Sermon 3346. Resurrection for the Just and the Unjust
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, MARCH 20, 1913.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON THURSDAY EVENING, JUNE 4, 1868.
"There shall be a resurrection both for the just and the unjust." Acts 24:15.
THE heathen had, somehow or other, spelled out the Truth of God that the soul of man is immortal. Almost all their religionsimplied this and some of their sages plainly taught it. But never had they imagined that this immortality might belong alsoto the body!
The Doctrine of the Resurrection from the Dead was peculiar to Christianity. It was so novel and it seemed, at first, to beso absurd that when men heard the Apostles speak of such a resurrection they mocked and laughed them to scorn as fools. Theycalled Paul, "a babbler," because of this. They believed he must be mad. Had they not seen the body sicken and die? Had theynot marked it in various stages of decay? Did they not know that it was frequently dissolved into small dust, scattered tothe manifold winds of Heaven, or that its fragments mingled with the waves of the sea, or that its various members were tornby wild beasts and could they, therefore, imagine it to be credible that any sane person could believe that the human bodywould rise again from the dead? Yet Paul believed this and this he preached-that there would be a resurrection of the dead,both of the just and the unjust, not that the just and the unjust would merely live as to their souls, but that their bodieswouldbe restored from the grave and that a resurrection, as well as an immortality, would be the future of every man of woman born,whatever his character might be!
Now, this is the great Doctrine of the Christian faith which we do not doubt, but joyously accept! Our Lord's Body, that sameBody in real identity which was nailed to the tree and laid in the tomb for three days-that same Body came to life again,with the nail prints visible-into which Thomas was invited to put his finger-with the mark of the spear into which the samedoubting Apostle was asked to thrust his hand! Christ proved Himself to be not merely a spirit, but a solid, tangible, corporealexistence, for He said, "Handle Me, and see; a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see I have." And although He appearedin the room, the doors being shut, and thus proved that His body had lost some of the properties of coarse matter, yet, atthe same time, He took a piece of flesh and of honeycomb and did eat before them-and let them see that it was His very Selfwho had hung upon the Cross and died there at Calvary! And so shall it be with us! Though by death our bodies shall lose someof their qualities which we shall all be only too glad to lose, though their corruptions and weaknesses shall all be laidaside, yet my body and yours in definite identity, each for itself, shall rise up from its bed of dust and silent clay, andenter into the rest that remains where Jesus dwells before the Throne of God! Behold at this present, "the whole creationgroans and travails in pain together, until now, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of the body."
My great purpose tonight, Beloved, is to speak on the majestic fact that the just and the unjust are to live on in a resurrectionstate. I am not going to debate, discuss, argue as to the fact of it, but, assuming your belief in God's Inspired Word, declarea few thoughts which that sublime Truth seems to raise in one's mind. I shall treat the Truth as though it were a lantern-andshall look at some of the rays of Divine Light that stream from it on all sides. And, first of all-
I. WHAT AN ENNOBLING EFFECT THIS TRUTH HAS UPON US!
Observe the effect it has, first of all, given our bodies. Paul elsewhere calls the body, "this vile body," and so it is incomparison with what it is to be, by-and-by! But yet if this body has been redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, andif the Holy Spirit dwells in our bodies, as we are taught in Scripture-and if these bodies are to be partakers of a pure andsinless immortality-then what noble things these otherwise vile bodies become! So noble, my Brothers and
Sisters, that it becomes us to guard them sacredly, as sacred things! Now, our bodies may be defiled, but shall they be defiledafter being washed in pure water and after being given up to Christ? You know how they may be defiled. The Apostle speaksvery plainly concerning certain carnal lusts whereby members of Christ may be made members of all manner of iniquity. Fromthese things we fly-they should not be so much as named among you, as becomes saints. Our bodies may be defiled by eatingand drinking, unless in the eating and the drinking we glorify God. We may by excess in either way bring ourselves into conditionsin which the mind will not act and I believe, mark you, that gluttony is as much a sin in the sight of God as drunkenness,and that, in fact, any eating or drinking which makes us unfit for communion with God becomes sinful at once! Any passingbeyond that boundary, whatever it may be, whether in eating or in drinking, becomes sinful! The body is clogged and defiledand who would have it so when it has been purchased by Christ's precious blood and is to dwell with Him forever?
