A Practical Exposition of the Book of Proverbs
By George Lawson, 1821
The grand question in this chapter is: What are we to understand by that wisdom which is here introduced, recommending her instructions to us? The fear of the Lord is said to be the beginning of wisdom. But the wisdom that speaks in this passage appears to be a person — and it is disputed whether we are to understand it of Christ, the great Fountain of wisdom, or of the noble quality of wisdom, represented by a strong eastern figure under a personal character.
This wisdom has been generally understood in the Christian church to mean the Lord Jesus Christ — the Word (Logos) spoken of by John, who ascribes to him under that name several of those glories which are here ascribed to wisdom. There are some things spoken of men in the prophetic passages of Scripture, too great to be understood in their full meaning of any of the sons of men — except the man Christ. These we are taught by the Scriptures of the New Testament, to understand of him who is the glory of our race, to whom all the prophets bore witness.
Now, if Solomon says concerning wisdom, things that are true to their full extent of signification in Christ alone — may we not with good reason conclude, that the Spirit who directed his pen, meant to lead our thoughts to the personal Word of God, in whom are all the treasures of wisdom, and to whom the church of Israelites and Christians is indebted for all the discoveries that were ever made? The voice of Christ is the voice of wisdom itself. The wise will hear, and will increase their learning — and fools only will despise this wisdom and instruction. Surely they cannot be reasonable creatures, who resist the fervent eloquence and the persuasive arguments addressed to us in this chapter.
Verse 1."Does not wisdom cry out? Does not understanding raise her voice?" Our consciences bear testimony to this truth, that wisdom not only speaks — but cries to us with a voice like the sound of a trumpet! If we do not hear, it is because our ears are shut, or because we turn them away from the truth, to hear the alluring and enchanting voice of sin and its servants. How shall they excuse themselves, who give ear to the voice of the cunning serpent — rather than to the voice of the Eternal Wisdom? But where does wisdom put forth her voice?
Verse 2, 3."On the heights along the way, where the paths meet, she takes her stand; beside the gates leading into the city, at the entrances, she cries aloud!" If we do not hear the voice of wisdom, we have only ourselves to blame. Her pulpit is erected in the high places, and her voice is heard from afar. She preaches at the places of concourse, the gates of the city, and in the places where roads meet. At our very doors we may hear her publishing her precious doctrines!
Ignorance, when chosen and willful, will by no means excuse us. If we are in darkness, it is not for lack of light — but because we hate the light, and by winking hard, exclude its beams.
Why should we not use all due pains to find wisdom, when wisdom uses such pains to find us out, and to proclaim her necessary instructions in our ears? Surely our Lord Jesus was willing to communicate his saving instructions, when he preached in mountains and in fields, in public roads and in deserts, in synagogues and in ships — inviting men to receive his salvation, and pressing them to repent.
Nor is the voice of wisdom in our days become more feeble, or heard in fewer places. Unless we are stupidly inattentive, we may still hear it sounding in our ears, whether we are at home or abroad, walking in the fields or sitting in the church. The voice of the gospel, the voice of providence, the voice of conscience, the voice of honest friends — is a cry of wisdom, to which we do well to take heed, for to all of us she speaks.
Verse 4."To you, O men, I call out! I raise my voice to all mankind!" The mercy of God is sovereign — and therefore the sons of Adam are called to repentance. But to the angels that fell, no voice of mercy was ever heard. They were nobler in their origin, and more excellent in their natures. But the Son of God loved us, just because he would love us, and was made wisdom and righteousness unto us — and not to angels.
There are many of the sons of Adam, that never heard the calls of wisdom; but all within hearing are called, and earnestly importuned to comply with the call. Let us not then give reason for that complaint, "When I called — why was there none to answer." The disobedient and unbelieving shall be tormented in Hell with a soul-rending remorse, which devils and heathens cannot feel. Say not that the calls of wisdom are not to you, because you are fools — for to such she speaks!
