Psalm 15:2
He who walks with integrity and practices righteousness, who speaks the truth from his heart,
A Mark of Zion CitizenshipJoseph Parker, D. D.Psalm 15:2
Allied VirtuesPsalm 15:2
Life a WalkG. Downame.Psalm 15:2
On TruthJ. Hewlett, B. D.Psalm 15:2
Practical PietyPsalm 15:2
Righteousness in CharacterJ. H. Jowett, M. A.Psalm 15:2
Speech Spoilt by the Underlying Evil of a Corrupt HeartJ. R. Miller.Psalm 15:2
The Citizen of Zion a Speaker of Truth in His HeartT. Boston, D. D.Psalm 15:2
The Citizen of Zion a Worker of RighteousnessT. Boston, D. D.Psalm 15:2
The Citizen of Zion an Upright WalkerT. Boston, D. D.Psalm 15:2
The God-Approved ManJ. J. Stewart Perowne, B. D.Psalm 15:2
The Marks of the SaintsG. Downame.Psalm 15:2
The Marks of the SaintsR. Turnbull.Psalm 15:2
The Model Church MemberJ. O. Keen, D. D.Psalm 15:2
The Transcendent Importance of Social MoralityHomilistPsalm 15:2
Truth in the HeartJ. H. Jowett, M. A.Psalm 15:2
Uprightness of CharacterJ. H. Jowett, M. A.Psalm 15:2
What Uprightness IsG. Downame.Psalm 15:2
A Life Without ReproachW. Forsyth Psalm 15:1-5
A Question and an AnswerW. Boyd Carpenter, D. D.Psalm 15:1-5
An Ideal WorshipperA. Maclaren, D. D.Psalm 15:1-5
Dwelling on the Holy HillG. Downame.Psalm 15:1-5
Earth as Seen from the Holy Hill of Communion with GodG. Downame.Psalm 15:1-5
Practical ChristianityDean Farrar.Psalm 15:1-5
The Church MilitantR. Turnbull.Psalm 15:1-5
The Citizen of Zion DescribedT. Boston, D. D.Psalm 15:1-5
The Essentials of a Spiritual ReligionC. Short Psalm 15:1-5
The Good CitizenF. D. Maurice, M. A.Psalm 15:1-5
The Man in Undisturbed RestC. Clemance Psalm 15:1-5
The Soul of Man Turned Towards HeavenA. T. Pierson, D. D.Psalm 15:1-5
Who Shall Abide with GodR. Horsfall.Psalm 15:1-5

It matters little when this psalm was written, or by whom. Although there is no reason for denying its Davidic authorship, still its contents are manifestly and equally precious, whoever was the inspired penman, and whenever he penned these words. Manifestly, the psalm is a product of Judaism. The Mosaic legislation had its ritual, but it was not ritualistic. There was not only an altar of sacrifice, but also a pillar of testimony and the tables of the Law; and to leave out either the sacrificial or the ethical part of the Hebrew faith would give as the residuum, only a mutilated fragment of it. This psalm is not one of those which in itself contains a new revelation, but one the inspiration of which is due to a revelation already received. The forms of expression in the first verse indicate this with sufficient clearness; the entire psalm suggests to us three lines of truth for pulpit exposition.

I. THERE IS A HOME FOR THE SOUL IN GOD. We do not regard the question in the first verse as one of despair, but simply as one of inquiry. It suggests that there is a sphere wherein men may dwell with God, and asks who are the men who can and do live in this sphere. The inquiry is addressed to "Jehovah," the redeeming God of Israel, who by this name had made himself known to the chosen people as their God - the Loving, the Eternal, the Changeless One. Moreover, there had been a tabernacle made, and afterwards the palace of the great King was erected on Mount Zion, the holy hill. "This is my rest for ever; here will I dwell, for I have desired it." And inasmuch as this was the spot where God dwelt with men, to the devout soul the happiest place was that spot where he could meet with God; and if, perchance, he could there abide, not only to sojourn as for a night, but even to take up his permanent abode, he would realize the very ideal of good. "One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple." But in the later form of scriptural thought it is not only in this place or that that the yearning spirit can find God, but everywhere; yea, God himself is the soul's home - a home neither enclosed by walls, nor restricted in space, nor bounded by time. And we know what are the features of that home - it is one of righteousness, of a purity which allows no stain; it is one of mercy, in which all the occupants have made a covenant with God by sacrifice; it is one of closest fellowship, in which there may be a perpetual interchange of communion between the soul and the great eternal God. And when we remember that on the one hand, God is of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on iniquity, and that on the other hand, even all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags, it must always be a wonder of wonders that the sinner should ever be allowed to find a home in God; and never can it be inappropriate to ask the question with which the psalm begins, "Lord, dost thou give it to all men to find their rest in thee? If not, who are these happy ones?" "Who shall sojourn in thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in thy holy hill?"

