Listen, O daughter, observe and incline your ear: Forget your people and your father's house,
as they were moved by the Holy Ghost;" this fervour of spirit, urging on the worker as by a power beyond himself to write of "the King," is one of the ways in which the sacred writers were "moved." And there is no reason for refusing to acknowledge the far-reachingness of this psalm, as setting forth beforehand, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the grandeur of our victorious Lord To no one, indeed, but Jesus, can we apply the epithets which are herein used. That a King "higher than the kings of the earth" is foretold in Scripture is certain (see 2 Samuel 7:12-16; 2 Samuel 23:2-5; Psalm 2., 72., 79., 110.). So that it is no wonder to find that such is the case in this psalm, The main difficulty in the psalm - in fact, the only serious one to believing critics - is the fact that the entire passage vers. 10-15 is based on a custom which in the psalmist's time was not only familiar to Orientals, but was even honourable in their eyes, though it would not be deemed so in ours. It would be a coveted honour among maidens to be among the well-beloved ones of an honourable king; for though the queen-consort was the principal wife, yet she was by no means the only one on whom the king bestowed his affection. Even David had six wives. He was not thought the worse of for this. The Law of God did not sanction it, but society did. Hence, though this psalm shoots far ahead to a beauty, a glory, and a majesty beyond the sons of men, yet the ground-plan of its symbolism is found in the usages of Oriental courts at their best. If it was then deemed a high honour for maidens to be among the beloved of a king, how much greater would be the honour of those who should be brought in the far-off times to place their whole selves, body, soul, and spirit, at the absolute disposal of him who would be "King of kings, and Lord of lords"! We may gather up under four heads the main features of this sublime prophetic forecast. In doing so, however, it behoves us to take the Christian expositor's standpoint, and to carry forward the dim and suggestive words here given us, to the fuller and clearer setting of New Testament unfoldings.
I. HERE IS A KING FORESEEN, UNIQUE IN HONOUR AND RENOWN. That the sacred writers were familiar with the thought of a King who should come into the world, surpassing all others, we have seen above; this is shown in the passages to which reference has already been made. But even if such passages were fewer and less clear than they are, the amazing combination of expressions in the psalm before us is such, that to none other than the Son of God can they possibly be applied with any semblance of reason. But as we think of him, every term fails in place. Let us take each expression in order. There are no fewer than twelve of them.
1. There is beauty. (Ver. 2.) A beauty beyond that of the sons of men. This points to one who is above the race. And verily the beauty of the Lord Jesus is one of his unnumbered charms. He is the "chief among ten thousand, the altogether lovely."
3. The fullest blessings descend continually upon him (ver. 2; cf. John 3:34).
4. There are the glory and majesty of royal state (ver. 3). For "with" read "even" ('Variorum Bible'). The sword to be girded on his thigh as for war (see Delitzsch) is his glory and his majestic state. With these he will go forth, conquering and to conquer.
5. His cause is that of truth, meekness, and righteousness. (Ver. 4.) No other king ever combined these in perfection, nor even at all. "Meekness is about the very last thought associated with earthly kings (but see Matthew 11:29).
7. His arrows would be sharp in the hearts of his enemies (ver. 5), and the peoples (plural, Revised Version)would fall beneath him. He should have universal sway, and not over Israel only.
8. He should be God, and yet be anointed by God. (Vers. 6, 7.) How enigmatical before fulfilment! How fully realized in our Immanuel, in him who is at once God and man, David's Son, yet David's Lord!
9. His throne should be eternal. (Ver. 6.) Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever" (cf. Hebrews 1:8, 9).
10. His sceptre should be a sceptre of righteousness. (Vers. 6, 7.) This is preeminently true; so much so that even those who acknowledge him as Lord, and who have yet been destitute of righteousness, will be rejected (Matthew 7:22, 23).
