Proverbs 8:17

Adapting these words to him who became, and forever will be, the Wisdom of God, they may speak to us of -

I. CHRIST'S INITIATIVE LOVE. It is quite true that "we love him because he first loved us." We should first consider "the great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins" (Ephesians 2:4, 5). All our love to Christ springs from, has its source in, his spontaneous love toward us, unexcited by our affection, flowing from his own exceeding grace.

II. HIS RESPONSIVE LOVE. This involves much,

1. His special interest in those who are inquiring at his feet. "Jesus beholding him, loved him, and said into him, One thing thou lackest" (Mark 10:21). Zacchaeus (Luke 19.).

2. His Divine favour accorded to those who have accepted him as their Lord. "I love them that love me" (see John 11:5). These are his friends and his guests (John 14:23; John 15:14, 15; Revelation 3:20).

3. Spiritual blessings which he will impart. He will dwell with us by his Spirit, and the fruits of the Spirit will abound in us. If, then, our interest in Christ, and the yielding of our hearts to him, result in his close friendship and in those highest impartations which flow therefrom, how wise must be -

III. EARLY DISCIPLESHIP TO HIM! For if we would make sure of finding him and possessing his friendship, we should seek him without delay. Delay is always dangerous. There may intervene between ourselves and him:

1. Other objects which may fascinate our souls and lead us away from him.

2. The growth of the deadly spirit of procrastination.

3. A sudden close of our present life. But early discipleship, the coming in faith to his feet, to his cross, to his kingdom, to his vineyard, means the certainty of holiness and usefulness below and the assurance of blessedness above. - C.

I love them that love Me.
The mind must reach religion's creed by help of the heart. Reason is not to be set aside, but, with the value of the rational faculty exalted to its highest honour, the affections of the heart must constantly aid the rational faculty if it is expected to accomplish much in the realm of moral truth. There must be an attuning of the two instruments, the objective truth and the subjective man, such that the music of the former may not be rejected as a discord or lost because inaudible. Wisdom has always distributed her truth to those who love her. Those special ideas called "religion" will become truths or doctrines only by help of the heart's friendship. Unless men can reach some wish in their favour, some partiality for them, it is hardly to be supposed that mere logic will ever force them upon individual or public practices. The power of the mind to reject conclusions not welcome to the feelings is enormous. It is possible that the poverty of evidence, confessed in this world to exist as to vast moral propositions, comes from the fact that earth was made, not for a wicked but for a virtuous race. Sin may have destroyed evidence by destroying the sentiments that made it visible. The exact sciences proclaim their ideas to all, and ask no favour of any kind. The evidences of Christianity must be weighed by a mind not averse to virtue, not averse to the being and presence of a just God, but full of tender sympathy with man. By a soul capable of sadness and of hope.

(David Swing.)

The love which Christ entertains for His people is an affection the nature and extent of which can be learned only from a consideration of the causes which produce it.


II. CHRIST LOVES THOSE WHO LOVE HIM BECAUSE HE HAS DONE AND SUFFERED SO MUCH FOR THEIR SALVATION. He purchased them with His blood. From the birth to the death of His people He watches over them with unremitting attention. He forgives their sins, alleviates their sorrows, sympathises in their trials, heals their backslidings, wipes away their tears, listens to their prayers, intercedes for them with His Father, enables them to persevere, and accompanies them through the valley of the shadow of death. All this care and attention naturally tends to increase His love for them.

III. CHRIST LOVES THOSE WHO LOVE HIM BECAUSE THEY ARE UNITED TO HIM BY STRONG AND INDISSOLUBLE TIES. The union between Christ and His people is presented under various figures — bride-groom and bride, vine and branches, head and members, soul and body. The bond of this union on our part is faith, but the union itself is formed by the appointment of God.

IV. CHRIST LOVES THOSE WHO LOVE HIM BECAUSE THEY POSSESS HIS SPIRIT AND BEAR HIS IMAGE. Similarity of character always tends to produce affection, and hence every being in the universe loves his own image whenever he discovers it. Christ loves His own image in His creatures because it essentially consists in holiness, which is of all things most pleasing to His Father and Himself.

V. CHRIST LOVES THOSE WHO LOVE HIM BECAUSE THEY REJOICE IN AND RETURN HIS AFFECTION. It is the natural tendency of love to produce and increase love. Even those whom we have long loved on account either of their relation to us or of their amiable qualities become incomparably more dear to us when they begin to prize our love and return it. Improvement:

1. This subject may enable every one to answer the important question, Does Christ love me?

2. If Christ loves those who love Him, then He will love those most who are most ready to return His affection, to do all things, and to suffer all things for His sake.

3. How happy are they who love! What happiness, then, must they enjoy who love and are beloved by the infinite fountain of love, God's eternal Son!

