Proverbs 1:20


In dramatic style, Wisdom is presentiated, personified, endued with visible and audible attributes. As contempt for religion has been animadverted upon, so now contempt for Wisdom calls for rebuke. The motto (ver. 7) is still in the preacher's mind.

I. THE CRY OF WISDOM IS PUBLIC AND CLEAR. In the street, "where merchants most do congregate," and in all places of general resort, the cry is heard. Hers is no esoteric doctrine; it is popularly exoteric, it is for all. She has no concealments. She is not ashamed of her message. She seeks the weal of each and of all. Like her Divine embodiment, she is the Friend of the simple and the meek, yea, of the fools and the sinners (Matthew 10:27; Luke 14:21). It is a voice to be heard above the mingled sounds of these thronged centres. The state of the markets and of the weather, passing events, the gossip of the hour, news of success and of failure, all have a moral meaning, run up into moral calculations, may be reduced to expressions of moral law.

II. HER TONE.

1. It is commanding and superior. She appeals to different classes of the frivolous, the free-thinking, the scoffers of the time. The times of Solomon, as pointed out by Delitzsch, were times of widespread worldliness and religious indifference. The lezim, or "scorners," must have been a numerous class. They scoffed at sacred things, laid claim to superior sense (Proverbs 14:6), were contentious and full of debate (Proverbs 22:10). They avoided the chakanim, or "wise men," and hence received the name of scoffers or mockers. They were like our modern free-thinkers, and have left their clear traces on the biblical page. The "wise men" were a kind of practical philosophers, not a professional class, but belonging to different callings. Religion and worship have never been exempt from criticism, have in every age been exposed to that "ridicule which is the test of truth." In these conflicts the tone of truth is ever commanding, conscious of authority, calm; that of the scoffer irritable and wanting in weight. Wisdom is commanding, because she holds the conscience. She bandies no arguments with the scoffer, who will only find in them fuel for his contentious spirit; she aims directly at the conscience, accuses and judges the perverted heart. "Turn at my denunciation" from your evil ways] "I will cause my Spirit to stream forth upon you."

2. Her tone is hortatory and promising. The Spirit of wisdom is compared to a mighty, forth-bubbling, never-exhausted fountain. So Christ cried in the last great day of the feast in Jerusalem, "If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink."

(1) There is a rich fulness in having wisdom, in contrast to which are the dry negations which are all the scoffer has to offer.

(2) It is a refreshing and a strengthening supply. It is not pedantry, the wisdom of words, nor abstract science of logic and metaphysics, but vital truth, the knowledge of facts and laws of the inner and outer world, which we need foreveryday consumption, for the life of the mind.

(3) Its impartation is conditioned by the will of the recipient. There must be the turning and the seeking, that there may be the finding and the enjoying of it; the opening of the mouth before it can be filled.

3. Her tone is threatening and prophetic of retribution. The day of grace is now conceived as past, the hour gone that will not return. She has called, has stretched out the hand, in token of pleading for attention, has lavished both counsel and rebuke; but has been responded to by sullen refusal, averted looks, scornful depreciation, obstinate resistance. This relation of forbearance and good will has been strained to the last degree; in the law of things it must be succeeded by a reaction. The places will be reversed. The scoffer will be the scoffed; the mocker will afford material for mirth. And here the pictures accumulate their dread impression on the imagination; the tempest and the tempest whirlwind answer in nature to the calamity and the horror, the anguish and constraint, of the faithless soul. All moral teaching carries in it a twofold prophetic element; a prophecy of penal retribution and a prophecy of blessed recompense. Retribution is the logical consequence of certain acts; and it involves a correspondence. The relation which has been wrongly denied comes in the end to be affirmed; and that which was affirmed, to be in the end denied. The manner of the sin foretells the manner of the penalty. Those who turned from pleading Wisdom, plead in the end with her in vain; seeking her now with zeal ("early"), their search is vain, The attitude which the soul refused to assume in its pride, it is forced into by its distress. The wheel comes full circle; the sinner is smitten in the very place of his sin; and outraged conscience is avenged.

