He has shown you, O man, what is good. All the ways of atonement which you have proposed are not available in the sight of God; they cannot remove evil or purify themselves of the guilt of sin. He himself has shown you that which is good; that which is profitable to you and pleasing to himself. And what is that?
1. Do righteously; to give to all what is due to God; your heart, your body, soul, and spirit; your wisdom, understanding, and judgment. «Love him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and your neighbor as yourself». This is the right and proper God of every man.
2. You should give your neighbor what you would wish to receive from him, never doing things to his disadvantage.
3. You must give to yourself what is your due; never deprive your soul of what God has provided for it; to keep your body in temperance, sobriety, and chastity; avoiding all excesses, both in action and in passion.
You must love mercy; not only to do what justice requires, but also what mercy, goodness, benevolence, and charity require. Without this humiliation of soul you can never walk with God; for without his mercy no soul can be saved; and he must be your God before you can walk with him.
Neither does God say that to do this in righteousness, etc., will merit eternal glory. No. He shows that all men must walk this way; that this is the duty of every rational being. But he knows well that no fallen soul can act this way without an especial help from him, and that only the regenerated man, the man that has found redemption through the blood of the cross, and has God as his God, can act this way and walk. Salvation is of the mercy of God alone; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.
«He has shown me, O man, What is Good»
This is not the prophet’s answer to the body of the people, nor to any of the peoples of Israel; it is that of Balaam to Balak, a single man, who consulted him and asked him questions; particularly what he should do to please the Lord, and what justice he demanded of him, that would be acceptable to him.
And though he was a king, he was but a man, and would let him know that he no longer existed, and as such addresses himself to him; and especially when he is informing him of his duty to God. That he did not lie in the things he had proposed, but in doing what was good and avoiding what was evil, in a moral sense: and this the Lord had shown him in the light of nature.
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