4. These truths afford most powerful motives to induce sinners to love Christ.

(E. Payson, D. D.)

? — On them that love her she will bestow love again. On them that seek her aright she will bestow herself. There is great use of Wisdom, and she hath great store of wealth to bestow. How shall we obtain this Wisdom? Love her and get her. Love is the best Master of Arts, the surest teacher. As the good fruit of the study of Wisdom is very great, so the labour of them that respect her is not in vain. They shall enjoy both her love and herself.




(Francis Taylor, B. D.)

I. EXPLAIN THE LOVE OF WISDOM, AND SHOW THE SENTIMENTS AND DISPOSITIONS THAT ARE IMPORTED IN IT. The affections and passions of the human nature are the moving springs which set our active powers at work. Various are the methods by which the objects of affection are introduced into the mind. Some wholly by the senses, some by reflection, inquiry, comparing things, and forming general notions of them. What is imported in the love of wisdom is —

1. A high esteem of its superior excellency as the result of mature consideration.

2. That we should desire it above all things. This Solomon proposeth as a qualification and means of attaining wisdom.

3. Love naturally showeth itself in the complacency which the mind taketh in the enjoyment of, or even in meditating upon, the beloved objects.


1. In ordinary human affairs we see that desire putteth men upon that labour and diligence which are the ordinary means of success.

2. The love of wisdom is a disposition highly pleasing to God, and to it He hath made gracious promises. We must conceive of the Supreme Being as a lover of virtue and goodness, of everything which is truly amiable on the account of moral excellence; and if it be so, He hath complacency in those of mankind whose affections are placed on the same thing which is His delight. We have, therefore, the greatest encouragements and advantages for attaining to wisdom, and we ought to use all diligence in humble and affectionate concurrence with Him who worketh in us.

(J. Abernethy, M. A.)

I. WHAT KIND OF LOVE GOD EXERCISES TOWARDS THEM THAT LOVE HIM. There is the love of benevolence and the love of complacency. These two kinds of love are of the same nature, but distinguished by the objects upon which they terminate. The love of benevolence terminates upon percipient being, and extends to all sensitive natures, whether rational or irrational, whether they have a good, or bad, or no moral character. God desires and regards the good of all His creatures, from the highest angel to the lowest insect. The love of complacency is wholly confined to moral beings who are possessed of moral excellence. Nothing but virtue, or goodness, or real holiness is the object of God's complacence.


1. Some true knowledge of His moral character.

2. True love to God implies esteem as well as knowledge. Esteem always arises from a conviction of moral excellence in the person or being esteemed. All men have a moral discernment of moral objects. Sinners cannot contemplate the infinite greatness and goodness of God without discerning His infinite worthiness to be loved.

3. Their loving God truly implies a supreme complacency in His moral character. In the exercise of true love to any object there is a pleasure taken in the object itself. When men truly love God they take pleasure in every part of His moral character.

III. WHY DOES GOD ONLY LOVE SUCH AS FIRST LOVE HIM? Before they first love Him they are not lovely. Their hearts are full of evil, and entirely opposed to all that is good. They are under the dominion of selfishness, which is total enmity to all holiness. But there is something in God which renders Him lovely and glorious before He loves sinners; and therefore they can love Him before He loves them. Improvement:

1. If God does not love sinners before they first love Him, then it is a point of more importance in preaching the gospel to make them sensible that He hates them than that He loves them.

2. Then the first exercise of love to Him must be before they know that He loves them.

3. Then they must love Him, while they know that He hates them, and is disposed to punish them for ever.

4. Then sinners are naturally as unwilling to embrace the gospel as to obey the law.

5. If God love those who first love Him, then He is willing to receive them into His favour upon the most gracious and condescending terms.

6. If God does not love sinners before they love Him, then they have no right to desire or pray that He would become reconciled to them while they continue to hate and oppose Him.

7. If God loves sinners as soon as they love Him, then, if they properly seek Him, they shall certainly find Him.

(N. Emmons, D. D.)

These words do not set forth either —

1. That Christ's love is produced by ours. Its source is Himself.

2. Or that Christ's love is since ours. It is eternal.

3. Or that Christ's love is dependent on ours. Unchangeable.

4. Or that Christ's love is only for those who love Him. He gave the greatest proof of it while we were enemies.


II. THOSE WHO RETURN CHRIST'S LOVE RECEIVE SPECIAL MANIFESTATIONS OF GRACE FROM HIM. Answered prayers, the Spirit's comfort, success in labour, joys of communion.



(R. A. Griffin.)

And those that seek Me early shall find Me
The enjoyments of life are dispensed by the indiscriminating hand of Providence, and often in as large a measure to the unthankful and evil as to the good and virtuous. But wisdom is of a peculiar nature, and it doth not prevent any qualifying dispositions and endeavours in those who obtain it. The foundation of it is laid in the faculties of the mind. Nothing can sufficiently prove the sincerity of our professed affection to wisdom but that seeking it early which is recommended in this text.

