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crook and sceptre, would feed the flock of his heritage in Gilead and Bashan as in the days of old, when he gave Israel all that country, and the treasures of it. And true it is, that the Lamb in the midst of the throne will feed them, and lead them to living fountains of water; and when we are thus fed we shall be perfect in knowledge, and able to comprehend the contents of this book of the wars of the Lord; and what he did in the Red Sea, and in the brooks of Arnon. Until then, the good Lord the Spirit direct our hearts into the love of God, and into a patient waiting for Christ!
THE INHERITANCE OF THE WISE, AND THE
PROMOTION OF FOOLS.
PROVERBS iii. 35.
“ The wise shall inherit glory; but shame shall be the promotion
There is no greater folly than to put away the evil day, and cause the seat of violence to come near. The beginning of wisdom with us is when God brings our sins and his law, death and judgment, home to our mind and conscience, and sets them all before our eyes. “O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!" These things brought home and deeply impressed on the soul, are attended with great consternation and fear; and although this fear is coupled with much bondage and slavery, yet it is attended with a desperate war against sin, and with a departing from it, and from all our companions in it. “The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to depart from evil is understanding.” And to this agrees the wise man; “ A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil; but the fool rageth, and is confident.”
The next step that the wise man takes is to search the scriptures, to see if there be any ground of relief, instruction, encouragement, or hope; which he most earnestly desires, because he is deeply sensible of his need of these. “ Through desire a man having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom.”
And as sure as the word of God becomes his study, so sure will the saints of God become his chosen and most favourite company.
He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but the companion of fools shall be destroyed.” All convictions that come from God by the Spirit will be complied with and yielded to by the convicted sinner; he will and must come to the light of truth, that his deeds may be made manifest that they are wrought in God's power, and under God's influence. The word is a light to our feet, and a lamp to our path; and the scriptures are able to make us wise unto salvation, through faith that is in Christ Jesus, 2 Tim. iii. 15. All soul trouble which does not drive us to the light, to the word of God, to the ministry of it, to the servants and saints of God, is sure to leave us where it finds us-both fools and blind. “Lo, they have rejected the word of the Lord, and what wisdom is in them?” Jer. viii. 9. By the word of God preached, read, ar meditated on, is wisdom conveyed to the soul; hence the word is called the word of wisdom, 1 Cor. xii. 8; and that part of it which is called the gospel, is the wisdom of God in a mystery, 1 Cor. ii. 7. When the Spirit of God opens up, and applies the pro
mises with power, the hungry soul relishes them, feeds and feasts sweetly upon them; no honey to the mouth so sweet as the words of life to the soul. “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart.” “My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste: so shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul: when thou hast found it, then there shall be a reward, and thy expectation shall not be cut off.” The entrance of the word of wisdom gives hope, it respects the future and great reward; and the expectation founded on hope is not to be cut off from the reward promised. And it is an experience of comfort by the word that brings hope: experience worketh hope, but not the experience of bondage, fear, and wrath; these work despair. It is the entrance of comfort that brings hope. “ For whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” The next most noble branch of spiritual wisdom lies in taking the gospel lamp in the hand of faith, and oil in the vessel to feed the flame. The foolish virgins which took their lamps took no oil with them. The best account of the saint's lamp is as follows: “For Zion's sake will I not hold
and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth,” Isaiah lxii. 1. Zion and Jerusalem here
are the elect of God, and the covenant of
grace which God has made with Christ in their behalf. Read Heb. xii. 22, 23.
There are two things in this text that go forth hand in hand; and they always come to the heart of
poor sinners together: the one is righteousness; the other is salvation. A divine radiance attends the one, and a flaming fire attends the other. Righteousness goes forth as brightness, and salvation as a lamp that burneth. This, this is the wise virgin's lamp. But, then, what is salvation ?
It is the forgiveness of sins, and the knowledge of it; as it is written, “To give knowledge of salvation unto his people, by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God, whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” The fire that attends this salvation is the love of God shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost; for the fullest discovery and sweetest enjoyment of divine love are made known to the soul at the time of pardon and forgiveness; and this overflowing of divine love in us inflames the whole soul with love to God again: or, to speak more evangelically, the Holy Spirit filling us with God's love through Christ, his love is reflected back again, attended with the renewed affections of the pardoned sinner. Hence it is said, Where much is forgiven, the same loveth much; and where little is forgiven, the same loveth little, Luke