COSCIOUS ITEGRITY.

BY REV. C. SIMEO, M. A.
Job X. 7. Thou knowest that I am not wicked.
PAIFUL as the consideration of God's omni-
science must be to the wicked, it is a rich source of
consolation to those who are upright before him.
Circumstances may arise, wherein they may not be
able fully to vindicate their character to the world,
even though they are perfectly innocent of the things
laid to their charge. The defilement also which they
sometimes contract by reason of their in-dwelling
corruptions may be such as to excite fears respect-
ing the state of their souls ; while they are main-
taining a strenuous conflict with the whole body of
sin. In such cases it will be a satisfaction to them
to reflect, that their very inmost souls are naked and
open before God ; and that he can discern the inte-
grity of their hearts, even when most clouded,
either by unreasonable suspicions, or just occasions
of doubt. From this source Job drew his conso-
lation, when the dispensations of Providence seemed
to justify his friends in accusing him of hypocrisy :
he could then appeal to God, and say *' Thou
knowest that I am not wicked."
We
312.] COSCIOUS ITEGRITY. 421
"We propose to shew,
I. What we are to understand by this appeal —
Job never intended to assert that he was possessed
of sinless perfection —
[God had indeed honoured him with the title of a ** perfect
man.** But in the very same place, the import of the term "per-
fect'* is limited and explained by the word "uprigiit" united
to it". Perfection, in the Scripture use of the word, relates
rather to our desires than our attainments; and denotes that
growth in grace, which is found in those who have arrived at the
full stature of a Christian, as distinguished from a state of infan-
tine weakness, or youthful inexperience. That Job did not deny
himself to be a sinner, or still to be encompassed with sinful in-
firmities, is evident from the whole of the preceding context,
where he repeatedly acknowledges, and deeply bewails, his own
depravity''. Indc-ed his spirit at this time was by no means free
from sinful impatience''''; so that, if he had boasted of sinless
perfection, he would have opposed the whole tenor of Scripture %
and his own mouth would have condemned him, and proved hira
perverse.]
But he appealed to God,
1. That he was free from the sin imputed to
him —
{Job's friends imagined, that heavy judgments were never
sent except as punishments of some enormous wickedness. What
evils Job had been guilty of, they could not tell : but, as they saw
him so grievoubly afflicted, they concluded that he must have
indulged some secret wickedness, which God now intended to
disclose and punish. They therefore, at a venture, accused him of
hypocrisy*^. But he repelled the charge, and asserted, in oppo-
sition to them, his own innocence '*'*.]
2. That he was, on the whole, upright before God —
[He had unfeignedly endeavoured to serve and please God;
nor did his conscience accuse him of allowedly indulging sin. In
hopes therefore that the solemnity of an appeal to God would
convince and satisfy his friends, he presumed to address the
Deity in the words of our text. or was this without an evident
propriety : for, as the troubles which proceeded from God were
considered as a testimony against him, he could not clear himself
better than by appealing to the Author of those troubles for a
testimony
» Job i. 8. '¦ Ch. vii. 20. & ix. 20|i21, 30, 31. "* ver. 3.
" 1 Kin. viii. 46. Jam. iii. 2. 1 John i. 8.
•»Ch. viii. 13, 14,20.
'''* David did the same. See Ps. vii. 3, 8. & xxvi. 1, 6, & Paul : ses
1 Thess. ii. 10.
422 JOB, X. 7- [312.
testimony in his favour. To have done this merely to cover his
guilt, would have been madness: for if he was already suffering
the rebukes of God on account of his hypocrisy, he could expect
nothing but a tenfold load of misery as the reward of such aggra-
vated impiety. Such an appeal therefore to the heart-searching
God, upon a subject of which none but God could judge, was the
best, and indeed the only means, of re-establishing his character
in the good opinion of his friends.]
But, that we may not be too hasty in making such
an appeal, let us consider,
II. What is necessary to warrant it —
We ought to have the testimony of our own con-
science,
1 . That we are free from all allowed sin —
[If we allow ourselves in any sin, we are servants of sin*";
we belong to Satan ^; we have no interest in the covenant of
grace ^ ; yea, even the prayers we offer in such a state are an
abomination to the Lord*". It matters not whether the sin be
open or secret, great or small ; if we indulge it willingly, wte
oppose the authority of God, which is equally displayed in every
commandment. It is no excuse to say, that such or such an in-
dulgence is conducive to our comfort, or necessary to our wel-
fare : if it be as useful as a right hand, or as precious as a right
eye, we can never be sincere, if we do not pluck it out or
cut it off, and cast it from us'. In order to say with truth, " I
am not wicked," we must have '* a single eye J," and be Israelites
indeed, without guile''.]
