The Rev. Thomas Manton disabusing preachers of the notion that preaching moral duty is necessarily not preaching Christ.
“Concerning [creation] the pagan philosophers wretchedly blundered, and became vain in their imaginations, some asserting the world’s eternity and self-existence, others ascribing it to a fortuitous concourse of atoms: thus “the world by wisdom knew not God,” but took a great deal of pains to lose him. The holy scripture therefore, designing by revealed religion to maintain and improve natural religion, to repair the decays of it and supply the defects of it, since the fall, for the reviving of the precepts of the law of nature, lays down, at first, this principle of the unclouded light of nature, That this world was, in the beginning of time, created by a Being of infinite wisdom and power, who was himself before all time and all worlds.” Matthew Henry (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged in One Volume, Peabody: Hendrickson, 1994, 3.)
Psalm 101 has been on my mind today, and I thought how it makes for an excellent overview of good resolutions (with obvious adjustments on application between David’s duties of a king, and ours, as citizens of our local chaptersd of Zion). Here are a few of mine for 2022, should the Lord grant me breath and health: Psalm 101 as Resolutions v. 1 – I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto thee, O LORD, will I sing. 1. Resolved, to my personal Psalm-singing -the alone songbook describing infallible mercy and judgment- and reduce the recreational music. 2. Resolved, to improved my direction of thinking when singing, that is, unto the LORD. v. 2 I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. 1. Resolved, to endeavor -according to place & station- always to walk perfectly, according to God’s commandments. 2. Resolved, as is the Psalmist, to cry out to the LORD for such help, acknowledging that it must be His visitation to me for strength and wherewithal to walk within my house with a perfect heart, acknowledging that complete perfection will not be attained in this life, but that my best efforts must be exhausted thereunto (by faith). v. 3a I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes. 1. Resolved, not only that I forwardly will guard against setting that which is explicitly evil before mine eyes (or before my thoughts, in my esteem, etc.), but also 2. Resolved, not to set before myself that which tends toward vanity & emptiness, or that which is not of excellent or praiseworthy use. 3. Resolved, to make better use of my thoughts, words, and actions, stewarding time as a faithful servant. vv. 3b-5 I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me. Froward hearts, wicked persons, slanderers, high-lookers, proud-hearted. 1. Resolved, not to allow my affections extensive time or exhaustive effort -outside of necessary interaction, or being salt & light, giving a word in season- with those with froward hearts, gossiping mouths, those with too high an esteem of themselves (including that idol self that yet resides in my own breast!). 2. Resolved, according to place & station, to love others enough -especially those of the household of faith- not to suffer sin upon them, whether it be my own, or theirs. That I might hate sin generally, and my own especially such that rivers of waters would run down mine eyes because God’s law is not kept. 3. Resolved, faithfully to take up reproof, receive reproof, and lovingly confront, or avoid (as circumstances dictate), those described by the Psalmist. To cut it out of my own life, where its ugly head is reared. v. 6 Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: He that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me. 1. Resolved, for my best efforts […]