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discretion, so shall they be life unto thy soul, and grace to thy neck".
But where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding? man knoweth not the price thereof; neither is it found in the land of the living. The depth saith, It is not in me; and the sea saith, It is I not with me. It cannot be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof. It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire. The gold and the crystal cannot equal it; and the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold'. Whence then cometh wisdom? and where is the place of understanding? seeing it is hid from the eyes of all living, and kept close from the fowls of the air. Destruction and death say, We have heard the fame thereof with our ears. God understandeth the way thereof, and he knoweth the place thereof*. And unto man he said, Behold the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to depart from evil is understanding 1*. For by me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased ".
Wisdom crieth without, she uttereth her voice in the streets; she crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates; in the city she uttereth her words, saying, How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? Turn you, at my reproof; behold I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you". Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice? she crieth at the gates, at the coming in at the doors; unto you, O men, I call, and my voice is to the sons of men. O ye simple, understand wisdom; and ye fools be of an understanding heart. Hear, for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things. My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation of my
Prov. iii. 21, 22. 1 Job, xxviii. 28.
• Prov. viii. 1.
i Job,xxviii. 12-17.
P Prov. viii. S-6.
* See Proverbs, ix. 10, and Psalm cxi. 10.
Job, xxviii. 20-23.
A Prov. i. 20-23.
heart shall be of understanding. All the words of my mouth are in righteousness, there is nothing froward or perverse in them. They are plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge. Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold; for wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired, are not to be compared to it. Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom; I am understanding, I have strength. By me kings reign, and princes decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth. I love them that love me, and those that seek me early shall find me. Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness. My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver. I lead in the way of righteousness in the midst of the paths of judgment".
Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding; for the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand, riches and honour. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her; and happy is every one that retaineth her ". He that getteth wisdom, loveth his own soul; he that keepeth understanding, shall find good. Wisdom is a defence, and money is a defence; but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it". The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death. The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from hell beneath. The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue tálketh of judgment. The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide. He will guide his affairs with discretion; surely he shall not be moved for
1 Psalm xlix. 3.
Prov. viii. 8-11.
Prov. viii. 14-26. * Prov. xix. 8. * Prov. xv. 24.
SECT. 2. Ignorance and folly are the dishonour of our nature, and the source of our greatest calamities.
Man that is in honour and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish; also that the soul be without knowledge, it is not good. The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding, shall remain in the congregation of the dead. Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction; but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured. He that refuseth instruction, despiseth his own soul; but he that heareth reproof, getteth understanding. Fools, because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, are afflicted; their soul abhorreth all manner of meat; and they draw near unto the gates of death'. Doth not their excellency which is in them go away? they die, even without wisdom. Wherefore is there a price in the hand of a fool to get wisdom, seeing he hath no heart to it? The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness, and the end of his talk is mischievous madness'. The foolishness of a man perverteth his way; and his heart fretteth against the Lord*. I said unto the fools, Deal not foolishly; understand, ye brutish among the people; and ye fools, when will ye be wise "?
SECT. 3. Knowledge and wisdom contrasted with ignorance and folly.
I applied mine heart to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done upon the earth. Then I beheld all the work of God. The works of the Lord are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein. I applied mine heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly. Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness. The wise man's
§ 2. Psalm xlix. 20.
d Prov. xiii. 18.
* Job, iv. 21. * Prov. xix. 3. §4.Eccles. viii. 16, 17.
b Prov. xix. 2.
• Prov. xv. 32.
h Prov. xvii. 16.
1 Psalm lxxv. 4.
e Prov. xxi. 16.
Psalm cvii. 17, 18.
1 Eccles. x. 13.
ni Psalm xciv, 8. Ecoles. vii. 25.
eyes are in his head, but the fool walketh in darkness ". The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way; but the folly of fools is deceit. Fools make a mock at sin; but among the righteous there is favour. The simple believeth every word; but the prudent man looketh well to his going. A wise man feareth and departeth from evil; but the fool rageth, and is confident'. The simple inherit folly; but the prudent are crowned with knowledge. Wisdom resteth in the heart of him that hath understanding; but that which is in the midst of fools, is made known". Every prudent man dealeth with knowledge; but a fool layeth open his folly. The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright; but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness. The lips of the righteous feed many; but fools die for want of wisdom'. A man shall be commended according to his wisdom; but he that is of a perverse heart, shall be despised. Through desire, a man having separated himself, seeketh, and intermmedleth with all wisdom. A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself". Wisdom is before him that hath understanding; but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth. He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool; but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered. He that refuseth instruction, despiseth his own soul; but he that heareth reproof, getteth understanding. The ear that heareth the reproof of life, abideth among the wise'. A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished'. It is abomination to fools to depart from evil. He that walketh with wise men shall be wise; but a companion of fools shall be destroyed'.
d Eccles. ii. 13, 14.
* Prov. xv. 2.
■ Prov. xviii. 1, 2.
• Prov. xiv. 8, 9.
• Prov. xvii. 24.
Prov. xiv. 15, 16.
m Prov. xii. 8.
P Prov. xxviii. 26.
Prov. xxii. 3.
SECT. 4. In order to attain sound knowledge and wisdom, a diligent attention to every mean of instruction is necessary.
The heart of the prudent getteth knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser; teach a just man, and he will increase in learning. Whoso loveth instruction, loveth knowledge; but he that hateth reproof is brutishc. Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end. Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding. A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels. Inquire, I pray thee, of the former age, and prepare thyself to the search of their fathers: shall they not teach thee, and tell thee, and utter words out of their heart? Hear my words, O ye wise men; and give ear unto me, ye that have knowledge. Let us choose to us judgment; let us know among ourselves what is good". My words shall be of the uprightness of my heart; and my lips shall utter knowledge clearly'. I will fetch my knowledge from afar, and will ascribe righteousness to my Maker*. Acquaint thyself with him, and be at peace; thereby good shall come unto thee. Receive, I pray thee, the law from his mouth; and lay up his words. in thine heart'.
My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow down thine. ear to my understanding, that thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge". Keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee". Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart. Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman. Incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for
§ 4. Prov. xviii. 15.
Prov. xix. 20.
b Prov. ix. 9.
• Prov. xxiii. 23.
c Prov. xii. 1.
! Prov. i. 5.