner of food;" 2. "they draw near unto the gates of death."
1. "All manner of food" their soul abhors. What food is this? Not merely food naturally, but also food spiritually; not only the food
of the carnal mind, but the food of the spiritual mind—the things of the spirit, as well as of the flesh. The "fool" until he is afflicted
and humbled, has gone out in desire after many foolish and hurtful lusts; has indulged in many things that would be hated and
shunned under some trouble, or under warm impressions of grace; and while in this foolish course could eat "all manner of food."
His natural meals were eaten with relish, through health and strength; and the carnal mind, not being held in due check, nor crucified,
as it should have been, and denied, could and did much feed upon trash. But let the Lord afflict him, and put him in the furnace, and
there begin to take away the dross, he begins to abhor "all manner of food." Nothing satisfies him now.
How pleased he was with his business; how his thoughts settled down on the shop or farm; his speculative mind could run in to
various imaginary channels of advantage. Trade was to be increased in this direction, or profit gained in the other; and whatever
check conscience might interpose, there was a secret power that overbore the opposition. But let the Lord afflict him in body or
mind, and bring his soul down into trouble, what then is "all manner of food?" His shop is now a burden; his business a trouble; his
farm or his employment only wearisome work. "All manner of food," which his carnal mind at one time so greedily fed upon, he now
learns to abhor. There is no gratification to be found in anything. A dark pall of gloom and melancholy is drawn over the world. The
things of time and sense fade out of his sight; and he sees that vanity and vexation of spirit, misery and sorrow, are stamped upon
all earthly pursuits.
But not only does he abhor "all manner of food" in a natural sense, but even he abhors "all manner of food" in a spiritual sense; that
is, his soul's disease makes him turn away from the very food that is its only remedy. Do you always love spiritual religion? Do you
always delight in your Bible? Do you always come with eagerness to the throne of grace? Do you always love secret meditation and
Christian conversation? And do you always relish spiritual-mindedness, and to have your affections placed on things above? Come,
be honest with yourselves. No disinclination ever for the word of God? No unwillingness ever to hear the word of truth? No idle
excuse made on account of the weather or the fatigue of business? No excuse not to go to a throne of grace? No disinclination to
take up the cross? No aversion to the company of the spiritually-minded? No dislike to the solemn realities of the things of God?
What? Is the enmity of your carnal mind all covered up? Is the veil of self-deception so drawn over what you are as a fallen sinner
that it never peeps forth? O, if you know yourselves, you will be convinced that the carnal mind is and ever will be enmity against
God, and that the carnal mind manifests its enmity by its disinclination to spiritual things.
Here, then, is the "fool." When he is struck, as it were, with soul sickness, has to reap the bitter reward of his folly, and has to mourn
over what he has been and is, and the state of things he has brought himself into, he not only abhors "all manner of food" naturally,
but he finds his soul sunk into such carnality and death that it abhors all manner of spiritual food; that he has not that delight in the
word of God, nor that inclination to a throne of grace, nor that love after spiritual things, nor that relish in heavenly employments
which he had in times past when the candle of the Lord shone upon him, and by his light he walked through darkness.
2. The next consequence is, that he "draws near unto the gates of death." This seems to be the worst symptom of his malady.
There has been a time perhaps when the Lord afflicted him in body, or in circumstances, or in family, and it was borne with
resignation and calmness, for the sweet consolations of the Lord comforted his soul and upheld his spirit. But O to be afflicted in
various ways, and then not to have the presence of the Lord; not to enjoy the sweet consolations of his Spirit; not to have an
appetite for the Word of God; not to feed upon heavenly food; not to drink in the milk of the promises; not to love a throne of
grace; and not to feel a sweet union with the people of God—to be afflicted in body, soul, or circumstances, and yet to have the
mind still carnal unto death—this it is that most deeply aggravates the affliction.
The affliction in itself is hard to bear; but the denial of the Lord's presence, and a sense of his displeasure, makes it a thousand times
worse; and when to all this is added, "All these things have I procured to myself;" this makes the knife cut deep. It is almost as if
conscience laid hold of the sword when in the hand of God, and drove it in up to the hilt. 'My worldly-mindedness, my pride, my
covetousness, my carnality, my neglect of divine things, my rebelliousness, and recklessness, the snares I entangled myself in, and
my various besetting sins'—'O,' says the fool, 'this it is which has provoked the Lord to afflict me so severely; and to make the
affliction yet heavier, to withdraw his presence, and leave me, fool that I am, to reap the fruit of my own devises!'
