A Plea for the Idiot
Job 18:5-6
Yes, the light of the wicked shall be put out, and the spark of his fire shall not shine.…

The text is part of Bildad's description of a wicked man. The description might, however, be adapted to represent weakness and deficiency, as well as wickedness. Those who are of radically weak understanding may be spoken of thus: "The light shall be dark in his tabernacle." There is a four-fold light in our nature, placed there by our Creator, the Father of our spirits — the light of the understanding, the light of the judgment, the light of the conscience (including the whole moral sense), and the light of the religious sensibility, This light may be diminished, nay, even extinguished, by wickedness. Sin reduces the natural light within us, and continuous sinning involves constant decrease in that light. Sins in the body and sins against the body lessen the light of the understanding, and reduce the power of mental conception, and the power of thought. All sin perverts the judgment, sears the conscience, and blunts the moral sense. By continuing in sin there is a hardening process carried on, so that sin is at length committed without fear, or remorse, or regret. All sin tends to destroy faith in God, and to stop intercourse with God. The whole tendency of sin is to reduce the light within him. But there is a Deliverer from this position; there is a Saviour from this condition There is, in some cases, a natural deficiency of the light of which we have been speaking — a natural defect in conscience, understanding, judgment, and religious sensibility — a deep and radical defect. This is idiocy. "The light is dark in the tabernacle." What can be done in such cases? Five things.

1. Whatever latent capacity is possessed may be developed — power of observation, and of speech, power of attention and acquisition, power of thought and feeling, power of skill and labour, moral and religious power. The idiot is not a broken vessel, but an unfilled vessel; not a broken candlestick, but a candlestick with a feeble lamp.

2. The external condition may be made comfortable and pleasant, and favourable to the idiot's improvement. The dwelling may be made wholesome and attractive, and may present objects to the eye which shall call out the imagination, and evoke healthy sentiment and feeling.

3. All the energy of the body and of the spirit which is manifested may be directed into the channels of usefulness.

4. The almost insupportable burden of providing for an idiot child in the family whose means are scanty and insufficient may be shared or entirely borne by Christian benevolence.

5. A refuge from observation, and mockery, and injudicious treatment, and from ill-treatment, may be provided for idiots who are not poor. On all grounds it is most undesirable for those who are distinctly idiotic to live with those whose condition is sound. Consider the claims of idiots upon us Christians. The birth of idiots is a great mystery. It is one of the mysteries that would crush us if we did not look up. Way does God permit and inflict idiocy? It cannot come from malevolence in God. All we can say is, God willeth, and it must be right. Children smitten through their parents have a strong claim — the strongest possible claim — upon Christian benevolence. We may not be kept back from providing for the idiot by the fact that the affliction is sometimes directly traceable to sin in the parents and other ancestors.

(Samuel Martin, M. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Yea, the light of the wicked shall be put out, and the spark of his fire shall not shine.

WEB: "Yes, the light of the wicked shall be put out, The spark of his fire shall not shine.

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