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Verse 15

If I say, I will speak thus - If I should resolve to give expression to my feelings. If I should utter all that is passing in my mind and my heart. It is implied here that he had “not” given utterance to these thoughts, but had confined them to his own bosom. He knew how they might be regarded by others; how others might be led to feel as if no confidence was to be placed in God; how this might suggest thoughts to them which would not otherwise occur to them, and which would only tend to fill their minds with distress; how such thoughts might unsettle the foundations of their faith, their peace, their hope, and their joy.

I should offend against the generation of thy children - The word rendered “I should offend,” means to treat perfidiously, or in a faithless or treacherous manner. Then it means, “to deal falsely with.” And this is the meaning here; “I should not be “true” to them; I should not be “faithful” to their real interests; I should do that which would be equivalent to dealing with them in a false and perfidious manner.” The idea is, that he “ought” not to say or do anything which would tend to lessen their confidence in God, or which would suggest to their minds grounds of distrust in God, or which would disturb their peace and hope. This was alike an act of justice and benevolence on his part. Whatever might be his own troubles and doubts, he had no “right” to fill their minds with doubts and distrust of God; and he felt that, as it was desirable that the minds of others should not be harassed as his own had been, it could not be kind to suggest such thoughts.

This, however, should not forbid anyone from mentioning such difficulties to another for the purpose of having them removed. If they occur to the mind, as they may to the minds of any, however sincere and pious they may be, nothing can make it improper that they should be laid before one of greater age, or longer experience, or wider opportunities of knowledge, in order that the difficulties may be solved. Nothing can make it improper for a child to have recourse thus to a parent - or a member of a church, to a pastor. If, however, these doubts can be calmed down otherwise, it is better that they should be mentioned to no one. Some little additional strength may be given them even by dwelling on them long enough to mention them to another, and by putting them in such a form that they would be understood by another; and the true way is to go to God with them by prayer, and to spread them out before the mercy-seat. Prayer, and a careful study of the word of God may calm them down without their being suggested to any human being. At any rate, they should not be suggested at all to the young, or to those with fewer advantages of education, or of less experience than we have had, on whom the only effect would be to fill their minds with doubts which they could not solve - and with thoughts tending only to perplexity and unbelief - such as would never have occurred to themselves.

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