He that refuses instruction despises his own soul: but he that hears reproof gets understanding.
In this text the writer gives such an account of those whom he found he could do no good to as makes their folly manifest before all men.
I. THEY REFUSE INSTRUCTION. He that neglects instruction, puts it far from him, and sets himself at a distance from it; not only because he hates it, but because he fears it. Or that strips himself of instruction; shaking off his education, as a garment he will not be hampered with. The original word has a further signification, he that will be revenged on instruction; that takes it for an affront, and studies revenge, if he be told of his faults. Per instruction the margin reads "correction." In our fallen state, that which instructs us must correct us. The corrections of Providence are intended for instruction. Many refuse discipline. They will not hear instruction, heed it, or comply with it.
II. THEY DESPISE THEIR OWN SOULS. They evidence that they have very low and mean thoughts of their souls. But the soul is the man. He who despises his soul despises himself. There is a despising of ourselves which is commendable, and our duty — a gracious self-contempt. There is a despising of ourselves which is culpable, and of pernicious consequence. The honour of the soul is, that it is rational and immortal. They who refuse Divine instruction despise their own souls under both these considerations. Take the subject more generally, and show that it is the original error of wilful sinners, that they undervalue their own souls.
1. Who they are that despise their own souls. Some do so in opinion; who advance notions of the human soul that derogate from the honour of it; or deny their immortality. Those despise their own souls who abuse them; hazard them; neglect them; prefer their bodies before them.
III. THE FOLLY OF THOSE WHO DESPISE THEIR OWN SOULS.
1. Consider the nature of the soul, which is too noble, too excellent, to be despised.
2. Consider the nearness of the soul. It is his own soul that the sinner despises.
3. Consider the purchase of the soul, and the price that was paid for its redemption.
4. Consider the projects that are laid about souls, and what striving there is for them, and for their love and service.
5. Consider the perpetual duration of souls, and the preparations that are made in the other world to receive them. Apply the subject:(1) Let us see and bewail our folly in having had such low thoughts of our own souls, and that we have forgotten their dignity, and put dishonour upon them.
(2) Learn to put a due value upon our own souls; but to take care not to magnify ourselves above our brethren.
(3) Let us make it appear that we do indeed value our own souls.
(4) Let us value other things as they have relation to our souls, and fix our estimate of them by the value of our souls, and stand affected to them accordingly. Let us value our Lord Jesus Christ, as the best friend our souls ever had, who died to redeem and save them.
( Matthew Henry.)
Parallel VersesKJV: He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.