Sermon 3055. Accomplices in Sin
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, AUGUST 29, 1907.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, MARCH 30, 1873.
"Neither be partaker of other men's sins." 1 Timothy 5:22.
WE have all abundant reason to look at home and see about our own sins. Nothing can be more absurd than for a man to takehis hoe and weed everybody else's garden-and leave all the thorns and thistles to flourish on his own plot. The old parableof the man who carried two bags, one behind and one in front, and who put other people's faults into the one in front, andhis own into the one at his back, is a very correct representation of the folly of those who have their eyes wide open tosee the faults of their neighbors, but are totally blind to their own imperfections. If, as our proverb puts it, "Charitybegins at home," so should criticism-and criticism concerning character had better stop there. There is so much dirty linenin our own house needing to be washed that none of us need to take in our neighbor's washing. "Mind your own business," isa command that might have been spoken by Solomon, himself, and the Apostle Paul was inspired to write to the Thessalonians,"Study to be quiet and to do your own business." And he and Peter very sternly condemned those who were "busybodies in othermen's matters."
So it is not my intention to bid any of you to cease to look to your own affairs, but at the same time, I want to remind youthat we cannot, in this world, live altogether to ourselves. He who is most bent upon minding his own business cannot helpknowing that his next door neighbor has something to do with his garden. Even if he looks diligently after his own plot, thistleseeds from the left and the right may blow over into his garden and trouble will come to him from the very fact that he hasneighbors! Our dwelling places in this life are not all detached-many of us have to live on streets and if our neighbor'shouse is on fire, it is not at all unlikely that the flames may spread to our dwelling. Let us never be so concerned aboutour own interest as to be selfish, for even if we try to be wholly wrapped up in ourselves, we shall be compelled to noticethe actions of others with whom we are more or less intimately linked- whether we wish to do so, or not. Hence, the messageof the text is necessary, not to take us away from our own duty, but to help us to make sure that we are not "partakers ofother men's sins."
The connection in which this text stands must be noticed. Timothy was exhorted by Paul to "lay hands suddenly on no man."There were certain upstarts who wrongly thought that they could preach-and there were others who thought that they could rulein the churches. These persons probably gained a few or many partisans to support their claims. There were some of their relativesin the church who thought a great deal of their sons, or brothers, or uncles, or cousins, or there were friends who heardsome man speak on a certain occasion with considerable fluency and, being unwise, they judged him to be man of master-mindand would have put him into the front rank of the army at once if the power to do so had rested with them! Paul tells Timothy,whom he had sent to exercise a general oversight over the officers and members of the church, not to be in a hurry to layhis hands upon these men, so as to endorse their claim, but to let them wait awhile until they were tried and tested-becauseif he allowed them to take office in the church and they committed faults or follies, he would be responsible for them andeverybody would say, "We wonder that Timothy should have sent out such men as these." So he was bid to be cautious lest heshould become, in any way, "a partaker of other men's sins." None of us are exactly in Timothy's position so we are not likelyto fall into the fault against which Paul warned him- at least not in precisely the same form. Yet the text has a messageto us and we may say to one another, "Be not partakers of other men's sins."
I. I shall first try to show you HOW WE CAN BE PARTAKERS OF OTHER MEN'S SINS and, in doing that, I am afraid that the variousways in which we can do this will seem to be very many. And that if I am not very careful, you will think that my sermon islike Ezekiel's valley of vision in which the bones were "very many" and "very dry." I will not be more wordy than I can help,but at the same time I must deal with the subject somewhat in detail.
