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An Incentive to Early Piety.

An Incentive to Early Piety.

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Proverbs, viii., 17. — I love them that love me ; and those that seek me early shall find me.

Proverbs, viii., 17. — I love them that love me ; and those that seek me early shall find me.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Apr 18, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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A ICETIVE TO EARLY PIETY. BY REV. JOH SUMMERFIELD, A.M.Proverbs, viii., 17. — I love them that love me ; and those that seek me early shall find me. Written by Solomon — wise sayings. How did he ob- tain wisdom ? What text in ew Testament similar to it ? ow he personifies her. By wisdom here we are not to understand that of the world, but that which St. Paul preferred above all knowledge ; the fear of the Lord is the beginning of it ; it is the first lesson it teaches ; many think they are very wise, and yet are igno- rant of this first lesson of wisdom. Two things are here implied : First, that we have lost wis- dom ; we never seek until we discover we have lost ; in- deed, men do not think that they are ignorant. (Flavel, vol. ii., p. 179.) They, 1st, seemed to themselves wise ; 2d, only lovers of wisdom ; 3d, only rhetoricians, or those who could speak on wisdom, but knew little of it ; 4th, idiots, with in- crease of learning — laying by pride. — Spiritualize. — Dr. Livingston — like a vessel cast into the sea. — Yet many say they know God ; but I mean a knowledge which implies ac- quaintance, as if I asked you, " Do you know the President, or the Mayor of ew- York ?" ow if yon feel this you can- not rest easy ; the chicken might teach you, or the strayed lamb ; offer the lamb a handful of sweet grass, or the lost chicken the sweetest bread, they run away ; so a person who feels he has lost God takes no rest, &c. It implies, secondly, that, unless we find wisdom here, and know it experimentally, we can never dwell with God here- after, for heaven differs not — * * . #
I. Where may I find wisd II. How am I to seek it ? III. How may I obtain it ? S 138 A ICETIVE TO EARLY PIETY. I. Where may I find wisdom ? Solomon describes wisdom as saying, " The Lord pos- sessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old;" and again, " The Lord giveth wisdom;" and Paul says, n To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for- ever." ow, wherever God has appointed to meet us, there wisdom may be found ; it is true, he is everywhere by his essential presence, even in hell, but not found there ; but wherever his gracious and special presence, &c. 1. He is not to be found among any of those scenes which are acted upon the Sabbath. If you seek there, you only increase the distance. — Gardens of pleasure — steamboats — Broadway — many keep the Sabbath only in church hours. 2. or at the card or gambling table. — Locke and his friends. — Mr. Wesley and prayer. — I regret that steamboats allow it * * * * * * 3. or in the theatre. Let me dwell here. — I dare to name it (Burder) — and who is the man now that at noonday would be seen there ? It is only when night draws her cur- tain. — I have been in the secret. (Chesterfield.) — I left them ; they did not leave me. — Christians of old abhorred them — even pagans. — Objection, "I can learn as much as at a sermon." An elegant writer observes — Tillotson — Bishop — Harvey and the lady. Where then ? Why, hear the Lord, Ex., xx., 24 : " An al-
tar of earth thou shalt make unto me, and shalt sacrifice there- on thy burnt-offerings, and thy peace-offerings, thy sheep, and thine oxen ; in all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee." ow his name is recorded here — the Lord's house. — How pleasing to look on you ! Who would not rather see you here than at a play- house? " The Lord loveth the gates of Zion." But not merely in these large places ; for "where two or three are met together in my name, there am I in the midst of them;" — in private, Matt., vi., 6: " But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet ; and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret ; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly." Your Father sees you, and that not with indifference. A ICETIVE TO EARLY PIETY. 139 But he has revealed himself in a book — " Able to make wise unto salvation." — Search the Scriptures. — The greatest and best of men have been remarkable for their love to the Bible. Wesley — " I have thought that I am a creature of a day, passing through life, as the arrow through the air. I am a spirit come from God and returning to God : just hov- ering over the great gulf till a few moments hence I am no more seen ! I drop into an unchangeable eternity ! I want to know one thing, the way to heaven : how to land safe on that happy shore. God himself hath condescended to teach me the way ; for this very end he came from heaven. He hath written it down in a book ! Oh ! give me that book ! At any price give me the book of God ! I have it : here is knowledge enough for me. Let me be a man of one book. Here I am far from the busy ways of men. I sit down alone : only God is here. In his presence I open, I read this book ; for this end, to find the way to heaven. Is there a doubt concerning the meaning of what I read ? Does anything appear dark or intricate ? I lift up my heart to the Father of lights : Lord, is it not thy word, ' If any man lack

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