George H. Morrison
On the Sabbath evening preceding the Communion there is an old Scottish custom which I like to honor. It is that of preparing ourselves for the Lord's Table by some quiet exercise of self-examination. When the Communion comes our thoughts shall be all of Christ-of His infinite love to us, and our infinite debt to Him. We shall look outward to an atoning sacrifice, on which we rest and through which we have peace. But tonight is the fitting occasion to look inward, and to examine ourselves, lest we eat and drink unworthily: and that is why I have chosen as our text this evening, "Cleanse thou me from secret faults."
Now you all understand, I hope, what is meant by secret faults. They are the faults that are secret from ourselves. They are the sins and failings in your life and mine of which we are unconscious. There are some faults we can keep secret from the world, and yet they are well known to those at home. The people we meet in the street may not suspect them, but the wife or the mother knows them all too well. And there are other sins which a man may do in business, so that his name smells rank amid honorable dealers, yet the shadow of them may never touch his home, nor the innocent faces of his adoring children. Such faults are secret beyond a certain circle. Love casts the mantle of her glorious silence round them. But it is not these of which the psalmist thinks when he cries, Cleanse Thou me from secret faults. He thinks of the faults which you and I have tonight-of the sins which in the sight of God we are committing-and yet we are ignorant of them, and have never been wakened to them, and are not conscious they are there at all.
Now that there are such faults in everyone of us may be demonstrated along many lines. Think, for instance, how certain it becomes when we remember what we see in others. Is there any one known to you, however good or beautiful, on whose faults or failings you could not put ...
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