Proverbs 25:16, 27
Have you found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for you, lest you be filled therewith, and vomit it.
We can only eat a small quantity of honey; it we go beyond the limit we find out our mistake. Of this, as of all very sweet things, the words of the great dramatist are true, that "a little more than enough is by much too much." This is particularly applicable to that to which it is here referred.
I. SELF-PRAISE. We may go a little way in that direction, but not far. If we transgress the narrow bounds allowed, we shall soon find that we have done ourselves harm in the estimation of our neighbour. And even to talk, without praise, of ourselves is a habit to be held well in check, or it will run into an offensive and injurious egotism (see homily on Proverbs 17:2).
II. SELF-EXAMINATION. TO "search out our own glory" is not glorious, but rather inglorious. It is allowable enough for a man sometimes to recall what he has been to others, and what he has done for others; but he may not practise this beyond a very circumscribed limit. To hold up his own achievements before his own eyes is to beget a very perilous complacency; to find them out for other people's edification is quite as dangerous. And, on the other hand, for men to be searching their hearts or their lives to discover what is evil in them, to be instituting a constant examination of their souls to ascertain whereabouts they stand, - this is open to grave mistake, and may soon become unwise and hurtful. Self-examination is very good up to a certain point; beyond that point it becomes morbid and is a serious mistake.
III. BODILY EXERCISE AND INDULGENCE. This is very pleasant and (the latter) very "sweet," like the eating of honey. And to go some way in both of these is good and wise. But let the athlete beware lest his very love of bodily exercise betrays him into excesses which undermine his strength and bring on premature decline and death. And as to bodily indulgence, let us be often reminding ourselves that only in the cup of strict moderation - whatever that cup may be - is real pleasure or lasting health to be found. All excess here is as foolish as it is sinful.
IV. SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT. Can we have too much of this? Undoubtedly we can. Those who are perpetually partaking of one particular kind of religious nourishment, however good that may be in its way and measure, are over-eating of one kind of food, and they will suffer for so doing. They will not grow as God meant them to grow, proportionately and symmetrically; there will be a lopsidedness about their mind or character which is very noticeable and very ugly. Whether it be the contemplative, or the poetical, or the speculative, or the evangelistic, or the didactic, or any other side of truth in which men surfeit their souls, they make a mistake in so doing. They should understand that Divine truth has many sides and aspects, that there is not any one of them that constitutes wisdom or is sufficient to fill the mind and build up the character of a man. Our wisdom is to partake of the various dishes which are on the table our bountiful Host has provided for us; for as the body is the better for eating of many "meats," so is the soul all the stronger and all the fairer for partaking in moderation of all the various sources of spiritual nutrition that are within its reach. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it.