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but were consumed in our own wickedness. For the hope of the ungodly is like dust that is blown away with the wind; like a thin froth that is driven away with the storm : like as the smoke which is dispersed here and there with a tempest, and passeth away as the remembrance of a guest that tarrieth but a day. " But the right- 15 What a glorious prospect for the eous live forevermore; their faithful and the good ! reward also is with the Lord, and the care of them is with the most High. Therefore shall they receive a glorious kingdom, and a beautiful crown from the Lord's hand; for with his right hand shall he cover them, and with his arm shall he protect them. He shall take to him his jealousy for complete armour, and make the creature his weapon for the revenge of his enemies. He shall put on righteousness as a breastplate, and true judgment instead of an helmet. He shall take holiness for an invincible shield. His severe wrath shall he sharpen for a sword, and the world shall fight with him against the unwise. Then shall the right aiming thunderbolts go abroad; and from the clouds, as from a well drawn bow, shall they fly to the mark. And hailstones full of wrath shall be cast as out of a stone bow, and the water of the sea shall rage against them, and the floods shall cruelly drown them. Yea, a mighty wind shall stand up against them, and like a storm shall blow them away: thus iniquity shall lay waste the whole earth, and ill dealing shall overthrow the thrones of the mighty.
Reader, now prepare for that day of final recompense ; nou, put away evil, and avoid the misery of everlasting death ; nou, cleave to that which is good, and gain life eternal through Jesus Christ our Lord.
EVENING. WISDOM OF SOLOMON vi. Hear therefore, O ye kings, and understand ; learn, ye that be judges of the end of the earth. Give ear, ye that rule the people, and glory in the mul-- 3 We all are answerable to God for titude of nations. For power the use of the talents—the advanis given you of the Lord, and tages-committed to us. How fearsovereignty from the Highest, fully is this responsibility increased
to princes and governors ! Power who shall try your work, and is a talent, given by the Lord ; and search out your counsels. He will watch the counsels of those Because, being ministers of to whose care he has entrusted it. his kingdom, ye have not judged aright, nor kept the law, nor walked after the counsel of God; horribly and speedily shall he come upon you: for a sharp judgment shall be to them that be in high places. For 6 “Unto whomsoever much is given, mercy will soon pardon the of him shall much be required;" meanest : but mighty men
saith the Lord of life. (Luke xii. 48.)
shall be mightily tormented. For he which is Lord over all shall fear no man's person, neither shall he stand in awe of any man's greatness : for he hath made the small and great, and careth for all alike. But a sore trial shall come upon the mighty. Unto you therefore, O kings, do I speak, that ye may learn wisdom, and not
10 Blessed encouragement for kings fall away. 1° For they that to rule in righteousness and holiness ! keep holiness holily shall be Their labour shall not be in vain in judged holy : and they that the Lord. have learned such things shall find what to answer. Where fore set your affections upon my words ; desire them, and ye shall be instructed. ? Wis- 12 Search the Scriptures: there shalt dom is glorious, and never
thou find wisdom. fadeth away: yea, she is easily seen of them that love her, and found of such as seek her.
13 Wisdom goeth before and pre1* She prevented them that
pareth the way—or preventeth. Thus, desire her, in making herself when we pray God to first known unto them. Who- us in all our doings”—
-we mean, so seeketh her early shall have
“ Go before, and prepare a holy and
safe way for us in all our doings.” no great travail: for he shall find her sitting at his doors. To think therefore upon her is perfection of wisdom : and whoso watcheth for her shall quickly be without care. For she goeth about seeking such as are worthy of her, sheweth herself favourably unto them in the ways, and meeteth them in every thought. For the very true beginning of her is the desire of discipline; and the care of discipline is love; and love is the keeping of her laws; and the giving heed unto her laws is the assurance of incorruption ; and incorruption maketh us near unto God: therefore the desire of wisdom bringeth to 21 And when the chief shepherd a kingdom. 21 If your de- shall appear, ye shall receive a crown light be then in thrones and of glory that fadeth not away *. sceptres, O ye kings of the people, honour wisdom, that ye may reign for evermore. As for wisdom, what she is, and how she came up, I will tell you, and will not hide mysteries from you : but will seek her out from the beginning of her nativity, and bring the knowledge of her into light, and will not pass over the truth.
23 Where envy is, there must be * Neither will I go with con- misery. suming envy; for such a man shall have no fellowship with
* In how affecting a strain does the Church in our Liturgy, having prayed for the stability of the sovereign’s earthly crown, pass to an ardent application that after this life an eternal crown may await her, "and finally after this life she may attain everlasting joy and felicity."
wisdom. 24 But the multi- 24 Let sovereigns weigh well their tude of the wise is the wel. responsibility. Let them learn visfare of the world : and a wise dom ; that they may know how to
govern : for that is their proper king is the upholding of the
study. people. Receive therefore instruction through my words, and it shall do you good.