The body, too, may be defiled by outward adornments, for the Holy Spirit has expressly warned Christian men and women againstthese. There is a holy adornment that we speak of-that of a meek and a quiet spirit-but when men and women hang upon themselvestheir jewels and their ornaments of an ungodly profession, they sin against the plain precepts of the Word of God and theyreally defile the bodies that belong to Christ! So every bowing of the knee to that to which I ought not to bow, every yieldingof this body of mine to write what is not true, every motion of my tongue to speak that which is not upright and accordingto the fear of God, every movement of these feet to take me where it is not good for me to be-defiles the body! So there areten thousand ways in which the Temple of God may be defiled, but I say again that with the thought that this body is to liveforever and ever, we ought to guard with sacred care these members of Christ! The body that has been bought with His blood-thatis to sleep on His bosom, that is to be awakened in His likeness, that is to dwell with Him forever, molded after His ownImage-take care of that body and keep it consecrated unto the Lord!
And while this ennobles the body, let me say that it also ennobles the entire man. If man is a creature. If he is only firstamong animals, though the most highly organized of all the vertebrate creatures. And if, when he dies, that is the end ofhim, as that might be of a sheep or a dog, then, looking up to the stars and thinking of man as a mere beast, you need notsay with David, "Lord, what is man?" You know what he is! You have got your answer-and a gloomy and a melancholy answer itis. But if man is to live forever and ever, what a noble creature he becomes! And, mark you, men are ready enough to admitthis of some of their fellow creatures-kings, queens, princes, senators and men who have heaped up their gold-but when itcomes to this, that the beggar, being immortal, is to be honored, they do not like it! I would that men would remember thatthe same Bible that says, "Honor the king," also says, "Honor all men"-that is, be they what they may! But men must honorpeople's coats-not the men! Or they honor their carriages, or they honor their sovereigns, but they do not honor the men!And yet, in truth, seeing that man is to live forever, that his existence in the future is coeval with the life of God, everyman becomes a strange and wondrous thing! If you could pile up a mountain of gold, a huge pyramid of it, and then by the sideof it a pyramid of precious stones, yet all these put together could not be valued with the soul of the pauper's child thathas been in the workhouse from its very birth! Despise not, then, despise not a man made in the image of God-a man redeemedwith the blood of Christ, a man immortal, a man a mystery if he is immortal-a mystery of mysteries!
As I begin to look at him in the light of my text, which is far above all the fictitious surroundings to which men attachso much weight, he appears to me now to be a greater being than stars or suns, for these may die out and their brightnessbecome extinct-but here is a star that shall shine on forever! A sun that shall flash its beams throughout eternity! We mustnot, therefore, if we are poor, broken, despised-at once go into sin as though we were too mean to be capable of excellence!We must not begin to say, "I cannot be saved-I am so illiterate, I am so obscure." Why not? If you are not saved, you willhave to live forever in misery! Can you understand that? You are endowed with an immortality from which it is impossible foryou to escape! In that respect, by that wondrous gift, God has put you on an elevated position and I pray that you may lookat it as such-may, by His Grace, not fling yourselves away, nor trifle with yourselves, nor do the devil's bidding-but seekHim who has promised in His Word that they that seek Him shall find Him!
Thus much on that one thought. And now a second one. If there is another state, as you know there is, for body and soul-
II. WHAT A LIGHT THAT CASTS UPON THIS PRESENT LIFE!
How little it makes it! How great it makes it! How little! Well, if I suffer, today. If my life should be made weary throughweakness of body, or if it should be bitter through heart-toil, or if it should be severe through stern poverty, yet you knowhow we sing-
"The way may be rough, but it cannot be long."
