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BY REV. C. SIMEO, M. A.
1 Kin. iii. 1 1 — H. And God said unto him, Because thou hast
asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life ;
neither hast asked riches for thyself nor hast asked the life
of thine enemies ; hut hast asked for thyself understanding
to discern judgment; behold, I have done according to thy
word : lo, I have given thee a luise and an understanding
heart, so that there was none like thee before thee, neither
after thee shall any arise like unto thee. And I have also
fiven thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches and
onour ; so that there shall not be any among the kings like
unto thee all thy days.
SUCH is the condescension of Almighty God,
that he not only conversed familiarly with man in a
state of innocence, but even in his fallen state has
talked with him as a man talketh with his friend.
So free was the intercourse which he maintained
with Abraham, that that patriarch was " called the
friend of God." With Solomon too his communica-
tions were most familiar, as the instance recorded
in our text will evince. Solomon, after he was
seated on the throne of David his father, offered a
thousand burnt-offerings at Gibeon, where God's
principal altar was, previous to the building of the
temple. After that pious work was performed, God
visited him, and revealed himself to him in a dream
or vision, and bade him ask any blessing that he
chose; assuring him that it should certainly be
granted. Solomon accepted the offer, and made
known to God the request contained in our text.
Let us consider,
I. The choice of Solomon —
His request was for a more abundant measure of
"wisdom — -
[In this request, he desired intellectual wisdom, whereby
he might be fitted for all the duties and services of his high
station. He was conscious, that, without this, he should but ill
discharge the office to which God in his providence had called
him. He felt the awful responsibility attached to the office of a
monarch ; and he longed to approve himself both able and
faithful in the execution of his trust.
222.] Solomon's choice. 7
But it is evident that he desired spiritual wisdom also ; for h
wanted " to discern in all things between good and bad," which
he could not do without a clear discovery of the Law, which is
the only true test of good and evil.
ow this was a wise choice. He might, as God tells him,
have asked for riches, or honour, or power over his enemies : but
he felt that none of those things could make him happy, or
render those happy who were committed to his care. Indeed
we need only look at those who have been most famed for their
conquests, and we shall find, that no acquisitions of wealth or
territory could satisfy them ; and that they have been no less a
curse to the people they governed, than to those whom they
endeavoured to subdue ; since they sought only to gratify iheir
own ambition at the expense of those, whose welfare they should
have solely regarded. But without extending our views to them, we
need only look within the narrow circle of our own acquaintance,
and we shall see, that wisdom conduces more to the happiness
of men, than all other things whatever. See the man that is
enabled to conduct himself well in the most arduous affairs of
life, how happy does he make all who are connected with him ;
especially, if he be endued with spiritual wisdom also, ?o as to
have a spiritual discernment in every thing relating to God anf|
man ! What a light then shines around him ; and what blessings
does he communicate wherever he comes ! Compare such an one
with the great, the rich, the mighty, and he will be found far
happier than them all.
This choice moreover was approved of God himself, who not
only commended it as wise, but honoured it with a rich reward ;
giving him in a very abundant measure the blessing he desired %
and bestowing on him also those minor blessings which he had
forborne to ask.]
From this brief view of Solomon's choice we may
II. The instruction to be gathered from it —
It clearly shews,
1 . That an ability to discharge our duty aright is
the most desirable of all blessings —
[In whatever line of life we be, this will be found a truth.
Persons in higher life may, if truly gracious, do extensive good :
but wealth and power are abused, so as rather to diminish than
augment the happiness of those who are within the sphere of
their influence. Besides, in many cases, wealth and power can
do no good at all ; whereas wisdom is serviceable in every situation
in which we can be placed ; nor is there a man existing who
may not be benefited by the possessor of it, " Wisdom," we are
•Chap. iv. 29— 31.
8 1 KIGS, III. 11 — 14. [222.
told, " is profitable to direct:" and whilst it regulates the mo-
tions of others, it will enable a man to " guide his own affairs
with discretion," and to " walk wisely before God in a perfect
eed I say from how many difficulties and evils it will keep
a man; or what peace and joy it will bring into the soul ? Truly,
as in the want of this not all the world can give any permanent
satisfaction, so, in the absence of all other things, this will
afford the richest comfort and support. We may well therefore
say, that nothing in the universe is to be compared to it"^. Would
to God that the rich and great in every place made it, in the
days of youth too, the one object of their pursuit !]
2. That it is the gift of God alone —
[Education will improve our talents; but it will never confer
solid wisdom : that *' cometh from above**." We may go to
every creature in the universe, and they will all give us the same
answer, " It is not in me ; it is not in me '*''." The man famed
for wisdom almost as much as Solomon himself*, has directed us
to God as the only true source of all wisdom ^ We must seek
it , therefore, not by itudy only, but by prayer ; for " it is God
that giveth wisdom ; and out of his mouth cometh knowledge
and understandings." If any man could have derived it from
any other source, surely Solomon might ; seeing that he was
naturally possessed of strong mental powers, and had the advan-
tage of being instructed by the most pious and experienced of
kings. But he felt that none but God could open the eyes of
his understanding, or enrich him with that spiritual knowledge,
which alone could qualify him for the discharge of his high
3. That where a desire after it is supreme in the
soul, God will signally honour and bless us —
[The desire after wisdom ought to be so predominant in the
soul as to have no rival there : if it be not supremely coveted,
the desire after it is not sincere. But where it is really sought
as the supreme good, there God promises that he will grant it,
yea and liberally too, if we come to him in faith, and ask it at
his hands'*. To desire this is the best way of obtaining other
blessings in the measure that is good for us : for God promises,
that, if we " seek spiritual blessings Jirst, all other things shall
be added unto us'." We are far from saying, that other things
are not to be sought at all ; we only say, that they must be re-
garded as altogether subordinate to spiritual bles^ngs, and be
valued only as they may be subservient to the advancing of God's
'' Ps. ci. 2. '^ Prov. iii. 13—18. '' Jam. i. 17,
'*'' See that eloquent passage. Job xxviii. 12 — 23,
' Ezck. xxviii. 3. ' Dan. ii. 20, 21. * Prov, ii. 1—6.
•• Jam. i. 5. Eph. iii. 20. ' Matt. vi. 33.
honour and the good of mankind. In this view, riches, honour,
and j)ower may be desired ; but in comparison of true wisdom,
they must be regarded only as the small dust upon the balance.]
1 . Those who are ambitious of earthly honours —
[Think but how speedily they will vanish, and you will raise
your ambition to that which shall endure for ever'' ]
2. To those who desire the approbation of their
[God makes the same offer to you that he did to Solomon '.
Let vour choice then be the same as his : and seek it with all
the ardor and earnestness it deserves"" ]
*¦ Vs. xc. 12. ' John xiv. 13, 14. & xvi. 23, 24.
"" Prov. iv. 5—7.
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