« AnteriorContinuar »
of this wisdom are many. They begin with God's appointing the second Adam before the first Adam was formed; by his fixing his eternal love upon us in Christ before we incurred the wrath of God by the dreadful fall of our first head. By giving us eternal life in a new covenant head before the entrance of death by sin into the world. In his appointing us to obtain mercy through Jesus before the curse and condemnation of the law took place, and declaring his mercy to be from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him. In predestinating us to the adoption of children before we became servants of sin, and appointing us to be conformed to the image of Christ before the image of God was lost in Adam. In setting forth the mystical union between Christ and the church by the marriage of Adam and Eve. "We are of his flesh, and of his bones. This is a great mystery; but I speak concerning Christ. and the church." In making known the appointed incarnation of Christ as soon as man fell. "The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head." In appointing salvation to be of grace, not of works, that it might be sure to all the seed. In choosing the poor, the foolish, the weak, and the base things of the world, for the sake of magnifying his own free, sovereign grace and mercy. In sending forth his own Son, made of a woman; which glorious incarnation of Christ made God and man more closely united than ever they were before, God and man being but one person. In
the work of redemption, in which the glorious grace and mercy of God appear, and yet the justice and holiness of God are highly honoured. In the death of Christ, in which Satan is outshot in his own bow, sin is condemned in the flesh of Christ; Satan, sin, and death, are destroyed; and sinful man saved. In the forgiveness of sins, which is according to the riches of his grace; and yet, by its coming to us through the atonement of Christ, we receive it on the footing of strict justice. "God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." In the aboundings of sin being supplanted by the superaboundings of grace, the vilest of sinners are cleansed from sin; yet vengeance is taken of their inventions. In the imputation of an everlasting righteousness, in which God appears strictly just, and yet he justifies the sinner from all his ungodliness upon his believing in Jesus. The saint is a vessel of free mercy, and yet he is bought with a price. God, of his own good pleasure, works in us both to will and to do; and yet “God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which we have showed toward his name." The Lord will give grace, and he will give a crown of glory, even to the chief of sinners; and yet it is the Lord, the righteous judge, that gives that crown, 2 Tim. iv. 7.
III. The third branch of wisdom is Christ himself. "He is made of God unto us wisdom. Christ, in his highest nature, is the essential wis
dom of God; hence he is called the power of God and the wisdom of God. All his children are
called fools, and the foolish things of the world; and it required great wisdom to deliver them; and this was done by wisdom. The poor wise man by his wisdom delivered the city. "Then said I, Wisdom is better than strength." To this the New Testament agrees: Christ was crucified through weakness, 2 Cor. xiii. 4. And yet there was such wisdom displayed in this weakness as destroyed all the powers of this world, and all the power of Satan, of sin, death, and the grave; and all this by weakness and wisdom.
2. Christ crucified is the wisdom of God in a mystery. And this wisdom God ordained before the world to our glory, 1 Cor. ii. 7. "And God forbid," says Paul, "that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world."
IV. The fourth branch of this wisdom of the wise lies in the experience of these things. The wise man is a partaker of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit testifies of Christ to him, and forms Christ the hope of glory within him, and leads him into all truth, and especially into all the truth of the promises, which are all yea and amen in Christ, to the glory of God by us. And with the promises come all the spiritual blessings with which God blessed us in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. I
Secondly, to my next general head, which is to treat of the wise man's heart; for it is the heart of the wise that teacheth his mouth. By the heart, in scripture, various things are meant.
1. Sometimes it signifies the will. they came, both men and women, as many as were willing-hearted, and brought forth bracelets and earrings, and rings, and tablets, all jewels of gold: and every man that offered, offered an offering of gold unto the Lord."
2. Sometimes by heart is meant the memory. "And these are they by the way-side, where the word is sown; but, when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts."
3. Sometimes by the heart is meant the understanding, "Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed."
4. Sometimes the heart is put for conscience. "For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence towards God."
5. By the heart the affections are often intended. "And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live." And again:
"For where the treasure is, there will the heart be also."
6. Sometimes knowledge is ascribed to the heart."The heart knoweth its own bitterness, and a stranger intermeddleth not with his joy." And again: "And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the Lord; for they shall be my people, and I will be their God:" and they shall return unto me with their whole heart. Now, according to all these scriptures, it seems as if the heart meant the whole soul of man, and every faculty of it; so that the mouth and the lips of a wise man proclaim nothing else but the inward sensations and springs of the soul. And, indeed, that wisdom is but of little use that floats in the head; God requires it in the heart. "Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts; and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom." So that the proper seat of wisdom is the hidden part; and true wisdom properly seated and established there, is no less than the hidden man of the heart, even that which is not corruptible, 1 Peter iii. 4. There is a divine treasure in every wise man's heart, which is the Holy Spirit and his grace, and the pure word of God, and the promises of life. Every scribe, which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven, is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old." Again: "A good man, out of the good treasure of