I. DIVINE PROVIDENCE. (Ver. 24.) It is needful, for human wisdom is shortsighted, and human direction inadequate. It is a gracious fact, and, if acknowledged, brings blessing to the trustful mind and heart. Each man has a life vocation. God appoints it, and will reveal the means for the attainment of it. We cannot enter the kingdom except through the guidance of Christ.
II. HUMAN RESPONSIBILITY. (Ver. 27.) There is a light within us, or conscience in the most comprehensive sense. By the help of reason we may judge other men; by that of conscience, ourselves. It is in another statement the power of reflection, the inner mirror of the soul.
III. GENERAL RELATED TRUTHS.
1. The necessity of pondering well our wishes. (Ver. 25.) We should think thrice before we act once. To act first and reflect afterwards is foolish and helpless; thus we reap the good of neither thought nor action.
2. The necessity of discrimination in rulers. (Ver. 26.) The figure is borrowed from agriculture, from the process of sifting and threshing - the latter in a penal sense (2 Samuel 12:31; 1 Chronicles 20:3; Amos 1:3). It is carried into the gospel. The Divine Judge's "fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor." We must submit to law or be crushed by its penal action.
3. The necessity of love and faithfulness in government. (Ver. 28.) For human government, to be sound, stable, and. respected, must be a reflection of the Divine government. And the eternal features of the latter are love and faithfulness. Clemency and severity are but two sides of the one living and eternal love which rules men only for their salvation.
4. The beauty of piety in youth and age. (Ver. 29.) Let the young man in Christ approve his strength by manful self-conquest, and the old man by riper wisdom and blameless conversation (1 John 2:13, 14).
5. The necessity of inward purification. (Ver. 30.) And to this end the necessity of chastisement. In bodily disease we recognize the struggle of life against that which is inimical to it; and in the afflictions of the soul the struggle of the God-awakened soul against its evils. Luther says, "Evil is cured, not by words, but by blows; suffering is as necessary as eating and drinking." - J.
Man's goings are of the Lord: how can a man then understand his own way?I. THE TEXT IN ITS NEGATIVE BEARINGS.
2. Appeal to history. Hazael (2 Kings 8:11).
3. Appeal to your own experience.Is it not true that when you trust to your own strength you are apt to trifle with temptation?
II. THE TEXT IN ITS POSITIVE BEARINGS. "Man's goings are of the Lord." His goings in the path of duty are. What is true of duty is true also of the conduct of life. From this gather encouragement, and nourish humility. Check all presumptuous schemes as to the future.
(A. Nicholson, B. A.)
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