The way to heaven, if we would be happy, we must be holy. We are encouraged to walk in that way.
- Here is a very serious question concerning the character of a citizen of Zion. It is the happiness of glorified saints, that they dwell in the holy hill; they are at home there, they shall be for ever there. It concerns us to make it sure to ourselves that we have a place among them. A very plain and particular answer is here given. Those who desire to know their duty, will find the Scripture a very faithful director, and conscience a faithful monitor. A citizen of Zion is sincere in his religion. He is really what he professes to be, and endeavours to stand complete in all the will of God. He is just both to God and man; and, in speaking to both, speaks the truth in his heart. He scorns and abhors wrong and fraud; he cannot reckon that a good bargain, nor a saving one, which is made with a lie; and knows that he who wrongs his neighbour will prove, in the end, to have most injured himself. He is very careful to do hurt to no man. He speaks evil of no man, makes not others' faults the matter of his common talk; he makes the best of every body, and the worst of nobody. If an ill-natured story be told him, he will disprove it if he can; if not, it goes no further. He values men by their virtue and piety. Wicked people are vile people, worthless, and good for nothing; so the word signifies. He thinks the worse of no man's piety for his poverty and mean condition. He reckons that serious piety puts honour upon a man, more than wealth, or a great name. He honours such, desires their conversation and an interest in their prayers, is glad to show them respect, or do them a kindness. By this we may judge of ourselves in some measure. Even wise and good men may swear to their own hurt: but see how strong the obligation is, a man must rather suffer loss to himself and his family, than wrong his neighbour. He will not increase his estate by extortion, or by bribery. He will not, for any gain, or hope of it to himself, do any thing to hurt a righteous cause. Every true living member of the church, like the church itself, is built upon a Rock. He that doeth these things shall not be moved for ever. The grace of God shall always be sufficient for him. The union of these tempers and this conduct, can only spring from repentance for sin, faith in the Saviour, and love to him. In these respects let us examine and prove our own selves.
Psalms 15:1-5 . Those who are fit for communion with God may be known by a conformity to His law, which is illustrated in various important particulars.
1. abide--or, "sojourn" (compare Psalms 5:4 ), where it means under God's protection here, as ( Psalms 23:6 , Psalms 27:4 Psalms 27:6 ) communion.
tabernacle--seat of the ark ( 2 Samuel 6:17 ), the symbol of God's presence.
holy hill--(Compare Psalms 2:6 ).
2. walketh--(Compare Psalms 1:1 ).
uprightly--in a complete manner, as to all parts of conduct ( Genesis 17:1 ), not as to degree.
righteousness--what is right.
in his heart--sincerely ( Proverbs 23:7 ).
3. He neither slanders nor spreads slander.
4. Love and hate are regulated by a regard to God.
sweareth . . . hurt--or what so results (compare Leviticus 5:4 ).
5. (Compare Leviticus 25:37 , Deuteronomy 23:19 Deuteronomy 23:20 ).
usury is derived from a verb meaning "to bite." All gains made by the wrongful loss of others are forbidden.
taketh reward, &c.--The innocent would not otherwise be condemned (compare Exodus 23:8 , Deuteronomy 16:19 ). Bribery of all sorts is denounced.
doeth these, &c.--Such persons admitted to God's presence and favor shall never be moved ( Psalms 10:6 , 13:5 ).