Ps. li. 6. Behold, tho2i desirest truth in the inward parts;
and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know ivisdom.
MAKID at large are chiefly observant of their
outward conduct ; but the Child of God cannot rest
in externals : he is anxious about the internal habits
of his soul ; and desires to have them conformed to
the mind and will of God. The words before us
strongly express this idea. By many indeed they
are interpreted, as if David intended in them to
aggravate yet further the guilt he had contracted,
which had been in direct opposition both to the pro-
fession he had made, and to the light he had en-
joyed^ But we conceive that the words, as they
stand in our translation, convey the true meaning of
the Psalmist ; and that they relate, not to his sins,
but his repentance for them. The sense of them ap-
pears to be to this effect ; " Thou requirest me to
* In this case, the last clause is read in the past tense ; " Thou hast
made me to know."
192 PSALMS, LI. 6. [372,
be truly sincere in my present humiliation ; and, if
i am, as I desire to be, thoroughly sincere, thou
wilt make this whole dispensation a source of the
most important instruction to my soul." In this
view of the words, they are an humble address to
God, declarative of,
I. The disposition he requires —
'* Truth" is a conformity of our feelings and actions
to our professions : and this God requires of us in
the whole of our spirit and conduct. He requires it^
1. In our acknowledgments — •
[We confess ourselves sinners before God. But such a
confession is of no value in his sight, unless it be accompanied
with suitable emotions. Think then, what becomes us, as sin-
ners : what deep sorrow and contrition should we feel for having
offended Almighty God ! what self-lothing and self-abhorrence
for our extreme vileness and baseness ! what ardent desires
after mercy ! what readiness to justify God in all that he may
be pleased to inflict upon us in this world, whatever means or
mstruments he may see fit to use ; yea, and in the eternal world
also, even if he cast us into the lake that burnetii with fire and
brimstone, and make us everlasting monuments of his wrathful
indignation ! This should be the state and habit of our minds :
we should have *' our hands on our mouths, and our mouths in
the dust," " crying, Unclean, unclean !" In a word, we should
adopt from our inmost souls the language of Job, " Behold, I
am vile ! therefore I repent and abhor myself in dust and ashes."
In proportion as we feel thus, we are upright, and have " truth
in our inward parts : " but so far as we are wanting in these
feelings, we are " hypocrites in heart," drawing nigh to God
with our lips in a way belied by our hearts "^]
2. In our purposes—
[We profess, as persons redeemed by the blood of our in-
carnate God, to give up ourselves to him, and to live unto Him
who died for us : and, if we are sincere in this, our determina-
tion is fixed, that, with God's help, nothing shall ever keep us
from executing this intention. We have dehberately counted the
cost. We are aware, that *^ if we will live godly in Christ Jesus,
we must suffer persecution : " but we are prepared to meet it,
from whatever quarter it may come, yea, though " our greatest
foes should be those of our own household." We are ready to
sacrifice our reputation, our interests, and our very lives also,
rather than in any respect deny our God, or suffer ourselves to be
** Matt. XV. 7, 8.
diverted from the path of duty. We are determined, through
grace, to put away every thing that may retard our progress
heavenward, and to aspire after the highest possible attainments
in righteousness and true hoHness. ow God requires, that we
should be acting up to this profession, '^ setting our face as a
flint against the whole world," and standing in the posture of
Daniel or the Hebrew youths, willing to have our bodies con-
signed to a den of lions, or the fiery furnace, rather than violate
our duty by any sinful compliance. If we are halting or hesitat-
ing, we have not truth in our inward parts.]
3. In our endeavours —
[Purposes must be judged of by the exertions that are put
forth in order to carry them into effect. A diligent attendance
therefore on all the means of grace must of necessity be required
of us : in the public ordinances, and in our private chambers,
whether we be hearing, or reading, or meditating, or praying,
we must be like men in earnest, even like the man- slayer fleeing
from the pursuer of blood, that scarcely stopped to look behind
him, till he should reach the appointed sanctuary, the city of
refuge. Remissness in such a cause argues a want of real
integrity : if truth be indeed in our inward parts, we shall run
as in a race, which leaves us no time to loiter; and wrestle
with all our might, lest we be foiled in the contest ; and
¦ficrht as those who know that there is no alternative but
to overcome or perish. In all the mtenor workmgs or our
minds we shall resemble the Corinthians, who were " clear in
this matter"^."]
