Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

less than Divine these facts would be impossible. Because He is Divine we can, we must, entrust to Him our own salvation, our own eternal interests.

" If Thou wert less than One Divine

My soul would be dismayed ;
But through Thy human lips, God says,

'Tis I, be not afraid."

May He be to all the Rock of Strength and Security, the impenetrable Shield, the Victor over Death, and Life's unchanging Crown !

EDITOR.

Truthfulness.

66

[ocr errors]

EPHESIANS vi. 14.
Stand therefore, having you loins girt

about with truth." It is well to be reminded at the outset that we have enemies to guard against and a warfare to wage, and to be shown how to equip ourselves for the conflict.

“ We wrestle not,” the Apostle bids us remember, “ against flesh and blood. Wherefore, take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and, having done all, to stand.”

It is my purpose to enlarge upon TRUTH, OR TRUTHFULNESS.

This is with good reason placed first, whether regard be had to the conflict in which we are engaged, or to the other portions of the armour with which it is connected.

1. As to the conflict.

This cannot be carried on successfully, or indeed at all, unless it be carried on in earnest, in other words, in truth. We do but pretend to fight otherwise. And the enemy with whom we have to do is a most subtle one.

2. If truth, truthfulness, sincerity, be of prime importance as regards the conflict in which we are engaged, so it is as regards the armour of which it forms a part. The use of the girdle, when armour worn,

to keep the other

pieces of the armour in place; just as when a person was dressed in the ordinary dress of oriental countries, it served to confine the loose flowing robe, which otherwise would impede his movements, and unfit him for active exertion. The armour, then, would be grievously incomplete without the girdle. Whatever else might be wanting, that could not be dispensed with. The portions which were for the defence of the body would be loose and gaping, and the interstices between them exposed, while at the same time the lower limbs would be entangled, and the arm which should wield the sword or grasp the shield would have no freedom of action.

Such likewise is the importance of truthfulness in reference to the other portions of the Christian armour, which the Apostle specifies : “Righteousness," i.e., obedience to God's law-what is this but hyprocisy and pretence without sincerity ? “Peace" -what peace can he have whose conscience witnesses against him, that he is without truth in the inward parts, that his heart is not right with God? “ The hope of salvation.” What hope of salvation can there be where there is a perpetual misgiving as to the foundation on which hope should rest? “ The shield of faith” and " the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” How can he grasp either the one or the other who lacks

was

was

anger ?

sincerity, which is of the very essence courtesy, charity; what is the proof faith, and without which effectual testation of love, the profession of hold can be taken neither of the dutifulness on the part of children threatenings, nor of the promises, nor towards their parents, unless they rest of the encouragements, nor of the in each case on a foundation of truth? exhortations of holy

Scripture? It is truth which must stamp them Lastly, what are “ prayer and suppli- with whatever value they have. cation,” without sincerity, but empty The very use we make of the word words, which, instead of drawing down truth in our ordinary intercourse is a God's blessing, do but provoke Him to homage unconsciously paid to the

grace which it represents, as when we Truthfulness-sincerity—is of the sign ourselves “ Yours truly,” “ Yours essence of religion. If we would be sincerely,” and the like, while at the God's servants we must be entire, same time it insinuates that truth and and hearty, and unreserved in the sincerity are far from being of unidedication of ourselves to Him. He versal prevalence : for why otherwise asks our whole heart, and our whole should we be so forward to make proheart we must give Him.

fession of them ? But truth is to be viewed not only

It is much to be noticed what in reference to God and to the great great stress is laid on truth in Scripend of our being, but also in reference ture, and the more so perhaps when it to our neighbour.

is considered how characteristic a vice Truth, indeed, is the basis on which lying was, and is to this day in society rests. Take it away and you

eastern countries. take away all confidence between man

THERE ARE MANY FORMS OF UNand man; and where confidence is TRUTHFULNESS; gone, and men can no longer trust one another, what is there to hold them MORE ESPECIAL NEED TO BE ON OUR together ? They are like so many grains of sand, without unity and with- 1. It will hardly be necessary to out cohesion ?

speak of wilful and deliberate false“ Wherefore, putting off lying, speak

hood. The standard which prevails in every man truth with his neighbour.” ordinary society, for the most part, As there is no vice which clings more precludes this. To call a man a liar, closely to man in his unregenerate

or to insinuate that his word is not to state than the one, so there is no be trusted, would be looked upon as an grace more characteristic of man in unpardonable insult-such as, not so his regenerate state than the other. many years since, might have cost one God is the God of truth, and they who or both of the parties their lives. are conformed to His image must be 2. Under the head of wilful and truthful.

