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earnestnesse. The same things are repeated, Serm. and inculcated again and again. The attention of men is excited by frequent representations of the importance of right conduct, and of the snares they are exposed to, by which they are in danger of being misled to their utter ruin.

More effectually to recommend the reasonable and useful counsels and observations here proposed, they are often delivered in the name of Wisdom. Wisdom herself is introduced, as teaching these things. So at the begining of this chapter. Doth net Wisdom cry, and understanding put forth her voice? She standeth in the top of high places, by the 'way, in the places of the paths :... Unto you, o men, 1 call: and my voice is to the sons of men* And, as an encouragement to all to hearken to her, and pursue the ri'Ies she lays down, she says in the words of .he text: I love them that love me. And they that seek me early, foali find me.

If it were a thing of any moment, I might just observe to you, that what in our English translation is rendred, seek early, is but one word in the original. The Hebrew therefore might be as well rendred, they that seek


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Serai, me, jhall find me. However, our translators VI. have not done much amiss in adding something concerning the best manner of seeking Wisdom : or in expressing what may be supposed to be implied in the word. 1 love them that love me. And they that seek me early, or diligently, Jhallfind me.

Without any farther preface, I would now immediatly lay down the method, in which I intend to discourse on these words.

I. In the sirst place I shall endeavor to shew, how we are to understand the word Wisdom, as used in the book of Proverbs.

II. I shall shew, what is comprehended in Wisdom.

III. I shall consider, what is to be understood by loving Wisdom, and seeking it.

IV. I shall observe the encouragement, here set before men, to seek Wisdom: They Jhall find it.

V. And then conclude with directions for the right manner of seeking'1 it.

I. I shall

I. I shall endeavor to shew, how we are to understand the word Wisdom as used in the book of Proverbs.

Hereby some have understood a real person, and even a Divine person. And this their opinion is founded chiefly, I think, upon some expressions in this eighth chapter. As ver. 15. By me Kings reign, and Princes decree justice. By me Princes rule, and nobles, and all the judges of the earth: And especially those words in ver. 22. 23. The Lord possessed me in the begining of his ways, before his works of old. I was ft up from everlasting, from the begining, or ever the earth was.

But the meaning of these words I take to be this: "that God himself is wife, and "before he created the world, he had wis"dom in himself: and that the laws of "righteousnesse, and the rules of right con"duct, are everlasting and unchangeable.''

It is agreeable to the stile of this book, not to understand by Wisdom a real person, but an attribute, or property clothed with a personal character, or a feigned personage introduced. In like manner it has been very common for polite writers, to introduce Justice, or Virtue, or Wisdom, or Prudence, delivering rules and counsels to men, or reproving their folly and extravagance. Sometimes they are represented looking down, at other times, coming down from heaven, to visit the abodes of mortals: or, in the stile of the Proverbs, men, the sons of men: calling aloud to them, dehorting them from their evil ways, and perverse wandrings, and inviting them into the paths of truth and happinesse: which reason, and the considerations of their own true interest prescribe to them.


The personage introduced in this book in the name and character of Wisdom is represented to be a Queen, or a wealthy Matron or Lady. For her servants, or attendents, are maidens. She is brought in as a Matron, living in great credit. Her house is a spacious and lofty building, adorned with a magnisicent portico at the entrance; consisting of seven, or many pillars. She there makes an entertainment, and invites people to come and partake of her provisions j that is, to hear and receive the rules and principles of knowledge and virtue.


This is beautifully expressed at the begining of the ninth, the following chapter. Wisdom has builded her house. She has hewn out her seven pillars. She has killed her beasts. She has mingled her wine. She has also furnished her table. She has sent forth her maidens. She crieth upon the highest places in the city. Or, as in another place : She crieth in the Fr°v- >• chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates. In the city fie uttereth her words: that is, in the most public and frequented places, where there is usually the greatest resort of people. Whoso is simple let him turn in hither. She rejects not the weakest, and the most deluded. If they will but attend, she will teach them what is sit and becoming. Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither. As for him that want eth under {landing, she fays ta him: Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine, which I have mingled. Forsake the foolish, and live: and go in the way of under/landing.

This stately dwelling, or palace of Wisdom, where men may receive instruction, is alluded to at ver. 34. of this chapter. Blessed is the man, that heareth me: watching

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