I. EXPLAIN SEEKING WISDOM EARLY. It means this, that it has the chief room in our cares and application. That which is highest in our esteem, most earnestly desired and delighted in, will naturally engage our first concern and endeavours, while matters of an inferior consideration are justly postponed.

1. If we would seek wisdom it must be by the constant use of the proper means in order to our obtaining it.

2. Diligence, or "seeking early," importeth using the best means frequently, and with spirit and vigour.

II. SHOW THE ADVANTAGE OF IT. We have assurance of success. The text contains an express promise in the name of wisdom.

1. Diligence importeth such dispositions of mind as must please the Supreme Being.

2. Diligence in seeking wisdom or religion is really practising it. Commend the importance of seeking wisdom and religion in the beginning of every day, and in youth-time, which is the morning of life.

(J. Abernethy, M. A.)

I. WHAT IT IS TO SEEK CHRIST EARLY. The expression is sometimes used for the duty of prayer, sometimes for the whole of religion. To seek Christ is to seek the true knowledge of Christ, and a saving interest in Him. It is to seek that He may be all that to us, and that we may be all that to Him, for which He is made known and proposed in the gospel. To seek early signifies carefully, earnestly, diligently.

1. We are to seek early with respect to the time of life, or in the younger part of our days. The greatest and most important, concern of all others is not to be put off to the busy time of life, that is incumbered with the cares and hurries of this world; nor to old age, that is enfeebled by decays and loaded with infirmities. It is never too soon to seek after Christ, but it may be too late.

2. We are to seek Him early with respect to the day of grace, or to our opportunities of seeking Him. Whenever God calls us by His Word or providence, we should be early and speedy in attending to those calls.

3. It is to seek Him early with respect to all other things, or above and before all thing else. This relates to the earnestness and fervour with which He is to be sought in the younger part of our days. It is to seek Him with the whole heart.


1. Early seeking is most pleasing to Him.

2. It is the ordinary course of Divine grace to be found of early seekers.

3. Such have fewer obstructions in seeking.

4. There are peculiar promises to such.

(J. Guyse, D. D.)

The legend of the "Holy Grail" tells us that Joseph of Arimathea came into possession of the dish from which the Saviour ate, or, according to another version, the cup from which He drank, when He celebrated the last Passover in the upper room with His apostles. When Joseph stood at the Cross, some of the blood which came from the wounds of Christ fell into this vessel, and Joseph ever afterwards carried about this relic with him in all his wanderings, until at length he came to England. The very presence of this sacred vessel had a mystic influence: miraculous cures were effected by it. But at length, in consequence of the wickedness of the land, this sacred vessel was no longer permitted to remain visible amongst men. What could be a worthier task of Christian knighthood than to go in search of it? Man is, by the very constitution of his nature, a seeker. For wise and good reasons God has made us creatures of desire. It is of the utmost importance that this seeking instinct of our nature should be wisely directed. This Book of Proverbs speaks to you of a treasure which is worthy of your pursuit, and which is the most valuable of all treasures.

I. THIS WISDOM IS A HIDDEN TREASURE. Never be led astray by that lie of the devil, that those things which can be seen are the most real and substantial. It is a delusion which is the parent of all ignoble life. The existence of God is the greatest reality of all, and yet your eye cannot see God. You cannot see your mother's love.

II. THIS WISDOM IS A SACRED TREASURE. The grail was called the holy grail because it had sacred associations. God's own wisdom is that which we are invited to share. By wisdom is not meant mere knowledge, but that heavenly yet practical wisdom which has to do with the most sacred region of our being — the conscience, the affections, the will — and which enables a man to walk through life in a right and wise direction, and in a spirit sympathetic with the mind of God. No man can be said to live wisely who is living out of harmony with God's own purpose concerning him. True wisdom enables us to make a wise use of all earthly knowledge, but it is itself a heavenly and sacred treasure.

III. THIS WISDOM IS A PRICELESS TREASURE. Wisdom may sometimes put a man in the way of obtaining wealth; but no amount of wealth can ever buy wisdom. The true wisdom will lead you into the paths of duty, honour, and integrity. No amount of wealth can by any possibility be a compensation for the lack of the priceless treasure.


1. It is a healing influence.

2. A nourishing influence.

3. A life-renewing influence.


1. Reverence.

2. Prayer.

3. Courage.

4. Purity.I have said that man is born a seeker. It is also true that the elements of heroism lie embedded in the very constitution of our nature. There is plenty of room for Christian knighthood yet — for true chivalry of heart and life. Christ is the Divine Wisdom incarnate — the Word of God in human nature. Then seek Christ.

(T. Campbell Finlayson.)

