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and hear not. Hear, O my people, and I will testify unto thee, O Israel, if thou wilt hearken unto me". Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me; hear, and your soul shall live, and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of Davide. Turn you at my reproof; behold I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you. Hearken unto me, O ye children; for blessed are they that keep my ways. But he that sinneth against me, wrongeth his own soulf.
Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee lights. Knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep. The night is far spent, the day is at hand; let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light". For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee; behold now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation'.
SECT. 5. We are likewise called to habitual self-attention and watchfulness.
But ye, brethren, are not in darkness; ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day; we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch, and be sober*. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God; looking
§ 4. Jer. v, 21.
d Prov. i. 23.
§ 5. 1 Thess. v. 4, 5, 6.
b Psalm lxxxi. 8.
e Prov. viii. 32.
e Isa. lv. 2, 3.
Prov. viii. 36. i 2 Cor. vi. 2. Heb. iii. 12.
diligently, lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and cares of this life.
Take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently; that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside'. Stand in awe, and sin not; commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. 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. Be not wise in thine own eyes". Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life'. Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eye-lids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established*.
SECT. 6. Prayers of the Saints on this head.
How many are mine iniquities and sins? make me to know my transgression, and my sin. That which I see not, teach thou me; if I have done iniquity, I will do no more. Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults; keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins, let them not have dominion over me; then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies". I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me; teach me thy statutes. Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my reins, and my heart'; search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts; and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
"THE difficulty of knowing ourselves, and the danger
d Heb. xii. 15.
§ 6. a Job, xiii. 23.
* Luke, xxi. 34.
f Deut. xi. 16. with
h Prov. iii. 5, 6, 7.
c Psalm xix. 12, 13. 'Psalm xxvi. 2.
arising from ignorance in this important concern, may be illustrated by some striking examples on sacred record.
"Hazael furnishes us with a very remarkable one. When he had come to the Prophet Elisha, by order of the king of Syria, to inquire concerning the issue of the disease that prince then laboured under; and when the prophet told him that the king would not recover, and that he, Hazael, was to be king of Syria, and would prove a barbarous enemy to the children of Israel," Hazael said, But what; is thy servant a dog, that he should do this great thing"? "This abhorrence, though strongly expressed, was but of very short duration. It appears from the context, that in less than twenty-four hours thereafter, he murdered his master, and seized the crown: and in his cruel manner of carrying on war against the Israelites, what the prophet had foretold was fully verified."
"David, the king, affords a melancholy proof of the dismal consequences of inattention to our own hearts. After perpetrating one of the most shocking crimes, he continued near the space of a year to enjoy the fruits of his wickedness without remorse. Nathan's parable roused him from this lethargy; the judgments of the Lord were denounced against him; and his soul was pierced with the sharpest sorrow."
"The case of Peter, that great saint and apostle, is very striking. He knew not what manner of spirit he was of, when he said," Though all men should be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended*. Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee'. "How quick, how dismal was the change! In a few hours," he began to curse, and to swear, saying, I know not the man".
"We have good reason to be on our guard against
* Matt. xxvi. 33.
2 Kings, viii. 13. 1 Matt. xxvi. 35.
12 Sam. xii. 1-13.
the snares of sin, and the treachery of our own hearts, and to commend ourselves to the divine care at all times. Saying," Be surety for thy servant for good. Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto thy statutes continually ".
OF THE RIGHT CULTIVATION OF THE SOUL IN DIVINE KNOWLEDGE AND TRUE WISDOM.
SECT. 1. Knowledge and wisdom are the most important acquisitions.-2. Ignorance and folly are the dishonour of our natures, and the source of our greatest calamities.-3. Knowledge and wisdom contrasted with ignorance and folly.-4. In order to attain sound knowledge and wisdom, a diligent attention to all the means of instruction are necessary.-5. The Divine Majesty is represented as complaining of the inattention, the criminal ignorance, and folly of men. -6. And solemnly calling them to learn true wisdom. -7. He is the blessed source of sound knowledge and wisdom.-8. While he instructed Israel by his law, he gave them the promise of fuller degrees of light in the latter days.-9. These promises were fulfilled by the coming of our Lord Jesus.-10. His divine instructions show, that he is truly the light of the world.-11. His complaints of the perverseness, hypocrisy, and folly of that generation to which he preached.-12. His Apostles were enjoined to communicate this divine light to all nations.-13. This sacred commission they executed with zeal, diligence, and fidelity.-14. True knowledge and heavenly wisdom will have an abiding influence, producing purity and holiness in heart and life.-15. And are connected with a steadfast attention to the sacred
OF THE PRECEPTS OF GOD.
records.-16. Of vain pretensions to knowledge and wisdom, which cannot profit.-17. Concerning false teachers, and those that are seduced by them.— 18. The prayers of the Apostles for those that had attained knowledge, and their joyful hope concerning them.-19. The declarations, prayers, and praises of the Saints relating to this subject.
SECT. 1. Knowledge and wisdom are the most important acquisitions.
Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge; to know wisdom and instruction, to perceive the words of understanding; to receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity. My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother; for they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck. When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee. 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 lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet. Get wisdom, get understanding, forget it not, neither decline from the words of my mouth. Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee; love her, and she shall keep thee. Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom; and with all thy getting, get understanding. Exalt her, and she shall promote thee; she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her. She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace; a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee'. When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened; and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble. Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go; keep her, for she is thy life. Keep sound wisdom and
§ 1. Prov. xxii. 17.
■ Prov. ii. 10, 11.
Prov. i. 2, 3.
e Prov. i. 8, 9.