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knowledge for thyself; wisdom and knowledge wisdom of God.' Its doctrines are the word of is granted unto thee; and I will give thee riches, wisdom;' its precepts are the ways of wisdom.' and wealth, and honour, such as none of the kings All who believe and obey it have been made have had that have been before thee, neitherwise unto salvation.' The voice of Christ shall there any after thee have the like. Thus speaks in every part of it, and in every part it appears that “godliness is profitable unto all it speaks the language of true wisdom. Obthings, having the promise of the life that now is, serveand of that which is to come.'
The publicity of its announcements. The Wisdom comprehends all that is essential to heathen oracles uttered their responses in secret, the spiritual and eternal interests of man. It is and with studied ambiguity. Error shuns the another name for real and saving religion. In light; but wisdom crieth' that all may hear. principle, it is faith; in experience, it is peace; and She comes forth to the gates of the city, or the in character, holiness. It is the pearl of great streets, and other public places, where all classes price; it is the one thing needful. Other things of the people usually congregate in the greatest may be desirable, this is indispensable. Other numbers. Thus did Jesus in the course of his things may be needful to some, but all stand in personal ministry. In the last day, that great need of wisdom, whether learned or ignorant, day of the feast, he stood and cried, saying, "If high or low, rich or poor.'• Wisdom is the prin any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink.' cipal thing; therefore get wisdom; and with all thy To Pilate, who asked him of his disciples and of getting, get understanding. She is more precious his doctrine, he could say, 'I spake openly to than rubies, and all the things thou canst desire the world, I ever taught in the synagogue, and are not to compared unto her. She is a tree of in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; life to them that lay hold upon her, and happy and in secret have I said nothing.' He had not is every one that retaineth her.' And as wisdom one doctrine for the rich, and another for the is necessary to all, so it is attainable by all. poor; but addressed to the people without dis• Wisdom crieth aloud; she uttereth her voice in tinction and without exception the word of truth the streets, If any man thirst, let him come and salvation. That which he did in his own unto me and drink.' But wisdom is God's gift ; person, he commanded the disciples to do in his as he confers the blessing, so he claims the glory. name, “What I tell you in darkness, that speak Let us then live in the spirit of dependence and ye in the light; and what ye hear in the ear, gratitude, daily asking, "So teach us to number that preach ye upon the house tops. It is his our days, that we may apply our hearts unto will that all men should come to the knowledge wisdom.'
of the truth, that they may be saved. Still he • Now unto him that is able to keep you from cries, Unto you, O men, I call, and my voice i falling, and to present you faultless before the to the sons of men. Who hath ears to hear presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the let him hear.' The gospel is recommended byonly wise God our Saviour, be glory and ma- The kindness and impartiality of its adminis jesty, dominion and power, both now and ever.' tration. Wisdom crieth “at the gates, at th Amen.
entry of the city,' in the hearing of a large ant promiscuous multitude, comprehending person of every variety of rank and character. No wher
is the preaching of the gospel so much needed a NINETEENTH DAY.-MORNING. in places of public resort, frequented as the · Wisdom crieth at the gates, at the entry of the worthless of mankind. The master of the fear
usually are by the most ignorant, depraved, an city, at the coming in at the doors, Prov. viii. commanded his servants, 'Go out into the hig . 3.
