TEST FOR FOOLISH THINKING
"Seeing thou a man wise in his own conceit? There is more hope of a fool than of him" Prov. 26:12
A man, wise in his own conceit, is a man who is perfectly satisfied with his own judgment, his own opinion. He seeks no light or counsel from without. He holds the views of other men in contempt. No one can teach him anything. In this Proverb, which is one of wisdom as defined, the thought is principally that of a man who does not fear God, who does not seek to be guided by the Divine Will. A FOOL here is simply an ignorant person who knows his own ignorance. Such a one may be helped. However naturally dull of apprehension, he is willing to be taught. His natural foolishness makes it difficult to instruct him, but it is not impossible. This other man, starting with the conviction of his own wisdom, makes it impossible to help him, because he will have no help. The Proverb is not one that needs to be defended when we are looking at others. We see it exemplified so constantly, and however mistaken we know this man to be, we leave him to himself, for we know the hopelessness of trying to show him his ignorance. But the Proverb is one which we may safely use as a searchlight for ourselves. The peril is a very subtle one. We are prone to be wise in our own conceits, without knowing that we are so. A simple test may be employed. WHEN WE FAIL TO SEEK DIVINE GUIDANCE IN ANY UNDERTAKING, IT IS BECAUSE WE DO NOT FEEL OUR NEED OF IT. In other words, we are wise in our own conceit. There is no safer condition of soul, than that self-distrust, that knowledge of ignorance, which drives us persistently to seek for the wisdom which comes from above.