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with punishment for his sin. The crime of lying will be justly chargeable upon himself, because by not checking it when he had the power, he encourages and promotes it. It will not serve him to take up the language of Cain and say, 'Am I my brother's keeper?"
We are required to put away lying from the church. The church has been established on the earth for the very purpose of bearing testimony to the truth; and neither in her collective capacity, nor in her individual members, should any form of falsehood be tolerated. As members of the church we are bound to use every endeavour to secure that the truth be spoken by those who from their office are understood to express the mind of the church. According to the forms of church government in this country, the discharge of this obligation is easy. If church courts in their procedure are not acting out the truth, testifying on its behalf, and protesting against every form of error as it arises, it is incumbent on the members of the church, as they desire to avoid being partakers in the sin, to remonstrate with them in every competent form, to declare to them the truth, and to urge them to act upon it. As members of a particular congregation, Christians are required to act the same part towards their spiritual rulers and guides, to use all means whereby the testimony for the truth may be maintained. Each member of Christ's body, no matter what his standing otherwise may be, is bound to put away lying from the church. The least as well as the greatest lie under this obligation, and must discharge it. Especially, the members of the church in their intercourse one with another, should seek to attain this character of perfect and unchanging truthfulness. No imagination is more dangerous, than that which would lead any one to believe that he may in any way trifle with the truth, or conceal it, without guilt. Our testimony must be uniform,—as uncompromising as the word of God. That testimony must be borne in all places, and under all circumstances. No deviation from truth is excusable. The law of God is absolute and unchangeable. It varies not with the varying circumstances of men. It has not told us merely to speak the truth, when the declaration of it will promote our worldly ends. It has given us no permissive power to withhold or deny it, when danger and difficulty are before us. It has not directed us to make a nice calculation of probabilities to ascertain whether it shall be most for our advantage to speak the truth, or to equivocate and lie. It has told every man to speak truth with his neighbour whatever may be the immediate issue. We may lose much,
we may possibly lose all which this world can give us, by the stedfast adherence to truth. If such a sacrifice should be required, let it be made. It was at such a sacrifice that the apostles declared the glorious truths of the gospel; it was at such a cost that men received and believed them, and by their example they have given the enduring lesson to us to speak the truth, come what may. It would appear, indeed, as if there were a more special obligation laid upon us to declare the truth, when there is danger in doing it; for it is only in such circumstances that the value of truth is fully exhibited, that the testimony is given to the world that there is something more precious by far than all which the earth can furnish. And in such circumstances also it is that the exceeding preciousness of truth becomes fully known. When the maintenance of it involves the loss of all things, its blessed realizations are more near and more intimate, and it is only under such experience that the language of the apostle can be adopted in the whole fullness and energy of its meaning: 'Yea, doubtless, I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ my Lord.'
The strong and satisfying reason assigned in the text for the injunction it gives, is, that we are members one of another. This reason presupposes the fact, that truth is essential to the healthful existence of the church. It presumes that no member of it can be guilty of falsehood without inflicting an injury upon the whole body. We are members one of another, by reason of our union with Christ. He is the head, and all his believing people are members of his body, and members one of another. The same reason, then, which should prevent us from employing one member of our body to injure another, should constrain every man to speak truth with his neighbour. It is truth which animates and nourishes the body of Christ. It is like the blood to the human frame. We cannot lie without depriving some member of life, and strength, and healthful vigour. We cannot lie without dishonour to Christ our Head. We claim connection with Him, and that in such a way that it is he who lives in us, and his Spirit which animates us, and his will that directs us, and therefore when standing in this declared connection we lie, we are guilty of this most wicked of all falsehoods, the proclaiming Christ to be the author of our lie. We make use of Christ's name to do the devil's work. We rend the body of Christ, crucify him afresh, and put him to open shame.
• Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I
wait all the day,' Psal. xxv. 5.
