For the earth which drinketh in the rain - As much as if he had said: In giving up such apostates as utterly incurable, we act as men do in cultivating their fields; for as the ground, which drinketh in the rain by which the providence of God waters it, brings forth fruit to compensate the toil of the tiller, and continues to be cultivated, God granting his blessing to the labors of the husbandman; so,
For the earth - The design of the apostle by this comparison is apparent. It is to show the consequences of not making a proper use of all the privileges which Christians have, and the effect which would follow should those privileges fail to be improved. He says, it is like the earth. If that absorbs the rain, and produces an abundant harvest, it receives the divine blessing. If not, it is cursed, or is worthless. The design is to show that “if” Christians should become like the barren earth they would be cast away and lost.
Which drinketh in the rain - A comparison of the earth as if it were “thirsty” - a comparison that is common in all languages.
That cometh oft upon it - The frequent showers that fall. The object is to describe fertile land which is often watered with the rains of heaven. The comparison of “drinking in” the rain is designed to distinguish a mellow soil which receives the rain, from hard or rocky land where it runs off.
And bringeth forth herbs - The word “herbs” we now limit in common discourse to the small vegetables which die every year, and which are used as articles of food, or to such in general as have not ligneous or hard woody stems. The word here means anything which is cultivated in the earth as an article of food, and includes all kinds of grains.
Meet for them - Useful or appropriate to them.
By whom it is dressed - Margin, “for whom.” The meaning is, on account of whom it is cultivated. The word “dressed” here means “cultivated:” compare Genesis 2:15.
Receiveth blessing from God - Receives the divine approbation. It is in accordance with his wishes and plans, and he smiles upon it and blesses it. He does not curse it as he does the desolate and barren soil. The language is figurative, and must be used to denote what is an object of the divine favor. God delights in the harvests which the earth brings forth; in the effects of dews and rains and suns in causing beauty and abundance; and on such fields of beauty and plenty he looks down with pleasure. This does not mean, as I suppose, that he renders it more fertile and abundant, for:
(1)it cannot be shown that it is true that God thus rewards the earth for its fertility; and,
(2)such an interpretation would not accord well with the scope of the passage.
The design is to show that a Christian who makes proper use of the means of growing in grace which God bestows upon him, and who does not apostatize, meets with the divine favor and approbation. His course accords with the divine intention and wishes, and he is a man on whom God will smile - as he seems to do on the fertile earth.
Many of the branches of study that consume the student's time are not essential to usefulness or happiness; but it is essential for every youth to have a thorough acquaintance with everyday duties. If need be, a young woman can dispense with a knowledge of French and algebra, or even of the piano; but it is indispensable that she learn to make good bread, to fashion neatly-fitting garments, and to perform efficiently the many duties that pertain to homemaking. Ed 216.1
To the health and happiness of the whole family nothing is more vital than skill and intelligence on the part of the cook. By ill-prepared, unwholesome food she may hinder and even ruin both the adult's usefulness and the child's development. Or by providing food adapted to the needs of the body, and at the same time inviting and palatable, she can accomplish as much in the right as otherwise she accomplishes in the wrong direction. So, in many ways, life's happiness is bound up with faithfulness in common duties. Ed 216.2
Since both men and women have a part in home-making, boys as well as girls should gain a knowledge of household duties. To make a bed and put a room in order, to wash dishes, to prepare a meal, to wash and repair his own clothing, is a training that need not make any boy less manly; it will make him happier and more useful. And if girls, in turn, could learn to harness and drive a horse, and to use the saw and the hammer, as well as the rake and the hoe, they would be better fitted to meet the emergencies of life. Ed 216.3Read in context »