II. ONLY SOME SOULS FIND GOD A HOME FOR THEM. The rest of the psalm answers the question which is raised at the outset of it. Inasmuch as the very phraseology of the psalm is built upon and assumes the divinely appointed institutions of priesthood, sacrifice, penitence, prayer, and pardon, it is needful only to remark in passing that the man who dwells in God's holy hill is the one who accepts the divinely revealed plan of mercy and pardon through an appointed sacrifice. But the fact that by God's mercy we are permitted to base the edifice of our life on such a foundation does by no means dispense with the necessity or lessen the importance of our erecting such edifice with scrupulous exactness according to the Divine requirements. The two parts of revealed religion cannot be disjoined now, any more than of old; the sacrificial and ethical departments must be equally recognized. And we arc here called upon to study a Scripture portraiture of a virtue which God will approve, by seeing how a man who lives in God will demean himself before the world.

1. His walk is upright. His entire life and bearing will be of unswerving integrity. Bishop Perowne renders the word "uprightly," "perfectly," which in the scriptural sense is equivalent to "sincerely," with an absolutely incorruptible aim at the glory of God.

2. His deeds are right. They correspond with the simplicity and integrity of his life's aim and intent.

3. His heart is true to his words. He does not say one thing and mean another, nor will he cajole another by false pretences.

4. He guards his tongue. He will not "backbite" or "slander:" the verb is from a root signifying "to go about," and conveys the idea of one going about from house to house, spreading an evil report of a neighbour.

5. He checks the tongues of others. He will not take up a reproach against his neighbour. Retailers of gossip and scandal will find their labour lost on him.

6. He abstains from injuring a friend - by deeds of wrong.

7. He estimates people according to a moral standard, not according to their wealth. A base person is rejected, however rich. A man who fears the Lord is honoured, however poor.

8. He is true to his promise, though it may cost him much, even more than he at first supposed.

9. He is conscientious in the use of what he has. He will not be one to bite, to devour, or to oppress another by greed of gain, nor will he take a bribe to trick a guileless man. He will be clear as light, bright as day, true as steel, firm as rock. While resting on the promises of God as a ground of hope, he will follow the Divine precepts as the rule of his life. As Bishop Perowne admirably remarks, "Faith in God and spotless integrity may not be sundered. Religion does not veil or excuse petty dishonesties. Love to God is only then worthy the name, when it is the life and bond of every social virtue." A holy man said on his death-bed, "Next to my hope in Christ, my greatest comfort is that I never wronged any one in business."

III. FROM THEIR HOME IN GOD such SOULS CAN NEVER BE DISLODGED. (Ver. 5, "He that doeth these things shall never be moved.") The man is one who lives up to the Divine requirements under the gospel.

"Yet when his holiest works are done,
His soul depends on grace alone." Even so. And he shall not be disappointed. Note, in passing, it is not his excellence that ensures this security; but the grace of God honors a man whose faith and works accord with his will.

1. No convulsions can disturb such a man. His rest in Divine love is one which is secure against any catastrophe whatever (Psalm 46:1, 2; Romans 8:38, 39).

2. Time is on the side of such a one. For both the graces of faith and obedience will strengthen with age; while the Being who is his Stronghold is the same "yesterday, and to-day, and for ever." Such characters, moreover, can never get out of date.

3. No discoveries in science nor in any department can dim the lustre of such a life. To trust in the great eternal God and to aspire to his likeness, is surely that of which no advance in human thought can ever make us ashamed.

4. The faithful God will never desert such a one. Whoever clings to God in faith, love, and obedience will never find his love unreciprocated or his trust unrecompensed.

5. The promises made to each a one will never fail. They are all Yea and Amen in Christ; they are sealed by "the blood of the everlasting covenant." And hence they who repose their trust in them can never be moved. In conclusion, the preacher may well warn against any attempt to divorce these two departments of character - trust and action.

1. Without trust in God there can be no right action.

2. Without the aim at right action we have no right to trust in God. - C.

He that walketh uprightly.
The visible Zion was typical of the Invisible Church. In the "holy hill" God dwelt in symbol, in the Universal Church He dwells in viewless spiritual realness. Spiritual citizenship is the common privilege and honour of all who in moral character are abreast of the standard fixed in this Psalm. Who is a Christian, or a worthy member of Christ's Church, is here perfectly outlined by the infallible pert of inspiration.

