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blessings. I gave you three marks of love in you. I shall give you three marks of the love in wisdom. It gives counsel, wealth, and life.
There is counsel, sound and good, in its lips for you. When you seek to be wise, it wins you towards this blessed Book; and as you read it and think over it, and its words get mixed up with all your ways of thinking, you can feel, like the Psalmist, "Thou, through Thy commandments, hast made me wiser than mine enemies; for they are ever with me." It inclines you to the company of the good, so that you say, like David, "I will not know a wicked person." It gives you enjoyment in all that speaks of God—his holy day and house, as well as word and people. And so, you see, you are changed into the likeness of that Holy Child with whom the Eternal Wisdom dwelt. When He was twelve, the doctors in the Temple were astonished at His wisdom. He was not forward; He was only twelve. He heard, and asked questions: but in His look, His bright, searching, inquiring eye, and all that He said, they saw one who understood more than all, because He lived in the light of the wisdom which says, "Counsel is mine."
"If ye be willing and obedient," ye shall eat the good of this counsel. But remember you must be both willing and obedient . "Don't go beyond your depth," said the father to his son; "there is an ugly eddy in the river that may be too strong for you." The boy went to bathe again and again, and kept near the shore. But one day, when he could swim a little, he was tempted to disobey. "If I find it dangerous," he said, " I will come back." Out he swam. Lo! the arms wildly thrown up; the cry, "Help! help!" When help came it was too late. He had been drawn in. Oh, but there are many lost in the same way. "Only a little bit; when it gets dangerous, I will come back." And they go in a little further—further, and are drawn down. They are lost. Keep God's words with a perfect heart, as well as willing mind. The lover of wisdom must not toy and trifle with the evil way. Counsel is mine, and I love them that love me.
There is wealth in the hand. See the eighteenth verse: "Riches and honour are with me." Ah, I hear many a one say, " Riches and honour, that will do; I want a wisdom that will bring me bags of gold, and loads of fame, and the rest." Stay for a moment; mark, it is durable riches and righteousness; more than that, a fruit that is better than gold, a revenue better than choice silver. Do you think that gold and silver are always such a prize? It has truly been said, "You see what a man has, and therefore you envy him. Did you see how little he enjoys, you would often pity him." The terrible cry, "Fire! fire!" was one day heard in a steamship. A passenger rushed to his trunk, filled his pockets with coin, and jumped overboard. His treasure was his ruin; he went down immediately. And that is nothing uncommon. When riches come, thank God, and use them for His glory. But to set your heart on them,— oh, that is poor indeed! No, no; there is a better, because a durable wealth—wealth of love, and faith, and peace, and joy. There is a wealth of pleasure in good honest work. It is the feeling of strength, and that is better than gold. And then, heaven in the end. Will you take these riches? The voice says, "They are with Me, and I love them that love Me."
There is life, wisdom's crowning gift to her lovers. See the thirty-fifth verse: "Whoso findeth Me, findeth life f and the last part of the thirty-sixth verse, "All they that hate Me love death." Is not that last a solemn word: to love death? Who does that? Every one who will not have this wisdom of God, who will have the folly that calls "passengers who go right on their ways." A burial-ground is called in some places, Necropolis, the city of the dead. Ah, but that is not the only Necropolis; the city of the living is full of death: men and women dead while they seem to live. And oh, that awful death—that death eternal —no prayer—no love—no sense of God. A hell within the bosom, where a heaven ought to have been! Dear young friends, the life eternal is to know the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom He hath sent, to love God, to be right and true, wise and holy; to be God's children, walking with Him in all simplicity. There is a crown jewel at Dresden very curious. A silver egg; you touch a spring, lo! a golden yolk. In the yolk a chicken; you touch a wing, lo! a crown studded with jewels. In its centre is another spring; you touch it, lo ! a diamond-ring. So there is the life which others see. Within that there is the life of the soul; and within that again, touched by a spring which the blessed Spirit knows, there is the secret inner life with God. That is the diamond, the incorruptible inheritance. Find wisdom, you find it at once. "Have you sought Christ long?" some one asked a friend. "No, for if I had sought Him, I would at once have found Him." "He asked life of Thee and Thou gavest it him."
Will you choose this wisdom now? Who is this wisdom, do you think? A Person, with God from everlasting, delighting in the children of men. None other than the Son of God, who became man and dwelt among us, the Lord Jesus—the Power of God and the Wisdom of God. Will you make choice of Jesus as your Wisdom, your Friend, your portion now? I want you to choose; "more evil is wrought by want of thought than by want of heart." Many young people are just carried away. They don't intend to be careless, to go into the broad way; but they are taken into it; circumstances decide for them, when they do not decide. I would like you to come to some decision. Will you be Christ's—Yes or No? You will not say Yes? ah! take care lest you slide into No. I want you to choose now—now that your journey is just begun. You cannot too soon be on the right road. There is the less to undo. Moreover, every day you put off, you lose more of the power to choose. And then it is just like the peasant who sat by the river-side and thought, because it was flowing so quickly, that it would soon run dry. But, of course, it never did run dry. The longer you wait, so much the more do you lose the time; and oh, it is so short 1 Now, O
me, and I have never thought of Him; to think the blessed Saviour should have died for me, and I have been so careless. He's just broke my heart to pieces with His love."
He' then went on to tell me that, although he had not been an outwardly wicked man, yet he had been content with the form of religion merely, and in his heart he had never thought about or served God.
On my asking him about his family, he told me he had only drunken sons, and that his wife would not go to any of the meetings, so that he was truly alone, and had no one to whom he could speak of his newly-found happiness. He continued, "I am now praying all day long that the love of God may just break to pieces the heart of my wife; she won't give up her work to go to the meetings. I tell her work won't save her; we are both old—she is seventy-eight, and I am seventy-nine—and, as I tell her, we can't take our work with us to another world, it's time to think of our souls now."
On my asking him if he had been at the meeting the evening before, he said, " No, I was not, and I will tell you how it was; I stayed at home last night to help her, for, as I told you, she works very hard, and I thought I would turn the mangle for,her, and then, perhaps, if I was kind to her, she would go to-day." :.
Here, I thought, was very soon seen the fruits of the new life, in his anxiety for his wife's salvation, and his trying to be kind to her.
I found, on inquiring at his house that afternoon, that both he and his wife were gone to the meeting; let us hope that she was led, in answer to the heartfelt prayers of her husband, to open her heart to receive the love of Jesus.
One could not help being struck with the real happiness
this poor old man had entered into, his faith was so simple,
his sorrow for his past forgetfulness of God so great, and his
heart seemed just full of thankfulness to Jesus for His love
to him—he had indeed, through the Holy Spirit's power,
received Jesus as his own Saviour, believed on His name,