صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني


"Blessed is the man that heareth me; watching daily at my gates; waiting at the posts of my doors."-Prov. viii. 34.

[ocr errors]

In "the Scriptures of truth" no more than two classes of people are declared to be in the world. The one class is called "the blessed of the Lord," and the other, "the cursed of the Lord," or "the people of God's curse." This latter class contains all the "vessels of wrath fitted to destruction;" all "the generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet are not washed from their filthiness;" all the "generation of vipers that cannot escape the damnation of hell;" and, in short, all whose names are not written in the Lamb's book of life," who are not among those whom Jesus has "redeemed unto God out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation." The former class, to which the characters spoken of in the text belong, contains all who are "chosen by God the Father in Christ before the foundation of the world, that they should be holy and without blame before him in love;" all whom he "predestinated to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will; to the praise of the glory of his grace; wherein he hath made them accepted in the Beloved; in whom they have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;" (Eph. i. 3-7;) all whom the Lord the Spirit "quickens into spiritual and eternal life;" (Eph. ii. 1;) and all to whom Jeho vah says, I have loved thee with an everlasting love, and therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee." (Jer. xxxi. 3.)

Of both these classes, or of the characters which make up these two distinct families, the Holy Ghost has given in his word plain and striking descriptions. He has drawn their likenesses with his divine and unerring hand, and has clearly separated the sheep from "the chaff from the wheat," and goats, the precious from the




In the text we have exhibited to us the portrait of a blessed character, an heir of God, and a joint heir with Christ. His features are drawn from the life by the Spirit of life with the pencil of divine truth, and happy are we if we can trace any of these features in the fleshy tables of our hearts, and discover any conformity to the image of Jesus in our souls. May it be our happiness to feel that we are of the blessed of the Lord," while attending to the description of the blessed man of whom Wisdom speaks. May "the light of life" shine upon the word, and shine into our heart, that although we may only see through a glass darkly, we may be enabled to hear the still small voice of the Lord saying to our souls, “Unto you is the word (and power) of this salvation sent."

"Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors."

I. The first thing to be attended to in endeavouring to enter into these words, is to understand who is the speaker. By the context we find that it is one whose name is " Wisdom;" one who is holy,


omniscient, omnipotent, and eternal; one who was "before all things, and by whom all things consist; who, from everlasting, "from the beginning, or ever the earth was, was with the Lord, as one brought up by him; who was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him, rejoicing in the habitable parts of his earth, and having his delights with, or his affections set upon, the sons of men." In short, the speaker in my text is clearly the same with him of whom it is written, "Unto us a Child is born; unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace." (Isa. ix. 6.) Christ, the power of God and the wisdom of God unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks." (1 Cor. i. 24.) Now this divine, almighty, and all-wise Person is the promised Prophet of whom Moses wrote-Jehovah the Redeemer, who teaches those whom he calls to profit, and leads them in the way wherein they should go. He is here exhibited to us as a wise and affectionate mother, in which character he was well known to his people, (Isa. xlix. 15; lxvi. 13,) giving instruction to her children, and encouraging them to "patient continuance in well-doing." I shall therefore, throughout this discourse, use the personal pronoun feminine, when referring to Immanuel Jesus, who says to all the elect family, Hearken unto me, ye children; for blessed are they that keep my ways. Hear instruction and be wise, and refuse it not. Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors."


By none but those who esteem themselves to be "fools" and "simple ones" is the teaching of Wisdom really valued. The wise and prudent of this world, the self-sufficient pharisee, the self-made pietist, the unhumbled professor of the gospel, and the hardened Antinomian, agree in despising and counting it as a thing of nought. But Wisdom makes all her blessed children to know and feel their great need of her divine instruction; she causes them to hear her voice, and to turn at her reproof; she pours out her Spirit unto them, and makes known to them her words; (Prov. i. 23;) the entrance (or opening) of which giveth light and understanding to the simple. (Ps. cxix. 130.) But does Wisdom speak with an audible voice? Can the ears of the body catch the sound, and the natural understanding comprehend her words? No! Wisdom's voice is audible only to the new creature, which hears it in the impressions that she makes upon the heart, and in the mysterious leadings of her providence. It is "with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth maketh confession unto salvation.' "When thou saidst, Seek ye my face, my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.' But when may a man be said to have heard the voice of Wisdom? When does he give evidence of having received her divine impressions, her heavenly and powerful operations, through the Spirit, in his heart? When a man is made to feel that he is in the hand of the holy, just, and sin-avenging Jehovah, against whom he has sinned; when his transgressions and iniquities are set before him in the light of God's countenance; when he feels himself to be

