Psalm 37:37


Mark the perfect, and behold the upright: for the man of peace hath a future [or, 'posterity']. In contrast to the wicked spoken of in the next verse (38). This whole psalm is a record of human experience.

I. THE STUDY OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE IN THE LIGHT OF HUMAN CHARACTER IS MOST INSTRUCTIVE.

1. Every maws life is in the main an embodiment either of the Law of God or of the law of self. Intellectual life, a life of knowledge or of ignorance, of wisdom or foolishness. But the moral life is the grandest, as exhibiting obedience or disobedience to the eternal laws of God.

2. The moral life shows the consequences of living the one life or the other. The shame and misery of the one, and the peace and blessedness of the other. Difference is life or death.

II. WHAT THE STUDY OF THE RIGHTEOUS MAN'S LIFE REVEALS.

1. It brings him internal peace. And in the main outward peace; but if not, the peace of trust and rest in God. Peace in life and peace in death.

2. He transmits righteousness to his posterity.

(1) By the influence of his example and teaching. His words and his character are reproduced in his children; he lives again in them, perhaps a higher life than he lived, according to the law of progress. May be exceptions.

(2) By hereditary transmission. Moral as well as physical qualities descend to our children, and to children's children. How grand a motive for a pure, noble, Christian life! Goodness runs in the family blood. - S.









Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright, for the end of that man is peace.
I. THE DESCRIPTION GIVEN.

1. It cannot imply positive perfection — that is impossible. True, there is the seed of all grace in the heart of every child of God, and it is an incorruptible seed, but it has to grow, and this takes long time, and, meanwhile, imperfection is often and sadly manifest. The cases, referred to in parallel passages, of Noah and Job, prove this. See also Asa, 2 Chronicles 15:2. The child of God is perfect(1) In Christ. "By one offering He hath perfected for ever them," etc. And(2) Because he is sincere. He is "upright," sincere in all his dealings, and sincerity is the reality of all other graces.

II. THE END OF SUCH A MAN — "peace." His present condition is blessed, and the end — however chequered the way — is peace.

III. THE CALL GIVEN. "Mark the perfect man," behold him. He is well worth looking at. You will not have many to mark. They are a blessing wherever they are. He is a trophy of the Redeemer's blood, a monument of God's sovereign grace and mercy.

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

If we were about to enter upon a journey to a remote part of the earth, we should consider what was necessary for an undertaking of such importance, as to clothing and other commodities, and make provision accordingly. It were well for us to act upon the same principle, and in the same manner, with respect to the matters which concern the soul, and our journey to an eternal world. "What do I need for this journey? what do I need for that eternal state, to which I am advancing with rapidity? I need an interest in Divine love; to have God reconciled to me, and myself reconciled to God. Our text tells of one who had these things.

I. His CHARACTER. He is described as "perfect." This word must be taken in a limited sense, as no man on earth is "perfect." Neither in body, nor in soul.

II. HIS END — peace. He dies in peace: with God; in his mind and animated with bright hope.

III. THE DUTY — we are to "mark," etc.

1. Observe him.

2. Lament over his departure.

3. Imitate him.

(A. Fletcher, M. A.)

This psalm has been called a sermon on this theme.

I. THE CHARACTER PLACED BEFORE. Us — the perfect, upright man. But are we not all sinful? Yes, but grace creates us anew. The infant is a perfect child, though far removed from the strength, stature and intelligence of a man. But the beginning of the perfect life is then. And so in regard to the life of grace.

1. It is a perfection of sincerity, as opposed to all dissimulation and hypocrisy.

2. Of completeness in reference to the whole will of God.

3. It denotes a firmness in which temptations make no impression. For God will not leave him to himself.

4. It is descriptive of those who have made great proficiency and eminent attainments in religion. So the word "perfect" is often used. Let us strive after this.

II. THE END OF SUCH A MAN — peace. But he has not to wait till the end ere he experiences peace. He has it now, when he heartily believes on the Lord Jesus Christ. "There is no peace to the wicked," but to him who has dropped his rebellion, and submitted himself to God, there is given peace. His is the peace of forgiveness and of sanctification. Sometimes disease and pain and weakness deprive the believer at the last of the comfort of the promises of God. But though, from these causes, their minds may be darkened, yet do they as certainly die in the Lord as if they had departed amidst the greatest triumphs of faith. And very often it is amid such triumphs that they are permitted to depart.

III. THE IMPROVEMENT we are to make of this subject. We are to "mark the perfect," etc.

1. He may be easily singled out and separated from the crowd. We are at a loss to know to what class some persons belong; but a Christian of eminent piety is a living epistle of Christ, to be seen and read of all men. Behold his "patient continuance in well doing," his humility, his piety.

2. Mark him, that you may know how to be like him.

3. How to obtain the same happy end of life.

(T. Craig.)

Like boats or other objects borne down on a mighty river, unable to stop in their course, unable to return upon it, — we, too, are gliding on with the race of a stream, and will in a short period arrive at the point of its disemboguement into the vast ocean of eternity, Not only is death inevitable, but it is usually a most appalling event. One element of good there is, with which we may mitigate the cup we have to drink; and that element is — peace of mind.

