They helped every one his neighbor; and every one said to his brother, Be of good courage.
1. The commonwealth is not served till the different branches of industry merge their jealousies in goodwill.
2. The very composition of the earth we walk over offers a strong hint of this intention. You read it in the beautiful balancings of clouds and tides, the equations of astronomy, the adjustments of growth and climate, all the musical accord by which the Divine Spirit has attuned His creation to an everlasting anthem. Sky and water, vapour and vegetation, earth and sun are ever friendly and hospitable; they are perpetually running on some missionary errand on each other's behalf.
3. Indeed, It is most interesting to see how liberally the Creator has given hints and illustrations of this social principle by His own arrangements, even in what we call the humbler departments of His creation. For society does not stand apart from nature, but interlinks its laws with hers. Very wonderful it is, and very beautiful, to see how God twines together, into a system of mutual benefits, the operations that different creatures carry on for their own advantage, thus revealing His intention that they should be fellow-helpers, even these dumb and soulless things. He scarcely lets any good end with the being that produced it, but carries it over into some wider usefulness. He pushes out the doings of each animal and person into results that help other animals and other persons. The silkworm, with no thought of a charity, spins for himself an elaborate and complicated coffin, to hold the chrysalis, till its resurrection with wings. But the strands of that delicate fabric, the ingenuity of man winds off into the material of his costliest and most durable vestures. Coral insects build their reefs with the slow toil of ages, not certainly as philanthropists, but simply by the instinct that bids living things provide a habitation. Yet they are all the time laying the foundations of islands that men will some time inhabit, when overpopulated continents shall send out their swarming colonies, and thus God "layeth the beams of His chambers in the waters." The spider weaves a web, out in the air, for certain economical purposes of his own. But God bathes it overnight in drops of dew, and in the morning sun it hangs like a silver shield, with miniature rainbows for its quarterings, "a thing of beauty" at which children clap their hands with rapture, and which every beauty-loving passenger is the better for. The spider had no thought of being an artist; but the Creator made him one to shed delight unconsciously. Or else astronomy stretches one of those slender fibres across the glass in her telescope to mark the passage of a star, and the little insect under a clover leaf gives a measuring line to science to tell the august motions of the constellations of the sky.
4. So in another and higher grade of creation. When men forget to help each other, God overrules their plans, and makes them do it, to a certain extent, in despite of themselves. He is for ever defeating the plots of selfishness. He suffers no immunities to be strictly personal. It is the settled policy of Providence, so to speak, to break up monopolies. He regards always the good, not only of the greatest number, but of the whole. He allows no mortal to live for himself alone, however much disposed to. A capitalist, without the remotest intention of being a public benefactor perhaps, founds a factory, to enlarge his private fortune. But the enterprise calls into employment an army of labourers, and the wages forestall their starvation. A few men, in a corporation, as the ease may be, build a railway, for the sake of the dividends; but it becomes an immeasurable facility of travel and transportation, and while it enriches a few is a convenience to millions.
(F. D. Huntington, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: They helped every one his neighbour; and every one said to his brother, Be of good courage.