HAPPY MERCHANDISE OR WISDOMS Excellency darkly discovered, OR Rather greatly obscured by Words without knowledge By CHARLES PHELPES.

WISDOME is better then Rubies, and all the things that may be desired are not to be com­pared to it. Proverb. 8. 11.

At AMSTERDAM, Printed by Steven Swart, Bookseller at the Crowned Bible, neere the Exchange.

THe great designe of men generally is to exercise themselves unto that which may be gainfull, and profitable unto them, and to that end many men take a great dea­le of paines, and weary themselves, and adventure themselves into ma­ny dangers, that they may increase to themselves: and because their Wisdome is folishness, and their knowledge bruitishness, therefore they labour for such riches as will not truly in rich them nor make them happy in the account of God, if they finde the life of their hands; and for such also as are uncertaine both as to the getting and keeping, Prov. 23. 4. 5. Now then, that the Ho: Ghost may take us off from labouring for that which will not satisfy, he here commends to us a better, and indu­ring [Page] substance. Which is of infinite and eternall worth and value, that we might not for lying vanities for­sake our owne mercies: And com­mendeth to us the excellency of the Merchandise it selfe, or way of getting it: That we might labour, not for that meat which perished, but for this which indureth unto everlasting life, which the son of man will give unto us. O that we may all so considerer it, that, cea­sing from our owne Wisdome, we may get Wisdome, this Wisdome of God, which is the principall thing, and with all our gettings get understanding, that we may, at last, inherit glory, when shame shall be the promotion of fooles.

Proverb. 3. 13, 14.‘Happy [is] the man that findeth Wisdome, and the man that getteth (or draweth out) understanding: For the Merchandise of it is better then the Merchandise of silver; and the gaine thereof then fine gold.’

THis Booke of the Proverbs of Salomon though in many places thereof, it seemeth not to have such dependance and con­nexion as other places of the scripture of truth, yet is fitly disposed; and the Pro­verbs therein are orderly placed, for because the prea­cher was wise. He gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many Proverbs, Eccles. 12. 9. yea in­deed these words of the wise, though spoken by Salo­mon, yet came not by his will, but he spoke as he was moved by the Ho: Ghost. 2 Petr. 1. 20, 21. and they are all given from one shepherd, even from Je­sus Christ, the great shepherd of the sheep, and God in him Eccles. 12. 9. 11. Who is the God of order, and not of confusion. And therefore if we see not that wise order and disposing of them, its meet for us to take shame to our selves, and judge our selves: and to cry to him who putteth Wisdome into the inward parts, and giveth understanding to the heart, to teach us what we see not: and to open our eyes to behold wondrous thing out of his law, Job 38. 36. and 34. 31, 32.

And the Principall end of writing the Proverbs, was, to know Wisdome, to make it knowne, and that we might know it, and know that it is the princi­pall thing Prov. 1. 1, 2. and 4. 7. and there sore in the [Page 6] nine first chapters of it, there is a large commendation of Wisdome, and declaration, and discovery of its ex­cellency, with manifold intimations that we may be made partakers of it; and directions how we may fin­de, and get it; and there fore many invitations to get it; and affirmations, and demonstrations of the bles­sedness of him that hath, and retaineth it; and of the misery, and wretchedness of him that refuseth it: with many warnings and cautions to take heed of the evill man and woman, even of all evill persons and spi­rits, who would hinder us, or call us off from see­king it, that we might have fellowship with them in eating of their bread of deceit, and in their unfruit­full workes of darkness: all which words of the wise are pleasant and profitable. For this holy man, as di­rected by that one shopherd, sought to finde out ac­ceptable words, words of delight; and that which was Written was upright, even words of truth. And these words of the wise are as goads, to pricke and provoke us, that whe may not be slothfull, but diligent follo­wers after Wisdome: and as nailes fastened by the ma­sters of assemblies (in a sure place) which are given from one shepherd; upon which we may leane and depend; and have our trust in the Lord according to them; that our faith may not stand in the Wisdome of men, but in the power of God Eccles. 12. 10, 11.

And these words we have proposed to considerer, and speak unto, are added to that instruction set dow­ne, vs. 11. 12. My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of his correction; or saint not when thou art rebuked of him, Hebr. 12. 5. for whom the Lord loveth he correcteth &c. To sig­nify to us, either.

1. That the end of God in all his chastenings and corrections of us, while it is the day of his grace and patience, is to drive out of us that foolishness that is [Page 7] bound up in our hearts, Prov. 22. 15. and to awaken us, and ingage us to apply our hearts to Wisdome, Psal. 90. 7, 12. for the rod and reproofe give Wisdo­me, Prov. 29. 15. he doth not correct and chasten us for his pleasure simply, but for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness, even of Christ, who is made Wisdome, and righteousness, and ho­liness &c. Hebr. 12. 5, 10. Lament. 3. 33. and there­fore it is unseemly for us to despise, and set light by Gods chastenings, or faint when rebuked of him; be­cause he hath such a gracious end therein, that we might seek, and finde Wisdome, and apply our hearts to Gods understanding. Or.

2. He doth hereby direct us unto, and commend unto us, that excellent meanes, and thing, where by we may be helped and strengthned neither to despise Gods chastenings, nor faint when he rebuketh us, namely, this sound Wisdome and understanding, which is profitable in and under all afflictions, and unto all things to direct us, Eccles. 10. 10. and so it is as if he should say: that you may behave your selves comely, and laudably under Gods afflicting hand, so as not to erre on the one hand, or on the other, need­full it is to get Wisdome, and an happy man he is that getteth understanding. For this will shew unto us, that he never correcteth but when our need requires it, and to seale our instruction: that we might not set light by his chastenings: and this acquaints us with his grace in Christ, and gracious end and intention in all his debatings with us, that we might not be weary, or faint in our mindes: for it is out of love, and for our good that he taketh this paines with us, and is now jud­ging of us and this considered, is proper and power­full to teach and helpe us to rejoyce in the tribulations he is ordering. Hence when the Apostle James exhor­teth, and instructs the beleivers, to count it all joy [Page 8] when they fall into divers temptations &c. he addes, if any of you lack Wisdome let him ask of God, Jam. 1. 2, 5. intimating to us, that Wisdome will instruct, and strengthen us to carry our selves evenly under trialls and temptations, and helpe us to rejoyce in that which seemeth to be greivous so the Apostle, to the end the colossians might be strengthned to all patience, and long suffering with joyfullness, prayeth, that they might be filled with the knowledge of Gods will in all Wisdome and spirituall understanding, that they might Walk worthy of the Lord in all conditions, unto all pleasing, Colos. 1. Colos. 1. 9, 11. this Wisdome will help us to judge well of God at all times, and of his dealings with us when he writes bitter things against us: needfull therefore it is that we seeke and search for this that we may not sleight, nor sinke under the cor­rections he is ordering. Or.

3. He addeth this affirmation of the happiness of the man that findeth Wisdome, &c. after the former admonition, to signify to us, that now when Gods hand is lifted up, and he is judging us, it is high time to a wake out of sleep, and to seek after this most ex­cellent thing, that it may be well with us: it is good, profitable, and needfull at all times to get Wisdome; but then especially so when his judgments are amongst us, and upon us: for if the present opportunity be ne­glected, we may be deprived of another; and to the end we may be kept from evill both now and for ever, hence the Apostle instructeth the beleivers to redeeme the time from this motive, because the dayes are evill; sinfull, and full of afflictions, and judgments: whe­refore, saith he, be ye not unwise but understanding. What the will of the Lord is Ephes. 5. 15 - 17. So when Moses the man of God had been declaring and bewailing the manifold afflictions himselfe and the people were under, saying, we are consumed by [Page 9] thine anger, and by thy wrath we are troubled, thou hast set our sins before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance, &c. He then prayeth, so teach us to number our dayes, that we may apply our hearts to Wisdome, signifying to us thereby, that now especially our hearts should bestirred up, and provoked to turne from our iniquities, and under­stand his truth; and to take fast hold of instruction, and not let her goe, to keep her for she is our life, Psal. 90. 7, 12. Daniell 9. 13. Or.

4. He now sheweth unto us wherein happiness con­sisteth, and who is the happy man, to wit, he that findeth Wisdome, that this may be a comfort to us in all our afflictions, and in and under all Gods corre­ctions, and rebukes, be they never so heavy and grie­vous, and though there by God should strip us naked and bare, and take away from us all this Worlds good, and we should be rendred amongst men miserable, wretched creatures, and looked upon as most un hap­py persons; yet this one thing, even Wisdome, will render us truly happy, and blessed in the account of him that judgeth righteously, and of those that are taught of him. Blessed is the man whom thou chaste­nest, ô Lord, and teachest him out of thy law, Psal. 94. 11, 12. Men in their vaine thoughts thinke, that they are accursed and miserable ones whom God cha­steneth, tough there by he give them Wisdome; but their thoughts are vaine and foolish: such is the ex­cellency of this heavenly Wisdome and understanding, as that it alone will make them truly happy that have it, though God in and by his judgments and corrections should so impoverish them as that they should be as poore as was Christ, who had not where on to lay his head: and suchalone is its excellency, as that though a man should gaine the whole World, and be without this pearle of great price, he would be a poore, mi­serable, [Page 10] pitteous creature. This is good for us now to consider, when God is pleading with us in rebukes in our nation generally, by manifold afflictions and judgments, and in great decay of trading: when men are minished and brought low thorow oppression, af­fliction and sorrow, and God is staining the pride of our glory; yet this is a pearle of such great price and worth, that it will indeed render happy, , and truly inrich them that have and retaine it, though they should be naked, and destitute of daily food: Oh! that it were so considered by us, that we might with fervency seeke it, and give no sleep to our eyes, nor slumber to our eye-lidds till we finde it; and that for the sake thereof, we might count all other things but loss and dung, that we might win, and be made par­takers of it.

In the words themselves we have.

  • 1. An affirmation of the happiness of the man that findeth Wisdome, and of the man that getteth under­standing, vs. 13.
  • 2. A Generall Demonstration, and evidence of the happiness of such a man, and a commendation of the exercise it selfe, laid downe as a Motive, and argu­ment to ingage us to seeke, that we may finde and get it, vs. 14.

1. An affirmation of the happiness of the man that findeth Wisdome, and getteth (or draweth out) un­derstanding, vs. 13.

In which affirmation, we shall, God assisting.

  • 1. Speak some what by way of explication.
  • 2. Note some instructions contained in this Affir­mation.

1. By way of explication, and opening, we shal inquire into, and consider these two things which are needfull to be knowne by us.

  • 1. What is this Wisdome and understanding here commended to us?
  • [Page 11]2. What is this finding and getting it?

1. What is this Wisdome, and understanding here commended to us.

To that we may say, that by both expressions one and the same thing may be meant, and signified, as appeareth, in that the Demonstration and motive is so set downe as to include and containe both in one word: As, the Merchandise of it, namely, of Wis­dome and understanding is better then the Merchandise of silver, and the gaine thereof, as before, then fine gold she (speaking of both as of one person) is more precious then Rubies, &c. so Chap. 4. 5, 9. and 8. 1, 4. and by this Wisdome and understanding is not meant ours, that which we have naturally in us, or that which we may attaine unto by art, or by our owne la­bour and industry: and so it is not the Wisdome of this World, or of the princes of this World, not hu­mane learning, nor the arts and sciences of this World, such as Rhetorick, Logick, Philosophy, which are science falsly so called: and which, though in high esteeme among men yet, will not render a man happy: nay those that had no other Wisdome came to nought, 1 Corinth. 2. 6. He who here commendeth to us this Wisdome and understanding, warneth, and admo­nisheth us elsewhere to cease from our owne Wisdo­me, Prov. 23. 4. and not to leane to our owne under­standing, Prov. 3. 5. and to beware of Philosophy, and vaine deceit, &c. Colos. 2. 8. and telleth some, that their Wisdome and knowledge had perverted them, Isay. 47. 10. and it is his purpose to destroy the Wisdome of the wise, and to bring to nought the un­derstanding of the prudent, and them that leane to and rely on it 1 Corinth. 1. 19, 21. and 2. 6. and those led of God came not with excellency of speech, or of Wisdome, declaring the testimony of God; for the Wisdome of words maketh the cross of Christ of none [Page 12] effect, 1 Corinth. 2. 1. and 1. 17. this Wisdome is foo­lishness with God, and it is so farre from helping us to understand, and know Gods name, or his sons name, as that it is an hindrance thereto; and there­fore that we may be wise, it is needfull that we become fools, and lay aside, and cease from our Wisdome and understanding. But the Wisdome and understan­ding here commended to us, and that which will ren­der us happy in the injoyment of it, is, the Wisdome that is from a bove, which is first pure then peace able, &c. Jam. 3. 17. even the Wisdome of God, and not that of our owne: according to that, my son, at­tend unto my Wisdome; and bow thine eare unto my understanding, Prov. 5. 1. and so hereby is meant and signified to us.

1. Jesus Christ the Son of God, in whom dwel­leth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily in whom dwelleth the father, and on whom rests the holy Spi­rit. And he is so called.

1. As he is the Son of God by divine and eternall generation: so where as in one place it is said; the Lord by Wisdome founded the earth; by understan­ding hath he establisht the heavens; in another it is said, he created all things by Jesus Christ. Compare Prov. 3. 19. with Ephes. 3. 11. Hebr. 1. 2. and of this Wisdome, even of Christ in this consideration of him, it is said by himselfe, the Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his workes of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was: when there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no fontaines abounding with water, &c. Prov. 8. 23, 32.

2. And he is so called, and may be comfortably viewed by us as Wisdome, as he was abased for us, and tooke our nature upon him when we had sinned, and departed from God, and as he was crucified for us, [Page 13] and by the grace of God tasted death for every man, and is raised againe, according to the scriptures: so Christ is the Wisdome of God, and power of God 1 Corinth. 1. 22, 24. so when the Apostle saith, that he came not with excellency of speech, or of Wisdome declaring the testimony of God, that the beleivers faith might not stand in the Wisdome of men, but in the power of God: He addeth; howbeit we speak Wisdome among them that are perfect; yet not the Wisdome of this world, nor of the princes of this world that come to nought: But we speak the Wisdo­me of God in a mystery, even the hidden Wisdome, which God ordained before the world unto our glory; which none of the princes of this world knew, for had they knowne, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. Where it appeareth, that Jesus Christ the Lord of glory, is the Wisdome which they prea­ched, 1 Corinth. 2. 1, 8. with 2 Corinth. 4. 5. and so this excellent one calls himselfe Wisdome and under­standing, Prov. 8. 12, 14. compare Matth. 23. 34. with Luc. 11. 49. and he is called Wisdome and un­derstanding.

1. Because he is the great cleare, and comfortable evidence, and manifestation of the Wisdome of God: here it is brightly discovered, and may chearfully be viewed in the cross of Christ Jesus. He did by Wis­dome make the heavens, and give a being to all things; and in his workes of creation it may be seen by us: but this invention of his is a greater and clearer discovery of his infinite Wisdome, and unsearchable understan­ding: For in his first creating us there was nothing con­trary to his worke: But unto his shewing mercy to us where we were fallen, there was somwhat in the way stood cross, and contrary; his justice which was pro­voked by us must be satisfied, his truth fulfilled; his law which we had transgressed, must be answered; [Page 14] and his wrath appeased: our sin must be purged away our death died, overcome, and abolished; and all creatures were insufficient for these things; no man could redeeme his brother by any meanes, nor give to God a ransome for his owne soule, Psal. 49. 6, 7. righteousness could not come by the law, Galat. 2. 21. not could any creature in heaven or earth divise a mea­nes for the helpfullness of us: this Wisdome was hid from the eyes of all living, Job 28. 12, 22. this passed the understanding of men and Angells, Philip. 4. 7. but herein appeared the manifold and unsearchable Wisdome of God, who in the exercise thereof hath devised a meanes that his banished should not be utter­ly expelled from him, 2 Sam. 14. 14. Without con­troversy great is the mystery of godliness God was ma­nifest in the flesh, justified in the spirit, 1 Timot. 3. 16. there is hidden and wonderfull Wisdome contained therein; that the creatour should become a creature; that the word that was God should be made flesh; that the everlasting father should thus become a son, and the mighty God a child, yea that he who was the holy one of God yea holiness it selfe, should be made sin for us; that God should lay downe his life for us; and all this to so gracions an end, not to condemne the world, but that thorow him the world might besaved here in was admirable, and unsearchable Wisdome; and here in we may clearely, and comfortably see, that the creatour of the ends of the earth fainteth not, nor is weary, there is no searching of his understan­ding, that so when we walk in darkness and see no light, we might trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon our God, Isay. 40. 27, 29. hence he as our saviour is said to be the onely wise God, Jude 25. hence also the Apostle, when he had said, this is a faithfull saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Je­sus came into the world to save sinners, persently addes; [Page 15] Now unto the king eternall, immortall, invisible, the onely wise God be honour, &c. 1 Tim. 1. 15, 17. Hee hath herein evidenced himselfe to be the alone, and onely wise God, in finding out such a way for the delivering us from so great a death, and curse, and from the hand of all our enemies; and for the trea­suring up all the fullness of forgiveness, grace, and spirit in Christ, that we sinfull creatures of mankind, might be brought back to God.

2. Christ Jesus is also said to be Wisdome and un­derstanding, because he is become the treasury, foun­taine, and store-house of it; he is the beginning, the first borne from the dead, that in all things he might have the preeminence: for it hath pleased the father that in him should all fullness dwell, in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, Colos. 1. 18, 19. and 2. 9. In him are hid all the treasures of Wisdome and knowledge, Colos. 2. 3. so he who calleth himselfe Wisdome saith, counsell is mine, and sound Wis­dome; I am (or have) understanding, &c. Prov. 8. 12, 14. Salomon, who set in order these Proverbs, was a wise man, yea, in his time, Wiser then all men: God gave him wisdome and understanding exceeding much, and largeness, or wideness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore, 1 King. 4. 29, 31. but behold a greater then Salomon is here, Matth. 12. 42. for he was taught, and directed to seek out, and set in order these Proverbs by Christ Jesus that one she­pherd, Eccles. 12. 9, 11. God hath not given unto him the spirit by measure, but hath given all things, and so all Wisdome into his hand, Joh. 3. 34, 35. On him resteth the spirit of the Lord, the spirit of Wis­dome and understanding, the spirit of counsell and might; the spirit of knowledge, and of the feare of the Lord; and he is quicke of understanding, Isay. 11. 1, 2, 3. and 42. 1. and 61. 1. He knoweth the father, [Page 16] and the mind, and counsells of the father, as is signi­fied, in that when John wept much because no man was found worthy to open, and to read the booke of Gods counsells, and purposes; one of the elders said unto him, weep not, behold the lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David (even the lamb who was slaine, and who hath seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God) hath prevailed to open the booke, and to loose the seven seales thereof; and the foure beasts, and twenty and foure elders in the new song they sang, confess, that the lamb which was slaine was worthy to take the book, and to open the seales thereof, jea and an innumerable company of Angells confirme it, and say, worthy is the lamb that was slaine to receive Wisdome, Revel▪ 5. 1. 5. 9, 12, and he is quick of un­derstanding, and knowes us, and what our needs and wants are, and how to supply them; he knowes how to teach us sinners; to make wise us simple ones, to speake a word in due season to the weary, to open the eyes of the blind; to bring forth the prisoners out of the pit; to heale the broken hearted; to forgive the guilty, wash the polluted, and perfect what soe­ver concerneth us. And he knowes the plots and de­signes of our enemies, and adversaries, and how to disappoint, and defeat them, that their hands may, not performe their enterprizes: yea he knowes all things, all things are naked and open unto the eyes of him with whom we have to doe, Joh. 21. 17. Hebr. 4. 13, 14. and this unsearchable Wisdome and understandidg he hath to improve for our good as the saviour of all men, especially of them that beleive; and to dispense to us according to our needs and capacities: and his willing­ness to improve it for us, and communicate it to us is abundantly evidenced in the great abasement where to he so willingly humbled himselfe for mankind that he might obtaine all things pertaining to life and godliness [Page 17] into himselfe for us. Oh! let us rejoice in him, and not glory in our owne Wisdome: for he is made of God for us Wisdome; that, according as it is written, he that glorieth may glory in the Lord, 1 Corinth. 1. 29, 31.