The favour of the Almighty has always been bestowed upon such as remember Him in the days of their youth. See the cases of Joseph, Samuel, Solomon, Josiah, Hannah, Ruth, Timothy, etc.

1. There is an incalculable advantage in beginning in season a work which we know to be long and difficult.

2. Another advantage is the defence which is thus set up against the encroachments of vice. Youth is the season of warm and generous affections: the time when inexperience entices into a thousand snares; the season for active exertion. In youth, we say, the future hinges on the present. If the thoughts and feelings are pure, the soul will be bright with happiness.

3. Another advantage is the promotion of happiness in the family circle, and the beneficent influence thus exerted upon companions and friends.

4. Another advantage is the indescribable satisfaction which is afforded to parents and friends.

5. Another advantage is the ready access which it affords to the throne of grace.

6. Another is that we are thus prepared to meet with a smile the dark frowns of adversity.

7. There is every encouragement for seeking early after God, because we are thus enabled to await, with calm and holy resignation, the coming of death.

(John N. Norton.)

The Hebrew word used denotes seeking at the dawn or beginning of a day. From the words "I love them that love Me" it might be inferred that man must love God as a preliminary or condition to God's loving man. The truth, however, is, that God's love of man must in every case precede man's love to God, and be its chief producing cause. "We love Him because He first loved us." There is no natural power in men of loving God. No one of us will love God because everything around proves that God loves him. Our love to God is nothing else but the reflection of God's love to us. What produces love to God? You cannot make yourselves love God. It is God alone who can make you love God. When we answer to His love, becoming new creatures through the motions of His Spirit, then, as though He had not loved us before, so endearing is the relationship into which we are brought, that He says "I love them that love Me." If we cannot make our selves love God, we may think over the proofs of His love, we may look at His picture, read over His letters, and so put ourselves in the way of receiving those influences which can alone change the heart. From the words "Those that seek Me early shall find Me" we need not argue that if He has not been sought early it is in vain to seek Him late. What are the motives which should conspire to urge the young to an immediate attention to the things which belong unto their peace?

1. The life of the young is as uncertain as that of the old. Health and strength are no security against the speedy approaches of death. Now is the only moment of which you are sure.

2. They will have much greater difficulty in their seeking who fail to seek early. Many suppose that one time will be as fitting as another, late as early, for seeking the Lord. They think that, if they live, repentance will be as much within their power twenty or thirty years hence as it is now. But this is a supposition for which there is no warrant. An old writer says, "God has, indeed, promised that He will at all times give pardon to the penitent, but I do not find that He has promised that He will, at all times, give penitence to the sinful." By continuing in sin habits are formed which will strengthen into taskmasters, and which, when men grow old, will be well-nigh irresistible. Very small is the likelihood of producing any moral impression on those who have grown old in forgetfulness of God. We know no so unpromising a subject of moral attack as an aged sinner, always supposing him to have heard the gospel in his youth. Then give God the prime of your strength, the flower of your days, the vigour of your intellect, the ardency of your affections.

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

That the religion of Christ is, beyond all others, calculated to produce private and public felicity no man who is acquainted with that religion can doubt.

1. Those who enjoy the singular benefit of a pious education have the greatest probability of success and perseverance in their course. Of two travellers who have the same journey to go, he is much more likely to accomplish it who, rising betimes in the morning, sets out in all the liveliness and vigour of his strength than he who drowsily sleeps till noon and in the heat and toil of the day can scarce drag his feeble feet along. Good principles and habits, early imbibed and formed, are of such power that they will scarcely permit a wide deviation from right.

2. As no good either is or can be perfected in the human mind without almighty grace, so we have the most solid assurance of that Divine assistance when, in our early days, we carefully cherish the influences of God's Holy Spirit. Our text is not only a promise, it is the most condescending call from the Lord of wisdom, inviting us to His love. Love begets love. Our love to Him shall be repaid by His love to us.

3. Hence arise many striking advantages. The first tincture is thus given to the mind, the first bias to the affections; thereby right habits and right principles get the first possession and preserve the inclination and practice from those warping and destructive customs and opinions which it is difficult to bend again and reduce to their original and necessary straightness. We all know how strong are the prepossessions and prejudices of education — ill prepossessions and unhappy prejudices — and we may be perfectly satisfied that good prepossessions and prejudices are equally prevalent and powerful. "The cask long retains the smell of the liquor with which it was first seasoned" (Horace). How difficult it is to gain the superiority over habits and customs, even in the most trifling matters, no man is ignorant; but to subdue habits which have long lived with us, and gained our approbation—habits of vice, to which sensual affections have annexed pleasure in the gratification; totally to alter our conduct, to pluck out the right eye of a darling lust, to cut off the right hand of a profitable sin — oh, how arduous, how painful! Here, then, we discern the unspeakable advantage of early good habits and principles, which, preserving us in the road of duty, secure us from this most difficult, if not, in some cases, impossible task, of correcting vicious habits, and amending corrupted customs and notions, which, through long possession, become intimate to men almost as themselves. And the early dedication of ourselves to God will be found not less comfortable than advantageous. It will teach you content in every station, will enable you to sail through life with as much ease and serenity as the unavoidable difficulties of this transitory state will permit; will give to your mind the purest pleasures and most satisfactory enjoyments; will make you a comfort to yourself, a blessing to your friends, and an ornament to society.