Jesus told them that their minds did not receive certain errors, and would not abandon them. and comprehend, because they were in love with The Spirit, therefore, when the love of falsehood had been subdued, was to bring these truths again before their minds, and then they would joyfully receive them. Now, what was the case with the apostles, we may be sure will happen to us. We are naturally in love with error, and we cannot receive the truth. We have the Bible to instruct us-we have its meaning explained, and its precepts commended to us in our public
THAT man is grossly ignorant of the state of his own heart, and of the character of a world which lieth in wickedness, who hath not learned how necessary it is that he should earnestly and frequently give utterance to such a prayer as this. We are liable to a thousand errors of ignorance, in many things we willingly deceive ourselves, and too often we purposely deceive others. The ministrations; but these are not enough to lead prince of the power of this world has made falsehood an essential condition of his service, and hence the world lives and apparently thrives by it. Plain dealing is discountenanced and put down. Some form of deception is the condition of prosperity, and hence untruth almost universally prevails. God is provoked and contemned, and his law set at nought or skilfully evaded. For all this iniquity God has in store a day of vengeance, and we are urged by the terrors of his wrath to plead that he would lead us in his truth and teach us. There is for us, otherwise, no hope. It is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. We want the right knowledge to guide us. Our minds are so blinded that we err in ignorance, not knowing the truth. We want the right disposition. The truth is naturally hateful to us. We love the darkness rather than the light. And our love of error leads us easily to the commission of it. The greatest and most blessed truths are naturally the most distasteful to us, and this shows what a strong affection we have for falsehood.
It is requisite for God to lead and train us a long time before we really love the truth. Our state is just the same as that of the twelve disciples. Even after Jesus had called them, and they had waited for years upon his teaching, there were still many glorious truths which they could not bear. The reason was, that they loved and cherished the falsehoods which were opposed to these truths, and they were not revealed until the Holy Spirit was sent to teach them all things, and to bring all things to their remembrance. This office, which the Spirit was to discharge for the apostles, urges upon us by a two-fold reason the necessity of fervent prayer for light and truth. He was to teach the apostles all things-to make them fully acquainted with what had been partially revealed-to instruct them in new truths heretofore unknown. But he was, moreover, to bring all things to their remembrance. There were many things which
us in the truth and teach us. It is quite possible we may know all the facts of the Bible-we may have its most important precepts on our memory, and yet we may be in the darkness of error, taking refuge in lies. The apostles heard from the lips of Jesus the most important doctrines and commandments which they afterwards preached, but till the Spirit was given they wanted the discernment of spiritual things, and remained under the influence of the most griev ous errors. So will it be with us unless the Spirit be given to lead us in the truth and to teach us. The light of the truth may shine around us, but it will not shine into our hearts to give us that knowledge which maketh wise unto salvation, which is alone the result of the sanctification of the Spirit. In the circumstances in which we are placed, then, we are altogether without excuse, if we neglect to follow the example here set before us to wait upon God, and to pray that he would lead us in the truth and teach us. And how much more inexcusable when we are encouraged thus to pray to him as the God of our salvation?
With what holy boldness and confidence are we encouraged to come into his presence! He is the God of our salvation! Has he called himself by this name, and will he not save us from the bondage and dominion of error? He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. And he that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up to the death for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? He is pledged by the bestowal of that best and greatest gift, to satisfy our souls with his goodness. We might ask many things of God which he could not bestow, because it would not be well for us to receive them, nor right in him to confer them. We may not succeed, by prayer, in warding off temporal calamity, in lengthening out our days, in protecting our bodies from disease. But here we are encouraged to ask what God, as the God of truth, is especially willing to bestow-to ask
what is above all well pleasing to him. Such a request he will not deny, and we are thus doubly bound to ask it-to wait with earnest expectation, till he gives us his enlightening Spirit, to lead us in his truth and to teach us. Thus taught and led we shall be safe from the dominion of
So long as we are really ignorant of the saving truths of the gospel-until they have really obtained a place in our hearts, we manifest a hatred of the greatest truth, and consequently a love of the most debasing error. In this condition of mind, falsehood is the basis of our character, and we inevitably become liars. When the light of God's truth has shone into our hearts, darkness and error flee away. The darkness hates the light, and is displaced by it, so truth banishes falsehood. By having our minds freed from the greatest falsehood, we become altogether free.
Moreover, the truth of God has a sanctifying power. It was the prayer of Christ for his disciples: Sanctify them through thy truth, thy word is truth.' By this word we are freed from the love of falsehood. Truth obtains a place in our inward parts, and we are saved from lying by the very hatred we have towards it. But to maintain this hatred of falsehood, we must be careful to maintain our communion with God. This is the way of success, the way that leads to victory. Our flesh and heart fail, but God is the strength of our heart and our portion for
I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father,' 2 John 4.
grief, clapping her hands, and enumerating the good qualities of her son. "He never told a lie,” said the disconsolate mother, as her wounded son was carried in at the gate: "He never told a lie, no never."' Such a eulogium, even though undeserved, indicated what her sense was of the highest virtue a child could possess. The mother to whom the apostle wrote had a more assured comfort. The eulogy on her children was pronounced by one who though he constantly spoke the language of gentlest affection, knew not how to flatter. She had the delightful consolation of knowing that the character given to her children, though high, was just. And if the apostle rejoiced greatly, with no common gladness, that he was able to bear such a testimony, how much more delightful must it have been to her to receive it! Her children were walking in truth, and for this cause her heart was glad. They were kept in this good and holy way, in virtue of their union with Christ. He who is the truth dwelt with them, and was in them, and preserved them safe amid the lying vanities and false ways of the world. He had given them a new heart, and written his law upon it, and taught them to delight in his statutes.