11. He would receive a higher anointing than that of others (ver. 7; Acts 4:27; Acts 10:38; Luke 4:18). 12. Associated with his coming would be fragrance, music, and joy (ver. 8, Revised Version). Surely the gladness and song that gather round this King surpass all other gladness and all other songs that earth has ever known. No widow's wail, no orphan's sigh, attend on the conquests of this King. He conquers but to save. And the joy! oh, how great! Joy among the saved (1 Peter 1:8). Joy among the saints (1 John 1:4). Joy among the angels (Luke 20:10). Joy in the heart of the Father and the Son (Luke 15:32). Joy for ever and ever (Isaiah 35:10). What a magnificent forecast, hundreds of years beforehand! Who dares to deny the supernatural with such a fact before him?
II. HERE IS THE KING'S BRIDE. (Ver. 9.) What can the psalmist mean by the bride of such a King, but the Church of his love (see Ephesians 5:23-32)? The following features, if worked out, would greatly exceed the space at our command.
1. She forsakes her Father's house, to be joined to this King, and leaves all her old associates behind her (ver. 10).
2. She is wedded to him (ver. 11, "He is thy Lord").
3. She is devoted to him (ver. 11).
4. She is decorated with finest gold (ver. 9), and is at the place of honour by his side.
5. Her attendants should come from the nations, with their offerings of devotion (ver. 12).
III. HERE IS THE KING'S OFFSPRING. (Ver. 16.) The sacrifice which the bride had made for the sake of the King shall be more than recompensed by her having children, who should gather round her, and who should become "princes in the earth" (1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 1:6; Revelation 5:10; Revelation 20:6).
IV. HERE IS FORETOLD THE KING'S UNIVERSAL AND ENDLESS PRAISE. (Ver. 17.) Though the verse seems to be addressed immediately to the bride, evidently the carrying forward of the name to generation after generation is an honour chiefly of the King, and results from the bridal union. And the praise which shall accrue will be from the peoples (Revised Version), from all the nations; and this praise will be for ever and ever (Psalm 72:17). "Christ's espousing unto himself a Church, and gathering more and more from age to age by his Word and Spirit unto it, his converting of souls, and bringing them into the fellowship of his family, and giving unto them princely minds and affections wherever they live, are large matters of growing and everlasting glory" (Dickson). Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb for ever and ever." - C.
Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear.; forget also thine own people, and thy father's house.
I. THE CALL TO HIGHER HOLINESS, to higher attainments in faith, love and purity. And the figure employed suggests what is needed — the entire renunciation of the world which lieth in the wicked one, as in marriage the bride is well content to leave her old home, and all its intimacies, for the higher love that awaits her. See the call of Abraham, and what is written of the tribe of Levi. "Who said unto his father and to his mother, I have not seen him," etc.; and our Lord's words, "He that loveth father or mother more than Me, is," etc.
II. THE ENFORCEMENT OF THIS EXHORTATION. "So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty." That beauty is a spiritual one — the beauty of holiness, the spiritual lovelines of a soul on which the King has begun to stamp the impress of His own beauty. Many will mournfully say that no such beauty is theirs. But remember that word of the Lord, "I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus." "I have surely heard;" it means that it is as sweetest music in my ears. The lowly self-estimate, the deep humility of heart which such sorrow reveals is part of the very beauty which made the Lord answer to the bride who had just said, "Look not upon me, for I am black," "Behold, thou art all fair, my love; there is not a spot in thee." For the mantle of Christ's perfect righteousness is cast over every believer, and in that they are "all fair."
III. THE FURTHER ENFORCEMENT AND EXHORTATION. "For He is thy Lord, and worship thou Him." We are never to forget His Divine dignity and the unutterable disparity of rank between the parties in this marriage. "Thy Maker is thy husband." Our love, therefore, must be worship, adoration.
(C. J. Brown, D. D.)
