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is a reprover. may of encouragement. She speaks here to sinners, to shut his eyes to the light of scripture, and “simple ones' who 'love simplicity,' to scorners' his ears to the voice of the preacher ; but who 'delight in scorning,' to 'fools' who hate where can he find a retreat from the lash of an *knowledge;' that is, to wilful, daring, and obsti- awakened conscience? By nature conscience is nate transgressors, and for them she has a word of defiled; and it may be blinded through ignor* reproof. Her reproofs are conveyed through ance, or misled by error, or seared as with a many different channels. One of these is hot iron by sensual excess.
But the force of naThe word of God. All scripture is given by tural conscience cannot be altogether subdued ; inspiration of God, and is profitable for reproof. and when its testimony is heard condemning the It points out the evil nature and ruinous conse- sinner, and setting before him the terrors of a quences of sin, and declares the certainty of a coming retribution, as in the case of Belshazzar coming judgment, by which the wrath of God whose ‘knees smote one against another' when he shall be revealed from heaven against all unright- beheld the hand-writing on the wall; or of Felix cousness and ungodliness of men. At the same who “trembled' when Paul “reasoned of rightetime it deals with the peculiarities of individual ousness, temperance, and judgment to come;' character; it holds up to sinners of every descrip- what is this but a message of reproof from heation a mirror which reflects the image of their own ven? How precious are the reproofs adminisdepravity, and it comes home to the conscience tered by the counsels of of each in language which reproves alike the in- Christian friendship! “Faithful are the wounds difference of the careless, the duplicity of the of a friend.' David held them in high estimahypocritical, the pride of the self-righteous, the tion, 'Let the righteous smite me, it shall be a impiety of the profane, and the excesses of the kindness; and let him reprove me, it shall be an voluptuous. 'For the word of God is quick and excellent oil, which shall not break my head.' powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, Such reproofs ought to be received as tokens piercing even to the dividing asunder of the soul of affection, and listened to as the dictates of and spirit, of the joints and marrow, and is a dis- wisdom. eerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.'
The afflictive dispensations of providence speak Ministers are reprovers. They are traitors to the language of reproof. Manasseh had been one the cause of Christ who 'speak smooth things,' of the chief of sinners, but solitude and suffering sying, 'Peace, peace, when there is no peace,' brought him to repentance, and he found mercy. and seek to please rather than to profit and edify We are prone to complain of our trials, but if we the people. Their commission runs in these viewed them in the proper light we should see terns
, Cry aloud, spare not ; lift up thy voice cause to be thankful for them. We ought allike a trumpet, and show my people their trans- ways to bear in mind that to improve them aright gressions, and the house of Jacob their sins.' is to be reproved by them. The reproofs of wisJohn the Baptist did not Aatter Herod the king, dom all aim at one practical object, it is to bat reproved him as he deserved without fear or awaken repentance. But reproofs cannot prohrotur
. Of Jesus it is said, that he taught as one duce this effect without the operation of having authority, and not as the scribes; and his Divine influence. This is graciously proErvants are commanded to “preach the word, be mised; for wisdom has said, “I will pour out my istant in season and out of season, reprove, re- Spirit unto you. Repentance is man's duty, but bule, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine.' God's work. We may change the conduct, but he Popular errors must not be countenanced, but renews the heart; we may avoid the act of sin, but corrected; prevailing sins must not be connived he destroys the love of it; we may go through
but condemned; unwelcome truths must not be the forms of duty, but he implants the principle foncealed, but declared ; the vices both of indi- of obedience. To the commandment which says, ridnals and communities must, without distinc- "Turn ye at my reproof,' let us therefore reply, in of rank, or sex, or age, or circumstances, be "Turn thou me and I shall be turned, for thou karlessly exposed; the people must be addressed art the Lord my God. But in vague generalities, but in plain, pointed, Reproofs must be understood in order to be and searching appeals to the conscience and the effectual
. Wisdom has provided and promised heart
. He is a bad preacher who makes the all needful instruction. She therefore adds, "I beaters forget themselves in their admiration of will make known my words unto you. The km. Discourses which give greatest offence fre-Spirit has given the word, but he must also give quently do most good.