I. WHAT HE IS, IN WORD, DEED, LIFE. He only abides in God's tabernacle who abides in God, and God in him.

1. His walk is in uprightness. This implies spiritual life, exercise, health, progress.

2. His work is in righteousness. This implies activity, beneficent activity, the holiest activity; righteous in its motive, method, and results.

3. His words in truth and love: this implies conversation and testimony. Invisible truth shrines itself in holy words, holy works, a holy walk. Being upright, the Christian cannot be crooked; being righteous, he cannot be a hypocrite; being truthful in his heart, he cannot be false in his conversation and deportment.

II. WHAT HE IS NOT (vers. 8, 5).

1. No backbiter.

2. No evildoer.

3. No receiver of slander. Were there no ears to receive scandal there would soon be no tongues to speak it. The receiver of such pernicious goods is as vile as the trader in them.

4. No usurer.

5. No patron of bribery. He daily endeavours to maintain a pure hand, a pure purse, a pure ear, a pure heart, and a pure tongue. He will contemn evil wherever found; honour holiness however manifest; swerve not from his word when given, though to personal injury, and be permanently steadfast in his work of faith and life of love.

(J. O. Keen, D. D.)

Now, if we be travellers or wayfaring men we are to be careful of three things.

1. That we go in the right way; for if we go out of our way, the farther we go the farther we shall be from our journey's end. This way is the true religion of Christ, which in the Scriptures is called the way, the way of life, the way of peace.

2. The next thing whereof we must be careful is, that being set in the right way we go forward therein, proceeding from faith to faith, and from a less measure of grace unto a greater. For neither must we stand still ill this way, neither must we go back; for if we do so, how shall we come to our journey's end? We must take heed therefore lest we be non-proficients, and let us fear lest when we cease to be better we begin to be worse.

3. The third thing is, that we be upright in the way, neither treading awry by secret dissembling, nor halting downright betwixt God and Mammon.

(G. Downame.)

The man with whom God will hold communion is described.


1. He is a man of whole heart and life; who does the will of God, and speaks the truth because he loves it: it dwells in his heart, and he speaks it there first, before he speaks it with his tongue. Luther says, "It is a beautiful order. First, the person must be acceptable by cleanness (alluding to the Vulgate translation, — qui ingreditur sine macula), then the work by righteousness; then the word by truth. So God has regard to Abel (himself) first, and then to his gifts."

2. He is not one who injures others, either by word or by dead or by listening and propagating slander. This is the meaning of the last clause. It may be rendered either: "hath not received (i.e. from others) a reproach," etc., or, "hath not taken up," i.e. has not stooped so as to pick up dirt out of the dunghill, that he may cast it at his neighbour; or, "hath not lifted up," i.e. so as to place it like a burden upon his neighbour.


1. He is one who turns away from the evil and honours the good, who regards as inviolable the sanctity of an oath (not a casuist who sets himself a pretext for breaking his word when it is inconvenient to keep it).

2. He is not one who loves usury or takes bribes. The taking of usury is strictly forbidden in the law, and denounced by the prophets. Kimchis casuistic distinction, that it is lawful for the Jew to take usury of strangers, but not of his own people, is very significant; and, like too many Christian as well as Jewish interpretations of Scripture, framed to support a convenient and profitable practice. Thus in heart, in tongue, in actions, in conduct, as a member of society, he is alike free from reproach. Such is the figure of stainless honour drawn by the pen of a Jewish poet. Christian chivalry has not dreamed of a brighter. We have need often and seriously to ponder it. For it shows us that faith in God, and spotless integrity, may not be sundered; that religion does not veil or excuse petty dishonesties; that love to God is only then worthy the name when it is the life and bond of every social virtue. Each line is, as it were, a touchstone to which we should bring ourselves. To speak truth in the heart — to take up no reproach against a neighbour — would not the Christian man be perfect (teleios) of whom this could be said? And that other trait in this Divine character, "who honoureth them that fear the Lord," — is there a surer test of our spiritual condition than this, that we love and honour men because they love Christ?

(J. J. Stewart Perowne, B. D.)

"He that walketh uprightly." Let us mark the strong, masculine beginning of this description of the man who is privileged to be familiar with the Lord. He is "upright"! He is characterised by backbone. There is nothing crooked, wriggling, or soft about his temperament. There is a certain straightness and rigidity which, in all his relationships, is never absent. And mark where this fine masculinity begins. He "walketh" uprightly! The word is descriptive of the movements or motions of life. Now our motions are determined by our motives. Our motives are our motors. To understand, therefore, the inner content of the Psalmist's words, we must get away into the inward parts, into the secret places of the life. Our motives must be strong and upright. There must be nothing limp and compromising about them. "Strength and beauty" must be in our sanctuary.

(J. H. Jowett, M. A.)