Verse 5."You who are simple, gain prudence; you who are foolish, gain understanding." Those who are easily seduced, those who live under the power of error and sin — are called to hear the wisdom which is from above. Your case, O you simple ones, is not hopeless! Eternal Wisdom is your teacher, and calls you to learn; and to none does wisdom say, "Seek Me in vain!"
The teacher is the Lord our God; and he teaches to profit, because there is power and light in his words, and in the Spirit who accompanies them.
Have you been foolish and disobedient? You are called to turn to the wisdom of the just. There is pardoning mercy revealed to encourage you to turn to the Lord — there is converting power in the words of wisdom. Your situation is bad — but not desperate. Hear the words that are spoken to you, and let them sink into your souls!
Consider the excellencies of the words, and of the speaker of them.
Verse 6."Listen, for I have worthy things to say; I open my lips to speak what is right." Where the words of a king are, there is power. The words of wisdom are the princely words of the eternal King. As the sun and moon, these works of God's hands, are more excellent than a machine or clock made by some human workman — so is the word of God more excellent than the sayings of the wisest and greatest of men. The same divine excellency which appears to reason's eye in the works of God — appears to the eye of faith in the word of God. In the words of the wisest philosophers and most eloquent orators, there are some good and some bad things. There is dross mingled with their silver — but all the words of wisdom are right words, they are like silver seven times purified. They are spoken in perfect righteousness and faithfulness.
Verse 7."My mouth speaks what is true, for my lips detest wickedness." Why do we not all believe the words of Christ? Heaven and earth shall pass away — but not one jot or tittle shall pass from his word. Let us never again be so impious as to suspect the faithfulness of his promises, or the sincerity of his invitations, or the truth of his precious doctrines. We believe the word of an honest man — and Christ is the Amen, the faithful and true Witness. All lying is wickedness in his esteem, and is abhorred by his heart.
If we believe the word of a man who may lie — shall we disbelieve the word of Him who cannot lie, nor allow liars to stand in his presence? We attend with diligence to the words of a man famous for wisdom and integrity — but all the words of Christ are the words of wisdom itself, and the things spoken are upright words of truth.
Verse 8."All the words of my mouth are righteous — none of them is crooked or perverse!" One of the characters which our Lord takes is, "I who speak in righteousness." Eternal righteousness is in our Lord Jesus Christ, and shines in all his administrations and in all his words. God has given us in his word, a representation of the righteousness of his own nature and will, and framed it as a rule of righteousness to us. Those are crooked and perverse, walk in ways not authorized by this rule.
By the degree of our conformity to it, are our improvements in righteousness and true holiness to be estimated. There is righteousness in the promises and doctrines, as well as in the commands of it. God's words of grace are spoken by him in his holiness, and are therefore to be received with an unshaken confidence. Has God promised us eternal life, and called us by his word to depend on his Son for salvation? We may safely venture our souls upon the faithful word of Jehovah. To doubt whether these addresses to us are sincere or not, is to suspect that there is something crooked or perverse in the faithful sayings of God.
But is it possible for us to understand the words of wisdom? Yes.
Verse 9."To the discerning all of them are right; they are faultless to those who have knowledge." The words of wisdom are a great depth. In them are mysteries which cannot be fully comprehended; for we find that the all-wise God has laid up in every part of Scripture, stores of wisdom too deep for mortal minds to fathom. There are some passages of Scripture, especially in that part of it which was written after the time of Solomon, in which are things hard to be understood — and yet all the words of wisdom are here said to be plain to the discerning.
The meaning is, that everything necessary for faith and practice is clearly revealed in the Bible by the great Author of it, who meant not to insult our ignorance — but to instruct our minds, by that sacred book. When we are walled with difficulties, we ought not to quarrel with the Bible — but to ascribe it to our own stupidity or sloth. If, after the due use of means, some parts of Scripture still continue dark to us — let us bless God that the needful doctrines contained in them are in other passages taught with sufficient plainness.