I. THE ALL-SURRENDERING LOVE THAT MUST MARK THE BRIDE. In all real wedded life, as those who have tasted it know, there comes, by sweet necessity, the subordination, in the presence of a purer and more absorbing affection, of all lower, howsoever sweet, loves that once filled the whole heart. The same thing is true in regard to the union of the soul with Christ. The description of the Bride's abandonment of former duties and ties may be transferred, without the change of a word, to our relations to Him. If love to Him has really come into our hearts, it will master all our yearnings and tendencies and affections, and we shall feel that we cannot but yield up everything besides by reason of the sovereign power of this new affection. It will deal with the old loves just as the new buds upon the beech-trees in the spring deal with the old leaves that still hang withered on some of the branches — push them from their hold. Love will sweep the heart clean of its antagonists. Christ demands complete surrender. Ah! I fear me that it is no uncharitable judgment to say that the bulk of so-called Christians are playing at being Christians, and have never penetrated into the depths either of the sweet all-sufficiency of the love that they say they possess, or the constraining necessity which is in it for the surrender of all besides.
II. THE KING'S LOVE AND THE BRIDE'S REVERENCE (ver. 11). Here are two thoughts that go, as I take it, very deep into the realities of the Christian life. The first is that, in simple literal fact, Jesus Christ is affected, in His relation to us, by the completeness of our dependence upon Him, and surrender of all else for Him. We do not believe that half vividly enough. Again, in the measure in" which we live out our Christianity, in whole-hearted and thorough surrender, in that measure shall we be conscious of His nearness and feel His love. There are many Christian people that have only got religion enough to make them uncomfortable. They must not do this because it is forbidden; they ought to do that because it is commanded. They would much rather do the forbidden thing, and they have no wish to do the commanded thing. And so they live in twilight. And they cannot understand the blessed experience of the man who really walks in the light of Christ's face, and they miss the blessing that is waiting for them because they have not really given up themselves.
III. THE REFLECTED HONOUR AND INFLUENCE OF THE BRIDE. The Bride, thus beloved by the King, thus standing by His side, those around recognize her dignity and honour, and draw near to secure her intercession. Translate that out of the emblem into plain words, and it comes to this — if Christian people, and communities of such, are to have influence in the world, they must be thoroughgoing Christians.
IV. THE FAIR ADORNMENT OF THE BRIDE. "The King's daughter is all glorious within." The Book of the Revelation dresses her in the fine linen clean and white, which symbolizes the lustrous radiance and snowy purity of righteousness. The psalm describes her dress as partly consisting in garments gleaming with gold, which suggests splendour and glory, and partly in robes of careful and many-coloured embroidery, which suggests the patience with which the slow needle has been worked through the stuff, and the variegated and manifold graces and beauties with which she is adorned.
V. THE HOMECOMING OF THE BRIDE.
(A. Maclaren, D. D.)
I. THE PARTY ADDRESSED. Who is it? "Hearken, O daughter." Who is the "daughter"? The "daughter" here, without doubt, is the Church. Who else is there that can be the "daughter" of God? And how exceedingly beautiful and appropriate is the appellation bestowed upon her! She is the "daughter." And why so? Because she is the wife of the Son. It is precisely as it is recognized in our own case. The wife of the son becomes the daughter of the father of the son, and still more remarkably, she becomes the daughter-in-law. That is literally the position occupied by the Church and the light in which she is regarded by the very law of God. Hence, "hearken, O daughter." This is more than "adoption," for there, there may be no kind of connection, but here it is of the closest kind. And there follows from it the transference to the bride of the glory, riches and happiness of the husband, while all the obligations, debts, delinquencies and deficiencies belonging to the wife are taken by him. You have no enemies that are not his; he no friends that are not yours. What a wonderful union it is.
II. THE CHARGE TO THE BRIDE. "Hearken and consider," etc. Now, the charge to "forget thine own people," etc., may seem difficult. But there must be unreserved and undivided affection. There must be nothing allowed in the feelings and affections as comparable to Him. We must be ready to put all on one side for Christ. There must be no compromise. He gave up all for us.