Is there a parent who would not rejoice greatly to receive a like testimony regarding his children; who would not regard it as an overpayment for all the toils and cares, the sorrows and fears endured on their behalf, to learn from a witness so free from all suspicion of guile that his children were walking in the truth? If so, let parents adopt the only method by which such a character can be formed? Let them aim at nothing less for their children, than to have them united to Christ, that they may not only be
saved from the wrath to come; but from the
shame and misery which even in this world wait upon uncontrolled iniquity. It is amazing to How delightful must it have been to the mother what acts of self-denial a mother will submit, for whom the apostle here addresses, to receive such the sake of her child. How unquenchable and an account of her children from such a witness! untiring her love, and with what patience, and The instincts of a mother's heart teach her, that even gladness, she performs the various offices an adherence to truth on the part of her children which her affection prompts. She anticipates its is the most decisive evidence they could furnish wants, and seems to live upon the gratification of the entire rectitude of their conduct, and no she is able to afford it. All this love, and watchtestimony she could give would be regarded by ful tendence, and tireless patience, she is ready her as more satisfactory, and she could receive to manifest for its preservation and bodily comnone from another which could be more gratify- fort. What a lesson might the natural instinct ing. Of this we have a striking exemplification of a mother's heart teach to every Christian in an anecdote recorded by Mungo Park. In an parent! They know that their children are imattack by the Moors, a young herdsman had been wounded by a shot. The people supported him on horseback, and conducted him slowly to the town. • His mother walked on before quite frantic with
mortal-disposed to every form of evil- depraved in every affection, and exposed to the everlasting wrath of God. And is it not inexpressibly shameful, that they should act as if after all it
were a higher office of affection to preserve the the heart. It does not prohibit any outward sin, body than to save the soul? Does a mother's it aims at the destruction of its principles within natural affection lead her to devote days of toil and nights of restlessness to nurture the body, and save it from harm, and keep it in comfort, and should not her Christian affection lead her to yet nobler offices, to a manifestation of love as untiring and watchful, that its soul may be saved from harm, that it may be nurtured in grace, that it should know the joy and comfort of feeding upon that bread which cometh down from heaven, whereof if a man eat he shall never die?
The main question with every parent ought to be, Am I educating my children for eternity? Has the grace of God touched their hearts? Have they laid hold on the hope set before us in the gospel? Till this end is reached, the duty of the parent is not discharged, and the likelihood is that all his other labour will be fruitless. If children are not taught to walk in the truth of God, there is no security that they will walk in truth at all. They practically tell the greatest lie who deny the testimony of God regarding his Son, and they are capable of every other lie. The belief of this testimony lies at the foundation of all truth, and secures the perfect establishment of it. Let all therefore, who desire to be found walking in the truth, strive to have their faith strengthened, and in lively exercise. To walk in the truth is the most delightful, because the most satisfactory evidence of a renewed heart. All the saints of God rejoice in the spectacle. It gladdens the hearts of the people of Christ, to know of a man that he walks in the truth, for of this man they know that he walks in Christ. It is a delight to God, who is well pleased when he beholds his children walking in truth. Let us then remember the temptations to which we are exposeddistrusting our own deceitful hearts-leaning on the strength of the Lord-and waiting for his guidance, be careful to maintain a consistent testimony to vindicate and manifest the truth of God by walking in it, as he hath given us commandment, and to rebuke the lying vanities of the world by a conduct becoming the gospel.
the soul. No commandment of God indeed has any lower aim than this. His law is eminently spiritual. Its demands cannot be satisfied with a mere outward obedience. All the preceding precepts we have considered, had for their object the subordination of the heart to a willing obedience. From the very beginning, indeed, God had made known to men that he could accept of nothing less as an offering than the devotion of the whole heart to his service. His commandment is, 'My son, give me thine heart.' The Jews, even when they had rendered an outward obedience to the first commandment, are thus reproached by the mouth of the prophet; Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their hearts far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men; therefore I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder; for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.' During the earthly ministry of Christ, the threatening quoted above had been fulfilled upon the Jews; the wisdom of their wise men had perished, and they deceived themselves into the belief that a mere outward conformity to the law would please the God of the spirits of all flesh. Among the very first labours of his ministry, therefore, Christ set himself to destroy this delusion: 'Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment. But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a caus", shall be in danger of the judgment.' He thus showed that the law did not regard merely the withholding of the hand from the commission of crime, but condemned every unregulated and evil passion in the heart. And thus also the apostles taught the will of the Lord. It results, indeed, from the fact that God is a spirit, that he can only be served by the Spirit. The obedience that does not come from the heart, is in his sight no obedience at all. The transgression of the law by the heart in any of its desires, is what he condemns.