And again, we sometimes sing-
"An hour with my God will make up for it all."
These light afflictions, which are but for a moment, are not worthy to be compared with the weight of glory which shall berevealed in us! Looking at the trials of this present life and comparing and contrasting them with the splendor, glory, andeternity of the life to come, they are not worth a thought! They disappear and we sing as we wade through the midst of them,knowing that it is so written that through much tribulation we must inherit the Kingdom of God. When we look back from thehilltops of Heaven, I suppose life itself will seem to be infinitesimal. Those great troubles of ours will look like pin'spricks and we shall almost laugh to think that we should have weighed those burdens and thought them so heavy when they were,after all, light as feathers. I think we shall, as Watts says-
"With transporting joys recount
The labors of our feet."
We shall say, one to another, "How could we have been so unbelieving?" What was there, after all, in our trials to depressus so much? Our sufferings were not worth a thought when once compared with those of our Master. "His way was much rougherand darker than mine. Did Christ my Lord suffer, and did I repine?" Why was it that with such blessed help, such rich promises,such Covenant blessings and with the everlasting arms underneath us, yet nevertheless we were faint and ready to die? Oh,Brothers and Sisters, this world seems so little when we think of the world to come! Now, you who have been envious of therich, you little think how soon they will be as poor as you! You who have sometimes thought how richly you were favored-thinkhow fame is nothing but a breath-and how soon it is gone! Princes will sleep side by side with the slave. The great conquerorwill not be distinguished from the victims of his ambition. The greatest millionaire will be no richer than you! Both alike,you came naked into this world-and naked you return to the dust. So must it be. Oh, it is all little! "Vanity of vanities,all is vanity." The big round world becomes a bubble and it vanishes-and as a puff of smoke, the glory of the world departs!
And yet in this respect, I say, how great this present life becomes! You know how our poet puts its-
"Great God! On what a slender thread
Hang everlasting things!
The eternal state of all the dead
Upon life's feeble strings."
This life is the mother of the life to come. There is a resurrection for the just, and all the glory which the just shallinherit will be but the outcome of that immortal life which they received here! There is a resurrection for the unjust, andthe worm undying and the fire that shall never be quenched! And all these will be just the development and open revealingof the character which they acquired here on earth. Living in sin is the germ of living forever in Hell! Believing in Jesusis the root of rejoicing forever in glorious immortality! Now, Sirs, see you not that life is not a thing to be played with,not a heap of counters that a child may toss to and fro, not the mere spray on the great sea of eternity? You must not jokeand talk about it as though it were a thing to be despised-but come up and look at it with all its solemn possibilities andresults-and live the life of sober men, live the life of men who have peered beyond the veil and seen some of the momentousissues of this fleeting existence! Henceforth, live while you live, earnestly, as in the sight of God, the Judge of the quickand the dead! Yes, let the light of the Resurrection stream over the whole of your present life to make its great things forthe present to become little-to make those things which otherwise might be little, which have a reference to eternity-becomegreat in your esteem. But I will not tarry on this and, therefore, pass on to the thought-
III. WHAT ENCOURAGEMENT THIS OFFERS TO US!
To think that there is a resurrection and another life! What? Were it worth our while to toil here in the service of Christ,often unrewarded and very frequently misrepresented and persecuted for what we do, if there were not a place where the rewardof Divine Grace would be given and where the mistakes of earth would all be set right? "Therefore," says the Apostle, "belovedbrethren, be you steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch
as you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord." It might be in vain here, but forasmuch as there is a resurrection,your labor is not in vain in the Lord! If we win souls for Christ, it often happens that some of those whom we thought weresaved, go back into perdition-many of those who are really saved walk disorderly-others are ungrateful to their spiritualparents and turn aside to crooked ways. But if our record is on high and we do not look to our success for our reward, butto our Master-then we may be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in work! You who are doing something for Jesus Christin the school, or in any other department of labor, if you look upon your rewards as the result, you may, perhaps, have veryfew conversions and you may go toiling on very heavily. But if you will look beyond all present results to the great Taskmaster'sblessed smile and think you hear Him say, "Well done, good and faithful servant"- when you see Him reward you not accordingto your success, but according to the measure of Grace which you use faithfully in His service-when you see that, you willpluck up courage, you will not be of heavy heart, you will be instant in season, out of season!