3. He also in the Object of Wisdome and under­standing, in knowing whom we may be made truly wise, and furnished with sound Wisdome, and see and know things for our good; so [Wisdome] many times signifieth, the Object of Wisdome; or that which is to be knowne, and in the understanding where of we shall be rendred wise indeed, Prov. 1. 2. and 5. 1. In coming unto, and knowing Jesus Christ, we may know the father, so as to beleive, and hope in, and love him; no man knoweth the father but the son, and he to whomsoever the son will reveale him: come unto me all ye that labour, and are heavy loden (ye that run to the wise and prudent, and read many boo­kes, and tire your selves herewith, and yet meet not with what you seeke for) I will give you rest, saith our saviour, Matth. 11. 25, 28. He is the image of the invisible God, in seing whom we may see the fa­ther also; and whosoever cometh unto and followeth him shall not abide in darkness, but shall have the light of life; he will shew them the father, and give them the knowledge of him; and this is life eternall, that they know him the onely true God, Joh. 8. 12. and 12. 44, 46. and 14. 6, 10. and 17. 3. Colos. 1. 15. God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined the light of the knowledge of his glory in the face of Jesus Christ; even the glory of his Wis­dome, power, truth, holiness, and justice, 2 Corinth▪ 4. 4, 6. yea and he gives such a gracious and amiable discovery of the father to us, that there thorow we might be incouraged to come unto, and beleive in him, and put our trust under the shadow of his Wings. For here in we may see that he is the God of love, the [Page 18] God of all grace: we may in the cross of Christ see Gods secret will, even what his will towards man was, when secret; this Christ hath revealed: God is love, charity it selfe, he is so essentially, and was so towards mankind when they had sinned against, and depar­ted from him: And in this he hath manifested him­selfe to be love, and manifested his love to us, which was hid in himselfe, because he sent his onely begot­ten son into the World, to be the saviour of it: 1 Joh. 4. 8, 9, 10, 14, 16. Joh. 3. 16. in Christ our saviour appeareth, that his will, which was secret, was good will, and not evill will toward mankind, Luc. 2. 10, 14. Christ hath revealed the father who was hidden from us, and reavealed his thoughts and heart; and in him we may see, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all; that God will have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth, 1 Tim. 2. 4, 6. And in him we may know our selves so as to be hum­bled and abased in fight of our owne vileness and wretchedness, and to loath our selves, and have pride hidden from us: for saith the Apostle, we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead; and he died for all, 2 Corint. 5. 14, 15. In that Christ died for all by the grace of God, herein it appeareth that we were all dead, condemned to die, and deserved to have died that death which he tasted for every man, and to have Perished in it for ever: We were accursed crea­tures, and helpless in our misery, as is evident, in that he hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us, Psal. 49. 6, 7. Galat. 3. 13. yea in that he died for our sake that he might obtaine eternall redemption; and in him dwelleth all fullness; He is made of God Wisdome and righteousness, he­rein appeareth that we were destitute of all good, empty creatures, Job 11. 12. that we have no Wisdome in us naturally; no light in our understandings, no freedome [Page 19] of will to any thing that is spiritually good, no af­fection, desire, or inclination to the things that belong to our peace; no spark of Gods image left in us, but we are destitute thereof, and inclined to all that is evill; all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. While we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly: While we were yet sinners (neither righteous, nor good) Christ died for us, Rom. 5. 6, 8. In him we may behold the vileness of sin so as to ab­horre it, and that it may be an abomination to our soules; in that God hath so punished and condemned it in the person of Christ Jesus, who knew no sin, Rom. 8. 3. He was wounded, or tormented for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities: such was the odiousness of sin to God, as that when it was but imputed to his son, he spared him not: but it pleased the lord to bruise him, he hath put him to griefe▪ Were this considered by us, it would be powerfull to cause us to say, how shall we live any longer in sin for which our saviour suffered so great and in expressi­ble sorrowes? Esa. 53. 4, 10. Rom. 8. 32. and 6. 1, 2, 3. and 4. 25. 1 Petr. 3. 18. Aswell as also in Christ we may perceive the greatness of the sin of not beleiving on Christ, who, by the grace of God tasted death for every man; and is raised againe, and is become such a good foundation and object of faith, that mens faith and hope▪ might be in God, Joh. 16. 8, 9. 1 Petr. 2. 6, 7, 8. he that beleiveth not God hath made him a liar, because he beleiveth not the record that God gave of his son: and this is the record, that God hath given to us eternall life: he that beleiveth not that God hath given to him eternall life in Christ Jesus, hath made God a liar, and is therefore condemned, and the wrath of God abideth on him while he abideth in un beleife, 1 Joh. 5. 10, 11. Joh. 3. 16, 18, 36. if Christ died for the fewest of mankind onely, it would be no [Page 20] sin in the greatest part for whom he died not, not to beleive on Christ: Yea they would beleive a lye in so doing: but this is an ungodly conception, for Christ died for all, and rose againe, that all men thorow him might beleive, Joh. 1. 7. and 17. 21, 23.

In Christ also we may see the unprofitableness of our workes of righteousness, that we might not have Confidence therein, Joh. 16. 10. Corint. 1. 29, 30. if righteousness could have come by the law, by the Workes or sacrifices there of, then Christ died in vaine Galat. 2. 21. hence the Apostle, though he was Con­cerning the righteousness of the law blameless, yet, what things were gaine to him, the Priviledges, and workes of the flesh, those he counted loss for Christ. Yea doubt less, saith he, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Je­sus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and doe count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine owne righteousness which is of the law, but that which is thorow the faith of Christ, &c. Philip. 3. 4. 9. 't Is he, and he onely, that hath brought in everlasting righteousness thorow his personall abasement and suf­ferings: even the righteousness of God without the law, which was witnessed by the law and the Prophets; but is now manifested by the faith of Christ to be unto all; and upon all them that beleive, for there is no difference. Dan. 9. 26. Rom. 3. 21. 22.

In Christ we may see death, even the first death, which was the wages of our first departure from God, so as not to feare it, nor any afflictions, weaknesses, sicknesses, which are fore runners, and branches of it; and which God is now ordering to us while it is called to day: For Jesus Christ our Saviour hath by the grace of God tasted this death for every man, and hath over­come and abolished it, taken out the sting, and de­structive [Page 21] nature out of it, so as that now there is no hurt in it, nothing in it to separate us from te love of God, or keep us out of heaven; nor shall any man perish therein for ever, but all shall in due time be rai­sed out of it, by him who died for all, and rose againe: Christ hath in overcoming this death made it a shadow, it is not the lively image of what sometimes it was. 2 Tim. 1. 10. Gal. 3. 13. Psal. 23. 4. Yea not onely so, but he the great God and our Saviour hath turned our curses into blessings; and the afflictions, and corre­ctions he is ordering are ordered to a gracious end, as is before shewne.

In Christ also, this havenly Wisdome, we may see life, even our naturall life, how it is procured for us, and by what meanes we have a comfortable injoyment of it and of Gods mercies, even by Christ, who gave his flesh for the life of the World. Joh. 6. 51. in him is life, and the life is the light of men. Joh. 1. 4. Had he not laid downe his life for us, we could have had no comfortable injoyment of our lives, or of Gods crea­tures, but had been alwayes, and altogither accursed and miserable, and all our life time thorow feare of death subject to the bondage of Satan. Hebr. 2. 14. 15. But he hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us, for it is written, cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree. Gal. 3. 13. and 4. 4 with Rom. 3. 19. And here we may also see to what end our lives are preserved, and continued; that to us to live might be Christ: He died for all that they which live might not hence forth live to themselves, but to him that died for them, and rose againe, this was the very end of Christs suffering for us in the flesh, that we might thereby cease from sin; and thorow his grace that bringeth salvation to all men might live, not to the lusts of men, but to the will of God, 2 Corinth 5. 15. 1 Petr. 4, 1, 3. 1 Joh. 4. 9.

[Page 22]In this Wisdome we may know who are borne of God, and so made of the elect and chosen generation; even all such, and onely such (who are of yeares of capacity, and where the gospell is plainely declared) as come unto, and beleive on him. If ye know that he is righteous, ye know (as included in the know­ledge of him) that every one that doth righteousness is borne of him, 1 Joh. 2. 29. To Christ coming, the li­ving stone, disallowed indeed of men (yea of the buil­ders, land leaders of the people) but chosen of God and precious; ye also as lively stones are built up a spiri­tuall house. Ye are an elect, and chosen generation, a royall priesthood (though not owned by men as Gods clergy) aen holy nation a peculiar people, &c. Which in tim past were not a people, but now are the people of God, which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy, 1 Petr. 2. 4, 5, 9, 10. And here we may also see who are rejected, and re­probated of God: not any man in a personall conside­ration, or before he was borne; but those that disal­low, and reject Christ Jesus, and persist in refusing, and rejecting him till the day of grace and patience be ended, 1 Petr. 2. 6, 7, 8. Whosoever shall fall on this stone (though they be builders) shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grinde him to powder, Matth. 21. 42 - 44. God so infinitely loveth his son, the son of his love, that whosoever kisseth him not, but refuseth him, and will not have him to reigne over them, his wrath will be kindled against them, and they shall be destroyed with an everlasting de­struction, Psal. 2. 10 - 12. Joh. 3. 36.

In knowing Christ, the Wisdome of God, we may come to have an usefull understanding and knowledge of all the scriptures of truth, otherwise not; he is the interpreter, and opener of them to us in his cross and testimony hence our saviour intimately in­structs [Page 23] the Jewes, in searching the scriptures, to come unto him; and faults, and reproves them for not co­ming unto him in them, that they might have life, even the light of live, Joh. 5. 39, 40. our saviour, in shewing unto his disciples in the scriptures the things Concerning himselfe, thereby opened the scriptures to their understandings; and their understandings into the schriptures: and unless we come unto, and know Christ Jesus, we shall remaine ignorant of the scriptures though we read them, and heare the voices of the Prophets and Apostles read to us: if we come not to Christ as the rest, we shall have the word of the Lord to our selves precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little, and there a little: and not see the harmony, and agreement of the scriptures, nor receive the use fullness of them, Luk. 24. 25, 27, 32, 44, 46. Isay. 28. 12, 13.

Yea in a word, they that seeke the Lord to know him, win him, and be found in him, understand all things, Prov. 28. 5. the knowledge of this one, this excellent object of Wisdome, is that which will make us wise to salvation: hence the Apostle deter­mined to know nothing else save Jesus Christ, and him crucified, 1 Corint. 2. 2. and to the end Timothy might have an understanding in all things, he exhorts him to remember, that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to his gospell, 2 Tim. 2. 7, 8. and the way whereby the Ho: Ghost teacheth all things, and leadeth into all truth, is to glorify Christ, and take of his things and shew unto us, Joh. 14. 26. and 16. 13, 14. oh that this were seriously, and heartily considered by us; that our hearts may be fi­xedly set to know Christ in and unto all things! Philip. 3. 8 - 10.

4. And he is called Wisdome, because he is the giver and dispenser of it: the Lord giveth Wisdome, [Page 24] Prov. 2. 6. hence tho Apostle prayeth for Timothy, that the Lord would give him an understanding in all things: even the Lord Jesus, 2 Tim. 2. 7. this is his gift; God hath given him power over all flesh, that he might give eternall life to as many as the father hath given him: and this is life eternall, that they know thee the onely true God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent, Joh. 17. 2, 3. And himselfe saith to his disciples, I will give you a mouth and wisdome, which all your adversaries shall not be abele to gainsay, nor resist, Luk. 21. 15. Ephes. 4. 7.

2. By Wisdome and understanding is meant also, the gospel of Christ, which holy men of God have de­clared, as they were moved by the Ho: Ghost; even the gospell as testified by the Prophets, in whom the spirit of Christ did signify before hand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow, 1 Petr. 1. 11. and as the same gospell is now reported to us by the Apostles, with the Ho: Ghost sent downe from heaven, vs. 12. Which is recorded, and preserved to us in the records of it, in the scriptures of truth, thorow the greatness of God? goodness, and won­derfulness of his working; the summe and first things whereof, are, that Christ died for our sins, even for the sins of Jews and Gentiles according to the scriptu­res; and was buried; and rose againe the third day, according to the scriptures, 1 Corint. 15. 1 - 4. Rom. 1. 1 - 4. this is called the word of Wisdome, 1 Corint. 12. 8. and the gospell, or preaching of the cross, is said to be the Wisdome of God, 1 Corint. 1. 17, 18 - 23, 24. Prov. 5. 1. and 7. 1 - 4, 5. and this is called Wisdome and understanding.

1. Because Christ, who is Wisdome, and under­standing, is herein evidently set forth unto us before our eyes, even the eyes of our understanding Galat. 3. 1. here, though now we see him not as the first trusters [Page 25] in Christ did yet, we may see him in the evidence, and demonstration of the spirit, and so in this word of faith, which is the evidence of things not seen; As Moses, by faith, saw him that was invsible, Hebr. 11. 1, 13, 27. in which gospell we may looke upon things that are not seen, 2 Corint. 4. 18. So here we may see the great sufferings, and Wonderfull a base­ment of Christ; and for whom he tasted death, and was raised againe, even for all mankind; Hebr. 2. 9. and here in this glass, we may with open face behold the glory of the Lord, 2 Corint. 3. 18. and therefore because this gospell testifieth of Christ, and discovers him to us who is Wisdome, and understanding, there­fore his name is named upon it.

2. Because here in, especially as now preached ac­cording to the revelation of the mystery, God hath a bounded in all wisdome, and prudence unto the first trusters in Christ, and by them to us, having made knowne to us the mystery of his will, &c. Ephes. 1. 8. 9. herein the manifold Wisdome of God is made know­ne, that all men may see it in this gracious and blessed meanes which he hath devised, that his banished be not utterly expelled from him: Which is discovered to us in this Wisome, Ephes. 3. 9. 10. here in God hath wrltten to us excellent things in counsells and knowledge; and in this gospell are hid all the treasures of Wisdome, and knowledge, Prov. 22. 17 - 20. Colos. 2. 3.

3. And this may be called Wisdome, and under­standing, because here by God makes wise the simple: and still and further giveth Wisdome to the Wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding, Psal. 19. 7. and 119. 129, 130. and verses 98, 99, 100. the God of our Lord Jesus Christ doth give the spirit of Wisdome and revelation in the knowledge, or gospell, of Christ, and hereby openeth the eyes of the under­standing, [Page 26] Ephes. 1. 17, 18. with this gospell Paul was sent to open the eyes of Jewes and Gentiles; and to turne them from darkness to light, Act. 26. 18. And in preaching this gospell Christ, preacheth recovery of sight to the blind, and opens their eyes, Isay. 42. 1, 6, 7. and 61. 1. Luk. 4. 18. Oh that therefore we may bowe downe our eares, and heare these words of the wise (in which Christ is discovered to us and the manifold Wisdome of God made knowne; and by which he giveth Wisdome) and may apply our hearts unto his knowledge, for it is a pleasant thing, if we keep them with in us, Prov. 22. 17, 18. In receiving these words, and hiding these commandements, the old and new commandment, with us; we shall be helped so to behold the excellency, and comeliness of Christ, the Wisdome of God, as to incline our eares unto Wisdome, and apply our heart unto understan­ding; and to cry after knowledge, and lift up our voice for understanding, &c. Prov. 2. 1, 2, 3, 4.

3. By Wisdome and understanding may be also meant, that gracious gift of Christ and God in him, which he giveth to men preventingly; and gives, and makes them partakers of who turne at his reproofes, in the light and strength of his grace; even the opening of the mind, or eye of the soule, to know Jesus Christ, and God in him, and all things in such manner, and to such end as the spirit maketh discovery of them, in the words, not of mans Wisdome, but which the Holy Ghost hath taught, and teacheth; Comparing spirituall things with spirituall, Ephes. 1. 17, 18. 1 Joh. 5. 20. even Wisdome in the knowledge of Christ; and such knowledge and understanding, as that there by we are led to feare God, and depart from evill: unto man he said, the feare of the Lord that is Wis­dome, and to depart from evil is understanding, Job 28. 28. the feare of the Lord is the beginning, or, [Page 27] principall part of Wisdome: A good understanding have all they that doe, Psal. 111. 10. Prov. 1. 7. and 9, 10. the feare of the Lord is the instruction of Wisdome, that which wisdome instructs us unto, even to worship God in the spirit, and rejoyce in Christ Jesus; to serve God with reverence and godly feare; and to depart from iniquity, Prov. 15. 33. and the feare of the Lord is to hate evill, even pride, and arrogancy, and the evill way, and the froward mouth; Which things Wisdome hateth, Prov. 8. 12, 13. and therefore whe­re as in the text, it is said, happy is the man that findeth Wisdome: the same happiness is assured unto, and af­firmed of him that confesseth and forsaketh his sins, Prov. 28. 13, 14. He is a foole that sporteth with, and makes a mock at sin; Whatever Notionall understan­ding he may have, he is destitute of blessed Wisdome: but a man of understanding hath wisdome; he fea­reth, and departeth from evill, Prov. 10. 23. and 14. 9, 15, 16.

This then is the Wisdome and understanding com­mended to us; Jesus Christ, and the word of his gra­ce; and that Wisdome which he giveth, and know­ledge, and understanding which cometh out of his mouth; even such Wisdome, and understanding of him as thereby we are led highly to prize, come unto, beleive in, and love him, and the father in him: and to hate, disrespect, and reject, whatsoever is hated, rejected, and disesteemed by him.

2. We have in the next place to consider what is, this [finding, and getting, or drawing out] here spoken of, and what supposed herein, and needfull hereto. In Ge­nerall, by finding Wisdome may be meant, a knowing, and understanding what this sound wisdome is; and where it is, and is to be had by us, as it is here distinguis­hed from getting: indeed where either of the expressions are mentioned alone, there it may meane what is here [Page 28] contained in both; but here, they being both used distin­ctly, there maybe, and is to be a distinct consideration of them: and so by finding is signified, as is said, a kno­wing it, and knowing the place of it, where it is to be had by us: and then by getting, or drawing out, may be meant a futher business, to wit, a being made partaker of this excellent commodity, an obtaining it, or getting it into our possession and hearts; an imbracement, re­taining, keeping, and holding it fast, as presently afterwards is said; happy is every one that retaineth her, even this Wisdome and understanding. It is a laying hold of it, taking fast hold of it, and not letting it goe, a keeping it as our life, Prov. 3. 18. and 4. 13. there may be a price in the hand of a foole to get wis­dome and he have no heart to it, no love or affection to, or courage for it; and thereby he deprives him­selfe of the happiness here assured, Prov. 17. 16. but this exercise of finding and gettig is the same with that commended in the Wise merchant by our saviour, in his parable, Matth. 13. 45, 46. The kingdome of heaven is like unto a merchant man seeking goodly pearles; who when he had found one pearle of great price, he went, and sold all that he had, and bought it: he first found it, and saw, and knew where it was, and was to be had; and then he did not content himselfe that he had found Wisdome simply, but he got it, and parted with all sor it. Now then more particularly here may be sup­posed in the exercise here commended to us.