4. Above all, the tone of Wisdom is reasonable. These are no arbitrary, cruel, capricious dealings with the sinner. They rest upon the law of things (vers. 29-31). "Because they hated reasonable doctrine, and coveted not the fear of Jehovah, fared not on the way of my counsel, and despised all my rebuke; therefore they shall eat of the fruit of their way, and be satiated with their counsels!" It is the law of causality applied to moral things. "The curse causeless shall not come!" The most obvious example of the law of cause and effect in nature - the connection of seed and crop, sowing and reaping - best illustrates the process in the human spirit. We cannot deceive God, cannot evade law; whatsoever we sow, we must reap, and that according to quantity, to kind or quality. Again, the figure of a surfeit is forcible as applied to this experience of the consequences of guilt. We find it also in Isaiah 3:10; Psalm 88:4; Psalm 123:4. It brings out the principle that all spurious pleasures, i.e. those which are rooted only in egotism, cloy, and so turn the man against himself. Self-loathling, self-contempt, is the deep revelation of an inner judgment. If any one asks with the anger of the atheistic poet, "Who made self-contempt?" let him turn to this passage for an answer.

5. Wisdom is declarative of moral laws. The turning away, the resistance and recalcitrancy of the simple, murders them (Jeremiah 8:5; Hosea 11:5), and the security (idle, easy, fleshly carelessness, Jeremiah 22:21) destroys them.

"More the treacherous calm I dread
Than tempests sailing overhead." (See South's powerful sermon, with his usual splendid illustrations, on "Prosperity ever dangerous to Virtue," vol. 2, ser. 6.)

6. She is prophetic of good to the obedient. In bright contrast to the spurious peace of the dulled conscience is the true peace of the wise and God-fearing, "He who listens to me shall dwell securely, and have rest. without terror of calamity." It is like that of ordered nature - "central peace abiding at the heart of endless agitation." In this profound union with God, the parables of life are but superficial and transient as the waves of ocean, while the depths are calm as eternity. The method of personified Wisdom is that of Christ, with which it may be compared at every point.

(1) Sin is clearly exposed, in its effects and its cause.

(2) Judgment is clearly announced.

(3) Promises of eternal good are no less emphatically given.

(4) Refuge from evil, and the way of salvation both temporal and eternal, are pointed out. - J.









Wisdom crieth without
The Lord Jesus Christ is the true Wisdom which speaks to the sons of men. The ancients were accustomed to speak of their religion as wisdom or philosophy, and therefore the Greeks represented Minerva as the goddess of wisdom, saying that she had proceeded from the brain of Jupiter.

I. THE ATTITUDE WHICH WISDOM TAKES WHEN SHE ADDRESSES THE SONS OF MEN.

1. Her appeal is an open and public one.

2. Her proposals are of a varied description. She comes into the streets, where are all manner of enticing frivolities. In the chief places of concourse, where the multitudes assemble. In the opening of the gates, where commerce is carried on.

3. Her appeals are pathetic. She "crieth."

II. THE CHARACTERS WHICH WISDOM ADDRESSES HERSELF TO. Simple ones; scorners; fools.

III. THE PROMISES WHICH SHE MAKES. "I will infuse My Spirit into you."

(W. Barker.)

I. THE MESSAGE.

1. Eastern method of publication. "She," beautiful personification of Wisdom, stands "at the head of the noisy streets" (R.V. margin). Our methods — the voice — the press, its powerful agency.

2. But the substance of wisdom is always the same, because human nature, life, and needs are the same. We still require higher guidance in our hurried life of to-day. Wisdom sees into the heart of things; seeks their essence; is not drawn aside by accidentals; and puts them in true proportions.

3. The Spirit of Wisdom. "I will pour out My Spirit," etc. More a spirit than a science: not to be learnt by rules, but reveals itself to love. Ruskin says that no great painting can be produced unless the artist loves his subject. There must be a leaning that way. A boy who leans to science will make a better naturalist than one to whom slugs and insects are repulsive. So the spirit of wisdom is poured out as love upon the lover. It purifies thought, steadies life, and enriches the nature.

II. HOW TREATED. "I have called," etc. She stands and cries: but the stream passes by engrossed and heedless, or turns to break a jest upon her. "Simple ones," those who are as weather-vanes, light of head, and turned by every wind; shallow of heart, they live the easy life of hand to mouth. "Scorners," the superior people, who "know, don't you know," to whom earnestness is fanaticism, and devotion cant. "Fools," to whom knowledge is a reproach, who stupidly go on their way, and resent interference, even for their good. But the excuses! "Let my schemes come to completion, and then!" "When I have a bit more time!" If a youth neglects learning a trade or profession, his life will be "bound in shallows and miseries." To drift is fatal. But too often this counsel is set at nought.

III. THE PUNISHMENT OF NEGLECT. All through the day she has cried, and has been neglected or despised. The light begins to fade, the night comes, not of "sleep, balmy sleep," but of wrath. Wisdom sadly leaves. The whirlwind begins to gather: the air trembles: the earth shudders. Most fearful of all is God's laughter through the darkened heavens.

(J. Feather.)

Evil-doers are not left without a warning. The warning is loud, public, authoritative. The wisdom of God is a manifold wisdom. While it centres bodily in Christ, and thence issues as from its source, it is reflected and re-echoed from every object and every event. Every law of nature, and every event in history, has a tongue by which Wisdom proclaims God's holiness and rebukes man's sin. Wisdom speaks through man's conscience. It is not conscience proclaiming God's anger against the man's evil that has power to make the man good. It is the conscience sprinkled with the blood of Christ that at once speaks peace and works purity.

I. Reproof of the SIMPLE who love simplicity. By the "simple" is meant that class of sinners whose leading characteristic is the absence of good rather than positive activity in evil. The root of bitterness has not shot forth in any form of outrageous vice, but it remains destitute of righteousness. The simple for time are always a numerous class; but the simple for eternity are a more numerous class still.

II. Reproof for the SCORNERS who love scorning. This class meet the threatening realities of eternity, not by an easy indifference, but by a hardy resistance. Scorners may be found on both the edges of society. Poverty and riches become by turns a temptation to the same sin. Scorners love scorning. The habit grows by indulgence. It becomes a second nature. It becomes the element in which they live. Their scoffs are generally parrying strokes to keep convictions away. These smart sayings are the fence to turn aside certain arrows which might otherwise fix their tormenting barbs in the conscience. The scorner is not so bold a man as he appears to be.

III. Reproof for the FOOLS who hate knowledge. Fools are those who have reached the very highest degrees of evil. They hate knowledge, and knowledge has its beginning in the fear of God. The emphatic "no God" of the fourteenth Psalm indicates, not the despair of a seeker who is unable to find truth, but the anger of an enemy who does not like to retain it. It is not a judgment formed in the fool's understanding, but a passion rankling in his heart.

(William Arnot, D. D.)

I. A DIVINE CALL.

1. The subject of the call.

2. The places in which it is given.

3. The manner in which it is addressed.

4. The persons to whom it is applied.

(1)The simple are those who are easily seduced, the thoughtless masses, who become the ready victims of evil-designing men.

(2)The scorners are those who ridicule sacred things.

(3)The fools who hate knowledge include both of the above classes.

II. AN IMPORTANT EXHORTATION — "Turn you at My reproof."

1. The subject to which this exhortation refers. The great design of the gospel is to turn men from the error of their way.

(1)We are to turn in the exercise of true repentance.

(2)We are to turn with full purpose of heart.

(3)We are to turn without delay.

2. The inducement given in order to lead us to comply with this exhortation. The sinner's inability to turn to God is not of the same nature as our inability to fly, which is a physical inability. To meet the moral inability, and to encourage those who are oppressed with a sense of it, the promise is given, "I will pour oat My Spirit unto you." He is bestowed in order to change our hearts, to aid our infirmities, and to strengthen us with strength in our souls. It is also said, "I will make known My words unto you."

(1)They will be made known to enlighten.

(2)To direct.

(3)To quicken.

(4)To console.

