The word of God is two-fold, and, in both senses, is wisdom; for a word
without wisdom is of little value, and wisdom without a word is of
little use. Now,
I. Divine revelation is the word and wisdom of God, and that pure
religion and undefiled which is built upon it; and of that Solomon here
speaks, recommending it to us as faithful, and well worthy of all
God, by it, instructs, and governs, and blesses, the children of men.
II. The redeemer is the eternal Word and wisdom, the Logos. He is the
Wisdom that speaks to the children of men in the former part of the
chapter. All divine revelation passes through his hand, and centres in
him; but of him as the personal Wisdom, the second person in the
Godhead, in the judgment of many of the ancients, Solomon here speaks,
He concludes with a repeated charge to the children of men diligently
to attend to the voice of God in his word,
|The Invitation of Wisdom.
1 Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice?
2 She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the
places of the paths.
3 She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the
coming in at the doors.
4 Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of
5 O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an
6 Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening
of my lips shall be right things.
7 For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an
abomination to my lips.
8 All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is
nothing froward or perverse in them.
9 They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to
them that find knowledge.
10 Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather
than choice gold.
11 For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that
may be desired are not to be compared to it.
The will of God revealed to us for our salvation is here largely
represented to us as easy to be known and understood, that none may
have an excuse for their ignorance or error, and as worthy to be
embraced, that none may have an excuse for their carelessness and
I. The things revealed are easy to be known, for they belong to us
and to our children
and we need not soar up to heaven, or dive into the depths, to get the
knowledge of them
for they are published and proclaimed in some measure by the works of
more fully by the consciences of men and the eternal reasons and rules
of good and evil, but most clearly by Moses and the prophets; let them
hear them. The precepts of wisdom may easily be known; for,
1. They are proclaimed aloud
Does not Wisdom cry? Yes, she cries aloud, and does not spare
she puts forth her voice, as one in earnest and desirous to be
heard. Jesus stood and cried,
The curses and blessings were read with a loud voice by the Levites,
And men's own hearts sometimes speak aloud to them; there are clamours
of conscience, as well as whispers.
2. They are proclaimed from on high
She stands in the top of high places; it was from the top of
Mount Sinai that the law was given, and Christ expounded it in a sermon
upon the mount. Nay, if we slight divine revelation, we turn away
from him that speaks from heaven, a high place indeed,
The adulterous woman spoke in secret, the oracles of the heathen
muttered, but Wisdom speaks openly; truth seeks no corners, but gladly
appeals to the light.
3. They are proclaimed in the places of concourse, where
multitudes are gathered together, the more the better. Jesus spoke
in the synagogues and in the temple, whither the Jews always
Every man that passes by on the road, of what rank or condition soever,
may know what is good, and what the Lord requires of him, if it be not
his own fault. There is no speech nor language where Wisdom's voice is
not heard; her discoveries and directions are given to all
promiscuously. He that has ears to hear, let him hear.
4. They are proclaimed where they are most needed. They are intended
for the guide of our way, and therefore are published in the places
of the paths, where many ways meet, that travellers may be shown,
if they will but ask, which is the right way, just then when they are
at a loss; thou shalt then hear the word behind thee, saying, This
is the way,
The foolish man known not how to go to the city
and therefore Wisdom stands ready to direct him, stands at the
gates, at the entry of the city, ready to tell him where the seer's
1 Samuel 9:18.
Nay, she follows men to their own houses, and cries to them at the
coming in at the doors, saying, Peace be to this house; and, if
the son of peace be there, it shall certainly abide upon it. God's
ministers are appointed to testify to people both publicly and from
house to house. Their own consciences follow them with admonitions
wherever they go, which they cannot be out of the hearing of while they
carry their own heads and hearts about with them, which are a law unto
5. They are directed to the children of men. We attend to that
discourse in which we hear ourselves named, though otherwise we should
have neglected it; therefore Wisdom speaks to us: "Unto you, O men!
not to angels (they need not these instructions), not to devils (they
are past them), not to the brute-creatures (they are not capable of
them), but to you, O men! who are taught more than the beasts of
the earth and made wiser than the fowls of heaven. To you is this law
given, to you is the word of this invitation, this exhortation sent.
My voice is to the sons of men, who are concerned to receive
instruction, and to whom, one would think, it should be very welcome.
