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with the foundation, and if any part is weakened, correct and strengthen it; and secure the “ testimony of your conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity you have your conversation in the world;" that “out of the good treasure of the heart you bring forth that which is good :” that you are mortifying those lusts “ which war against the soul:" that “ the world is crucified unto you, and you unto the world :" that you
“ love not in word, neither in tongue but in deed and in truth. For hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before God. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart and knoweth all things. But if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence towards God.”2
Our heart, indeed, will be very unfaithful, or very ill instructed in the holiness of the divine law, and the extent of our duty, if it does not warn us, on every examination, of sad omissions and transgressions. To the end, the believers in Christ have to contend against an evil nature, which shows its corruptions in various ways : and find daily occasion to lament, that they are not, in temper, in devotedness, in neglect of this world, in love of spiritual things, what they either ought to be, or desire to be. But still they have inward assurance that their heart is set upon the kingdom of God, that their confidence is in Christ; that they are making the
21 John iii. 19-21.
will of Christ their rule; that there is nothing in this world which they desire, in comparison of holiness and heaven. They have the character which describes one who builds on a right foundation. They have come to Christ_and heard His sayings, and are doing them. They have applied to Him for pardon ; applied to Him foru
grace to help in time of need :” they have received His instructions, and are living by them, and constantly endeavouring to be more faithful, more perfect : they are drinking of “ that spiritual rock which follows them, and that rock is Christ.” Such shall inherit “ the end of their faith, the salvation of their souls.”
Be wise, therefore, in time; and now, when the opportunity is granted, BUILD FOR ETERNITY.
WISDOM JUSTIFIED OF HER CHILDREN: CHILDREN IN
LUKE vii. 31–35.
31. “ And the Lord said, Whereunto then shall I liken the men of this generation ? and to what are they like?
They are like unto children sitting in the marketplace, and calling one to another, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you,
have not wept.
33. “For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor
drinking wine, and ye say, He hath a devil. 34. “ The Son of man is come eating and drinking ; and
ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a
friend of publicans and sinners ! 35. “ But wisdom is justified of all her children.” That may be said of this generation, which children complain of in their companions. We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced ; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept.
, We have tried you with mirth, and you have not joined our mirth; we have tried you with seriousness, and our seriousness has been lost upon you. Perverse children, in whatever is proposed to them, will find something to dislike. And this perverse generation does the same. John came with austerity: he abode in the wilderness, and companioned not with other men: and they say, He hath a devil, he is mad with melancholy. The Son of man had another object, and a different way of life; He entered
; into the societies of men, that He might warn, instruct, exhort, rebuke. But they find a reason to blame Him too: they say, “ this man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them;" they believe that He is enjoying their conviviality, not that He is reforming their lives.
Religious people now are often judged after the same hard fashion. If they decline much intercourse with others, they are too serious and exclusive : if they keep up such intercourse, they are too much of the world. If they are solemn, they are considered austere and distant; if they are cheerful and light-hearted, they are not sincere in their profession. Enmity against religion will always find some fault.
But wisdom is justified of all her children. Wisdom is religion, and religion is wisdom : and there are still those who pursue and value it. We read just before, that the people and the publicans justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John : approved the justice of his rebukes and counsels, and acted upon them. . In the same manner, the children of wisdom, the truly wise, justify, wisdom : understand, approve religion: approve the method of salvation which God has offered, accept, pursue it, and show its wisdom by their lives.
Observe, then, what is here pointed out. There are children of wisdom, and children of folly. We can be at no loss for the distinction between them. The children of folly, like the Pharisees and lawyers, reject the counsel of God against themselves. He tries them in every way, as the children in their sports tried their companions; He tries them with gracious promises,
; and with awful threatenings: but they follow their own purposes, and are deaf to the voice of the charmer, charm He ever so wisely.
The children of wisdom, on the other hand, when life and death are set before them, are taught from above to choose the good, and refuse the evil. Mary, sister of Lazarus, is well known example. Others were busied about
perishing, passing things. She “sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word.”
And He praised her choice; she had laid hold on everlasting life, and was seeking first the kingdom of God. Others were surprised and blamed her: she acted on principles which they could not understand: just as St. Peter afterwards observes, that the Christians, to whom he wrote, were marvelled at, because they ran not to the same excess of riot
, as those who seek their portion in this life. But the children of wisdom, in their turn, marvel at those who while in their creed they confess Christ Jesus, and call Him Lord, “in works deny Him;" while they look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come, confine their wishes and their thoughts, their hopes and their pursuits, to this present time.
“Lord, so teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” 2
11 Pet. iv. 4.
2 Ps. xc. 12.