the capacity to discern its meaning. In his light
occur in which conscience is at a loss to dis
SEVENTEENTH DAY.-EVENING. cover the path of duty, or to decide between what is lawful and what is merely expedient, Thy word have I hid in mine heart,' Psal. cxix. and knows not either what to think, or how to
11. act; in such circumstances how precious the pri- By the word of God we understand the revelavilege of being permitted to ask direction from tion of his will in the holy scriptures. It is his Him who is wise in counsel, and who has pro- word, inasmuch as it came from him, treats mised to guide the meek in judgment, and to him, and will lead to him. He is its Author teach them his way!
its subject, and its end. Holy men of God wert To mourners of every description, to those espe- employed by him as the channels of communica cially who mourn in Zion, who are cast down and tion, but they spake only “as they were moved by disquieted with fears respecting the safety of their the Holy Ghost. spiritual condition, or oppressed with grief and The bible is proved to be the word of God by vexation of spirit under a sense of their own ex- its peculiar excellence, and its practical influence ceeding sinfulness, and of the unprofitableness of by the originality of its doctrinal discoveries, by all their services, and of the little comfort which the purity of its moral precepts, by the harmony they have found in religious ordinances, and the of its different parts, and the perfect adaptation small progress which they have made in Chris- of the whole to the condition of man as a sinner tian attainment; to those who lament the hid- It requires no addition, is susceptible of no im ings of God's countenance, and the absence of all provement, admits of no alteration; it exhibit: satisfying communion with him ; who go mourn- in every part the stamp of truth, and the impres
. ing all the day, walking in darkness, and ready sion of divinity, and “is profitable for doctrine, for to faint with the sickness of hope deferred ; to all reproof, for correction, for instruction in righte such there is provided a never-failing resource, a ousness, that the man of God may be perfect fountain of rich and refreshing consolation lies thoroughly furnished unto all good works.' within their reach; and they are invited to ap- Few men have been so well qualified as David proach it, taking along with them a form of ap- was to appreciate the value of the word of God plication, which the Hearer of prayer has himself He had made it the subject of humble, habitual prepared for them in the words of the inspired and prayerful investigation. It had been hi psalmist, “O send forth thy light and thy truth' meditation by day, and his song in the night
As a preparation for duty this prayer is no His knowledge of it, obtained through divin less appropriate than it is necessary for our com- teaching giving effect to his own researches, wa fort in distress. David said, “I will wash mine extensive, intimate, and experimental. He coule hands in innocency; so will I compass thine altar.' say, 'I have more understanding than all my Not only the more solemn services of devotion, teachers;' and he uttered the language not o but every act of religious worship requires the ignorant superstition, but of enlightened an preparations of the heart which are from the practical devotion, when he declared, “Thy wort Lord. To him we must look for the capacity to have I hid in mine heart. It is evident tha serve him acceptably and profitably in the ordi- David possessed a very minute and distinct re nances of his own appointment; and after all collection of the word of God. It was his pri that we have done or can do in the work vilege to have constant access to the scripture of preparation by examining the state of our themselves; but he had transferred a large por hearts, by reflecting on the conduct of the tion of them to his memory, from whose store past, and forming purposes of obedience for the he could derive either subjects of meditation, a future, or otherwise cultivating the frame and motives to duty, or sources of comfort, or help feelings which are suitable in drawing near to to devotion, as circumstances might require. God, we must have recourse to Him with whom The language of David is strongly expressiv is the residue of the Spirit, and without whom of his attachment to the word of God. Wit we can know nothing, and do nothing aright. Job he could say, 'I have esteemed the word • Search me, O God, and know my thoughts. of his mouth more than my necessary food And see if there be any wicked way in me, and What is sweeter than honey? The Psalmi lead me in the way everlasting. O send out thy replies, 'How sweet are thy words to my taste light and thy truth, let them lead me, let them yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth. Wha bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy taberna- is more valued than riches? Hear David agai cles; then will I go unto the altar of God, unto The law of thy mouth is better to me tha God my exceeding joy.'
