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pomp follow him. And your present inconveniences will shortly come to an end; but the treasures which you have laid up in heaven shall last for ever;—“no rust or moth shall corrupt them, no thief break through and steal them." Your wants shall be turned into true abundance, your hunger shall be satisfied with the bread of heaven, your thirst appeased with the waters of eternal life, your labours concluded with the everlasting rest that remaineth for the people of God. Blessed are ye sick and diseased, if your infirmities have convinced you of the uncertainty of human life, and your souls have been strengthened as your bodies have become weak. Blessed are ye that mourn, yes, even ye that mourn for the dearest object of your affection, and who yet weep over the fresh-turned grave that has but lately hidden that object from your sight, if, having lost a friend upon earth, ye have found a more valuable one in heaven,-for "I am the resurrection and the life, saith the Lord, he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die." The grave cannot hold the dead, since the Lord of life rose again and triumphed over its power. A beloved friend is taken from you, and ye now truly have sorrow; but hereafter ye shall meet again, and "your hearts shall rejoice, and
your joy no man taketh from you." Be not sorrowful therefore, as men without hope; but rather give thanks to God that he has, although by a bitter lesson, taught you a solemn truth, and shewn you that the greatest happiness on earth is but a fleeting shadow.
Such is the condition of humanity, that when friendships are formed, friends must some day mourn; those whom you lament, would otherwise have had to lament for you; and thus they are spared the pain which you now suffer. But all pain shall cease, all joy shall reign hereafter, among those whose afflictions are sanctified by pious resignation, and whose hopes are founded on the promises and merits of that man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, "who died for our sins and rose again for our justification."
THE EXCELLENCY OF RELIGIOUS WISDOM.
PROVERBS i. 7.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.
THIS is the first of those proverbs of the wise king, Solomon, which are such a fund of practical piety and morality, and so " profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness."* The preceding verses are but an introduction to the whole work; in this, he commences his undertaking, and lays at the very outset, the foundation, the "corner stone" of all knowledge and all wisdom. He was highly gifted, as you well know, by the especial favour of God, with great talents and extraordinary powers of mind. The sacred historian says, "God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding
* 2 Tim. iii. 16.
much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore; and Solomon's wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men; and his fame was in all nations round about, and he spake three thousand proverbs, and his songs were a thousand and five; and he spake of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon, even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall; he spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes. And there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, which had heard of his wisdom." He was well acquainted, no doubt, with all the important branches of human learning; so that in vigour of intellect, and general information, he was never surpassed by any who have been most celebrated in the records of history, for their acuteness and knowledge; according to that which God had said unto him,-"Lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart, so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee."
To use his own words he "gave his heart to seek and search out by wisdom, concerning all things that were done under heaven;" he pursued knowledge wherever it might be found, and he