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that little which he knoweth : for, (1.) What is it that he is ignorant of?
1. He hath no sound and real knowledge of God. For if he knew God truly, he could not but love him : goodness is so naturally the object of the will, that if men well knew the infinite Good, they must needs love him ; however there is a partial knowledge that is separable from sincere love.
2. He that knoweth not and loveth not God, neither knoweth nor loveth any creature truly and effectually either as it is of God, or through him, or to him; either as it beareth the impress of the glorious efficient, or as it is ordered to its end by the most wise director, or as it is a means to lead up souls to God, or to glorify and please him, no nor to make man truly happy. And can he be said indeed to know any creature that knoweth it not in any of these respects, that knoweth neither its original, order or use? Doth a dog or a goose know a book of philosophy, because he looketh on it, and seeth the bulk ? Doth he know a clock or watch, who knoweth no more of it, but that it hath such parts and shapes, made of iron and brass ? It is most evident that an unholy person knoweth nothing : that is, no one being, though he may know.aliquid de re aliqua,' something of some being : for he knoweth not the nature, order or use and end of a being, but only secundum quid,' or some accidents of it, or has a general knowledge that it is a substance, or a something, he knoweth not what :- As an Epicurean can call all things compacted atoms, or matter and motion. An ungodly man is just like one that studieth the art of a scrivener or printer, to make the letters, and place them by art, but never learned to read or know the signification of the letters which he maketh or composeth.
Practical objects are not truly known without a practical knowledge of them. He knoweth not what meat is, that knoweth not that it must be eaten, and how to eat it: he only knoweth the use of clothing that knoweth how to put it on. He only knoweth a pen, a gun, or other instrument, that knoweth how to use it. Now the ungodly, not knowing how any creature displayeth the Di. vine perfections, nor how by it to ascend to the knowledge and love of God, do indeed know no. thing with a proper,
formal knowledge. (2.) And what is it that such men know, or seem to know, which may be compared with their ignorance? To give them their due praise, they know how to eat as well as a dog, though not so subtlely as an ox or sheep, that can distinguish grass before he taste it. He can tell how to drink, though not by so constant a temperance as a beast. He can speak better than a parrot: he can build a house as apt for his use, as a swallow or other birds can do for theirs. He can lay up for the time to come, more carefully than a fox, or ant, though not soorderly as the bees : he can look upwards, and see the birds that soar and fly in the air, though he cannot imitate them: he can look into the surface of the waters, and artificially pass over them in ships, though he cannot live in them, or glide through them as the fish : he can master those that are weaker than himself, as the great dogs do the little ones, and carry away the bone from them all : he can glory
3.] True Saving Knowledge. 141 in his strength, though it be less than that of a horse, an ox, an elephant's, or a whale. He can kill and eat his fellow animals, as well as a pike among the fishes, a kite among the birds, or a wolf or a dog among the beasts : he can more craftily than the fox, entrap and ensnare them (fishes, birds and beasts); yea, as artificially as a spider doth the flies, to make up what he wants, of the hawk or dog for swift pursuit, or of the lion for rapacious strength. He can sing; and so can the linnet, the owsel, the lark and nightingale: he can make his bed as soft as the birds their nests, or as other creatures that love their ease: he can generate and breed up his offspring, though not with that constancy of affection, and accurateness of skill and industry, as a hen her chickens, or most other animals do their young. Yea, he can live in society, fami. lies, common-wealths, though much more disorderly, contentiously, and to the disturbance, if not destruction of others, than pigeons in their dove-house, or the flight of swallows, or larks, or lapwings; or, than the bees do in their hive.
All this and more, we can speak of the praises of the knowledge or wisdom of an ungodly man that never learned to know or love his God, nor any thing truly worthy of a man : and is all this deserving the name of knowledge? The character of such could not be more fitly given than here it is by the apostle : “ They know nothing as they ought to know.” But of this more hereafter.
ACCOUNTED THE WISEST AND BEST KNOW.
KNOWLEDGE. This fourth doctrine, is also a discernible part of the meaning of the apostle in the text. His purpose is to humble those that judge themselves wise for that which is no wisdom, but useless, ludicrous notions and self-conceitedness ; and to show men wherein true wisdom doth consist. Many thousands there are that heartily love God, and are devoted to him, and live to his service in the world, who never read logic, physics, metaphysics or mathematics; nor laid in that stock of artificial notions, which are the property and glory of the learned world. And yet that these are truly and happily wise and knowing, the apostle judgeth, and I thus further prove.
1. Because they know the things themselves, and not merely the names and definitions of them: as he that knoweth food by eating it, the military art or navigation, by experience, or a country by travelling or dwelling in it. Others touch the out. side of the glass, but taste not the sweet that is within.
2. Because they know the greatest and most excellent things : God is infinitely greater and better than the creatures; and heaven incomparably better than the riches and pleasures of this earth. To know how to build a city, or a navy, and how to govern an army or a kingdom, is more than to know how to pick sticks or straws,
or how to dress and undress. Understanding is valuable by the dignity of its objects; therefore how much doth the wisdom of a holy soul excel all the craft and learning of the ungodly? Let not the rich man glory in his riches- -But let bim that glorieth glory in this, that he knoweth God: if he so know him as to love him.
3. Because they know the most necessary things, and the most profitable : They know how to be good, and how to do their duty, and how to attain their end, and how to please God, and how to escape damnation, and how to be happy in everlasting joy and glory. And I think he is wise, that is wise enough to be happy, and to attain all that the soul of man can well desire.
But who will desire the wisdom that maketh a man never the better, and that will not save him from destruction ? What soul in hell thinketh that wisdom brought him thither? It were a thousand times better, not to know how to speak or to go, to dress or undress us, than not to know how to be holy and happy, and to escape sin and everlasting misery.
4. A holy soul understands that which his understanding was made for : and for which he hath his life, and time, and teaching; which is but to be good, and love God and goodness, and to do good : Wisdom, as is before proved, as all other means, is to be estimated by its end.
But an ungodly man knoweth not that which he was made for. He is like a knife that cannot cut; a ship that will not endure the water; a house that is not fit to dwell in. What is a man's wit worth, but for its proper end? If man was made but to eat, and drink, and play and sleep,