deliberate falsehood we might class There was good reason for the forgery ; meaning thereby not merely position thus assigned to truth, in the vulgar forgery with which our law respect of the other graces and duties courts are familiar, but forgery of a which the Apostle goes on to specify, kind which has been only too frequent why truth should stand first in the list. in the Church's history-especially in What value indeed has any one of her earlier history—the forgery of them unless it is genuine ? What writings, and the assigning of them are honesty, meekness, gentleness, į to supposititious authors, the so-called

LET

ME

MENTION

SOME

AGAINST

WHICH

WE

HAVE

GUARD.

pious end being presumed to justify me, and see my zeal for the Lord,” the means. Truth cannot be bolstered said Jehu to Jehonadab, the son of up by falsehood.

Rechab, when all the zeal he had was 3. A man may be guilty of wilful for his own advancement, and the desand deliberate falsehood, not only by truction of those who were likely to asserting what is false or denying what stand in his way. How often do men is true, but by suppressing some put that down to the score of a religious material part of the truth. People motive which springs from selfishness, may persuade themselves that they or pride, or vanity, or some other carhave avoided the guilt of falsehood, nal or worldly affection which they because what they said was true and would be ashamed to own. Hyponothing but the truth. But they are crisy has many shapes and forms. deceived notwithstanding, as Ananias If insincerity is odious when it is and Sapphira were when they brought found in matters of a merely secular a part of what they had received by the character, it is doubly so when it sale of their land to the Apostles, and mixes itself up with what belongs to pretended that it was the whole.

religion. What a poor, vain, empty 4. But there are many and various thing it is to have a reputation for forms of falsehood, which can scarcely godliness with our fellow men, while, be said to be wilful and deliberate, but all the while, He who is our Judge, which, notwithstanding, proceed from and Whose opinion alone is of any real a want of habitual truthfulness and account, sees our hearts, and knows straightforwardness. The substance our true state. No disguise can hide and groundwork of what is said may us from Him. be true ; but it is so altered by addi- The word hypocrisy is generally tions or exaggerations, so garnished used with reference to religion, but and decked out with circumstances there is a lay hypocrisy equally to be for which there are no foundation, that deprecated, the affectation of knowthe impression produced is far enough ledge or learning, of a position in from being true.

society, of connections or intimacies, With some men, this kind of un- which have no foundation in truth, truthfulness is habitual. It arises the object being, consciously or unfrom vanity, and a wish to set them- consciously, to enhance the consideraselves off, by giving what concerns tion of the persons affecting it with themselves the appearance of being

those in whose company they find extraordinary and worthy of notice. themselves. Others seem to practise it without any 6. Another form of untruthfulness is assignable motive, unless it be a pre- the being afraid or ashamed to acference of what is imaginary to what knowledge our convictions ; to confess is real.

openly, what in our secret hearts, we 5. I have insensibly been led on to a believe to be the truth ; to take the side form of untruthfulness not altogether which our consciences tell us is the dissimilar to the last-mentioned, but of side of right. It is easy enough to do a much more serious kind, and one that all this in the presence of persons to meets with less indulgence from society whom the acknowledgement would be -I mean hypocrisythe putting on

welcome. The trial is when it would the show of religion, or the profession lower us in the estimation of those with of devotion to God's service where whom hitherto we have been associa. the reality is wanting. “ Come with ted, whose good opinion we are

WHICH WE HAVE BEFORE US TO SOME

PRACTICAL ACCOUNT.

TO BE TRUE:

reluctant to forfeit, or would draw " The heart is deceitful above all down the displeasure of those, the loss things.” Ahab had rather be deceived of whose countenance might be likely and thereby deceive himself, then have

Is to mar our prospects in life ; and all an unwelcome truth told him. the more so, when we stand alone or there nothing of the same spirit at the almost alone,

among the faithless, present day? Men kriowing or faithful only found."

shrewdly suspecting that the course 7. Very closely connected with this they are pursuing is full of peril, or is the countenancing what is wrong by

that the opinions or beliefs to which silencethe forbearing to protest when they have committed themselves are the cause of religion, of morality, of erroneous, yet closing their eyes and friendship, requires us to show our stopping their ears against the admonidisapprobation. A heathen poet could tions or the instructions which would hold up to scorn the man who should convict them; the Bible itself possibly, forbear to defend an absent friend, or one or another portion of it. when spoken of disparagingly by III. Now LET US TRY, IN CONCLUothers, and shall a Christian sit

SION, TO TURN THE CONSIDERATIONS quietly by, and listen patiently when that Friend is no other than the great