But if these words are plain only to the discerning — then of what service can it prove for simple and foolish people to attend to them? Fools are called not only to hear — but to receive wisdom from our great Teacher, for none teaches like him.
But the entrance of God's word gives understanding to the simple, and the Spirit of Christ makes them wise unto salvation, who were born like the wild donkey's colt. The words of God meet with reproach and banter from some, who would found a reputation for wit upon wickedness; but wisdom will be justified by her children, and her words will be esteemed to be right concerning all things by those who find knowledge.
What improvement should we make of these commendations given to the words of wisdom? We ought to receive them with superlative esteem.
Verse 10, 11."Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold — for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her!" We profess to prefer wisdom in our judgment to the most valued things upon earth — but we are hypocrites, if there is not a consistency between our profession and our practice. If wisdom is better than silver — we must receive it rather than silver. And if it were put to our choice whether to be rich or holy — we ought not for a moment to hesitate in deciding. It is actually put to our choice, whether we will seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness — or the delights of sense, and the riches that shine to the eye of flesh.
If we are resolved at any rate to be rich; if we value the means of enriching ourselves with gold above the means of grace; if we grudge the necessary expense that may attend the means of religious instruction — then we choose gold, and not wisdom.
The truly wise have some degree of Paul's spirit in them, and are taught by God to count everything loss and dung for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus their Lord.
Silver and gold are good things, under the direction of wisdom. But they must not be the chief object of our esteem; for if any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
Luther, having received large presents from some princes of Saxony, protested that he would not have them for his portion. If gold or rubies are equal to wisdom in our judgment — then we have not the mind of Christ. That we may be disposed heartily to prefer wisdom to everything that our eyes have seen, or our minds have imagined — let us hear and believe what more can be said on wisdom's behalf.
Verse 12."I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence; I possess knowledge and discretion." For the Son of God to reveal his own glory to us — is one of the innumerable instances of his condescending grace. Had he not manifested his own glory to us, we would, to our loss, have remained forever ignorant of it.
Prudence is the companion of wisdom — and infinite prudence was from eternity familiar to the personal Wisdom of God, who abounded toward us in all prudence, in the contrivance of that glorious plan by which the wisdom of God is raised to the highest pitch in the salvation of men. For the Word was with God, and was a sharer in the glory of his eternal purpose of grace.
Consummate prudence and divine invention shine with illustrious splendor in the whole administration of our Lord Jesus Christ, and out of his treasures we receive all that prudence and skill that is necessary for us, while sojourning in a world full of enemies and snares.
Who would not rather go for water to a fountain that ever flows — than to an intermittent brook that often disappoints the thirsty traveler? The Son of God has the fountain of life with him, and in his light shall we see light.
Perfect purity is another excellency of our divine Teacher, and his instructions have a sanctifying effect upon us.
Verse 13."To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech!" Some men refrain from evil actions, through fear of shame or punishment. But true wisdom teaches men not only to refrain from evil — but to hate it, through the fear of God. Then we are possessed of this gracious principle, when we abhor not only evil actions, but evil words and dispositions. Pride and arrogance, wickedness in the course of the conversation, and perverseness in spirit — are equally abhorred by our Lord. Such as have received his instructions into their hearts, cannot love that which is declared in every part of his word to be utterly offensive to him.
Were anything deserving the name of wisdom to be found anywhere else, we might with less damage despise the word of exhortation — but Christ claims it as his peculiar excellency:
Verse 14."Counsel and sound judgment are mine; I have understanding and power!" Bildad had referred Job to the wise men that lived in the days of old, as the oracles of wisdom, for determining the disputes between Job and his friends. Job acknowledged that the ancients had some degree of wisdom — but would not implicitly submit his understanding to their maxims, because there was no comparison in this respect between the wisest sages, and the Ancient of days.