As to how we can become accomplices in other people's sins-the preacher must first say to himself that he will be such a manif he is not true to his trust If he shall teach false Doctrine, or if, teaching the true Doctrines, he shall teach them erroneously-ifhe shall keep back unpalatable Truths of God-if he shall allow sin to pass without reproof-if he shall see a great deficiencyof spiritual life and service and not point it out-if, in brief, he shall be an unfaithful servant of Christ and his hearersshall thereby be kept in a low state of Divine Grace, inconsistent with their profession-and the unconverted shall be hinderedfrom coming to Christ, he will become a partaker in other men's sins. Indeed, I know of no man who is more likely to fallinto the fault indicated in the text than a minister of the Gospel is! Oh, what Grace we need and what help from on high lestif we fail in faithfulness to God and our hearers, the doom of souls should be laid at our door and we should be partakersof other men's sins! Brothers and Sisters, pray for us that this may not be our unhappy lot-
"'Tis not a cause of small import The pastor's care demands, But what might fill an angel's heart And filled a Saviors hands!They watch for souls for which the Lord Did heavenly bliss forego, For souls which must forever live In raptures or in woe.May they that Jesus, whom they preach, Their own Redeemer see- And watch YOU daily over their souls, That they may watch forTHEE." That piece is especially intended for myself and my Brother ministers. The rest of my discourse will be for you aswell as myself. So next I must remind you that we can, all of us, be partakers of other men's sins by willfully joining withthem in any act of sin and doing as they do-like those sinners mentioned by Solomon in the Book of Proverbs, who said, "Castin your lot among us; let us all have one purse." We must have nothing to do with such men! God forbid that we should! Ifwe sin alone, it is bad enough, but if we sin in company, we have not only to answer for our own sins, but also for the sinsof others, at least in part. If hand joins with hand in sin, there is a multiplication of its guilt, for each man who hashelped to lead a fellow creature into iniquity will have his own transgression increased by the transgression of that othersinner. By their combination, the two will become capable of even greater guilt than they would have committed individually.God save us all from being accomplices in the sins of others by uniting with them in their sinful acts and deeds!
Further, we may be partakers in other men's sins by tempting them to sin. This is a most hateful thing and makes the man whopractices it to become the devil's most devoted drudge, servant and slave. I have known such tempters of others-old men who,from their youth up, had sinned in such a shameful way that their very looks were full of lechery. There was a leer abouttheir eyes that was almost enough to destroy all chastity that came beneath their glance. And their speech was full of thedouble entendre, insinuations and innuendoes which were almost worse than open profanity. I have known one such walking massof putrefaction defile a whole parish-and when I have seen a boy walking with such a demon incarnate, or sitting down withhim in the public-house, I knew that the boy's character would be ruined if that vile doctor in devilry could only instructhim in the vices with which he is, himself, so shamefully familiar. There are such fiends in London and we could almost wishto have them all buried straightaway, for they are Satan's servants spreading wickedness all around them! I do not supposeI am addressing one such dreadful creature, yet I know that some great sinners of that sort do come within these walls andthey will, of course, be very angry because of my allusion to them. Yet I never knew a thief who was fond of a policemen andI do not expect or wish to secure the approval of scoundrels whose evil character I am exposing. If, Sir, I have describedyou and you will not repent of your sin, I tell you that the hottest
place in Hell is reserved for you, for you have led young men to the alehouse and taught them to drink the devil's drugs andto repeat your foul blasphemies and to imitate your scandalous lasciviousness! Yet before it is too late, I beseech you torepent of your sin, that it may be blotted out by the precious blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, which cleanses from all sin!But if not, "other men's sins" will cry out against you for judgment at the bar of the Almighty! I solemnly charge all ofyou who have not committed this iniquity, to never do so-take care that you never say a word which might stain the innocenceof a child's mind and that you never let fall an expression which might, in any way, be the means of leading another personinto sin-for it is an easy thing for us to become partakers of other men's sins by tempting them to commit iniquity.
If there is any evil worse than that, I think it is that of employing others to sin. It was one of the basest parts of David'sgreat sin that when he wanted to have Uriah killed, he did not slay him, himself, but got Joab to expose him in a positionwhere he was certain to be killed. It is horrible when a man is determined to be dishonest, yet gets someone else to committhe sin for him! It is a shameful thing that there are professedly "religious" employers who try to get their young men tosay across the counter what they know is not according to truth. Are there not some of these so-called "Christian" employerswho want young men who are not "too particular"? Do I not hear, every now and then, of young men who have been found to betoo scrupulous and who have been told that they had better get situations somewhere else? They objected to describe the goodsas their employer wanted them to do because they knew it would be a lie. They were told, "It is the custom in the trade and,therefore, must be so here." That is to say because other persons were liars and cheats, these young men must be knaves-andtheir master must make money by their lying to his customers! Now, if I meant to thieve or deceive, I would do it myself-Iwould not employ young men and women, or old ones either, to lie and cheat for me! If any of you have done so, I pray Godthat He may lead you to repent of such abominable wickedness, for the sin is not one-half theirs and the other half yours-itis partly theirs, but it is far more yours if they are doing wrong at your bidding! God save us all from being "partakersof other men's sins" in that way!