III. THE PROMISE. "So shall the King," etc. The beauty is that of holiness. Let it be ours.
(J. Capel Molyneux, B. A.)
II. AN INSTRUCTION "Forget also," etc.
III. A PROMISE. "So shall the King greatly desire thy beauty." The believer is not called to forsake the objects of his natural corrupt taste, with. out a much higher and more precious object being set forth for his acceptance, even the love of the King. He delights in the first efforts after righteousness, as in the green figs and tender grapes, which, though of no value in themselves, yet promise well. By all comparisons, by every means which can strengthen faith, Christ gives pledge to the soul forgetting her own people and her father's house, that His love will not be withheld, but that He will greatly desire her beauty. Thy beauty shall be perfect through His comeliness put upon thee.
IV. A COMMAND. "He is thy Lord," etc. However great or perfect the beauty of the spouse may be, or however high the privileges or honours the king may vouchsafe to her, yet let her remember that all is of Christ, and through Christ, and to Christ; and let her keep her own place of subordination to Him. Let the soul making covenant with Christ beware of spiritual pride, of thinking that she has attained safety from sin, or that she is now so regenerated that she cannot fall. Be not high-minded, but fear.
(G. Innes.)I. How CHRIST DOTH ESPOUSE HIMSELF UNTO THE CHILDREN, BUT MORE ESPECIALLY UNTO THE DAUGHTERS OF MEN. The marriage knot is tied here, in which are included four things.
1. A mutual choice. Christ, when He first comes to you, finds you full of sin and pollution; and He maketh choice of you, not because of your holiness, nor of your beauty; you are drawn to make choice of this Lord Jesus Christ, because He first chose you.
2. A mutual affection accompanies the choice. The more acquaintance you have of this Lord Jesus, the more pleased you are with your choice, and the more your affections are drawn towards Him. And where can you place your affections better than upon that Jesus, who shed His blood for your sakes?
3. There is likewise mutual union; and here doth the marriage lie chiefly in this union.
4. There is a mutual obligation between Christ and His spouse.
II. CHRIST DOTH INVITE ALL OF YOU TO BE HIS SPOUSE. He regardeth not the rich more than the poor. He chose a mean virgin, espoused to a carpenter, to be His mother; and He chooseth and calleth all such to be His spouse.
III. THOSE WHO WOULD RE ESPOUSED UNTO CHRIST MUST HEARKEN, CONSIDER, AND INCLINE TO HIS INVITATION, AND FORGET EVEN THEIR FATHER'S HOUSE. You are not here to cast off all affections unto natural relations; but you must forget all relations, so as to be ready to forego all their favour, when it standeth in competition with that of the Lord Jesus Christ; and do not let your carnal friends and relations hinder you from closing with, and espousing, the Lord Jesus.
( G. Whitefield, M. A.)
1. Consider the appellation given to the soul espoused to Christ — "Daughter." Here is the name which believers receive. The person that naturally was a child of the devil, on the espousal with the Son of God, becomes a child of God. Though He brings home a spouse out of an ill house, and has nothing with her, yet His Father welcomes her into His family, and gives her no worse word than daughter.
2. The advice. She must be very obsequious to her husband, and in all things to follow Him as His own shadow. Search the meaning of the words, "hearken and consider." This is what a dutiful wife owes to her husband. Her husband's will must be hers. Her ear to him and her eye upon him. She must renounce all others for her husband. The more she minds them the less pleasing will she be. Consider —
I. THE DUTY OF THE ESPOUSED TO CHRIST, carefully to hear His will, and observe His motions, so as they may suit themselves to His pleasure in all things. This I take to be the meaning of this first clause. For explaining this doctrine, I shall show what is imported in it. It imports —
1. That Christ's spouse is not left to walk at random. She is to notice every step of her carriage.
2. That those that are espoused to Christ must renounce their own will, and not seek to please themselves. "If any man," saith Jesus, "will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up," etc.
