Christian Prudence
Ephesians 5:15
See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,

The prudent man, in the world's estimation, is one who walks circumspectly; who goes through life, as the saying is, with his wits about him; with his eyes open to mark every opportunity; ready to spread his sail to every wind; one who does not rashly commit himself, but rather stands aloof and studies others, and uses the results for his own advantage. Prudence, or providence, for the words are the same, implies a power to overlook the pressing temptation of the present, for the weighty advantage of the future — that which glitters and deceives, for that which is solid but less attractive. Now, all this is our guide and pattern. What they do for corruptible advantages, we are to do for an incorruptible. What they do and submit to for a self whose interests terminate here, we are to act and to suffer for one whose welfare is not bounded by time. Yet how far are we from acting with the prudence that they do. Careless about the high interests before us, we let time flit by, and opportunities pass unheeded. We do not study the aspect of the days in which we live, nor ask ourselves what care they especially demand that we may be effective for good; and so the gospel is losing ground, and unbelief is coining in like a tide upon us, and men's lives are losing their Christian character, and evils of unmeasured magnitude must follow, if we do not awake in time to spiritual wisdom. I will first remind you that we Christians were certainly never meant to be thus remiss and insensible; that Christ came to redeem and renew us in every legitimate faculty and every salutary use of it. The redemption of Jesus Christ was wrought to comprehend man's whole nature, and man's whole history; there is no lawful advance of mankind, no wholesome invention, which it may not; include in its instruments for God's glory, and by neglecting which it does not lose space and power for its work; no symptom of the state of men's minds and of society, which it ought not to turn to account for its high purposes. We need to walk circumspectly, brethren, both in belief, and in practice. Belief is a state of mind made up of the results of persuasion, and the influence of habit. And this latter is very much affected by the society among which we move in life. So that any prevailing character in the views and thoughts of an age is sure to be reproduced more or less in each individual man's belief. Let us pass on now to practice. Here, too, we most deeply need wary and circumspect walking, as to both the good and the bad habits and influences around us. There can be no doubt that we live in an age of much practical good. The infirmities, miseries, and ignorances of humanity are more noticed and more cared for than in any previous age. We have numerous institutions calculated to teach the ignorant, to reclaim the fallen, to help those who need help. Well, then, our question today is, are we Christians walking prudently, with regard to all this machinery for good? Are we making the most of it for God and for our own eternal happiness? And if not, how may we do so? Strive to do what thou canst do well, and to serve where thou canst serve with a pure conscience; but aim not at duties which thou canst; never thoroughly perform, and at offices which thou canst not satisfactorily fill. If we are walking circumspectly, can we avoid hearing such voices as these sounding about us? if we are not fools but wise, shall we not admit them to a place in our counsels, and in the formation of our plans in life?

(Dean Alford.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,

WEB: Therefore watch carefully how you walk, not as unwise, but as wise;

Christian Circumspection or Exactness
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