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earnestnesse. The same things are repeated, Serm. and inculcated again and again. The atten- VI. tion of men is excited by frequent representations of the importance of right conduct, and of the snares they are exposed to, by which they are in danger of being milled to their utter ruin.

More effectually to recommend the reasonable and useful counsels and observations here proposed, they are often delivered in the name of Wisdom. Wisdom herself is introduced, as teaching these things. So at the begining of this chapter. Doth not Wisdom cry, and understanding put forth her voice ? She standeth in the top of high places, by the way, in the places of the patks : ... Unto you, o men, I call: and my voice is to the fons of men. And, as an encouragement to all to hearken to her, and pursue the rules she lays down, she says in the words of ine text : I love them that love me. And they that seek me early, shall find me.

If it were a thing of any moment, I might just observe to you, that what in our English translation is rendred, seek early, is but one word in the original. The Hebrew therefore might be as well rendred; they that seek




Serm. me, shall find me. However, our translator's

have not done much amiss in adding some-
thing concerning the best manner of seeking
Wisdom : or in expressing what may be fup-
posed to be implied in the word. I love
them that love me. And they that seek me
early, or diligently, Mall find me.

Without any farther preface, I would now
immediatly lay down the method, in which
I intend to discourse on these words.

I. In the first place I shall endeavor to

shew, how we are to understand the
word Wisdom, as used in the book of

11. I shall Thew, what is comprehended

in Wisdom.
III. I shall consider, what is to be under-

stood by loving Wisdom, and seeking it.
IV. I shall observe the encouragement,

here set before men, to seek Wisdom :

They fall find it.
V. And then conclude with directions for

the right manner of seeking it.

I. I hall


I. I shall endeavor to show, how we are

to understand the word Wisdom as used

in the book of Proverbs. Hereby some have understood a real perfon, and even a Divine person. And this their opinion is founded chiefly, I think, upon some expressions in this eighth chapter. As ver. 15. By me Kings reign, and Princes decree justice. By me Princes rule, and nobles, , and all the judges of the earth : And especially those words in ver. 22. 23. The Lord pofSelled me in the begining of bis ways, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the begining, or ever the earth


But the meaning of these words I take to be this: “ that God himself is wise, and “ before he created the world, he had wis“ dom in himself : and that the laws of

righteousnesse, and the rules of right con“ duct, are everlasting and unchangeable.”

It is agreeable to the stile of this book, not to understand by Wisdom a real person, but an attribute, or property clothed with a personal character, or a feigned personage introduced. In like manner it has been very

SERM. common for polite writers, to introduce JurVI. tice, or Virtue, or Wisdom, or Prudence,

delivering rules and counsels to men, or reproving their folly and extravagance. Sometimes they are represented looking down, at other times, coming down from heaven, to visit the abodes of mortals: or, in the stile of the Proverbs, men, the fons of men : calling aloud to them, dehorting them from their evil ways, and perverse wandrings, and inviting them into the paths of truth and happinesse: which reason, and the considerations of their own true interest prescribe to them.

The personage introduced in this book in the name and character of Wisdom is

represented to be a Queen, or a wealthy Matron or Lady. For her servants, or attendents, are maidens. She is brought in as a Matron, living in great credit. Her house is a spacious and lofty building, adorned with a magnificent portico at the entrance ; confifting of seven, or many pillars. She there makes an entertainment, and invites people to come and partake of her provisions; that is, to hear and receive the rules and principles of knowledge and virtue.



This is beautifully expressed at the begin- Serm. ing of the ninth, the following chapter.

VI. Wisdom bas builded her house. She has hewn out her seven pillars. She has killed her beasts. She has mingled ber wine. She has also furnished her table. She has sent forth ber maid

She crieth upon the highest places in the city. Or, as in another place : She crieth in the Prov. i. chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates. In the city she uttereth ber words: that is, in the most public and frequented places, where there is usually the greatest refort of people. Whofo is simple let him turn in bither. She rejects not the weakest, and the most deluded. If they will but attend, the will teach them what is fit and becoming. Whofo is fimple, let him turn in bither. As for him that wanteth understanding, she says to bim : Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine, which I have mingled. Forsake the foolish, and live : and go in the way of underftanding.

This stately dwelling, or palace of Wir dom, where men may receive instruction, is alluded to at ver. 34. of this chapter. Bleffed is the man, that beareth me: watching

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