Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.
It is not apparent why Solomon says, "Even a child is known." It is a familiar fact, at which we may glance, and which seems to be the main thought of the text.
I. THE TRANSPARENCY OF CHILDHOOD. Some men are full of guile and of hypocrisy; they have acquired the power of concealing their real thought and feeling beneath their exterior, and you are never quite sure what they mean. You dare not trust them; for their words, or their demeanour, or their present action may entirely belie them. Not so the child. He means what he says. If he does not love you, he will not affect any liking for you. You will soon find from his behaviour what he thinks about men and things, about the studies in which he is occupied, about the service in which you want him to engage. And whether he is living a pure and faithful life, whether he is obedient and studious, or whether he is obstinate and idle, you will very soon discover if you try. It requires but very little penetration to read a child's spirit, to know a child's character. but the truth which is not so much on the surface respecting the knowledge we have of or from the child relates to -
II. THE PROPHECY OF CHILDHOOD. "Even a child" will give some idea of the man into whom he will one day grow. "The child is father to the man." In him are the germs of the nobility or the meanness, the courage or the cowardice, the generosity or the selfishness, the studiousness or the carelessness, the power or the weakness, that is to be witnessed later on. He that has eyes to see may read in the child before him the future - physical, mental, moral - that will be silently but certainly developed. Hence we may regard -
III. CHILDHOOD AS A STUDY. If men have found an insect, or a flower, or a seed, or a strum well worth their study, how much more is the little child! For, on the one hand, ignorant assumption may spoil a life. To conclude hastily, and therefore falsely, respecting the temper, the tastes, the capacities, the inclinations, the responsibilities, the cull)ability or praiseworthiness of the child, and to act accordingly, may lead down into error and unbelief and despair the spirit that might, by other means, have been led into the light of truth and the love of God. And, on the other hand, a conscientious and just conclusion on these most important characteristics of childhood may make a life, may save unimaginable misery, may result in an early, instead of a late, unfolding of power and beauty, may make all the difference in the history of a human soul. And only the Father of spirits can tell what that difference is. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.