  • 1. That this Wisdome and understanding is not ours, or in us naturally, it is to be found and gotten; to which afterwards.
  • 2. And that this excellent pearle is hid: in him are hid all the treasures of Wisdome and knowledge, Colos. 2. 3. it is a treasure hid in a field, Malach. 13. 44. and to be searched for as hid treasure, Prov. 2▪ 4. And to our finding of it is requisite.

[Page 29]1. An hearing where it is, an hearing the words of wisdome, a diligent hearing, or hearing in hearing, as Wisdome is lifting up her voice, and preventing us with an hearing capacity, which she is doing in due time: for naturally we are deafe, and untill prevented by Christ we cannot heare: but the son of God in due time is causing us when dead, to heare his voice, that we might heare in hearing and live, Joh. 5. 25. and when he is thus speaking to us, and opening our eares then he requires us in the capacity afforded from him to heare, Prov. 20. 12. So Wisdome and under­standing saith; heare, for I will speake of excellent things; and hearken unto me ô ye children; heare instruction and be wise, Prov. 8. 6, 32, 34. this is the one and first thing needfull unto our finding, and getting wisdome, to heare the word of Christ, Luc. 10. 39, 42. Not to heare any thing, or any word; we are exhorted to cease to here the instructions that cause to erre from the words of knowledge, Prov. 19. 27. and to take heed what we heare, Mark. 4. 24. but we are to heare Jesus, and God in him, as speaking to us by the holy Pro­phets and Apostles, in the scriptures of truth; and to this oftentimes are we called upon, even to heare the words of the wise fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd, Eccles. 12. 10, 11. Prov. 19. 20. and 22 17. Isay. 55. 1, 3. Act. 3. 22, 23. Aswell as also.

2. It is requisite as we heare, to seek for this excel­lent commodity, and search after it with our hearts, yea with our whole hearts, as we have the excellency, and amiableness of it discovered to us: such an ap­plying, or causing our heart to come unto this Wisdome as commended, and the commendation heard, is requisite, as, that we cry after Wisdome, and lift up our voice for understanding; that we seek her as silver, and search for her as for hid treasures, [Page 30] even with greatest desire, and diligence; and as those that judge happiness doth onely consist in having this treasure, and without which we are undone, and mi­serable for ever, Prov. 2. 1, 4. and so searching for it, in all the scriptures of truth, which are the veines, as it were, where this inriching, and happy treasure may be had, Joh. 5. 39. and in all ordinances; and in the assemblies of Gods people; Prov. 8. 34. and in so doing we shall finde it.

3. And to our getting is requisite, a selling all that we have when we have found it; and buying, or get­ting it into our hearts, and possession: according to that; buy the truth, and sell it not: Wisdome, instruction and understanding, Prov. 23. 23. Matth. 13. 44, 46. here lieth the stick with many persons, and too much with us all; we would have wisdome if we might part with nothing for it, but keep our owne things still; but this connot be: if any man come unto me saith our saviour, and hate not father, and mother, wife, and children; brethren, and sisters: yea and his owne life also, he cannot be my disciple and whosoever he be of you (spea­king to his disciples, and the multitudes) that forsa­keth not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple, Luk. 14. 26, 27, 33. We are all too much like the young man who would faine have in herited eternall life; when our saviour told him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest; goe thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poore and thou shalt have treasure in hea­ven, and come, and take up thy cross, and follow me: he was sad at that saing, and went away grieved, for he had great possessions, Mark. 10. 17, 22. So it is too much with us, if we might keep our owne things and have wisdome too; if we could carry on these two designes, to serve God and Mammon; and could have Christ, and love the world also, then we could be content; and this would please us; but this cannot [Page 31] be we must deny our selves, our bruitish lusts and de­sires; aswell as also our wisdome, righteousness, love of the world, and the things thereof, the honour, praise esteeme friendship, and fellowship thereof; and take up our cross and follow him: yea the that lo­veth father, or mother more then him, is not worthy of him; and he that loveth son or daughter more then him, is not worthy of him; and he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after him, is not worthy of him, Matth. 10. 37, 39. and 16. 24. we must sell all that we have, all must be parted with, that we may win Christ, and be found in him: not as if our things were so worthy, as that we might deserve there by this heavenly wisdo­me; nor are we to part with them as a valuable consi­deration; for all the things we can desire are not to be compared to this pearle: but our things will hinder us from having, and obtaining Wisdome, if we let them, not goe; therefore though we have no Worth, nor wortiness, yet we must buy wisdome, though without money and price; for no man can serve two masters; we must part with our sins and idolls, or otherwise we cannot get this Wisdome, and under­standing.

And if we take in the reading in the Margin; happy is the man that draweth our understanding, hereby may be meant.

1. A drawing it out for our owne use, and benefit; and so diligence, and labour of the inward man espe­cially, is to be used and exercised, and hereby the Ho: Ghost may have reference to the drawing out water out of a well, or deep place; and it is like that, Isay. 12. 3. therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation: namely, out of the doctrine of the Prophets, and Apostles false teachers are said to be wells without water, there is nothing in them, or in their doctrine to refresh, and satisfy, 2 Petr. 2. 17. [Page 32] but these teachers sent of God, and who are even Gods mouth to us, have water in their word & doctri­ne; and we are therefore to search thereinto for Wis­dome and understanding, and draw it out, when we finde it, Act. 17. 11. Or to draw it out as out of a vessell, Joh. 2, 8. 2 Corinth. 4. 7. and so secondarily out of their words wo have beleived on Christ thorow the Prophets, and Apostles words, and have the word of reconciliation put into their hearts and mouthes, Prov. 20. 5. And.

2. We are to draw out understanding for the good of others also, and to the end we may be instruments for communicating it to others, as the like Phrase is used, Isay. 58. 10. John. 2. 8. Thus have we spoken to the finding, and getting Wisdome and understan­ding; what it is, what supposed herein, and needfull hereto, according to my weakness.

2. We come in the next place to note some instru­ctions contained in this affirmation of the happiness of the man that findeth Wisdome, and getteth, or dra­weth out understanding. As.

  • 1. That men are naturally without this Wisdome and understanding.
  • 2. That yet men may finde this Wisdome, and get, or draw out this understanding.
  • 3. That the present time is the apportunity of fin­ding and getting.
  • 4. He is and shall be an happy man that findeth, and getting this Wisdome and understanding.

1. That men are naturally without this Wisdome and understanding; even destitute of Wisdome in the knowledge of Christ; they are without Christ, and all spirituall understanding, Ephes. 2. 12. A Wis­dome indeed they have, but such as is foolishness with God; they are wise to doe evill, and to pursue their drunken, unclean, covetous, ambitious, re­vengefull [Page 33] lusts; but to doe good they have no under­standing, Jerem. 4▪ 22. every man is bruitish by his knowledge, Ierem 10. 14. God did indeed make man righteous at first, in his owne image, after his likeness; and put Wisdome into his inward parts; he was crea­ted in knowledge, as the Apostle signifieth, when he saith, ye have put on the new man, Which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: renewing, is a restoring a Person or thing that is defor­med to its first, and primitive estate: there in then is intimated, that at first man was created in knowledge; Aswell as also it so appeares in that it is said, that the renewing in knowledge is after the image of him that created him; and so at first man being created in or after his image, he was created in knowledge, and understanding, Colos. 3. 10. But man not abiding in that honour in which he was made, but aspiring to an equality with God, and desiring some higher wisdo­me, and knowledge thorow his listening to the Lye of the tempter; Genes. 3. 5, 6. Mist what he aspired unto, and lost what he had; and so man in honour not abiding therein, understandeth not, but is like the beasts that perish, Psal. 49. 12. 20. they are desti­ture of all true and sound Wisdome: that which they have leades them to labour to be rich, Prov. 23. 4. Ezek▪ 28. 4, 5. and to trust in their riches, and worship their gold and silver, Hose. 13. 2. and to seek after greatness, and glory in this world, Isay. 10. 13, 14. and fills them with enoyings and strifes against all that stands cross to their designe, Jam. 3. 14, 16. but as with respect to his Wisdome that is from above, they are like wilde asses colts, Job 11. 12. In this conside­ration they are all (untill, and further then in lightned of God) simple and foolish ones. And this is true of them all, even of those also that have the highest esteeme of themselves: As, young persons, they are [Page 34] usually highly conceited of themselves, but they are simple, as is signified, in that the end of the Proverbs in making knowne Wisdome is said to be, to give subtilly to the simple, to the young man (who is sim­ple also) knowledge and discretion, Prov. 1. 4. and 7. 7, 8. and this is true also of those that have much of the Wisdome of this World, who are great schol­lars, and rich in that knowledge which is science falsly so called: their wisdome is foolishness with God; and the Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise that they are vaine, 1 Corinth. 3. 18, 20. and it is also true of those that are of the professed church; they are simple, and without understanding naturally, Prov. 1. 21, 22. Rom. 3. 1, 2, 9, 10, 11. Yea of all men, Job 32. 7, 9. hence Wisdome saith to men, and the sons of Man, o ye simple understand Wisdome, and ye fooles be ye of an understanding heart, Prov. 8. 4, 5. and 30. 2, 3, 4. The naturall man receveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Cor. 2. 14. Out of the heart of men pro­ceed evill thoughts of God, as if he had a secret plea­sure in the destruction of the greatest part of man kind. Ezech. 33. 10, 11. and though he speaketh faire, and commands the gospell to be preached to all, yet he hath a secret will contrary to his revealed: We need not be taught, and strengthned in such blasphemous thoughts, for they naturally proceed out of our hearts. And thence also proceed evill, thoughts of our selves; high esteemes, and conceits of our selves, from whence we are filled with pride. And evill thoughts of the world, as if the injoyment of that would render us truly happy; and hence proceedeth covetousness: Yea and evill thoughts of all things, thinking evilly, and calling light darkness, and darkness light; every imagination of mans heart is onely evill continually, Genes. [Page 35] 6. 5. And hence we are chusing, loving, and affecting vaine things that cannot profit, nor helpe us, because they are vaine, even any thing besides this excellent Wisdome, to wit, Christ, and God in him. Mark. 7. 21, 22.

Use. 1. This consideration might be of usefullness to us, to hide pride from us, for we are all naturally fooles: And to cause us not to glory in Gods presence, but be willing to become fooles that we may be wise, in receiving this heavenly Wisdome here commended to us. 1 Cor. 1. 29 - 31. and 3. 18, 19.

2. To admonisch us cease from man, for wherein is he to be accounted of. Isay. 2. 22. and not to have our faith standing in their Wisdome, we are such sim­ple, and foolish ones as that if men use good words, and faire speeches to us, and have much of the Wis­dome of this world, especially if also therewith they have a forme of godliness upon them to depend upon, and admire them, and receive what they say, though they come in their owne name; and to imbrace their interpretations of the scripture, though therein they consent not to wholesome words, but cause divisions, and offences contrary to the doctrine of the Apostles Rom. 16. 17, 18. and to glory in the Wisdome of man, whereas their wisdome is foolishness with God: And were this considered by us as discovered to us in the light and instructions of the gospell, it would take us off from that idolatrous esteeme we have of them, and their Wisdome. Matth. 11. 25, 26. 1 Corinth. 2. 1 - 5. and 3. 18 - 21.

3. To shew unto us the great grace and love of God to us, in taking notice of such simple foolish ones as we are with him, and in his account who judgeth righ­teously; and in making a way for us that we might be­come wise: He hath not despised us in this sad con­dition into which we brought our selves, but hath of [Page 36] his goodness prepared for us; and is giving good coun­sell to us, in hearing which we may be made wise: to such he calls, be ye of an understanding heart, heare for I will speak of excellent things, Prov. 8. 4, 6, 7. Behold God is mighty and despised not any, he is mighty in strengh and Wisdome; and yet despiseth not us who are weak and simple, Job 36. 5. learn we of him.

4. To come to Christ in the testimony, that we may be made wise, Matth. 11. 27, 28. and to move here to, consider the next instruction, viz.

2. That though men are naturally simple, and foo­les, yet thorow the grace of our Lord Jesus, they may finde this excellent Wisdome, and get, or draw out, this understanding here commended to us, while it is called to day, and this is intimated to us, in that the holy Ghost here affirmeth, and presently eviden­ceth the blessedness, and happiness of the man that finds it; of the man indefinitely; he had spoken be­fore to the sons of Wisdome more directly, vs. 11, 12. but here, happy is the Man, &c. and that men, any man, that is come to yeares of capacity, may finde, and get it in Gods opportunity, appeareth.

1. Because all the treasures of Wisdome, and know­ledge are hid in Christ for men, Colos. 2. 3. all things are delivered to him of the father; and on this ground he inviteth, and calls all that labour, and are heavy laden, and are seeking Wisdome were it is not to be found, to come unto him, Matth. 11. 27, 28. Jesus Christ, who is the Wisdome of God, as is declared to us in the words which the Holy Ghost hath thought; took upon him the nature of mankind; and therefore when he was borne, the Angell saith, Behold I bring unto you good tidings of great joy which shall be unto all people, Luk. 2. 10, 11. and he had the trespasses of the world imputed to him, even tho guilt of mankinds [Page 37] first sin and sinfullnes; and he bare the sin of the world in his owne body, 2 Corinth. 5. 19, 21. Joh. 1. 29. And was delivered for their offences, he died for all, even for all that were dead; and by the grace of God tasted dead for every man; and is raised againe for their justification, Rom. 4. 25. 2 Corinth. 5. 14, 15. Hebr. 2. 9. and hath redeemed all mankind in himselfe from the curse of the law, and delivered them from the necessary slavery of satan, he is ascended up on high, who descended first into the lower parts of the earth, and hath led captivity captive; and hath recei­ved gifts of forgiveness, Wisdome, and understan­ding for men, yea for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them, Galat. 3. 13. and 4. 4, 5. with, Rom. 3. 19. Psal. 68. 18. God hath pre­pared Wisdome for us, he hath prepared his dinner, even a feast of fat things for all people, his oxen and fatlings are killed, and all things are ready, and pre­pared for Jewes, and Gentiles, even for all men, Matth. 22. 2, 4, 8. Isay. 25. 6. Job 28. 27. this is the record that God hath given of his son, that he hath given to us mankind eternall life; and this life is in his son, 1 Joh. 5. 10, 11. He is the second man, the last Adam, of whom the first was a figure, Rom. 5. 14. and as God did in blessing the first man bless us all in him, and there create us in his owne image, after his owne likeness, even in knowledge and understan­ding; so now there is blessing in this seed of the wo­man, who hath broke the head of the serpent, for all the families of the earth; in him we are againe created after the image of God in a more glorious manner then ever we were in the first publick man; he hath by his blood obtained eternall redemption for us, even a re­covery of what we lost and forfeited by our sinning against, and departure from God: in him there is per­fection, and compleatness for every man; and he is [Page 38] in our nature and for us become Wisdome; and coun­sell is his, and sound Wisdome, he hath understan­ding and strength, 1 Corinth. 15. 45. Hebr. 9. 12. Jam. 3. 9. Coloss. 1. 28. Prov. 8. 10, 14. Wisdome hath builded her house, she hath hewne out her seven pillars, she hath killed her killing, she hath mingled her wine, she hath also furnished her table, she hath made a rich and large provision and prepared for all, even for all that are simple, and want understanding, before she sends forth her maidens, and servants, and invites them to come into the house, and to eat of her bread, Prov. 9. 1, 2, 3, 5. there are waters, wine, and milke bread, good fatness, and whatsoever will give satis­faction, prepared for every thirster; not onely for gracious thirsters, such as thirst out of a former taste of the sweetness and excellency of this provision, but also for such as have no money; such as have no worth, or worthiness in them: such as labour for that which is not bread; and spend their money for that which will not satisfy: and this is certainly prepared for them before proclamation is made, and invitation given unto them; and he that is athirst may come; and whosoever will may take of the water of life freely; Isay. 55. 1, 2, 3, 4, 7. Revel. 22. 17. this is a first and fundamentall Demonstration that any man may find, and get Wisdome and understanding, because it is prepared in Christ Jesus, who gave himselfe a ran­some for all men, for every sinfull soule of mankind; without which it were altogither impossible for them to have this rich, and inriching commodity. But.

2. Not onely hath he thus provided of his goodness for poore mankind; but also he giveth Wisdome to men, and brings it nigh unto them in due time; espe­cially to us upon whom the name of Christ is called; and unto, and amongst whom the scriptures in the plaine records of them are vouch safed, and preserved [Page 39] thorow the wonderfullness of Gods goodness. God by his spirit calls, and cries to men, and tells them where Wisdome is to be had; and gives unto them both some discovery of this excellent object of Wisdo­me, in knowing when they might be made wise: and some opening of the eye of the understanding, that they might behold Christ Jesus as discovered, and live: Christ Jesus is found of them that sought him not; and made manifest to them that asked not after him; and saith, behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by his name, Isay. 65. 1. with Rom▪ 10. 20. and he who is a just God and a saviour, and there is none besides him, saith, look unto me all the ends of the earth, and be ye saved; and he who thus speaks and calls is mighty to save, for he is God, and there is none else, Isay. 45. 21, 22. Now he calls not to men to look unto him, or heare what he saith, un­till he first manifests himselfe unto them, and speakes of excellent things; according to that, all ye inhabi­tants of the world, and dwellers on the earth, se ye when (and not before) he lifts up an ensigne on the mountaines (even Christ Jesus in the glorious gospell, and testimonies of his goodness) and when he bloweth a trumpet (to proclaime and preach good newes to you) heare ye, Isay. 18. 3. with, Chap. 11. 10. and 40. 9. He that hath searched Wisdome out, and pre­pared it, doth also declare it to us; and shewes forth its excellency, that we might be allured there with to get and obtaine Wisdome, Job 28. 27. God hath glo­rified, and doth in mens proper ages glorify Christ Je­sus by his spirit especially in the gospell as declared in the scriptures of truth; and in the plaine and faithfull declaration thereof; that men might run unto him from all other things, for all Wisdome, understan­ding, righteousness and strength, Isay. 55. 5, 6, 7. And also in due time Christ is opening the blind eyes [Page 40] of men, thath they might look unto him, and be in­lightned, and made wise by him; and that their faces may not be ashamed, Isay. 42. 1, 6, 7. He is the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world; the light of the world, Joh. 1. 9. and 8. 12. and 12. 46. and God in and by him giveth to all men, li­berally that whereby they may be made partakers of Wisdome, Jam. 1. 5. And God in Christ by his spi­rit doth both discover unto men, and give unto them Wisdome, even the object of Wisdome; and gives unto them some sight, and opening of the eye to be­hold it in and thorow his testimonies in the holy scrip­tures, the Testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; namely, both rendring Christ pre­cious unto them; and opening the eye of their soules that they might know Christ, and win him, Psal. 19. 7, 8. the entrance of Gods words giveth light to disco­ver that, in knowing whereof we may be wise indeed; and it giveth understanding unto the simple, Psal. 119. 129, 130. My Father, saith our saviour, giveth you the true bread from heaven; in receiving and eating where of they should be made wise: but how should they receive this heavenly bread? they, as all men are, were dead, and without life in themselves, and had no will to it, nor strength to receive it: to remo­ve this discouragement our saviour addes; the bread of God is he that cometh downe from heaven; and giveth life to he world, which hath none naturally: this bread of Wisdome is the most excellent bread, it is the bread of God, living, quickening bread; it prevents them with life that have none, aswell as preserveth them in life, even unto eternall life that eat it: but how doth this bread of God give live? our saviour tells us, in the word in which it is declared and commended to us: the words, saith he, that I speak unto you they are spirit, and they are life, Joh 6. 27, 32, [Page 41] 33, 35, 51, 63. the spirit of Wisdome and revelation is given in the knowledge, and gospell of Christ, Ephes. 1. 17. Christ was anointed with the holy spirit to preach the gospell, or glad tidings of and concer­ning himselfe; and therewith to preach recovery of sight to the blind; to preach their eyes open; and to give light to them that sit in darkness, and in the sha­dow of death, Luk. 4. 18. and as he thus prevents men with the discovery of the excellency of himselfe, and inlighteneth their eyes, Prov. 29. 31. he then calls unto and upon them to looke unto and behold him; and to come unto him, to receive this instruction and Wisdome which he is giving unto them (for no man can receive any thing except it be given him from above, Ioh. 3. 27.) and not silver, and knowledge rather then choice gold, Prov. 8. 6, 10, 11. to get Wisdome, get understanding, and not forget it, neither decline from the words of his mouth, in which Wisdome is brought, and given to us, Prov. 4. 4, 8. and not onely doth Wisdome call and cry unto us, but also she stret­cheth fort her hand to help and strengthen us to recei­ve it: where the word of this king of kings is, there is power, Eccles. 8. 4. he is not onely opening mens eyes in and by his gospell, but also turning them from darkness to light, and from the power of satan to God, that men might come unto him, Prov. 1. 20, 24. Act. 26. 18. 22, 23. he is in and by his law and doctri­ne converting the soule, wither men be converted or no; and yet to the end they might be converted; and therefore calls upon them, be ye converted, not con­vert your selves; be ye saved; be ye reconciled to God; be ye wise; be ye of an understanding heart to signify to us, that God is not wanting to men, but is in and with his calls, and by his gospell converting, saving, reconciling, and making men wise, and of an understanding hearth: and therefore if they pe­rish, [Page 42] their destruction is of themselves, Psal. 19. 7. Act. 3. 19, Isay. 45. 22. 2 Corint. 5. 19, 20, Prov. 8. 5. by all which it evidently appeareth, that men may in due time finde Wisdome, and get understanding.

