Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright…
There are many erroneous deceits.
1. One is the unsensibleness of its power: when a man feels no violence of sinful inclination, no stirrings, no opposition, no commands, but there is a calm and quietness in his spirit and in his way, which could not be as he thinks if sin had dominion and rule on him. Now, this is a deceit; for —
(1) It is most probable that sin hath the strongest dominion where the heart is most insensible of the law and commands of sin.
(2) This unsensibleness and quietness may arise, partly from the oneliness of sin, and partly from the ignorance of a sinful condition, and partly from the habitual custom of sin. Whether the sun doth shine or not, there are as many atoms and motes flying in the room, there they are really, though not sensibly till the light comes in to manifest them. When a man is in a deadly disease, he may be void of all sense of it. Nay, and as we see men in bondage and slavery, when they are long in the same, grow insensible, and the hand which is used to iron and nettles is not sensible of them.
2. Another deceit may be a freedom from many courses of sinful actings. Though a man doth not all evil, and his way or course is not universally spreading in all the kinds of sinning, yet sin may rule in that man, it may have dominion; forasmuch as —
(1) Particular subjection is sufficient to set up dominion. Though a servant hath but one master, and doth not serve every man in the parish, yet he is a true servant in respect of that one master; so though the sinner is not at the command of every lust, yet if he be the servant of any one lust, sin hath the dominion over him; for it is not the multitude of sins which doth absolutely and necessarily concur to dominion, but a subjection to the power of anyone.
(2) A man may do all that service to one sin, which others do to many sins; he may devise, and study to fulfil it, he may cheerfully and greedily receive its commands; he may heartily love it, and go on in it, and for its sake oppose the sceptre and dominion of Christ, he may consecrate all his strength to the obedience of it. So though in some men many sins do rule, and in others someone only, if the heart obeys many or few, or one, it is enough to declare dominion.
(3) Yet again, another deceit may be, not only declination of some sins, but also opposition; which a man thinks cannot possibly consist with dominion; for a kingdom is not, or should not be, divided against itself. To this I answer, that there may be notable deceit in this also; forasmuch as to that of exemption from great and gross sins: it is not the greatness, but the power of sin which makes it reigning; the princes in Germany have dominion, though the dominion of the emperor be more large. The least sin acknowledged, loved, served, sufficeth to dominion: the dominion of sin is most within the heart.
(O. Sedgwick, B. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.