Truth, and its Influence Upon Society
Isaiah 26:2
Open you the gates, that the righteous nation which keeps the truth may enter in.

Truth was not intended to be brought before the world by the God of truth for the mere purpose of influencing individual character. Hence we find the passage before us inviting not separate men in their respective capacities, but the righteous nation to enter in that keepeth the truth.

I. WHEN THE TRUTH SPREADS THROUGH SOCIETY IT WILL GIVE NEW VIEWS OF MORAL OBLIGATION. Looking at society as it stands at present where the truth has made but little way, we find those views of moral obligation that are adopted and acted upon, accommodated to the selfishness of individuals, and society has but little place in their consideration. But let the truth as it is in Christ influence society, and they will then begin to feel that the great source of moral obligation is not what they owe to themselves but what they owe to God.

II. If we find, therefore, that our sense of moral obligation is influenced by these higher considerations when we come to the truth, we have, in the next place, to look at THE WORKING OF TRUTH UNDER THIS HIGH SENSE OF MORAL RESPONSIBILITY TO GOD. There is an enlargement of feeling from the man to his own family — from his own family to his own relatives — from his own relatives to his own social circle — from his own social circle to his nation — from his nation to the body of nations round him — there is an enlargement of feeling in the still widening circle to regions beyond these — an enlargement of feeling that carries the mind onward in a morally spiritual expansion to the whole human race, and after the feelings of the man under the power of truth have been thus far extended, his feelings experience still a desire for further enlargement. He looks unto another and an eternal world and feels that there is a fellowship due to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to angels that seek to learn from his condition the manifold wisdom of God. And while his mind is thus enlarged under the working of truth, there is the reflection back again of truth in all the peace that it propagates, in all the glories that it conveys, in all the safety that it confers, in all the spirituality that it kindles, in all the communion which it permits between the creature and God, which will be found to tell upon the man, so that instead of living in a sphere of selfishness where his light burns but dimly, and where the discoveries of the power of truth are very limited, he feels that he lives in a blaze of spiritual illumination, and when he finds so many kindred souls sympathise with him, and striking up an anthem to God, whence all has come, he feels that he is a greater man, a happier man, a holier man, than if he were to stand aloof even in solitary perfection in his insulated condition, to worship God alone. Instead of a community of nations, we find a community of parties, and each frowning upon the other, and each watching the other with an unworthy yet a constant and an anxious jealousy. But when the truth does begin to operate upon the condition of the nations generally, how will their temporal circumstances be changed! What a rising of a new spirit in the human community! If we find truth thus raising our sense of moral obligation, if we find truth thus calculated to open so many sources of happiness, let us look to the source whence this mighty element derives all its power. It is not the truth itself regarded merely as conveyed by so many propositions that can accomplish this mighty wonder. But it is the truth applying these propositions by the Spirit of glory and of God. Looking, therefore, to all these mews of truth upon society, we have another great reason to induce us to endeavour to "buy the truth, and sell it not."

(J. Burnet.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in.

WEB: Open the gates, that the righteous nation may enter: the one which keeps faith.

National Righteousness
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