I. One leading and essential element of peace is AN ACCEPTANCE OF THE TERMS OF THE NEW COVENANT, BY FAITH IN THE ATONING BLOOD OF CHRIST, We are all too far gone from original righteousness, as well by nature as by practice, to expect salvation, or to rely upon a peace, whether in life or in death, which is independent of the merits of the Redeemer. Yet, though this be the foundation of the Christian's hope, though peace be preached through Jesus Christ, it is by no means derogatory to that eternal truth to affirm, that the faith which on, braces his atonement must evince by holiness its genuineness and its life.

II. Among these ingredients of peace in the latter end of life, a man ought to be supported by A CONSCIOUSNESS OF HIS HAVING MADE SOME PROVISION FOR THOSE WHO ARE TO COME AFTER HIM, and who would otherwise suffer, in a temporal sense, by his departure (1 Timothy 5:8).

III. Another material ingredient in that mental peace to which we look forward in our latter end, must consist in THE SATISFACTORY REFLECTION ON OUR HAVING LIVED TO SOME PURPOSE IS THE WORLD. The fig-tree, luxuriating in the pride of leaves, was denounced, not because it distilled poison, but because it produced no fruit; and it was not the positively criminal, but the merely unprofitable servant, in the Gospel, who was cast into outer darkness.

IV. A SENSE OF RECONCILIATION WITH MANKIND wilt furnish a contribution to the peace with which the disciple of Jesus may expect to cheer his last moments.

V. A fifth particular contributory towards a latter end of peace is AN EARLY AND SINCERE REPENTANCE.

(J. Grant, M. A.)

I. His CHARACTER.

1. "Perfect." His holiness is so perfect as to prevail over wilful and habitual sin; his love to God so perfect, as to be the reigning disposition of his soul; his choice so perfect, that he considers and takes God as his chief good; his obedience, that he yields unto God his soul and body to glorify Him, and by the grace of God is able to escape the corruption that is in the world through lust.

2. "Upright." He does not deceive his own heart, but examines himself; is no hypocrite, but serves God in spirit and in truth; and as he would that others should do unto him, so he does unto them.

II. HIS CONDUCT.

1. In the world. Single and uncorrupted.

2. In the family. He walks before his house with a perfect heart; instructs them in the knowledge of God and divine things; travails in birth for their salvation; sets them an example of piety and devotedness to God.

3. In the church. He loves the brethren with a pure heart fervently — he helps to bear their burdens — sympathizes with them in their sorrows — joins them in their labours — assembles with them for pious fellowship, and the public worship of their God and Saviour.

4. In private. He seeks and enjoys retirement for meditation and prayer.

5. In the different states of life. In prosperity his heart is not lifted up within him, but he remembers the God of all his mercies, and acknowledges his indebtedness to Him. In adversity he considers, reflects, seeks to gather the lessons intended to be taught, submits to the rod, and Him who appointed it.

III. HIS END. "Peace."

1. Mark him as an example to be followed.

2. Mark him as having his end assuredly peace.

3. Mark him as an encouragement to Christians in all times of their affliction and sufferings.

(J. Walker, D. D.)

I. THE TERMS IN WHICH THE PSALMIST SPEAKS OF HIM. "Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright;" the man whose perfection, though conspicuous enough to be observed with admiration, is no deceitful cover, or mere superficial gilding, but an inward reality; and the genuine, consistent effect of a principle which dictates an habitual respect unto all God's commandments. Behold him living from Him, living upon Him, living to Him, a life of faith in an invisible God and Redeemer; and a life of love slid devotedness to Him both in public and in private; invariably faithful in his adherence to His revealed will; zealous in his attachment to His cause; contending earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints; but with a spirit of meekness, and a constant disposition to hold the truth in love; affectionate in his good wishes and prayers, and active in his services to promote the temporal and eternal welfare of all around him.

II. HIS END. A final period, at least here, to every interview of friendship, to every exercise of social devotion, and to every service for God and his fellow-creatures. His instructions, cautions, counsels, consolations, prayers, all ended. The place that once knew him, that knew him often and intimately, now knows him no more. All he was doing or thinking to do in the house of God, or in his own, for the Redeemer's interest, and to extend his happiness and usefulness in his several connections here, at an end.

III. PEACE. This may be intended as a representation both of his state on this side, and beyond the grave.

1. Peace is valuable at all times, and in every connection: peace in nations and neighbourhoods, in churches and in families: above all, "the peace of God which passeth all understanding, keeping the heart and mind through Christ Jesus."

2. Peace with God, as his God and Father in Christ.

3. Peace in a review of past engagements with the Lord, and for Him (2 Timothy 4:6-8).

4. Peace in the expectation of a removal.

5. Peace in prospect of an hereafter.

IV. THE ATTENTION WHICH WE OUGHT TO PAY TO THE IMPORTANT CHARACTER, AND TO THE DELIGHTFUL END WHICH THE TEXT SPECIFIES.

1. Mark it, in order to form a right judgment of yourselves.

2. Mark it, sinners and hypocrites, for admonition and caution.

3. Mark it for imitation, all of you that desire his end.

(S. Addington.)

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