3. It also appeareth that men may finde, and get Wisdome, and understanding, because he not onely hath prepared it for men in Christ, and is giving it unto them in and with him; but also he hath made and confirmed great and precious promises, that in our seeking and searching for it as thus prevented, we shall finde it, and get it: from this motive and argu­ment our saviour exhorteth; aske and ye shall receive: seek and ye shall finde, knock, and it shall be opened unto you; for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be ope­ned, Matth. 7. 7, 8, 11. To the same purpose the Wisdome of God speaketh; if thou criest after Wis­dome, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; if thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; then shalt thou understand the feare of the Lord, and finde the knowledge of God. For the Lord giveth Wisdome; out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding, Prov. 2. 1, 6. the same incourage­ment also the Apostle James sets before the beleivers. Ifany of you lack Wisdome, let him aske of God that giveth liberally to all men, and upbraideth not; and it shall be­given him, Jam. 1. 5. see also, Joh. 4. 10. and 6. 27. Prov. 8. 14, 17. many promises of this nature are pro­posed to us, to the end we might seek, and get Wis­dome; and faithfull is he that hath promised, who also will doe what he hath promised, according to the tenour thereof: and these promises are now con­firmed to us by the precious and incorruptible blood of Christ; for in him all the promises of God are yea and Amen, 2 Corint. 1. 20. and he also who by his blood hath ratified, and sealed them is alive, and lives for [Page 43] evermore as the mediatour of the New Testament, to take away our iniquities, and give unto us in his fathers way all things that pertaine to life and godliness, so as none that seek Wisdome, or any other good thing, shall be ashamed, Hebr. 9. 14, 15. Psal. 69. 6.

And this consideration, that men may, while cal­led to day, finde and get Wisdome, and understan­ding, as is in part thus evidenced, may be usefull to us, and usefully considered by us.

1. To help us to cease to heare those instructions that cause to erre from the words of knowledge, Prov. 19. 27. namely, such instructions as whereby sinners intice us to cast in our lot amongst them, and to walk in the way with them; to run with them to the same excess of riot, in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquettings, &c. Prov. 1. 10, 20. 1 Petr. 4. 1, 4. to have fellow ship with them in their unfruit­full workes of darkness. Aswel as also to goe from the presence of such foolish and false teachers as have not in them the lip of knowledge, Prov. 14. 7. both of such as say, there is no resurrection of the dead; and so by consequence that Christ is not raised againe: As those that say, that Christ is in every man, and that the light in every man is Christ; and deny that Christ is raised againe in that very personall body in which he was crucified, and died for our sins accor­ding to the scriptures; and was buried: these ungodly doctrines render it altogither unprofitable for us to seek Wisdome, and impossible to get understanding: for if Christ be not raised againe in that body of his flesh in which he was delivered for our offences, we are yet in our sins, and the faith of beleivers is vaine; and the preaching of the Apostles is also vaine; then they are found false witnesses of God, then is the hope of the gospel vaine; then let us eat and drinke for to morrow we dye; but those are ungodly, and anti▪ [Page 44] christian sayings; for Christ is raised againe, his soule was not left in hell, neither did his flesh see cor­ruption, 1 Corint. 15. 12, 20. take we heed of such false witnesses as bring such profane and vaine bablings. And also it may cause us to beware of those false tea­chers who consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus; such as say, Christ did not taste death by the grace of God for every man, nor is raised againe for their justification; and so by conse­quence there is no Wisdome or understanding prepa­red for the greatest part of mankind; these are false witnesses also, who render it doubtfull whither Wis­dome may be gotten or no; yea who say in their do­ctrines, that it is vaine for the greatest part of man­kind to seek it, 2 Petr. 2. 1. Jude 3. Contrary to what these ungodly ones say, Wisdome may be gotten; and he that getteth Wisdome loveth his owne soule: he that keepeth understanding shall finde good: And a false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall perish. Prov. 19. 5, 8, 9. 1 Tim. 6. 3, 5.

2. To shew unto us the folly and madness of those that seek not Wisdome, and get not understanding; the greatness of their sin, and folly, and severity of their judgement is manifested in what hath been said; of Wisdome were not prepared for them: or if they could not possibly be made partakers of it, they would have some cloke and excuse; but now their sin is in­excusable; and it greatly provokes the king of glory to anger, that when he hath prepared his dinner, his oxen and fatlings are killed, and all things are ready, and they invited, they then make light of it, and goe their wayes, one to his farme, and another to his Merchandise, Matth. 22. 4, 8. this is mens great fol­ly, and that which highly provokes God, that they hate knowledge, and will not chuse the feare of the Lord, when he is calling upon them, and stretching [Page 45] forth his hand unto them; Prov. 1. 20, 29. Oh! that we may not be such fooles, and so unwise, but may understand what the will of the Lord is, Ephes. 5. 17. Prov. 1. 7.

3. To incourage and move us all to finde Wisdo­me, and draw out understanding; it is prepared for us, and declared and given to us that we might seeke it; and assurance given to us in his great and precious promises that in seeking it early we shall finde it; oh let us therefore get Wisdome, and with all our get­tings get understanding, Prov. 4. 6. seek we the Lord while he may be found, and call upon him while he is neare, Isay. 55. 6. and to provoke us hereto, consider the next instruction, viz.

3. That the present time is Gods opportunity for finding Wisdome, and getting understanding. When­ce the Wisdome of God saith, Now therefore hearken unto me o ye children, Prov. 8. 32. we might branch this instruction into these two parts, and shew.

  • 1. That the present time is the opportunity in which it is possible for us to get Wisdome.
  • 2. It is the opportunity in which it is good and needfull for us to get it.

1. The present time is the opportunity in which it is possible for us to get Wisdome, therefore it is said, happy is the man that findeth, and getteth; as signifying to us, that now while God is waiting upon us that he may be gracious to us, and vouchsafing meanes, we may seeke success fully; and that is all the day long, while he is calling unto us. To him that in joyned to all the living there is hope, Eccles. 9. 4. While God heares Christ in his meditation for us, and that is all the time he makes intercession, he vouchsafeth some meanes to us; and while he vouchsafeth meanes, God succours Christ in his ministration, and sends forth his spirit; and, behold now is the accepted time, [Page 46] behold now is the day of salvation; now we may re­ceive his grace so as to be saved thereby, 2 Corint. 6. 1, 2. While God is exercising longsuffering to us, it is to a gracious end, and out of love to us, because he is not willing that any man should perish, but that all should come to repentance; and hence the beleivers are instructed to account, that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation, not destruction, 2 Petr. 3. 9, 15. Wisdome is crying, and calling unto simple ones that love their simplicity; and to scorners that delight in scorning; and to fooles that hate knowledge, and have done so for a long time, to turne at her re­proofes, with assurance, in so doing, she will poure forth her spirith, and make knowne her words unto them: and while she calleth, she stretcheth forth her hand to help them to turne, Prov. 1. 20, 24. yea though men have forgotten him dayes without number, and so provoked him, as that he hath put them away, and they have sold themselves for their iniquities, yet while Christ calls unto them by his gospell, or any meanes, his hand is not shortned that he cannot re­deeme, but he hath power still to deliver, and is stret­ching it forth to that end and purpose, Isay. 50. 1, 2. and 65. 1, 2. and though we have long despised Wis­dome, yet to day, while it is called to day, we may seek and finde Wisdome: the end of Christs dying for all, was, that they which live, and are still joy­ned to all the living, might not hence forth live to themselves, but to him who died for them, and rose againe, 2 Corint. 5. 15. Eccles. 9. 10. and this conside­ration may comfort us, and cause us to lift up the hands that hang downe, and to strengthen the feeble knees: for though we have been such fooles as hitherto to despise Wisdome, and hate knowledge, yet while God is calling us, and continuing meanes to us, and especially his servants to preach the gospell, it is still a [Page 47] time of finding, and getting Wisdome; and he that so heares and learnes of the father as to come to Christ, he will in no wise cast out, but will receive him gra­ciously, pardoning his iniquities, Joh. 6. 37. And it might be powerfull also to awaken us to seek the Lord, to seek Wisdome, and righteousness while he is exercising patience, and forbearance to us, and crying to us to turne at his reproofes; and to stirre us up hereto, the next branch of the instruction is good to be considered by us, viz.

2. The present time is the opportunity in which it is good and needfull for us to seek and get Wisdome and understanding: Wherefore as the Ho: Ghost saith, to day if ye will heare his voice, harden not your hearts, Hebr. 3. 7, 8, 14, 15. and 4. 7. strive now to enter in at the strait gate, for many I say unto you, saith our saviour, shall seek to enter in, and shall not be able: When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut too the doore, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the doore, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us. Then all pleadings and arguments will be in vaine; he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence you are, Luk. 13. 24, 27. gather your selves therefore together, yea gather together, before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the Lord come upon you, before the day of the Lords anger come upon you, Zephan. 2. 1, 2.

Objection. If any one should say, I am young, and strong, and the evill day will not yet prevent, nor overtake me: I may now rejoyce in my youth, and let my heart cheere me; I may now seek after the world, and love the lust of the flesh, mine ease and pleasure: Or the lust of the eye, in labouring to be rich, and laying up for my selfe and mine: Or the pride of life. I may hereafter apply my heart to Wis­dome; I know not yet how to be so serious; it will [Page 48] be time enough for that when old age cometh.

Answer. 1. To this I may say, this Objection sa­vours of great ignorance, and folly, and want of con­sideration of the worth, and invaluable price of Wis­dome: did we seriously consider that Wisdome is the principall thing; and that all the things we may, or can desire are not to be compared to her; as God is discovering the excellency of it, and opening our eyes to behold it; and that it is prepared for us, and may be found and gotten by us; it would be powerfull with us to seek it early, to seek first the kingdome of God, and the righteousness thereof, to cry after it, and be restless in our spirits for it, and with all our gettings, and in all opportunities to seek after this one thing that is so profitable unto all things, Prov. 3. 15, 16, 17. and 4. 1, 8. and 8. 1. 6. 10, 11, 17. And therefore also.

2. It is safe good, and needfull to seek it in the present opportunity, and dangerous to neglect that▪ For.

1. If thou shouldest live to old age, it may be more difficult then to finde Wisdome then now because.

1. When old age cometh, then our naturally capa­cities and powers will be much weakned and impai­red; and afflictions, and weaknesses are ordinarily so many, and so flowing in upon us like the waves of the sea, one in the neck of another, the clouds re­turning after the raine, that then we shall be more out of capacity to seek and get Wisdome, hence when the preacher had, by way of severe reproofe to such an Objector, said: rejoyce ô young man in they youth, and let thy heart cheere the in the dayes of thy youth; and walk in the wayes of thine owne heart, and in the sight of thine eyes; but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment, &c. He addes: Remem­ber now thy creator in the dayes of thy youth, while the evill dayes come not, nor the yeares draw nigh when thou [Page 49] shalt say, I have no pleasure in them While the sun or the light, or the Moone, or the Star be not darkned, nor the clouds returne after the raine, &c. Eccles. 11. 9, 10. and 12. 1, 7. it will then be more hard to heare, and seeke after Wisdome, when we are prest downe, and burdened with manifold paines, sicknesses, weak­nesses; and when also our naturall strength is weak­ned; As is signified in what is said of the Israëlites, when God sent them word by the hand of Moses that he would bring them out from. Under the burdens of the Egyptians; and rid them out of their bondage &c. yet they hearkned not unto Moses for anguish of spi­rit, Exod. 6. 2, 9.

2. Then also it will [...]e more hard, and difficult, to get understanding, because they have been accu­stomed to doe evill: When it hath been mens man­ner from their youth to neglect Wisdome, and des­pise instruction, and to seek after, and set their hearts upon the world, and the things thereof, this renders it more difficult with them to leave their old wayes, and practices, and cause their hearts to come to Wis­dome, according to that: Can the Ethiopian change his skin? Or the Leopard his spots? then may ye also doe good that are accustomed to doe evill, Jerem. 13. 23. In­deed with God all things are possible; nor doe I speak this to discourage them that are old; but to awaken the young, and others before they are older, to break of their sins, and forsake their unrighteous wayes and thoughts, and turne unto him who delighteth in mer­cy, and who will multiply to pardon. Nor doth the Holy. Ghost use that saying fore mentioned Jerem. 13. 23. to signify, that it is impossible for them to lear­ne to doe well, as he is giving grace unto them; for he; vers 27. thus still expostulates with them; wilt thou not be made cleane? When shall it once be? As inti­mating, that God was yet waiting upon them, and [Page 50] cleansing them from the evill they had been accusto­ming themselves unto: but he speakes it, to the end he might ingage them to consider their waies, and turne unto him: but continuance in evill makes it more difficult with us to depart there from, and to forsake our old lovers and companions, and to incline our hearts to Gods understanding, which we have so long despised, and set light by. What one is wont to doe, becomes at last, after a sort, necessary for him to doe. As, whereas in Matth. 27. 15. it is said, Pi­late was wont to release unto the people a prisoner; it is thus rendred; Luk. 23. 17. of necessity he must release unto them one at the feast. As on the one hand, the holy spirit saith, traine up a child in the way in which he should goe; and when he is old he will not depart there from, Prov. 22. 6. so on the other hand we may say, when we have been training up our selves in the days of our youth, and strength in the ways in which we should not goe, it becomes more hard with us to depart therefrom when we are old, 2 Petr. 2. 14. let this be considered by us.

3. Yea God may put an end to our harvest time, I meane, to those choice, and advantageous oppor­tunites which yet in mercy he is cotinuing to us, if we continue in hating knowledge; and for such wic­kedness; and then it will be more difficult to seeke Wisdome: He may send a famine, not of bread, or a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord: And men may wander from sea to sea, and from the north even unto the east, and run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and not finde it: and in that day the faire virgins, and young men (who may have too much neglected the present opportuni­tes) shall faint for thirst, Amos 8. 11, 13. Goe then to the Ant, thou sluggard, consider herways, and be wise; which having no guide, overseer, or ruler provides her [Page 51] meat in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest, how long wilt thou sleep, ô sluggard, when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep; so shall thy poverty co­me as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man, Prov. 6. 6, 11. and 10. 5. O! if God should send such a famine upon us, as we have by our iniquities deser­ved, that we may not then have cause to bewaile it with the Prophet, and say; the harvest is past, the sum­mer ended, and we are not saved, Jerem. 8. 18, 20.

4. Yea God may deprive us of all meanes, and leave striving with us; or deprive us of capacity, that no man can be an instrument of good to us, for our ma­nifold, and long continued in provocations of him, if we should deferre seeking Wisdome till the evill dayes come: He is not tied, or ingaged to us to wait our leisure or pleasure: and though he is rich in mer­cy, and abundant in goodness, yet it is dangerous to despise the riches of his goodness, forbearance, and long suffering, Rom. 2. 4, 5. his spirit shall not alwayes strive with men, Genes. 6. 3. and if we should provoke him to leave striving, wo will be unto us; No man can come to Christ, except the father who hath sent Christ draw him, Joh. 6. 44. doe we then provoke the Lord to anger? are we stronger then he? Who ever hardned his heart against him, and prospered? oh that we may then be admonished to walk while we have the light, lest darkness come upon us; and while we have the light to believe in the light that we may be the children of the light, Joh. 12. 35, 36. Nay.

2. Suppose thou shouldst live to old age, and that then thorow the grace of God that brings salvation to all men, thine heart should be turned to the Lord; yet it is much better now; and the present time is the most excellent opportunity for getting Wisdome; because.

[Page 52]1. The sooner we apply our hearth to finde and get, & walk in Wisdome, the more truly joyous and comfortable will be our life here in the flesh, to be spiritually minded in life and peace. Rom. 8. 6. Wis­dome is sweet to the soule; life to the soule, and health to all the flesh, it doth good like a medicine. Prov. 24. 14. and 3. 21 - 24. and 4. 20. 21. and whatever affli­ctions such meet withall as are found in this exercise; Whatever troubles they have in the flesh, and as to the outward man, yet they have a mercy heart, and there­by a continuall feast. Prov. 19, 8. and 15. 13 - 15. When they have tribulation in the World, they have peace in Christ who hath overcome the World; and such peace guards their hearts as passeth all understanding. Joh. 16. 33. in beleiving God fills them with joy and peace, and such joy as astranger intermedleth not with. Rom. 15. 13. Prov. 14. 8 - 10. Yea when they are in heaviness thorow manifold temptations, yet beleiving what Christ hath done, and the hope set before them; and so in Christ; They reioyce with joy unspeakable, and full of glory. 1 Petr. 1. 6 - 8. Whereas the laughter of those fooles that despice Wisdome is but like the crack­ling of thornes under a pot; it makes a great shew, but is gone presently, it is but for a moment, it vanisheth away in an instant. All the things men reioyce and trust in, besides the name of the Lord, and our God; Whither they be the more gross lusts of the flesh, such as surfetting, drunkness, uncleaness, ease and pleasure: or the desires of the mind, as covetousness, pride, the honour of this World, the friendships, and praise of men; Wisdome, or our owne workes of righteous­ness, &c. they are all but sparkes of our owne kindling, they are assoone out as in; There is no abiding com­fort in them; And even in the laughter thereby occa­sioned the heart is sorrowfull, and the end of that mirth is heaviness. Eccles. 5. 6. Isay. 50. 10. 11. Prov. [Page 53] 14. 13. A dreadfull sound is in their eares many times, trouble and anguish takes hold of them in Gods awake­nings of them; and when they are recovered out of the snare of Satan, oh what shame is then upon them for their former evill wayes; They were unfruitfull to them while they walked in them, and now appeare exceeding shame full to them, when they reflect upon them: according to that, what fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? Rom. 6. 21. Oh how are they then filled with grife and sorrow, both for their owne personall evills, and for the injury they have done to others! They will then mourne at the last and say, how have I hated instruction? And mine heart despised reproofe? And have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine eare to them that instructed me I was almost in all evill in the midst of the congregation, the great congregation, to which the Scriptures in the records of them are vouch safed, and amongst which continued, & read every Sabbath, and upon which the name of Christ is called: and in the midst of the assembly of the upright, that have been taught of God as the truth is in Jesus, and love him, and without hidden things of dishonesty hold forth the word of life, and speak often thereof one to another in their frequent assemblings of them­selves together; Which aggravates the evill of any, that have such advantages, to despise Wisdome. Prov. 5. 11 - 13. with Psal. 111. 1. but contrariwise, the soo­ner we search for Wisdome, and seek for understan­ding, the more comfortable will our lives be here; hence that; come ye children, hearken unto me, I will teach you the feare of the Lord, which is the beginning and instruction of Wisdome: What man is he that will love life, and see good dayes? keep thy tongue from evill, and thy lips from speaking guile: depart from evill and doe good, seek peace and pursue it; for the eyes of the Lord [Page 54] are upon the richteous, &c. Psal. 34. 11, 15. with, 1 Petr. 3. 9, 14.

