To Magistrates
Proverbs 24:11-12
If you forbear to deliver them that are drawn to death, and those that are ready to be slain;…

This text impresses this upon us — it is the duty of every one of us to use our best strength to deliver the oppressed, but our sin is we faint and forbear to do so.

1. Reasons for this duty in respect of God. We have His command and His example.

2. In respect of ourselves. What power we have and what need we may have. Our natural powers and faculties all have their several uses and opportunities. We have power to relieve the necessities of the poor. The world is full of changes and chances, and those who now have power presently come to have need. The rule of equity is, "Do as thou wouldst be done to."

3. Reasons on consideration of the poor and oppressed. Consider the greatness of their distress, the scarcity of their friends, and the righteousness of their cause. That which you are to do for the poor is this, seek first to be well assured that their cause is just. Then you must not forsake or despise him because he is poor.

4. Reasons from the effects of the duty itself. It will gain us honour and estimation, purchase for us the blessings of the poor, and bring down on us the blessings of God. We want charity, but abound with self-love. Our defect in that appeareth by our backwardness to perform our duties to our brethren; and our excess in this, by our readiness to frame excuses for ourselves. Consider these excuses, such as —

(1)  We never heard of their matters.

(2)  We had no clear evidence that their cause was right and good.

(3)  We did not see how we could relieve them. God's response to such excuses is assured.Doth not He consider? Doth not He know? Will not He render?

(Bp. Sanderson.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain;

WEB: Rescue those who are being led away to death! Indeed, hold back those who are staggering to the slaughter!

The Claim of Our Brother's Need
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