The way of a fool is right in his own eyes; but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise (Proverbs 12:15).
The greater fools are those that have the highest opinion of their own wisdom. Their self-esteem disposes them to neglect the advice of others, and to prosecute their own schemes, however foolish and dangerous, till they meet with fatal disappointments, which, after all, can hardly open their eyes, clean shut with pride and vanity.
The wisest men are they who are most sensible of their need to avail themselves of the wisdom of others; and most qualified to make a proper use of counsel.
This rule is to be observed, especially in the affairs of religion, for in none do men discover more folly, and a greater degree of self-confidence. Multitudes walk under the influence of delusion and error, who, instead of suffering themselves to be set right, despise those that are able to give them good advice. Multitudes that make a sound profession of religion, are strangers to the narrow way that leads to life, and would yet exclaim against such as would give them, from scripture, the clearest proofs of the danger of the mistakes under which they labour, and the insufficiency of the evidences which they think they can produce, of their being in the right way.
We are not, however, to hearken to counsel without examination, because other men are liable to error as well as ourselves. Absalom was ruined by giving ear to treacherous counsel; and Rehoboam lost the greater part of his kingdom, by preferring the counsel of fools to that of wise men. In our spiritual concerns, the only infallible counsellor is he who is made of God unto us wisdom, to whose word we are carefully to attend, and on whose Spirit and grace we must exercise a daily and humble dependence.
It is our wisdom to value the instructions and counsels of ministers, of parents and Christian friends, particularly of experienced and aged saints. But they must be able to prove the goodness of their advices by the Scriptures, which are the great and only rule to direct us to our chief end.
Excerpt from “Exposition of the Book of Proverbs” by George Lawson.