I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.
I. THE QUANTITY OF EXISTING EVIL IS NOT SO GREAT AS, AT FIRST VIEW, IT MAY APPEAR TO BE.
1. By a wise appointment of Providence, scenes of distress are made to strike our minds more forcibly, and to awaken a far livelier fellow-feeling in our breasts than any species of felicity which we witness; and for this obvious reason, that distress stands in need of that active consolation and relief which our compassion will naturally prompt, while happiness is more independent of sympathy. Add to this, that misery, in consequence of the same occasion for the participation of social natures in its feelings, is much more clamorous, and therefore more noticed, than satisfaction. And the sum of evil has been still further exaggerated by writers who were aware that the tale of woe would find a chord more responsive to it in the human heart, than any which vibrates in unison with the voice of joy; as well as by many mistaken devotees, who have esteemed a gloomy discontent with the present life as essential to piety.
2. To any calm and unprejudiced observer, however, the latent, but multiplied, satisfactions of mankind will not fail to discover themselves; and he will learn to look up with confidence to that all-gracious Being, who, although He suffers, for wise ends, the existence of darkness and evil, creates more of light than of darkness, and more of peace than of evil. To nearly all natural evils, indeed, a compensation may be discovered. After all, however, it cannot be denied that the world contains much real distress.
II. ITS ORIGIN. Whatever evil afflicts the human race, is all, in one way or other, of their own procuring. God "doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men." When He first called the human race into existence, He designed them to be happy, and He made them so. "By one man's disobedience sin came into the world," and misery and death by sin. With respect to every species of evil, man may be pronounced the author of his own tribulation.
III. By the gracious interference of providence, IT TENDS TO A HAPPY ISSUE; to an issue which, to say the least of it, counterbalances the previous evil. Let us learn to improve our confidence in the Divine goodness; to redress, as far as lies within our capacity, the multiform evils that exist around us; and to convert to wise and beneficial purposes such of these evils as affect ourselves.
(J. Grant, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.