1. It is union in the frame and disposition of his heart (Psalm 125:4). There cannot be uprightness of life without uprightness of heart. If the cripple is made to go straight his legs must have a new set (Psalm 78:37).

2. He walks entirely in the interests of religion (Genesis 17:1).

3. He walks uniformly, his religion is of a piece (Colossians 4:12). As John the Baptist (Luke 7:24).

4. He walks in the way of all known duty, as thus told in Luke 1:6. And as David (Acts 13:22). Hence he will be free from gross pollution of the outward man (Psalm 119:1). The upright want not their spots, sins of daily infirmity, —but they will not wallow in the mire, Nor will he allow himself in any known sin, seen or unseen of man,

5. He walks as under the eye of God (Psalm 16:8).

6. And singly (2 Corinthians 1:12). As opposed to the "double-minded man." And to the deceitful (Colossians 3:22). And the selfish (Ephesians 6:5).

7. And he walks constantly in uprightness (John 8:31). He perseveres in the Lord's ways.


1. Heaven is the land of uprightness (Psalm 143:10, 140., ult.).

2. The new birth which is from heaven makes them meet for heaven.

3. An upright walk is the saint's walk, in which they make forward to the kingdom (1 Kings 3:6). The contrary way is the way of the wicked (Proverbs 2:15).

4. The Lord hath in His Word determined this (Proverbs 28:18).

III. APPLICATION. This truth shows that there are few of this generation that will dwell in heaven if they turn not over a new leaf. For men do cling to some beloved lust or other, so that neither the word, nor conscience, nor providence can make them part with it. And they care far more for the eye of man than for the eye of God; and are impatient of reproof: Contrary to Psalm 141:5. And they labour not to approve themselves to God in their dealings; but are altogether selfish, considering nothing but their own profit.

(T. Boston, D. D.)

"Thamim" therefore we may rightly interpret upright, that is, void of dissimulation; and it may be two ways considered:(1) as referred to God, and so it signifieth sincere, or void of hypocrisy;(2) as referred towards men, and so it signifieth simple or void of guile. So that he in this place is said to be upright who is void of hypocrisy towards God, and free from guile towards men. And first we are to speak of uprightness in respect of God, in handling whereof I purpose to observe this order. First, to show what it is. Secondly, that it is, as here it is made, a note proper to the children of God. And thirdly, because we are not to be idle hearers of this discourse, we are to try and examine ourselves whether this note agreeth unto us or not. And fourthly, if we do find our defectiveness therein, either in whole or in part, we are by certain forcible arguments to be stirred up to embrace it. And lastly, we are to show the means whereby to obtain it.

(G. Downame.)


1. For first, to be upright, it is to walk with God, or before God (as the Lord saith to Abraham, walk before Me and be upright, Genesis 17:1), that is, so to lead our lives as in the sight and presence of God, who seeth the hearts and searcheth the reins of men.

2. Again, to be upright is to walk with a right foot, neither covertly treading awry with Peter (Galatians 2), nor openly halting with the Israelites (1 Kings 18:21).

3. It is also to be void of hypocrisy and doubling, not to have an heart and an heart, or to be double minded, but to be single hearted.

4. Lastly, this virtue of uprightness is commended unto us under other names, namely, sincerity and truth, sincerity being opposed to mixture, and truth to falsehood, both which hypocrisy is.

II. NOW THAT UPRIGHTNESS IS A PROPER NOTE TO THE CITIZENS OF HEAVEN, it may easily appear by the reciprocal conversion which is betwixt them. For if all the citizens of heaven be upright, and all that be tip. right are citizens of heaven, then is it manifest that uprightness agreeth to all that be the sons and heirs of God, and to them alone.

III. IT BEHOVETH US DILIGENTLY TO TRY AND EXAMINE OURSELVES, WHETHER THIS NOTE DOTH BELONG UNTO US OR NOT. For unless we be upright we shall not rest in God's holy mountain, but must look to have our portion with hypocrites.

1. And first, the study and endeavour of the upright is to approve himself to God.

2. It is the property of upright men to yield simple and absolute obedience to the Word of God, denying themselves, their own affections and reason.

3. A third sign of an upright man is, so to contemn the world, and to be weaned from worldly desire, as that he preferreth the keeping of a good conscience.

4. The property of an upright man is to hate sin as well in himself as in others, and to be exercised in judging himself.

5. The upright man repenteth of all sin, having an unfeigned purpose and resolution to abstain from all sin, and not to retain anyone, howsoever besides and contrary to his purpose he may fail in some particulars. But the hypocrite, howsoever he may be brought to abstain from diverse sins whereunto he is not so much addicted, yet he will be sure to cherish and retain some sin or sins that are more dear unto him.