3. That our great aim in all things must be to please our Lord and husband, this is the law of marriage.
4. That we must trample upon our own inclinations when contrary to His, as Abraham did when offering up Isaac.
5. That when Christ's will and our own go together, our main end must be to please Him.
6. We must not think to please Him with our own desires: only with what He commands.
7. That we must ever be with eye and ear attent that we may know and do His will (Psalm 123:2).
II. WHAT IT IS TO HEAR HIS WILL. He speaks through His works by our own consciences; by His Word, and by His Spirit. And all these we must hear and obey, and that without disputing.
III. HOW WE ARE TO EYE AND OBSERVE HIM SO AS TO PLEASE HIM. As our Lord and master; as our teacher; as our guide and leader; as our last and chief end; as our witness in all things; as our judge; as our husband. We should also diligently observe His countenance towards us; and His dispensations and way of dealing with us.
IV. REASONS OF THIS DOCTRINE. Because of all that He is to us. Because of His love to us which so demands it. He died for us. The angels obey Him, shall not we? His pleasure is that which is best for us. His bidding is ever for our good. There are three things I would have you to believe.
1. That you are not fit to be your own choosers. The event has proved it often, in that people getting their own will has been their ruin (Psalm 78:29), and the best of the saints, getting the reins in their own hand, have set all on fire.
2. All our wilfulness proceeds on a mistake. We think sinful liberty best for us, ease, plenty, and the like. God knows it is otherwise, and therefore He will have us hear Him for our good.
3. Consider your experience. Have you not seen many times how God has done you good against your wills, good which you would never have got had He given you your will.
(T. Boston, D. D)Genesis 2:24). It is equivalent to that, "That ye put off concerning the former conversation" (Ephesians 4:22; 1 Peter 1:14). Now, in these words, "Forget also," etc., there is —
1. The natural relations of Christ's spouse pointed at in contradistinction to those of her husband. She wants not relations, indeed, but they are such as she can have no credit nor good from them, but will be the worse of them, and therefore her husband has taken her out from among them, and would have her to forget them. She has some that are her natural country people, her own people. Who are these but the world that lieth in wickedness; and before she was espoused to Christ, she was one of their own, but He hath chosen her out of the world. Every country hath its own fashions, and in former times she followed the fashions of the country as well as the rest. She has also a father's house in that country. Who is her father naturally but the devil? (John 8:44), and though she has left the house, yet he keeps house there still with his children and servants (Luke 15:15).
2. There is the duty of Christ's spouse with respect to these. She must forget both of them. And here there is something supposed, that is, that Christ's spouse is apt to have a hankering after her own people and father's house, even after she has left them, as Laban alleged that Jacob sore longed after his father's house. There may be eager looks back again, while the soul minds them, and that with too much affection, not sufficiently weaned from them. There is something also expressed that Christ's spouse ought to forget them. Not absolutely, for she not only may, but ought to mind them for her own humiliation and thankfulness. But in respect of affection, her heart must be weaned from them, she must not desire to return to them; and in respect of practice, she must no more conform herself to them. But the hearts of Christians are often found much unweaned from their father's house. As it is with a childish, new-married woman, they have a foolish hankering after the house from which they came.
I. Is WHAT THIS UNWEARIEDNESS APEARS.
1. In the cooling of our zeal against our father's house.
2. In kindly reflections on its entertainments and pleasures. Israel lusting after the flesh-pots of Egypt.
3. In uneasiness under the restraints of our husband's house.
4. In hankering after the Egypt we have left. Remember Lot's wife.
5. In kindly entertaining any sent from thence (2 Samuel 12:4).
6. In serving our husband after the fashion of our father's house; like a new-married woman, who, though she has changed the house, yet she keeps the fashions of that from which she came. So, though the man will not neglect prayer, hearing, and ether duties, yet he is so far unweaned, that he performs these often only as they do who are still in his father's house. "When thou prayest," says He, "thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are." He will have his own work done after the fashion of His own house.