It is not, to you, O Jews! only, that Wisdom cries, nor to you, O
gentlemen! not to you, O scholars! but to you, O men! O sons of
men! even the meanest."
6. They are designed to make them wise
they are calculated not only for men that are capable of wisdom, but
for sinful men, fallen men, foolish men, that need it, and are undone
without it: "O you simple ones! understand wisdom. Though you
are ever so simple, Wisdom will take you for her scholars, and not only
so, but, if you will be ruled by her, will undertake to give you an
understanding heart." When sinners leave their sins, and become
truly religious, then the simple understand wisdom.
II. The things revealed are worthy to be known, well worthy of all
acceptation. We are concerned to hear; for,
1. They are of inestimable value. They are excellent things
princely things, so the word is. Though they are level to the
capacity of the meanest, yet there is that in them which will be
entertainment for the greatest. They are divine and heavenly things,
so excellent that, in comparison with them, all other learning is but
children's play. Things which relate to an eternal God, an immortal
soul, and an everlasting state, must needs be excellent things.
2. They are of incontestable equity, and carry along with them the
evidence of their own goodness. They are right things
all in righteousness
and nothing froward or perverse in them. All the dictates and
directions of revealed religion are consonant to, and perfective of,
the light and law of nature, and there is nothing in them that puts any
hardship upon us, that lays us under any undue restraints, unbecoming
the dignity and liberty of the human nature, nothing that we have
reason to complain of. All God's precepts concerning all things are
3. They are of unquestionable truth. Wisdom's doctrines, upon which her
laws are founded, are such as we may venture our immortal souls upon:
My mouth shall speak truth
the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, for it is a testimony to
the world. Every word of God is true; there are not so much as pious
frauds in it, nor are we imposed upon in that which is told us for our
good. Christ is a faithful witness, is the truth itself;
wickedness (that is, lying) is an abomination to his
lips. Note, Lying is wickedness, and we should not only refrain
from it, but it should be an abomination to us, and as far from what we
say as from what God says to us. His word to us is yea, and
amen; never then let ours be yea and nay.
4. They are wonderfully acceptable and agreeable to those who take
them aright, who understand themselves aright, who have not their
judgments blinded and biassed by the world and the flesh, are not under
the power of prejudice, are taught of God, and whose understanding he
has opened, who impartially seek knowledge, take pains for it,
and have found it in the enquiries they have hitherto made. To them,
(1.) They are all plain, and not hard to be understood. If the
book is sealed, it is to those who are willingly ignorant. If our
gospel is hidden, it is hidden to those who are lost; but to those
who depart from evil, which is understanding, who have
that good understanding which those have who do the
commandments, to them they are all plain and there is
nothing difficult in them. The way of religion is a highway, and the
way-faring men, though fools, shall not err therein,
Those therefore do a great wrong to the common people who deny them the
use of the scripture under pretence that they cannot understand it,
whereas it is plain for plain people.
(2.) They are all right, and not hard to be submitted to. Those
who discern things that differ, who know good and evil, readily
subscribe to the rectitude of all Wisdom's dictates, and therefore,
with out murmuring or disputing, govern themselves by them.
III. From all this he infers that the right knowledge of those things,
such as transforms us into the image of them, is to be preferred before
all the wealth of this world
Receive my instruction, and not silver. Instruction must not
only be heard, but received. We must bid it welcome, receive the
impressions of it, and submit to the command of it; and this rather
than choice gold, that is,
1. We must prefer religion before riches, and look upon it that, if we
have the knowledge and fear of God in our hearts, we are really more
happy and better provided for every condition of life than if we had
ever so much silver and gold. Wisdom is in itself, and therefore
must be in our account, better than rubies. It will bring us in
a better price, be to us a better portion; show it forth, and it will
be a better ornament than jewels and precious stones of the greatest
value. Whatever we can sit down and wish for of the wealth of this
world would, if we had it, be unworthy to be compared with the
advantages that attend serious godliness.
2. We must be dead to the wealth of this world, that we may the more
closely and earnestly apply ourselves to the business of religion. We
must receive instruction as the main matter, and then be indifferent
whether we receive silver or no; nay, we must not receive it as our
portion and reward, as the rich man in his life-time received his
|The Advantages of Wisdom.
12 I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of
13 The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and
arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.
