By William Secker, 1660)
"If you know these things—you are blessed if you do them." John 13:17
To obey the truth, and not to know it—is impossible.
To know the truth, and not obey it—is unprofitable.
For, "Not everyone who says unto me, 'Lord, Lord' shall enter into the kingdom of heaven—but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven." Saving knowledge is not as the light of the moon—to sleep by; but as the light of the sun—to work by. It is not a loiterer in the market-place—but a laborer in the vineyard.
A man may be a great scholar—and yet be a great sinner. Judas the traitor—was Judas the preacher! The snake which has a pearl in its head—has poison in its body! The tree of knowledge has often been planted, and flourished—where the tree of life never grew! All abilities and gifts—without grace and holiness—are but like Uriah's letters, which were the death warrants of those who carried them!
Mere head knowledge will be as unhelpful to the soul, in the judgment day—as a painted fire is unhelpful to the frozen body, in a cold day. Theoretical knowledge may make the head giddy—but it will never make the heart holy. How many professors are there, who have light enough to know what should be done—but have not love enough to do what they know! Give me the Christian who perfectly sees the way he should go—and readily goes the way he sees!
That is barren ground—which brings forth no fruit. "To him who knows to do good, and does it not—to him it is sin." The sins of ignorance are most numerous—but the sins of knowledge are most dangerous! That sinner's darkness will be the greatest in hell—whose light was the clearest on earth!
There are many who set a crown of glory upon the head of Christ by a good profession, and yet put a crown of thorns upon his head by an evil conversation. By the words of our mouth—we may affect to adore religion; but it is by the works of our lives—that we adorn religion.
As trees without fruits are unprofitable—so knowledge without good works is abominable! Leah and Rachel are fit emblems of knowledge and obedience. Knowledge, like Rachel—is beautiful. But obedience, like Leah—is fruitful.