ways, and as many as ye shall find bid to th By wisdom Solomon intends the Son of God. His marriage.' In him there is enough and to spare people may be wise, but he is wisdom. He is and as the provision is sufficient for all, so it
the source, the perfection, the per- offered to all · without money and without price sonification of wisdom. The term wisdom may, There is no respect of persons with him. He cor however, be understood to represent that system demned the proud Pharisees who felt no need of divine truth which was taught by him, and by repentance; but kept company with the publ the apostles in his name. The gospel is emi- cans and sinners, who confessed their guilt, an nently entitled to the appellation of wisdom. "It desired instruction. The gospel is remarkab is the wisdom of God in a mystery; the manifold for-
Plainness and simplicity. It speaks not only have refused, and the means of grace which they to the multitude promiscuously, but particularly have despised, and the opportunities of improveto individuals. All the knowledge of it which is ment which they have neglected, and the capacinecessary may easily be obtained even by the ties of usefulness which they have misapplied, mnost illiterate inquirer. Wisdom crieth not only will form so many bitter ingredients in their cup at the gates, at the entry of the city,' but also of misery. But now is the accepted time.' Let *at the coming in at the doors.' Thus Christ the cry of wisdom, calling to repentance and taught both publicly, and from house to house. promising forgiveness, be responded to in the Not only has he placed the word of salvation prayer of the publican, who smiting on his breast, within our reach, he has brought it to our very and not daring so much as to lift up his eyes doors. He has made it not only accessible, but to heaven, cried, "God be merciful to me a intelligible to all, so that every man may read sinner. Such a cry will assuredly come up and can understand it for himself. * And the with acceptance into the ears of the Lord God Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, of Sabaoth, who is not only compassionate and and make it plain upon tables, that he may run merciful, but “faithful and just to forgive us that readeth it. The wayfaring men, though our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousfools, shall not err therein.' The gospel is ness.” characterised by
The urgency of its calls and invitations. Accordingly wisdom crieth' with an earnest and importunate voice. And she does not wait to NINETEENTH DAY. EVENING. be applied to, but goes forth to meet the people at the entry of the city,' and there solicits their 'Oh that they were wise, that they understood attention. She perseveres in the attempt, and this, that they would consider their latter end!' continues to press upon them with her impor- Deut. xxxii. 29. tunities, following them from the gates' of the The Jews were proverbially inconsiderate. Isaiah city even to the coming in at the doors' of their complained of them saying, “The ox knoweth his houses. Truly the Lord 'is long-suffering to owner, and the ass his master's crib; but Israel usward, not willing that any should perish, but doth not know, my people doth not consider. that all should come to repentance. He not Moses had witnessed many sad proofs of their only waiteth to be gracious, but employs posi- forgetfulness and folly: and at the close of a long tive means in order to persuade sinners to turn and laborious life, spent in their service, his heart's and live. He addresses them by his word and desire and prayer for them was, “that they would ordinances, by his ministers and people, by the consider their latter end.' The subject was not remonstrances of conscience and the dispensations more important to them than it is to all. It of providence. He speaks to them in the teaches us that to “consider our latter end' conlanguage of kindness and terror, of promise and stitutes true wisdom. By our latter end he threatening, of expostulation and entreaty. In- means death. But it cannot be profitably constead of leaving them to the consequences of sidered unless it is properly understood. We their criminal resistance, he bears with their understand it to be indiference and renews his solicitations; he The end of our present state of being, of its raises another and a louder cry; has recourse joys and sorrows, its duties and dangers, its posto more urgent importunity and more powerful sessions and pursuits, its comforts and cares. The means to enforce their compliance. With some hand then forgets its cunning, the tongue is silent, the means prove successful; and when sinners the pulse ceases to beat, and the lungs to breathe; repent and turn to the Lord, he sees in them the whole frame becomes a lump of cold and the travail of his soul, and is satisfied. Others senseless clay. The ties which bind us to our Satinue impenitent; and over them he utters nearest and dearest friends, and to every thing the lamentation of unavailing sympathy: “If earthly, are then broken asunder; for “they that thou hadst known, even thou, ať least, in this have wives shall be as though they had none; thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace; and they that weep as though they wept not, and but now they are hid from thine eyes!' they that buy as though they possessed not; for
How fearful, yet how just, will be the con- the fashion of this world passeth away. And dermation of those who turn a deaf ear to the the change is final. There is hope of a tree if it try of heavenly wisdom! They are without ex- be cut down, that it will sprout again. But man case; and the invitations of mercy which they dieth and wasteth away; yea, man giveth up tho
ghost, and where is he? We understand our lat-cern. All who are truly wise will consider their ter end to be