The same thing is an encouragement under suffering. For this the martyrs cheerfully gave themselves up to their tormentors,not accepting deliverance because they looked for a better resurrection. This it was that made them brave to meet the lionsin the amphitheater, or to lie and silently rot in the dismal dungeons of the Roman Emperors. This it was that made Smithfieldglorious, as the saints in their chariots of fire clapped their hands and ascended to the skies! They were, of all men, mostmiserable if, in this life only, they had hope. They were, of all men, most insane to fling away their lives if this worldwere all! But because there is another and a better land, to die for Jesus became a glorious thing and they did it, beingnot amazed, not trembling, but dying with greater grandeur about them than that with which most men have learned to surroundtheir living! And now, you that today are poor, or today are scoffed at. You who, though trying to follow Christ, find ita hard path. You who at home have little to encourage you and comfort you-remember this worldis not your rest! If you wereto have 50 years of your present trouble, well, it will be as nothing compared with the eternal weight of Glory! Have patience.Ask your Master to give you His patience. Pray of the Holy Spirit to work in you holy virtue, that after you have enduredawhile, you may inherit the promise. Remember that there must first be the service before there can be the reward-and evenunder the economy of Grace-in which we are not saved by works, but saved by the merit of Jesus, yet the Lord will have Hisservants, first of all, be made perfect through suffering before He admits them to their everlasting rest. Be of good courage,then! He will strengthen your heart. This is not your rest, but it remains for you, and you shall inherit it, by-and-by. Passingon again, for I only dwell for a moment upon each thought-this fact of our rising again and living forever suggests to us-
IV. WHAT OUGHT TO BE THE ONE CONCERN OF LIFE.
What shall this be for the saint-what for the sinner? If I am to live again as a child of God. If my salvation is accomplished.If my sin is blotted out and I am really saved, then let me serve my God with all my might, seeing what a blessed immortalityHe has prepared for me! Slaves work when they hear the whip crack, but the children of God are not slaves-they are not underbondage-they work from a very different motive. They have no fear of Hell, no fear of losing Heaven. When their faith is constantlyfixed upon the merits of their Savior, they know that their warfare is accomplished, that their iniquity is pardoned, thattheir salvation is secure beyond all risks through the Everlasting Covenant, the inimitable purpose and the Divine promiseof the Father in Christ Jesus! Because their salvation is secure and because it leads to such a blessed immortality, theyburn with fervent love and passionate gratitude towards Him who has done so much for them! Gratitude in the heart ought tobe, and I believe it is, the most powerful force in human motive. Love- what shall equal it? Its wheels move until the axlesgrow hot with speed. Love has an impetuous force about it. Many waters cannot quench it, neither can the floods drown it.What love we owe to Him who died, that when we die we may live again, who rose that we might rise and made a pathway to theskies that we might follow Him, even to His Throne!