6. It is the property of the upright to love and reverence the good and godly for their godliness sake, and to contemn and despise the wicked, though mighty in the world, because of their wickedness.

7. It is the property of the upright to prefer the greater and weightier duties before the less, the substance before circumstances, the works either of piety or mercy before ceremonies.

8. Another note of an upright man is humility. As contrariwise, pride is the companion of hypocrisy.

9. Again, the upright man, being imbued with a good conscience, is confident in good causes and courageous in time of peril; as Solomon saith, "He that walketh uprightly walketh boldly" (Proverbs 10:9; Proverbs 28:1). And again, "The righteous are bold as a lion."

10. It is the privilege of an upright man to be constant in good things and to persevere to the end, keeping also a continued course of piety; for the upright man is he which hath built upon the rock, and therefore cannot utterly be overthrown by any blasts or tempests of temptations.

IV. TO CONSIDER BY WHAT ARGUMENT WE MAY BE STIRRED UP TO EMBRACE THIS VIRTUE IF WE WANT IT, OR TO CONTINUE AND INCREASE THEREIN IF WE HAVE IT. The argument may be reduced to three heads, the excellency, the profit, the necessity of uprightness. But if neither the golden reason of excellency can move us, nor the silver reason of profit allure us, then must the iron reason of necessity enforce us to integrity and uprightness of heart. For first, such is the necessity thereof, that without integrity the best graces we seem to have are counterfeit, and therefore but glorious sins, the best worship we can perform is but hypocrisy, and therefore abominable in God's sight. For uprightness is the soundness of all grace and virtues, as also of all religion and worship of God, without which they are unsound and nothing worth. Wherefore in the Scriptures it is required that our faith should be unfeigned, that is, such a faith as inwardly purifieth the heart, and outwardly worketh by love; otherwise it is not a true and a lively, but a counterfeit and dead faith. Likewise our love must be unfeigned, that is, as John saith, we must not love in speech and tongue, but in deed and truth; or as Paul speaketh, our love must proceed from a pure heart, a good conscience, and faith unfeigned. Our wisdom also must be without dissimulation. Lastly, our repentance and conversion unto God must be unfeigned and from our whole heart. As of prayer: to the acceptable performance whereof there is required uprightness, not only in the action itself, but also in the life of him that prayeth.


1. Let us, according to the example of David, learn to set God always before our eyes, and ourselves in the sight and presence of God. And to this end let us meditate on His omnipresence and omniscience.

2. To meditation on His omnipresence and omniscience, let us add the consideration of His omni-sufficiency, remembering, as the prophet Hanani said to Asa, that the eyes of the Lord behold all the earth, to show Himself strong with them that are of an upright heart towards Him.

3. Thirdly, to the former let us join a serious meditation of the just judgment. Hitherto we have spoken of integrity, as it is referred unto God; it followeth now that we should entreat thereof as it hath reference unto men. For as we must walk before God in truth and sincerity without hypocrisy, so must we have our conversation among men in simplicity and singleness of heart, without dissembling or guile. To conclude, therefore, this first note: seeing uprightness is made a proper mark of the true child of God and citizen of heaven, whereas contrariwise dissimulation and deceit are the brands of the wicked: it behoveth everyone to apply this note to himself. Dost thou walk uprightly without hypocrisy towards God, without guile towards man? happy and blessed art thou, for thou shalt see God, and as thou art now a sound member of the Church militant, so shalt thou be an inheritor of glory in the triumphant. Dost thou not walk in sincerity towards God, and simplicity towards men, but in hypocrisy and dissimulation? then most fearful is thine estate, unless thou repent, for thou hast no part or fellowship in the doctrine of salvation, or in the communion of saints, but thy portion shall be assigned thee with hypocrites, where is weeping and gnashing of teeth.

(G. Downame.)

1. The first virtue and mark to know the true saints of God is innocency of life. By "walking," in Holy Scripture, conversation and living is usually understood. Men call them innocent whose life is hurtless and harmless, neither stained nor defiled with iniquity or gross sins. The honest conversation of the saints, confirmed with undoubted testimony of a good conscience, is the harmless, hurtless, simple, innocent, and upright life, in this place required. In which virtue excelled Abel, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Job, Moses, David, and the prophets, Paul, Peter, and the Apostles. Righteousness, doing good, and performing of Christian duties to all men is often in Holy Scripture commended unto the saints and lively members of God's Church, and the doctrine thereof is large and ample in the Sacred Word.

2. The second thing wherein the people's duty consisteth is to give the labourer his wages, the workman his hire. There is righteousness of parents, of children, of servants, of the hirer and the hired.

