He that walks uprightly walks surely: but he that perverts his ways shall be known.
An important maxim: in the practice of virtue there is safety. Much higher praise than this may be bestowed upon it. Let the evidence for immorality be reckoned uncertain, still it remains the truth, that, for this life, a virtuous course is the safest and the wisest. Uprightness is the same as integrity or sincerity. It implies a freedom from guile and the faithful discharge of every known duty. An upright man allows himself in nothing that is inconsistent with truth and right. He hates alike all sin, and practises every part of virtue, from an unfeigned attachment to it established in his soul. This is what is most essential is the character of an upright man. He is governed by no sinister ends or indirect views in the discharge of his duties.
1. Uprightness of character comprehends in it right conduct with respect to God. Such a man, in his religion, is that which he appears to be to his fellow-creatures. His religious acts are emanations from a heart full of piety.
2. Implies faithfulness in all our transactions with ourselves. The upright man endeavours to be faithful to himself in all that he thinks and does, and to divest his mind of all unreasonable biases. He wishes to know nothing but what is true, and to practise nothing but what is right.
3. Includes candour, fairness, and honesty in all our transactions with our fellow-creatures. An upright man may be depended on in all his professions and engagement. All his gains are gains of virtuous industry. He maintains a strict regard to veracity in his words, and to honour in his dealings.Such a man walks "surely."
1. Consider the safety which such a person enjoys with respect to the happiness of the present life. Think of the troubles that men bring on themselves by deviating from integrity. The path of uprightness is straight and broad. He that walks in it walks in the light, and may go on with resolution and confidence, inviting rather than avoiding the inspection of his fellow-creatures.
2. Upright conduct is commonly the most sure way to obtain success in our worldly concerns. The most sure way, but not always the shortest. Universal experience has proved that "honesty is the best policy." An upright man must commend himself by degrees to all that know him. He has always the greatest credit, and the most unembarrassed affairs. The disadvantages under which he labours are counterbalanced by many great advantages. Though his gains may be small, they are always sweet. He has with him an easy conscience, the blessing of God, and security against numberless grievous evils.
3. Consider the security which an upright conduct gives with respect to another world. It must be possible that there should be a future state. We may well secure the best condition and greatest safety in it. And the practice of religious goodness is the proper means to be used for this purpose. The happiness of every successive period of our human life is made to depend, in great measure, on our conduct in the preceding periods. All we observe of the government of the Deity leads us to believe that He must approve righteousness and hate wickedness. To act righteously is to act like God. And there are many reasons which prove that the neglect of virtue may be followed by a dreadful punishment hereafter — e.g., the presages of conscience. These reasons the Christian religion confirms. And should all that reason and Christianity teach us on this point prove a delusion, still a good man will lose nothing, and a bad man will get nothing. Inferences:(1) How much we are bound in prudence to walk uprightly! Even if we regard only our present interest.
(2) In view of another state of existence the prudence of a virtuous course is greater than can be expressed.
(3) All that has been said is true, though there should be the greatest uncertainty with respect to the principles of religion.
(4) With what serenity of mind a good man may proceed through life. Whatever is true or fame, he has the consciousness of being on the safe side, and there is, in all cues, a particular satisfaction attending such a consciousness.
(R. Price, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: He that walketh uprightly walketh surely: but he that perverteth his ways shall be known.