He that walks uprightly, and works righteousness, and speaks the truth in his heart.
This is the third character of the citizen of Zion. Not only does he speak truth, but he speaks it in his heart; that is, his thoughts and reasonings are consistent with truth. The doctrines that are deducible from the text are, that those that shall be inhabitants of heaven speak the truth here, and that they speak it in their hearts as well as to others. As to the first of these.
I. EXPLAIN THE CHARACTER OR PART OF THE CHARACTER OF A CITIZEN OF ZION. Therefore inquire —
1. What is truth? Pilate asked this question, but stayed not for the answer. Truth is a sacred harmony or agreement of things. Anatomists have observed that the tongue in man is tied with a double string to the heart. And so in truth spoken there is necessary a double agreement of our words with our hearts — that we say what we think; and with the thing itself, that it be as you say.
2. What is it to be a speaker of truth? He makes conscience to speak out the truth seasonably (John 18:37). We are to remember (Ecclesiastes 3:7, and Proverbs 29:11). This was Doeg's sin (Psalm 52). Those whose tongues are like a loose window in wind, ever clattering, have little wit or grace. Talkativeness is both a sign of little awe of God and is the badge of a fool (Ecclesiastes 5:3; Proverbs 14:33). But the citizen of Zion speaks the truth seasonably, that is, when called of God to speak it. This call may be private and providential, or public and authoritative, as in the courts of justice. When thus called he will speak fully, freely, clearly, and sincerely (2 Chronicles 12:9; 2 Corinthians 2:17).
3. And of speaking nothing but the truth (Isaiah 63:8; 2 Corinthians 13:8). We are never to lie (Job 13:7, 8). Let us heed this both in speaking to God (Psalm 68:36) and to men (Ephesians 4:25).
II. CONFIRM THE DOCTRINE. It is evident, for —
1. In the saints the image of Satan is defaced (Revelation 21, ult.). But
2. The image of God is repaired in them, and truth is a shining lineament in it (Ephesians 4:24; Titus 1:2; Numbers 23:19). And
3. The Christian life is a walking in truth (3 John 1:3). There is truth of heart in true Christians, and that makes truth of conversation.
4. And the Lord has expressly declared that liars shall inhabit hell, not heaven, for God is the God of truth.
1. This doctrine writes death on the faces of two sorts of people — those who are concealers of the truth which God calls them to speak out, and all liars. This sin is a common vice; but it is the black brand of one who shall never see heaven. They are barred out of heaven thereby, whether they be jesting liars, who lie to make others merry (Hosea 7:3; Proverbs 26:18, 19), or officious liars, who will lie to do themselves or others a good turn. Or pernicious liars, whose motive is mischief (Proverbs 6:17). Or covetous liars, who lie to get gain (Proverbs 20:14). Or proud, boasting liars, who lie to raise others' esteem of them (Proverbs 25:14). Or flattering liars, who lie to curry favour with those they flatter (Psalm 12:2, 3; Proverbs 26:28; Proverbs 29:5). Or fearful liars, who, for fear of others, make lies their refuge, as children often do (Psalm 58:3); and others, too, who are but children in courage (Proverbs 29:25; Revelation 21:8). "Or talkative liars (Proverbs 10:19). Those who are given to much talking will hardly be found regardful of truth. Or rash liars, who lie through inadvertency and customary looseness as to their words (2 Samuel 13:30). Much sin is contracted this way.
2. Speak the truth and keep from lying, for God is the God of truth (Deuteronomy 32:4; Titus 1:2), but the devil is the author and father of lies (John 8:44). He ruined the world at first with a lie (Genesis 3:4, 5). Lying, too, is the bane of human society, and a mean, base, and contemptible thing, the native product of the corruption of nature, the spawn of the old serpent left in men's hearts (Psalm 58:3), and is an abomination to God (Proverbs 6:17-19; Proverbs 12:22), and will ruin your souls for evermore. Check it in the young, as ye love their souls.
(T. Boston, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.