"He lives, the great Redeemer lives," and beckons us to come and live with Him! When our bodies must, for awhile, see corruption,His voice, which shall be the trumpet sound, shall call us from the beds wherein we slumber to abide with Him forever! Letus love Him, then! Let us be up and doing to find the lost ones that are His sheep, to find His pieces of money that are nowin the dust, to discover our prodigal brethren that are still going astray! Shall we ask for rest when rest remains? Shallwe escape from toil when toil is the only exposition of our love? Shall we bemoan our sufferings when sufferings give us opportunitiesof proving our affection to Him? If the saint in Heaven could wish himself back again, he almost might-if he could win a soulby tarrying here a little longer! If any one of yonder white-robed hosts could wish
to be on earth, surely it might be to occupy the place of an earnest Evangelist, or of a fervent Sunday school teacher, orof any other who is a soul-winner for Jesus! I must confess I do not envy Gabriel his crown when God gives me souls! I havethen thought that I would rather be here to talk with you and point you to my Master's Cross, than be up there and cast mycrown at His feet-for surely there can be no joy in Heaven greater than the joy of doing the Master's will in winning soulsfor Him! Do not let us throw away our opportunities for doing this. Some of you do not, perhaps, think of using them. In yourbusiness, in the acquaintances that Providence puts in your way-you have opportunities in all these things of bearing yourwitness for your Master. I pray you to see them and seize them! They will soon pass, and in the silent chamber, when you areabout to enter into another world, if regret shall mingle with the holy peace that then shall gild your brow, it will be thisregret, "I wish I had served Him better, whom I am so soon to see. I wish I had more to take to Him who gave Himself up forme." Surely you will bid "good-bye" to friends with reluctance, if you have never warned them to escape from the wrath tocome! And those dear children-it will bring hotter tears into your eyes to leave them-if you leave them unsaved because youdid not plead and wrestle with them for their salvation. So live, dear Friends, that when you come to die, there shall benothing left undone and you may go and feel that through Grace you have been what you are, and unto God be the praise-thatyou have not neglected the lifework which your Master gave you!
Now, I said that this text should make the unforgiven sinner think-and so it should, and very earnestly, too, because therewill be a resurrection of the unjust as well as of the just. If you who are now living in sin were really to die and perishlike horses, there might be some sort of excuse found for choosing the pleasures of this life as being all-in-all. After all,if there is no other world, I do not know but what the Epicurean philosophy is the right one-"Let us eat and drink, for tomorrowwe die." If we are only to live in this world, it is the part of wisdom to enjoy one's self as much as possible. I do notknow but that even then a man would be justified in running into vice-because that does not bring enjoyment-it is sure toguarantee, even in this life, the most serious results. But still, at the bottom, that old Greek philosopher had hit uponthe true philosophy of life if this life were all-"Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die." But if there is a life to come,as there is, then what a fool Epicurus was! And what nonsense his philosophy becomes! Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow wedo not die, or if we do, yet we live again-and in the light of living again, why, eating and drinking seems such dreadfultrumpery, such driveling idiocy that a man cannot tolerate it either from philosopher or from a fool! Oh, if you are to liveforever, you who are living without thinking of your God, what sort of life must the next one be for you? You to whom, evennow, to think of God is an irksome burden, what will the next world be for you? You believe that Book, you dare not doubtit! And that Book tells you that "except you repent of your sin, you shall all likewise perish." Moreover, it tells you thatthere is no salvation out of Christ, but "He that believes in Him shall be saved; but He that believes not is condemned already,because he has not believed on the Son of God." According to this Book of God's perfectly revealed mind, there is reservedfor you, if you remain impenitent, a "fearful-looking-for of judgment and fiery indignation." Fear not him who can destroythe body-only fear Him who can cast both soul and body into Hell!
Why do you give so much attention to this world that is so soon to be left-and the eternal things are quite forgotten or despisedby you? I do not feel as if I could plead this with you with any sort of force or eager earnestness because it is really soplain that you, in your sins, must see it for yourselves! You surely, surely, as sober-minded men and women- and I know thereare some here who are accustomed to think-you must feel that the living throughout millions of ages ought to be of greaterconcern than living from week to week, or even year to year! We think a man is very foolish that lives from hand to mouth,and never cares to make any provision for a rainy day. But what a fool that man must be who makes no provision for that rainyday when the tempest of Heaven's retribution shall beat upon his naked soul-and he shall have no shelter and no way of escape!And if a man has grown old and yet neglects eternity, if his constitution is being gradually undermined and yet the everlastingthings are despised. If he has had solemn warnings that he must soon depart. If he has seen old companions, one by one, takento the grave-and he still trifles away his time, lingering upon the brink of fate-what folly is this and in what words canI describe it?
