Charles Bridges’s Commentary on Proverbs 22:28 : “Remove not the ancient landmark”

I recently read these wise words written by Charles Bridges:

“Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.” (Proverbs 22:28)

“Every one has an undoubted right to his own. He must therefore have the means of knowing and securing his right. Even the heathen admitted the sacredness of the landmark. The stone or the staple was honored as the god, without whose kindly influence every field would be the subject of contention. The landmark was protected by the wise laws of Israel. God himself set the bounds to the respective parts of his own world, restricting each part within its proper limits. Thus also he distributed the different nations, and appointed the same security for the several allotments of his own people. The ancient landmark stood as a witness and memorial of each man’s rights, which his father had set. Its removal therefore was forbidden, as a selfish and unjust invasion of property, included in the curses of Ebal, and noted, in subsequent ages, as the head and forefront of national provocation.”

“All sound expositors* warn us, from this Proverb, to reverence long-tried and well-established principles, and not rashly to innovate& upon them. Some scorn the ancient landmarks, as relics of byegone days of darkness. Impatient of restraint, they want a wider range of wandering, to indulge either their own prurient appetite for novelties, or the morbid cravings of others for this unwholesome excitement. Endless divisions and dissensions have been the fruit of this deadly evil. The right of individual judgment oversteps its legitimate bounds; and in its licentious exercise every man feels justified to do and think that which is right in his own eyes.”

* Bishop Patrick, Scott, Geier, etc… Romish expositors naturally apply it to their own traditions

& it’s a shame that dispensationalists and full preterists have not heeded such advice when it comes to eschatology and the identity of AntiChrist ; rather than holding on to the views held by sound and godly Protestants of past centuries, these two classes of professing Christians have put forth repackaged, “protestantized” Jesuit eschatology; repackaged poison remains poison

“Rome, on the other hand, charges us with removing the ancient landmark of unwritten Tradition, which our fathers have set. We ask—What right had they to set it up? We do reverence to no unwritten traditions upon the footing of the law and the testimony. We rebut the charge against Rome**, and contend, upon the broad ground of historic testimony, that she has removed the ancient landmarks, and substituted her own in their place; that Protestantism (not in name, but in principle) is the 0ld religion, and Popery a comparative novelty.”

** in the hardcover edition that I have it reads “charge of AntiChrist”; in an online edition it reads “charge against Rome”

“If we turn to our own beloved and venerated Church*** ; the last age witnessed a rude, but by Divine mercy an unsuccessful, effort, to root up her landmarks&. We have seen a subtle and insidious attempt to remove them from the place, where our well-instructed fathers have set them, and fix them nearer Rome****; leaving but a narrow boundary of division between Christ and Antichrist. This is indeed the rooting up of the foundations of the grace of God, which ought—if need be—to be resisted unto blood. The Lord make us valiant for the truth, and consistent witnesses of its power!”

*** he, as an Anglican, is referring to the Church of England which used to be much more Protestant and vigilant instead of the ecumenical, theologically-liberal mess it is today

& he is probably referring to the rise of atheism and infidelity which happened in the latter part of the 18th century and continued into the 19th century

**** he is referring to the “subtle and insidious” Oxford Movement

source : Charles Bridges, “An Exposition of the Book of Proverbs”


See also:

Book Recommendation : “An Exposition of the Book of Proverbs” by Charles Bridges

High Levels of Calvinism in Proverbs 16:1

Advice for Christians Struggling Spiritually

Ecclesiastes : Some Recommended Commentaries


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