2. That we endeavour habitually to approve our-
selves to God —
[VVe may approve ourselves to our fellow-creatures, while
there is much iniquity harboured in our hearts. If we would
have a good conscience, we must act, not to men, but to God :
God's will must be the reason, his word the rule, and his glory
the end, of our obedience'. We must have as much respect to
our motives and inclinations as to our words and actions ; we
must be careful to purge out all leaven", and to have the very
thoughts of our hearts brought into captivity to the obedi-
ence of Christ™. Without this we cannot say, " I am not
wicked ;" for that which is the root and summit of all wicked-
ness
"Rom.vi. 16. 'Tjohniii. 8. ^ Rom. vi. 14.
" Ps. Ixvi. 18. Prov. xxviii. 9. ' Matt. v. 29, 30.
i Mait. vi. 22. "^ John i. 47. ' Col. iii. 23.
" Luke xii, 1 , 1 Cor. v, 7, 8, "' 2 Cor. x. 5.
312.] COSCIOUS ITEGRITY. 423
ness abides within us : we have " a carnal mind that is enmity
against God ° :" and however clean we may be in the outward ap-r
pearance, we are inwardly like whited sepulchres, full of rotten-
ness and all uncleanness°.]
But in proportion to the difficulty of making this
appeal is,
III. The blessedness of being able to make it —
Certainly such a consciousness of our own intC'-
grity mast be a rich consolation to us,
1 . Under any troubles that may come upon us —
[Under the pressure of any heavy calamity, when God
seems as if he were ^' bringing our sins to remembrance," an4
especially in times of persecution, when our characters are tra-
duced, and we are regarded as the most worthless of mankind,
we find it a most painful addition to our grief if we think that
we have brought the trial on ourselves by some misconduct of
our own. But if, in either of these cases, we can appeal to God
that we have sought only his glory, and endeavoured to approye
ourselves to him, we shall feel our trials greatly alleviated, and
our spirits calmed. ever was man more cruelly aspersed, or
more virulently persecuted, tlian the apostle Paul : yet the re-
flection that God knew his heart, and approved his conduct,
made it appear " a light matter to him to be judged of man-'s
judgmentP." A similar consciousness will be productive of
similar composure in all our minds pp.]
2. In the prospect of death and judgment —
[one who have guilt upon their conscience can look for-
ward to these seasons without pain and dread. But to him who
can make this appeal to God, death and judgment have lost all
their terrors. He has within himself an earnest of the felicity
that awaits him. The judgment has already passed, as it were,
with respect to him ; and, while others have only a fearful look-
ing-for of judgment and fiery indignation to consume them, he
" knows that he has a house not made with hands, eternal in the
heavens')." ot being condemned in his own heart, he has a
just and Scriptural confidence towards God^]
Address —
1. Those who are living in any known sin —
[Perhaps you have contrived so well, that you can defy man
to lay any particular evil to your charge. But what will that avail,
while God beholds the secret abominations of your hearts ? To
what
» Rom. viii. 7. " Matt, xxiii. 27, 28. " 1 Cor. iv. 3. '^
PP 2 Cor. i. 12. ¦> 2 Cor. v. 1. '1 John iii. 19—21. ;
424 JOB, XT. 7 — 12. [313.
what purpose is it to say to your fellow-creatures, " Ye cannot
accuse me," when you are constrained to confess before God,
*' Thou knowest that I am wicked ?" Reflect on the strictness
of the trial that awaits you ; and know, that God will bring every
secret thing into judgment, whether it be good or evil^]
2. To those who think themselves in a good
state —
[It is by no means uncommon for men to " deceive them-
selves, by thinking themselves something when they are nothing ^"
The way to prevent this is, to take the word of God as the
standard by which we try ourselves j and, to beg of God to search
and try us. This is recommended by St. Paul, in order that we
may have rejoicing in ourselves alone, and not merely in the good
opinion of others". If indeed we have in ourselves an evidence
that we truly love and fear God, we may say, with Peter,
*' Lord, thou knowest all things, thou knowest that I love
thee"." But, after all, we should remember, that, whatever
be our estimate of our own character, " ot he who commendeth
himself shall be approved, but he whom the Lord com-
mendeth '."]
• 1 Cor. iv. 4, 5. with the first clause of Job x. 15. ' Gal. vi. 3.
• ib. ver. 4, 5. « John xxi, 17. » 2 Cor. x. 18.
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