‘My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.’
There are two chief sources of temptation which Solomon indicates in these chapters, and which, when we have stripped off the figure or the accidental circumstances of age and time, are not less applicable to our days than to his.
I. The first is sensuality, figured and summed up in that repeated picture of ‘the strange woman which flattereth with her tongue, which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God.’
II. The other is that of evil companionship.—You may see in chapter 2 the two distinguished very clearly and put as the two things from which wisdom, discretion, understanding, should preserve you.
‘The danger is, “If sinners entice thee.” There are enticers and enticements, the fowler and his snare. (1) The enticers of youth may be divided into two great classes: the internal and the external. The sinners that entice from within are the man’s own thoughts and desires; the sinners that entice from without are fellow-men who, having gone astray themselves are busy leading others after them. (2) Among the enticements we may name: (a) the theatre; (b) the customs of society encouraging the use of intoxicating drinks.
The defence prescribed is, “Consent thou not.” It is a blunt, peremptory command. Your method of defence must be different from the adversary’s mode of attack. His strength lies in making gradual approaches, yours in a resistance sudden, resolute, total.’