Bridges on Proverbs 20:27
 
Charles Bridges on Proverbs 20:27
 
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27.  The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly. {candle: or, lamp}
 
We are placed under a solemn dispensation of Divine government. An infallible judgment is in constant exercise, discerning our principles, estimating their standard, and pronouncing sentence. There ought evidently to be in the soul some sense, that acknowledges the judgment of the Great Sovereign. Such is conscience, aptly called — ‘God in man.’ Thus “God hath not left himself without witness” in his own benighted world. (Acts 14:16, 17.) He brings the searching light of his candle into the darkness. At the first creation bright indeed was this candle of the LORD, shining in the little world — Man. (Genesis 1:26.) But every faculty partook of the ruin of the fall. Still enough is left in the inner mind and conscience, to shew even in the thick darkness of heathenism the Divine perfections, the just desert of sin,† and even some faint glimpses of the standard of right and wrong.† Yet dim indeed is this candle, except it be lighted at God’s lamp.† But when the word and Spirit of God give light to it, it will effectually perform its important offices — (as Bishop Reynolds defines them) — ‘direction, conviction, and consolation;’† not only exhibiting the outward acts, but searching the innermost parts of the belly — all the hidden acts and conduct of the inner man. (1 Corinthians 2:11. Compare Job 32:8.) This unwelcome intruder follows everywhere, interpreting the dispensation of the rod, not — as men would have it — as the incidents or phænomena of the day, but as penal retribution. Glad indeed would the man of ungodliness be to extinguish this candle. He is too great a coward to venture into his secret chamber in the dark. He “hates the light” (John 3:20), which, in spite of all his opposition, drags forth into day many secret lurking evils; never allowing the plea — “Is it not a little one?” Whatever may have been his gay and thoughtless pleasures, the time will come, when he must leave them, and be alone. And then — as the question has been stated in a manner not to be answered — ‘What is all that a man can enjoy in this way for a week, a month, a year, compared with what he feels for one hour, when his conscience shall take him aside, and rate him by himself?’†
Most valuable also is this candle, throwing the light of God upon the narrow path; so that we ‘are not scrupulous and nice in small matters, negligent in the main; we are still curious in substantial points, and not careless in things of an inferior nature; accounting no duty so small as to be neglected, and no care great enough for principle duties; not so tything mint and cummin, that we should forget justice and judgment; nor yet regarding judgment and justice, that we should contemn mint and cummin.’†
Now let me ask — when God causes his candle to shed a clearer light, can I abide it? Do I welcome the hateful discoveries which it brings out? Do I value its light, as opening the secret business of communion between a sinner and a holy jealous God? Do I exercise myself to preserve the light from being dimmed in the atmosphere of sin, and to guard its purity, as the means of establishing my confidence with God?† Oh! let there be no inward part of my soul, where I am not most willing, most earnest, to bring the candle of the LORD, that all secret indulgences may be searched out and mortified. “He that doeth good cometh unto the light, that his deeds may be made manifest that they are wrought in God.” (John 3:21.)