On the Secret Bitterness of the Heart
Proverbs 14:10
The heart knows his own bitterness; and a stranger does not intermeddle with his joy.

Nothing is to be estimated by its effects upon common eyes and common ears.

1. Among the mental dispositions which prevail with the sufferer to smother his secret pangs and bitternesses from public inspection, the first is pride, whether of a pardonable or an improper description. Timidity is not less solicitous than pride to wrap up its griefs from general observation. Prudence and a sense of duty exert a similar influence.

2. When the circumstances of a sufferer are outward and visible, his perception of his calamity may be far more acute than the common observer surmises. And the heart of a man may be wrung with an unusual bitterness in consequence of its unusually delicate sense of religious and moral obligation.Practical improvements:

1. The survey delivers a lecture on resignation and contentment and disproves the notion that there is actually any large inequality in the Divine distribution of good and evil among mankind.

2. The subject suggests an instructive lesson of mutual sympathy and kindness in all the varieties of outward condition. There never has breathed yet one individual in the full enjoyment of pure, unalloyed happiness.

3. Take care that the common and unavoidable uneasiness shall not be aggravated by that self-dissatisfaction which arises from wilful disobedience.

4. Remember that we are passing on to a fairer and more faultless condition of being, where the souls of the pious and penitent shall have their capacity for enjoyment filled up to the brim.

(J. Grant, M.A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: The heart knoweth his own bitterness; and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy.

WEB: The heart knows its own bitterness and joy; he will not share these with a stranger.

On the Joy and the Bitterness of the Heart
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