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of wisdom? Is not this to affirm that wickedness is folly; the extreme and the consummation of folly; that it is folly so extravagant and enormous, that
every other example or kind of foolishness deserves, when compared with fin, to be denominated wisdom? Are not your thoughts now ready to break forth in the language of Holy Writ: The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom : and to depart from evil is understanding : It is the fool that maketh a mock at fin: the fool, O Lord, sall not stand in tby hght (e)? Is this the language of your hearts? See then that walk circumspectly; not as fools, but as wife (f). You know the fountain of wisdom. Christ is not only the power of God, but the wisdom of God: and of God he is made unto us wisdom no less than righteousness and sanctification and redemption (g). How is wisdom to be obtained ? If any of you lack wisdom, let bim ası of God, who giveth unto all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him (b). How will God bestow the gift? By the inspiration of his Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of wisdom. What is the description which the Spirit of wifdom has delivered of wisdom: not of the
(c) Prov.ix. 10. xiv. 9. Job, xxviii. 28. Pl. v. 5. (f) Eph. v. 15. (8) 1 Cor i. 24. 30. () James, i. 5.
It is peace
wisdom of this world, which is foolishness
it abounds in humility, meekness, forbearance, and charity. It is easy to be entreated : it lends a willing ear to lenient counsel : it cheerfully forgives a brother even until seventy times seven. It is full of mercy: it is actively and invariably tender, compassionate, and kind; breathing love for all men, and seeking the welfare of all men. It is full of good fruits : it honours not God with the lips only: it fays not to the naked and hungry, Depart, be ye warmed and filled; and yet gives them mot those things which are 'needful; but it
(i) James, iii. 17.
proves its faith by righteous obedience ; shews itfelf by its works in a good life and conversation. It is without partiality: it draws no needless or unwarrantable diftinca tions between man and man; it renders equal justice to all, and distributes kindness in proportion to the united claims of necessity and desert. It is without hypocrify: it assumes no delusive exterior ; it is a stedfast observer of truth; it will submit to any loss, any scorn, rather than escape them by having recourse to the crooked management which is the policy and the pride of the children of this world. Such are the characters by which the Holy Ghost has distinguished heavenly wisdom; that wif, dom which comes down from heaven ; that wisdom which points to heaven ; that wisdom which makes wise 'unto falvation through faith in Christ Jefus ; that wisdom for want of which the fool dieth even death eternal. Have you this wif, dom? If you have it not, you have nothing. Had
all the abilities, all the learning, all the riches, all the grandeur, which mortality can attain, and had not this wisdom ; you would have nothing, Wisdom, faith our Lord, is justified of her children. Are you the children of wisdom?
Do you prize her above all things? Do you walk by her rules? Do you fhew forth her fruits ? Do you labour for her rewards? Do you maintain her cause? Do you in, vite others to her lessons ? Give me understanding, exclaims David, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I Mall observe it with my whole heart. Under whatever points of view you consider the subject, the result is uniformly this: that to fear God and to keep bis commandments is the whole wisdom as well as the whole duty of man.
Let us labour then, my brethren, by fervent supplication, to draw down upon ourselves this blessing from above. Let us beseech the only wise God to renew a right spirit
that we may forsake the foolish and lives that we may go in the ways of understanding, and find it a well-spring of life. While we perceive that wisdom and true religion are the fame, let us pray that He may grant us understanding to discern thatamong thousands of professed Christians there is a religion which, whatever fair appearances it may assume, is not wisdom, but folly: a religion of form, and decorum; a religion of self-justifying morality; a religion of the head, not of the heart. Let us intreat him to teach us so to number our
days, that we may apply our hearts unto wifdom; to enforce upon us not only the inexpressible importance of working out our salvation through the grace of his Son Jesus, but the shortness of the time during which we have to work. May He instruct us habitually to bear in mind how speedily. the longest life will have passed away: and how uncertain it is, not merely whether we shall be preserved unto length of days, but whether another
another month, or even another hour, may not have ended our existence upon earth. May He cause us to be roused to serious and deep reflection by the frequent examples which He displays of the precariousness of life. May He cause those who are in the vigour of health ever to remember that strength rears not even a momentarybulwark against death: and those who are of a feeble frame, daily to consider how slight a barrier is interposed between them and diffolution. O that men were wise ; that they understood this; that they would consider their latter end!