That we may not be discouraged by the strictness
of God's requirements, let us consider,
II. The benefit he will confer —
There is a wisdom that is to be gained only by
experience : what has its seat in the head, may be
learned by the head : what dwells in the heart, must
be learned by the heart : and of the heart there is
but one teacher, even God: according as it is said,
*' Who teacheth like God** :" and again, " There is a
spirit in man ; and the inspiration of the Almighty
giveth him understanding","
Amongst the treasures of wisdom which God will
impart to the truly upright, and the hidden things
which he will cause them to know, are,
1. The
^* 2 Cor. vii. U. ** Job xxxvi. 22. " Job xxxii. 8.
194 PSALMS, LI. 6. [372.
1 . The deceits of the heart —
[These are very deep, and absolutely unsearchable'' ; yet in
a measure will God discover them to those who have truth in their
inward parts. The world at large know nothing of them : " they
are calling evil good, and good evil ; they put darkness for light,
and light for darkness ^ and bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter^ :"
" they feed also on ashes : a deceived heart hath turned them
aside, so that they cannot deliver their souls, or say, Is there not a
lie in my right hand*^?" They contrive to satisfy their minds that
all is well with them, or at least to lull their consciences asleep with
the hope that all will be well with them before they die. They
have a thousand pleas and excuses which they urge in their own
defence, and which they vainly hope will be accepted by their
Judge. If we attempt to open their eyes, they reply, with indig-
nation, '^ Are we blind also^?" Thus are they both blinded and
*' hardened" through the deceitfulness of sin. But those who
are really " Israelites indeed, and without guile," have their eyes
opened to see what delusions they have cherished: and being thus
" brought out of darkness into marvellous light," they find that
promise fulfilled to them, " They that erred in spirit shall come
to understanding *"." " Their eye being made single, their whole
body is full of light."]
2. The devices of Satan —
[The men of this world, though " taken in his snares, and led
captive by him at his will," have no idea of his agency. But he is
a subtle adversary ; and his "wiles" are innumerable. He can
even " transform himself into an angel of light' ;" and, when aim-
ing a deadly blow at our souls, assume the garb of " a Minister of
righteousness." His first device is, to persuade men that they are
in no danger of the judgments they fear. If he fail in that, he
will instil into their minds the notion that they have gone too far,
and that there is no hope for them. If that snare do not succeed,
he will draw them aside, after some points of less importance, or
matters of doubtful disputation. Multitudes of false apostles has
he at his command, who will gladly aid him in this accursed
work"^, and concur with him in his endeavours to *^ corrupt
their minds from the simplicity that is in Christ'." But, if
we are following the Lord fully, he will not leave us " ignorant
of Satan's devices, or suffer him to get his wished-for advan-
tage over us"\" He will arm us against that adversary, and
enable us to withstand him". He will give us " the shield of
faith, whereby we shall ward off and quench all his fiery darts °,"
and be able so to " resist him, that he shall flee from usp."J
3. The
'' Jer. xvii. g. * Isai. v. 20. *¦ Isai. xliv. 20. ^ John ix. ^0.
¦' Isai. xxix. 24. ' 2 Cor. xi. 13, 14. '' ib.
' 2 Cor. xi. 2. ""2 Cor. ii. 1 1, " Eph. vi. 1 1 . * ib. ver. l6.
p Jam. iv. 7-
3. The mysteries of grace —
[" Great is the mystery of godliness," and great the mystery
of grace, whether we consider the work ivroughf for us by Jesus
Christ, or the work ivrought in us by his Holy Spirit. These
constitute that " wisdom, which is foohshness with man," and
which " the natural man cannot receive, because it is spiritually
discerned''." To know this, we must be taught of God : "We
must receive, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is
of God, before we can know the things that are freely given to
us of God"^." And oh ! how wonderful a work does this appear,
when "God shines into our hearts to reveal it tousM" How
worthy of God ! how suitable to man ! how passing the compre-
hension, whether of men or angels ! Verily, the man whose eyes
are thus opened, seems to be brought into a new world : " old
things are passed away, and all things are become new." The
ignorant world are amazed at the new line of conduct he pur-
sues, just as Elisha's servant was at his master's confidence in
the midbt of danger. But, if their eyes were opened to see, as
the Believer does, the invisible God* above him and within him,
they would wonder rather, that there were any bounds to his
transports, or any limit to his exertions.]
4. The beauties of holiness —
[All who are warped by their prejudices, or blinded by their
lusts, are incapable of estimating aright the beauty and blessed-
ness of true piety : it appears to them little short of madness.
