"Cease, my son, to hear instruction, only to err from the words of knowledge" Prov. 19:27
This is a proverbial appeal. The voice is that of a father deliberately counselling his son not to listen to instruction unless he intends to obey. The truth involved is, that it is better not to know, than, knowing, to fail to do. This cuts at the root of that most pernicious heresy, which yet is so largely held, that knowledge is in itself power. It is not so in any realm of life—scientific, economic, artistic, or moral. KNOWLEDGE IS ONLY POWERFUL WHEN IT IS THE INSPIRATION OF ACTIVITY IN HARMONY WITH ITSELF. The application of the truth in this proverb is in the realm of wisdom, and so of things moral and spiritual. The advice is good, because it is not only true that to know is of no avail apart from the doing which it demands—it is also true that UNLESS KNOWLEDGE IS OBEYED, in process of time it ceases to appeal. This means that knowledge of the way of right, which is merely intellectual, exerts a hardening effect upon the finer things of the soul. In that sense familiarity breeds contempt, or indifference, which is, after all, the subtlest form, of contempt. There is an old phrase, which some of us heard our fathers use. They spoke of some people as being "Gospel-hardened." A human being may become so accustomed to the Gospel message that it ceases to make any appeal to mind or heart or will. It is this grave peril which gives warrant to this appeal. If we are purposed to error from the words of knowledge, it is better to cease to hear instruction.