TENTH DAY.-MORNING. But though this be true of all God's precepts, it 'Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou is the one now before us which speaks most plainly shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his and unequivocally of the cognizance he takes of mun-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his ox, the heart. It does not prohibit us from putting nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neigh-forth our hand to appropriate that which we bour's,' Exod. xx. 17. covet, as the other precepts do; it prohibits the THIS commandment is addressed immediately entertainment of the covetous desire. It may be and exclusively to the desires and affections of that there shall no act result from the desire.
we love and desire the things of the world more than God-when we feel our chief satisfaction in them—when we prefer worldly prosperity above the health and welfare of our souls-when we are distrustful of God's providence, and careful and troubled about many things, to the neglect of the
The fear of punishment, the fear of shame, may | We sin against this commandment, then, when restrain the hand, and the covetous man, as far as he is subject to our observation, may be upright in all his ways. But God looks into the heart. His law is addressed directly to it. He prohibits the unlawful desire as well as the unlawful act. It is worth while also to notice the perfect unity and coherence of all the divine command-one thing needful-when we repine at our outward ments, and to observe how true it is that he who offendeth in one point is guilty of all. In regard to this precept, for instance, we may observe how impossible it is to violate its requirements without transgressing also the first commandment. The first commandment forbids idolatry, but we are told by the apostle that covetousness is idolatry. To entertain and to cherish a covetous desire, is essentially to worship and love another than the true God; it is to exalt some worldly object to that place in the affections which God claims as exclusively his own. That thing, whatever it may be, which a man supremely desires, is his God, and he renders to it that service which God claims. He gives it the first place in his affections. This character given by the apostle to the sin of covetousness will help us materially to see the extent to which this precept reaches, the authority which it claims over all the desires of the heart, and what it is that in its essence and spirit it prohibits. Thus, for example, should we be disposed to flatter ourselves into the belief that because we do not covet what our neighbour
condition, and are impatient under losses and worldly injuries—when we use the world not to serve God but to please our own appetites—when we are envious of another's prosperity—when we too earnestly wish ourselves placed in the same circumstances of comfort as our neighbour. All these affections of the soul are prohibited in the commandment. Their dominion over our own hearts may be detected by us, if we are careful to observe the tenor of our thoughts and conversation. If the world constitutes to us the most ordinary and most pleasing subject of our thoughts, we are covetous. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh; and we have a covetous heart, if our conversation turns habitually, naturally, and easily upon our worldly condition, and the means of making it better. Against all these things the commandment speaks, and it speaks with the authority of God..
possesses, we keep the commandment, the defini-Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I
had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet,' Rom. vii. 7.
THIS is a very remarkable testimony to the
tion of the apostle is sufficient to undeceive us. Covetousness is idolatry, and if we inordinately love the world and the world's wealth, or other pleasures, more than we love God, though we desire not to obtain them from another, we transgress this law. It is the worldly mind, the excessive love of the world's goods, which constitutes the essence of the sin; the modes of procuring the world's pleasures are but ways of gratify-ward compliance, but this speaks directly and ing the covetous desire. Thus also we may expressly to the inward desires. It prohibits deceive ourselves by supposing that we are not every carnal affection. It revealed to the apostle the covetous, because we have no inordinate desire lust of his own heart. In the connection in which to obtain more than we have. But it is plainly the word lust here stands, it obviously includes possible we may have enough to satisfy our every sin in the heart, and before it had any outworldly appetites, and thus be under no tempta- ward manifestation. The apostle is speaking of tion to covet more than we possess. This, how- the method by which he arrived at the knowledge ever, does not free us from the sin of covetous- of his own sinfulness. He had at one period of his ness, which is idolatry. If we love our worldly life regarded himself as perfectly righteous, for he possessions more than we love God, we really had walked in the way of the straitest sect of worship and serve them. The instance adduced the Pharisees. He did not then know that the by Christ of a contented worldly man is a preg-law condemned sin in the heart as well as in the naut proof of this. He is described as saying: life. But when he came to reflect that the law 'Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many said, 'Thou shalt not covet,' he perceived that years; take thine ease; eat, drink, and be merry.' every lust, that is, every desire after what the law