Proverbs 24:27
Complete your outdoor work, and prepare your field; after that, you can build your house.
Preparation for Life's Duties, Sorrows, and JoysJ. Vaughan, M.A.Proverbs 24:27
Preparation; its Nature, Obligation, and BlessingsJ. Vaughan, M.A.Proverbs 24:27
The Prudence and Policy of IndustryE. Johnson Proverbs 24:27
The Ignobler and the Nobler SpiritE. Johnson Proverbs 24:17, 18, 29
Just Conduct to Our NeighbourE. Johnson Proverbs 24:26-29

I. ALL LABOUR IS ROOTED IN THE TILLAGE OF THE EARTH. 'Tis thus that bread was first wrung from her - by universal field labour. Our ancestors were all agricultural labourers. All other industry must be fruitless and stop without the action of this spring. It is therefore the part of all prudent and good men to encourage cultivation, to improve the condition of the labourer and the farmer. All honour to the great statesmen of our time who have wrought in this cause. It is edifying to recollect that God has made Mother Earth the eternal mediator and minister to us of material blessings which lie at the foundation of all our life.

II. DOMESTIC COMFORT AND INDEPENDENCE REST UPON LABOUR. It is the "prudence of a higher strain" than that which begins and ends with mere sensual comfort that is taught in this book. It is attention to law, it is unbelief in luck, which constitutes its principle. Self-command, unslothful habits, constant exertion, put the bread a man eats at his own disposal, so that he stands not in bitter and False relations to other men. - J.

Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house.
God loves preparations. God gives little but to preparations. All His own great works He has done preparedly. Creation was not done without great forethought (Proverbs 8:27-31). And redemption was no sudden after-thought, for before the foundation of the earth was laid redemption was cast in the mind of God. And every event that happens to every man, it was planned ages before the man was born. And the children of Israel did not enter Canaan till they had gone through a preparatory discipline. Neither did prophets, nor apostles, nor Jesus Himself, begin work without an interval of solitude and discipline for perfect readiness. The preparation of Jesus was marvellous. Ten-elevenths of that life, of which every moment was gold — ten-elevenths given to preparation. Rightly viewed, everything this side heaven, and perhaps we need not draw the limit line even there — everything is preparation. Within the compass of this present world everything is placed in the state and order that it is, to fit us for another thing which is coming afterwards. Just as in a good education every rule leads up to a higher rule, and every new piece of knowledge is the basis of another piece, so that the mind is always being made ready for something beyond it, so it is in God's dispensations. A joy may be a prelude to a sorrow, or a sorrow may be a prelude to a joy, or a joy to a higher joy, or a sorrow to a still deeper sorrow. Nothing is isolated. It is not isolated joy; it is not isolated sorrow. The great thing we have to do is to be careful that we treat everything as preparatively. We should always be asking, when joy and sorrow comes, "Of what is this the precursor? what is God going to do with me next?" You cannot always be doing duties, but you can always be preparing for them. And remember, preparations are the long things; works are the short things. Let the preparation suit what you are going to do — a general preparation for general duty — but a special preparation for things special. The materials you gather in the "field" must be suited to the particular "house" which you are going to "build." Always make a stop upon the eve, and search into your own heart, and say, "Am I ready? has God given me a true preparation?" If not, as far as you can, stop a little longer before you take another step. Whatever else you do, secure preparation before you begin. There is a frame of mind which is a continual preparedness. It is the "Here I am!" of the patriarchs. It is a high, blessed state.

(J. Vaughan, M.A.)

I should place first among preparations — the Sunday. A Sunday will be a preparation, if you view it as preparatory. It does not much matter whether you look upon it as the day for laying in the mind's food for the week, or as the day for raising the mind to its true tone and level for the week, or as the day to hallow anything to which you are looking, by bringing it out especially before God that day. It is a very good thing to use the Sunday for laying before God, and so solemnly consecrating, and obtaining strength and wisdom for, anything that you are planning or expecting in the course of the coming week. But if you will thus spend your Sunday as a ground, apart from the world, and in loftier ranges of thought, you are "preparing your work without, and making it fit for yourself in the field; and afterwards build thine house." What is true of the Sunday is certainly true also of all private exercises of the soul; and most of all, our morning devotions. Our morning devotions should have a distinct, preparatory character. You will find it a good rule never to open your Bible without a little secret prayer. Certainly, whatever it is worth while for a Christian to do at all, it is worth while to do measuredly and deliberately. Better to do a few things so than multitudes lightly. And the God of order and of forethought will Himself bless what most honours Him, by holy premeditation and religious accuracy, in which He sees, therefore, the most of His own image. Map your day before you go out; plan carefully; lay all beginnings in God: "Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house." But you say, "What is this preparation? I cannot so prepare." Then what does that show, but that before the beginning there is another beginning, and that the preparation itself needs to be prepared? But if you ask, "What is the right preparation for sorrow?" I answer, first, not to anticipate sorrow, for that is not filial nor childlike, but to have it well laid in your mind that sorrow must come, and to know its nature, what it is. For the danger of sorrow is, lest it come upon us overwhelmingly, and paralyse our powers. Therefore, be in a state of mind which cannot be surprised — not ignorant of what sorrow is when it comes. Is not it a needful discipline? To prepare for joys the rule is opposite. The preparation there lies in the fact of the anticipation. You cannot expect too much. For one of the perils of a joy is its throwing the mind from its equilibrium by the rush of its novelty. But he who has dealt much with the great undertakings of God's love and promise will scarcely be surprised at any happiness that ever comes. Is he not loved? So the joy will not come disturbingly to the mind.

(J. Vaughan, M.A.)

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