(W. Dodd, LL. D.)

1. Men have souls and minds capable of being very good or very bad, of enjoying much and suffering much. It is important that a right direction be given early in life to man's whole nature. This can be secured in no way but by living, hearty piety.

2. Early piety will have a good effect in directing us to aright calling in life, and to a choice of suitable companions and associates.

3. Early piety alone can surely protect us from dashing on those rocks where so many have made shipwreck, both for this world and the next.

4. If we do not become pious in youth it is very uncertain whether we ever shall become so at all. When men grow old their hearts become harder, their wills more stubborn, and their sound conversion less probable. And a large number of the human race die before the period of youth has passed.

5. Should you live through youth, how can you bear the heavy burdens of middle life without the grace of God? If one comes to old age, with all its infirmities, and has not the grace of God in him, how sad his condition, how cheerless his prospects!Application:

1. Are you young? Be not wise in your own conceit. Live by faith on the Son of God.

2. Are you middle-aged? Is the burden of cares heavy? Cast it upon the Lord. Trust in the Lord and do good. Glorify Christ in your body and spirit, which are His.

3. Are you aged? Give yourself much to devotion. Set an example of sweet submission to the will of God. The nearer you draw to heaven, the more let its light and peace shine in your face, cheer your heart, and make your life a blessing to others.

(W. S. Plumer, D. D.)

I. CONSIDER WHAT IT IS TO SEEK CHRIST EARLY. To seek Christ is to seek the true knowledge of Him, and a saving interest in Him. As it relates to the act of seeking Him, it is to attend upon all the means of grace with seriousness, faith, hope, love, and delight. We are to seek early. With respect to all other things, or before and above all things else. This relates to the earnestness and fervour with which He is to be sought. We are to seek Him with the whole heart.


1. Early seeking is most pleasing to Him.

2. It is the ordinary course of Divine grace to be found of early seekers.

3. Early seekers have fewer obstructions to their seeking and finding Christ than others have.

4. There are peculiar promises made to early seekers.

(T. Hannam.)

In seeking the Lord —

I. KEEP TWO THINGS PERPETUALLY IN VIEW — HIS TRUTH AND THE INFLUENCES OF HIS HOLY SPIRIT. Without His truth we can have no rule, and without the influences of His Holy Spirit we can have no disposition to prize the right rule: both are absolutely necessary.

II. Under the influence of the Divine Spirit we shall invariably SEEK GOD AS A GOD OF MERCY.




VI. AS A PORTION. Now let me apply my subject.

1. There are some of you who do not seek the Lord — you can live without Him perfectly well.

2. There are others who seek the Lord, and perhaps you wonder why you do not find Him. Now, examine yourselves; is there not a great deal of hypocrisy, of deceit, in you?

3. There are others who seek Him, and seek Him honestly, and who think they do not find Him, when in reality they do find Him. They do not find Him in the consolation which they seem to need; but they find Him in principle — they find Him in driving guilt from the conscience, they find Him in enabling them to triumph over the tyranny of sin.

4. There are others who rejoice in the God of their salvation, who can say, "I know that I have sought and found the Lord; my Saviour is in me the hope of glory. I cannot but rejoice in Him at the present moment." Rejoice with trembling. Remember, you have many and mighty enemies within and without.

(W. Howels.)


1. A decided conviction of the utter insufficiency of every other object for our happiness and salvation.

2. A decided persuasion that in Christ Jesus every blessing that the soul requires is to be found.

3. A strong desire to obtain an interest in Christ.

4. Persevering efforts in the use of all appointed means to obtain this object.


1. The expression, finding Christ —(1) Is figurative, and may be considered as intimating their obtaining a saving discovery of His character.(2) May intimate also their forming a saving connection with Christ.(3) Suggests their obtaining all the blessings of salvation.

2. The happiness that finding Christ yields.(1) They that find Christ obtain deliverance from the worst evils — horror of conscience, burden of guilt, dread of Jehovah's wrath, tyranny of evil passions, thraldom of Satan.(2) They obtain the most valuable advantages. They obtain an interest in the favour of that God who has every blessing at His disposal; the graces which beautify the character, and give peace and joy to the soul in their exercise; an illumination which solves their doubts, scatters their fears, and opens before them scenes glowing with the splendour of eternal day. The heart now finds an object which can gratify its amplest wishes, and may rejoice that these advantages perish not in the using, and lie secure beyond the reach of accident.(3) They cherish the most blessed hopes with regard to the future.


