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written aforetime were written for our learning; that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” The scriptures are our books of learning; and God promises to teach us out of these books; and this sort of learning is to be held fast, and to be highly esteemed. “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them.” The chief branch of this divine learning is Christ Jesus. He is the wisdom of God in a mystery, and the great mystery of godliness. Hence we read of some who gave themselves over to all uncleanness; and of others who had not so learned Christ, Eph.iv. 20. Human learning and divine learning are distinguished the one from the other in the scriptures. The apostles themselves, though taught of God, are called unlearned, because they were not possessed of human learning. “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled,” Acts iv. 13. These are called unlearned, because they had not human learning; so there are others that are called unlearned, because they have no divine teaching. “But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all.” And Peter tells us, that in Paul's epistles there are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, '2 Peter iii. 16.
“ The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth,
saith my text, " and addeth learning to his lips.” God teacheth the heart, and the heart teacheth the mouth. Divine learning doth not lie in great swelling words of vanity, butin words weighty and powerful; weighty because they come from God, and lead to the enjoyment of an eternal weight of glory. They are said to be powerful, because they influence the soul, bow the will, and constrain to obedience. That which commonly passes for learning among us, consists in storing the mind and memory with the natural and acquired parts and abilities of the ancient heathens. But divine teaching widely differs from this. It lies in the deep things of God. “The Spirit searcheth all things; yea, the deep things of God.” And this is done that we might know the things which are freely given us of God. The secret of his decrees is with the righteous. The depths of his ancient councils are made known at our conversion, which is called the purpose of God, and the mystery of his will; he having predestinated us to the adoption of sons, and sending his Spirit into the heart to make it known to us. His exalting his dear Son, from all eternity, to be our future head, king, and mediator, is the depth of divine wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory; which none of the princes of this world knew. Predestination to the adoption of children, and to be conformed to the image of Christ, and to eternal life and glory by him, are such deep things as cannot be learned but by the Spirit of God. God making us accepted in Christ, and admitting us into his grace and favour by the faith of him, and under the influence of his Spirit, is a most precious branch of divine learning. Communion and fellowship with the Father and the Son, an understanding of this, the enjoyment of it, and to be enabled to set it forth to others, is the best wisdom and learning in all this world. But then all divine subjects are unsavoury to men in a state of nature; and every branch of human learning is dry, lifeless, and unsavoury, to a soul quickened of God. In short, there are no depths to be compared to the secret purposes and all-wise councils of God. No heights like those of divine love; no wisdom to be compared to the destruction of Satan, sin, and death, by the mystery of the cross. No learning so satisfactory as that which leads us to a knowledge of God, and of our interest in him. This learning is unctuous, savoury, and satisfying, having the dew of divine favour, the grace of God, and eternal life, in it.
Sometimes the wonderful performances of God are set forth poetically, that they may be adorned with the flights of heavenly poetry, as in the third chapter of Habakkuk. And sometimes all created nature is ransacked for images to set forth the glory of Christ, the beauty of the church in him, their mutual love, and eternal union, as in the Song of Solomon. And it is thought, by some, that the most eloquent orator in the school of nature never could find out such a variety of words to express one and the same thing as are to be found in the
119th psalm. “The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips.” The strength and art of oratory may warm the imagination, and move the natural passions; but words of truth and peace, which convey the power of divine grace, and minister faith, hope, and love, are the only learning that can suit a hungry soul, convinced of his natural blindness and ignorance. Such God promises to feed with knowledge and understanding
THE ERRING HEART, AND GOD'S UNERRING
Hebrews iii. 10, 11. “They do always err in their heart; and they have not known
my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into
THERE are innumerable ways in which men err; and even the best of men err, and that in many things. “Who can understand his errors? Cleanse thou me from secret faults,” Psalm xix. 12. Every thing that is contrary to the revealed will of God is error. Some err in vision, seeing vanity and divining lies; some err in judgment; some err in spirit; and others in practice; and, “In many things,” says James, “ we offend all.” But every error is not perpetual, like this in my text; nor is every error seated and rooted in the heart, as this is. This error, in my text, is the damning sin of unbelief, as may be seen in Israel of old; who, living under the sound of God's voice, and beholding God's miraculous power as they did; and seeing the cloudy pillar over their camp by day, and the pillar of fire by night; and to be eye-witnesses of the power of God which they beheld in Egypt,