Some commit this great crime by driving other men into sin by the fears which they have inspired, or by oppressing them intheir wages, or by setting them to do what must involve them in sin. I remember the case of a man who was employed where itwas well known that some of the parcels which he collected on his way and carried to their destination would never be bookedby him, but the price paid for the carriage would be secretly dropped into his own pocket. The man's wages were so small thatnobody, unless an idiot, ever believed that he lived on them, so, tacitly, the understanding was that the man would be sureto pilfer on his own account, so his wages were cut down below the point at which he could earn an honest living. I fear thatthere are many men who are dishonest for this reason-I will not excuse them, but I hope that if they are ever sent to prisonfor stealing, their masters will be sent with them, for they are equally guilty!
Yet again, we may become partakers of the sins of others by a misuse of our position over them. This is especially the casewith parents. When a father is a man of loose habits, if his son follows his evil example, who is to blame? If a drunken fathersees his child become a drunkard, whose fault is it? If he is a swearer and his son uses profane language, who taught theboy those oaths? Is not the guilt of that swearing largely the father's? "Oh!" some of you say, "we would not teach our childreneither drunkenness or profanity." Yet you are not, yourselves, Christians-you may be moral and truthful, and so on, but youare not Christians. And if your children are not converted, will they not say, "Our father was never converted, so why shouldwe be?" "But we always take them to a place of worship." I know you do. And your children say, "Father goes to a place ofworship, but he does not believe in Christ and he never prays." So if they grow up in the same way, who is to blame? You saythat you trust they will not do so-then ask the Lord to make you a Christian, for then it will be more likely that your childrenwill also be Christians. When you blame your children for wrongdoing, you ought to blame yourselves even more, for after all,what are they doing but what you yourself are doing?
Plato, the philosopher, one day saw a boy in the street behaving in a very shameful manner, so he walked straight into thehouse where the boy's father lived and began to beat him. When he said to Plato, "Why do you beat me?" the philosopher replied,"I found your boy doing wrong. I did not beat him, but I beat you, for he must have learned it from you, or else it was yourfault because you did not exercise proper discipline upon him at home." Have you never felt, when you have seen the faultsof your own children, that you ought to lay the rod on your own back because, in some way or other, you were an accomplicein your children's sins? How much of the ruin of many children's souls lies at their Volume 53 www.spurgeongems.org 3
parents' door! How sad it is that in many cases the influence of the mother and father is damning to their children! Men andwomen who have boys and girls at home who are very dear to you-can you bear the thought that you may, one day, have to say,"Our unchristian example has ruined our own children"?
"Oh, but we are members of the Church," say some. Yes, I know you are, yet I speak to you as well as to others, for thereare some of you who are bringing up your children in an improper manner. I do not see how they can be expected to love religionwhen they see your own household ordered so badly, or not ordered at all. The professor of religion who does not live consistentlywith his profession does more injury to the cause of Christ than a non-professor does! There are some who hang out the signof, "The Angel," but the devil keeps the inn! Someone has truly said that many a man's house is like Noah's ark in that itis pitched within and without with pitch. There is pitch in the dining-room-gluttony and drunkenness. And pitch in the bed-chamber-lasciviousnessand wantonness. Pitch in the drawing-room-talk which is not even fit for the stables. And pitch in the shop, for much thatis "dirty" goes on there. How can anyone expect good children to come out of such a house as that? May none of us, like Eli,be accomplices in our children's sins through neglecting to rebuke them, or like David, through our evil example leading theminto sin! On the contrary, let us pray for them, as Abraham cried to the Lord, "O that Ishmael might live before You!" I liketo present to God the petitions and pleas which are so well worded in that hymn in "Our Own Hymn Book" which is attributedto Rowland Hill-
"You, who a tender Parent are,
Regard a parent's plea-
Our offspring, with an anxious heart,
We now commend to Thee.
Our children are our greatest care,
A charge which You have given-
In all Your Graces let them share,
And all the joys of Heaven.
If a centurion could succeed,
Who for his servant cried,
Will You refuse to hear us plead
For those so near allied?
On us You have bestowed Your Grace,
Be to our children kind-
Among Your saints give them a place,
And leave not one behind."
The injunction of the text of course applies, in a measure, to the teacher of a class as well as to the parent of a family.If the teacher is inconsistent and his scholars imitate him, the guilt of their wrong-doing will, at least in part, rest uponthe teacher. The same principle applies to all persons who are in positions of influence in the land. If I were preachingto the House of Commons and the House of Lords, I would probably have to say some things which they would not wish to hearagain. Certain "honorable gentlemen" and "noble lords" talk very glibly about the necessity for the nation to be religious,yet their lives are not remarkably religious, so their talk is all hypocritical and great sin lies at their door! God willcertainly punish princes and so-called "nobles" if their example is not such as the common people can safely follow.