1. The Redeemer takes peculiar delight in the movements of early piety. These, in an especial manner, honour His supreme excellence.

2. The young are likely to seek Him with undivided hearts, and from affectionate choice.

3. The young have peculiar reason to expect the aids of the Spirit in seeking Christ.

4. The language of the text suggests that those who do not seek the Lord Jesus in their youth have much reason to fear that they shall never find Him.Conclusion:

1. Let me beseech the young to seek the Lord while He may be found.

2. I exhort those who have sought the Saviour early to maintain their earnestness in religion.

3. Let those who are in advanced life consider their ways and be wise.

(H. Belfrage.)

All the people in the world are seekers, only some people spend their time in seeking for silly and useless things. A king that I have heard of, instead of ruling his people properly, neglected his duties, and spent his time in going from kingdom to kingdom seeking for a mouse with pink eyes. What a waste of time for such a man! Those who are really learned have gathered their wisdom by being ready to learn.

I. THOSE WHO BEGIN TO SEEK GOD EARLY HAVE LONGER TIME IN WHICH TO LEARN ABOUT HIM. People who study music after they have grown up seldom become good players or singers; nor do I believe that any one ever really masters grammar who does not begin to study it thoroughly at an early age. Begin therefore at once to learn, for you have lost already more time than you can well spare.

II. BEGIN EARLY, BECAUSE YOU WILL HAVE LESS TO UNLEARN. , a wise man, charged one of his disciples double fees because, he said, he not only had to teach him how to speak, but also how to hold his tongue. A blacksmith could never become a painter, at least not very readily, for he would have to unlearn so much. If you fill your mind with foolish ideas, a vast amount of time will be required to get rid of these follies before you can be instructed in wisdom.

III. I think, too, THAT YOU WILL BE MORE ARDENT AND EAGER IN THE PURSUIT OF WISDOM if you begin young, and you will find that history confirms the truth of my opinion. You will not be so readily discouraged, and will more easily master your difficulties than older people can. Little children-students, we are here assured, shall not seek in vain, but they will be required to take pains. Columbus somehow got the idea that America existed, and he went to find the great unknown land. Day after day he sailed on without seeing it, but he one day spied some seaweed of a kind different to that known in Europe. This encouraged him to continue his search. So you, too, will sometimes feel inclined to give up in despair, but keep on; it is worth all the trouble you can ever expend upon it to become wise. And what joy it will impart to you when at length you see what you desire!

(N. Wiseman.)

Our business is to seek Jesus early in life. Happy are the young whose morning is spent with Jesus! It is never too soon to seek the Lord Jesus. Early seekers make certain finders. We should seek Him early by diligence. Thriving tradesmen are early risers, and thriving saints seek Jesus eagerly. Those who find Jesus to their enrichment give their hearts to seeking Him. We must seek Him first, and thus earliest. Above all things Jesus. Jesus first, and nothing else even as a bad second. The blessing is, that He will be found. He reveals Himself more and more clearly to our search. He gives Himself up more fully to our fellowship.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

The word "early" is not in the original. The passage therefore might be read thus —"And those that seek Me Shall find Me." Yet we cannot altogether throw out the word "early"; it seems to complete the rhythm. The word "seek" as originally employed is a word which involves the meaning of seeking in the dawn—just as the east is whitening a little, just as the day is being born. Thus we have some claim to the word early. There are men who do not wait until midday in order to resume their journey after they have been benighted; they have, indeed, succumbed to circumstances, saying, "The darkness has overtaken us, and here we must lie"; but the moment there is a streak in the east up they start, the staff is resumed, and the journey is prosecuted with renewed energy. This is the image of the text: "they that seek Me in the dawn shall find Me; they that seek Me at daybreak; they that come after Me ere the dew be risen shall find Me, and we shall have a long morning talk together: when the soul is young, when the life is free, when the heart is unsophisticated, they that seek Me in the dawn shall find Me, for I have been waiting for them, yea, standing by them whilst they were sleeping, and half-hoping that the moment they open their eyes they would see Me, and exclaim, "Blessed Spirit, take charge of my poor, young, little, frail life all the day, and tell me what I ought to do." Fool is he who begins the day prayerlessly, who takes his own life into his own hand: verily in doing so he puts his money into bags with holes in them, and at night he shall have nothing.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

Care, Diligently, Early, Earnestly, Love, Loved, Loving, Search, Seek, Seeking
1. the fame
6. and evidence of wisdom
10. The excellence
12. the nature
15. the power
18. the riches
22. and the eternity of wisdom
32. Wisdom is to be desired for the blessedness it brings