How happy for us, who live in a christian country, where our rulers may learn the art of good government by a diligent study of the Word and Will of the King of kings. For to rule a people either upon the narrow principles of mere human policy-which is always dangerous, and often wicked-or upon any other principle than that laid down in the word of God, perils the welfare alike of princes and their people. (Eccles. x. 2)
The Purification of St. Mary.
MORNING. Wisdom of Solomon ix. O God of my fathers, and Lord of mercy, who has made all things with thy word, and ordained man through thy wisdom, that he should have dominion over the creatures which thou hast made, and order the world according to equity and righteousness, and execute judgment with an upright heart : give me wisdom, that sitteth by thy throne; and reject me not from among thy children : for I thy servant and son of thine handmaid am a feeble person, and of a short time, and too young for the understanding a of judgment and laws. For
All must feel the justice of this
reflection*. though a man be never so perfect among the children 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. 0 0 10 Mark the wise distinction here send her out of thy holy drawn, between a presumptuous conheavens, and from the throne fidence in the aid of the Spirit, and of thy glory, that being pre- a fatal neglect of itt.
* True wisdom is from above. The christian therefore looks to Heaven for blessing upon his counsels and conduct. Solomon the more deeply felt this as a king, because from the good or evil counsels of princes and governors, weal or woe cometh to the nations over whom they rule.
+ Solomon prays, as also in ver. 17, for the Holy Spirit from on high;
sent she may labour with me, that I may know what is pleasing unto thee. " For
11 The Spirit both excites and temshe knoweth and understand- pers our zeal—leading us “soberly” eth all things, and she shall in our doings. lead me soberly in my doings, and preserve me in her power. 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 15 How soothing the thought, that presseth down the soul, and the spirit of the Lord “helpeth our the earthy tabernacle weigh- infirmities!” eth 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.
EVENING. WISDOM OF SOLOMOx xii. For thine incorruptible Spi- ' Is the spirit of the Supreme in rit is in all things. ? There- all things ? Let it be our care not fore chastenest thou them by to grieve this great Spirit ; so holy, little and little that offend,
so good, so merciful *.
2 God is ever long suffering. and warnest them by putting them in remembrance wherein they have offended, that leaving their wickedness they may believe on thee, O Lord. * For it was thy will to de- 3 Israel was the appointed instrustroy by the hands of our ment for the destruction of the Cafathers both those old inha
naanites. bitants of thy holy land, whom thou hatedst for doing most without which man is nothing regarded. Ver. 6. Yet he does not therefore fold his hands in slumber, and leave the work of righteous judgment to be done by that Spirit. He labours and strives ; but then only thinks the event will prosper, when the Spirit labours with him. So the Christian works out his own salvation : " for it is God which worketh in him, both to vill and to do of his good pleasure.” (Phil. ii. 12.) With such aid,
to labour in the work, were to add sin to sin. * God, "a lover of souls,” (xi. 26) knoweth what is in man, and he hath compassion upon him, because he is the God of the spirits of all fesh. (Numb. xvi. 22.)
odious works of witchcrafts, They caused their sons to pas and wicked sacrifices ; and through the fire to Moloch. Thei also those merciless murder- worship was equally licentious ani ers of children, and devourers cruel. of man's flesh, and the feasts of blood, with their priests out o the midst of their idolatrous crew, and the parents, that kille with their own hands souls destitute of help : that the land which thou esteemedst above all other, might receive a worth colony of God's children. Nevertheless even those thoi sparedst as men, and didst send wasps, forerunners of thini host, to destroy them by little and little. Not that thou was unable to bring the ungodly under the hand of the righteous ir battle, or to destroy them at once with cruel beasts, or with one rough word : " but exe- 10 God chose to destroy these hi cuting thy judgments upon enemies, “not at once; lest the them by little and little, thou beasts of the field increased on his gavest them place of repen- people.” (Deut. vii. 22.) tance, not being ignorant that they were a naughty generation, and that their malice was bred in them, and that their cogitation would never be changed. 11 For it was a cursed seed
11 Noah said, “Cursed be Canaan."
from the beginning ; neither didst thou for fear of any man give them pardon for those things wherein they sinned. For who shall say, What hast thou done? or who shall withstand thy judgment ? or who shall accuse thee for the nations that perish, whom thou hast made? or who shall come to stand against thee, to be revenged for the unrighteous men? For neither is there any God but thou that careth for all, to whom thou mightest shew that thy judgment is not unright. Neither shall king or tyrant be able to set his face against thee for any whom thou hast punished. Forsomuch then as thou art righteous thyself, thou orderest all things righteously : thinking it not agreeable with thy power to condemn him that hath not deserved to be punished. For thy power is the beginning of righteousness, and because thou art the Lord of all, it maketh thee to be gracious unto all. For when men will not believe that thou art of a full power, thou shewest thy strength, and among them that know it thou makest their boldness manifest. 18 But thou, mastering thy 18 The Lord mercifully restrains his power, judgest with equity, power of vengeance ! Surely else and orderest us with great should we be consumed.
19 Thus the truly penitent is enfavour: for thou mayest use
couraged always to look for pardon ; power when thou wilt. " But
and we all are taught not to be ex. by such works hast thou treme towards those who offend or