Isaiah 32:8
But the liberal devises liberal things; and by liberal things shall he stand.

The picture drawn has a twofold aspect.


1. The liberal man is he whose mind has been freed and enlarged by the truth of the Gospel. You cannot make a man liberal so long as a violent craving for more sways his heart; neither will a man be liberal, though he may count himself rich, if he disintegrate himself from the great community of which he is a member. We are made free indeed by the Son when we see that all things are ours, and that it is ours also to fulfil our mission as part of that all of which God is the sum and substance.

2. The liberal man is he whose mind premeditates acts of liberality — "he deviseth liberal things." There are instincts of pity and charity in human nature which may be brought into accidental action. There are moments of weakness which make the miser even to relax his hold of his hoardings. Many are terrified by the approach of death to make large bequests. There are others who are naturally tender-hearted, and they give alms most feelingly, but not from thought. There are some seasons of the year, such as Christmas-tide and harvest, when many make a small display of their charity. These are the once-a-year liberal folk. The text refers to a much higher class of liberality than such can possibly be — the liberality of thought. The goodness of God is not fitful or forced, but the outcome of His Fatherly care and providence. Liberality in thought emanates from the Spirit of Christ in us.

3. The liberal man is he whose acts are liberal. The subject is far wider than almsgiving. Our Sunday-school teachers and the leaders of religious and temperance movements; our tract distributors, and those who visit the poor, the afflicted, the dying, and the sinful — are greater benefactors than those who can spare silver and gold. Alexander gave, not according to the merit of the man, but according to the honour and resources of a king. Jesus gave. How much? Time, and energy, and wisdom, and sympathy, and power? Much more. He gave Himself. Let all yours be love-gifts.

II. THE REFLEX INFLUENCE OF LIBERALITY. "And by liberal things shall he be established." There is a power in liberality which strengthens our faith and character. Whatever Christian work we engage in, the influence on ourselves is as great as on others.

1. The liberal man, by his liberality, cultivates the Spirit of Christ in himself.

2. The liberal man, by his liberality, increases the store of his wealth (Proverbs 11:24). Many Christians are poor because they are not liberal.

3. The liberal man, by his liberality, obtains the approval of God. That approval we now receive in our consciences, but hereafter the judgment will demonstrate it, when the Judge will say, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

4. The liberal man, by his liberality, will conquer the hardness of the human heart. If we look forth to the mission field, liberality has been the vanguard of civilisation and religion. Or if we look nearer home, at the liberal changes which have been made in the punishment of criminals, we have ample proofs that crime has decreased in proportion as we have humanised jurisprudence. The highest note of liberality is this, "For God so loved the world," &c.

(T. Davies, M. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: But the liberal deviseth liberal things; and by liberal things shall he stand.

WEB: But the noble devises noble things; and he will continue in noble things.

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