LET US STRIVE God to whom he owes his being, or the Saviour who shed His blood for His 1. To Goddevoting ourselves in all redemption ?

sincerity to His service, seeking 8. Another form of untruthfulness is honestly to ascertain His will, and the using of unfair arguments in con- having ascertained it to do it, being troversy, whether in the shape of deli- assured that His will is our happiness. berate misstatement, or misquotation, Intimately connected with obedience to or the alleging of reasons of the sound- the will of God, is belief of the ness or conclusiveness of which the revelation which He has made of Himperson alleging them is himself doubt. self, so intimately that the loss of the ful. This course, besides the dis- one is almost sure to be followed by the honour which it does to truth, and the loss of the other. Men may speak wrong, if successful, to the adverse slightingly of dogmatic truth, as party, is liable to recoil with terrible though it signified little what we effect upon the person who resorts to it. believe, so long as our conduct is right.

9. But men may incur the guilt of All Scripture witnesses to the contrary. untruthfulness by action, or the for- They may deny that Christianity and its bearing to act, as well as by words, as traditional dogmatic expression rest on by unfaithfulness to promises, neglect an historic basis. St. Paul's Christ. or perfunctoriness in duty-doing the ianity was eminently dogmatic, and work of God, of our calling, of our was eminently founded on an historic place or office, deceitfully.

basis. And while you hold the faith, Truth and honesty are twin-sisters, be not afraid or ashamed to confess it. and it is hard many times to distin- 2. Let us aim at being true to our guish between them.

neighbour. Let us aim at sincerity 10. I shall mention but one other form and straightforwardness in our interof untruthfulness, untruthfulness to one- course with others, avoiding not only self, --self deceit. This is perhaps the

direct falsehood—but every degree of most common of all, and it manifests departure from exact statement, itself in an endless variety of ways.

whether in the way of exaggeration, or

are

more

of the suppression of that which they leave responsibilities behind ; and truth requires to be mentioned.

not responsibilities only. There is a 3. A few last words, in conclusion, persistence of force" in the moral on truthfulness as regards ourselves. world as in the material; and acts Let us beware of self-deceit, as to our done, and even words spoken, may religious state. Do not let us shut our leave effects behind them, which set eyes to the truth. It will hold its in motion, will continue in motion for ground whether we own it or deny it. good or for evil indefinitely. Persuading ourselves that we

CANON HEUrtley, D.D. right, will not make us right. Let us cultivate habitually a spirit of truth- The Threefold Growth. fulness and sincerity. Let us aim at

Col. ii. 6. 7. being real, natural, unaffected, living as in the sight of God, to whom all “As ye have therefore received Christ things are naked and open. Let us

Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him, recognize the inherent nobility of

rooted and built up in him and estabtruth-truth in itself—“ truth for its lished in the faith, as ye have been own sake, positive, objective, matter- taught, abounding therein with thanksof-fact truth,” and honour it accord- giving." ingly. The search for truth has been God never demands growth except perplexing at all times. It was never on the ground of an already existing

so than now; and Pilate's faith. It is those who have been question, “What is truth,” is one planted together with Christ " who which possibly men are often tempted are required “to grow up in all things to ask almost despairingly. Yet into Him." Those who have received there are one or two cautions which

the Lord Jesus are required to walk in it may be of use to mention, especially Him—that is, to continue and complete to those who are setting out in life. the life already begun. This continuTruth does not always lie on the sur- ance is considered under three heads: face. There is need of patience. rooting, upbuilding, and abounding. Do not jump hastily to a conclusion, lest you should involve yourselves in

I. THE CHRISTIAN'S error which more careful enquiry and

“ Rooted in Him." consideration might have avoided. All of strength and fruitfulness there Especially is this caution necessary as is in us depends on the depth with regards general principles. They are which we strike down into the life and pregnant with details; and an error in love of God. When the apostle sumthem may draw many subordinate mons us to the vast endeavour of errors after it. Beware, too, of com- measuring and grasping the love of mitting yourself to a party–especially God, he begins with the downward in matters of religion--and echoing this growth. Being rooted and grounded or the other of the miserable shibbo- in love." We can only reach loftily leths of the day. The moments are upward, and broadly outward, as we fleeting past, the golden opportunities strike deeply downward. There are are slipping away; opportunities of so many Christians who aspire withacquiring knowledge, of forming out having any depth to support them habits, of improving the character, in their aspirations, and as a conseopportunities of usefulness, of in- quence they lose their balance and Auence. They are slipping away, but topple over. We want higher-life

DOWNWARD

GROWTH.

66

« PoprzedniaDalej »