7. In our stealing visits to our father's house, and secret tampering with former lusts. Stealing it must be, for our Lord and Husband will never give His consent to the meeting again (Ezekiel 6:9). But alas! how often is Christ's spouse missed out of her husband's house.
8. Many that have been espoused to Christ before the world, but not from the heart, quite forsake their husband, and go back, for altogether, to their father's house by their apostasy. Like the Levite's wife — for wife she was, though in a secondary degree (Judges 19.).
II. WHAT IS THE CAUSE OF ALL THIS? There are some who have been joined to Christ only by the hand, but never by the heart. But even those who are joined to Him by both may yet be chargeable with being unweaned from their father's house, as the others certainly are. For —
1. The consent of many to Christ is an involuntary consent (Psalm 78:34, 36, 37). The stone thrown up in the air will fall again when the force ceaseth.
2. The heart has not been freely loosed from some one sin or another. They "go not very far away" from Egypt (Mark 10:20, 21).
3. Sin has never been made bitter enough to them. The soul that never tasted the bitterness of sin will break over purposes, vows and resolutions, to get to it again.
4. Because by reason of their not living by faith on Christ, they find not that soul satisfaction in Him which they expected. No wonder she longs to be back at her father's house who is disappointed of comfort in her husband's.
5. Because there is a principle of corruption in the best, which still inclines the wrong way. We are unstable souls. A good frame is hard to get, and easily lost. It is like letters written in the sand, that a blast of wind doth obliterate. Hence the soul often turns aside very quickly, and on very slender occasions, as Peter at the voice of a maid, and that even soon after some remarkable manifestations from the Lord. Lastly, because those of our father's house are ever seeking to seduce us, and make us as they are. How humble should all this make us, and how careful not to look back and hanker after our old sins. Think how such desires grieve the Spirit of Christ; how they will move your communion with Christ; how unfixed and unstable in religion they will make you; how they dishonour Christ; how they are the fountain of apostasy. They that are often looking away will break away at length.
(T. Boston, D. D.)i.e. the wicked world, "the children of disobedience among whom we," etc. When the soul comes to Christ, it must say, as Ruth to Naomi, "Thy people shall be my people," etc.
I. THE FORGETTING OF HER PEOPLE BY THE BRIDE.
1. In what respects. We must forsake their company; we must not conform ourselves to them; we must forget them in affection.
2. Why we must do this. Because they are not going our way. In coming to Christ we give up with them. He says to us, If you take me, let them go their way. And the world's friendship is enmity with God (James 4:8); and at last there will be a total separation (Matthew 20:1). Grace begins it here. Evil company, too, is an affecting plague. "Evil communications corrupt," etc. Remember, if you do not separate from them, you will share with them.
II. THE FORGETTING OF THE FATHER'S HOUSE. This father is our father, the devil.
1. You must part with the master of the house, Satan, and renounce your relation to the house. Though you have no express compact with him, you have need to do this.
2. And you must quit the work of the house. We must cast off the work of darkness. They weary themselves to commit iniquity. This is work, hard, toilsome, dark, soul-ruining work. Now, you must quit the work of the house, of whatever sort it be. You must not be like those that will give over their master, engage with another, and yet come back and fall to their work again.
3. You must part with the provision and entertainments of the house. People use to get their meat where they work, and Satan's slaves get their meat also in their father's house.
4. And you must quit the fashions of the house. Every house hath its own fashions, and so has your father's; but you must not keep them up. In civil things the fashion is to mind the world first, and even to give conscience a el, retch, if a person can gain any profit or ease by it. If you quit not these fashions, you will never see the house of heaven (Luke 10:41, 42; 1 Corinthians 6:8, 9; 1 Thessalonians 4:6). If ever men get more religion, they will get more moral honesty.