14 Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I
15 By me kings reign, and princes decree justice.
16 By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the
17 I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall
18 Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and
19 My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my
revenue than choice silver.
20 I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the
paths of judgment:
21 That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance;
and I will fill their treasures.
Wisdom here is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of
wisdom and knowledge; it is Christ in the word and Christ in the
heart, not only Christ revealed to us, but Christ revealed in us. It is
the word of God, the whole compass of divine revelation; it is God the
Word, in whom all divine revelation centres; it is the soul formed by
the word; it is Christ formed in the soul; it is religion in the purity
and power of it. Glorious things are here spoken of this excellent
person, this excellent thing.
I. Divine wisdom gives men good heads
I Wisdom dwell with prudence, not with carnal policy (the wisdom
that is from above is contrary to that,
2 Corinthians 1:12),
but with true discretion, which serves for the right ordering of the
conversation, that wisdom of the prudent which is to understand his
way and is in all cases profitable to direct, the wisdom of
the serpent, not only to guard from harm, but to guide in doing food.
Wisdom dwells with prudence; for prudence is the product of
religion and an ornament to religion; and there are more witty
inventions found out with the help of the scripture, both for the
right understanding of God's providences and for the effectual
countermining of Satan's devices and the doing of good in our
generation, than were ever discovered by the learning of the
philosophers or the politics of statesmen. We may apply it to Christ
himself; he dwells with prudence, for his whole undertaking is
the wisdom of God in a mystery, and in it God abounds towards
us in all wisdom and prudence. Christ found out the knowledge
of that great invention, and a costly one it was to him,
man's salvation, by his satisfaction, an admirable expedient. We had
found out many inventions for our ruin; he found out one for our
recovery. The covenant of grace is so well ordered in all things that
we must conclude that he who ordered it dwelt with prudence.
II. It gives men good hearts,
True religion, consisting in the fear of the Lord, which is the
wisdom before recommended, teaches men,
1. To hate all sin, as displeasing to God and destructive to the soul:
The fear of the Lord is to hate evil, the evil way, to hate sin
as sin, and therefore to hate every false way. Wherever there is
an awe of God there is a dread of sin, as an evil, as only evil.
2. Particularly to hate pride and passion, those two common and
dangerous sins. Conceitedness of ourselves, pride and
arrogancy, are sins which Christ hates, and so do all those who
have the Spirit of Christ; every one hates them in others, but we must
hate them in ourselves. The froward mouth, peevishness towards
others, God hates, because it is such an enemy to the peace of mankind,
and therefore we should hate it. Be it spoken to the honour of religion
that, however it is unjustly accused, it is so far from making men
conceited and sour that there is nothing more directly contrary to it
than pride and passion, nor which it teaches us more to detest.
III. It has a great influence upon public affairs and the
well-governing of all societies,
Christ, as God, has strength and wisdom; wisdom and might are his; as
Redeemer, he is the wisdom of God and the power of God. To all
that are his he is made of God both strength and wisdom;
in him they are laid up for us, that we may both know and do our duty.
He is the wonderful counsellor and gives that grace which alone is
sound wisdom. He is understanding itself, and has
strength for all those that strengthen themselves in him. True
religion gives men the best counsel in all difficult cases, and helps
to make their way plain. Wherever it is, it is understanding, it
has strength; it will be all that to us that we need, both for
services and sufferings. Where the word of God dwells richly it makes a
man perfect and furnishes him thoroughly for every good word
and work. Kings, princes, and judges, have of all men most need of
wisdom and strength, of counsel and courage, for the faithful discharge
of the trusts reposed in them, and that they may be blessings to the
people over whom they are set. And therefore Wisdom says, By me
1. Civil government is a divine institution, and those that are
entrusted with the administration of it have their commission from
Christ; it is a branch of his kingly office that by him kings
reign; from him to whom all judgment is committed their power is
derived. They reign by him, and therefore ought to reign for him.
2. Whatever qualifications for government any kings or princes have
they are indebted to the grace of Christ for them; he gives them the
spirit of government, and they have nothing, no skill, no principles of
justice, but what he endues them with. A divine sentence is in the
lips of the king; and kings are to their subjects what he makes
3. Religion is very much the strength and support of the civil
government; it teaches subjects their duty, and so by it kings
reign over them the more easily; it teaches kings their duty, and
so by it kings reign as they ought; they decree justice,
while they rule in the fear of God. Those rule well whom
IV. It will make all those happy, truly happy, that receive and embrace
1. They shall be happy in the love of Christ; for he it is that says,
I love those that love me,
Those that love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity shall be
beloved of him with a peculiar distinguishing love: he will love
them and manifest himself to them.
