The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly.
Man may be said to be governed from above, from without, and also from within; by the power which is from heaven, by human society, and also by the forces which are resident in his own spiritual nature.
I. OUR SPIRITUAL NATURE. God created man in his own image; i.e. he created him a spirit. God is a spirit; so also is man, his offspring, his human child. Our spiritual nature is endowed with the faculties of perception, of memory, of imagination, of reason. These include - some would say that to these there has to be added - the power which is usually called conscience, the exercise of our spiritual faculties directed to all questions of morality. This moral judgment, or conscience, of ours:
1. Distinguishes between right and wrong. Decides what is good and what evil, what is just and what unjust, what is pure and what impure, what is true and what false, what is kind and what cruel, it is an inward light; it is" the candle of the Lord," etc.
2. Approves of the one and disapproves of the other.
3. Acts with such force that, on the one hand, there is a distinct satisfaction, and even joy; that, on the other hand, there is distinct dissatisfaction, and even pain, sometimes amounting to an intolerable agony. There is hardly any delight we can experience which is so worthy of ourselves as the children of God, as is that which fills our heart when we know that, regardless of our own interests and prospects, we have done the right thing; there is no wretchedness so unbearable as remorse, the stinging and smarting of soul when our conscience rebukes us for some sad transgression.
4. Is a profoundly penetrating power. It "searches all the inward parts" of the soul; it considers not only what is on the surface, but what is far beneath. It deals with thoughts, with feelings, with purposes and desires, with the motives which move us, and with the spirit that animates us.
II. THE INJURY OUR NATURE SUFFERS FROM OUR SIN. He that sinneth against Divine wisdom, and therefore against the Divine One, does indeed "wrong his own soul." Every wrong action tends to weaken the authority of conscience, and, after a while, it disturbs its judgment, so that its decision is not as true and straight as it was. This is the saddest aspect of the consequence of sin. When the inward light, the candle of the Lord, begins to grow dim, and ultimately becomes darkened, then the soul is confused and the path of life is lost. If our eye is evil, our whole body is full of darkness; if the light that is in us be darkness, how great must the darkness be (Matthew 6:23)! When that which should be directing us into the truth and wisdom of heaven is misleading us, and is positively directing us to folly and wrong, we are far on the road to spiritual rain. We have to mourn the fact that this is no rare occurrence; that sin does so confuse and blind our souls that men do very frequently fall into the moral condition in which they "call evil good, and good evil." The light that is in them is darkness.
III. OUR RESTORATION THROUGH CHRIST OUR LORD. Jesus Christ offers himself to us as the Divine Physician; he says to us, "Wilt thou be made whole?" And he who so graciously and mightily healed the bodies heals also the souls of men. He does so by recalling our affection to God our Father, by setting our heart right. Then loving him, we love his Word, his truth; we study and we copy the life of our Lord. And as the heart is renewed and the life is changed, the judgment also is restored; we see all things in another light; we "see light in God's light." The candle of the Lord is rekindled, the lamp is trimmed; it gives a new light to all that are in the house - to all the faculties that are in the house of our nature. Let us yield ourselves to Christ our Lord, let us study his truth and his life, and our conscience will become more and more true in its decisions, and in its peaceful light we shall walk "all the day long," truly happy in heart, enjoying the constant favour of "the Father of lights." - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly.