Proverbs 24:11
Rescue those being led away to death, and restrain those stumbling toward the slaughter.
The Test of AdversityE. Johnson Proverbs 24:10, 15
Compassion for the WrongedE. Johnson Proverbs 24:11, 12
Drawn unto Death, and Ready to be SlainT. J. Judkin, M.A.Proverbs 24:11-12
Help for the Heathen WorldHenry Townley.Proverbs 24:11-12
Inexcusable IndifferenceE. Johnson Proverbs 24:11, 12
The Claim of Our Brother's NeedT. Binney.Proverbs 24:11-12
To MagistratesBp. Sanderson.Proverbs 24:11-12
Vain ExcusesH. Melvill, D.D.Proverbs 24:11-12

I. THE HEART AND HAND SHOULD EVER BE READY AT THE CALL OF DISTRESS. (Ver. 11.) The picture seems to be placed before us of one arriving at the place of judgment, seeing an innocent sufferer yet, like the priest and the Levite in the parable, passing by "on the other side."

"To see and sights moves more than hear them told; For then the eye interprets to the ear The heavy motion that it doth behold." To respond to these mute appeals from any of God's creatures is to obey a law immediately known within our breast; to resist them is to sin against him and against our own souls.


1. Human nature is fertile in excuses. For the burden of blame and of conscious guilt is the heaviest we can bear. But searching is the truth of the proverb, "Whoso excuses, accuses himself," Ignorance of duty needs no excuses; but excuses for neglect can never be valid.

2. Excuses may avail with man, but not with God. With fallible men they may and often do pass for truth. At all events, they must often be accepted by those who need in turn to make them. But God knows the truth of every heart, and in every case; and to him excuses are either needless or worse.

3. Judgment will be executed in spite of our excuses. For God is the Vindicator of the wronged, and the Recompenser of all according to their deeds. Scripture is very impressive on the sin of neglect of kindly duties to others, in regard to which the conscience is so often dull (Luke 14:18, etc.). Men content themselves with the reflection that they have not done others positive harm - a negative position. But the other negative position, that we have not done the good we had a call to do, on this the teaching of Christ fixes a deeper guilt. Noble as it is to save a life from bodily death, still more glorious in its consequences is it to save a soul from death and hide a multitude of sins. - J.

If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death.
1. It is supposed that there is an allusion here to what is understood to have been a custom among the Jews. When a man was being led to execution a sort of crier or herald went with the procession, publicly proclaiming that if any man hath "anything to offer even yet to show the innocence of the accused, or any circumstances of extenuation to present, or testimony to give to his character, let him now declare it; the judges are sitting; the procession to the place of execution shall be arrested; anything new in the form of evidence or testimony shall be heard, and thus execution shall be stayed." It is supposed here that a man is in danger of death. It is supposed that he is innocent. It is supposed that there is a man who can help him, even now, to prove his innocence. If that man withholds his testimony, he is guilty of murder, and comes into the judgment of God.

2. Illustrations of the principle embodied in the text. Individuals may be exposed to great suffering by no fault of their own. Many have to suffer in consequence of the operation of general laws over which they have no control. Where there is suffering, peril, or destitution on one side, there is somewhere on the other the power to help; somebody has the ability to interpose. Those that have the power may neglect it, and endeavour to find miserable apologies and excuses for their neglect. There may be perfectly honest and sufficient reasons in any case why an individual may not help or take part in affording relief, but in every case a man must be perfectly honest with himself, and not make his personal indulgence take shape as pecuniary inability to help others.

(T. Binney.)

As descriptive, the words of the text draw our attention to the heathen, and give us a very affecting representation of their state. As imperative, they turn our attention to ourselves, and point out the work which God has given us to do — to use every possible effort to rescue our perishing neighbours from the state of peril and danger in which they are placed.

I. THE STATE OF THE HEATHEN WORLD. As described in the text, "drawn unto death," and "ready to be slain."

1. As respects this world. In Hindustan there are four modes whereby men and women are "drawn unto death" — women by being burnt alive on the funeral pile of their husbands, and by being buried alive in the same grave; men by being crushed beneath the wheels of the ponderous car of Juggernaut, and by being drowned in the river Ganges.

2. As respects the next world. Look at their never-dying souls; think of the everlasting importance of the world to come. They are drawn to the pains of eternal death by their numerous and enormous iniquities; by the god of this world; and by the almighty arm of a holy and righteous God.

II. THE IMPERATIVE FIXTURE OF THE TEXT. We must look at ourselves.

1. Our duty is clearly pointed out. We are to preach the everlasting gospel. Who will go? To whom can we look with so much propriety as to those who are already ordained to preach the gospel? But some may plead, "I am already useful and acceptable at home"; or "If I go to preach abroad, I shall inflict an injury on my own country"; or "I am not competent; I do not possess the requisite qualifications: and if. I were to make the attempt I should fail"; or "We cannot see it to be our duty to embark in this work at once, and for life"; or "I am already comfortable at home, and I do not like to give up my delights."

2. We are to present fervent supplication to the throne of grace. We must pray as well as preach.

3. Another means to be employed is, liberal contributions to defray the expenses of so great an undertaking. God will not hold him guiltless who neglects this duty.

(Henry Townley.)

I. A STATEMENT OF A CERTAIN CONDITION. The natural world is in this state. It is so with reference to its original and to its actual guilt. A man, as a sin agent, is evermore superadding sin to sin.


1. Education conducted on false estimates and erroneous principles.

2. Example. Actions affix a deeper stamp and stronger impressions than words.

3. Habit, which is said to be a second nature. It exercises a sort of moral omnipotency over us.

4. Self-complacency of a nominal religion.

5. Pride, when it makes a man virtually deny the value of a revelation by Christ.

6. Sloth. which lulls a man into a pleasing dream, from which he would not be awakened.

7. The fear of the world, which has its branding-irons.

8. Love of sin. Its indulgence makes up the pleasure of their life.

III. THE SOLEMN DUTY TO BE PERFORMED. The deliverance is not in the power of man. A sinner must see himself as he really is, in the blackness of his guilt before God. For this he must seek the animation of the Holy Spirit. He must repent; and by faith look up to the Lord Jesus. These things must be told men plainly, and pressed upon them earnestly.

(T. J. Judkin, M.A.)

It is the universal characteristic of fallen man that he endeavours to extenuate what may be wrong in his conduct, and invent excuses. Are the pleas by which you might think to justify yourselves in regard to your known duties such as would bear being submitted to God? Men will often admit an excuse without close examination; not so God. We may examine into an excuse, and nevertheless not detect its worthlessness; not so God. Men, even when satisfied that blame attaches to the individual who offers the excuse, are often forced to let him pass without punishment; not so God. Groundless excuses can be of no avail as made to God, because, in the first place, He is a being who considers everything. In the second place, He knows everything. And in the third, He rewards everything.

(H. Melvill, D.D.)

This text impresses this upon us — it is the duty of every one of us to use our best strength to deliver the oppressed, but our sin is we faint and forbear to do so.

1. Reasons for this duty in respect of God. We have His command and His example.

2. In respect of ourselves. What power we have and what need we may have. Our natural powers and faculties all have their several uses and opportunities. We have power to relieve the necessities of the poor. The world is full of changes and chances, and those who now have power presently come to have need. The rule of equity is, "Do as thou wouldst be done to."

3. Reasons on consideration of the poor and oppressed. Consider the greatness of their distress, the scarcity of their friends, and the righteousness of their cause. That which you are to do for the poor is this, seek first to be well assured that their cause is just. Then you must not forsake or despise him because he is poor.

4. Reasons from the effects of the duty itself. It will gain us honour and estimation, purchase for us the blessings of the poor, and bring down on us the blessings of God. We want charity, but abound with self-love. Our defect in that appeareth by our backwardness to perform our duties to our brethren; and our excess in this, by our readiness to frame excuses for ourselves. Consider these excuses, such as —

(1)We never heard of their matters.

(2)We had no clear evidence that their cause was right and good.

(3)We did not see how we could relieve them. God's response to such excuses is assured.Doth not He consider? Doth not He know? Will not He render?

(Bp. Sanderson.)

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