latter end. Wisdom requires them to consider it The commencement of a future and eternal with state of being. The dust shall return to the Serious attention, as a subject in which they earth as it was; but the spirit shall return to are deeply interested, and with which they must God who gave it. After death cometh the very shortly be brought into personal connection, judgment, which shall try every man's work; and Fools may altogether exclude the thought of the sentence of the Judge shall admit of no appeal, death; but instead of being resisted as a prenor can the consequences which follow, whether sumptuous intruder, it ought to be welcomed as happy or miserable, be ever altered, or reversed. a friendly monitor, and permitted habitually to They that are Christ's, made perfect in holiness, influence our feelings and conduct. It is not more shall immediately enter on the full and everlasting calculated to alarm the sinner and bring him to enjoyment of God; whilst the enemies of his cross Christ, than it is necessary to humble the believer, and his cause shall be cast into outer darkness, and excite him to duty. They who are wise will where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.' consider their latter endWe understand death to be
Practically, and in the way of diligent preparaThe universal destiny of man. The stroke of tion, by cultivating a state of mind and character death cannot be resisted by force, nor evaded by suitable for meeting death. This includes the artifice, nor set aside by the influence of rank or exercise of a simple and steady reliance on the wealth. One event happeneth to the righteous work of Christ; connected with the cultivation and the wicked, to the king and his subjects, to of exalted spirituality, unfeigned and universal the philosopher and the fool, to the man of wealth repentance, enlarged and active benevolence. Ou and the child of poverty, to the sinner of four- lamps must not merely have oil in them, they score and the infant of yesterday. “I know that must be filled with it, and exhibit a bright and thou wilt bring me to death, and to the house vigorous flame. Nothing but the privilege of appointed for all living. We understand that union to Christ realized by faith, evinced in the the event of death may come
purification of the heart, and in the victory which Soon and suddenly upon us.
It cannot be far overcometh the world, can prepare us to meel off
, and it may be very near at hand. This night death with safety, or warrant us to meet it with thy soul may be required of thee. How often are confidence and comfort. • Wherefore the rather, children carried off before their parents, the brethren, give diligence to make your calling and scholars before their teacher, the physician before election sure; for if ye do these things, ye his patients. •Boast not thyself of to-morrow, for never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.' to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom We understand death to be
of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. They The penalty of guilt. ‘By one man sin entered who are wise will consider their latter endinto the world, and death by sin, and so death Without delay. The Bridegroom may tarry, hath passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.' but the delay cannot be long; and the suddennes In Adam all die, even those who never sinned of his coming may be such as to take even those after the similitude of Adam's transgression. But who love and long for his appearance by surprise as death is the wages of sin, so the gift of God Then whatsoever tlfy hand findeth to do, do it is eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ.' with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, To understand death aright we must view it in nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither connection with
thou goest. Prepare to meet thy God, Israel. The remedy which has been provided for it in the sacrifice of Christ, who by dying took away sin, which is the sting of death, and destroyed him who had the power of death, that is, the TWENTIETH DAY.-MORNING. devil, and delivered them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage,
Turn you at my reproof; behold, I will pour and who are enabled to say, "Thanks be unto out my Spirit unto you, I will make knoun God, who giveth us the victory through Jesus
my words unto you,' Prov. i. 23. Christ our Lord. How awfully momentous is Wisdom has a word in season for persons of the event of death, when thus understood! How every variety of character and circumstances. For unaccountable, how fatal the infatuation which the ignorant, she has a word of instruction; for treats it as a matter of trifling or of distant con- the sorrowful, a word of consolation ; for the
secure, a word of alarm; for the fearful, a word
Conscience is a reprover.
The sinner 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 eousness 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. cerner 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 saying, '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 terms, '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 flatter Herod the king, dom all aim at one practical object, it is to but reproved him as he deserved without fear or awaken repentance.' But reproofs cannot profavour. 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 proservants are commanded to preach the word, be mised; for wisdom has said, “I will pour instant in season and out of season, reprove, re-Spirit unto you.' Repentance is man's duty, but buke, 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 at, but condemned; unwelcome truths must not be the forms of duty, but he implants the principle concealed, but declared; the vices both of indi- of obedience. To the commandment which says, viduals and communities must, without distinc-"Turn ye at my reproof,' let us therefore reply, tion of rank, or sex, or ago, or circumstances, be "Turn thou me and I shall be turned, for thou fearlessly exposed; the people must be addressed art the Lord my God.' ' not 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 hearers forget themselves in their admiration of will make known my words unto you. The him. 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
only shall we see light. Let us unite dependence | limitation of Christ's atonement to those whom on his teaching with the diligent and prayerful the Father has given him. It will be sufficient use of all appointed means of instruction. Let to answer every objection, and silence every murus beware of setting at nought his counsels, or mur for the Judge to say, "I have called, and ye despising his reproofs ; for he who being often re- refused.' 'Few are chosen,' but ‘many are called;' proved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be de- and it is not with the purpose of election, which stroyed, and that without remedy.'