What is the wisdom of philosophers, who frequently became vain in their reasonings, and ruined men by their philosophy and vain deceit — to the wisdom of the Eternal Word? But why should we speak of wise men, when the holy angels are charged with folly? There is no sound wisdom but in Christ, or from him, who is the Fountain of human reason — and the Author of all that true wisdom which is in man. Whether these great men made their celebrated discoveries by the mere force of their own genius, or by the help of tradition — it is plain that their light was but a ray from that true light that enlightens every man who comes into the world.
Counsel is his, for he is the wonderful Counselor, between whom and his eternal Father, the council of peace was formed, and who by his counsel, conducts us in the right way to happiness.
The very quintessence of wisdom is his. He is understanding itself, and his eyes penetrate to the bottom of the deepest mysteries!
Blessed be God that such a person is made to us wisdom! Wisdom is better than strength — and yet wisdom needs strength to execute its plans. The eternal wisdom of God is joined with omnipotence. The eternal Word is the Almighty, by whom all things were made, and all the purposes of grace effected. He gives courage and power to all that learn wisdom from him, so that a man of understanding increases strength.
Where counsel to contrive and wisdom to propose the noblest end, understanding to discern the true nature and tendencies of things, and strength to execute, concur — there can be nothing lacking.
The wisdom and power of kings, and of those who have power delegated from kings, is derived from him.
Verse 15, 16."By me kings reign and rulers make laws that are just; by me princes govern, and all nobles who rule on earth!" Eternal wisdom has devised government — and determined the people to be entrusted with it. From the same source is derived all the majesty, and wisdom, and righteousness which ever appeared in the world, to adorn the thrones of princes.
When David governed the people of God according to the integrity of his heart — when Solomon governed the same nation with wisdom and righteousness — they were indebted for all their noble qualifications to that Word of God, by whom all creatures were formed, and from whom all light is derived.
When magistrates of inferior rank distinguish themselves by their wise and righteous administration — they owe their glory and usefulness to the same fountain of wisdom.
Those princes that are strangers to the name of Christ are the ministers of his providence, and are furnished from his treasures with every ornamental and useful qualification which they may possess.
If we admire the courage and the generosity and wisdom of Cyrus king of Persia, we ought to give glory to the King of Israel, by whom that heathen prince was guided.
The histories of every nation, through the light of this text, may lead us to contemplate the excellency of the Son of God, from whom every good gift comes. All the wisdom in the world must be ascribed to him — but none of that folly which always is mixed with wisdom in men. His treasures of wisdom are not diminished in the least degree. Let the simple ones apply to him with faith and importunity, and they shall be made wise unto holiness and salvation, for says Wisdom —
Verse 17."I love those who love me, and those who seek me early shall find me." All of us profess to love wisdom — but few justify this profession. We do not truly love that person whose friendship we do not seek to share, and whose company we do not desire to enjoy. We do not love Christ if we do not seek him with our hearts, and with all earnestness of heart, desire fellowship with him in his wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption. Those who seek him are accounted by him lovers of his name — and this love to him is a proof that they are loved by him. He loved them — before they loved him. His good-will disposed their hearts to love him, and he takes pleasure in that love which was kindled by himself. He will not disappoint those ardent desires which were excited by his Spirit. He has been found by those who did not seek him — and will he hide himself from those who do seek him?
Young people have good encouragement from this Scripture to seek wisdom. Christ was kind to those young children that were brought to be blessed by him. He loved a young man who came to ask him what he should do to inherit eternal life — although he did not show a proper regard to Christ's answer. It is mentioned as the honor of Josiah king of Judah, that when he was young, he sought the God of his fathers. The word translated seek early may be rendered seek earnestly or diligently. All the true lovers and seekers of Christ shall find him, and find inexpressible happiness in him. They are sharers in his fullness, and he opens all his treasures to them!
Verse 18, 19."With me are riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity. My fruit is better than fine gold; what I yield surpasses choice silver!"