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Proverbs 8:17

     8160   seeking God
     8603   prayer, relationship with God

Proverbs 8:1-32

     8365   wisdom, human

Proverbs 8:17-18

     8809   riches

Wisdom's Gift
'That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance.'--PROVERBS viii. 21. The word here rendered 'substance' is peculiar. Indeed, it is used in a unique construction in this passage. It means 'being' or 'existence,' and seems to have been laid hold of by the Hebrew thinkers, from whom the books commonly called 'the Wisdom Books' come, as one of their almost technical expressions. 'Substance' may be used in our translation in its philosophical meaning as the supposed reality underlying appearances,
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Wisdom and Christ
'Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; 31. Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.'--PROVERBS viii. 30, 31. There is a singular difference between the two portions of this Book of Proverbs. The bulk of it, beginning with chapter x., contains a collection of isolated maxims which may be described as the product of sanctified common sense. They are shrewd and homely, but not remarkably
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

"But Whereunto Shall I Liken this Generation?"
Matth. xi. 16.--"But whereunto shall I liken this generation?" When our Lord Jesus, who had the tongue of the learned, and spoke as never man spake, did now and then find a difficulty to express the matter herein contained. "What shall we do?" The matter indeed is of great importance, a soul matter, and therefore of great moment, a mystery, and therefore not easily expressed. No doubt he knows how to paint out this to the life, that we might rather behold it with our eyes, than hear it with our
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

Fragrant Spices from the Mountains of Myrrh. "Thou Art all Fair, My Love; There is no Spot in Thee. " --Song of Solomon iv. 7.
FRAGRANT SPICES FROM THE MOUNTAINS OF MYRRH. HOW marvellous are these words! "Thou art all fair, My love; there is no spot in thee." The glorious Bridegroom is charmed with His spouse, and sings soft canticles of admiration. When the bride extols her Lord there is no wonder, for He deserves it well, and in Him there is room for praise without possibility of flattery. But does He who is wiser than Solomon condescend to praise this sunburnt Shulamite? Tis even so, for these are His own words, and were
Charles Hadden Spurgeon—Till He Come

Wisdom. Pr 8:22-31

John Newton—Olney Hymns

The Invitation of Wisdom. --Prov. viii.
The invitation of Wisdom.--Prov. viii. To us the voice of Wisdom cries, Hearken, ye children, and be wise; Better than gold the fruit I bear, Rubies to me may not compare, Happy the man who daily waits To hear me, watching at my gates; Wretched is he who scorns my voice, Death and destruction are his choice. To them that love me I am kind; And those who seek me early find; My Son, give me thine heart,--and learn Wisdom from folly to discern. The Lord possess'd me, ere of old, His hand the firmament
James Montgomery—Sacred Poems and Hymns

Having Said This, when they had Kissed Him...
92. Having said this, when they had kissed him, he lifted up his feet, and as though he saw friends coming to him and was glad because of them--for as he lay his countenance appeared joyful--he died and was gathered to the fathers. And they afterward, according to his commandment, wrapped him up and buried him, hiding his body underground. And no one knows to this day where it was buried, save those two only. But each of those who received the sheepskin of the blessed Antony and the garment worn
Athanasius—Select Works and Letters or Athanasius

Introduction to Proverbs viii. 22 Continued. Absurdity of Supposing a Son or Word Created in Order to the Creation of Other Creatures; as to the Creation
Chapter XVII.--Introduction to Proverbs viii. 22 continued. Absurdity of supposing a Son or Word created in order to the creation of other creatures; as to the creation being unable to bear God's immediate hand, God condescends to the lowest. Moreover, if the Son a creature, He too could not bear God's hand, and an infinite series of media will be necessary. Objected, that, as Moses who led out the Israelites was a man, so our Lord; but Moses was not the Agent in creation:--again, that unity is found
Athanasius—Select Works and Letters or Athanasius

Introduction to Proverbs viii. 22 Continued. Contrast Between the Father's Operations Immediately and Naturally in the Son...
Chapter XVIII.--Introduction to Proverbs viii. 22 continued. Contrast between the Father's operations immediately and naturally in the Son, instrumentally by the creatures; Scripture terms illustrative of this. Explanation of these illustrations; which should be interpreted by the doctrine of the Church; perverse sense put on them by the Arians, refuted. Mystery of Divine Generation. Contrast between God's Word and man's word drawn out at length. Asterius betrayed into holding two Unoriginates; his
Athanasius—Select Works and Letters or Athanasius

Texts Explained; Sixthly...
Chapter XIX.--Texts explained; Sixthly, Proverbs viii. 22. Proverbs are of a figurative nature, and must be interpreted as such. We must interpret them, and in particular this passage, by the Regula Fidei. He created me' not equivalent to I am a creature.' Wisdom a creature so far forth as Its human body. Again, if He is a creature, it is as a beginning of ways,' an office which, though not an attribute, is a consequence, of a higher and divine nature. And it is for the works,' which implied the
Athanasius—Select Works and Letters or Athanasius