2. They shall be happy in the success of their enquiries after him:
"Those that seek me early, seek an acquaintance with me and an
interest in me, seek me early, that is, seek me earnestly, seek
me first before any thing else, that begin betimes in the days of their
youth to seek me, they shall find what they seek." Christ shall be
theirs, and they shall be his. He never said, Seek in vain.
3. They shall be happy in the wealth of the world, or in that which is
(1.) They shall have as much riches and honour as Infinite Wisdom sees
good for them
they are with Christ, that is, he has them to give, and whether
he will see fit to give them to us must be referred to him. Religion
sometimes helps to make people rich and great in this world, gains them
a reputation, and so increases their estates; and the riches which
Wisdom gives to her favourites have these two advantages:--
[1.] That they are riches and righteousness, riches honestly
got, not by fraud and oppression, but in regular ways, and riches
charitably used, for alms are called righteousness. Those that
have their wealth from God's blessing on their industry, and that have
a heart to do good with it, have riches and righteousness.
[2.] That therefore they are durable riches. Wealth gotten by
vanity will soon be diminished, but that which is well got will wear
well and will be left to the children's children, and that which is
well spent in works of piety and charity is put out to the best
interest and so will be durable; for the friends made by the mammon
of unrighteousness when we fail will receive us into everlasting
It will be found after many days, for the days of eternity.
(2.) They shall have that which is infinitely better, if they have not
riches and honour in this world
"My fruit is better than gold, and will turn to a better
account, will be of more value in less compass, and my revenue
better than the choicest silver, will serve a better trade."
We may assure ourselves that not only Wisdom's products at last, but
her income in the mean time, not only her fruit, but her revenue, is
more valuable than the best either of the possessions or of the
reversions of this world.
4. They shall be happy in the grace of God now; that shall be their
guide in the good way,
This is that fruit of wisdom which is better than gold, than fine
gold, it leads us in the way of righteousness, shows us that
way and goes before us in it, the way that God would have us walk in
and which will certainly bring us to our desired end. It leads in
the midst of the paths of judgment, and saves us from deviating on
either hand. In medio virtus--Virtue lies in the midst. Christ
by his Spirit guides believers into all truth, and so leads them in
the way of righteousness, and they walk after the
5. They shall be happy in the glory of God hereafter,
Therefore Wisdom leads in the paths of righteousness, not
only that she may keep her friends in the way of duty and obedience,
but that she may cause them to inherit substance and may fill
their treasures, which cannot be done with the things of this
world, nor with any thing less than God and heaven. The happiness of
those that love God, and devote themselves to his service, is
substantial and satisfactory.
(1.) It is substantial; it is substance itself. It is a happiness which
will subsist of itself, and stand alone, without the accidental
supports of outward conveniences. Spiritual and eternal things are the
only real and substantial things. Joy in God is substantial joy, solid
and well-grounded. The promises are their bonds, Christ is their
surety, and both substantial. They inherit substance; that is,
their inheritance hereafter is substantial; it is a weight of glory; it
All their happiness they have as heirs; it is grounded upon their
(2.) It is satisfying; it will not only fill their hands, but fill
their treasures, not only maintain them, but make them rich. The
things of this world may fill men's bellies
but not their treasures, for they cannot in them secure to themselves
goods for many years; perhaps they may be deprived of them
this night. But let the treasures of the soul be ever so
capacious there is enough in God, and Christ, and heaven, to fill them.
In Wisdom's promises believers have goods laid up, not for days and
years, but for eternity; her fruit therefore is better than
|Wisdom Eternal and Divine.
22 The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before
his works of old.
23 I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever
the earth was.
24 When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when
there were no fountains abounding with water.
25 Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I
26 While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor
the highest part of the dust of the world.
27 When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a
compass upon the face of the depth:
28 When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened
the fountains of the deep:
29 When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should
not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of
30 Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was
daily his delight, rejoicing always before him;
31 Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my
delights were with the sons of men.