5. You must quit the garb of the house. Under the Old Testament, when people were to make any solemn appearance before God, they were called to change their garments (Genesis 34:2). You must part with the inner garment of the house, "that is the old man with his deeds" (Ephesians 4:22; Colossians 3:9). The old man is the corrupt evil nature. You must also part with the upper garment of the house, that is, the filthy rags of our own righteousness (Isaiah 64:6; Zechariah 3:4). And lastly, you must quit the interest of the house. People are readily concerned for the interest of their own house, and none more than the members of your father's house. Now, if you mind for heaven you must quit this interest and pursue that of heaven, which is directly opposite (Genesis 3:15).
III. WHY MUST CHRISTIANS FORGET THEIR FATHER'S HOUSE. Because —
1. Our father's and our husband's house are quite contrary the one to the other. There is no reconciling them (2 Corinthians 6:14, 15).
2. As our husband's house is most honourable, so our father's is most base.
3. Because we will never apply ourselves to the way of our husband's house if we forget not our father's house. While the hearts of the Israelites were set on the flesh-pots of Egypt, they could make no progress in their journey to Canaan.
4. Because it is the worst of houses. No wonder, for the devil, the worst of masters, is the master of the house. It is soul slavery. The fashions of the house are the very reverse of all that is good. The interests of the house are the dishonour of God, the ruin of mankind. The garb of the house is filthy rags, and the shame of their nakedness will at length appear before the world.
IV. THOSE ARE TO BE REPROVED THAT WILL NOT FORGET THEIR FATHER'S HOUSE. And who are these?
1. They are those that in the midst of Gospel light continue in the darkness of the house; their father has put out their eyes (2 Corinthians 4:4).
2. Those that retain the language of the house. When Peter spoke the damsel knew what countryman he was. And what shall we say of thee who art a cursor, swearer, liar, filthy speaker, but that thou art a Hellilean? I appeal to your own consciences what sort of language:/ours is.
3. Those that wear the badge of the house on their breasts, the master of the house's mark on their forehead. Profane people. You who will not pray. "The wicked through the pride of his countenance will not seek after God."
4. Those that give up themselves to the trade of the house, minding nothing but the world, earthly things. They know not communion with God.
5. Those that are the hidden servants of the house. It has been said of some that they have stolen away to heaven without being observed; but there are others that steal away to hell, and the world never hears the sound of their feet: even deep-veiled hypocrites, whited sepulchres.
(T. Boston, D. D.)
I. THERE EVER HAS BEEN, AND THERE EVER WILL BE, AN INCONSIDERABLE OPPOSITION BETWEEN THE WORLD AND THE GODLY. True, you may escape this opposition by dispensing with the seriousness of mind which religion produces. Keep only to the form of religion and the world will not complain. But its subjects are so momentous, so overwhelming, and its joy so tempered with solemnity, that they who know the power of religion will have the least relish for the frivolous pleasures of this world. Religion hangs so loosely on many that it gives no offence. It stands in no one's way. They can be all things to all men. Such persons are safe from the world. But if you will not be such as these, there is no alternative but to reckon on the opposition of the world and its friends.
II. SOME OF THE SITUATIONS IN WHICH CHRISTIAN SINCERITY WILL BE TRIED.
1. In the first place, they may be deserted by friends and relatives. Even those on whom they depend for support may turn against them and cast them off.
2. They may be tempted to sin. They may be sorely plagued by the ungodly. "Righteous Lot" of old "was vexed with the filthy conversation" of the wicked in Sodom; and there are innumerable ways in which the men of the world may tempt and injure the godly.
3. They may be despised. To be religious is thought mean and low. Now, some particular duty which shall mark them out as Christians may have to be performed. It is performed, and so draws the gaze and the contempt of all around. This is hard to bear. But it must be borne. Have you repented of your choice?
(John Young, M. A.)
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