Holding Fast Integrity
Job 27:3-6
All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils;…

We cannot command the smiles of fortune or the friendship of men. But in defiance of every external event we may, with Job, "hold fast our integrity, and not let it go so long as we live." To explain and recommend this excellent disposition I illustrate its influence upon taste, sentiments, and conduct, and the happy effects which result from it.

1. In opposition to prejudice and bigotry, it implies a prevailing love of truth. To rise entirely above the influence of prejudice is not allotted to human nature, in our present state of ignorance and imperfection. Integrity cannot secure the mind entirely from prejudices, but it will diminish their number and force, and dispose the man who is under its influence to renounce them when they are discovered. It redounds to the credit of a man's understanding to have made choice of sound principles upon first deliberation. But it is no less an evidence of a manly and independent mind to relinquish the opinions it has already espoused, when they stand in opposition to the unchangeable laws of truth and righteousness.

2. In opposition to show and affectation, integrity consists in adhering to nature and simplicity. The manners of every individual must, in some degree, be formed upon the examples and fashions of the surrounding multitude. But this may be truly asserted, a man of integrity will not be the first to invent or imitate any custom that departs from simplicity and nature, and consists only in ceremony and false refinement. Through his predilection for simplicity, his religion will have nothing of affectation, but will be sincere and substantial. He does not assume the profession of it with any selfish end. He is but little solicitous about the praise of men. His attention is principally directed to the culture of inward piety and goodness.

3. Integrity implies a love of justice in opposition to fraud and dishonest dealing. The character I am describing, is superior to the influence of mercenary, grovelling motives. The man of deep-rooted integrity, by the irresistible and pleasing impulse of his heart, is at all times preserved from the most distant approach to fraud and dishonesty.

4. In opposition to disguise and hypocrisy, the character under review is open, bold, and pleased to be seen in its true colours. The consciousness of personal guilt engenders a suspicion of others, and makes the men who are tainted with it study the natural accomplishments of concealment and dissimulation.

(1) Integrity is the surest road to truth. A man of integrity not only looks up through a clear medium to the bright rays of the divinity, but also in his own nature and temper he perceives genuine, though faint and imperfect, lineaments of the image of God.

(2) The disposition of integrity has a powerful influence in nourishing and confirming all the graces of the Christian character. Sincerity and uprightness of conduct are the best security for the performance of every social duty.

(3) The virtue of integrity, from the intercourse which it establishes between God and the soul, and its moral influence extending to every branch of character, does, in a peculiar manner, inspire a man with a good conscience and an unshaken trust in the protection of heaven.

(T. Somerville, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils;

WEB: (For the length of my life is still in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils);

A Vexed Soul Comforted
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