On whom do the kings of this world bestow their gifts? On their own friends — or on strangers and enemies? On their friends, no doubt, unless they are restrained to do otherwise. No motives of that kind can direct the managements of the eternal King. The silver is his, and the gold is his — and he would give silver and gold to all who love him — even if he sees it better for the greater part of them to lack these perishing riches. It is not for lack of riches and honors to bestow. It is not for lack of love to his people, that he does not bestow on every one of them crowns of gold, and mines of precious metals.
The riches of Christ are incomparably more valuable than gold and silver. His justifying righteousness, which is upon all those who believe — enriches them forever, though formerly they were indebted millions, and unable to pay one farthing to the justice of God! The grace of the Spirit enriches them above what the finest gold or the choicest silver could ever do!
These shining metals glitter in the eye — but they cannot shed joy or contentment in the heart. The only use that riches can answer, is to help us to be content — but even here riches can do little, while godliness does all, and is justly esteemed great gain.
How wisdom enriches men, we are more dearly told in the next verse.
Verse 20, 21."I walk in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice, bestowing wealth on those who love me, and making their treasuries full." Great was the favor bestowed by God on the children of Israel, when he conducted them through the wilderness to the land of promise by a pillar of cloud and fire. Had he left them to their own conduct, they must have lost themselves, and perished in that land of deserts, of pits and serpents, of drought and of the shadow of death.
Neither could we find the way to the celestial city, without the Captain of salvation, who is given by God to be a Leader to the people. He leads us in the paths of righteousness for his own name's sake, and in the midst of the paths of judgment, keeping us from every dangerous mistake, and preserving us from the snares which on each side of our way are spread for our feet.
Our great Teacher leads us in this way, to enrich us with the most precious substance. The followers of Christ shall be no losers by him. They shall not inherit the wind, nor possess for their portion those unsubstantial things, of which it is said — "they are nothing," because they are not the true riches. But they shall possess, by the right and tenure of the children of God, that which is durable and solid riches.
The fashion of this world passes away — but he who does the will of God abides forever, and shall be forever rich, for all his treasures are filled by the wisdom of God. In this world, he receives every needful supply, and can say in truth that all things are his. In the eternal world, every craving shall be fully satisfied, and no uneasy desires shall remain.
Blessed are the lovers of wisdom, though the world may account them poor. Have they no silver or gold? The apostles for the most part had none — and yet they made many rich. The angels have none, and desire to have it as little as we desire to have our treasuries filled with gravel! Saints are like angels, rich in heavenly treasure — and while God is rich, they shall not be poor.
Here is a short way of becoming rich, and here covetousness is a virtue. These blessed treasures of righteousness and glory were designed for the possessors of them before the foundation of the world, and God entered into a covenant of grace with his own eternal Son to provide them. For Christ existed from eternity, and before all worlds he was appointed to be the Author of our salvation, and rejoiced with his Father in the prospect of it.
Verse 22."The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old." The Son of God was begotten by the Father before all worlds; and if we may speak it with reverence, it was the unspeakable blessedness of the most holy God, that he possessed a Son the same in essence with himself, and the brightness of his glory, by whom he designed to make and govern the world, and to show the glory of wisdom in repairing the ruins of it. When the eternal decrees of God were framed in his infinite mind, before any of his creatures were made — the Word was with God, even in the bosom of the Father, and the purpose of God was purposed in him.
Verse 23."I was appointed from eternity, from the beginning, before the world began." It was a profane question which a philosopher once asked at a Christian: What God was doing before he made the world? But we have here a serious and delightful answer to it. The Son of God was ordained before the foundation of the world to be the Author of wisdom and salvation to us, and he accounted it his glory to be the foundation of the counsel of God in the administration of grace. The eternal power and Godhead of Christ are enlarged upon by himself at great length in the following verses.
Verse 24, 25."When there were no oceans, I was given birth — when there were no springs abounding with water; before the mountains were settled in place, before the hills, I was given birth!" The antiquity of his existence, of his generation by the Father, and his appointment to be our Redeemer — are expressed in the same language in which the unbeginning duration of the Godhead is described.