But even though we may not be of royal or exalted rank, all of us will become "partakers of other men's sins" if we set thembad examples. If they can quote us as having done certain wrong things which they have imitated, we must share in the guiltof their sin. Yet it is always a bad thing to follow a bad example. If I see anyone's example to be bad, it ought not to bea temptation to me-and I am a partaker of that man's sins if, knowing that he has done amiss-I also do amiss simply becausehe has done so first. If I know that his course is wrong, I ought to shun the rock on which his boat has been wrecked.
We can also be "partakers of other men's sins" by countenancing them and there are many ways in which that may be done-forinstance, by associating with ungodly men as though we did not think there was much harm in them. And worst of all, by laughingat and with them when their mirth is not pure fun. I fear that many a wicked man has been hardened in his sin because a professingChristian has laughed at his filthy jests.
We may also be "partakers of other men's sins" by joining a church that holds unscriptural doctrines, or that does not actaccording to Apostolic precedent Some people say, "We belong to such-and-such a church, but we don't approve
of its teaching or its practice." What? You belong to it and yet you do not approve of its principles? Out of your own mouthyou are condemned! If I unite with a church whose creed and catechism I do not believe, and whose ordinances I do not practice,I am guilty of my own share in all the error that is there! It is no use for me to say, "I am trying to undo the mischief"-Ihave no business to be there! If I join a pirate's crew, I shall be responsible for all that is done by the whole crew. Ihave no business to be on that vessel at all and I must get off it at the first opportunity, or even fling myself into thesea rather than have a share in the pirates' wrongdoing!
But supposing you have joined a church whose doctrines are Scriptural, you may be "partakers of other men's sins" if the disciplineof the church is not carried out as it should be. If we know that members are living in gross sin and do not deal with themeither by way of censure or excommunication in accordance with the teaching of Christ and His Apostles, we become accomplicesin their sin. I often tremble about this matter, for it is no easy task where we count our members by the thousands. But maywe never wink at sin, either in ourselves or in others! May you all, Beloved, exercise a jealous oversight over one anotherand so help to keep one another right! And let each one pray Charles Wesley's prayer which we have often sung-
"Quick as the apple of an eye,
God, my conscience make! Awake, my Soul, when sin is near, And keep it still awake."
Further, we may be "partakers of other men's sins" by not rebuking them for sinning if it is our duty to do so, or by notdoing all we can towards their conversion. For instance, by living in a certain neighborhood and never trying to bring theGospel to the people in that neighborhood, or by not maintaining our consistent Christian walk as the separated people ofGod. In brief, let each one sing, from the heart, the rest of that hymn from which I began to quote just now-
"I need a principle within Of jealous godly fear. A sensibility of sin, A pain to feel it near!
1 need the first approach to feel Of pride, or fond desire
To catch the wandering of my will,
And quench the kindling fire.
That I from You no more may part,
No more Your goodness grieve-
The filial awe, the fleshy heart,
The tender conscience give.
If to the right or left I stray,
That moment, Lord, reprove
And let me weep my life away,
For having grieved Your love.
Oh may the least omission pain
My well-instructed soul
And drive me to the blood again,
Which makes the wounded whole!" II. I must not say more upon this part of the subject lest I should weary you. So I pass onto ask, in the second place, WHY SHOULD WE SEEK TO AVOID BEING PARTAKERS OF OTHER MEN'S SINS?
This will be a sufficient answer-Because we have more than enough sins of our own and cannot also carry other people's. Andalso because if we are partakers in their sins, we shall also partake in their plagues. And because we do other men an injuryby being accomplices with them-we steel and harden them in their sins. The weightiest reason of all is this-we should notbe "partakers of other men's sins" because, by so doing, we should grieve our holy and gracious God-and no true lover of Christought ever to do that! Remember what Paul wrote to the saints at Ephesus, "Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby youare sealed unto the day of redemption."
III. My next question is-HOW CAN WE AVOID BEING PARTAKERS IN OTHER MEN'S SINS?
And I reply-Only by the help of God's Spirit! First, be very jealous about other men's sins. I wish all parents acted as wiselyas Job did concerning his children. They went to one another's houses and feasted, so Job "rose up early in the morning andoffered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed Godin their hearts." O parents, do likewise, for that is the way to keep yourselves from participation in your children's sins!
