The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that waters shall be watered also himself.
All the appearances of virtue and piety do not partake of their real nature. See the case of the Pharisees. None of our good works can be viewed with approbation by God unless they spring from a right principle, are guided by a right rule, and are directed to a right end. God looks at the motive in which they originate.
I. THE CHARACTER OF TRUE RELIGIOUS OR CHRISTIAN LIBERALITY.
1. Its principle. The spirit which is in man must be the seat of this virtue, or the liberal hand, so far as it respects God, is of no worth. There is much beneficence apart from religion. But it is the grateful heart God requires.
2. Its objects. First our kindred according to the flesh. Then the poor and distressed in society.
3. The modes in which this liberality should express itself. It should be honest in its administration. It should be proportionate in degree. It should be affectionate in its communication. It should be expansive in its embrace. It should be habitual in its exercise.
II. THE RECOMPENSE TO ENCOURAGE US TO ITS EXERCISE AND DISPLAY.
1. As respects the life that now is. Inward pleasure, pleasure in looking at the good effected; enlarged powers of usefulness.
2. As respects the life to come. Apply to those who give nothing to the cause of the poor. To those who give little. To those who are in the habit of giving much.
(John Clayton, jun.)
Parallel VersesKJV: The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.