If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength: but wisdom is profitable to direct.
I. THE LESS FACILITIES IN WORK, THE GREATER IS THE STRENGTH REQUIRED. The woodman who has to hew the old oak with a blunt axe must throw more muscular energy into the stroke than if his instrument were keen.
1. This principle applies to secular work. The men who are placed in such temporal circumstances as seem to doom them to destitution, must, if they would overcome difficulties and rise, be strenuous in effort.
2. This principle applies to educational work. Thousands have so employed the bluntest iron, that they have become the greatest apostles in science, and the most distinguished masters in art. Do not find fault with thy mental tools. Use the bluntest iron with all thy might, and thou shalt rise.
3. This principle applies to religious work. Most unfavourable are the circumstances in which the millions are placed for the cultivation of a truly godly life. Albeit, though the "iron" of such a man be blunt, let him use it, and he will succeed.
4. This principle applies to evangelizing work.
II. PRACTICAL SAGACITY IN WORK SERVES TO ECONOMIZE STRENGTH. "Wisdom is profitable to direct."
1. Strength may be saved in commercial pursuits by a wise system of management. It is not the sweating bustler who does the most work in the world's trade; it is the man of forecast and philosophical measures.
2. Strength may be saved in governmental action by a wise policy.
3. Strength may be saved in self-improvement by a philosophic method.
4. Strength may be saved in the work of diffusing the Gospel by an enlightened policy.
Parallel VersesKJV: If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength: but wisdom is profitable to direct.