Verse 26."before he made the earth or its fields or any of the dust of the world." The Wisdom of the Father was in the beginning — but had no beginning to his own existence. The Father himself did not exist before the only-begotten Son, and he who spread abroad the earth by himself, without the assistance of other beings, or the agency of instruments — did not create the world without the everlasting Word.
Verse 27."I was there when he set the heavens in place, when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep,"
Fashioning the great mass of earth and water by a divine architecture, into the most regular form.
Verse 28, 29."when he established the clouds above and fixed securely the fountains of the deep, when he gave the sea its boundary so the waters would not overstep his command, and when he marked out the foundations of the earth." Then was I by him. The power and wisdom of God appeared in the order and stability which he gave to the various creatures, as well as in the formation of them. He separated the waters below. from the waters above the firmament, and fixed both in their respective places. He confined the waters of the sea within their proper channels, and appointed foundations to the earth, that it might not be removed.
It is our duty to consider the works of God with attention, and to contemplate them in their different parts, which make one beautiful whole! Every one of these parts is fitted to excite our veneration for the great Author of nature — the three-one God.
When we survey the earth and the waters, the mountains and the valleys, and consider that they had a beginning — we are led by the Scripture to adore the Word which was with God, and was God — when these creatures that make so good a figure in our eyes were nothing. When we consider the wisdom and power that shine with amazing luster in the fabric of the world, let us raise our thoughts to the Son of God, by whom God made the world, and by whom he has now recovered it from the ruins that were the fruits of our sin.
If we reverence the wisdom of the aged, what reverence is due to the unbeginning Word, who condescends to reveal to us the Father, and to disclose the secrets of his wisdom!
When we behold the immense repository of waters, and the spacious earth, when we lift up our eyes to the lofty mountains, and to the immeasurable circuit of the heavens — can we forbear saying: What is man, that he who is before all these things, and by whom they all hold together — should regard him with such astonishing favor! How ungrateful must we be, if we turn a deaf ear to the merciful instructions of our Divine Teacher!
But let us admire, with increasing wonder, the glory and grace of Him who speaks to us from Heaven, when we hear him declaring his infinite happiness in the bosom of his Father.
Verse 30."Then I was the craftsman at his side. I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in his presence." The blessedness of rational creatures lies in their fellowship with God. Those are blessed, whom God makes to approach to himself; and the nearer the approach, the greater the blessedness.
But there is infinite blessedness in the Godhead itself, and in that divine and incomprehensible fellowship which the Son of God enjoyed from eternity, while he was in the Father's bosom, as his only-begotten Son. The Father was in the Son, and the Son in the Father, and both in the Spirit, and the Spirit in both, and they were infinitely blessed in one another!
These things are so mysterious to us, that it is safer to adore and wonder — than to speak. But one thing we cannot overlook, that when we consider the infinite happiness of the Son of God, in his oneness of nature with the Father, and in that infinite nearness of person to him, which must be inferred from the unity of essence, and mutual relation of the Trinity — we must be amazed to think that he bestowed a thought upon men — upon creatures whose apostasy and wickedness were foreknown by him. Before the world began, he thought upon men with compassion, and rejoiced in the purposes of his love concerning them.
Then, (says he,) was I by him,
Verse 31."Rejoicing in his whole world and delighting in mankind." It was infinite goodness to rejoice in the prospect of those holy angels, whose dwelling was assigned to them in Heaven, beside the throne of God. But he also delighted in the prospect of that grace and salvation that was designed for lost men, through the sufferings to be endured in that human nature which was pre-ordained for him.
Did our Lord Jesus think upon us with compassion and love, before the foundation of the world? Let our thoughts be often employed in contemplating that amazing goodness, and in tracing up redemption and the blessings of salvation, to the fountain whence they proceed! Shall we, from day to day, put off the thoughts of Christ, and defer that regard and obedience which is so entirely his due — when he thought on us with pity, before we or the world in which we dwell had a being?
