Be surety for Your servant for good; Do not let the arrogant oppress me.
Give your servant a pledge of good; let not the insolent oppress me.
Be surety for thy servant for good: let not the proud oppress me.

There is something very solemn in the reflection, that God has set up a Viceregent in the heart—an internal Judge, who takes cognizance of every thought, every emotion, every act—determining its character, and pronouncing its sentence. This tribunal tries every cause without respect to persons, time, place, or any circumstances, that might seem to separate it from other cases under the same jurisdiction. No criminal can escape detection from defect of evidence. No earthly power can hinder the immediate execution of the sentence. The sentence then, of this awful Judge, whether "accusing or excusing," is of infinite moment. The ignorant expression—'Thank God, I have a clear conscience!' is used alike by the self-righteous and the careless. The awakened sinner, however, pleads guilty to its accusations, and knows not how to answer them. Blessed be God for the revelation of His gospel, which proclaims the blood of Jesus—sprinkling the conscience—silencing its charges—and setting before the sinner the way of peace! And now through Jesus, "the new and living way" of access to God, conscience, sitting on the throne—speaks peace and acceptance; and though sins of infirmity will remain, defiling every thought, desire, and act; yet, like the motes on the face of the sun in the clearest day, they have little or no influence to obstruct the shining of the cheerful light upon the heart.

The clearing of conscience is however connected with Christian integrity. "If our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God." This "testimony of conscience" has often been "the rejoicing" of the Lord's people, when suffering under unremitted reproach or proud oppression. They have been enabled to plead it without offence in the presence of their holy, heart-searching God—no, even when in the near prospect of the great and final account, they might have been supposed to shrink from the strict and unerring scrutiny of their Omniscient Judge.

But observe the influence of this testimony upon our spiritual comfort. David was at this time under persecution—no new trial to a child of God and one that will never cease, so long as Satan has instruments at his command. But see the blessing which conscious uprightness gave to his prayers: I have done judgment and justice: leave me not to my oppressors. Can my heart and conscience respond to this appeal? Then may I plead my cause before God, Leave me not to my oppressors. Let not the proud oppress me. Plead my cause with them. Let my righteousness be made known. Let it be seen, that You "will not leave me in their hand, nor condemn me when I am judged. Let integrity and uprightness preserve me: for I wait on You." But if any deviation from the exact rule of righteousness between man and man has been allowed—if the world charge me as ungodly, because they have proved me unrighteous—then let me not wonder, that "the consolations of God shall be small with me;" nor let me expect a return of the Lord's cheering manifestation, until the Achan has been removed from the camp, and by confession to God, and reparation to man, I have "given glory to the Lord God of Israel."

But let not this appeal be thought to savor of Pharisaical pride. He pleads not merit. He only asserts his innocence—the righteousness of his cause—not of his person. Though upright before man, he ever felt himself a sinner before God. The highest tone of conscious integrity is therefore consistent with the deepest prostration of evangelical humility. The difference is infinite between the proud Pharisee and the upright believer. The Pharisee makes the appeal with undisturbed self-delight and self-righteous pleading. The believer would ever accompany it with the Tax-collector's prayer for mercy. Instantly—in a deep conviction of need—he appends the supplication—Be surety for Your servant for good. The keen eye of the world may possibly not be able to affix any blot upon my outward profession; but, "if you, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?" The debt is continually accumulating, and the prospect of payment as distant as ever. I might well expect to be left to my oppressors, until I should pay all that was due unto my Lord. But behold! "Where is the fury of the oppressor?" The surety is found—the debt is paid—the ransom is accepted—the sinner is free! There was a voice heard in heaven, "Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom." Yes, the Son of God Himself became "surety for a stranger," and "smarted for it." At an infinite cost—the cost of His own precious blood—He delivered me from my oppressors—sin—Satan—the world—death—hell. "It was exacted: and he answered." As Judah in the place of Benjamin, he was ready to stand in my stead before his Father, "I will be surety of him: of my hand shall you require him." As Paul in the stead of Onesimus, he was ready to plead, before the same tribunal, "If he has wronged you, or owes you anything, put that on my account; I will repay it."

Let this subject be ever present to my mind. Well indeed was it for me, that Jesus did not "hate suretyship." Had He refused the vast undertaking, how could I have answered before the bar of God? Or had He undertaken only for those who loved Him, again should I have been left without a plea. But when as my surety He has brought me under His yoke, and made me His servant, I can plead with acceptance before His throne, Be surety for Your servant for good—for the good, which You know me to need—my present and eternal deliverance from my proud oppressors. And do not I need such a surety every moment? And need I be told how fully He has performed the Surety's part? So that I may boldly say, "Who is he who condemns? it is Christ that died. It is Christ that lives. There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus."

"Be surety for your servant for good." This was the cry of Job and of Hezekiah, and it is the cry of every soul which believes in the great Intercessor and Daysman. Answer for me. Do not leave your poor servant to die by the hand of his enemy and your. Take up my interests and weave them with your own, and stand for me. As my Master, undertake your servant's cause, and represent me before the faces of haughty men until they see what an august ally I have in the Lord my God. Our greatest salvation comes from the divine suretyship. The Son of God as our Surety has smarted for us, and thereby he has brought good to us, and saved us from our proud oppressor, the arch-enemy of souls. In this verse we have not the law mentioned under any of its many names, and this is the only instance in the whole Psalm in which a verse omits mention of the Word of the Lord. Yet this is no exception to the spirit of the rule; for here we find mention of our Surety, who is the fulfillment of the law. Where the law fails we have Christ, the surety of a better covenant. This suretyship is always for good, but how much of good no tongue can tell.

"Let not the proud oppress me." Your interposition will answer the purpose of my rescue: when the proud see that you are my advocate, they will hide their heads. We should have been crushed beneath our proud adversary the devil if our Lord Jesus had not stood between us and the accuser, and become a surety for us. It is by his suretyship that we escape like a bird from the snare of the fowler. What a blessing to be able to leave our matters in our Surety's hands, knowing that all will be well, since he has an answer for every accuser, a rebuke for every reviler!

Good men dread oppression, for it makes even a wise man mad, and they send up their cries to Heaven for deliverance; nor shall they cry in vain, for the Lord will undertake the cause of his servants, and fight their battles against the proud. The word "servant" is wisely used as a plea for favor for himself, and the word "proud" as an argument against his enemies. It seems to be inevitable that proud men should become oppressors, and that they should take most delight in oppressing the true servants of God. Their oppressions will soon be put down, because they are oppressions, because the workers of them are proud, and because the objects of them are the. Lord's servants.