Thus he draws near to the gates of death in his feelings spiritually, and, it may be, from an afflicted body naturally. As death seems
to approach, he is almost overwhelmed with gloomy fears, yet knows not how to escape from the burdens and weights which so
heavily oppress him.
Here, then, he is, as low as a poor soul can well be—in a pitiable plight, in a very sad and miserable condition. He can now say with
Deer, and he never penned a truer verse—
"O what a fool have I been made,
Or rather made myself!
That mariner's mad part I played
Who sees, yet strikes the shelf."
III. The fool, his CRY. Well, is it all over? Is there no hope? Is all remedy gone? Must he sink away into despair and die? Shall Satan,
with a yell of triumph, brandish his bleeding sword over the slaughtered victim? He would, he must, if God were not rich in grace,
and abundant in mercy and goodness. We therefore find, that the Lord does not leave him in this pitiable case and miserable
condition, but raises up and draws forth a cry in his soul. This cry is a blessed evidence of the life of God within, which all his folly
could not utterly extinguish, and which all the miserable condition in which he is cannot wholly drown.
"Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble." A cry in the still depths of the soul! The blessed Spirit touches his heart with sacred
grief and holy penitence—dissolves the eyes—takes away that hardness of spirit into which his folly had cast him—melts, moves,
and stirs up the soul—raises up, and draws forth that cry which enters into the ears of the Lord Almighty!
Some people think that a Christian never can sink so low as not to feel a cry in his soul. I believe he may indeed. But I will appeal
to a better authority than mine, which is, Bunyan, in his "Pilgrim's Progress." We find Christian there shut up in the castle of Giant
Despair. But it was only after he had been there a certain period that he and his fellow-prisoner began to cry, and sigh, and pray unto
the Lord. Despair had stunned the cry in their soul before—it was only about midnight that they began to pray. So when this poor
"fool" gets into trouble, such a flood of despairing thoughts rushes into his mind, and he seems so shut up in hardness of soul, that
there is little or no cry to God in his heart.
But the Lord does not leave him! There is an attempt at a cry; but still the heart is hard. There is not yet that penitence, that grief,
that godly sorrow, that tenderness, that pouring out of the soul—all which is implied in the expression "cry."
But when the Lord touches his heart with his gracious finger, so as to melt him down into real contrition, and sorrow for his folly,
then with that spirit of penitence comes the spirit of grace and supplication; and then he cries, and that to a purpose. He cries,
because he knows that none but the Lord can do him any good! He does not want man, nor the help of man. He knows that none
but God can bless his soul. God must appear—he must help—he must deliver—he must bring him out into the enjoyment of his
presence. Like Hezekiah, he turns his face to the wall, away from his courtiers, away from his flatterers, away from his friends, and
looks only, wholly, and solely to the Lord. Or as poor Jonah, when he was in the belly of hell, with the weeds wrapped round his
head, "Yet," he says, "I will look again toward your holy temple." Jonah did not cry when he was asleep in the bottom of the ship,
nor when he was first thrown over-board. The 'weeds'—fit emblem of his filth and folly—were first to be wrapped round his head,
and he was to sink into the belly of hell. But when the Lord at last touched his heart with his gracious finger, then came the expiring
cry, and the last longing, lingering look—and that cry, and that look came up into the ears and before the eyes of the Lord.
Prayer, true prayer, lies deep in the soul. It is at the bottom of a man's heart—and therefore needs heavy weights and burdens to
press out those few drops of real supplication that lie low down in its hidden depths. "Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble."
IV. The fool, his DELIVERANCE. But is this cry heard? Yes! "He sent his word and healed them and delivered them from their
destructions." He sent his word—nothing else would do. The poor "fool" might have examined his 'evidences', raked them together,
and scraped them up—but O, they are all black and beclouded. Or he may have looked to the dealings of God with his soul in times
past—but such a cloud of obscurity rests upon them that he cannot gather anything satisfactory out of them. His religion, and his
profession of it, seem at times his greatest condemnation. Then what comfort can he get from it? In this pitiable plight, it is only a
'word from God' that can settle the matter. All that friends may say is of no avail—God must decide the case. And he does decide
it in his own time and way by sending his word, applying his truth, bringing home some sweet, and precious promise, and making
the word of his grace to drop like the rain, distill like the dew, and fall with a divine weight and power into the soul.