Verse 32."Now then, my sons, listen to me; blessed are those who keep my ways!" We must not give unto him the hearing of the ear only — but the hearing of faith and obedience also. The blessing is upon those who are not forgetful hearers — but effectual doers of his word. We are under infinite obligations, from the greatness and the eternal grace of Christ, to hearken unto him — and our duty and interest are here the same.
Our observation of his ways is not the foundation or cause of our blessedness, for that was designed for us before we could do good or evil. Our holy dispositions are not the cause — but the effect of the purpose of grace in Christ Jesus. Yet because they are the effect, they are also a proof of our happy interest in it.
Are they blessed that keep the way of wisdom? Then,
Verse 33."Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not." If we hear instruction with faith and reverence — then we shall be wise. If we refuse it — then are fools, and must continue to be so. Christ is the only author of wisdom, and it is by the hearing of faith, that he conveys wisdom. The word is the good seed, and if it is not sown in the heart — then how can we expect a harvest? But it is not enough that the seed is sown. Should it be presently picked up, or should no fruit be brought forth to perfection — the sowing of it will be of no avail. We are required, not only to hear instruction — but to hold it fast in our hearts and practice. The man that does so, is truly wise, and receives blessing from God.
Verse 34."Blessed is the man who hears me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors." Those who desire favors from the great, wait upon them day by day, and think themselves happy if they can at length obtain a favorable answer to their suit. With how much greater reason do we wait at the posts of Wisdom's doors, in expectation of the most necessary and important blessings! Happy were Solomon's servants, in the opinion of the queen of Sheba, because they enjoyed the privilege of daily hearing that celebrated prince. We are happy — if we knew our own happiness — who are admitted to hear the instructions of Him who is Wisdom itself. His palace is erected among us, and it is a greater happiness to stand at the door of it, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.
David desired one thing, and what was it? Not that he might enjoy a long and undisturbed possession of his throne — but that he might dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of his life, and enjoy the blessed views and discoveries afforded in the sanctuary. The God of mercy waits to be gracious to us, and we ought to wait for him, attending those ordinances where he is pleased to display his glory and love, with unwearied diligence, earnest desire, and lively hope.
The man that waited thirty-eight years at the pool of Siloam, was well rewarded at last, when he received vigor to his body. But they enjoy greater happiness, who wait for God in his appointed way. Christ is found by those who seek him.
Blessed are those who find him,
Verse 35."For whoever finds me finds life, and shall obtain favor of the Lord." He who has the Son has life, and he who has not the Son of God has not life. The first man, Adam, was made a living soul — but by sin he died, and we all sinned and died in him, and must have continued forever in a state of death — had not another Adam appeared who was made a quickening Spirit. Whoever believes in him shall not die — but have everlasting life.
Even in this land of darkness and death, believers enjoy a true and happy life — for they are delivered from condemnation, and entitled to the heavenly life. They are made free from that principle of corruption, which is called the law of sin and death, and made alive unto God and holiness. They enjoy that which is better than life — the loving-kindness of the Lord; for through Jesus, the Father looks upon them with a pleasant countenance. The smiles of God make Heaven, and those who obtain favor of the Lord have a Heaven upon earth.
But miserable are the despisers of the wisdom and grace of Christ.
Verse 36."But he who sins against me wrongs his own soul; all who hate me love death." Those who despise Christ's gospel, or reject his salvation — are sinful rebels against him who is the Supreme Wisdom, and the fountain of happiness to men. They are haters of Him who is love itself. Such ungrateful rebels are as great enemies to themselves, as to Christ. They murder their immortal souls — they love those sins which are death and damnation in disguise. Sinners against Christ shall receive a reward of vengeance suited to the blackness of their guilt, and shall, through eternity, have no room to complain of their Judge. Death and life were set before them — and they chose death, and shall forever eat of the fruit of their own choice. Consider these things, O unbelievers! If you will not now consider them — in the latter days you shall fully consider them!