Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established.
I. WE OUGHT TO PONDER OUR STEPS IN REGARD TO THE PRINCIPLE FROM WHICH THEY PROCEED. An action good in itself may become criminal if it proceed from a bad principle. The little attention we pay to this maxim is one principal cause of the false judgments we make of ourselves. Would you always take right steps? Never take one without first examining the motive which engages you to take it.
II. WE OUGHT TO PONDER OUR STEPS IN REGARD TO THE CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH ACCOMPANY THEM. An action, good or innocent in itself, may become criminal in certain circumstances. This maxim is a clue to many cases of conscience in which we choose to blind ourselves. We obstinately consider our actions in a certain abstracted light, and do not attend to circumstances which change the nature of the action.
III. WE OUGHT TO EXAMINE THE MANNERS THAT ACCOMPANY OUR WAYS. Actions, good in themselves, become criminal when they are not performed with proper dispositions.
II. AN ACTION, GOOD IN ITSELF, MAY BECOME CRIMINAL BY BEING EXTENDED BEYOND ITS PROPER LIMITS. "Be not righteous overmuch, neither make thyself overwise."
1. In regard to the mysteries of religion.
2. In regard to charity.
3. In regard to closet devotion; in regard to distrusting yourselves and fearing the judgments of God.
V. AN ACTION, GOOD WHEN IT IS PERFORMED BY A MAN ARRIVED AT A CERTAIN DEGREE OF HOLINESS, BECOMES CRIMINAL WHEN IT IS DONE BY HIM WHO HATH ONLY AN INFERIOR DEGREE. If we wish our ways to be established, let us weigh them with the different judgments which we ourselves form concerning them. Set the judgment which we shall one day form of them against that which we now form. In order to obey the precept of the wise man, we should collect our thoughts every morning, and never begin a day without a cool examination of the whole business of it.
Parallel VersesKJV: Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.