Blessed Spirit, take away this folly and make men wise that they may be saved! Let this be our one great concern- with holycare to make our calling and election sure, that when the Master comes we may not be found castaways-but may be gathered withHis people! And now for the last point. I do not know whether you will set much store by this last thought, but it is this-consideringthat our friends whom we talk with everyday, with whom we go up and down to the market, and to the place of worship-consideringthat they are to live forever-
V. SHOULD WE NOT ALTER A GREAT DEAL OF OUR PRESENT BEHAVIOR UNDER THE POWER OF THIS TRUTH?
What kind of behavior does this majestic fact inculcate towards our fellow men and women? Well, I think that Christian peopleought always to act to one another as immortal beings. Now I know some who belong to one denomination who will scarcely speakto those of another section of Christ's one Church. Well, well, well-if you both ever get to Heaven, you will have to dwelltogether! Yet it seems as though you cannot live together on earth without bickering! Why can't you make up your minds todiffer from each other, but always in a Christian spirit? I think, if I knew I had to live with a man, forever, one thingI would like to do would be to tell him perfectly honestly, with sincere love, all the Truths of God I knew-and I ought tobe willing to hear from him all the Truth he thought he knew. I would not like him to say to me, "Now, you must not hold yourviews strongly-you must not speak of them, or try to propagate them." That would be as bad as telling me I must sin againstGod by restraining the light which He had given me! Neither ought I to say to him, "You shall not be free to hold and disseminateyour views," for that would be to take upon myself a responsibility which does not belong to me!
But each holding our separate views and contending earnestly for what we believe to be "the faith once for all delivered tothe saints," might we not thus exercise an honesty which we shall look back upon in Heaven with joy-and at the same time,a brotherly kindness which will be a sweet reflection even beyond the stars? If any two of you have fallen out, even aboutthe faith, go your way and agree tonight! You have got to live together forever-do not quarrel! You who are relatives, especially,let not the sun go down upon your wrath, but as you are birds in the same nest, children of one family, and one with God,do not fall out! And if you have, make it up at once and let holy Christian forgiveness reign and rule! You see, God willnot put a partition between you in Heaven. I do not believe they will practice any kind of strict communion up there. I donot believe there will be any separate bench for any who would like to have that kind of thing, but that the whole companyof saints will have communion with each other and with their common Lord, their glorious risen Head! And that it will be theirdelight, all washed from all their imperfections and infirmities, to eat bread together in the Kingdom of God, world withoutend! Well, let us have large hearts and brotherly kindness-not keeping back our views, for that would be to sin-but holdingwith a firm hand everything which we have received from the Holy Spirit, and yet loving the whole household of faith. If wewere to die, and there were no life to come, then we might be foolish and unchristian enough to be forever squabbling andbickering! But if, after death, we are to live forever in the same place of Glory, let us so behave to one another that weshall not be ashamed or embarrassed to meet each other there.
And so with regard to the unconverted. Oh, Christian people, try to think of all the unconverted people with whom you haveto meet as immortal souls. Your servant girl that nurses and loves your child-you may, perhaps, never have thought of butas a servant girl-but she is an immortal soul as much as the Queen on the throne! Or it may be the man who comes to do oddjobs about the house and who blacks your shoes-you never thought of him, probably-but as a worker, yet he-even he-shall outlastthe stars! And all those working men and women, and girls who come streaming into your yard or factory, who weave at yourlooms, toil in your workrooms, stand at your printing press or at the bookbinding, or in your builder's shop-all these andthe myriads engaged in commercial and professional life you may hitherto, perhaps, have only thought of them as two-leggedmachines to earn so many shillings for you and draw so many less from you every week! Yes, but now just think again. Theyare living for immortality as well as yourselves! Will you try to act with them that if their funeral knell were heard andthey were gone, the voice of conscience might not have to torment you with this suggestion, "You neglected their souls! Youdid not do to them what you ought to have done to them! You kept back from their immortal part that which, alone, could makethem blessed in this life and in the life to come." 'Tis but a simple thought, and yet if I leave it with you, and God theHoly Spirit blesses it, it may be a very blessed thought to some whom you know not of today! Remember that all you see inthe streets, and all you see in the house, and all you see here tonight are all immortal and shall live again! And so treatthem as such, looking forward to the time when you will have to give an account whether you have abused or used graciouslythe opportunities which your Master placed in your way.
