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tion between the Divine Being and the transgressor, tending to utter wretchedness and despair; whereas every act of sincere confession, however grievous (which it ought to be) at the time, is presently followed by a sensation of relief and peace. In the verses immediately succeeding to the text, David seems to speak from experience on this topic. The better to illustrate the blessedness of the man in whose spirit there is no guile, he records concerning himself—“ While I held my tongue, my bones con“ sumed away through my daily complaining; “ for Thy hand is heavy upon me day and “ night, and my moisture is like the drought “ in summer :” whereupon he avows his resolution, “ I will acknowledge my sin unto Thee, “ and mine unrighteousness have I not hid. I
said, I will confess my sin unto the Lord, and “ so Thou forgavest the wickedness of my sin.” Having tried, and felt the misery of behaving like a dissembler with God, he betook himself to the contrary course, and obtained comfort. Indeed, there is much reason to suppose that the whole Psalm was written by David to describe his own conduct, and the merciful dealing of God towards him, on some particular occasion of transgression, when once he had ceased from vain subterfuges, and guile.
Also, a man of the character under review
will strive, with an unceasing vigilance, against sin. It is plainly inconsistent with sincerity, to continue in the practice of any of those things, or of any other like to those, which we acknowledge ourselves, with professions of remorse, to have done amiss. Such conduct in the children of Israel, is ' represented, in the following passage, as the sure token of an insincere disposition towards God: having remarked how they remembered, and sought, and turned to inquire after Him, when He visited them with affliction, the Psalmist adds—“ Nevertheless, they “ did but flatter Him with their mouth, and “ dissembled with Him in their tongue. For “ their heart was not whole with Him, neither “ continued they steadfast in His covenant.” (Psalm lxxviii. 36, 37.) Every one, therefore, “ in whose spirit there is no guile,” when he hath confessed, and obtained forgiveness of his sins, will pursue the directly opposite conduct. Instead of that deceitful, or double dealing, whereby so many, like the Israelites, would fain live at peace with God, and give place, at the same time, to His enemies—the Devil, the world, and the flesh, he will take up a steadfast determination to resist, mortify, and subdue them. Having been justified freely, when he desired it, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, and having obtained remission of past sins through His blood, he will consider himself obliged, on principles of common honesty and gratitude, to stand up on the Lord's side without affectation or disguise, to set his face, like a flint, against whatever can tend to dishonour Him amongst men, and to hold no sacrifice of inclination too great, no devotion of body and soul too entire, for the cause of his Redeemer's kingdom and glory. Any thing short of thus serving the Lord in truth, with all his heart, in return for the great things which He hath done for him, will seem, to such an one as the text describes, scarcely better than insincerity and falsehood.
Upon this, some one may have a mind to ask, —what benefit is it to a person of the above description that the Lord imputeth to him no sin, if to commit sin be so inconsistent with his character? But, I have not said, that the man,“ in whose spirit there is no guile,” has, or can have, no sin; nothing more has been asserted to such effect, than that he will never indulge himself in sin, or willingly submit to its dominion; that he will not say, nor think, in time of temptation,-surely the Lord will pardon His servant in this thing, and so venture on some forbidden deed. To transgress, thus presuming on forgiveness, is evidently quite incompatible with an honest and an up
right heart, and is, accordingly, the way to have our transgressions imputed to us. Setting aside, however, such wilful trespasses, the natural frailty of the most single-hearted characters will, now and then, overcome them by surprise. As one that has to work daily with edged tools, must almost inevitably meet with occasional wounds, notwithstanding the best caution which he can use; so, by reason of the weakness of his flesh, and of his necessary intercourse with the world, the most circumspect cannot but sometimes incur spiritual mischief. Hence, to every one, will there exist sufficient need of healing and compassion from the Lord. Let a Christian shrink from sin, as from a cutting instrument, still, his hope of not being slain by it must be reposed in the great Physician of souls.
Wherefore, upon the whole, if any man would enjoy the blessedness (as described by the Psalmist) of justification, let him forget not what manner of man he must be, “ whose spirit there is no guile.” He must be free from all fraud and hypocrisy, single and open-hearted, and wishing to deceive none, either in heaven or on earth; and what things he, from time to time, doeth amiss, must be done so unwittingly, and against his settled purpose, as that he may venture to appeal con
cerning them to his Maker“ God, Thou “ knowest my simpleness; and my faults are “ not hid from Thee.” (Psalm lxix. 5.) In short, “ He that leadeth an uncorrupt life, and “ doeth the thing which is right, and speaketh " the truth from his heart; he that hath used “ no deceit in his tongue, and that hath not “ lifted up his mind unto vanity, nor done evil “ to his neighbour; he shall receive the bless
ing from the Lord, and righteousness from “ the God of his salvation.” (Psalms xv. and xxiv.)
And great, my brethren, I will bid you observe, in conclusion, yea, exceedingly great and precious, is the blessing or blessedness annexed to the above guileless character. He is one of God's elect, accepted, or justified before Him, and thence a partaker of His Divine Spirit, and an inheritor of His eternal kingdom, unless he wilfully draw back unto perdition. “ Whoso
walketh according to the rule laid down, peace “ resteth on him, and mercy, as upon the Israel “ of God.” Be it repeated, (what Jesus Himself hath declared,) that every one without guile is an Israelite indeed, a genuine child of Abraham, who shall be blessed with that faithful patriarch, and be carried by the angels into his bosom. Surely, here are privileges and prospects the most encouraging which one can