thousands of gold and silver.' It was to hu
more precious than anything and everything else. obedience. Even its dark sayings, and its hard He therefore hid it, as men hide a treasure, which sayings, are revered for their wisdom, and loved for they wish to preserve, but are afraid of losing; and their excellency. The service which it requires is having no other place worthy of its character, approved as a reasonable, and enjoyed as a pleaor fit for its reception, he enshrined it in the sant, and recommended as a profitable service. affections of his heart. “Thy word have I hid Therefore,' says David, 'I esteem all thy prein mine heart.
cepts concerning all things to be right, and I hate This was in him the testimony of experience. every false way. I will run in the way of thy The word of God he had felt to be quick and commandments, when thou hast enlarged my powerful, and sharper than a two-edged sword.' heart.' It had taught him the evil of sin, and the beauty It was not for the purpose of concealment, of holiness. He had found it to be a “lamp to his but rather for the purpose of communication, feet, and a light unto his path.' In affliction it that David hid the word of God in his heart. had been his comforter, and his guide in diffi- | · My tongue,' says the Psalmist, shall speak culty and distress. When temptation assailed, of thy word. And again, · With my lips have it fortified him with the means of defence and I declared all the judgments of thy mouth.' security; and when conscience accused, it cheered The word of God is not merely a trust which we him with the assurances of forgiveness and fa- should keep with a jealous care, but also a talent vour. In allusion to the effects which it had which we should employ with diligence and zeal produced upon himself, he could affirm that 'the for the spiritual good both of ourselves and law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; others. No man who knows its value feels any the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise disposition to monopolize the precious treasure; the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, on the contrary, as it is his duty, so it will be rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the his delight to put his fellow-sinners in possession Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of of it; and in attempting to make it the instruthe Lord is clean, enduring for ever; the judg- ment of good to others, he will render it more ments of the Lord are true and righteous al- productive of benefit to his own soul. "God be together. “Thy word have I hid in mine merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face heart.'
to shine upon us. That thy way may be known He hid it there both for convenience and upon earth, thy saving health among all nations. security. We cannot be certain of having the Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the word of God always in our possession, or people praise thee.' within our reach. Circumstances may exclude us from the opportunity of reading it; sicksess may deprive us of the capacity of reading it. How important, then, to have it laid up
EIGHTEENTH DAY.-MORNING. in the heart, so as to carry it continually about with us, and to have ready access to it in all · In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and places, and on all occasions, for instruction and knowledge,' Col. ii. 3. comfort. For David hid the word, not as the THE fullness of Christ constitutes the all-engrossmiser hoards his gold, for preservation merely, ing subject of scripture testimony. “It pleased but for use. It was given not to amuse us with the Father that in him all fullness should dwell,' curious speculations, but to influence the affec- and in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godtions, to regulate the conduct, and form the cha- head bodily. He is full of compassion; for “we
have not an High Priest which cannot be touched The only way to render the word of God fruit- with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all fal is to have it hid in the heart. If the seed points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.' is permitted to lie on the surface, instead of being He is full of power; for all power is given to him buried under ground, it would be altogether un- in heaven and in earth; and he is able to save to productive. The incorruptible seed of the word, the uttermost them that come unto God by him, when sown in the soil of a good and honest heart
, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for "takes root downward, and brings forth fruit up- them. He is full of grace; for “ his grace is exward' Its truths and precepts, its cautions and ceeding abundant, and of his fullness have we all encouragements, received into the heart, exert a received, and grace for grace:' he is full of truth, powerful and purifying influence, and become so for in him are hid all the treasures of wisdom many principles of holy activity and devoted and knowledge. Let us consider what is the
amount of this representation, and what is the world in the prefigurations of the Mosaic ecouse which we should make of it.
