But the liberal devises liberal things; and by liberal things shall he stand.
I. STATE THE TRUE NOTION OF LIBERALITY. True liberality by no means intends profuseness, or a wasteful, thoughtless scattering of our substance, without judgment or economy. Neither is it consistent with the account the Scriptures give us of liberality, nor indeed with the laws of nature and reason, that a man should abound in acts of generosity to more remote objects, while he neglects those under his special care (Matthew 15:3-6; 1 Timothy 5:4, 8; Galatians 6:10). But it is most of all inconsistent with the liberality recommended in the Word of God, that we should give that to others which is not our own; or distribute among the poor that which should pay our just debts.
1. By a liberal man, we are to understand a man of a kind, compassionate, benevolent disposition; one who observes, with admiration and delight, that profusion of bounty with which the great Creator of the world blesses the works of His hands; is truly thankful for the share he enjoys of it; and as he sees his "heavenly Father makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust," so he is charmed with the Divine pattern, and labours, according to his measure, to imitate it.
2. But his benevolence must, according to his ability, be put in practice.
3. His charity is very diffusive; indeed, it can bear no limits but such as are prescribed by Scripture and sound reason. The stranger must partake of it as well as those of his own country and kindred.
4. To finish the character of the truly liberal man, it is necessary that his disposition and practice should be founded in religious principles, and be the blessed fruit of the saving work of the Spirit upon his heart.
II. CONSIDER THAT PART OF THE LIBERAL MAN'S CHARACTER WHICH IS, IN A SPECIAL MANNER, RECOMMENDED IN THE TEXT. He "deviseth liberal things." It is commendable to have a readiness of soul to such works as these, when they are proposed and marked out to us by others. It is well to have a mind easily impressed with the condition of the indigent, and willing to submit to the dictates of conscience, the importunity of the necessitous, and the advice of good men. But the charitable character rises much higher when we devise liberal things ourselves. It supposes a heart greatly set on doing good.
1. The liberal man wisely manages his own affairs to this good end.
2. He employs all his wisdom and prudence in order to dispose of his bounty in the best manner and to the most advantageous purposes. He is so far from hiding his face from his brother who is in want, that he searches diligently to find him out. He will lay himself out in the service of every community to which he stands related, and will labour what in him lies to promote the true peace and welfare of the whole world.
3. He will also call in all proper assistance in this good work. He will consult about these things with such of his pious friends as have generous souls and good judgments.
4. The liberal man contrives how he shall diffuse and promote the spirit of liberality.
5. He persists in this course.
III. SOME ACCOUNT OF THAT SUITABLE AND GRACIOUS REWARD WHICH SHALL ATTEND THE LIBERAL MAN. "By liberal things shall he stand."
1. In some good degree in this life.
(1) In the opinion and regard of mankind.
(2) This temper and conduct are the most likely way both to secure and enlarge our estates, as well as give us the truest enjoyment of them.
(3) This conduct will certainly afford him a pleasure in his own mind that cannot easily be described.
(4) What is still more valuable, he shall be supported, maintained, and established by the liberal things of Divine grace.
2. What will crown all, is the blessedness which shall follow in the life to come.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.