And now may the good Lord keep our thoughts Heavenward and bless us in them, for His name's sake. Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: PSALM 73.
Here you have the Psalmist in a fainting fit. He has allowed the flesh to conquer the spirit. The observant eye of reasonhas, for awhile rendered dim the clear vision of faith.
Verse 1. Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart That must be true. Whatever we have seen or felt,it cannot be doubted but what God must become a good God to His own people, "Such as are of a clean heart."
2, 3. But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had wellnear slipped. For I was envious at the foolish, when I sawthe prosperity of the wicked. I began to envy those whom God hates and to think that it would be better for me to have beenone of them!
4. For there are no pangs in their death: but their strength is firm. Their unbelief helps them to die in peace, mocking Godeven to the last.
5, 8. They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men. Therefore pride compasses them aboutas a chain; violence covers them as a garment Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish. Theyare corrupt and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily. They justify themselves in treading others down.They laud it over others. They bully them. They rob them. They crush them, yet speak as if they had a perfect right to doso!
9. They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walks through the earth. Leaving nobody alone, sparing no character,however pure.
10, 11. Therefore his people return here: and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them. And they say, How does God know?And is there knowledge in the Most High?They get to doubt the Personality of God. If they will not precisely say that thereis no God, yet they go as near to it as they can! They come to what is about the same thing. They have a god who does notknow and who does not perceive.
12. Behold, these are the ungodly whoprosperin the world; theyincrease in riches. And this is what the good man said-
13, 14. Verily Ihave cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocence. For all daylong have I beenpla-gued, andchastened every morning. "Is this all I am to get by my righteousness? Is this the reward of following after God-to be whippedas soon as I wake, and to be sent to bed sore with grief?"
15. If I say, I will speak thus, behold I should offend against the generation of Your children. So he did not say what hethought. Some have said, "If you think so, you may as well say so." But not so! You might as well say if you have a matchyou may as well burn your house down! Bad thought is bad to yourself, but it ends there-turn it into words and tell it toothers and it may do infinite mischief.
16, 17. When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me. Until I went into the sanctuary of God, then understood Itheir end.He went and hid himself in his God! He got near his God. It does not mean that he went to some place of worship,but that he went to the God whom he worshipped-hid himself in his God.
18. Surely you did set them in slippery places; You cast them down into destruction-
"On hills of ice I see them stand, While flaming billows roll below,"
melting down their foundation.
19, 22. How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! They are utterly consumed with terrors. As a dream when oneawakes; so, O Lord, when You awake, You shall despise their image. Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my veins.So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before You. It is a man of God that talks thus about himself. He feels thathe had got to act and think as a beast might do, for a beast only calculates things according to time present-it crops thegrass, is satisfied and lies down. But an immortal man ought to take a wider sweep and range in his thoughts and not merelythink of today and of this present life, but of the end of time and of the eternity that lies beyond this present mortal state!And because he had failed to do so, he calls himself foolish and ignorant, and says-
23, 28. Nevertheless I am continually with You: You have held me by my right hand. You shall guide me with Your counsel, andafterwards receive me to Glory. Whom have I in Heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire beside You. My fleshand my heart fails: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever. For, lo, they who are far from You shallperish: You have destroyed all them that desert You for harlotry But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put mytrust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all Your works. He finds all his comfort in his God. He comes to the conclusionthat whatever the portion of the ungodly may be, his is infinitely better than theirs because they have not God and he hasGod, who is All-in-All!