And the word of the LORD came to me, saying,…
I. MAN IS NATURALLY CAPABLE OF YIELDING A MOST PRECIOUS FRUIT: THIS FRUIT CONSISTS IN LIVING TO GOD.
1. He is possessed of all the natural powers which are requisite for that purpose. He is endowed with reason and understanding, enabling him to perceive the proofs of the being of God, and to entertain just, though inadequate, conceptions of the principal attributes of His nature.
2. As we are possessed of natural powers, fitting us for the service of God, so He has bestowed upon us much care and culture, with an express view to this end.
II. THIS IS THE ONLY END FOR WHICH MANKIND ARE FORMED AND PRESERVED; THIS IS THE PROPER FRUIT OF HUMAN NATURE, WHICH ADMITS OF NOTHING BEING SUBSTITUTED IN ITS ROOM.
1. A mere selfish, voluptuous life cannot be supposed to be the proper fruit of human nature.
2. A life of social benevolence, in which the public good is preserved, without a supreme regard to God, cannot be this fruit.
(1) To do good to our fellow creatures, without regard to God, is to forget the principal relation in which we stand, and, consequently, to neglect the principal duty.
(2) The end of man's existence cannot, with any propriety, be considered as confined to this world; but the proper end accomplished by mere social virtues is entirely confined to the present state.
(3) No collective number of men can be independent of God, more than a single individual; therefore no such collective body has a right to consult their common interest, to the neglect of God, any more than a Tingle individual to pursue his individual interest.
III. HE WHO ANSWERS NOT THE END OF HIS EXISTENCE IS FIT ONLY TO BE DESTROYED. The barren vine may be useful as fuel, and to this purpose it is much applied in eastern countries. Thus wicked men may be useful with a subordinate kind of usefulness, by their destruction.
1. They may thereby become edifying examples of the just vengeance of God, in order to deter others.
2. They will serve to manifest those attributes of the Great Supreme which their conduct disowned, and which it seemed virtually to call in question.
(1) What blindness attaches to those who live in the total neglect of God and religion!
(2) What little room is there for that confidence which many place in correctness of deportment towards their fellow creatures, while religion is not even pretended to be the governing principle of their lives!
(3) What need have we all to examine ourselves, and seriously to inquire, whether we are yielding that fruit unto God, on which we have been insisting!
(4) How ought those to be alarmed, when the result of such examination is, that they have been hitherto utterly without fruit!
(R. Hall, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,