The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly.
Able to shine; constructed to shine; but not alight until it has been lighted — the candle of the Lord. Man's spirit is part of us, and able to produce flame when it has been touched with flame. It is a special capacity we have for feeling, appreciating, and responding to Divine things. Sound affects the ear; light the eye; the spirit is the nerve of religious sensation. Man is a bundle of adaptations. The religious sense is the faculty which all men have, in varying degree, of appreciating religious and Divine things. We could not be holy without the instinct, but the instinct does not insure our being holy. There is in this no difference between the religious instinct and other of our instincts. The religious sense forms part of each man's original outfit. It gives the teacher and preacher something with which to start. The facility with which children can be approached in religious matters shows that religion is a matter of instinct before it is a matter of education. This inborn religious sense is an easy argument for the existence of God. The possession of this religious instinct puts us upon the track of a very simple and practical duty. Whether we become holy or not will depend mostly upon how we treat that instinct, and upon whether we repress and smother it, or give it free chance of unfolding. It rests with us to take some sturdy measures to bring out this religious consciousness into greater force and fuller glow.
(C. H. Parkhurst, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly.