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Jlrife, railings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth. Be not desirous of vain-glory. Let all bitterness and clamour and evil-speaking be put away from you. Putting away lying, speai every man truth with his neighbour : for we are members one of another. Lay aside all guile and hypocrisy. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth; but that ivhkh is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. Give unto the Lord the honour due unto His name. The God of patience and consolation grant that, according to Christ Jesus, ye may with one mouth glorify God.
Give me underjlaiiding, and 1Jhallkeep thy law, yea, I Jhall observe it with my whole heart.
TN the book of Proverbs and in other parts of Scripture, men are earnestly exhorted to pursue wisdom. It is evident that by wisdom the sacred writers intended religion. They were in fact so steadfastly convinced that religion is real wisdom, and. the greatest wisdom, and the only true wis- , dom; that the term wisdom continually presented itself to their minds as peculiarly adapted to designate a life of faith and holiness: and folly appeared to them the apr propriate denomination of sin. In comT 3 mon
mon with many other positions of Holy Writ, the identity of wisdom and religion is by no means universally recognised as a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation. The infidel sneers at she doctrine as fanatical. The licentious encounter it with broad derision as refuted by daily experience. And among those who are untainted by scepticism and decent in their characters, numbers,especially of the young, while they acquiesce in it as a scriptural declaration, regard it as a strange and mysterious truth: and though not prepared to affirm with the unbeliever and the profligate that the servants of religion are in this life of all men the mojl miserable, rest inwardly of opinion that the sphere of their own happiness would be considerably enlarged if, without forfeiting the future recompense of holiness, they were at liberty to expatiate in the present gratifications of the sinner. Let us then survey, one by one, the characteristic marks of wisdom: and examine whether they are not singly and collectively exemplified in the conduct of the man, who fixes his heart upon God through Jesus Christ.
I. Wisdom, in the first place, selects such objects of pursuit as she discerns a satisfactory prospect of attaining. Has religion this characteristic of wisdom? Compare under this point of view the objects which inspire the exertions of the irreligious man with those which the true Christian proposes to himself. Be it opulence, or power, or reputation, or any other worldly possession or enjoyment, after which you labour j how great is the uncertainty whether you shall succeed! When at the close of the long-protracted chase you hang in triumphant expectation over your prize; how frequently does it elude your grasp! What language is more common in the mouths of men busied in such pursuits than that of disappointment? How often do you hear them complaining that they have failed in their designs! How often, when they keep filence, do their looks bespeakva complaining heart! How many men, eager to heap up wealth have found themselves, after years of toil, scarcely richer than when they set out in life! Their lands . have proved unproductive; or their crops have been blighted; or they have been ruined by bad debts; or their vessels have been shipwrecked ; or their customers have been T 4 drawn drawn away by rivals; or friends, on whose recommendation and assistance they depended, have deceived them. How many, in the higher ranks of society, feverish with unceasing thirst for pre-eminence, have continually been excluded and depressed by more fortunate competitors! How often is the man who pants for reputation stunned with censure and contempt, when he fancies himself secure of fame! Look to any other earthly pursuit; and you behold the same crosses, the fame uncertainty. You are taught by a crowd of examples how frequently then.ace is not to the swift; nor the battle to the strong; nor the prize of ability to the skilful; nor the reward of industry to the persevering. But is the man who yields his heart to religion thus exposed to disappointment? Does he labour and persevere in the path which he has chosen, and fail of his recompense? His recompense is sure. The children of this world may succeed in their pursuits. The religious man must succeed in his. The favour of his heavenly Father, the atone- ment of his Redeemer, the sanctificatkm of the Holy Ghost t.he Comforter, are secured to him by the unchangeable promise of God. Omnipotence is pledged to up: