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8

Good and upright is the Lord;

therefore he instructs sinners in the way.


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8. Good and upright is Jehovah. Pausing for a little as it were in the prosecution of his prayer, he exercises his thoughts in meditation upon the goodness of God, that he may return with renewed ardor to prayer. The faithful feel that their hearts soon languish in prayer, unless they are constantly stirring themselves up to it by new incitements; so rare and difficult a thing is it to persevere steadfastly and unweariedly in this duty. And, indeed, as one must frequently lay on fuel in order to preserve a fire, so the exercise of prayer requires the aid of such helps, that it may not languish, and at length be entirely extinguished. David, therefore, desirous to encourage himself to perseverance, speaks to himself, and affirms that God is good and upright, that, gathering new strength by meditating on this truth, he may return with the more alacrity to prayer. But we must observe this consequence — that as God is good and upright, he stretches forth his hand to sinners to bring them back again into the way. To attribute to God an uprightness which he may exercise only towards the worthy and the meritorious, is a cold view of his character, and of little advantage to sinners, and yet the world commonly apprehends that God is good in no other sense. How comes it to pass that scarcely one in a hundred applies to himself the mercy of God, if it is not because men limit it to those who are worthy of it? No on the contrary, it is here said, that God gives a proof of his uprightness when he shows to transgressors the way; and this is of the same import as to call them to repentance, and to teach them to live uprightly. And, indeed, if the goodness of God did not penetrate even to hell, no man would ever become a partaker of it. Let the Papists then boast as they please of their imaginary preparations, but let us regard this as a sure and certain doctrine, that if God do not prevent men by his grace, they shall all utterly perish. David, therefore, here commends this preventing grace, as it is called, which is manifested either when God in calling us at first renews, by the Spirit of regeneration, our corrupt nature, or when he brings us back again into the right way, after we have gone astray from him by our sins. For since even those whom God receives for his disciples are here called sinners, it follows that he renews them by his Holy Spirit that they may become docile and obedient.




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