The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that wins souls is wise.
By this is meant his prayers, his charities, his good example, the virtues which compose his character and adorn his life, and all the efforts and influences by which he shows forth his wisdom in winning souls. To win souls in the best sense is to bring them to the saving knowledge of Jesus and subjugate them to His gracious dominion. An illustrious ancient philosopher said, "There is nothing great on earth but man, and nothing great in man but his soul." How will you compute the worth of a soul, or by what standard measure its greatness? Will you estimate it by its nature and origin, or by its power and capacities, or by the duration of its being, or by the cost of its redemption, or by the struggle for its possession and control, or by comparison with the splendid and precious? And if such is the value of the soul that worlds acquired could not compensate its loss, nor a material universe redeem its forfeiture, how excellent, beyond all power of language or of thought, the work of saving the priceless thing from destruction, and placing it among the crown-jewels of the King of kings! Look at the matter in another light. The soul is fallen, guilty, perishing; and he who rescues and restores it confers an incalculable and inconceivable benefit. Who shall limit the effect of your labour in saving a soul, or trace the blessed influence to an end? The beneficent effect of faithful Christian labour is an ever-swelling stream and an ever-enlarging growth. All heaven unites with all that is heavenly on earth in witnessing to the precious fruit of righteousness and the transcendent wisdom of winning souls. These considerations appeal to your charity, others appeal with equal force to your piety, your gratitude, your interest, your ambition. The Church was ordained for mutual help and the recovery of the lost. The saints live for others, God has blessed them, that they may be blessings to their race.
(J. Cross, D.D., LL.D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.