3. The third virtue in God's saints is truth in tongue and talk. The tongue is a necessary instrument in our common life. Truth is required both in our private and in our public life. To this there are sundry motives and things to stir us. The commandment of Almighty God. The example of Jesus Christ. The Gospel which we profess is truth, and the word of truth. We are inspired with the Holy Spirit of God, whose temples we are. The Spirit is called the Spirit of truth, who "leadeth into all truth." To speak the truth from the heart is a mark of them which shall dwell in God's tabernacle. Doctrines:

1. Hypocrites, by their external life, are easily descried.

2. Religion and faith are showed by works of the second table.

3. Sacrifices without works of mercy are rejected.

4. We need not divide ourselves from the Church because there are some hypocrites in it.

5. There is no sound rest in the Church for any but those who desire to live honestly.

(R. Turnbull.)

St. Anthony, the first hermit, lived a hard and strait life in the wilderness, praying constantly and meditating on the things of God. There is a story that a voice came to him from heaven, saying, "Anthony, thou art not so perfect as is a cobbler who dwells at Alexandria." Anthony, hearing this, rose up forthwith and took his staff, and went on his journey till he came to Alexandria, where he found the Cobbler. The cobbler was astonished to see so great a saint come to his house. Then Anthony said to him, "Come, tell me thy whole manner of life, and how thou spendest thy time." "Sir," said the cobbler, "talents I have few, and good works have I none, for my life is but simple, for I am but a poor cobbler. In the morning, when I rise, I pray for the whole city wherein I dwell, especially for all such neighbours and poor friends as I have; after that I set to my work, in which I spend the whole day to get my living; and I keep from all falsehood, for I hate all manner of deceit; wherefore, when I make any man a promise I keep it and perform it truly. In the evening I teach and instruct my children, as far as my knowledge serves me, to fear God and do His will. And this is the sum of my simple life." In this story we see how God loves those that follow their calling and use His gifts as best they can.

The virtues all lock into each other. They cannot stand alone. Like the stones of an arch, no one of them can be wanting without making all the rest insecure. That character alone is trustworthy in which each virtue takes its relative position, and all are held in place and confirmed by the keystone of a living faith in the great central fact, that there is a God of infinite goodness and truth, whose commandments are the law of life in this world and in the world to come.

Worketh righteousness.
The favoured citizen is a man who is industrious in goodness. Righteousness is not to him a mere department of moral philosophy upon which he has to speculate or theorise, nor is it satisfied with the delineations wrought out in language by heroic poets; it is a condition of spirit and heart before God admitting of culture within and sanctified expression without. The good man may be described as building a life temple of righteousness; he is continually looking around for material which he can put into his building, and his satisfaction is in proportion to the largeness and beauty of the edifice. Those who are addicted to iniquity are described as "workers"; they are not ashamed of their wicked profession, nor is their service marked by self-indulged lethargy. The sojourner in the holy city is not only to do a better work, he is to do it with more serious determination and industry. He is not to be silent in the presence of unrighteousness, but is at all costs to speak out in favour of true justice and virtue. In his circle he is to be known as a man who will spare no effort to advance righteousness, whether found in the claims of an individual, the necessities of an institution, or the policy of a nation. Suspect any form of so-called righteousness that can be silent in the presence of oppression, and that can let wickedness pass by without indignant repudiation.

(Joseph Parker, D. D.)

"And worketh righteousness." There is not only backbone but energy. And the energy is of a special and peculiar kind. It maketh ever for righteousness. It is not only that the issues of life are just and equitable; the equity is found in their very birth. The word "worketh" might be equally well translated "ordaineth." The friend of God inspects the wishes and purposes and ambitions which appear in his life. He marks their tendency and their aim. Some of these wishes and ambitions he suppresses and rejects; others he selects and welcomes. He discriminates among his allurements. He "ordains" the purposes that make for righteousness, and labours for their judgment. So that the companion of God is holding in his secret place a perpetual ordination service. The righteous suggestion and aspiration are being continually approved and ordained to the ministry of actual life and service.

(J. H. Jowett, M. A.)

It is time to preach the doctrine of this Psalm — that there is no true religion apart from social morality.

I. AN ABIDING FRIENDSHIP WITH GOD IS ESSENTIAL TO THE HAPPINESS OF MAN. The idea in ver. 1 is, "Who shall have permanent friendship with Thee?" This is the cardinal want of humanity. That an abiding friendship with God is essential to man's happiness may be argued from two things.

1. From what is in the human soul. There is a trusting tendency, an infinite craving, a sense of guilt.

2. From what is in the Divine Word. Nothing is more clearly taught in the New Testament than this.


1. As described.




(4)character regarding,

(5)rigorous fidelity,


(7)incorruptibly just.