Now until this is the case, he cannot believe for himself what God says—he cannot mix faith with any promise however suitable, or
any passage of Scripture however encouraging. But as soon as the Lord sends his word, and brings it home with heavenly power
to the heart, immediately faith springs up and lays hold of the truth which God applies. As faith thus lays hold of the word, the word
is brought into the soul. It penetrates at once into every corner of the heart—and as it diffuses itself, melts it, dissolves it, makes
a way, and opens a channel for the mercy and grace of God to flow into.
What an effect a word from God can produce! Be it in reading, in hearing, on the knees, or in secret meditation—when a word drops
from the Lord's mouth with divine power into the soul—what a change it produces! And nothing but this divine power can ever bring
the "fool" out of his miserable condition! When this comes, it does the work in a moment—it heals all the wounds which sin has
made—and repairs all the breaches in the conscience that folly has produced. One word from God heals them all! The Lord does not
come as it were with plasters to heal first one sore and then another. He heals now as in the days of his flesh. When he healed then,
he healed fully, at once, completely. The earthly doctor heals by degrees; he puts a plaster on one sore, and a liniment on another;
and heals one by one. But when the Lord heals, it is done in a moment! The balm of Gilead flows over ALL the wounds, heals them
up, and makes them perfectly whole.
It is then with the soul as with "the woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years. She had spent everything she had on doctors
and still could find no cure. She came up behind Jesus and touched the fringe of his robe. Immediately, the bleeding stopped." This
is healing. Any testimony from God, really from God, does it in a moment. If you can get but one word from God into your soul to
make you believe you are a child of God, and are savingly interested in his pardoning love and mercy—every wound, though there
be a million, yes, every wound will be healed instantaneously! This is the only healing worth having. To be healed by 'evidences' is
like being healed by plasters. You need an evidence here, and an evidence there, as a man that has his body full of sores needs a
plaster upon every wound. One word from God is the real panacea, the true, the only "heal-all"—and Jesus (Jehovah-rophi, "the
Lord my healer")—the only true, infallible Physician. Would you be healed completely, you must look to the Lord, and not to man—be
a Hezekiah, not an Asa.
Two blessed consequences follow.
1. "He saved them out of their distresses." The word of the Lord does three things; it heals, it saves, it delivers. "He saved them
out of their distresses." Not in their distresses; but out of them. He lifted them up and out. And this is the only way to be saved out
of our distresses—to be lifted out of them into the bosom of God. Just as a man fallen into a deep pit is not delivered while he is
in the pit, but by being brought out—so when the Lord saves by some application of his precious truth to the soul, he brings it out
of distress into his own bosom, into an enjoyment of his presence and mercy, and of a full, complete salvation.
2 "He delivered them from their destructions." O! how many things there are even to those who have the grace of God, which
would, but for sovereign mercy, prove their destruction! Lawful things, but for the grace of God, might prove their destruction. Your
shop, your business, your farm, your family, your worldly occupation, all might be your destruction—but for the goodness and grace
of God. But consider, besides—your temptations, snares, besetting sins, the lusts of the flesh, the pride of your heart, the carnality
of your mind, would not all these things be your destruction—but for the grace of God?
John Bunyan says, "One leak will sink a ship; and one sin will destroy a sinner"—that is, one MASTER sin. And who is there that has
not some temptation, some besetting sin, some snare, some evil perpetually at work? Who is not, more or less, in the sieve of
some powerful temptation which would prove—but for the grace of God—his destruction; and, as far as he could do it, has already
destroyed his soul?
"O Ephraim, you have destroyed yourself!" not "Ephraim, if you do not take very great care, you will by and by destroy yourself."
