Also, that the soul be without knowledge, it is not good; and he that hastens with his feet sins.
Man alone of all the creatures in this lower world is possessed of a rational, intelligent, and immortal soul. Whilst other creatures are made to look down upon the ground, man stands erect, with his lofty countenance looking up to the heavens. He can look abroad on the face of the earth, and understand, in some degree, and admire the wisdom and power and goodness manifested in the works of the great Creator. He has analysed the elements of air and water, and can even make them of their component gases. He can explore the trackless ocean, ride in safety on its swelling billows, and cut his liquid way to the most distant regions of the world. Man can acquire a knowledge of foreign languages, and thus converse with men of other climes and kindreds and tongues. Moreover, by means of written or printed characters, he can spread his thoughts around him yet wider and wider, and even after he has sunk into the grave he can thus mould the minds of generations to come. If, then, the mind of man be capable of such great things, and can exert such a mighty influence, we should take good care that, by affording it Christian knowledge and a religious training, it be rightly informed and properly directed. Thus science and devotion would walk hand in hand together, and lead on our youthful progeny to the knowledge of the true God, and of the duties which they owe to Him and to one another. "That the soul be without knowledge, it is not good," is manifest from the consideration that without the knowledge of some useful art or science or business, man, ordinarily speaking, cannot procure the means of support, or fulfil the duties of his station in life. Moreover, that it is not good for the soul to be without knowledge may be inferred from the consideration that the faculties of the mind, on the one hand, are suited to the reception and pursuit of knowledge, and are strengthened and improved when they are so employed; whilst, on the other hand, the whole economy of nature is such as to invite us to examine and admire it. But doubtless the knowledge spoken of in the text relates principally to Divine things. What is the light of science apart from the light of Christ? Now, that the soul be without this knowledge, it is not good —
I. WITH REGARD TO THE INDIVIDUAL HIMSELF.
1. It is not good, because such a state is unhappy and unprofitable. "He that is wise may be profitable unto himself." But how unprofitable is the state of a child growing up without the knowledge of what is necessary to his welfare both in time and through eternity!
2. Such a state is not good, because it is not a safe one. In what an awfully insecure state is the soul that is without the knowledge of God! Any moment the thread of life may be cut asunder, and then shall his desire and expectation perish!
II. IN REGARD TO OTHERS.
1. In regard to God and His work. It is true that "our goodness extendeth not to Him." Our knowledge cannot augment His infinite stores of knowledge. Neither does He need our services. They cannot profit Him, nor add to His perfection and blessedness. But still, in a lower sense, God may be said to need the instruments or agents which He is pleased to make use of in accomplishing His designs. It is manifest that without the knowledge of which I am speaking we cannot be fit instruments in the hands of God for performing His work, for establishing and extending His kingdom through the world.
2. It is not good in regard to our fellow-men. How should he who is without knowledge fulfil the relative and social duties of life, giving to each his due, and benefiting all within his sphere of action?
(T. H. Terry, B. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Also, that the soul be without knowledge, it is not good; and he that hasteth with his feet sinneth.