nomy, shone forth more and more unto the perPeter uttered the language of truth, when, ad-fect day. dressing himself to Jesus, he said, “Lord, thou By the personal ministrations of Christ upon knowest all things. As God he is essentially earth, the treasures of wisdom and knowledge omniscient; and his knowledge, as it is infinite, which had been hid in him, were exhibited in so it is underived. But it is in his official and rich and abundant profusion. He came that he delegated capacity that we have now to do with might bear witness to the truth, and could say, him, as the divinely appointed Mediator between 'I am the light of the world; he that followeth God and man, and Head over all things to his me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have body the church. He needed not that any the light of life. The Jews were astonished at should testify of man, for he knew what was in his doctrine, and asked, “From whence hath this man.'
man these things? and what wisdom is this • Wisdom and knowledge' often express the which is given unto him? How knoweth this same thing. But in their nature they are essen- man letters, having never learned ?' But they tially different, nor are they necessarily united in spake ignorantly, and in unbelief. His doctrine the same person. Men of very extensive know- was new to them because it had been hid in him. ledge often discover a very small share of wis- But he knew it perfectly from the beginning, dom. But knowledge without wisdom to guide and now revealed it in order to make all men its application can do little good either to the see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which possessor or to others, and may do much evil. from the beginning of the world hath been hid Christ combines in himself both wisdom and in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ. knowledge: his knowledge is wisdom, for it To the intent that now unto the principalities maketh wise, and without it there can be no and powers in heavenly places might be known true wisdom. It is the knowledge of God, of by the church the manifold wisdom of God. his attributes, his counsels, his will, and his According to the eternal purpose which he purways; especially the knowledge of his purpose posed in Christ Jesus our Lord.' of redeeming mercy. Of these subjects how This view of the Redeemer's character serves little can we know, and how much less can we to show both what he claims from us, and what comprehend! No man knoweth the Father we may expect from him. Men eminently wise but the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will and learned are universally regarded with respect reveal him.' His understanding is infinite. and admiration. Yet how much ignorance and Nothing is concealed from him; nothing is mys- folly do they often discover! The mind of man terious to him.
can know only a few things, and it cannot know In man the acquisition of wisdom and know- any one of these perfectly. But our Saviour is ledge is commonly the result of long and laborious the only wise God. What are the stores of exertions. But from eternity the treasures of wis- wisdom and knowledge which the industry and dom and knowledge were hid in Christ. They ingenuity of man have produced from the beginwere never hid from him; but they are hid in him, ning of the world to the present day, compared laid
up in store as a precious treasure, that must with those boundless treasures which are hid in be kept in safety, and be ready for use as circum- him? He is light, and in him is no darkness at stances may require. He had them in himself all. All the wisdom and knowledge which his originally, independently, and inherently; but he creatures can attain to is but a faint emanation has them also in trust for his people. They were of that light in which he dwells, and which no committed to him by appointment of the Father, man can approach unto. To him, then, let us to qualify him for the discharge of his prophetical ascribe glory, and dominion, and blessing, and office. They are hid in him, not that they may be praise. And let us by faith and prayer look to concealed, but that they may be communicated. him as the fountain of all true wisdom and saving He opened his treasures to man at his creation in knowledge, that he may give unto us the spirit the light of nature around him, and of conscience of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge within him. He unfolded them anew to him him; that the eyes of our understanding being immediately after his fall in a revelation of mercy, enlightened we may know what is the hope and in the promise of deliverance. To patriarchs our calling, and what the riches of the glory o and prophets in succession the same gracious our inheritance in the saints; that we may grov discoveries were repeated with increasing full- in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and ness; and the light which had dawned upon the Saviour Jesus Christ. Till we all come in th unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the read that “God gave Solomon wisdom. Daniel Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the mea- afforded proofs of extraordinary wisdom, but he sure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.' acknowledged it to be God's gift, saying, “I thank
thee, O God, who hast given me wisdom.' And in both of these cases wisdom was bestowed in answer
to prayer. Solomon asked it; Daniel and his EIGHTEENTH Day.-EVENING.