has not been revealed, that sinners have to do, but with the call of mercy which addresses to
them the free, unrestricted, unconditional offer of TWENTIETI DAY.-EVENING.
salvation. In refusing this call they act wilfully,
deliberately, from enmity to God, and aversion · Because I have called, and ye refused, I also to his service. This is the condemnation that
will laugh at your calamity; I will mock light is come into the world, and men loved when your fear cometh, Prov. i. 24, 26.
darkness rather than light, because their deeds The government of God demands from us now, were evil. Thus they incur the guilt of disobeyand will ultimately obtain from all his intelligent ing the command of God, of denying his truth, creatures, unlimited acquiescence and approbation. of despising his mercy, of rejecting his counsel, of We are not, indeed, permitted, in many cases, to counting the blood of the covenant, wherewith know the reasons of his conduct; nor do we in Christ was sanctified, an unholy thing, and doing any case possess the capacity fully to compre- despite unto the Spirit of grace. Resting on hend them. But he has a reason for every thing such grounds the punishment of the wicked shall that he does, which, when clearly revealed, shall be perfectlyat once demonstrate the necessity of his pro- Righteous. The justice of God demands it; cedure, and display its perfectly wise, and holy, his mercy permits it; his truth and faithfulness and gracious character. Clouds and darkness cannot be maintained without it. All the attriare round about him ;' yet righteousness and butes of his character will be infinitely honoured judgment are the habitation of his throne; mercy by it. The whole intelligent creation will apand truth shall go before his face.'
prove of it. Sinners themselves will silently In the indulgence extended to wicked men acquiesce in it. The man who had not on the there is an apparent deviation from those princi- wedding garment was speechless in presence of ples of rectitude and impartiality which regulate the king, so shall be the finally impenitent under the divine government. Not only do they seem the sentence of the Judge. And their condemto enjoy impunity in sin ; they often attain to a nation as it is perfectly righteous so it is inevitfar higher degree of prosperity than falls to the ablylot of others. This has in all ages been a source Certain. Now they have an accepted time, of perplexity and discouragement to the people and a day of salvation. But the door, by which of God, whilst it renders sinners bolder and more they are now invited to enter, will then be shut. hardened in wickedness. But they abuse the Prayer will no longer avail. All the things that divine forbearance and long-suffering, not know belong to their peace will be hid from their eyes. ing that the goodness of God leadeth to repen- The God of mercy will then have forgotten to be tance; and they treasure up to themselves wrath gracious,' and will ‘be favourable no more.' How against the day of wrath, and revelation of the vain must be the hope of the poor and distressed righteous judgments of God.' • Because sentence when their prayer for relief is met not by the look against an evil work is not executed speedily, and language of sympathy, but by laughter and therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set mockery! How dreadful to hear the Father of in them to do evil. But God will bring every mercies declare, 'I also will laugh at your calwork into judgment, and will render unto every amity, I will mock when your fear cometh.' man according to his work; and he will be glori- And he is not a ‘man that he should lie, or the fied no less in the destruction of his enemies than son of man that he should repent. in the salvation of his redeemed people. He has How then shall we escape if we neglect so great distinctly stated
salvation? Who can resist the force of his AlThe grounds of their condemnation. They mighty arm, or elude the inspection of his allshall not be permitted to urge the plea of ignor- seeing eye? What is there to make up for the ance, nor the want of opportunity, nor even want of his friendship, or to protect us from the moral inability as their excuse; far less shall they effect of his anger ? The punishment of the sinbe allowed to plead the decrees of God, or the ner will be unspeakably