2. As necessary. Our conduct towards man determines our relation to God, and our destiny too. True social morality always implies true love to God. It is the practical expression of true religion. Then true social morality is the best means of promoting genuine Christianity. That man does most to spread the religion of Jesus who, in all his connections with his fellow men, does the just and the generous, the merciful and the Christ-like.


It is he that worketh righteousness now shall dwell in heaven.


1. He is a believer in Christ, and righteous by faith. He that does not work faith works no righteousness at all (John 6:29). For a man must first be righteous before he can work it. A soul not united to Christ cannot do this (John 15:5). All life and strength spiritual is in Christ (1 John 5:11, 12). Until the conscience be purged from dead works he cannot work righteousness (Hebrews 9:14). Truth is the spring of all good works (1 Timothy 1:5; 1 John 3:12; Hebrews 11:4). Therefore, let men work as they will, until they be true believers in Christ they cannot work righteousness. Works without faith ruin the soul. See the Pharisee (Luke 18:11, 12). But the citizen of Zion is a believer. Also faith without works ruins a man, for it is but a dead faith (James 2:11, 14).

2. He worketh righteousness towards God. He seeks to give God His due (Matthew 22:21; Isaiah 64:5; Acts 10:35).

3. He worketh righteousness towards man. He will wrong no man. He will be blameless and harmless (Philippians 2:15). He seeks to do as he would be done to (Matthew 7:12). And makes conscience of giving everyone their due (Romans 13:7). Not that they are perfect. Good Asa was not (2 Chronicles 16:10, and in Genesis 20:9). But their sins are not deliberate and of set purpose. He is a sincere worker of righteousness towards man. Hence in his particular relations, in the special duties of such relation as husband, wife, parent, master, etc. In a word, he is conscientiously righteous in all things that concern his neighbour (Micah 6:3).


1. God is a righteous God.

2. It is the great end of redemption that Christ's people may be righteous (Luke 1:74, 75).

3. And judgment will be according to works. Then be workers of righteousness.

(T. Boston, D. D.)

And speaketh the truth in his heart.
This is the third character of the citizen of Zion. Not only does he speak truth, but he speaks it in his heart; that is, his thoughts and reasonings are consistent with truth. The doctrines that are deducible from the text are, that those that shall be inhabitants of heaven speak the truth here, and that they speak it in their hearts as well as to others. As to the first of these.


1. What is truth? Pilate asked this question, but stayed not for the answer. Truth is a sacred harmony or agreement of things. Anatomists have observed that the tongue in man is tied with a double string to the heart. And so in truth spoken there is necessary a double agreement of our words with our hearts — that we say what we think; and with the thing itself, that it be as you say.

2. What is it to be a speaker of truth? He makes conscience to speak out the truth seasonably (John 18:37). We are to remember (Ecclesiastes 3:7, and Proverbs 29:11). This was Doeg's sin (Psalm 52). Those whose tongues are like a loose window in wind, ever clattering, have little wit or grace. Talkativeness is both a sign of little awe of God and is the badge of a fool (Ecclesiastes 5:3; Proverbs 14:33). But the citizen of Zion speaks the truth seasonably, that is, when called of God to speak it. This call may be private and providential, or public and authoritative, as in the courts of justice. When thus called he will speak fully, freely, clearly, and sincerely (2 Chronicles 12:9; 2 Corinthians 2:17).

3. And of speaking nothing but the truth (Isaiah 63:8; 2 Corinthians 13:8). We are never to lie (Job 13:7, 8). Let us heed this both in speaking to God (Psalm 68:36) and to men (Ephesians 4:25).

II. CONFIRM THE DOCTRINE. It is evident, for —

1. In the saints the image of Satan is defaced (Revelation 21, ult.). But

2. The image of God is repaired in them, and truth is a shining lineament in it (Ephesians 4:24; Titus 1:2; Numbers 23:19). And

3. The Christian life is a walking in truth (3 John 1:3). There is truth of heart in true Christians, and that makes truth of conversation.

4. And the Lord has expressly declared that liars shall inhabit hell, not heaven, for God is the God of truth.


1. This doctrine writes death on the faces of two sorts of people — those who are concealers of the truth which God calls them to speak out, and all liars. This sin is a common vice; but it is the black brand of one who shall never see heaven. They are barred out of heaven thereby, whether they be jesting liars, who lie to make others merry (Hosea 7:3; Proverbs 26:18, 19), or officious liars, who will lie to do themselves or others a good turn. Or pernicious liars, whose motive is mischief (Proverbs 6:17). Or covetous liars, who lie to get gain (Proverbs 20:14). Or proud, boasting liars, who lie to raise others' esteem of them (Proverbs 25:14). Or flattering liars, who lie to curry favour with those they flatter (Psalm 12:2, 3; Proverbs 26:28; Proverbs 29:5). Or fearful liars, who, for fear of others, make lies their refuge, as children often do (Psalm 58:3); and others, too, who are but children in courage (Proverbs 29:25; Revelation 21:8). "Or talkative liars (Proverbs 10:19). Those who are given to much talking will hardly be found regardful of truth. Or rash liars, who lie through inadvertency and customary looseness as to their words (2 Samuel 13:30). Much sin is contracted this way.

