« PreviousContinue »
of men ; yet if Thy wisdom be not with him, he shall be nothing regarded.
Thou hast chosen me to be a king of thy people, and a judge of Thy sons and daughters:
Thou hast commanded me to build a temple upon Thy holy mount, and an altar in the city wherein Thou dwellest, a resemblance of the holy tabernacle which Thou hast prepared
from the beginning. And wisdom was with Thee : which knoweth Thy works, and was present when Thou madest the world, and knew what was acceptable in-Thy sight, and right in Thy commandments.
O send her out of Thy holy heavens, and from the throne of Thy glory, that being present she may labour with me, that I may know what is pleasing unto Thee.
For she knoweth and understandeth all things, and she shall lead me soberly in my doings, and preserve me .in
So shall my works be acceptable, and then shall I judge Thy people righteously, and be worthy to sit in my father's seat.
For what man is he that can know the counsel of God? or who can think what the will of the LORD is?
For the thoughts of mortal men are miserable, and our devices are but uncertain.
For the corruptible body presseth down the soul, and the earthly tabernacle weigheth down the mind that museth upon many things.
And hardly do we guess aright at things that are upon earth, and with labour do we find the things that are before us: but the things that are in heaven who hath searched out?
And Thy counsel who hath known, except Thou give wisdom, and send Thy holy Spirit from above?
For so the ways of them which lived on the earth were reformed ; and men were taught the things that are pleasing unto Thee, and were saved through wisdom.
Such we may reasonably conclude were Solomon's meditations, andsuch was his prayer, when he retired to rest at Gibeon; and as his praver was perfectly consistent with the Divine will, it pleased the LORD to keep the faculties of his UNDERSTANDING awake by a miraculous power after his SENSEs were in respect to worldly affairs locked
up in sleep; by which means Solomon retained the ideas that had before occupied his mind, and continued his devotions in the manner related in the scripture part of this section (which is exactly to the same effect), on which it pleased the ALMIGHTY to appear to him. When Solomon awaked, he was satisfied in respect to the reality of this vision which must have been very different from a common dream; nor could he possibly mistake it, for, without doubt, those appearances by which God manifested his DIVINE PRESENCE, were very different from any thing that the creation furnishes to our view, or the most lively imagination can conceive. We read indeed of God's appearing in fire, in a cloud, in the human form, &c. but we find that the Deity was always displayed by some circumstance which served to distinguish the CREATOR from the creature.
Solomon was father convinced by the enlargement of his capacity, that the Lord had granted the desire of his heart; for he was not only endued with abilities to discharge the duties of his exalted station, but with astonishing knowledge of the whole circle of human arts and sciences*; and as a farther reward for his proper request, and encouragement to him to keep in the path of WisDOM, the LORD vouchsafed to renew the covenant He had formerly made in his name with David.
The Wisdom for which Solomon prayed was a power to discern between good and bad, that he might be enabled
to act, on all occasions, conformably to the rules of piety and justice: this wisdom he received by the immediate inspiration of God; but even the humblest christian may now attain it by the study of the SCRIPTURES; for Solomon, and other inspired men, were taught the will of the LORD not merely for their own sakes, but that they might teach it to all who are desirous of knowing it. That we may judge of the value of Wisdom, it will be proper, before we proceed in the history, to consider in what it principally consisted, and how highly it was prized by Solomon.
KING SOLOMON'S INSTRUCTIONS CONCERNING THE
VALUE OF TRUE WISDOM.
From Proverbs, Chap. iv. viii. HEAR, ye children, the instructions of a father, and attend to know understanding. For I give you good doctrine, forsake you not my law.
I was my father's son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother; he taught me also, and said unto me, let thy heart retain my words, keep my commandments and live.
Get wisdom, get understanding : forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee : love her, and she shall keep thee ; she shall give to thine head an ornament of grace : a crown, of glory shall she deliver to thee.
Wisdom is better, than rubies : and all the things that can be desired, are not to be compared to it.
Be not wise in thine own eyes : fear the LORD, and depart from evil. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom ; and the knowledge of the Holy is understanding, The fear of the Lord is to hate evil, pride, and arrogancy. Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not to
thine own understanding : in all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths. Put away from thee a froward mouth ; and perverse lips put far
from thee ; that thou mayest walk in the way of good men, and keep the path of the righteous.
The way of the wicked is as darkness, they know not at what they stumble : but the path of the just is as the shining light, rchich shineth more and more unto the perfect day.
The curse of the LORD is in the house of the wicked ; but He blesseth the habitation of the just : surely he scorneth the scorner ; but giveth grace unto the lowly.
Keep sound wisdom and discretion, so shall they be life unto thy soul : then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble. When thou liest down thou shalt not be afraid : yea, thou shalt lay down and thy steep shall be sweet : for the LORD shall be thy confidence.
Happy is the man that findeth Wisdom, and the man that getteth UNDERSTANDING. Length of days are in her right hand; and in her left hand, riches and honour. Her ways are wuys 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.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
This is a small portion of the book of Proverbs, which consists of a collection of wise maxims, written by king Solomon: the whole deserves the most attentive and diligent perusal: but it will be sufficient to point out at present, that by WISDOM and UNDERSTANDING Solomon evidently meant Religious Wisdom; a knowledge of the will of God, and of the various duties he requires us to perform.' By the Fear* of the LORD, which is said to be the beginning of this WISDOM; we are to under. stand, a just and proper notion and conception of God, founded on reverence, admiration, honour, and love of GOD; which will incline us to seek his protection and favour, and induce us to put our whole trust and confidence in his infinite mercy and goodness. This TRUST in God will naturally be productive of peace and tranquility of mind, and will certainly obtain the blessing of GOD, which will render the practice of RELIGIOUS DuTIES pleasant and delightful to us; and lead us at length to the attainment of EVERLASTING happiness: so that Solomon might truly say, RELIGION is a Tree of LIFE to all that lay hold upon her, and happy is every one who retaineth her!
* Bishop Sherlock': Serinons.
Such is the value of true wisdom; let us therefore earnestly endeavour to learn its precepts: they are scattered through the sacred writings, like stars in the firmament; each separately viewed affords only a gentle glimmering light; but if we can collect their rays, they will enlighten our minds so that we cannot mistake the path that leads to the regions of bliss. May that ALMIGHTY BEING, who is the fountain of all wisdom, assist us in the important pursuit!
Then came two women unto the king, and stood be. fore him.
And one woman said, O my lord, this woman and I dwell in one house: and we were together, and there was no stranger with us in the house.
And this woman's child died in the night; because she overlaid it.