Rivers of waters run down my eyes, because they keep not your law.
If we mourn for sin truly, it will excite our grief wheresoever and by whomsoever it is committed. But, like all our sympathies, it will be excited more powerfully by the sins of those with whom we are more intimately connected, and by such of them as come mere immediately wit, bin the sphere of our own observation. We are to mourn more especially, though not exclusively, for the sins of our own land, of the city in which we dwell, of the Church with which we are in immediate fellowship, of the congregation of which we are members, and of our own families.
I. TRACE THESE RIVERS OF GRIEF TO THEIR SPRINGS.
1. Grief for the sins of men springs from love to God. Sin is a violation of the authority of God, and an offence to the essential purity of His nature. It insults His majesty, and reflects dishonour (so far as a created act can do) upon all His attributes.
2. It springs from love to the law of God. Christians must reckon every sin as a violation of that law which the Son of God hath magnified, and made honourable, and vindicated by His obedience in our nature and in our stead. And God, by the agony and death of His Son, has stamped sin with the broad and burning brand of His hatred.
3. It springs from love to the sinner.
4. There are personal feelings which stir this grief and enter into its composition. When we see a person in distress, it frequently reminds us that we were once afflicted in the same or a similar way — a recollection which strengthens our sympathy, if it is not the spring from which it directly flows. In like manner the saint is made to recollect his former sins, and his grief for them mingles with that which he feels for the present sins of others.
II. THE LEADING QUALITIES OF THIS GRIEF.
1. It is genuine.
(1) This is evinced by its impartiality. The sincere mourner is grieved for the sins of friends as well as of enemies, — of those of his own religious connection as well as those of other denominations, — for the sins of his own family as well as those of his neighbours; nay, he is more sensibly affected with the dishonours done to God by those who are most intimately connected with him — "the provoking of sons and daughters." He is grieved for all sin.
(2) The genuineness of these tears is evinced by the ease with which they flow. Take a person of tender feelings to a scene of distress, and the tear will instantly start to his eye on beholding it. The mere sight of sin draws forth the sorrow of a godly man.
2. This grief is generous and seemly. Such tears become Christian men — men of stature and valour; for, as one has expressed it, "it is the truest magnanimity to be sensible on the point of God's honour, which is injured by sin."
3. This grief varies, especially in its expression, in different persons, and in the same person at different times. This is common to it with other gracious dispositions in the hearts of men who are but partially sanctified, and whose exercise, in this their sublunary state, resembles the tide which ebbs and flows according to the varying influence of the moon.
4. This grief is habitual. David in the text does not say, rivers ran, but run. Paul could call God to witness that he " had great sorrow and continual heaviness in his heart " for his unbelieving and impenitent countrymen. As long as Christians are in this world they will have reason for this feeling.
5. This grief is influential and profitable. It may be useful to others; it will be useful to ourselves. " By the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better."
(T. McCrie, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law.