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Lectures on Proverbs Chapter 1

Lectures on Proverbs Chapter 1

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Published by glennpease
BY REV. RALPH WARDLAW, D.D.


EDITED BY HIS SON,

THE REV. J. S. WARDLAW, A.M.
BY REV. RALPH WARDLAW, D.D.


EDITED BY HIS SON,

THE REV. J. S. WARDLAW, A.M.

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Published by: glennpease on Aug 17, 2013
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LECTURES O PROVERBS CHAPTER 1BY REV. RALPH WARDLAW, D.D.
EDITED BY HIS SO,THE REV. J. S. WARDLAW, A.M.
Prov. 1. 1." The Proverbs of Solomon, the son of Dand, long of Israel."Here is tlie Title of the Book — "The Proverbs of Solomon."There is no necessity, however, from this title, for consideringthe collection, in the precise state in which we now have it,as the work of Solomon. The proverbs which the Book contains were all his; but the selection and arrangement of them appear, from the very statements of the Book itself, tohave been made by different hands. In chap. xxv. 1, weread, — "These are also proverbs of Solomon, which the menof Hezekiah king of Judah copied out." "The men of Heze-kiah" were, without question, "holy men of God," prophets,appointed by that eminently pious prince to the executionof the good work. By whom the pre^dous and larger partof the collection was made, we cannot vnth. certainty say — Agur, possibly, and Ezra, and others. But the proverbsforming the contents of the Book had been partly written bySolomon, and partly spoken and taken dovrn from his lips.Solomon was successor to liis father David, and swayedthe sceptre of Israel for forty years. He has obtained, byway of eminence, the designation of The ivise man; and asthis Book, had it been the only source of our judgment of Mm, is itself sufficient to vindicate liis title to the distinc-tion, we are naturally led to notice the origin and therecorded extent of lus wisdom.1. , A
 
2 LECTUEE I.Youth., and especially youth, in high station, — ^born towealth and honour, and, above all, heir to a throne, — is inproverbial hazard of being high-minded, self-sufficient, andreckless of control Solomon was to the young, in the out-set of his career, an eminent example of the contrary; — of humility, and self- diffidence, and pious dependence uponGod. How beautiful ! how interesting and instructive themanifestation of these lovely features of character, at thecommencement of his public life ! When God said, "Ask what I shall give thee," liis reply was, "0 Lord my God,thou hast made thy servant king instead of David myfather: and I am but a little child : I know not how to goout or come in. And thy servant is in the midst of thypeople which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannotbe numbered nor counted for multitude. Give thereforethy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, thatI may discern between good and bad : for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?"* Here we have theorigin of Solomon's unparalleled wisdom. And yet, inone sense, it preceded the answer to liis request. Wasnot the request itself a proof of it? Yes, my youngfriends, in that request it was manifest that he had alreadythe best of wisdom — "the fear of the Lord," — the principlesof early piety. And these, too, we can trace to their origin,not only as to the divine influence which inspired them, butas to the human means by which that influence operated," Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attendto know understanding. For I give you good doctrine, for-sake ye not my law. For I was my father's son, tenderand only beloved in the sight of my mother. He taughtme also, and said unto me. Let thine heart retain my words :keep my commandments, and live," Pro v. iv. 1 — 4. Heowed much, then, as many among us also do, to parental in-struction. When he was born, the pleasing intimation wasmade, by a divine message to his father, that the special favourof Jehovah rested upon him; the name being by the same
 
* Compare the whole passage, 1 Kings iii. 5 — 15.PROVERBS I. 1. 6authority given him of Jedidiah — the beloved of the Lord,(2 Sam. xii, 24.) And afterwards the expectations of David wereraised high respecting him, although in the language thereis a reference to a greater than Solomon, in whom it receivedits higher and more perfect fulfilment, (1 Chron. xxii. 9, 10.)This incident of Ms early choice was a fair commencementof the verification of all the hopes which intimations soremarkable had inspired. Let all, and especially the young,learn from his example, to whom they should apply, not onlyfor the production and progress of those rehgious principlesand afi'ections of which the early exercise is the wisdom of youth, and the late exercise, amid the maturity of experience,the wisdom of age; — but also, for acuteness of discernment,enlargement of comprehension, and general illumination of mind, to fit them for the acquisition of all descriptions of knowledge, as well as to guide them successfully to its attain-ment. The powers by which all knowledge is acquired are,in all theu' variety of degrees, His gift. "There is a spiritin man ; and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth themunderstanding," Job xxxii. 8. ALL the mind in the universeis from Him. The human mind was His, when its powerswere in all their original vigour and expansion, undebasedand uncontracted by the power of evil. And still, in theinscrutable arrangements of his providence, according to thedictates of his sovereign will, it is He that makes the mindof the philosopher differ from that of the idiot, — conferringon the former faculties and means of their improvement,associated with an awful responsibility, of which the con-scious possessor too often, in the plenitude of a lofty self-snfficiency, thinks not ; but for the violation of which thesolemn reckoning at last will make him envy the man whosedestitution of them saves him from so fearful an account. Thephilosopher and the genius may forget to trace their powersto the true source ; but it is He, — the omniscient God — that

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