I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding;…
Take these words as a pointed reproof of the negligent and immoral head of a family. The cause of prevailing irreligion is the deplorable negligence of masters and heads of families, in cultivating that field which is more immediately placed under their inspection and care.
1. The fatal consequences of irreligious sloth and negligence in those whom Providence hath raised up to be the heads of families. Families are the nurseries of the Church and state: it is from them that every department of life is filled up. Who is the slothful man? It is the moral sluggard whom the inspired writer has in view — the man who shows his children and servants, by all his pursuits, that this world is all for which they need to care. He neglects the important seasons and opportunities for moral culture. He does not teach them the duties which they owe to one another and to society. He may permit them to be instructed by others, but he does not support the instruction by his own influence and example. See the consequences of this negligence illustrated in the sluggard's garden. Being destitute of rule, management, or control, his children absorb every wrong sentiment with their earliest sense, and are more and more corrupted with every breath they draw. There is no order, calmness, moderation, or self-command among the members of his family.
2. The futility of such apologies as are usually made for this negligence. They have not time; they have not capacity; or they do not feel under obligation in this direction.
Parallel VersesKJV: I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding;
WEB: I went by the field of the sluggard, by the vineyard of the man void of understanding;