Next to being thus jealous with a holy jealousy, be always on the watch lest you should be "partakers in other men's sins."The man who wants to avoid certain diseases will take care not to go to an infected house. So, go not where sinners go, lestyou should catch the infection of their sin. Remember how careful Abraham was not to take anything from the King of Sodom,"from a thread even to a shoelace," even though it was his lawful share of the spoils of war. Be you equally careful concerningeven the least sin.
The next way to keep from being an accomplice in sin is by prayer. Augustine used to offer a short prayer which I commendto you all, "O Lord, save me from my other men's sins!" Put this down among your other confessions, "O Lord, I confess untoyou my other men's sins! I mourn over my other men's sins, I repent of my other men's sins, I grieve on account of my participationin other men's sins." This will be a good way of keeping from committing them.
I think I had better close by saying that I do not think we have, any of us, escaped from the meshes of this sermon. If wehave done so, it is either my fault or the fault of our own consciences. I have tried to fire red-hot shot in all directions,not omitting myself-and most of us have felt that there was a shot specially meant for us. What had we better do then? I willcall to your minds a verse which we often sing and which we will again sing almost immediately-
"There is a Fountain filled with blood, Drawn from Immanuel's veins- And sinners, plunged beneath that flood, Lose all theirguilty stains!"
We are all stained with at least splashes from other men's sins as well as our own, so let us all go to the Fountain and wash.Let us renew our faith in the precious blood of Jesus, for if we never had any faith in it before, may God graciously grantit to us now! If we had rebelled against the Queen and had been at last subdued by force-and if there had been an Act of Oblivionpassed for all who wished to claim an interest in it-perhaps some would say to themselves, "We do not know that we took anygreat part in the rebellion, yet it may be that we did-and the safest thing for us all to do is to put down our names andso secure the benefit of the Act of Oblivion." So I, as one of the guilty ones, confessing that it is so, desire to say tothe great King, "My Lord, I am guilty of sins of my own, sins of my children, sins of my servants, sins of my neighbors, sinsof my Church and sins of my congregation-but You have said, 'I, even I, am He that blots out your transgressions for My ownsake, and will not remember your sins.' You have promised to blot out all sin from those who believe in Jesus Christ, YourSon. Lord, I believe in Him, so I claim the benefit of that Act of Oblivion."
Dear Hearer, will not you say the same? Will you not now obey that Divine command, "Look unto Me, and be you saved, all theends of the earth"? Though you have gone to the ends of the earth, yet God says to you, "Look unto Me, and be you saved."Look! Look! LOOK! It is little that you have to do! Indeed, it is nothing that you have to do, for God gives you Grace todo all that He requires of you. So trust in Him, rest in Him-the Lord help you to do so and then, whatever your sins may havebeen, though they may have been "as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow." Though they may have been "red like crimson,they shall be as wool." God bless you and save you, for His name's sake! Amen. Now let us all sing the verse that I quotedjust now-
"There is a Fountain filled with blood,
Drawn from Immanuel's veins-
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains"- and let all who can sing it from the heart join in the well-known chorus-
"Ido believe, I will believe,
That Jesus died for me!
That, on the Cross, He shed His blood
From sin to set me free!"
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: PSALM 73.
You may have noticed that the 73rd Psalm and the 37th Psalm are on the same subject. It will help you to recall this factif you remember that the figures are the same, only reversed.
Verse 1. Truly God is good to Israel Settle that matter in your hearts. Whatever doubts may distress or disturb your mind,fix this point as certain- "Truly God is good to Israel."
I, 2. Even to such as are of a clean heart But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well near slipped.He wasa good man, one of the leaders in Israel, yet he had to make this confession, "My feet were almost gone; my steps had wellnear slipped."
3, 4. For I was envious at the foolish, when Isaw the prosperity of the wicked. For there are no bands in their death: buttheir strength is firm. Many of them have so stifled conscience that it does not trouble them even in that last dread hour-andthey pass into eternity with blinded eyes, self-deluded to the last.
5. They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men. They are not the children of God- and thatis why they escape the rod of God. The rod is not for strangers, but for the children of the family. Yet the Psalmist beganto envy these people because, said he, "they are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men."
6. Therefore pride compasses them about as a chain. They wear it gladly and think it to be an ornament.
6-9. Violence covers them as a garment. Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish. They arecorrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily. They set their mouth against the heavens.As thoughthey would blow them down, as the wind blows the clouds that are full of rain.
9. And their tongue walks through the earth. Like the ravening lion of the pit, seeking characters that they may destroy ordevour. There is no end to the mischief that such people can do. If they are not in trouble, they make much trouble for otherpeople and while they set themselves on so high a pinnacle, they are mean enough to slander the characters of the good.
10. Therefore his people return here: and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them. They have to drink of the bitter cupagain and again-it seems to them to be always full. And the wicked have their full cup-filled, as it seems, with the juicefrom the very finest fruit!
II. And they say, How does God know? And is there knowledge in the Most High?They admit that there is a God, but they ask,"What does He know, and how does He know?"
12-14. Behold, these are the ungodly who prosper in the world; they increase in riches. Verily I have cleansed my heart invain, and washed my hands in innocence. For all day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning. It was one of hisgreatest sorrows that the more holy he was, the more troubled he seemed to be-and the more closely he endeavored to followhis God, the more it seemed as if God only frowned upon him. Yet the Psalmist's was no exceptional case, of which there isonly one in all history-there have been many such and there are many such to this day!
15. If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I should offend against the generation of your children. You know that some peoplehave made up a kind of proverb like this, "If you think it, you may as well speak it." But it is not so. Bad thoughts shouldnever be spoken! If a man has a bottle of whisky in his house, or in his pocket, that is bad enough, but if the cork is nevertaken out, it will do no very great hurt to anybody. So if a man has evil thoughts but does not utter them, the mischief willnot be so great as if he were to make them known to others.
16. When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me. He could not bear the thought of offending God's children, butat the same time, the problem itself, concerning the righteous and the wicked, until he could solve it, was too painful forhim.
17. Until I went into the sanctuary of God. When he went into God's holy place-when he began to understand God's purposesand plans and looked beyond the present life into the dreadful future of the ungodly, he could say.
17. Then I understood their end. And understanding their end, his difficulty ceased, his puzzling problem was solved!
18. Surely You did set them in slippery places. As if they stood upon a ridge of ice from which they must slip down-who wishesto be lifted up upon an Alp of prosperity from which he may be dashed down at any moment? If you knew that there was a manstanding on the top of the Cross of St. Paul's at this moment, I do not suppose that any of you would envy him-certainly Iwould not. Let him have a patent for standing there and let nobody else ever attempt it. And an ungodly man, in the elevatedplaces of prosperity, is in such a perilous position that we need not envy him.
18. You cast them down into destruction. Down they go! If not in this life, yet in the next, and who will envy them
19, 20. How they are 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. When a man wakes up, the image that was before his mind,in his dream, is gone. And when God wakes up to judgment, these wicked men who were but as images in a night dream, shallpass away.
21. Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins. In the most tender and most vital parts of his being, he feltan inward and terrible pain.
22. So foolish was I, and ignorant I was as a beast before You. Judging as the beast judges that can only see the little grassaround itself, and fattens itself, knowing nothing of the shambles and of the butcher's knife that is being sharpened to killit there. "So," says the Psalmist, "I was like that, I forgot about the future, I did not judge as an immortal being shouldjudge concerning the infinite and the eternal, but I judged things as a beast might judge by the narrow compass of its littlegrazing ground.
23. Nevertheless.This phrase is most delightful, coming in connection with his previous confession, "I was as a beast beforeyou. Nevertheless."
23. I am continually with You: You have held me by my right hand. That is your portion also, Christian! However few your pounds,however short your supplies, you are continually with God and He holds you by your right hand. Will you envy the ungodly afterthat?
24. You shall guide me with Your counsel, and afterward receive me to Glory. There is where your chief possession lies, lockedup in that which is marked, "Afterward." Not today, possibly not tomorrow, but, "afterward," is your inheritance! "AfterwardYou will receive me to Glory."
25. Whom have I in Heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire beside You. Here is the Christian's heavenlyand earthly portion and treasure. He has his God, both here and hereafter-and this is better than all that can fall to thelot of the worldling!
26. 27. My flesh and my heart fails; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever For, lo, they that are farfrom You shallperish: You have destroyed all them that go a whoring from You. That is, setting their hearts on unlovely thingsand forgetting to love God.
28. But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all Your works.ThePsalm ends jubilantly, as it began, though part of it had been in a minor key.