2. And the earlier we seek Wisdome, it will pro­bably tend to more happiness, or a greater degree of glory afterwards: men that delay the applying their hearts to understanding till the evill dayes come, they cannot have such opportunity for exalting Wisdome to others, and so doing them good, as those that heartily imbrace it in their more youthfull dayes; and therefore not so much fruit will abound to their ac­count in the day of the Lord. They that are wise will shine as the firmament; and they that turne many to righteousness as the starres for ever andever, Dan. 12. 3. But.

3. It is needfull for us to seek and get Wisdome and understanding in the present time, and dangerous to neglect it; because our times are not in our owne hands, but in the Lords; and we cannot boast our selves of the morrow, for we know not what a day may bring forth, Prov. 27. 1. In Gods hand is the soule of every living thing, and the breath of all manking. Job 12. 10. and how many doth he cut off in their full strength, being wholy at ease and quiet, whose brests are full of milk, and their bones moistened, with Marrow? Job 21. 22 - 24. and if he cut of, or shut up, or gather toge­ther, then who can hinder him? Job 9. 12. 13 and 11. 10. and 12. 14. There is no man hath power over the Spirit to retaine the Spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death; and there is no discharge in that warre; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it. Eccles. 8. 8. And in the grave there is no work nor device, nor knowledge, nor Wisdome. Eccles. 9. 10. no hoping for Gods truth. Isay 38. 18. None to preach the Gospell, or to Commemorate Gods praises. Psal. 6. 5. and 88. 11, 12. and 115, 17, 18. And besides all this, the state of man is then fixt for ever when they­dye; [Page 55] there is then a great gulfe fixed, so that there is no passing from one place, or state, to another no not forever; But as the tree falls so it lies, whither toward the south, or toward the north: In the place where the tree falleth there it shall bee. Luk. 16. 26. Eccles. 11. 3. Let us consider this according to what the Apostle James saith: Go to now, ye that say, to day, or to morrow, we will goe into such a city, and con­tinue there a yeare, and buy, and sell, and get gaine: Whe­reas you know not what will be on the morrow; for what is your life? It is even a vapour that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. Therefore (because our lives are so uncertaine and brittle) to him that knoweth to doe good, and doth it not (in the present season) to him it is sin. Jam. 4. 13. 17. All that hath been said doth in some measure shew, that it is good and needfull for us to search diligently for Wisdome, and understanding in the present opportunity: And it may be of usefull­ness to us.

1. To shew unto us who are fooles indeed, even such as procrastinate, and delay their seeking Wisdo­me; such as know not, or take no notice of their time. Eccles. 8. 5 - 7. They are more bruitish herein then many creatures that have no understanding: The stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times and the swallow, and the turtle, and the crane, observe the time of their oming: but my people, saith the Lord know not the judgement of the Lord: how doe ye say we are Wise? Jerem. 8. 7, 9. such are instructed to goe to the Ant, and consider her wayes; though she be without the understanding that men have, yet she provideth her meat in the summer, in the proper season; Whereas sluggards, Whom God teacheth more then the beasts of the earth, and maketh wiser then the foules of heaven, observe not the proper time. Job 35. 11. Nay herein also men are preferred before, or have greater advantages then [Page 56] the ants, that weak people; they have no ruler, over­seer, arguide; whereas generally we have some pa­rent, or yoke fellow, or relation, or faitfull friend, to Counsell and provoke us to doe whatever our hand findeth to doe, with our might. Prov. 6. 6 - 10. Eccles. 9. 10.

2. It may exhort us all, not to have fellowship with men in their unfruitfull workes of darkness; but to redeeme the time, especially when the dayes are evill, that we may understand what the will of the Lord is. Ephes. 5. 11 - 17. and with David, to thinke on our wayes▪ and turne our feet to Gods testimonies; to ma­ke haste, and not delay to keep Gods commandements Psal. 119. 59, 60. And to ingage us hereto, consider the last instruction noted in this Affirmation; Viz.

4. He is, and shall be an happy man that findeth Wisdome, and getteth understanding: The transla­tours have put in [is] and read, happy is the man; but it is more full, left out, and read; Happy the man that findeth Wisdome, &c. namely, happy now and for ever. Happiness is a deliverance from evill, and an in­joyment of all good, according to that. Psal. 84. 11, 12. the Lord God is a sun and sheild, and will give grace and glory; no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly: Blessed (happy, as is evident in the former verse) is the man that is in such a case: so here. He that is and shall be thus happy, is such an one as findeth Wisdome, &c. Not that hath found simply; but to him that by patient continuance in welldoing seekes for glory, &c. Rom. 2. 7. to such as alwayes abide in this exercise, and are not weary of welldoing; he that indureth to the end the same shall be saved. Gal. 6. 9. Matth. 10. 22. Otherwise all will be in vaine. Men may have run well in former times, and yet by some meanes be hindred from Obeying the truth: They may draw back, after they have begun well; and then during such [Page 57] neglect of, or departure from this exercise, Gods soule shall have no pleasure in them. Gal. 3. 1 - 3. and 5. 7. Hebr. 10. 38. When the righteous man turnes away from his righteousness, and commits iniquity, and doth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doth, shall he live? Shall he be happy? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned; in his trespass that he hath trespassed; and in his sin that he hath sinned in them shall he dye. Ezek. 18. 24. But she is a tree of life to all that lay hold on her, and happy is every one that retaineth her. He that getteth Wisdome loveth his owne soule, he that keepeth understanding shall finde good. Prov. 3. 18. and 19. 8. Happy is such an one, and it shall be well with him for ever. Psal. 128. 1, 2. like to those sayings of our Saviour; He that beleiveth on him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. Joh. 3. 15, 16, 18, 36. He that cometh to me shall never hunger; he that abideth in me shall bring forth fruit; but if a man abide not in him, he is cast forth as a branch, and whitereth, and men gather them, and they are cast into the fire and burned. Joh. 6. 35. and 15. 1. 8. such an one then is the subject of this happiness, even every one that co­meth unto, and abideth in Christ. And every such an one is pronounced happy, not by the men of the World, the World knoweth not, owneth not, appro­veth them not, but looketh upon them as miserable ones; But by Wisdome, who is infinite in love, as manifested in that she hath built her house, and fur­nished her table, and invites all to heare, to come and be wise; and loves them with peculiar manner of love that from the discovery of her love, love her, and seek her early. Prov. 18. 17. and 9. 1 - 5. and she is in­finite in power, as evidenced in that she made the heavens, and hath grapled with and overcome all our enemies; and all power is given to her; and therefore not onely saith, happy; But makes happy with her [Page 58] word; he is blessed whom she blesseth, and shall be blessed, for ever. 1 Chron. 17. 27. Yea and she is faith­full, the opening of her lips are right things; for her mouth speakes truth, and wickedness is an abomina­tion to her lips; all the words of her mouth are in righteousness, &c. Prov. 8. 6 - 10. all which are power­full motives to listen to, and receive her instruction, and take fast hold thereon. And what the happiness, and blessedness of every such an one as findeth Wis­dome, and gets understanding is, and shall be, we shal give some account of in speaking to the gaine thereof.

Thus though with, much weakness, I have spoken to the affirmation of the Ho: Ghost, which was the first thing proposed to be considered in the beginning: and now come to speake to the second. Viz.

2. We have also in the words, a generall demon­stration, and evidence of the happiness of such a man as findeth Wisdome, and getteth understanding. And a commendation of the exercise of finding, and get­ting; Laid downe as a motive and argument to ingage us to seeke, that we may finde and get it. For the Mar­chandise of it is better then the Merchandise of Silver, and the gaine thereof then fine gold. Vers. 14.

In which Demonstration, and Commendation is signified to us in generall.

1. That that which renders a man happy in the ac­count of Wisdome, is somewhat that is more excellent then silver, or gold, or any thing included therein, or to be had, and injoyed thereby; therefore it is not said, happier, or happiest, is the man, but positively, happy the man, For the Merchandise of Wisdome is better, &c. it must be somewhat better then gold and silver, that will make a man happy. Though money answers all things here. Eccles. 10. 19. Yet it will not make a man truly happy; nor all the things besides [Page 59] this excellent Wisdome we can desire. Prov. 3. 15. a man may be, and is, an unhappy, miserable piteous creature, though he should gaine the whole world if he be without Wisdome, for he will lose his owne sou­le. Matth. 16. 26, 27. Prov. 19. 8. Silver and gold is so farre from making a man happy, and blessed indeed, that the abundance of it which he possesseth will not make the naturall life comfortable, nor continue it. Luk. 12. 15. Deut. 30. 20. It is Christ Jesus, the Wis­dome that is from above, in whom there is blessing for all the nations, and families of the earth; in whom are treasured up all spirituall blessings in heavenly things▪ Genes. 22. 18. Act. 3. 25. Ephes. 1. 3. and he that hath and findes him is blessed indeed, and shall be blessed. Prov. 8. 33. 34. Israel, who have the God of Jeshurun for their help, who are justified, and glory in the Lord, are an happy people, and there is none like unto them herein, namely, none besides them happy: though others may have an abundance of the World in their possessions, yet he that beleiveth not the son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him. Deut. 33. 26-29. Joh. 3. 36. Prov. 29 18. Psal. 144▪ 15▪ and 146. 5. there is, as before is said, blessing in Christ for all nations, that which will make a man happy; but this is onely received in receiving him, which any man may doe while God is calling, and stretching forth his hand; but though a man had all the silver and gold in the World, yet if he sinneth against this Wisdome, and hates her, he wrongs his owne soule, and loves death; And is therefore a most miserable man; such an one is opposed to the blessed and happy man. Prov. 8. 36. with vers. 34. And this consideration might be use­full to us.

1. To shew unto us the folly of such as labour for silver and gold, as if happiness consisted therein; and account themselves, and others happy in the injoy­ment [Page 60] of it; The covetous man blesseth himselfe, but the Lord abhorreth him. Psal. 10. 3. indeed, our Wisdome which is earthly, leades us to labour to be rich in those uncertaine, and deceitfull riches, as if they would render us blessed in the possessing of them: Prov. 23. 4. and causeth them that have the riches of this World to say, blessed be the Lord, for I am rich; as is they were therefore happy; or as if this were an undoubted evidence of Gods peculiar love to them, Zach. 11. 5. but they are miserably Mistaken; he that had such an a bundance of this Worlds good that he wanted roome where to bestow it, was yet but a foole; and so is every one that layeth up treasure for himselfe, and is not rich toward God, Luk. 12. 16, 20.

2. It may help us to take heed, and beware of co­vetousness, and not to love the World, nor the things that are in the World; for whosoever so doth, the love of the father is not in him, 1 Joh. 2. 15, 17. why should we set our affections upon, and lust after those things in which happiness consisteth not? this argu­ment the Apostle useth to take off the beleivers from covetousness. If ye then be risen with Christ seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God; set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth; for ye are dead, and your life (your happiness) is hid, (not in the things on the earth, but) with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life shall appeare, then shall we appeare with him in glory; Mortify therefore your members on the earth. Covetousness, Colos. 3. 1, 3, 5.

3. It may make us sober in our exercise about the things of this world; and let the Moderation of our mind be knowne to all men, in all these things, Philip. 4. 5. and especially seing the end of all things is at hand, it may cause us to be sober, that we may watch unto prayer, and attend upon the Lord without distraction, [Page 61] for the things here below will not make us happy, 1 Petr. 4. 7. 1 Corint. 7. 29, 35. the things here below may cumber and distract us, but one thing is needfull for us to be fervently sought after by us, even this sound Wisdome, and excellent understanding. Luk. 10. 39-42.

4. Seing silver and gold will not make us happy, and that Wisdome will onely doe so, even this heaven­ly Wisdome, it may ingage us to get Wisdome; and with all our gettings to get understanding.

2. In this Demonstration, and Commendation, is also in generall signified to us; that the way of the Ho: Ghost for taking us of from those things that are uncertaine, and unprofitable, is, to set better things before us; He doth noth simply forbid us to love the World and things that are in, and of the World; But to redeeme us from them, and from our vain conversation, he proposeth to, and sets before us the precious blood of Christ, and what thereby he hath effected and obtained, and is become, that he might out bid all other things. 1 Petr. 1. 18, 19. Wisdome had before admonished us not to leane to our owne under­standing. Vers. 5. Now that she might prevaile with us to receive that admonition, and cease from our owne Wisdome, she here proposeth to us a Wisdome, and understanding that is infinitely better, more rich, and inriching. So when the Apostle had been crying downe the Wisdome of the wise, and understanding of the prudent, that no flesh might glory in Gods pre­sence, but be willing to become fooles, he saith, Christ is made of God Wisdome. And, saith he, how be it, though we come not with excellency of speech, or of Wisdome, but have shewne that God hath made foo­lishness the Wisdome of this World, Yet we preach Wisdome, &c. 1 Cor. 1. 17 - 31. and 2. 1 - 8. to the end that we might in beholding, and considering that better, and more precious, and profitable Wisdome, [Page 62] part with and cease from our owne, which is bruitish, and not onely unprofitable, but hurtfull. In like man­ner, that we might be broken off from our covetous­ness, from affecting, and lusting after the riches of this World; and from seeking after the honour of this World; the Wisdome of God assures us, that riches and honour are, with her, yea durable riches, and righ­teousness; that her fruit is better then gold, yea then fine gold, and her revenue then choice silver. That in her left hand are riches and honour; that we might hearken unto her, and be crucified to the World, and come unto her to be inriched by her; and in a patient continuance in Weldoing seek for glory, honour, and immortality; That honour which hath immortality joyned with it, which the honor we may receive from men hath not, Prov. 8. 10, 18, 20. and 3. 16. Rom. 2. 7. so to take us off from rejoycing, or trusting in our owne workes of righteousness, Christ Jesus by his spi­rite sets before us the righteousness of God without the law; or without the works, or sacrifices thereof, even that righteousness which is manifested by the faith of Christ to be for and unto all, and upon all them that beleive; that we might count all our owne righteous­nesses as filthy raggs, and as loss and dung for the excel­lency of the knowledge of Christ, that we might win him and be found in him, Rom. 3. 20, 22. Gal. 2. 15, 16, 21. Philip. 3. 7, 9. Hebr. 10. 32, 34. Prov. 16. 16. and 8. 18.

  • 1. This consideration then shewes unto us, the willingness, and cordiallness of Christ, that we might be partakers of him, and of that excellent provision trea­sured up in him for all mankind.
  • 2. It shewes the bruitishness of those men who spend their money for that which is not bread, and la­bour for that which satisfieth not; seing God hath pre­pared for us, and sets before us that which is good and fatness, and which will give to us reall satisfaction, and [Page 63] render us truly happy. Isay. 55. 1 - 3. O that we may none of us by following lying vanities forsake our owne mercies. Jonah. 2. 8.

More particularly in this Demonstration and evi­dence of the happiness of the man that findeth Wis­dome, and getteth understanding; and commenda­tion of the exercise therabout, is signified to us.

  • 1. That to the end we may finde, and get Wisdo­me, as referring to the former verse; and have the gaine of it, as referring to the latter end of this verse; We must first use Merchandise.
  • 2. That the Merchandise of Wisdome is better then the Merchandise of silver; and the gaine thereof then fine gold.

1. That to the end we may find, and get Wisdome, and have the gaine of it, we must first use Merchandise. This excellent, and beneficiall treasure is prepared for us, and declared to us, without and before any thing be required of us, as is before shewne: But that we may partake of it, and its benefit somewhat is required of us as God is enabling us. There is first good prepa­red for men, and shewed to them, before any thing be required of them. Mica. 6. 8. But then there are com­mandments given to us by the Lord Jesus. The hus­bandman must first labour, saith the Apostle, before he be partaker of the fruit; Consider what I say, and the Lord give thee an understanding in all things. 2 Tim. 2. 5 - 7. Hence our Saviour saith, Labour not for the meat that perisheth, but for that which indureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give unto you, (in thus exerci­sing your selves) Joh. 6. 27 - 29. It is in this also, and most certainely true; The diligent hand maketh rich; and the soule of the diligent shall be made fat; but the soule of the sluggard desiretb, and hath nothing, the idle soule shall suffer hunger. Prov. 10. 4, 5. and 13. 4. and 19. 15. and 20. 4. Hence such precepts are given to us. Prov. [Page 64] 4. 5, 7, and 6. 6, 11. In this instruction then we shall briefly inquire and consider.

  • 1. What is this Merchandise here commended to us?
  • 2. Why it is called, and compared to Merchandise?

1. What is this Merchandise here commended to us, and what is needfull hereto? to this we have spo­ken already, and shall therefore breifly say.

1. There is contained in it, and needfull to it, an hearing, and learning of the father, that we may know where it is, and is to be had by us, and the ex­cellency of it, that we may seek it, and in the right place; how shall we beleive on him of whom we have not heard? Rom. 10. 14, 17, 18. that the soule be without knowledge it is not good, and we canoot know unless we heare and learne of God; naturally we are igno­rant, and know not Gods name, or his Sons name, but every word of God is pure, Prov. 30. 4, 5. let eve­ry man therefore be swift to heare the word of truth; and to heare in hearing: to learne of Christ to know him, who is made knowne to us in the holy scriptures and in his ordinances, and in the assemblies of his peo­ple, let us then bow downe our eares; and heare the words of the wise, Jam. 1. 18, 19. Prov. 22. 19. and 8. 33. and 19. 2.

2. There is diligence, and industry, especially of the soule, to be used, and exercised, that we may get, and be made partakers of it; to wit, an exerci­sing our selves in the law of the Lord day and night; as is said of the vertuous and wise Woman; she gir­deth her loines with strength, and strengthneth her armes; when she perceiveth her Merchandise is good; her candle goeth not out by night, Prov. 31. 17, 18. so there is re­quisite hereto, and contained herein, a diligent see­king, and serious searching for, and earnest drawing out this sound Wisdome; and a safe laying it up, and keeping it, when we have found it, and thereto rea­ding, [Page 65] and searching the Scriptures of truth, meditating therein, praying unto God to open our eyes, and give us Wisdome; and as we finde his words to eat them, that they may be the joy and reioycing of our hearts. Matth. 13. 45. Joh. 6. 27. Matth. 6. 33. Prov. 8. 17, 18.

2. Now this spirituall exercise may be called, and compared to Merchandise.

1. To signify to us, that this excellent commodity of Wisdome, and understanding is not in our selves, as is before noted; we must seeke it elsewhere, even without us in Christ Jesus, as declared to us in the gospell. As those things that merchants seek after, they have them not of their owne, but the merchants ships bring their commodites from a farre, Prov. 31. 14. so this Wisdome is above, and farre of from us; and the tidings of it is good newes from a farre countrey. Prov. 25. 25. in us, that is, in our flesh, dwelleth no good thing; we have no sound wisdome, or under­standing in us; there is none▪ that understandeth. Rom. 3. 10, 11. and 7. 18. but these treasures are hid in Christ; and yet they are brought nigh to us in the word of faith; and in the preaching of it they are in our mouthes, and in our hearts, that we might receive them; they are brought to us in the Scriptures, and in the opportunities we have to heare the gospell, as com­modities, are brought nigh to men in a mart, or mar­ket: But we are without this Wisdome naturally, and from our first bith. Those are ungodly, and antichri­stian spirits who say, the true light, Christ, is in every man; for Christ is in heaven, and no otherwise had but in receiving him, even in beleiving on his name. Joh. 1. 12. and he that heareth, and learneth of the Father cometh unto him; and therefore he is natu­rally at a distance from him. John 6. 45.

