O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
t reason: — Natural instincts, and even moral sense, are no safe guide upon a subject which soars so infinitely above our limited capacity. We are children; and in considering the means by which our Heavenly Father will save us, it is wisdom to accept simply His own instructions, desperate folly and presumption to criticise those instructions by our puerile instincts. E.g., a father, inured to life upon the Alpine mountains, is under the necessity of crossing a very perilous glacier with his children. The children are of such an age that the direction, "Hold this, and keep at as great a distance from me as you possibly can," can just be made intelligible to them, while the grounds of it, viz., that the weight of the party may be distributed, and not bear on one particular spot, which might thus give way, are, it may be, out of the reach of a child's capacity. Let us suppose that the children, in fright, begin to reason about this counsel, and to judge of it by their natural instincts; conceive that one of them should think and say as follows: "Can our father, who loves to have us close around him, say, 'Come not near me, child, at the peril of thy life'? Say it he may, but I will not believe such to be his meaning, for it conflicts with all my natural instincts, which are to cling round him in the moment of danger." But shortly afterwards night falls, and the wearied children are irresistibly impelled to lie down without any covering, in which case death would overtake them. The father burrows in a snowdrift, and proposes that in the cavities so made the children shall lie, the cold snow piled over them, and only the smallest possible aperture allowed for the passage of the breath. Adults, of course, would be aware that this would be the only method of preserving the vital heat of the body; but not so the children. Snow, applied only to parts of the person, and not as a general wrapper, is bitterly cold; and the children, unable to understand, imagine cruelty in this arrangement. Now, the child who keeps at a distance from his father, and buries himself in the snow, is a wise child, because, renouncing the guidance of his instincts, he places faith in one manifestly his superior in capacity. The child who clings round his father's neck upon the glacier and stretches his limbs beneath the open sky in distrust of his parent's directions is a foolish child; for what is greater folly than to refuse to be guided by a recognised superior in wisdom? And it cannot be too strongly insisted upon, that one who, in investigating such a subject as the method of human salvation, follows the guidance of his natural instincts in preference to that of Revelation, is a weak person, not a man of bold and courageous thought. Simple dependence upon God, where God alone can teach, is the truest independence of mind.
Parallel VersesKJV: O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!