Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and said of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!
I. A MAN WHOSE HEART IS TRUE TO GOD. Our hearts are so —
1. When we seek our happiness in Him, and not in the gratification of the "desire of the flesh," etc.
2. When we find our happiness in Him, i.e, when the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts.
3. When this love is persistent and permanent.
II. A MAN WHOSE WORDS ARE SUITABLE THERETO. When there is no guile in the heart there is none on the lips. In this is implied —
1. Veracity — speaking the truth from the heart; the putting away of all wilful lying in every kind and degree. Roman casuists distinguish lies into —
(1) Malicious — such as are told with a desire to hurt. These no one defends.
(2) Harmless — such as are supposed to do neither good nor harm. Men excuse these; but no Nathanael can speak them, and Paul condemns them (Ephesians 4:25).
(3) Officious — those spoken with a design to do good. About these there has been much controversy. Some maintain them to be innocent, and even meritorious. But Paul teaches (Romans 3:7, 8) —
(a) That the good effect of a lie is no excuse for it.
(b) That it is a mere slander upon Christians to say they teach men to do evil that good may come.
(c) That if any teach this or do it their damnation is just: which is all applicable to this kind of lies.
2. Sincerity. As veracity is opposite to lying, so is sincerity to cunning. Cunning is confounded with wisdom. But wisdom is the faculty of discerning the best ends and the fittest means of attaining them. The two great means of cunning are —
(1) Simulation — the seeming to be what we are not;
(2) dissimulatlon — the seeming not to be what we are. It we are engaged with artful men, we may use silence and reserve without cunning; but we may not speak the truth in order to deceive. This is perhaps not inconsistent with veracity, but it is with sincerity. When we speak at all, we should speak the naked truth from the heart.
3. This is properly termed simplicity, which implies —
(1) Not only the speaking no known falsehood;
(2) not on!y designedly deceiving no one; but(3) speaking plainly and artlessly to every one m a childlike though not in a childish manner. This excludes the using of empty compliments.
4. This sincerity and simplicity has an influence on the whole behaviour which, though it be far enough remote from clownishness, ill-breeding, roughness, and surliness, is plain and free from disguise. Conclusion: This, then, is real solid virtue. Not truth alone, nor conformity with truth; not love alone, but truth and love united.
Parallel VersesKJV: Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!