2. It is called, and compared to Merchandise, to in­struct us, that we must part with somewhat, that we [Page 66] may have this excellent pearle, as also before is said. Commodities are sold to, and therefore must be bought by the Merchants, before they have them, or somewhat must be parted with by the Merchant for them. Prov. 31. 24. The Kingdome of Heaven is like unto a Merchant man seeking goodly pearles (a good heart, good frames, and qualifications) who when he had found one pearle of great price (Christ in the gospell in whom dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, and in whom is all good) he went and sold all that he had (all his former riches righteousness, confidences, hopes for Heaven, markes, signes, &c. and bought it. Matth. 13. 45, 46. Indeed, herein also is a difference between the earthly and heavenly Merchandise: The Merchants of this World part with somewhat usually that is in some measure worthy, or judged worthy of the com­modity; But we have no worth, nor worthiness, and therefore can parth with, nothing which may in the least be of like value with Wisdome: And therefore he that hath no mony is invited to buy, and to buy without money and price. Isay. 55. 1. Yet we must buy Wisdome, and understanding. Prov. 23. 23, and to that end we must forsake all that we have. Luk. 14. 33.

3. This spirituall exercise is likened to Merchandise also, because as in the earthly Merchandise a man meets with many troubles, and stormes; Their tra­ding being much upon the sea; and they being placed neare the sea. Ezek. 27. 3. They meet with many boi­sterous windes, and troublesome seas, which many ti­mes doe affright them, and threaten danger to them: So also in seeking after this sound Wisdome, Many are the afflictions of the righteous. Psal. 34. 17 - 19. They have many contrary windes of evill doctrines an­noying them, and hindering them in this pursuit, and indeavouring to corrupt them, and draw them off [Page 67] from listening to Wisdome, and seeking, and getting understanding. Prov. 9. 1 - 6. 13 - 17. They are indea­vouring to toss them to and fro. Ephes. 4. 14. that they might drive them back, or cause them to come into their pretended harbour, which will not indeed secure them. Gal. 5. 7. Prov. 7. 1 - 18. and many stormes they meet with from violent dealars, and profane ones; many frownes and flatteries, many scoffs, reproaches, and derisions; many threats, and actuall troubles, and bodily persecutions also; imprisonments, spoilings of their goods, loss of liberty, name, yea and life also, when their enemies have permissive commission gi­ven to them. Matth. 10. 38, 39. So that, as it is need­full for us in coming unto, and following Christ Jesus to deny our selves, and sell all that we have; So also it is needfull to take up our cross daily, and follow him. Luk. 14. 26, 27. Matth. 16. 24. Such as use this Mer­chandise must exspect to meet with manifold stormes and tempests; The flouds of the ungodly lift up, they lift up their voice, they lift up their Waves. Psal. 18. 4, 5. and 93. 3, 4. They shall be hated of all men, and suffer Persecution, who will live godly in Christ Jesus. Matth. 10. 22. 2 Tim. 3. 12, 13. Yea and their Lord and Master will be more abundantly trying, corre­cting, and chastening them, not to discourage them in their way, but to purify them, and try them, and make them white to the time of the end: The raine will descend, upon them, and the floods beat, and the win­des blow: and it is good, and needfull for them to know this, who resolve to exercise themselves in this Merchandise, that when persecutions & afflictions arise for the gospell sake, they may not be offended, or count it strange concerning the fiery triall, as if some stronge thing happened unto them. Luk. 14. 25, 26-33. 1 Peter 4. 12. Matth. 7. 24, 25.

4. This is Merchandise, because gaine is aimed at, [Page 68] and may lawfully be proposed by us: Those that use Merchandise in this World doe it to this end, that they may inrich themselves by their traffique, and trading. Ezek. 27. 12. and 28. 5. in all labour there is profit aimed at, and sought after. Prov. 14. 23. and indeed this is the great thing the Merchants of the earth pro­pose to themselves, that they may inrich themselves; and therefore they willingly adventure, and indure many stormes, and goe thorow much foule weather. Revelat. 18. 11 - 17. 23. So also those that trade for, and in this heavenly commodity, may have respect to the recompence of the reward, to that gaine which is better then that of fine gold: the hope of this is that which causeth them to labour, and suffer reproach; and forgetting the things that are behind, and reaching forth unto those things that are before, to press toward the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Philip. 3. 13, 14. This is the motive the faith­full and true witness useth, to ingage those who were wretched, and miserable, and poore, and blind, and naked, to listen to his counsell, and buy his commo­dities, because they were gainfull, to wit, gold tried in the fire wherewith they might be made rich, and white raiment, &c. Revelat. 3. 17, 18. and because of this gaine proposed, they who are spirituall, and heavenly Merchants, are strengthned to beare up against all stormes, and to hoise up their sailes in all foule weather, and not to faint, but set their faces like a flint, knowing that their light affliction which is but for a moment, worketh for them a farre more exceeding eternall weight of glory, While they look not on the things that are seen, but on the things which are not seen. 2 Corinth. 4. 16 - 18. They doe not so observe the wind as to be discouraged, but the gaine being so sweet, and delightfull, it causeth them to trade, that they might get more knowledge of Christ, and God [Page 69] in him, more acquaintance with him, and conformity to him; that they might adde to their faith vertue; and to vertue knowledge; and to knowledge tempe­rance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity; and that their pound might gaine five or ten pound; and that at last they might be made partakers of the hope of eternal life, Luk. 19. 15, 18. this makes them lanch out into the deep amidst the waves, and billowes of the sea, and to feare no weather, because they know they shall reap in joy; and at last partake of that glory which eye hath not seen, nor eare heard, nor hath it entred into the heart of man to conceive; this hope saves them, and strengthens them with patience to wait, and with re­solution to hold on their way, and not to feare what flesh can doe unto them; and this gaine makes them willing to count as loss those things that formerly were gainfull to them; and to sel, and part with all, that by any meanes they may attaine the resurrection of the dead: no stormes, or blasts they must indure, and pass thorow; no goodly things they must forgoe, and part with; no flatteries and inticements they meet withall, move them, while the eye is fixed on this great gaine: but he that hath this hope in him, puri­fieth himselfe, even as he is pure, Act. 20. 19, 24. 1 John. 3. 1, 3.

5. This exercise may be compared to merchandise, because we should seek after this heavenly Wisdome, that we might impart it to others: thus it is with the merchants of the earth; they adventure for commo­dities, and buy them, that they may sell, and get gaine, as before: and here in merchants are differen­ced from many other buyers; many others buy for themselves, and their owne use onely; or for their owne families: But Merchants buy not commodities [Page 70] for themselves, and their families onely, but that they may sell to others, to any that will buy of them; and this is part of their trade and traffique. Ezek. 27. 33, 34. So those wise, and spirituall Merchants should seek and get Wisdome and understanding, not for themselves, or their families onely, though especially they are to seek their good; and to teach and instruct their Chil­dren diligently; and to talk unto them when they sit in the house, &c. Deut. 6. 4 - 9. But they are also to impart Wisdome to others; I say not, sell it, however not in such a sense as to part with it, and let in goe; the Ho: Ghost hath instructed us to buy the truth, and not sell it, Prov. 23. 23. but to disperse it, as instru­ments in the hand of God, to others: this is the exer­cise of wise men, and hereby they still grow richer, according to that, in the house of the righteous is much treasure; the lips of the wise disperse know­ledge (hereby they are more filled with treasure, to him that hath shall be given) but the heart of the foo­lish doth not so, Prov. 15. 6, 7. this is the way for merchants to grow rich, to disperse their commodi­ties to others; and hereby shall the wise merchant increase knowledge; the more he scattereth, the more he increaseth; the liberall soule shall be made fat, and he that watereth shall be watered also himselfe, Prov. 11. 24 - 26. Christs disciples are the light of the World; and are instructed to shine as lights in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, holding forth the word of life in word and conversation, Philip. 2. 14 - 16. this liberty and authority he hath given them, who taught them their trade, and committed to them his goods, and gave them ability to traffique there­with; I meane, he who is king of saints, who is their judge, to plead their cause, and right their wrongs, and justify them when thy are unjustly con­demned; Who is also their Law-giver, and Statute-maker; [Page 71] Whose lawes they ought to observe, and ac­cording to whose statutes they are to act, and by which to be judged: And who is their king, to save them from all evill, and enemies; and to help them as the needs of their matters require, Isay. 33. 22. And if any of them should forbeare to exalt, and promote Wis­dome to others, because they are forbidden by men; or because danger threatens them; or on what ac­count soever they hide their talents, it will tend to their great dammage, if not to their utter undoing; from him that hath not shall be taken away that which he hath; those who are unprofitable servants shall be cast into utter darkness, where shall be weeping, and gnashing of teeth, Luk. 19. 26. Matth. 13. 12. and 25. 29, 30. their Apostle, and the Bishop of their sou­les, hath instructed them, to exhort one another daily; and as they have received the gift, so to mi­nister, as good stewards, &c. Hebr. 3. 1, 13. 1 Petr▪ 4. 10. with Chap. 5. 1. 1 Thess. 5. 11, 12. and those that are indeed Wise merchants are found in this exer­cise, to invite others to this excellent commodity: the spirit and the bride say come: and let him that heareth say, come; and whosoever will let him come, and take of the water of life freely, Isay. 55. 1. Revel. 22. 16, 17. the very end wherefore they are brought into so neare a relation to Christ, and have this trea­sure committed to them, is, that they might shew forth the praises of him who hath called them out of darkness into his marvellous light, and call others into Wisdom's house, that they in eatingh her bread may be wise also, 1 Petr. 2. 4 - 9. Prov. 9. 1 - 6. with 2 Corint. 11. 2. and Revel. 14. 4.

6. And this may be compared to merchandise, be­cause this spirituall exercise of theirs should be their trade, as it were, their daily and continuall imploy­ment. As the merchandise of the merchants of the [Page 72] earth is their trade, their continued practice: other men may sometimes buy what the merchant doth, but they are not therefore reckoned, or accounted merchants; but they are accounted, and are such, who continue to buy and sell, that they may get gaine, Ezek. 27. 13 - 24. so they are wise merchants who with al their gettings get understanding, Prov. 4. 7. and they are said to use merchandise because they tra­de in, and with this heavenly riches: So he that had received the five talents, went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents; and likewise he that had received the two, &c. Matth. 25. 16, 17. To the same purpose it is said in another Parable, that a certaine Noble man delivered ten pounds to his ten servants, and said unto them, Occupy till I come; this was to be their continuall worke and imployment. And when he was returned, he called unto him his servants to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by tra­ding, Luk. 19. 12 - 15. this spirituall merchandise is not an hearing sometimes, and seeking sometimes Wisdome, but the making it ones business; and happy are such servants whom their Lord when he cometh shall finde so doing; according to that, blessed is the man that heareth me (not that hath heard for a little season, but continues so doing) watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doores, Prov. 8. 34. happy are those servants who run to and fro that they may, grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ; Who follow on to know, that they may know the Lord, win him, and be found in him; and who are shewing forth God's righteousness, and his salvation all the day; and wal­king in the strength of the Lord God, making men­tion of his righteousness, even of his onely, Psal. 71. 14 - 24. In such like respects, this finding Wisdome, [Page 73] and getting understanding, may be called, and com­pared to merchandise.

2. We come in the next place to shew.

  • 1. That the merchandise of Wisdome, and under­standing, is better then the merchandise of silver.
  • 2. And the gaine there of then fine gold.

1. The merchandise of Wisdome, and understan­ding is better then the merchandise of silver. And this appeareth.

1. Because the commodity that is here traded for, even this excellent Wisdome, and understanding, is better, infinitely better, unspeakably, yea incon­ceivably more excellent then silver and gold: She is more precious then rubies, and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her, Prov. 3. 15. They are accounted amongst men the best merchants of the earth, who trade for, and in, the most rich, and ex­cellent wares; and their merchandise is esteemed more excellent then the merchandise of those that traffique in meane, and inconsiderable things: Now therefore the merchandise of the wise merchant must needs be most excellent, because he seekes after a pearle of great, yea of the greatest price. How much better is it to get Wisdome then gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen then silver, Prov. 16. 16. Man knowes not the price thereof, the price it cost, or the worth of this heavenly riches it cannot be gotten for gold neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof. It cannot be valued with the gold of ophir with the precious Onyx, or the sapphire; the gold and the crystall cannot equall it; and the exchange of it shall not be for jewells of fine gold: No mention shall be made of corall, or of Pearles, for the price of Wisdome is above rubies. The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equall it neither shall it be valued with pure gold. Job. 28. 13-19. Wisdome, even Christ Jesus, is the prin­cipall thing: And the law of his mouth is better then [Page 74] thousands of gold and silver. Prov. 4. 6. Ps. 119. 72, 127. There is gold, and a multitude of Rubies, but the lips of knowledge are a Precious jewell, Prov. 28. 15. Yea this Pearle is better then that which many zealous, and re­ligious Merchants, are seeking after: They are seeking goodly pearles, they are seeking first some brokenes of heart, some love to God and men; some marks, and frames, that from thence they may conclude Christ died for them, and God loves them; they are seeking after some knowledge of God, zeale for God, hatred of sin, and victory over their corruptions, as it were by the Work, of the law, and before they da­re come to Christ; and to this end they labour, and are heavy laden, and weary themselves in vaine, and to no purpose. But this is a pearle of great price, even Christ as declared in the gospell, in and with whom God gives all things; here he gives wisdome, and understanding to us, hereby he quickens to a lively hope; by him he gives repentance, and forgiveness of sins, here he gives the manifestation of his love to us before we love him; he is the fountaine of all gra­ce and truth: Hence the Wise merchant who was see­king goodly pearles, when he found this one pearle of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it, Matth. 13. 45, 46. Philip. 3. 4, 9. Christ is made of God Wisdome, and righteousness, and sanctificati­on, and redemption: Yea he is all in the new creati­on, that we might come unto him, and of his fullness receive, grace for grace. 1 Corinth. 1. 30. Colos. 3. 11. O that we did in deed know his excellency, and co­meliness! That we might receive his instruction and not silver: And knowledge rather then choice gold. For Wisdome is better then rubies, and all the things that may (Possibly, and lawfully) be desired, are not to be compared to it. Prov. 8. 10, 11.

2. The merchandise or exercise, in seeking, get­ting, [Page 75] and drawing out this Wisdome and understan­ding is better then the merchandise of silver. For

1. It is more honorable in the sight of God and all good men; The merchandise of the earth is in esteeme among men; and those that use it are some of them, princes, and the honorable of the earth. Isay. 23. 8. 2 Chron. 8. 27, 28. Revel. 18. 23. But this is more honou­rable, not in the sight and account of fooles, but in the judgement of him who is perfect in knowledge, and of those who are taught of, and led by him truly God hath no high account of the riches of this World, nor of those that labour for them. Will he esteeme thy ri­ches? no not gold, nor all the forces of strength. Job. 36. 19 Prov. 23. 4. But those that honour him, who preferre him above all other things, and heare Christ Jesus (for he that honoureth not the son, honours not the father that hath sent him) he will honour, he will greatly, and highly esteeme them, both now and he­re after: And those that despise him, and love their gold or silver, or children above him, shall be lightly esteemed, 1 Sam. 2. 30. Hence we have this motive proposed, to ingage and prevaile with us to get Wis­dome, and understanding, she shall bring thee to ho­nour (not onely hereafter but) when thou dost imbrace her Prov. 4. 5-8. the way of life is above to the wise it is above any other way, that he may depart from hell be­neath, Prov. 15. 24. the conversation of such is in heaven; and they are minding, and trading for, and in heavenly things, Philip. 3. 19, 20. and as high as heaven is above the earth, so answerably the exercise of those that are seeking after, and dwelling in heaven, is higher then the Merchandise of those who seek gold and silver: and indeed to be the servant of Christ in this exercise is the highest honour, and most honou­rable service, and exercise; if any man serve me, saith Christ, him shall my father honour he that waiteth [Page 76] on this master shall be honoured, Joh. 12. 26. He that hath my commandments, my word, and gospell, and kee­peth them, saith our saviour, he it is that loveth me; and he that loveth me shall be loved of my father: and I will love him, and will manifest my selfe unto him, as I will not doe to the World, and those that trade for that onely; and my father and I will come unto him; and not onely give him a short visit, but we will make our abode with him. What an honour is this to have the fa­vour of and fellowship with the father, and with his son Jesus Christ? and this honour have all his saints▪ who are exercising themselves in this heavenly mer­chandise, Joh. 14. 21-23. and those that are led by Wisdome honour them that feare the Lord Ps. 15. 4. and are instructed to hold them in reputation, and very highly to esteeme them in Love, for their works sake, who are sanctifide and made meet for their ma­sters use, and prepared to every good worke, Phil. 2. 29. 1 Thess. 5. 11, 12, 13.

2. This heavenly exercise is better then the Mer­chandise of silver, because it is more pleasing to God: men may laudably serve God in any work of his pro­vidence he gives them to be exercised in; and may, while they are so exercised, with the blessing of God become rich; though when that is the highest end ai­med at, it is displeasing, and abominable to God, Prov. 23. 4. Luk. 16. 15. but still to cry after Wisdome, and lift up the voice for understanding, this exercise is better in the eyes of God then to seek silver, or the riches of this World. So much is signified to us in what is said of Solomon who wrote this booke of the Proverbs. When the Lord in vision had bidden him to aske what he should give him, Solomon desired Wisdome and knowledge; and a wise and understan­ding heart. And the speech pleased the Lord that So­lomon had asked this thing: And God said unto him, [Page 77] because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thy selfe long life, neither hast asked riches for thy selfe nor the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thy selfe understanding, behold I have done according to thy Word, 1 King. 3. 5, 12. 2 Chron. 1. 7, 12. our saviour instructs us first to seek the kingdome of God; and rather to seek that then any of the things of the world: and the king­dome of God is not meat and drinke, but righteou­sness, and peace, and ioy in the holy Ghost. For he that in these things serveth Christ, is wel pleasing to God, and approved of men, Matth. 6. 33. Luk. 12. 30, 31. with Rom. 14. 17, 18. God hath no pleasure in fooles, that are destitute of, and lightly esteeme this excellent Wisdome, Eccles. 5. 4. but there is ioy in heaven: and it even reioyceth the heart of our heavenly father when we retaine his words, and there thorow get Wisdo­me, and understanding: it maketh his heart, as it we­re, glad, Prov. 10. 1. and 27. 11. Whoso loveth Wisdo­me reioyceth his father, Prov. 29. 3. hence that; my son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall reioyce, even mine; yea my reynes shall rejoyce, when thy lips speak right things, Prov. 23. 15, 16.

