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6. Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect
unto all thy commandments.
: The Lord expects our obedience to be not only “ diligent” but universal. Indeed a partial obedience will never satisfy a child of God. The exclusion of any commandment from its supreme regard in the heart is the brand of hypocrisy. Even Herod could “ do many things,” and yet one evil way cherished, and therefore unforsaken, was sufficient to show that the sovereign power of sin was undisturbed within. Saul slew all the Amalekites but one; and that single exception in the path of universal obedience, marked the unsoundness of his profession, cost him the loss of his throne, and brought him under the awful displeasure of his God. And thus the foot or the hand, or the right eye, the corrupt unmortified member, brings the whole body to hell.3 Reserves are the canker upon Christian sincerity. A secret indulgence—the rolling of the sweet morsel under the tongue-the part of the price kept back-stamps our service as a robbery, not as an offering. We may be free, sincere, and earnest in many parts of our prescribed duty; but this “root 6f bitterness' renders the whole an abomination. If then I am a genuine believer, sincerity will be the stamp of my profession. Though ever ready to acknowledge my inability to render perfect obedience to the least of the commandments, yet my desire and purpose will include the whole compass of uninterrupted obedience. I shall no more venture to break the least than the greatest of the commandments; much less shall I ever think of attempting to atone for the breach of one by the performance of the rest. They are indeed many commandments, yet they form but one law; and I know who has said—“Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” 1 However the professor may confine his regard to the second table, (as if the first were ceremonial or obsolete, or the regulation of the outward man was the utmost extent of the requirement) I would fix my eye with equal regard to both; yet marking with especial determination any command in either of them, that may appear most directly opposed to the besetting corruptions of my heart. Thus “ walking in the fear of the Lord,” I may hope to walk “in the comfort of the Holy Ghost ;”and “hereby shall I know, that I am of the truth, and shall assure my heart before God.” 3
1 Mark vi. 18-20.
2 1 Samuel xv. 12-23. 3 Mark ix. 44–48.
But where, in my strictest and most persevering walk, would be my hope of acceptance, if my eye be not steadily fixed upon Him, whose obedience has “ fulfilled all righteousness” 4 in my stead, and whose death “ has redeemed me from the curse unrighteousness, when repentance, prayers, and tears, would have been of no avail ? Yet, in what path, we might ask, but the way of holiness, can we expect to realize the enjoyment of union and communion with our Lord ?
“ He that keepeth his commandments, dwelleth in him." 6 We cannot therefore but suspect that assurance of the present favour of God which is not weakened by self-indulgence, unwatchfulness, allowance of secret sins, or neglect of secret ducies. “ If thou return to the Almighty”-said a wise man“ thou shalt be built up, thou shalt put away iniquity
95 of my
1 James ii. 10, 11.
2 Acts ix. 31.
3 1 John iii. 20.
far from thy tabernacles. Then shalt thou have thy delight in the Almighty, and shalt lift up thy face unto God.” Is it not then important for us to look into the ground and character of our assurance ? Does it rest simply and exclusively upon the testimony of the Gospel ? Will it abide the test of the word of God ? Is it productive of tenderness of conscience, watchfulness and circumspection of conduct ? Does it exercise our souls in adding grace to grace, that we may “ make our calling and election sure,” and “ entrance may be ministered to us abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ ?” 2 The believer's plea for assurance is found in adherence to the path of obedience—“ I have stuck unto thy testimonies; O Lord, put me not to shame. Let my heart be sound in thy statutes, that I be not ashamed.” 3
7. I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when
I shall have learned thy righteous judgments. The law of God is justly called his “ judgments,” his “ righteous judgments," as marking his view and estimate of our character, and his rule of procedure with us in the court of heaven. David had indeed “ learned” much of these “ righteous judgments," but so much yet remained unlearned and unknown, that his attainments seemed to be as nothing -" Thy commandment”—he exclaims—“is exceeding broad."4 When the Apostle, after twenty years' acquaintance with the gospel, expressed it as the one desire of his heart _“ That I may know Christ” 5—it is evident that he entertained the same humbling views of his 1 Job xxii. 23, 26. 2 2 Peter i. 5-11. 3 Verses 31, 80. 4 Veree 96.
5 Phil. iii. 10-14.
progress in divine knowledge, and the same exalted apprehensions of the value of treasures yet unexplored, and which, as he advanced towards higher attainments, were progressively opening before him. Conceit of knowledge is the greatest enemy to knowledge, and the strongest proof of ignorance; so that, “ if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know”-“He deceiveth himself.” 1 But what is the motive, that enlivens the believer in the pursuit of more extended spiritual knowledge? Is it that he may live upon the airy breath of human applause ? No, rather that he may praise his God with uprightness of heart. We always find, that as our mind is dark, our tongue is dumb, our lips are sealed, and we are unable to bear a testimony for our God. But when “he opens our understandings” to “ learn his judgments,” he will next “ open our lips, and our mouths shall shew forth bis praise.” ? As his “judgments" may be considered to include the whole revelation of his word, they display that view of “the glory of God” unveiled " in the face of Jesus Christ,
,"3 which will ever tune the heart with the melody of heaven-And this indeed is the end for which“ his people are formed; » 4 for which they “are called out of darkness into marvellous light.” 5 This is the daily frame in which our God will be glorified.
But in order to “praise with uprightness of heart," great watchfulness is necessary, that it may really be “ out of the abundance" of what our hearts have “ learned” of his “righteous judgments." For it is possible even for the real believer to speak of his
1 Cor. viii. 2. Gal. vi. 3. 2 Ps. li. 15; also verses 27, 171.
5 I Peter ii. 9. 6 Psalm 1. 23. For an example of the uprightness of heart in the service of praise here alluded to, see 1 Chron. xxix. 13–18.
Saviour with a secret lurking after self-exaltation. It is possible really to be seeking and serving ourselves in the very act of seeming to serve and honour him. Surely the very thought of the selfishness that defiles our holiest services of praise on earth, may well quicken our longings after that world of praise, where the flame burns active, bright, incessant,- where we shall offer our sacrifices without defilement, without intermission, without weariness, without end.
8. I will keep thy statutes : O forsake me not utterly.
THE resolution to 66 keep the Lord's statutes is the natural result of having “ learned his righteous judgments.” And on this point David illustrates the inseparable and happy union of “simplicity” of dependence, and “godly sincerity" of obedience. Instantly upon forming his resolution, he recollects that the performance of it is beyond the power of human strength ; and therefore the next moment, and almost the same moment, he follows it
with will keep thy statutes : forsake me not utterly." What daily reason have we to beware of self-confidence, even in the course of sincerity in the ways of God! As we lean upon an arm of flesh, or upon an Almighty Saviour, we shall stumble or advance in our spiritual course. If we ever seem to be forsaken, might it not be intended to correct our wantonness? Grace was given in answer to prayer; but, when given, perhaps it was not duly prized, or diligently improved. " The beloved ”-in answer to solicitation" is come into his garden ;” he knocks at the door, but the
spouse is “ asleep.” The answer to prayer was not expected, not waited for, and therefore not enjoyed; and the sleeper awakes too late, and finds herself forsaken by