Page images

hope shall perish : for what is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God taketh away his soul ?


In the way of righteousness is life: and in the pathway thereof there is no death. Righteousness exalteth a nation : but sin is a reproach to any people. Righteousness keepeth him that is upright in the way : but wickedness overthroweth the sinner. He that walketh uprightly walketh surely; but he that perverteth his ways shall be known. There shall no evil happen to the just: but the wicked shall be filled with mischief. The wicked is driven away in his wickedness: but the righteous hath hope in his death.


The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come. He shall enter into peace : they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness. But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.


Ye have said, It is vain to serve God; and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance; and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of Hosts? And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered. Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another; and the Lord hearkened, and heard it: and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of Hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels ; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked ; between him that serveth God, and him that serveth him not.

[ocr errors][merged small]

TIear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding. För I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law. For I was my father's son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother. He taught me also, and said unto me, let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live. Get wisdom, get understanding : forget it not; ueither decline from the words of my mouth. How much better is it to get wisdom than gold? and to get understanding rather to be chosen than

* True religion, or godliness, is often in scripture represented under the name and character of Wisdom i because it is the highest improvement of human nature, and the best and surest guide of human life. It is thus defined in Job, xxviii, 28, “ Behold the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to depart from evil is understanding;” in Psalm cxi. 10, “ The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all they that do his commandments;" and in Proverbs ix, 10, “ The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy is understanding." Truc Christians are, without doubt, the truly wise men.

shall endure for ever. Prosperity and adversity, life and death, poverty and riches, come of the Lord. Wisdom, knowledge, and understanding of the Law, are of the Lord : love, and the way of good works, are from him. Error and darkness had their beginning together with sinners; and evil shall wax old with them that glory therein. The gift of the Lord remaineth with the godly, and his favour bringeth prosperity for ever.

Job. Knoweth thou not this of old, since man was placed upon earth, that the triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite but for a moment? Tho' his excellency mount up to the heavens, and his head reach unto the clouds, yet he shall perish for ever. They which have seen him shall say, Where is he? He shall fly away as a dream, and not be found; yea, he shall be chased away as a vision of the night. The eye also which saw him shall see him no more, neither shall his place any more behold

Froin the same.

Behold, God will not cast away a perfect man, neither will he help the evil doers. He accepteth not the persons of princes, nor regardeth the kich more than the poor; for they are all the work of his hands. He will not lay upon man more than right. Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished, being innocent? or where were the righteous cut off? Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same. Hast thou marked the old way which wicked men have trodden? Which were cut down out of time, whose foundation was overflown with a flood. They spend their days in wealth, and in a moment go down to the grave. Therefore, they say unto God, Depart from us; for we de. sire not the knowledge of thy ways. What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? What profit should we have if we pray unto him? By the blast of God they perish, and by the breath of his nostrils are they consumed. They are as stubble before the wind, and as chaff that the storm carrieth away. They are exalted for a little while, but are gone and brought low; they are taken out of the way as all other, and cut off as the tops of the ears of corn. In a moment

« PreviousContinue »