For man also knows not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare…
The sad truth here declared has been experienced thousands of times, not only by those who are now alive, but by others who have passed away to their great account. No one likes to be deceived in any matter; and yet how sin is constantly deceiving us! No man is willing to be ensnared by an enemy; and yet how Satan leads us captive at his will! and what a disclosure will the judgment-day present, of fraud and subtlety on the side of sin and Satan — of weakness and compliance on the part of sinners! From among the many sources of danger now presenting themselves to my mind I must select several of the most prominent and powerful.
1. There is the danger of speculativeness in matters of religion. Remember, speeulativeness proves nothing — faith "proves all things": speculative. ness deceives — faith cannot; speculativeness enfeebles the mind — faith strengthens it; speculativeness receives nothing truly — faith grasps and retains that which is revealed to faith; speculativeness is the false light of a carnal state — faith is the beacon-blaze of God set up in the soul; and this the apostle knew full well, when he said — "We walk by faith, not by sight."
2. Another source of danger is indecision with regard to personal religion. Multitudes of young men, we believe, who neither speculate upon the Bible, nor deny or even question its authority, but yield a full respect to religion itself and to the religion of religious friends, are in this sad state of personal indecision. No step of a positive kind has been taken. They wish to be religious — we give them credit for that; but then they are not. They hope to be so by and by — we believe they do; but where is the sustained effort that evidences the reality both of wishes and of hope? Indecision, long persevered in, may at length — and it is a solemn thought — acquire the force of decision, but acting in a wrong direction. It may be decision on the side of ruin, simply because the young man, knowing in a truth, may not have firmness to act on what he knows, nor grace enough, sought in persevering prayer, to decide at once for life, salvation and a glorious immortality, accessible to him at any moment, through faith in Christ Jesus by the Spirit.
3. I have next to set before you the danger of worldly conformity, even when you have been enabled to overcome your natural indecision, and have east in your let with the true people of God. Before this occurs, you are of necessity conformed to the world; it cannot be otherwise; you have no motive for separation from the world till then. In whatever degree a Christian conforms to the habits and principles which govern the world around him, in the same degree is his spirituality in danger of deterioration. And yet how many Christian professors live as like the rest of the world, as if they had never professed to come to a decision on the side of Christi The truth is, that the world makes concessions to religion; and the religion of these modern days is too liberal to withhold compliance to the demands which the world makes in return for its concession. Contact with the world is unavoidable; it is one thing, however, for us to submit to that which must be, but quite another to conform to that which should not be, just because it invites and pleases, or because it threatens. I know it is difficult to maintain your ground when the intercourse between Christians and the world is so familiar; but are you to give way when a difficulty crosses you in the path, and looks you in the face? Are you accustomed to do so in the ordinary pursuits of life? Is there not difficulty in the way of everything that is worth doing? Does not difficulty generally stimulate perseverance? To be aware of difficulty arising from the character of worldly society, with which you cannot perhaps at all times avoid mingling, is, if you will have it so, to be partly armed against it. If you fail in this, the worldly spirit around you will soon cast a successful snare; and you may find by bitter and humbling experience that, "as the fishes are taken in an evil net, and as the birds are caught in the snare, so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them."
(G. Fisk, LL. B.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them.
WEB: For man also doesn't know his time. As the fish that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare, even so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falls suddenly on them.