III. A SOLEMN DENUNCIATION. Of the doom here denounced we have —

1. Its procuring cause. The disregard shown for, and the contempt cast upon, the Divine message. The act "stretching out the hand" is done —

(1)To command attention.

(2)To afford assistance.

(3)To confer a blessing.

(4)To make up a quarrel.

2. Its terrible nature. He who is shown as graciously promising and helping is now described as "laughing at calamity and mocking at fears." And the woe will be aggravated by the consideration that mercy will be sought when seeking it will be unavailing.

(Author of "Footsteps of Jesus.")

The Book of Proverbs is a jewel-case well filled with gems. This passage is a delightfully Oriental presentation of the truth of the call of God to the soul of man.

I. THE CALL OF WISDOM.

1. By wisdom is meant the beneficent Divine energy.

2. This Divine energy comes into connection with man, and produces a reflection of itself in him.

3. The complete presentation of this Divine wisdom going forth for the enlightenment of men is found in Jesus Christ.

(1)This call is open.

(2)The offer made in the call is free.

(3)All classes of men are touched by this call.

(4)The call is urgent.

II. THE RESULTS OF THE CALL OF WISDOM.

1. Refusal of God's offer is possible, and consequences necessarily follow.

(1)The acceptance of sin puts man in the attitude of the rejection of God.

(2)When sinful man wants God's wisdom as a refuge it is no longer available.

(3)Calamity comes upon those who reject the voice of the wisdom of God.

(4)The retribution that comes is largely internal.

2. It is possible for men to hear and obey Wisdom's voice. The result to the obedient is given thus.

(1)Part of it is safety.

(2)Out of this comes quietude.This lesson has its full application in relation to Wisdom incarnate, even the Lord Jesus Christ. There are diverse consequences for those who answer this voice diversely.

(D. J. Burrell, D. D.)

The Hebrew has "wisdoms" plural, as including all kinds of true wisdom.

I. HEAVENLY WISDOM IS WORTH THE LOOKING AFTER. As things publicly cried and proclaimed are worth taking notice of.

II. THIS HEAVENLY WISDOM IS TO BE FOUND ONLY IN JESUS CHRIST. As the Son of God He knew the Father's will from all eternity. God spake to Him before His incarnation. God gave Him the Spirit beyond measure. All wisdom that others have in heavenly things comes from Him.

III. GOD IS VERY DESIROUS THAT MEN SHOULD GET HEAVENLY WISDOM. Therefore He cries loudly, earnestly, affectionately. As He gives natural light in creatures and arts, so He gives supernatural in revelations.

IV. THIS HEAVENLY KNOWLEDGE IS OFFERED TO THE MEANEST. It is preached in villages. To show that God is no respecter of persons. To bind men the more to God.

V. THE WAY TO THIS HEAVENLY KNOWLEDGE IS PLAIN AND EASY. It is cried about the streets; it is taught in all languages; it is taught by earthly similitudes as in parables abundantly.

(Francis Taylor.)

She uttereth her voice in the streets
We are all ready to listen to the voices of nature — of the mountain, the sea, the storm, the star. How few learn anything from the voices of the noisy and dusty street. Learn —

I. THAT THIS LIFE IS A SCENE OF TOIL AND STRUGGLE. Can it be that passing up and down these streets on your way to work you do not learn anything of the world's toil, and anxiety, and struggle?

II. THAT ALL CLASSES AND CONDITIONS OF SOCIETY MUST COMMINGLE. We sometimes culture a wicked exclusiveness. All classes of people are compelled to meet on the street. The democratic principle of the gospel recognises the fact that we stand before God on one and the same platform.

III. THAT IT IS A VERY HARD THING FOR A MAN TO KEEP HIS HEART RIGHT AND TO GET TO HEAVEN. Infinite temptations spring upon us from these places of public concourse.

IV. THAT LIFE IS FULL OF PRETENSION AND SHAM. What subterfuge, what double-dealing, what two-facedness!

V. THAT THE STREET IS A GREAT FIELD FOR CHRISTIAN CHARITY. There are hunger, and suffering, and want, and wretchedness in the country; but these evils chiefly congregate in our great cities. On every street crime prowls, and drunkenness staggers, and shame winks, and pauperism thrusts out its hand, asking for alms.

