Proverbs 3* Exhortations to obedience and faith. (1-6) To piety, and toimprove afflictions. (7-12) To gain wisdom. (13-20) Guidance ofWisdom. (21-26) The wicked and the upright. (27-35)1-6 In the way of believing obedience to God's commandmentshealth and peace may commonly be enjoyed; and though our daysmay not be long upon earth, we shall live for ever in heaven.Let not mercy and truth forsake thee; God's mercy in promising,and his truth in performing: live up to them, keep up thineinterest in them, and take the comfort of them. We must trust inthe Lord with all our hearts, believing he is able and wise todo what is best. Those who know themselves, find their ownunderstandings a broken reed, which, if they lean upon, willfail. Do not design any thing but what is lawful, and beg God todirect thee in every case, though it may seem quite plain. Inall our ways that prove pleasant, in which we gain our point, wemust acknowledge God with thankfulness. In all our ways thatprove uncomfortable, and that are hedged up with thorns, we mustacknowledge him with submission. It is promised, He shall directthy paths; so that thy way shall be safe and good, and happy atlast. 7-12 There is not a greater enemy to the fear of the Lord inthe heart, than self-conceit of our own wisdom. The prudence andsobriety which religion teaches, tend not only to the health ofthe soul, but to the health of the body. Worldly wealth is butpoor substance, yet, such as it is, we must honour God with it;and those that do good with what they have, shall have more todo more good with. Should the Lord visit us with trials andsickness, let us not forget that the exhortation speaks to us asto children, for our good. We must not faint under anaffliction, be it ever so heavy and long, not be driven todespair, or use wrong means for relief. The father corrects theson whom he loves, because he loves him, and desires that he maybe wise and good. Afflictions are so far from doing God'schildren any hurt, that, by the grace of God, they promote theirholiness. 13-20 No precious jewels or earthly treasures are worthy to becompared with true wisdom, whether the concerns of time oreternity be considered. We must make wisdom our business; wemust venture all in it, and be willing to part with all for it.This Wisdom is the Lord Jesus Christ and his salvation, soughtand obtained by faith and prayer. Were it not for unbelief,remaining sinfulness, and carelessness, we should find all ourways pleasantness, and our paths peace, for his are so; but wetoo often step aside from them, to our own hurt and grief.Christ is that Wisdom, by whom the worlds were made, and stillare in being; happy are those to whom he is made of God wisdom.He has wherewithal to make good all his promises. 21-26 Let us not suffer Christ's words to depart from us, butkeep sound wisdom and discretion; then shall we walk safely inhis ways. The natural life, and all that belongs to it, shall beunder the protection of God's providence; the spiritual life,and all its interests, under the protection of his grace, sothat we shall be kept from falling into sin or trouble. 27-35 Our business is to observe the precepts of Christ, and tocopy his example; to do justice, to love mercy, and to beware ofcovetousness; to be ready for every good work, avoiding needlessstrife, and bearing evils, if possible, rather than seekingredress by law. It will be found there is little got bystriving. Let us not envy prosperous oppressors; far be it fromthe disciples of Christ to choose any of their ways. Thesetruths may be despised by the covetous and luxurious, buteverlasting contempt will be the portion of such scorners, whileDivine favour is shown to the humble believer.
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