That it is an intelligent and divine person that here speaks seems very
plain, and that it is not meant of a mere essential property of the
divine nature, for Wisdom here has personal properties and actions; and
that intelligent divine person can be no other than the Son of God
himself, to whom the principal things here spoken of wisdom are
attributed in other scriptures, and we must explain scripture by
itself. If Solomon himself designed only the praise of wisdom as it is
an attribute of God, by which he made the world and governs it, so to
recommend to men the study of that wisdom which belongs to them, yet
the Spirit of God, who indited what he wrote, carried him, as David
often, to such expressions as could agree to no other than the Son of
God, and would lead us into the knowledge of great things concerning
him. All divine revelation is the revelation of Jesus Christ, which
God gave unto him, and here we are told who and what he is, as God,
designed in the eternal counsels to be the Mediator between God and
man. The best exposition of these verses we have in the
of St. John's gospel.
In the beginning was the Word, &c. Concerning the Son of God
I. His personality and distinct subsistence, one with the Father and of
the same essence, and yet a person of himself, whom the Lord
who was set up
was brought forth
was by him
for he was the express image of his person,
II. His eternity; he was begotten of the Father, for the Lord
possessed him, as his own Son, his beloved Son, laid him in his
bosom; he was brought forth as the only-begotten of the Father,
and this before all worlds, which is most largely insisted upon
here. The Word was eternal, and had a being before the world, before
the beginning of time; and therefore it must follow that it was from
eternity. The Lord possessed him in the beginning of his way, of
his eternal counsels, for those were before his works. This way
indeed had no beginning, for God's purposes in himself are eternal like
himself, but God speaks to us in our own language. Wisdom explains
I was set up from everlasting. The Son of God was, in the
eternal counsels of God, designed and advanced to be the wisdom and
power of the Father, light and life, and all in all both in the
creation and in the redemption of the world. That he was brought
forth as to his being, and set up as to the divine counsels
concerning his office, before the world was made, is here set forth in
a great variety of expressions, much the same with those by which the
eternity of God himself is expressed.
Before the mountains were brought forth.
1. Before the earth was, and that was made in the
beginning, before man was made; therefore the second Adam had a
being before the first, for the first Adam was made of the
earth, the second had a being before the earth, and
therefore is not of the earth,
2. Before the sea was
when there were no depths in which the waters were gathered
together, no fountains from which those waters might arise, none
of that deep on which the Spirit of God moved for the production of the
3. Before the mountains were, the everlasting mountains,
Eliphaz, to convince Job of his inability to judge of the divine
counsels, asks him
Wast thou made before the hills? No, thou wast not. But
before the hills was the eternal Word brought forth.
4. Before the habitable parts of the world, which men cultivate, and
reap the profits of
the fields in the valleys and plains, to which the mountains are
as a wall, which are the highest part of the dust of the world;
the first part of the dust (so some), the atoms which compose
the several parts of the world; the chief or principal part of the
dust, so it may be read, and understood of man, who was made of the
dust of the ground and is dust, but is the principal part of the dust,
dust enlivened, dust refined. The eternal Word had a being before man
was made, for in him was the life of men.
III. His agency in making the world. He not only had a being before the
world, but he was present, not as a spectator, but as the architect,
when the world was made. God silenced and humbled Job by asking him,
"Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Who hath
laid the measures thereof?
&c.). Wast thou that eternal Word and wisdom, who was the prime manager
of that great affair? No; thou art of yesterday." But here the Son of
God, referring, as it should seem, to the discourse God had with Job,
declares himself to have been engaged in that which Job could not
pretend to be a witness of and a worker in, the creation of the world.
By him God made the worlds,
Heb. i. 2; Col. i. 16.
1. When, on the first day of the creation, in the very beginning of
time, God said, Let there be light, and with a word produced it,
this eternal Wisdom was that almighty Word: Then I was there, when
he prepared the heavens, the fountain of that light, which,
whatever it is here, is there substantial.
2. He was no less active when, on the second day, he stretched out the
firmament, the vast expanse, and set that as a compass upon
the face of the depth
surrounded it on all sides with that
canopy, that curtain. Or it may refer to the exact order and method
with which God framed all the parts of the universe, as the workman
marks out his work with his line and compasses. The work in nothing
varied from the plan of it formed in the eternal mind.
