Also, that the soul be without knowledge, it is not good; and he that hastens with his feet sins.
I. THE UTILITY OF KNOWLEDGE IN GENERAL. The extent to which we have the faculty of acquiring knowledge forms the most obvious distinction of our species. As the power of acquiring knowledge is to be ascribed to reason, so the attainment of it mightily strengthens and improves it, and thereby enables it to enrich itself with further acquisitions. Knowledge, in general, expands the mind, exalts the faculties, refines the taste of pleasure, and opens numerous sources of intellectual enjoyment. The moral good of the acquisition of knowledge is chiefly this, that by multiplying the mental resources it has a tendency to exalt the character, and, in some measure, to correct and subdue the taste for gross sensuality. Some think that the instruction of the lower classes will make them dissatisfied with their station in life; and by impairing the habits of subordination, endanger the tranquillity of the state. But, in truth, nothing renders legitimate governments so insecure as extreme ignorance in the people. The true prop of good government is the opinion, the perception, on the part of the subject, of benefits resulting from it. Nothing can produce or maintain that opinion but knowledge. Of tyrannical and unlawful governments, indeed, the support is fear, to which ignorance is as congenial as it is abhorrent from the genius of a free people. Ignorance gives a sort of eternity to prejudice, and perpetuity to error.
II. THE UTILITY OF RELIGIOUS KNOWLEDGE IN PARTICULAR. Religion, on account of its intimate relation to a future state, is every man's proper business, and should be his chief care. The primary truths of religion are of such daily use and necessity, that they form, not the materials of mental luxury, so properly as the food of the mind. Two considerations may suffice to evince the indispensable necessity of Scriptural knowledge.
1. The Scriptures contain an authentic discovery of the way of salvation.
2. Scriptural knowledge is of inestimable value on account of its supplying an infallible rule of life. Of an accountable creature, duty is the concern of every moment, since he is every moment pleasing or displeasing God. Hence the indispensable necessity, to every description of persons, of sound religious instruction, and of an intimate acquaintance with the Scriptures as its genuine source.
(R. Hall, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Also, that the soul be without knowledge, it is not good; and he that hasteth with his feet sinneth.