2. Speak the truth and keep from lying, for God is the God of truth (Deuteronomy 32:4; Titus 1:2), but the devil is the author and father of lies (John 8:44). He ruined the world at first with a lie (Genesis 3:4, 5). Lying, too, is the bane of human society, and a mean, base, and contemptible thing, the native product of the corruption of nature, the spawn of the old serpent left in men's hearts (Psalm 58:3), and is an abomination to God (Proverbs 6:17-19; Proverbs 12:22), and will ruin your souls for evermore. Check it in the young, as ye love their souls.

(T. Boston, D. D.)

David begins this short but beautiful Psalm with a warmth of devotion peculiar to himself. Among other essential requisites that entitle a human being to the distinguished honour of dwelling on the Lord's holy hill, truth and sincerity are particularly noticed. Some of the obligations that the religion of Christ inculcates are limited by circumstances and will admit of being modified by different causes. But the great virtue of truth is necessary at all times, and binding under all the relations of life. It is never a mere ornament of the mind, or a virtue of the middle order whose absence may be excused. It is absolutely necessary to all virtue; it is the broad basis on which they all rest. I would, then, impress upon you its sacred obligations and guard you against the shame, the guilt, and degradation of falsehood. There is nothing which is a greater recommendation of character. It at all times inspires confidence and ensures respect. It is a proof of innocence and fortitude combined. As charity is said "to cover a multitude of sins," so an inviolable habit of truth will atone for many imperfections. But its loveliness is never more conspicuous than when contrasted with falsehood. There is nothing that men more complain of than of being mistaken. Treachery and hypocrisy are by no means unusual; but duplicity, equivocation, and behaviour that has a tendency to deceive are amongst the commonest breaches of truth, and are the causes that daily increase the mortifications and disappointments of the young, while they confirm the selfishness and suspicion of the aged. The violator of truth, therefore, is the great corrupter of the world. Those whom nature intended to be open, confidential, and affectionate, freeze into misanthropy, or else become uncandid, suspicions, and deceitful. But the liar is soon caught in his own snares. He will not be believed even when he speaks the truth, and gains no credit even when he deserves it. Whatever other good qualities he may have, the vice of falsehood poisons the whole. He can do no good to others, for no one will confide in him. If we inquire why men violate truth, we shall find that their motives are often vanity, or fear and imbecility. Some are so greedy of a name that they care not how they violate truth if they can gain belief Who will deny that the vanity of giving men information has often polluted the pages of history, degraded philosophy almost to imposture, and inspired even sceptics with something more than the credulity of ignorance. But truth is yet more violated from fear and imbecility. Where this is so our pity and indulgence are appealed to. Children are often led to transgress truth for the sake of some trifling gratification before they can be aware of the depravity of falsehood. They think it the nearest way to enjoyment, and an easy and effectual method to escape detection. It is difficult to correct this when it proceeds from fear, for it often requires much fortitude to speak the truth. Men feel this; how ranch more children. They should be taught in their earliest years that there is no fault so great as falsehood. Needless severity era capricious kind of alternating tyranny and indulgence terribly foster this vice. And nothing but religion will help us herein. God is the God of truth. His works and His Word alike declare that "God is truth."

(J. Hewlett, B. D.)

"And speaketh the truth in his heart." When a man speaks the truth to himself he will speak it to his neighbour. The beginning of all sincerity is to be sincere in one's self-communings. No man will be guilty of equivocation who does not first deceive himself. The companion of God is absolutely frank and candid with himself. In his heart is to be found the fair angel of truth, and he does not defile her garments by any ill doctrine of reserve or self-evasion.

(J. H. Jowett, M. A.)

A lady who had lost a little daughter took a photograph and painted it with rare skill and laid it in a drawer, and was grieved to find that soon afterwards it was covered with ugly blotches. She painted it again, and it was again marred. There was something wrong with the paper, some chemical ingredients in undue proportions. No matter how beautiful the picture made on its surface, up ever out of the heart of the paper would come the ooze of decay. So with human life, the heart being wrong spoils all.

(J. R. Miller.)

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