3. He was also employed in the third day's work, when the waters
above the heavens, were gathered together by establishing the
clouds above, and those under the heavens by strengthening the
fountains of the deep, which send forth those waters
and by preserving the bounds of the sea, which is the receptacle of
This speaks much the honour of this eternal Wisdom, for by this
instance God proves himself a God greatly to be feared
that he has placed the sand for the bound of the sea, that the
dry land might continue to appear above water, fit to be a habitation
for man; and thus he has appointed the foundation of the earth.
How able, how fit, is the Son of God to be the Saviour of the world,
who was the Creator of it!
IV. The infinite complacency which the Father had in him, and he in the
I was by him, as one brought up with him. As by an eternal
generation he was brought forth of the Father, so by an eternal counsel
he was brought up with him, which intimates, not only the infinite love
of the Father to the Son, who is therefore called the Son of his
but the mutual consciousness and good understanding that were between
them concerning the work of man's redemption, which the Son was to
undertake, and about which the counsel of peace was between them
He was alumnus patris--the Father's pupil, as I may say, trained
up from eternity for that service which in time, in the fulness of
time, he was to go through with, and is therein taken under the special
tuition and protection of the Father; he is my servant whom I
He did what he saw the Father do
pleased his Father, sought his glory, did according to the commandment
he received from his Father, and all this as one brought up with
him. He was daily his Father's delight (my elect, in whom my
soul delighteth, says God,
and he also rejoiced always before him. This may be understood
1. Of the infinite delight which the persons of the blessed Trinity
have in each other, wherein consists much of the happiness of the
divine nature. Or,
2. Of the pleasure which the Father took in the operations of the Son,
when he made the world; God saw every thing that the Son made,
and, behold, it was very good, it pleased him, and therefore his
Son was daily, day by day, during the six days of the creation,
upon that account, his delight,
And the Son also did himself rejoice before him in the beauty
and harmony of the whole creation,
3. Of the satisfaction they had in each other, with reference to the
great work of man's redemption. The Father delighted in the Son, as
Mediator between him and man, was well-pleased with what he proposed
and therefore loved him because he undertook to lay down his
life for the sheep; he put a confidence in him that he would go
through his work, and not fail nor fly off. The Son also rejoiced
always before him, delighted to do his will
adhered closely to his undertaking, as one that was well-satisfied in
it, and, when it came to the setting to, expressed as much satisfaction
in it as ever, saying, Lo, I come, to do as in the volume of
the book it is written of me.
V. The gracious concern he had for mankind,
Wisdom rejoiced, not so much in the rich products of the earth,
or the treasures hid in the bowels of it, as in the habitable parts
os it, for her delights were with the sons of men; not only
in the creation of man is it spoken with a particular air of pleasure
Let us make man, but in the redemption and salvation of man. The
Son of God was ordained, before the world, to that great work,
1 Peter 1:20.
A remnant of the sons of men were given him to be brought, through his
grace, to his glory, and these were those in whom his delights were.
His church was the habitable part of his earth, made habitable for him,
that the Lord God might dwell even among those that had
been rebellious; and this he rejoiced in, in the prospect of seeing his
seed. Though he foresaw all the difficulties he was to meet with in his
work, the services and sufferings he was to go through, yet, because it
would issue in the glory of his Father and the salvation of those sons
of men that were given him, he looked forward upon it with the greatest
satisfaction imaginable, in which we have all the encouragement we can
desire to come to him and rely upon him for all the benefits designed
us by his glorious undertaking.
32 Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children: for blessed
are they that keep my ways.
33 Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not.
34 Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my
gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.
35 For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour
of the LORD.
36 But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all
they that hate me love death.
We have here the application of Wisdom's discourse; the design and
tendency of it is to bring us all into an entire subjection to the laws
of religion, to make us wise and good, not to fill our heads with
speculations, or our tongues with disputes, but to rectify what is
amiss in our hearts and lives. In order to this, here is,
I. An exhortation to hear and obey the voice of Wisdom, to attend and
comply with the good instructions that the word of God gives us, and in
them to discern the voice of Christ, as the sheep know the shepherd's
1. We must be diligent hearers of the word; for how can we
believe in him of whom we have not heart? "Hearken unto me, O you
"Read the word written, sit under the word preached, bless God for
both, and hear him in both speaking to you." Let children age, and what
they hearken to then, it is likely, they will be so seasoned by as to
be governed by all their days. Let Wisdom's children justify Wisdom by
hearkening to her and show themselves to be indeed her children. We
must hear Wisdom's words,
(1.) Submissively, and with a willing heart
"Hear instruction, and refuse it not, either as that which you
need not or as that which you like not; it is offered you as a
kindness, and it is at your peril if you refuse it." Those that reject
the counsel of God reject it against themselves,
"Refuse it not now, lest you should not have another offer."