But, "O Ephraim, you have destroyed yourself" already! And so have we destroyed our souls over and over again. Here is this
temptation, this snare, this besetting sin, this trap of the devil—all ready to entangle our feet—and would prove again, and again,
and again our destruction. It would ruin both body and soul, and sweep us into hell without remedy—if the Lord did not intervene
and interpose. Here, then, is the "fool"—having destroyed his soul.
All WE can do (it seems a dreadful thing to say—but I believe it is true) is to damn our own souls—that is all we can do, by nature.
And what GOD has to do, is to keep us from is to keep us from damning ourselves! For our heart is so vile, our nature so
corrupt—we are so bent upon backsliding, so deadly intent upon our idols, that God has to hold us back from hurling our own souls
to the bottomless pit!
How manly are our "DESTRUCTIONS." And these "destructions" are like poison. We sip, and sip, and sip, not knowing there is poison
in the cup. Its sweetness hides its venom. Arsenic is in every glass—the table is spread with wine—and to drink is to die! See how
"the wine is the poison of dragons and the cruel venom of asps!" Look at our self-righteousness and pharisaic pride—is not that
sufficient to destroy? Look at our carnality and worldly-mindedness, with all our reckless and vain thoughts—are not these sufficient
to destroy? Look at our unbelief and infidelity—is not that sufficient to destroy? Look at the base lusts and sensual appetites—is there
not enough of this poison in our heart to send a world to perdition? Look at the workings of despondency and despair—are not these
sufficient to destroy?
Watch the movements of our heart in the various circumstances of life. Is not there a snare in everything? In business, in our
occupation, at home, abroad, wherever we go, in whatever company we go—is not some secret snare hidden? And would not that
snare entangle and destroy our souls—but for the sovereign grace and mercy of God?
A man does not know himself, nor the evil of sin, nor the wickedness of the human heart, nor the depth of the fall, who does not
see and feel he has over and over again been entangled in things—which but for the grace of God would have been his eternal
destruction! If he were to say he had not, I would not believe him, for I would know he either deceived himself or wished to deceive
me—in other words, was an Antinomian, a Pharisee, or a hypocrite. For sure I am, if any one is acquainted with the depth of the
fall, the wickedness and weakness of our Adam nature, and what a man can think, say, and do, when not upheld by the grace of
God—he will say, "but for the grace of God I would again and again have rushed upon my own destruction!"
Then do not think me very hard this morning, if I have been calling you all "fools." I put myself into the catalogue. He who stands
in the pulpit, and those who sit in the pew, all bear the same name, for they have the same nature. We are all "fools"—for folly is
bound up in our hearts. If we possess one particle of the grace of God, or one grain of heavenly wisdom, we shall say, "Lord, I have
been, am, shall be to my dying day a fool, if you do not give me wisdom, and keep me every moment of my life—yes, keep me
as the apple of your eye."
Then you need not think yourself a very 'unusual person' as we sometimes do think ourselves—nor a very out-of-the-way wretch,
since there are other "fools" in the world beside yourself. And if you are the character as traced here by the pen of inspiration, there
may be something in it to lift up your head, and encourage you to believe there is something still of the good work of God upon your
soul. Christ is our wisdom—and as we feel our folly, it may make us by his grace, perhaps, more cautious for the future. The burnt
child dreads the fire. And if entangled in this or that snare we learn to deplore the consequences—it may produce a holy watchfulness.
He is a wise man who knows himself to be a fool. The greatest fool is he who does not know his own folly. Such an one resembles
certain very clever people, whom we used to meet with in the world. O, they knew everything—nobody could instruct them. They
had not wisdom enough to see their own ignorance.
So in grace. He is a wise man who knows himself to be a fool. It is not every professor of Calvinism who has got as far as this. If
a sense of our own folly makes us prize that 'wisdom and teaching which comes from above', it may not be our worst lesson. We
may have had to bitterly regret our folly—but if it has brought down our pride and self-righteousness, made us hate and abhor
ourselves in our own eyes, and opened a way for the free manifestations of God's superabounding grace, mercy, and truth—it may
have been for our spiritual good. At any rate, it is better than being a "fool" and not knowing it.
There are two kinds of fools. One that does not know his own folly—and he is the worst of fools. And there is another that does
know it—and he is next door to becoming a wise man; for the deeper he sinks in a sense of his own folly—the higher he will rise into
an apprehension of Christ as his wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.
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