[merged small][ocr errors]

justly condemned, by the law which he has broken, to the second death, and to the endurance of the wrath of God for ever and ever; when the depravity, deceitfulness, and desperate wickedness of his heart is discovered to him, and he is led to cry in the bitterness of his soul, "Woe is me, for I am undone; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts;" when, like the leper, he covers his lip, and goes forth crying, "Unclean, unclean," and putteth his mouth in the dust, if so be there may be hope; when, like Hezekiah, he turns his face to the wall, and weeps sore in secret before the Lord; when a sense of his darkness, ignorance, impotency, and unprofitableness makes him cry, "O Lord, I am oppressed, undertake for me;" when he finds all human cisterns to be broken, and that vain is the help of man; when he feels that he is shut up and cannot come forth; when a strong conviction of the ability of Jesus to save and heal him is in his heart, and he cries unto him to deliver him from going down to the pit; when nothing short of the Lord the Spirit's application of the love, blood, and righteousness of Jesus to his heart and conscience will satisfy him; and the Spirit of grace and supplication is poured out upon him, enabling him to pour out his soul before God, to acknowledge the iniquity of his transgression, to sue for mercy, to beg for pardon, teaching, wisdom, light, and power, and to crave for one smile, one look of love, oue word from Jesus's lips more than for his necessary food. I say, when he has experienced these things, he has heard more than the voice of natural conscience; more than the word of man; more than the letter of the oracles of truth. He has heard the voice of the Lord, which is powerful and full of majesty, that breaketh the cedars in Lebanon, and maketh the hinds to calve. As one who was dead and in his grave, he has heard the voice of the Son of God, and has been quickened or made alive by him. (John v. 25.) He has heard the words of Wisdom; her voice has sounded in his soul, and has produced this wonderful change; and to him do these words now apply, "The ear that heareth the reproof of wisdom shall abide among the wise." Happy, saith wisdom, is the man that is in such a state; yea, "blessed is the man that heareth me."

Again. When he that has climbed in over the wall, that has taken up a profession of religion without feeling its power, whose religion has hitherto been "feeding upon ashes," and who has never known the strait gate and narrow way, is awakened by the solemn feeling that" that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit, and that except a man be born from above he cannot see or enter into the kingdom of God;" when the sluggard awakens from his slumber, and the man that was asleep upon the top of the mast has his eyes opened to see his danger, and his heart and mouth opened to implore assistance; when the Spirit Jehovah has blown upon the grass, and all its glory withers away; when natural knowledge of divine truth, formal prayer, mock spirituality, feigned love, and presumptuous confidence become "a heap and desperate sorrow;" when, examining himself whether he be in

the faith, and trying himself by the test of God's word, his faith is found to stand not in the power of God, but in the wisdom of man, his hope to be a false one, his love only fleshly and excited feelings, his zeal a spark from the fire of his own kindling, his light darkness, and his wisdom folly; when he sees Tekel written upon his forehead, and he trembles lest he should be lost after all his profession; when he cannot find that God has begun a good work in him, and yet lifts up his voice and entreats the Lord to have mercy upon him, and to lead him in the way everlasting; when his spirit is broken with grief and sorrow, his strength has failed him and is gone, his beauty is turned into corruption, his sweet smell become a stink, and his girdle a rent; when, under these feelings, he is constrained to sit alone and to keep silence, to separate from those he once walked with, and to esteem those to be the excellent of the earth that he once despised; when he feels the vanity of all teaching but divine teaching, the folly of all wisdom which comes not from "the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Jesus," and the abomination of all religion that is not planted in the heart by God's own hand; when he besieges the throne of grace with fervent petitions that he may not go on deceiving and being deceived, but that he may know the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent; that he may have godly sorrow bestowed upon him, to work in his soul repentance not to be repented of; and that he may have the fear of God, which is the beginning of wisdom, put into his heart, with faith, hope, and charity, a tender conscience, godly sincerity, truth, uprightness, meekness, and humility. Then he may be said to have heard the still small voice of Wisdom, to have heard her rod, and who hath appointed it. He has then the features of a "blessed" man. "Blessed is the man that heareth me."