(2.) Constantly, and with an attentive ear. We must hear Wisdom so as
to watch daily at her gates, as beggars to receive an alms, as
clients and patients to receive advice, and to wait as servants, with
humility, and patience, and ready observance, at the posts of her
doors. See here what a good house Wisdom keeps, for every day is
dole-day; what a good school, for every day is lecture-day. While we
have God's works before our eyes, and his word in our hand, we may be
every day hearing Wisdom, and learning instruction from her. See here
what a dutiful and diligent attendance is required of all Christ's
disciples; they must watch at the gates.
[1.] We must lay hold on all opportunities of getting knowledge and
grace, and must get into, and keep in, a constant settled course of
communion with God.
[2.] We must be very humble in our attendance on divine instructions,
and be glad of any place, even the meanest, so we may but be within
hearing of them, as David, who would gladly be a door-keeper in the
house of God.
[3.] We must raise our expectations of these instructions, and hearken
to them with care, and patience, and perseverance, must watch and wait,
as Christ's hearers, that hanged on him to hear him, as the word
in the original is
came early in the morning to hear him.
2. We must be conscientious doers of the work, for we are
blessed only in our deed. It is not enough to hearken unto
Wisdom's words, but we must keep her ways
do every thing that she prescribes, keep within the hedges of her ways,
and not transgress them, keep in the tracks of her ways, proceed and
persevere in them. "Hear instruction and be wise; let it be a
means to make you wise in ordering your conversation." What we know is
known in vain if it do not make us wise,
II. An assurance of happiness to all those that do hearken to Wisdom.
They are blessed,
Those are blessed that watch and wait at Wisdom's gates; even their
attendance there is their happiness; it is the best place they can be
in. Those are blessed that wait there, for they shall not be put to
wait long; let them continue to knock awhile and it shall be opened to
them. They are seeking Wisdom, and they shall find what they seek. But
will it make them amends if they do find it? Yes
Whoso finds me finds life, that is, all happiness, all that good
which he needs or can desire. He finds life in that grace which is the
principle of spiritual life and the pledge of eternal life. He finds
life, for he shall obtain favour of the Lord, and in his
favour is life. If the king's favour is towards a wise son, much
more the favour of the King of kings. Christ is Wisdom, and he that
finds Christ, that obtains an interest in him, he finds life;
for Christ is life to all believers. He that has the Son of God has
life, eternal life, and he shall obtain favour of the Lord,
who is well-pleased with all those that are in Christ; nor can we
obtain God's favour, unless we find Christ and be found in him.
III. The doom passed upon all those that reject Wisdom and her
They are left to ruin themselves, and Wisdom will not hinder them,
because they have set at nought all her counsel.
1. Their crime is very great; they sin against Wisdom, rebel
against its light and laws, thwart its designs, and by their folly
offend it. They sin against Christ; they act in contempt of his
authority, and in contradiction to all the purposes of his life and
death. This is construed into hating Wisdom, hating Christ; they are
his enemies, who will not have him to reign over them. What can appear
worse than hating him who is the centre of all beauty and fountain of
all goodness, love itself?
2. Their punishment will be very just, for they wilfully bring it upon
(1.) Those that offend Christ do the greatest wrong to themselves; they
wrong their own souls; they wound their own consciences, bring a
blot and stain upon their souls, which renders them odious in the eyes
of God, and unfit for communion with him; they deceive themselves,
disturb themselves, destroy themselves. Sin is a wrong to the soul.
(2.) Those that are at variance with Christ are in love with their own
ruin: Those that hate me love death; they love that which will
be their death, and put that from them which would be their life.
Sinners die because they will die, which leaves them inexcusable, makes
their condemnation the more intolerable, and will for ever justify God
when he judges. O Israel! thou hast destroyed thyself.