(T. De Witt Talmage.)

How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity
I. I AM TO SHOW IN WHAT RESPECTS EVERY UNREGENERATE SINNER MAY BE SAID TO BE A "SIMPLE ONE." They may be very far from this character, in point of natural sagacity, acquired learning, and speculative knowledge of religious things. But, after all, they are really simple.

1. The unregenerate are simple, in that they are satisfied with slight, superficial apprehensions of God.

2. The unregenerate are simple, in their being satisfied with slight thoughts of sin.

3. They are simple, in that they are easily induced to mistake good and evil, to put the one for the other.

4. They are simple, as to believing the strength of sin in their own hearts. They do not think their hearts so corrupt and prone to iniquity as described in Jeremiah 17:9.

5. In consequence of these things, they are easily seduced into sin, and led to entire apostasy from their former seeming faith and holiness.

6. They are simple, as to the ground on which they imagine their spiritual state to be good. They are surprised at the niceness and scrupulousness of the saints in this matter.

7. And as to the approaches of death and eternity: these steal upon them at unawares. The saints see death in its causes — the holiness of God, and the sinfulness of man.

II. THIS SIMPLICITY IS LOVED BY SINNERS. It is not a harmless weakness, but attended with deadly obstinacy.

1. They have a kind of happiness, notwithstanding of it, which suits their carnal taste.

2. This happiness depends on the continuance of their simplicity. For a little Divine wisdom would annihilate that dream, and make their present joys tasteless.

3. They have an aversion to that happiness which is truly Divine and holy.

4. Therefore, to part with this simplicity seems to them to be just the same thing as running into despair.

5. Therefore, either in the way of deceit or of violence, they resist the means of illumination.

III. WHAT IS IMPLIED IN GOD'S OBSERVING THE TIME THAT A SINNER CONTINUES IN THIS CHARACTER?

1. It is founded in His omniscience.

2. And in His character as the Judge of all.

3. Because every act of sin in the heart hath its own malignity.

4. Every period of impenitence is an aggravation of all past sins.

5. God is unwearied in this observation (Isaiah 40:28).

6. This observation is recorded that the sinner himself may be brought to such an accurate remembrance of his sins as is necessary for his taking in a sense of Divine wrath (Psalm 50:21).

(J. Love, D.D.)

Scorners delight in their scorning
I shall arrange the matter of this scorning in different classes, so as to begin with the ultimate and fundamental objects of scorning, and gradually to come down to the more immediate, and those which are obvious to common observation.

I. SUCH THINGS AS RELATE TO THE DIVINE NATURE AND CHARACTER IN GENERAL.

1. The infinite holiness of God.

2. The infinite justice of God.

3. All the natural excellences of the Divine nature. When these natural excellences of strength, wisdom, eternity, etc., are considered as clothed with the moral lustre of infinite holiness, justice, etc., their beauty is converted into gloom and horror to the sinner. He hates, and therefore derides them.

4. The mercy of God.

II. SUCH THINGS AS RELATE TO THE MANIFESTATION OF THE NATURE AND CHARACTER OF GOD, IN HIS WAY OF SAVING SINNERS: BECAUSE THE GLORY OF GOD, AS ABOVE DESCRIBED, SHINES FORTH IN THIS WAY.

1. The sovereign counsels, purposes, and compacts of the Three Persons in the Godhead concerning the salvation of sinners.

2. The solemn, holy, and glorious operations of the Godhead, in the actual procurement of salvation, in the incarnation and humiliation of the Second Person in the glorious Trinity. While the Redeemer was on earth, there was a multitude of sinners who poured out their hostile scorn upon Him, especially when He was upon the Cross (Psalm 22:7, etc.).

3. The holy operations of the Spirit of God, in the Person of Christ, and in His people.

III. THE MANIFESTATIONS OF GOD, IN THE CHARACTER AND LIVES OF HIS CHILDREN. Here, the excellences of God are brought near to the eyes of natural men; and there are two reasons why the natural enmity is more exercised against the saints than directly against God.