3. This spirituall merchandise is better then the merchandise of silver, because it is more pleasurable delightfull, and joyous to us, while wee sek this Wis­dome with the whole heart. The Ho: Ghost doth he­reby evidence and demonstrate that the Merchandise of Wisdome and understanding is better then the Mer­chandise of silver, because her wayes are wayes of plea­santness; and all her pathes are peace, Prov. 3. 14, 17. My son saith Wisdome, eat thou honey because it is good and the honey-comb which is sweet to thy taste. So shall the knowledge of Wisdome be unto thy soule when thou hast found it; then there shall be a reward, &c. Prov. 24. 13, 14. The words of Wisdome are pleasant Words, even as an honey-comb, sweet to the soule and health to the [Page 78] bones: yea they are admirably sweet, sweeter then honey, and the honey-comb, Prov. 16. 24. Psal. 19, 10. and 119. 103. Prov. 2. 10. Whatever pleasure and de­light men finde in the earthly merchandise yet it falls short of that they partake of who trade for Wisdome; there is no fullness of ioy in the former; nor is it sweet and delightfull to the most noble part of man, the soule; that may be sad and sorrowfull enough in the midst of all their outward ioy, and delight: for the World, about which they are exercised, and all the things thereof, are broken Cisternes that can hold no water. But the God of hope fills the soule with ioy and peace in beleiving; and with such ioy as a stranger in­termedleth not with. Prov. 14. 10. Rom. 15. 13. 1 Petr. 1. 8. while the heart is exercised in a beleiving mind fullness, and consideration of the precious blood of Christ; and of what there by he hath effected and ob­tained in to himselfe, and is become; and of the gra­ce of God as herein commended; and of all the trea­sures of Wisdome and knowledge which are hid in this mystery; it causeth them to rejoyce alwayes in the Lord, and to ioy in the God of their salvation, and though they are as sorrowfull, yet alwayes rejoicing, Habak. 3. 15, 18. Phil. 3. 1, 3. and 4. 4. 2 Corint. 6. 10. this is life to the soule, and health to all the flesh, and the more they are thus exercised, the more they in­crease in understanding, and thereby they increase joy in the Lord, who is the onely true object of joy. Isay 29, 19. For God giveth to a man that is good before him, Wisdome, and knowledge, and joy but to the sinner (that wanders out of, or erres from the way of under­standing) travell, to gather, and to heape up, that he­may give to him that is good before God, Eccles. 2. 26.

4. The merchandise of Wisdome, and understan­ding is better then the merchandise of silver, because it is a more sure and certaine way of finding, none shall [Page 79] faile of it who seek it as men seek silver, and search for it as for hid treasure: men may seek for the treasures and riches of this World, and not finde them; they are uncertaine riches; there is an uncertainty in get­ting, aswell as in keeping. 1 Tim. 6. 17. though many times the diligent hand maketh rich, and they meet with profit and increase who are industrious, and dili­gent in their business, and however if they be skilfull, therein also; yet this is not allwayes so. I returned, saith the preacher, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift; nor the battell to the strong; neither yet bread to the Wise; nor yet riches to men of understan­ding; nor yet favour to men of skill, but time and chance happeneth to them all, Eccles. 9. 11. men may in vaine, and to no profit, rise up early; and sit up late, and eat the bread of carefullness, Psal. 127. 2. there is a gre­at uncertainty in getting and retaining this unrighte­ous Mammon, especially by merchandise, the mer­chants ships may be broken in going for commodities; or sinke, and be cast away when they are full and re­turning, 2 Chron. 20. 36, 37. Or trading may faile and decay: Or those to whom they sell and adventure their commodities may breake, or cheat and deceive them: or moth and rust may corrupt, and theeves break tho­row and steale: and however God hath not ingaged his word that those that seek silver and gold Shall cer­tainely finde what they aime at, and seek after. But in seeking Wisdome with the whole heart we shall be sure to finde it; for God who cannot lye hath so pro­mised, as hath been said; and these promises are, confirmed with the precious blood of Jesus, who in the vertue thereof is raised againe, and is the Media­tor of the New Testament that the called may receive the promise of the eternall inheritance, Hebr. 9, 15. 2 Corint. 1. 20. Matth. 26. 28. hence our savior exhor­teth, aske and it shall be given you; seeke and ye shall [Page 80] finde, knock and it shall be opened to you for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh is shall be opened. If earthly fathers, who are evill, give good gifts to their children; how much more shall your heavenly father give the holy spirit, the spirit of Wisdome and revelation, to them that aske him, Luk, 11. 9-13. Ephes. 1. 17. Prov. 2. 1-6. Jam. 1. 5, 6. the Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soule that seeketh him; even herein he is good; he will give himselfe unto them to be their Wisdome and inheritance, and with himselfe all things that pertai­ne to life and godliness according to that; ye shall call upon me and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you; and ye shall seek me, and finde me when jou search for me with all your heart; and I will be found of you saith the Lord, Lament. 3. 25. with Jer. 29. 12-14. and in dis­persing this heavenly Wisdome it shall certainly tend to the inriching of them: according to that be stedfast, unmovable, alwayes abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as your labour shall not be in vaine in the Lord: in due time we shall reap if we faint not. 1 Cor. 15. 58. Galat. 6. 9, 10. What an incouragement is this for us to seeke Wisdome, to get up, and be doing, when there is a certainty of finding? and what a shame will it be for us to neglect the opportunities put into our hands? are the merchants of the earth so diligent in seeking perishing substance, when also there is so gre­at an uncertainty of finding? and shall we be so brui­tich and foolish as to have no heart to seek durable ri­ches and righteousness, when there is a certainty of finding in seeking in the due opportunity? those that seek Wisdome early shall finde her. Prov. 8. 17. O! let us not be slothfull, but diligent followers of them who thorow faith and patience inherit the promises.

5, The merchandise of Wisdome and understan­ding is the most excellent merchandise, because it is [Page 81] most safe, and secure from dangers and feares: those that occupy themselves in the earthly merchandise are exposed to manifold feares, lest they should lose their commodities: yea and if they adventure upon the seas, they are in danger of losing their lives: For many times God commandeth, and raiseth up the stormy winde, which lifteth up the waves thereof; they mount up to heaven, they goe downe againe to the dephts, their soule is melted because of trouble; they reele to fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and all their Wisdome is swallo wed up, Psal. 107. 25-27. yea and many times they lose their lives also by stor­mes, or robbers, &c. And if they grow rich they are in daily danger, and feare, lest theeves should break in upon them, and spoile thein, or kill them; and this feare hath torment and occasions much dis­quietment to them. But whoso hearkneth to Wisdo­me shall dwell safely; and shall be quiet from the feare of evill. Prov. 1. 20-33. This is a motive laid downe by Wisdome to ingage us to trade in this ex­cellent commodity, to keep sound wisdome and dis­cretion. Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble: When thou liest downe thou shalt not be afraid; Yea thou shalt lye downe, and thy sleep shall be sweet. Be not afraid of sudden feare, for the Lord shall be thy confidence, and shall keepe thy foot from being taken, Prov. 3. 21-26. In­deed the wise merchants as men, and sons of Adam, are subject to like passions and infirmities as others, and so to seare and be afraid of danger: but this wis­dome strengthneth the wise against the feare of evill, more then ten mighty men which are in the city. A wise man is strong, yea a man of knowledge increaseth strength, Eccles. 7. 19. and 9. 16-18. Prov. 24. 5. the love of God knowne, and heartly beleeved casteth out conti­nually that feare which hath torment, and makes men [Page 82] bold as a lion, 1 Joh. 4. 18. Prov. 28. 1. these wise mer­chants know, that that good part and portion they trade in, and make choice of, shall never be taken away, Luk. 10. 42. and that he that seeth the son and beleiveth in him shall never perish, but have ever­lasting life. God preserveth their soules, and none can pluck them out of his hand, who is greater then all; and though in this Merchandise, and for Christ sake they hate, and may lose their lives in this World, they shall keep them unto life eternall. He that beleiveth in Christ, though he were dead yet shall he live, and be that liveth and beleiveth shall never dye, Joh. 12. 25, 26. and 11. 25, 26. the name of the Lord is astrong tower, and they run thereinto and are safe, and set on high from evill, and from the feare of evill: So that they can glorify God in the fires, and not feare any evill though they walk in the valley of the shadow of death. Wisdome loves those that love her: and the beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety, the Lord shall cover them all the day long. Prov. 8. 17. with Deuter. 33. 12.

6. The trading for heavenly Wisdome is the best Merchandise, because it is the most easy way, easier then the Merchandise of silver and gold, this is the Motive and argumens Christ, the Wisdome of God useth, to prevaile with us to come unto him, and learne of him, that his yoke is easy, and his burden light. Matth. 11. 28-30. It may not so appeare to our Wisdome, but may seeme very difficult; Yea it is a great mystery in it selfe; but it is made easy, and is declared so to be by him who is truth it selfe; and if our right eye cause us to offend, let us pluck it out, and become fooles, that we may beleive him. Amongst men every one cannot be a Merchant of the earth: Some whatever Masters and instructers they have, yet they want capacity to learne this mystery of Merchandise; and others, be­cause [Page 83] of the difficulty of the imployment, though they may doe well while they are before the Masters eye, and under his care, and instruction, yet when they trade for them selves they may be to seek, and thorow their unskilfullness be un fit for it, because there are so many intricacies in it thorow the rising and falling of commodities, and by reason of deceitfull men they may meet with, &c. And others though they have capacity enough, yet may be so poore as that they can­noth carry an end their trade; or such heavy customes and impositions may be laid upon their goods, that they know not how to pay them and subsist. But any man may thorow the grace of Christ be a wise Mer­chant, to trade for, and in heavenly Wisdome, as be­fore is shewne. There is a wise and gracious Master to teach them, even Christ Jesus the Wisdome of God; and he calleth, o ye simple understand Wisdome, and ye fooles be ye of an understanding heart: Heare, for I will speak of excellent things; Good and upright is the Lord, therefore will he teach sinners in the way. And though they have no capacity naturally, but are all fooles, yet the Spirit is put upon him, and he will bring forth, and give judgement, capacity, and discre­tion to them that have none; which no eartly Mer­chant can doe to his apprentice. God hath given him for a light of the Gentiles, to open the blind eyes, and unstop the deafe eares. Psal. 25. 8. Isay. 42. 1-7. He is even eyes in his testimony to the blind; and though they are dull of hearing and learning, though they are unteachable, and untractable, yet he is meek and lowly in heart, and will not strive, nor cry, nor cause his voi­ce to be heard in the streets: A bruised reed will he not break, and the dimly burning week will he not quench Matth. 11. 29. Isay. 42. 2, 3. Hence he calleth heare ye deafe, and look ye blind that you may see, and not be discouraged because of your naturall inca­pacity. [Page 84] Who is blind as my servant? Or deafe as my messenger that I sent? Who is blind (thorow charity) as he that is perfect? And blind as the Lords servant? Seeing many things (that might provoke him to cast us off, and forbeare to instruct us) but he observeth them not, opening the eares, but he heareth not. Isay. 42. 18-20. with vers. 1. And then he that cometh to him, he will never cast out from under his care and instruction, but will still guide them with his counsell and eye, untill he receive them to glory: The time of their apprenticeship to him is all their life time, they are still the Lords servants, though free from all men. And the way of Wisdome is made easy, and plaine, as declared in the testimony of Jesus; the rules, orders, and statutes not changeable, as Merchants here may be, but abide the same at all times: The way of the righteous is made plaine, and raised up as a causey, so as way faring men, though fooles shall not erre therein. Prov. 15. 19. Isay. 35. 8. Nor is this hea­venly commodity so deare as that they may not get, and obtaine it, but they may have it without money, and without price, even freely. Isay. 55. 1. And though it must be bought, yet every man hath that to buy it withall; and in parting with all he hath, shall be ma­de a partaker of it. Luk. 14. 33. Nor will he lay such burdens, and impositions upon any as to discourage them; his commandments are not greivons. 1 Joh. 5. 3. this Merchandise is made easy by their gra­cious and wise Lord, who is the head, Master, and orderer of the seekers; and who is also the commodity to be soughtafter, and injoyed by them. Though there are excellent things containd in Wis­dome, yet they are all plaine to him that understan­deth, and right to them that finde knowledge, tho­row Wisdomes instruction. Prov. 8. 4-10. Hence when our hevenly Father calls upon us, and provokes [Page 85] us to get Wisdome, to get understanding, &c. that we might not say, this trade is so hard I cannot attaine it, he signifieth, that he makes, it easy by his words; and therefore saith, instead of murmuring and questio­ning; heare, o my son, and receive my sayings: I have taught theé in the way of Wisdome, I have ledd thee in the right pathes (in the way of Wisdome are right pathes, there are no turnings in it either to the right hand, or to the left; no thornes, snares, or stumbling blocks in it) when thou goest (therein) thy steps shall not be straitned (there is roome enough) and when thou runnest thou shalt not stumble, &c. Prov. 4. 5-11. 27. with Jerem. 31. 9. and they that walk herein shall finde it an easy way; their soule shall dwell at ease, whatever troubles they have in the out­ward man, Psal. 25. 13. Whereas those that exercise themselves in the earthly merchandise meet with, not onely much weariness to the flesh, but also much vexation of spirit, Eccles. 2. 17, 18, 22, 23, 26. a scorner that hates instruction and reproofe seekes Wisdome, and findes it not, but knowledge is easy to him that understands; Prov. 14. 6. with chap 15. 12. and 9. 7, 8.

7. This spirituall merchandise is better then that of silver, because it is more cleane and free from pollu­tion: there is much pollution and corruption cleaving to the earthly merchandise thorow our lust to the riches of this World, 2 Peter. 1. 4. the thing they trade in and for is called unrighteous Mammon, because too often unrighteousness is used and exercised in tra­ding for it, Luk. 16. 11. and the merchants of the earth doe very frequently pollute and defile themselves in their trade and traffique; according to that; He is a merchant, the ballances of deceit are in his hand, be loveth to oppress, and deceive. And Ephraim said, yet I am become rich, I have found me out substance; in all my la­bours they shall finde no iniquity in me, &c. Hose. 12. 7, 8. [Page 86] there is many times much evill and fraud found with them in burying, much false speaking, lying, and deceit: the getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a vanity tossed to and fro, from one to another, of them that seek death, Prov. 21. 6. When they are buying then they discommend, disparage, and dispraise the wares they are about, that they may beat downe the price of them, and have them at a cheap rate. It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer; but when he is gone his way then he boasteth: praiseth the commodities which before he undervalued, and boasteth what a good bargaine he hath gotten, Prov. 20. 14. and thus, and other wayes they goe beyond, overreach, and de­fraud others, 1 Thess. 4. 6. and many times in their Merchandising, they, to the end they may have a com­modity worth the buying, have fellowship with others in their unfruitfull workes of darkness, keeping com­pany with fwearers, drunkards, and profane ones, and too much loving their manners, according to what is said of Tyrus. By the multitude of thy mer­chandise they have filled the midst of thee with vio­lence, and thou hast sinned, thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffique, Ezek. 28. 15-18. And in sel­ling, many times, there is much pollution found with men, boasting of, and overvaluing their wares, as supposing gaine to be godliness, and that all is honestly come by that is that way gotten, which is a great evill, and too commonly found with men in their trading, 1 Tim. 6. 5. Amos 8. 5. Or if men be free from those gross evills in their buying and selling, yet many ti­mes their hearts goe after their covetousness, and they love the world, and the things thereof, and, if riches increase set their hearts upon them; and are highminded, or trust in those uncertaine riches, which things are an abomination in the sight of God, [Page 87] 1 Joh. 2. 15, 16. 1 Tim. 6. 17. Ephes. 5. 5. Psal. 62. 10. But the trading for and in this heavenly merchandise, is free from such pollutions: This wisdome that is from above, Christ as declared in the gospell, is first pure, Jam. 3. 17. and the feare of the Lord, which is the beginning of Wisdome unto man, and the in­struction of Wisdome, this is cleane, Psal. 19. 9. with Prov. 1. 7. and 15. 33. the feare of the Lord is to hate evill, pride, and arrogancy, and the evill way, and froward mouth, Prov. 8. 14. they are, fooles that count it a sport to doe mischiefe, and make a mock at sin, but a man of understanding hath wisdome, which will preserve him from such folly, and from all evill, Prov. 10. 23. and 14. 8, 9. Wisdome and the way of getting Wisdome, is cleane; and in walking therein we shall be kept from every path of the de­stroyer, in all our conversation: we may, and shall escape the pollutions of the world thorow the know­ledge of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ, 2 Peter. 2. 20. this Wisdome is an excellent preservative, to preserve us from the evill of the world, that we may not have fellowship with men in their unfruitfull wor­kes of darkness, but rather reprove them; to keep us from deceiving, and defrauding others in our buying and selling, and in all our exercise about the affaires of this life; to preserve us from covetousness, pride, desires of vain-glory, and from every evill way: it is pure and purifying; and an excellent Antidote to keep us from all the infection of sin: to deliver us from the way of the evill man, from the man that speaketh froward things (and not the words of wisdo­me, in which there is nothing froward, Prov. 8. 8.) who leave the pathes of uprightness (the way of wis­dome) to walk in the wayes of darkness: who reioyce to doe evill, and delight in the frowardness of the wic­ked; whose wayes are crooked, and they froward in [Page 88] their pathes: And to deliver us from the strange Wo­man, even from the woman which flattereth with her lips on this account, because this treasure of hea­venly wisdome is so pure and cleane, and will preserve us from evill, the Ho: Ghost instructs us to seek it. Get Wisdome, 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 shal keep thee, Prov. 4. 5 - 7. and 2. 10 - 19. and 5. 1 - 4. and 7. 4, 5. and 9. 5, 6. Ephes. 5. 11 - 17. Colos. 4. 5, 6.

8. The merchandise of Wisdome is more excel­lent then that of silver, because it is more profitable and beneficiall; but this leads us to the next thing to be considered by us. What hath been said unto this in­struction, to wit. That the Merchandise of Wisdome and understanding is better then the Merchandise of Silver, both because Wisdome, which is the thing to be sought after is more excellent, yea infinitely, and incomparably better then silver and gold; and the refore also the way of seeking and getting it is, answera­bly better, more honourable, pleasing to God pleasant to the wise Merchant; certaine safe easy cleane, and profitable; may be of usefullness to us.

1. To shew onto us the ignorance and folly of the most part of men, who in their esteemes, and practi­ces preferre the things that are in the World, before this heavenly, rich, and most inriching commodity: such are fooles in the account of Wisdome, though they are lookt upon as, and accounted wise men in the World: They are fooles that despise Wisdome and instruction. Prov. 1. 2, 7. fooles they are that hate knowledge, as all doe who love, and serve the World; for no Man can serve two Masters: either he will love the one and hate the other; or cleave to the one and forsake the other: Ye (saith Christ) cannot serve God and Mammon. Prov. 1. 22. with Matth. 6. 24. He [Page 89] that hath the World for his Master; that serveth, and is ruled by, and obeyeth it, cannot serve Christ as his Lord, for these two are contrary the one to the other: No man can love the World and the Father; if any man love the World, the love of the Father is not in him. 1 Joh. 2. 15. It is no mans evill to serve God in any work of his providence he gives us to be exercised in; nay it is an evill which the Ho: Ghost doth repro­ve, and condemne, to be idle, and slothfull in business: But this is mens folly, that they make the World, and the things thereof the Maine thing to be sought after, and gotten by them; that they can watch, and look every one for his gaine from his quarter; that they can rise early, and sit up late, and run, and labour for, and lay hold on every opportunity, and indure hardness, and not matter shame, or danger, so they may but get and increase their earthly substance: and meane time when a price is put into their hands for getting Wisdome, they have no heart thereto; they can ne­glect opportunities for getting this spirituall commo­dity, and then cry, there is a lion in the way, I shall be slain in the streets: they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth, Jerem. 9. 3. but are fearfull, and afraid of sufferings, shame, and reproach for Christs sake; ashamed of him and his words in an evill and adulterous generation: What will become of such in the end? Christ will be ashamed of such, when he cometh in his owne glory, and in the glory of his father, and in the glory of his holy Angells, Luk. 9. 23 - 16. with Mark. 8. 34 - 38. this is that whi [...]h is greatly provoking to God, he was wroth with those who, when they were invited to come into Wisdoms house, and eat of her provision, made light of the invitation, and went, one to his farme, another to his merchandise; Yea protests that none of them shall taste of his supper, Matth. 22. 4-7. with Luk. 14. 16-24. [Page 90] oh that we may so consider it, that we may walke cir­cumspectly, not as fooles, but as wise, redeeming the time, (for-getting Wisdome) because the dayes are evill, Ephes. 5. 15 - 17.