pious friends in Babylon prayed for it. God's way
of communicating wisdom is through the instru'If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, mentality of prayer. “If any man lack wisdom,
that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth let him ask of God.' The same rule is observed not, and it shall be given him,' James i. 5.
by him in dispensing all other spiritual blessings. That which the apostle has here made a matter He needs not to be informed, or argued with of supposition is in reality a matter of fact; for as if he were either ignorant or unkind. He it is undeniably manifest, from the testimony of is acquainted with all the exigencies of our scripture, experience, and observation, that every condition, and has promised to supply all our man ‘lacks wisdom.' Vain man would be wise, need. But he intends that his people shall be though a man be born like a wild ass's colt.' But made sensible of their own wants, and of his his pretensions to wisdom serve only to discover ability to help them; he desires to bring them bis folly. The children of this world are, indeed, to that state of mind which will prepare
them wise in their generation, but their wisdom is to enjoy with the greatest comfort, and to employ earthly, sensual, devilish.' Of that wisdom with the greatest advantage to themselves and whose beginning is the fear of God, whose 'ways others, those blessings which he sees to be are pleasantness,' and whose paths are peace;' needful, and which he purposes to confer upon of that wisdom which is from above, and which them. Hence it is, that ‘for all these things he is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to will be inquired of by the house of Israel to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, with- do it for them. The recipient of his favours ont partiality and without hypocrisy,' of such must, in the first instance, be a suppliant. We wisdom they are altogether destitute.'
must ask that we may receive, and seek that we Man is naturally blind to his real character may find, and knock that it may be opened and his highest interests. He overlooks alto- unto us. gether the chief end of his existence. He knows Other means should be used in connection with not in what true happiness consists, nor where it prayer. God teaches wisdom in his word, and is to be found. He prefers the body to the soul, by his ordinances, which must be carefully and time to eternity, earth to heaven, death to life. devoutly attended to. Prayer is designed not to He calls sweet bitter, and bitter sweet; he mis- supersede other means, but to enforce their obtakes light for darkness, and darkness for light. servance, and insure their success. And as prayer The world is his idol. He looks only at things is necessary, so it will be effectual. We know which are seen and temporal. Daily he puts the that “if we ask any thing agreeable to his will question, Who will show us any good ?' but he heareth us.' He has said, “if any man lack, Lever joins in the prayer, 'Lord, lift thou up the let him ask. No conditions are proposed, no light of thy countenance upon me.' He is led price is demanded, no characters are excluded. captive by satan at his will. His language and He requires only that we should feel our need of oonduct, his desires and pursuits, make it abun- wisdom, and express it in prayer. In other dantly manifest, that with all his boasted attain- cases the success of our prayers may be doubtful, ments he still lacketh one thing, that is, wisdom. but here it is certain. We know not what things • But where shall wisdom be found? and where to pray for as we ought, and in our ignorance and is the place of understanding? Man knoweth folly we often desire what we should dread and ut the price thereof; neither is it found in the deprecate. But in praying for wisdom we act land of the living. The depth saith, It is not in in obedience to God's express command, and in me; and the sea saith, It is not in me. It can- reliance on his promise. In answer to such a not be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be prayer he not only gives but gives liberally; never weighed for the price thereof.'
less than is asked, generally more.
<And God "Blessed be God, for wisdom and might are said to Solomon, Because this was in thine heart, his.' He giveth wisdom to the wise, and know- and thou hast not asked riches, wealth, or honledge to them that know understanding. Solo-our, nor the life of thine enemies, neither yet non siirpassed all other men in wisdom, but wel hast asked long life, but hast asked wisdom avd