1. They have more lively views of the holiness of the saints than they have of the holiness of God Himself.

2. Because there is greater appearance of impunity.This enmity at the saints shows itself in derision.

1. At their sins. The wicked will give no quarter to the least sin in a child of God.

2. At their sinless infirmities.

3. At the success of their efforts to draw them into sin (Isaiah 29:21).

4. Nicknaming their graces, and then taking liberty to ridicule them.

5. The sorrows and joys of the saints.

6. The hopes and fears of the saints; for the same reasons as above.

7. The counsels and reproofs of the saints.

IV. SUCH THINGS AS RELATE TO THE PURE AND SPIRITUAL WORSHIP OF GOD.

1. This is a combination of all the things already mentioned.

2. The spiritual substance of Divine worship is itself hateful to the sinner; and that considered both as an exercise of sanctified self-love and as springing from disinterested, voluntary love to God — particularly in this last view.

3. But the sinner frequently dares not to avow this; not from any want of enmity, but from a sneaking, cowardly dread of God. And therefore he fixes his ridicule upon the outside of the service of God. Here he nibbles, and plays off his sordid artillery.

V. THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD.

1. The external operations of the power and wisdom of God in the visible world, when considered by themselves, detachedly from His moral administration, are indeed the lowest of His works. There is least of what is peculiarly Divine apparent in them.

2. But if the external manifestations of God, in the creation, are considered as intimately connected with His moral character, then even the goodness of God therein appears under a gloom, if it be considered as leading on the sinner to repentance, under certification of double vengeance if he repent not, and as giving a low picture of his superior and sublime goodness as to moral things (Romans 2:4, 5).

3. And, much more, external judgments. There seems nothing so material in sin as to justify external calamities.

(J. Love, D. D.)

Lord Chesterfield being at supper with Voltaire and Madame C—— , the conversation turned on the affairs of England. "I think, my lord," said the lady, "that the Parliament of England consists of five or six hundred of the best informed and most sensible men in the kingdom." "True, madam, they are generally supposed to be so." "What, then, can be the reason they should tolerate so great an absurdity as the Christian religion?" "I suppose, madam, it is because they have not been able to substitute anything better in its stead; when they can, I doubt not but in their wisdom they will readily accept it."

Turn you at My reproof
Weekly Pulpit.
1. What voices does Wisdom find in each generation? Parent-voice; teacher-voice; experience-voice; revelation-voice; Christ's voice.

2. Where does Wisdom raise her voice? For them that have ears to hear, anywhere, everywhere.

3. What is the message which the voice delivers?

I. AN ASSERTION. You need to be turned. This is not the message we expect Wisdom to bring. She should say, "Study. Seek good teachers. Think. Read." She does say, "Turn"; and so she reveals the one deep and universal need. Simple ones, turn from folly. Scorners, turn from the deceit of scorning. Fools, turn from your wilful, wicked ways. The first thing Wisdom would have us do is change. The first call of Christ, the true Wisdom, is, "Repent."

II. A TRUTH. You must turn yourselves. The call is based on our possession of will, and on the fact that we have hitherto made such misguided, such ruinous, choices with our wills. Wisdom calls for a new and different exercise of our will. There is a sense in which we cannot save ourselves; there is a sense in which nobody can save us but ourselves. We can shift it on nobody's shoulders. Therefore the Divine persuasions are, "Choose; turn."

III. A DUTY. You ought to turn at once. Under the constraint of such gracious promises and persuasions. For Wisdom wins as well as calls. She promises to give her spirit, the love of knowledge, the joy of knowing, to all who will turn from selfish pleasure's giddy ways. And Christ persuades and promises that He may win. He promises "the life that now is, and the life that is to come."

1. Pardon.

2. Cleansing.

3. Healing.

4. Conscious sonship.

5. Love.

6. Joy unspeakable.

7. Heaven.From dead-works — turn. From worldly pleasures — turn. From self-seekings — turn. From sin — turn. Let the call of Wisdom and of Christ ring in our ears wherever we go, in busy street, in quiet home, in bustling business, in lonely room.