[ocr errors]

But there are other ways in which the blessed man hears the voice of Wisdom. "s My people, saith the Lord, are bent to backsliding." And there is no blessed man who is not sensible of the truth of this declaration. Wisdom speaks to her backsliding children, and makes them know that they have committed two evils, in forsaking her, the fountain of living waters, and hewing out to themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water. Thus, when he who has backslidden in heart from Wisdom's ways, who has got entangled in the snares of his sinful heart, the world that lieth in wickedness, and the father of lies; when he who has "mingled himself among the people," and has become as a cake unturned," unsavoury to the world and burdensome to the church, lukewarm, carnal, and careless; when he to whom neither heavenly things nor earthly things afford satisfaction; when he who has no heart for the former, and is condemned and unhappy in the latter; when (I say) such a one begins to feel the error of his way; to bemoan himself, and to look upwards, and confess his sin to the Lord; to loathe himself, and to cry, "Turn thou me, and I shall be turned;" to long for the snare in which he is held to be broken; to be enabled once more to feel the Lord to be nigh; to be permitted to draw nigh to him without alarm, weariness, or aversion; to walk in his ways, to rejoice in his smiles, and to


tremble at his frowns; to delight himself in God, and to seek his glory; when he "accepts the punishment of his iniquity, "smarts under his wounds, groans under his hardness," roars like a bear, and mourns sore like a dove;" when he is brought to lie in the dust, covered with shame, and is sometimes a little cheered by a word of encouragement for a moment resting upon his drooping spirit, producing softness, contrition, self-abasement, and greater desire to be permitted to touch the hem of Wisdom's garment; when his conscience no longer lets him do violence to it without striking through his liver," and every backward step adds "grief to his sorrow;" when he is constrained to attend to and to obey the commands that are laid upon his heart, although it mortifies his pride and debases him in the sight of man so to do; when, though his prayer seems to be shut out from the Lord, and a cloud is upon the throne of grace, he yet calls, cries, and shouts, nor can give Wisdom any rest until she hears and answers; then he hears her voice, and Wisdom, sooner or later, makes him feel that "blessed is the man that heareth" her.

a dart

Thus, then, Wisdom's voice is heard in conviction of sin, in the breaking down and rooting up of false religion, and in the convincing of the backslider that his ways are crooked and bitter. But has she no voice to declare where are her footsteps in providence, and her ways in love, mercy, grace, and faithfulness? Has this gentle, affectionate, and wise mother no kind words for her children, no promises, no consolations for her burdened and mourning family? She has; she does not use the rod alone; she does not only wound, kill, and bring down; she has words of healing, words of restoring, words of deliverance, words of gracious instruction, and of tender faithfulness. In providential trials she often causes her blessed children to feel and to confess that there was a needs be for the affliction. She calls them to her feet, to make known their wants and requests, and puts words into their hearts that they may plead with her and prevail. The blessed Spirit enlightens their eyes to see her smiles in the parting of the clouds, and sometimes to discern her good will where, to reason, there is no trace of it. Many have found, and still find, that seasons of temporal calamity are made by Wisdom the way of entrance to her chambers, and the way of approach to her bosom. Greater nearness to her, more dependance upon her almighty arm, more confidence in her mercy and goodness, a deeper sense of her power to deliver, and of the fulness of her blessed words, are more frequently found in adversity than were felt in prosperity. Something secret, but strong, keeps the blessed man looking to his gentle mother for help and protection; something causes him to take shelter under her outspread wings; and although unbelief would sink him with despondency, something is communicated to him which holds him up, and constrains him to say, "I will trust thee, though thou slay me." He believes that he will be extricated from his difficulty, but how he cannot tell. He feels that he cannot fall, but he sees not how he can stand. He believes that assistance will be afforded, but he cannot guess from what quarter it will come. Here he often hangs, like a balance blown upon by the winds; sometimes the scale of faith and

« السابقةمتابعة »