Consider two sponges


The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself. (KJV)

The backslider in heart will be filled with the fruit of his ways,
and a good man will be filled with the fruit of his ways. (ESV)

C. H. Spurgeon, in a sermon, “How a Man’s Conduct Comes Home to Him” on Proverbs 14:14

spongeThe meaning of this passage will come out better if we begin with an illustration. Here are two pieces of sponge, and we wish to fill them: you shall place one of them in a pool of foul water, it will be filled, and filled with that which it lies in; you shall put the other sponge into a pure crystal stream, and it will also become full, full of the element in which it is placed. The backslider lies asoak in the dead sea of his own ways, and the brine fills him; the good man is plunged like a pitcher into “Siloa’s brook, which flows hard by the oracle of God,” and the river of the water of life fills him to the brim. A wandering heart will be filled with sorrow, and a heart confiding in the Lord will be satisfied with joy and peace.

Or, take two farmsteads; one farmer sows tares in his field, and in due time his barns are filled therewith; another sows wheat, and his garners are stored with precious grain.

Or follow out our Lord’s parable: one builder places his frail dwelling on the sand, and when the tempest rages he is swept away in it naturally enough; another lays deep the foundations of his house and sets it fast on a rock, and as an equally natural consequence he smiles upon the storm, protected by his well-founded dwelling-place.

What a man is by sin or by grace will be the cause of his sorrow or of his satisfaction.

To read the rest of this sermon, delivered in 1875, click here:

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