(Weekly Pulpit.)

Sketches of Four Hundred Sermons.
Various are the means which the Lord employs to convince the wicked of the error of their ways, and bring them to a knowledge of Divine truth.

I. THE REPROOFS HE ADMINISTERS.

1. By the Scriptures, which contain the most pointed and salutary admonitions, sending us for instruction and reproof to —

(1)The works of creation;

(2)examples of impiety;

(3)the awful solemnities of death and the grave.

2. By ministers. They persuade men by the terrors of the Lord, and encourage them by the promises of the gospel.

3. By conscience. The internal and universal monitor; the witness to all our proceedings. It speaks with sovereign authority.

4. By providence. By —

(1)Pious parents;

(2)family connections;

(3)godly neighbours;

(4)by afflictions, and difficulties;

(5)by the death of our fellow-mortals.

II. THE SUBMISSION HE REQUIRES. He invites return —

1. With penitent hearts. Genuine repentance includes —

(1)Conviction of sin

;

(2)humiliation of soul;

(3)compunction of spirit;

(4)holy indignation and shame;

(5)humble confession to God.

2. With believing minds. By faith we —

(1)Credit the gospel;

(2)embrace the Saviour; and

(3)realise salvation.

3. With fervent devotion. We should call upon Him —

(1)Sincerely;

(2)humbly;

(3)confidently;

(4)fervently;

(5)diligently.

4. With prompt obedience. Religion requires an universal renunciation of the principles and habits of vice, and an entire devotedness to God, both of heart and life.

III. THE ENCOURAGEMENT HE IMPARTS. "Pour out My Spirit." The participation of the Holy Ghost is an inestimable privilege, which includes every holy principle that He implants, and every gracious disposition which He requires. The Spirit of God is —

1. A convincing Spirit. He opens the eyes of our understanding; and He imparts a spiritual discernment (John 16:8-11).

2. A quickening Spirit. He removes the death of sin, and infuses the life of grace.

3. A comforting Spirit.

4. A sanctifying Spirit. He is called "the Spirit of holiness." He sanctifies His people wholly, and preserves them blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:23).

(Sketches of Four Hundred Sermons.)

I. GOD REQUIRES NOTHING MORE THAN MAN CAN DO. The text requires men to do something; and it promises assistance only on the condition that they make use of some strength which it supposes them to possess. But it does not require of them that they should change their hearts or renew their natures. They are to "turn at God's reproof," and it is assumed that they might turn if they would. We enjoin on men that they set vigorously about the reforming what they know to be wrong, and the cultivating what they know to be right. The command of the text does not overrate the powers of those to whom it is addressed.

II. GOD MAKES A GRACIOUS PROMISE. We assume that the help of God's Spirit is indispensable to our taking the first step, as well as the last, in the path of salvation. But our turning is the condition of our obtaining the Spirit. No men are altogether without the inward strivings of the Spirit. Because the Spirit is not acting apparently in a man's renewal, we may not assume that He is not acting. He may be engaged in preparatory work. Turn at God's reproof, and you will receive the Spirit in its renovating power, and have the wisdom which is strength, and peace, and life, and immortality.

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

I will pour out My Spirit unto you
Some take it for illumination only, and gifts of knowledge. So it agrees well with the words that follow, "I will make known My words unto you." If ye hearken to My reproof I will tell you more of My mind. Ye shall know more of heavenly truths. Others take it for sanctifying gifts of the Spirit.

I. THEY THAT WILL TURN TO GOD SHALL NOT WANT THE PLENTIFUL HELP OF GOD'S SPIRIT TO DIRECT THEM. They will pray for God's Spirit. Encourage men to turn to God, for then they shall have His Spirit for their instructor, sanctifier, and comforter.

II. THE SPIRIT AND THE WORD MUST GO TOGETHER TO GUIDE. Both are joined in this verse. A lying spirit it must needs be that contradicts God's plain Word.

(Francis Taylor.)

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Proverbs 1:19
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