2. And let us all be exhorted, seeing Wisdome is the principall thing to get it; and with all our get­tings to get understanding. And to move hereto con­sider further.

The gaine of Wisdome and understanding is better then that of fine gold, of the choicest, and most refined gold; and so better then the gaine of all earth­ly riches; though the gaine of gold if it be honestly gotten, and to a good end laboured for, that we may honour the Lord with our substance, and with the first fruits of our increase, and live to him that died for us, and rose againe, is good; Yet the gaine of spirituall Wisdome is better, and more to be desired then gold, yea then much fine gold; and better then all the gain­full things here below; and so have wise men accoun­ted it. Philip. 3. 7, 8, 9. It is admirably, and inexpres­sibly better. Prov. 16. 16. it is profitable unto all things, having the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come, as is said of godliness: And indeed this Wisdome, and Godliness are the same: The root and foundation of Godliness is, God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit; the meanes and me­dium for making it knowne, and manifesting it, and giving, and dispensing it, is, the gospell, especially as preached by the Apostles: The exercising our selves to godliness is, beleiving with the heart on Christ as delivered to death for our offences, and raised againe for our justification, and glorified, as this ts declared to us in the gospell. 1 Tim. 4. 8. with Chapt. 3. 16.

1. The gaine of it is better now, by it there is pro­fit to them that see the sun. Eccles. 7. 11. For

1. It gives all things that pertaine to life; and gives [Page 91] life to them that get it, even spirituall, and eternal life▪ now by faith, and a first fruits of the Spirit, and all con­tained therein, which silver and gold cannot doe: Wisdome is a defence, & money is a defence, but the excellency of knowledge is, that Wisdome giveth life to them that have it. Eccles. 7. 12. hereby the Holy Ghost doth evidence that the gaine of Wisdome is bet­ter then fine gold; and therefore proposeth it as a mo­tive to move and prevaile with us to seek and get it; She is a tree of life to all that lay hold on her. Prov. 3. 17. And this is contained in the blessedness they meet with, and partake of, that seek and finde her; Whoso findeth her findeth life. Prov. 8. 32. 35. As

1. It giveth unto those that finde Wisdome, the forgiveness of sins; by Christ all that beleive, are justi­fied from all things from which they could not be justified by the law of Moses. Act. 13. 39. And this forgiveness of sins is included in eternall life; and therefore eternall life is opposed to condemnation; and in having that a man passeth from death to life. Joh. 5. 25. and being justified from their sins by the blood of Christ, much more shall they be saved from wrath, even from the wrath of God, thorow him. Rom. 5. 9. Hereinits gai­ne is greatly preferred before fine gold, and all the ri­ches of this World; riches profit not in a day of wrath, but righteousness delivereth from death Prov. 10. 2. and 11. 4. Neither mens silver, nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the Lords wrath. Zephan. 1. 18. their riches will not procure them a pardon from God (though they may from the Man of sin) nor deliver them from his anger, and the dread­full, and direfull effects thereof; their money will not obtain the remission of their sins when they come to dye; nor give them peace with God; nor will this deliver in the day of wrath: But men shall then cast [Page 92] their idolls of silver and gold to which they have given their loves and worship, to the moles, and to the bats, to goe into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for feare of the Lord; they shall then cast their silver into the streets, and their gold shall be removed, or, shall be as uncleaness; their silver, and their gold shall not be able to deliver them in the day of the Lords wrath. Isay. 2. 19 - 21. Ezeck. 7. 19. But this is the gain of Wisdome: In finding and winning Christ, a man also receives remis­sion of sins, and deliverance from Gods wrath, and the feares thereof; So as being justified by faith, he hath peace with God thorow our Lord Jesus. Rom. 4. 25, and 5. 1. To him give all the Prophets witness, that thorow his name whosoever beleiveth in him shall receive the remission of sins. Act. 10. 43. 1 Joh. 5. 11, 12. And oh what a blessed priviledge is this! It is even the summe of all blessedness: Even as David descri­beth the blessedness of the man to whom the Lord imputes righteousness without works, saying, blessed in the Man whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sin is eovered, Psal. 32. 1, 2. with Rom. 4. 5 - 7. And it is al­so the inlett unto all Salvation; He giveth the know­ledge and injoyment of salvation thorow the forgive­ness of sins Luk. 1. 77. Psal. 103. 1 - 3. Herethorow they receive salvation, and deliverance from his an­ger, the power whereof who knoweth! Psal. 90. 11, 12. The wrath of this King of Kings is as messengers of death, but a wise man will pacify it. How? not by fine gold; but to this end, how much better is it to get Wis­dome then gold? Prov. 16. 14-16.

2. It gives to men the Spirit of life, even, that living, quickning Spirit which is Wisdoms Spirit; this mo­ney wil not get, or give: It was an heinous, provo­king iniquity in Simon Magus, to offer money for the [Page 93] Holy Spirit: and therefore Peter said unto him, They money perish with thee, because thou hast thought the gift of God may be purchased with mony, &c. Act. 8. 18 - 21, 22, 23. But now this is the promise that Wisdome hath promised the simple ones, who love their simpli­city, and scorners that delight in scorning, and fooles that hate knowledge, that in turning at her reproofs, she will poure out her Spirit unto them; and saith, Behold, consider, and mark this, for this is a wonder­full inriching gift of God. Prov. 1. 20 - 23. This Spirit is given by Wisdome; it is upon, and resteth upon Christ Jesus, even the spirit of wisdome and under­standing; and it is given as a spirit of Wisdome, and revelation in the knowledge of Christ, Isay. 11. 2, 3. with Ephes. 1. 17, 18. and by this spirit, wisdome doth make knowne her words, Prov. 1. 23. and theretho­row glorify herselfe; for it is the work of his spirit to beare witness of Christ, to glorify him, and take of his things, and shew unto us, that we might run unto him; and that our hearts might be enamoured on him, and united unto him, and reioyce in him, Joh. 15. 26. and 16. 14. and thorow his glorifying Christ, and shewing unto men the excellency, and preciousness of the flesh and blood of Christ Jesus, this holy spirit doth quicken them to a lively hope by the resurrection of Christ from the dead, who by the grace of God tasted death for every man: it is the spirit that quickneth, 1 Petr. 1. 3. with Joh. 6. 35 - 63. and this hope in Christ makes not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the holy spirit: for while we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungoodly, Rom. 5. 5, 6. But the­reby we are saved from being weary, and fainting in our mindes by reason of any afflictions, or adversity we meet withall; and from our sins and idolls, Rom. [Page 94] 8. 24, 25. 1 Joh. 3. 3. and this hope is an anckor of the soule, both sure, that which will not break: and stedfast, standing fast in Christ the rock, and there­fore will not slip, or deceive us; and which entreth into that within the vail, whither the fore-runner is for us entred, Jesus, made an highpriest after the order of Melchisedec, Hebr. 6. 18 - 20. this spirit of Wisdome is an excellent gift of God; it is the spirit of truth, to guide into all truth; it is the comforter, to comfort us in all our tribulations: it is the spirit of life, to inliven, and quicken us: it is the spirit of Wisdome, to open our blind eyes, and still, and con­tinually to give Wisdome to the wise: It is the spirit of adoption, and freedome, whereby we cry Abba Fa­ther; it is the spirit of the feare of the Lord, to teach, and help us to reverence, and stand in awe of God, and to depart from iniquity: It is the spirit, where by we may abound in hope of the mercy of Christ, and God in him, unto eternall life; and therefore it is set downe as that in which all good things are contained compare. Matt. 7. 11. with Luk. 11. 13. And it is so excellent in its gifts, influences, and operations, in bearing witness of the blood of Christ, and what he is become therethorow; and of the water or free love of God commended everlastingly therein. 1 Joh. 5. 6. Well may it be said, the gain of Wisdome is better then fine gold.

3. It gives unto us the favour of God in which is life. Psal. 30. 5. Yea whose loving kindness is better then life. Psal. 63. 3. They are loved with peculiar manner of love that love Wisdome. Prov. 8. 17. Christs Father will love them, and Christ will love them, and will manifest himselfe unto them. Joh. 14. 21. 23. Prov. 3. 1 - 4. This is a motive set downe by Wisdome to ingage us to seeke her; and an evidence [Page 95] of the blessedness of him that findes her. Whoso fin­deth her.—Shall obtain favour of the Lord. Prov. 8. 32 - 35. The Kings favour is toward a wise servant, but his wrath is upon him that causeth shame, that despiseth Wisdome and is a foole. Prov. 14. 35. The favour of God is a wonderfully gainfull, profitable, and desira­ble thing; and therefore the servants of God have prayed that they might be favoured with the favour he beares unto his people, because of the blessed advantage thereof. Psalm. 106. 4, 5. And have intreated that with their whole heart. Psal. 119. 58. this is infinitely better, and more to be desired then the favour of great men, and princes, for that is deceitfull; and it is better, and rather to be chosen then silver and gold. Prov. 22. 1. In the light of the Kings countenance is life; and his favour is as a cloud of the latter raine, to refresh, and revive, and fructify the soule, and to make it like a watered garden: But how may we be made partakers of it? Money will not procure, or give it: If a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned. Cant. 8. 7. But this good understanding giveth favour. Prov. 13. 15, and it may be had in getting Wisdome, and hereby the Holy Ghost evidenceth intimately that the gaine of Wisdo­me is better then fine gold, when he saith; How much better is it to get Wisdome then gold! and to get under­standing rather to be chosen then silver. Prov. 16, 15, 16. O! blessed are the people that know the joyfull sound, They shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance: In thy name shall they rejoyce all the day, and in thy righ­teousness shall they be exalted: For thou art the glory of their strength; and in thy favour our horne shall be exal­ted. Psal. 89. 15 - 17. Many there are that intreat the favour of the prince, and every man is a friend to him that giveth gifts; But he that getteth Wisdome loveth [Page 96] his owne soule, he that keepeth understanding shall finde good; he shall finde the favour of, and fellow ship with God, which is as farre above the favour and friendship of the kings and princes of the earth, as himselfe is above them, unto whom none of the prin­ces, or kings of the earth may be likened, or com­pared; and before whom all nations are as nothing, and they are counted to him less then nothing, and vanity, Prov. 19. 6, 8. and 3. 3, 4. Isay. 40 15, 18.

2. The gaine of Wisdome is better then fine gold, because as it gives all things that pertain to life; so also it gives all things that pertain to godliness, 2 Petr. 1. 3. it is profitable to direct us thereto, that we may worship God in the spirit, and rejoyce in Christ Je­sus, and have no confidence in the flesh, Eccles. 10. 10. and that we may be imitators, and followers of God as deare children. The feare of the Lord is the instruction of Wisdome, that which Wisdome instructs us to, Prov. 15. 33. it teacheth us to reverence him, to give to him the honour due unto his name; to trust in him, Prov. 22. 17, 20. to depart from evill, Job 28. 28. to pray unto him, Eccles. 5. 1. to speak profitably unto men: Prov. 15. 2. to seek and increase knowledge, Prov. 18. 15. and 21. 11. to rebuke others when need requi­reth, Prov. 25 12. Eccles. 7. 5. to know when to speak, and when to be silent, Prov. 17. 27, 28. yea it is pro­fitable to direct, us in all our conversation, that we may give none offence in any thing to the Jew, or Gentile, or to the church of God, but that we may doe all things that God in all things may be glorified, and the good of men, and especiall good of beleivers may be pursued, and promoted hence the Apostle prayes, and desires for the beleivers, that they might be filled with the knowledge of Gods will in all Wis­dome, and spirituall understanding, that they might [Page 97] walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruit full in every good work, and increasing with the in­crease of God; and that they might be sincere, and without offence til the day of Christ, Philip. 1. 9, 11. Colos. 1. 9, 11. and have instructed them to walk in Wisdome toward them that are without; as intima­ting, that this would teach them how to walk, and please God, and so help them to order their conver­sation that he might be glorified in all things thorow Jesus Christ, Colos. 4. 5, 6.

3. The gain of Wisdome is better then fine gold, because in seeking, and getting that we shall have all other things appertaining to the naturall life, which are good, and needfull for us: such meat, drink, cloathes, health, deliverance from trouble, conti­nuance of life, as he sees good for us who is perfect in knowledge, and infinite in goodness, according to what our saviour saith; take no thought saying, what shall we eat? or what shall we drink? or where withall shall we be cloathed? (For after all these things doe the Gentiles seek) for your heavenly father knoweth that ye have need of all these things: But seek ye first the kingdo­me of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you, Matth. 6. 31, 33. there are many things that gold wil not give which appertaine to this present naturall life; it will not give a man health in sickness; it will not make the life comforta­ble, but by occasion thereof, many times it is more full of disquietment, and vexation of spirit: it will not defend a man from danger; but they that have it, and have much of it are the more exposed to danger: it will not deliver from the feare of evill, but rather it occasioneth feare to a man: nor can a man thereby adde one cubit to his age; a mans life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth, [Page 98] Luk. 12. 15. But they that seeke this Wisdome shall not want any good thing, Psal. 34. 8, 10. and 84. 10, 11. it is so acceptable to God that men seek this excellent, and heavenly, commodity that he will with hold no good thing from such as are so exercised, 1 Tim. 6. 5, 6, 8. and 4. 4, 8. it did so please the Lord that So­lomon asked of him Wisdome, and understanding, that he not onely gave that unto him, and a wise and understanding heart; but he also gave unto him that which he did not ask to wit, riches, and wealth, and honour, 1 King. 3. 5. 13. 2 Chron. 1. 7, 12. riches and honour are in Wisdoms left hand to dispense thereof as is good, to those that seek her, and there­fore she invites us to trade for her, Prov 3. 13. 16. and 8. 18. and God hath made provision in his great, and precious promises, and given us assurance, that with Christ he will also freely give us all things, Rom. 8. 32. and all things are theirs who are Christs, the world, life, death, things present, and things to come, 1 Corinth. 3. 21, 23. how might this provoke and incourage us to get Wisdome and understanding, and assure us, that the gain of it is excellent; and so help us to have our conversation without covetous­ness, and be content with such things as we have, for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee; so that we may boldly say, the Lord is my hel­per, and I will not feare what flesh can doe unto mee, Hebr. 13. 5, 6.

2. And the gaine of Wisdome and understanding is better then that of fine gold hereafter, infinitely better a mans life, as before is said consists not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth, and much less eternall life: but they that seek and get Wisdome shall inherit glory, and such glory as eye hath not seen, nor eare heard, nor hath it entred [Page 99] into the heart of man to conceive; this is contained in the motives that the Wisdome of God maketh use of, to provoke us to get Wisdome, and with all our gettings to get understanding: she shall give to thine head an ornament of grace, a crowne of glory shall she deliver to thee, Prov. 4. 5, 9. and that which shewes the excellency of its gain compleatly, is, that this salvation, glory, and happiness shall be injoyed by such for ever and ever. When the Ho: Ghost gives us a particular evidence of the excellency, and gainfullness of Wisdome, he saith, length of dayes is in her right hand, as the most excellent thing, Prov. 3. 13. 16. even length of dayes for ever and ever Psal. 21. 4. this compleats its preciousness, and demonstrates its gainfullness, and evidenceth the happiness of those that trade for it, and finde it; Whatever glory, and blessednes were set before us hereafter to prevaile with us, and ingage us to seek Wisdome; if we might have in finding her delive­rance from all evill, and the favour of God, and fel­lowship with him, and so the injoyment of all desi­rable, and conceivable good, yea of all good pro­posed to us, yet it there were an end to such injoy­ment, it would not be so truly gainfull, nor so de­sirably precious: but in the injoyment of her there will be fullness of joy, and pleasures in her right hand for evermore. Herein indeed its gain appeares evidently to be better then fine gold; riches are not for ever, nor doth the crowne indure to all genera­tions, Prov. 27. 24. but to them who by patient con­tinuance in welldoing seek for glory, and honour, and immortality, will the Lord give eternall life, and possess them of an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that passeth not away, reserved in the heavens for them; for the things that are not seen are [Page 100] eternall, 2 Corinth. 4. 16, 18. Rom. 2. 7. they shall be saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation, and shall not be ashamed, nor confounded world with out end this, wisely considered, imbitters the things, of this world, and weanes the heart from them, and crucifies them to the soule; the world passeth away, and the lust thereof, both the object of it, as gold, and silver, &c. Which are corruptible; and the act also; but he that doth the will of God, in seeking Wisdome, abideth for ever: there will be an injoy­ment of its gain to all eternity, and of the blessedness of those that have and retaine her, there shall be no end: here is a commodity worthy our trading for, because it is so infinitely, and eternally gainfull: that which other merchants trade for will come to an end; the merchandise of gold and silver, and precious sto­nes, and of pearles, and fine linnen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all sweet wood, and all manner vessells of ivory, and all manner vessells of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, and cinamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincenfe, and wine, and oyle, and fine floure, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and hor­ses, and chariots, &c. shall all depart away; and the merchants of these things shall weep, and waile be­cause these riches shall come to nought, Revel 18. 11, 23. But herein it will appeare that the Merchan­dise of Wisdome is better then silver, and the gain thereof then fine gold; and that they are wise and happy merchants that trade for, and in this heavenly commodity, because it hath the promise of the life to come; by this Wisdome their dayes shall be mul­tiplied to all eternity, and the yeares of their life shall be increased, Prov. 9. 10, 12 and 4. 9, 10.

Let all then be of usefullness to us.

[Page 101]1. Te take us of from listening to Satan, the God of this world, whose work it is to glorify the things of this world, that we might love them, and set our hearts upon them, and for the sake thereof neglect, and despise this Wisdome and to take us of from ad­miring, and being bewitched with Mystery Babilon, or her merchandise, Revel. 18. and to help us to cease from our owne Wisdome, Prov. 23. 4. for all the gold and silver, and precious stones of this world will not make us happy; and if we should get never so much of this world, yet what will be our hope, though we have gained, when God taketh away aur soule? Job 27. 8. Mark 8. 36, 37, 38.

2. And seeing there is such a pearle of great price prepared for us, and proposed to us, and which may be injoyed by us in seeking for it, even a treasure to be desired, Prov. 21. 20. O! let us incline our eare, and come unto Christ, let us heare that our soules may live, Isay. 55. this is a treasure will make us happy in the injoyment; the merchandise of it is better then the merchandise of silver, and the gaine thereof then fine gold; she is more precious then rubies, and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared to her: let us then seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasure; and redeeme the time, and watch for and in all opportunities, that we may get Wisdome, and with all our gettings get understan­ding, considering above all, that this gain is everla­sting. Hence the Wisdome of God calls upon us to seek for her: Riches and honour are with me, yea du­rable riches, ad righteousness I was set up from ever­lasting now therefore hearken unto me, O ye chil­dren (ye sons and daughters of men) for blessed are they that keep my ways: heare instruction and be wise, and refuse it not blessed is the man that heareth [Page 102] me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doores; for whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the Lord: But whoso sinneth against me wrongeth his owne soule; all they that hate me love death, Prov. 8. 18, 36. O Lord, open our eyes to see, and make us willing to behold the ex­cellency of Wisdome, that we may cry after her, and sell all we have for the excellency of her, that we may win her, and retaine her, that at last we may know & compleatly injoy the happy gaine thereof, in being delivered for ever from sorrow, and sad­ness, and having everlasting joy upon our heads.

Amen. Amen.


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