Mr. Joseph Caryl was a puritan. He was best known perhaps for his massive 12 volume commentary on Job. It is ranked as a masterpiece. It is in print today, but the type is the older, and rather hard to read type. It is regarded by some as a commentary on the entire Bible, because he covered so much more than Job in it. When he passed away in 1673, his congregation merged with the congregation of the great theologian, John Owen. Pastorally minded and biblically learned, Caryl is an example of the typical Puritan minister.
A child is sent away, sent to himself, or put into his own hands. A child sent away to himself, brings shame, that is, will certainly run into vile and enormous courses to the shame of her that bear him. A child left, or sent to himself is one that has no guide, no governor, no instructor but himself. A man that will learn only of himself hath but a fool to his Master, How much more than a weak child, what a master, what a tutor hath a child, if he have none but himself. To be left or sent to themselves is to have none to counsel or advise them the right way, or to give them any stop and check in an ill way.
The character that Paul and Barnabas gave of the former times, when they preached to the Heathens at Lystra, was this (Acts 14:16). We exhort you to turn unto the living God that made heaven and earth, who in times past suffered all Nations to walk in their own ways. He let them go, and never stayed them at all, they had no bridle, no restraint, not so much as a word to bring them back; he suffered all nations, as if he had said, He left them in the hand of their transgression, that their own evil hearts should do what they would with them. In which sense we may also understand that place (Acts 17:30).
When Paul at Athens disputed with the philosophers, he tells them that now God began to look towards them, and had sent them knowledge of Christ, he times of that ignorance winked at; but now he called all men everywhere to repent. The words undergo a twofold interpretation. Some thus, to note the indulgence of God, The time past of that ignorance God winked at; that is, he did not deal severely and strictly with them, when they sinned, because they had no means, or so little means to keep them from sin. And there is a truth in it, for though ignorance does not totally excuse sin, yet it does abate the degree and measure of sin.
But there is another sense which I rather embrace, The times of that ignorance God winked at; that is, in those times wherein there was so much darkness, and blindness in the world, God let me go on in their sin: they sinned, and he never called upon them, he never opposed them, or sent any to teach them better. God did not manifest his will to them as unto the Jews, Psalm 147:19, 20. He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and judgments unto Israel; he hath dealt so with any Nation. So that this winking is opposed to favour than to justice. To have the eye upon a place, or upon a person, is to show them favour, 1 King 8:29. The later branch clears this meaning. But now he called all men everywhere to repent: now he does not leave men in the hands of their transgressions: he does not wink and let them do what they like; now Gospel light has risen to the world, and there are many sent tout to call in and reclaim wandering prodigals, many to cry, Return, return. He speaks of it as of the mercy and privilege of that age, beyond what the former ages enjoyed.
That of the same Apostle hath a parallel sense (Rom 1:20-26) where describing the dealings of God with the gentiles, which sinned against the light of nature, he concludes, therefore God left them in the darkness of nature, in the worst of nature: they came not up so high as the principles of nature in the things of man, He gave them up to vile affections which is as much to say, He put them in the hands of their transgression. And ver., 28. He gave them over to a reprobate mind, to a mind that could not judge aright, which had not a true understanding of anything: hence they elected the worse and reprobated the best things.
The like we have (Psalm 81:11) of God's own people the Jews, so I gave them up to their own heart lusts; and they walked in their own counsels. The Hebrew is, I sent them into the pertinancy of their hearts, because I had so often called upon them, and they would not hearken, not return unto me, therefore I said, forasmuch as you will not hear, you shall not hear; because you will not obey, you have none to call you to obedience; follow the counsels of your own hearts, as long as you will.