There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
I. MULTITUDES JUDGE OF DUTY BY THE STANDARD OF THEIR OWN MORAL SENTIMENTS AND FEELINGS, AND THEREFORE THE WAY OF DEATH IS THOUGHT TO BE RIGHT.
1. Sin first defiles the principles and then the conduct.
2. Sin has therefore brought down the ideal as well as the visible standard of duty among men.
3. Men thus rise and sink in their apprehensions of God's law, as they rise and sink in their own moral and spiritual attainments.
4. The more polluted, therefore, the man, the more will he think the way of death to be right.
II. MULTITUDES JUDGE OF DUTY BY THE STANDARD OF COMMON PRACTICE AND OPINION, AND THEREFORE THE WAY OF DEATH IS THOUGHT TO BE RIGHT.
1. The standard of the world is the average performances of duty.
2. This is the standard employed for most worldly or social purposes. It decides the reputation; the fitness for any society; the relationship; the situation.
3. Men identify this standard with the Divine, and determine by it eternal things.
4. Having stood the judgment of his fellows, man supposes that be can stand the judgment of God.
III. MULTITUDES JUDGE OF DUTY, AND OF THE SAFETY OF A COURSE OF CONDUCT, ACCORDING TO THE BELIEF THAT THE DIVINE LAW-GIVER ACCEPTS OF COMPENSATION IN ONE DEPARTMENT FOR WRONGS DONE IN ANOTHER.
1. Few love equally every form of sin. It does not consist with constitutional bias; outward circumstances; the pursuits of life; formed habits; the energy of the nature; the idols of the heart.
2. Many, therefore, attempt to balance their deficiency, and imagined excess, in duty.
3. This is impracticable (James 2:10). All is God's. The law is one. The loved sin is the test.
IV. MULTITUDES JUDGE OF DUTY ACCORDING TO THE PRINCIPLE THAT WHATEVER TENDS TO PRESENT AND TEMPORAL ADVANTAGE IS DEFENSIBLE.
1. Many appear to think that this world is altogether insulated.
2. They therefore confine their views to those objects of pursuit which it presents.
3. They suppose that they have acted their part well when they have escaped from the stage with approbation.
4. The way of such seems right, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
V. MULTITUDES JUDGE OF THE SAFETY OF A COURSE ON THE PRINCIPLE THAT ALL IS WELL THAT ENDS WELL.
1. This is a common and destructive perversion of truth.
2. The offers of grace are only for the present.
3. Every instance of rejection increases guilt, hardens the heart, and tends to bring about a death of indifference.
VI. MULTITUDES JUDGE OF DUTY ACCORDING AS IT BULKS IN THE EYE, AND THEREFORE THE WAY OF DEATH IS THOUGHT TO BE THE RIGHT WAY. Illustrate from —
1. The relative duties of the moral law.
2. Charities — religious societies.
3. The business of worship. It may be added that multitudes misinterpret Scripture.
Parallel VersesKJV: There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.