And even those who make a profession of godliness, but possess
not truth in their inward parts, have very erroneous conceptions
of true holiness. Some place it in a confident espousal of certain
principles, or a zealous attachment to a particular party : others,
inclining more to practical religion, make all duty to centre in
some one point, such as the mortification of the flesh, or alms-
giving, or penances of man's invention. Even those who are
more enlightened, are apt to regard only one particular set of
graces that are more congenial with their own feelings, and to
neglect those which are of an opposite aspect ; one despising
every thing in comparison of zeal and confidence ; another
leaning altogether to the side of prudence and timidity. But
the man into whose hidden part God has put true wisdom, views
holiness, not with prismatic partiality, separating one grace from
another, but all embodied, as light in the sun ; every grace tem-
pering its opposite, and all combining to the production of per-
fect beauty. He discards neither the vivid nor the darker ray :
but, having all in united exercise, sorrow with joy, and fear with
confidence, " the beauty of the Lord his God is upon him","
'* 1 Cor. ii. 7, 8, 9, 14. ' ib. ver. 10, 12. ^2 Cor. iv. 6.
'2Kin. vi. 15— 17. Heb. xi. 27. " Ps. xc. 17.
196 PSALMS, LI. 6. [372.
and he shines '' in the Divine image in righteousness and true
From this subject we may learn,
1 . Whence it is that men get so Httle insight into
the Gospel —
[Many hear the Gospel during their whole lives, and never
attain any just knowledge of it. How shall we account for this ?
We suppose the Gospel to be preached with all possible fidelity,
and yet it seems never to convey any light to their minds. The
reason is, that they never take any pains to apply it to their own
souls, or to get any one truth realized in their own experience.
They assent to every thing they hear ; but they are content with
being hearers, without ever once attempting to become doers of
the word they hear. They " see perhaps their face, as in a glass
for the moment ; but they go away, and forget what manner of
men they are^." But our blessed Lord has told us, that we
must aim at doing his will, in order to get any just insight into
what he has revealed^: and, as this desire is altogether wanting
in the persons we are speaking of, they never derive any solid
benefit from the Gospel. O Brethren ! you must " be doers of
the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own souls." You
must apply the word to your own hearts : when you hear your
sins pointed out, you must endeavour to humble yourselves for
them in dust and ashes : when you hear of Christ as the one only
Saviour of a ruined world, you must endeavour to flee to him for
refuge : wlien the Holy Ghost is set forth as the one great source
of all spiritual life and motion, you must cry to God the Father
for his dear Son's sake to send the Holy Spirit into your hearts,
that the whole work of grace may be wrought within you. It is
your neglect of thus harrowing in the seed by meditation, and of
watering it with tears, that has given Satan an opportunity of
taking it out of your hearts as soon as ever it has been sown
there''. Get the " honest and the good heart," which truly de-
sires to make a just improvement of the word, and God will yet
cause the seed to spring up in your hearts, and to bring forth
fruit to the salvation of your souls.]
2. Whence it is that many who profess the Gospel
are so little ornaments to it —
[It is a melancholy fact, that many who profess godliness
walk very unworthy of their high calling. Like Ezekiel's hearers,
they are gratified with the preaching of the Gospel, as persons
are with " one who plays well upon an instrument ; but their
heart still goeth after their covetousness •*," or some other be-
" 2 Cor. Hi. 18. y Jam. i. 22 — 25. ^ John vii. 17.
* Matt. xiii. 4, 19. ^ Ezek. xxxiii. 31, 32,
setting sin. But this is owing to their not having " truth in
their inward parts:" if th^y had, they would not be satisfied
with professing the Gospel, and talking about it, and looking
with pity (or perhaps with contempt) on those who do not un-
derstand it : no ; tliey would look to their spirit, that it should
be meek and humble; they would look to their conduct also,
that it should be blameless and without guile : they would " give
no occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully." Ah Bre-
thren ! think what God requires of all, and of those who make
a profession of religion more especially: and beg of God to
endue your souls with truth and wisdom, " that ye may be sin-
cere and without offence until the day of Christ." You may
fancy that you *' know all the depths of Satan '^:" but if your
professed " hope in Christ does not purify your souls as Christ is
pure''," you are yet blinded by him, and utterly deceiving your
own souls*.]
3. How to get the whole work of God perfected
'in our souls —
[Come to the Gospel with hearts tender and contrite, that
they may be to it as wax to the seal. Then shall you have
in your own souls "the witness" of all its most important
truths'^: and shall be able to answer from your own experience
that question which God puts so triumphantly to all the world ;
" Doth not my word do good to him that walketh uprightly?"
You are not straitened in God : be not straitened in your own
souls. Desire much: ask much: expect much: and God will
supply your every want according to his riches in glory by Christ
¦= Rev. ii. 24. •" 1 John ii'i. 3.
" Jam. 1. 20. ' 1 John v. 10.

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