Texts Explained; Sixthly...
Chapter XXI.--Texts Explained; Sixthly, Proverbs viii. 22, Continued. Our Lord not said in Scripture to be created,' or the works to be begotten.' In the beginning' means in the case of the works from the beginning.' Scripture passages explained. We are made by God first, begotten next; creatures by nature, sons by grace. Christ begotten first, made or created afterwards. Sense of First-born of the dead;' of First-born among many brethren;' of First-born of all creation,' contrasted with Only-begotten.'
Athanasius—Select Works and Letters or Athanasius

Of the Council of Antioch and what was done There against the Holy Meletius.
At this time, [586] Constantius was residing at Antioch. The Persian war was over; there had been a time of peace, and he once again gathered bishops together with the object of making them all deny both the formula "of one substance" and also the formula "of different substance." On the death of Leontius, Eudoxius had seized the see of Antioch, but on his expulsion and illegal establishment, after many synods, at Constantinople, the church of Antioch had been left without a shepherd. Accordingly
Theodoret—The Ecclesiastical History of Theodoret

A String of Pearls
'Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise. 2. The fear of a king is as the roaring of a lion: whoso provoketh him to anger sinneth against his own soul. 3. It is an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling. 4. The sluggard will not plough by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing. 5. Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out. 6. Most men will
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Voluntary Suffering
I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting. T hat which often passes amongst men for resolution, and the proof of a noble, courageous spirit, is, in reality, the effect of a weak and little mind. At least, it is chiefly owing to the presence of certain circumstances, which have a greater influence upon the conduct, than any inherent principle. Thus may persons who appear to set death and danger at defiance in the hour
John Newton—Messiah Vol. 1

The Glorious Master and the Swooning Disciple
If our conceptions of the Lord Jesus are very enlarged, they will only be his due. We cannot exaggerate here. He deserves higher praise than we can ever render to him. As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high is be above our loftiest conceptions. Even when the angels strike their loudest notes, and chant his praises most exultingly on their highest festal days, the music falls far short of his excellence. He is higher than a seraph's most soaring thought! Rise then, my brethren, as on
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 18: 1872

His Name --The Counsellor
We shall now enter upon the discussion of this title which is given to Christ, a title peculiar to our Redeemer; and you will see why it should be given to him and why there was a necessity for such a Counsellor. Now, our Lord Jesus Christ is a Counsellor in a three-fold sense. First, he is God's Counsellor; he sits in the cabinet council of the King of heaven; he has admittance into the privy chamber, and is the Counsellor with God. In the second place, Christ is a Counsellor in the sense which
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 4: 1858

Of the Decrees of God.
Eph. i. 11.--"Who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will."--Job xxiii. 13. "He is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth." Having spoken something before of God, in his nature and being and properties, we come, in the next place, to consider his glorious majesty, as he stands in some nearer relation to his creatures, the work of his hands. For we must conceive the first rise of all things in the world to be in this self-being, the first conception
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

The Synagogue at Nazareth - Synagogue-Worship and Arrangements.
The stay in Cana, though we have no means of determining its length, was probably of only short duration. Perhaps the Sabbath of the same week already found Jesus in the Synagogue of Nazareth. We will not seek irreverently to lift the veil of sacred silence, which here, as elsewhere, the Gospel-narratives have laid over the Sanctuary of His inner Life. That silence is itself theopneustic, of Divine breathing and inspiration; it is more eloquent than any eloquence, a guarantee of the truthfulness
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

Organic and Individual.
"Where is He that put His Holy Spirit among them?" --Isa. lxiii. 11. The subsequent activity of the Holy Spirit lies in the realm of grace. In nature the Spirit of God appears as creating, in grace as re-creating. We call it re-creation, because God's grace creates not something inherently new, but a new life in an old and degraded nature. But this must not be understood as tho grace restored only what sin had destroyed. For then the child of God, born anew and sanctified, must be as Adam was in
Abraham Kuyper—The Work of the Holy Spirit

The Trinity
Q-6. HOW MANY PERSONS ARE THERE IN THE GODHEAD? A: Three persons, yet but one God. 'There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one.' I John 5:5. God is but one, yet are there three distinct persons subsisting in one Godhead. This is a sacred mystery, which the light within man could never have discovered. As the two natures in Christ, yet but one person, is a wonder; so three persons, yet but one Godhead. Here is a great deep, the Father
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

The Third Exile, 356-362.
The third exile of Athanasius marks the summit of his achievement. Its commencement is the triumph, its conclusion the collapse of Arianism. It is true that after the death of Constantius the battle went on with variations of fortune for twenty years, mostly under the reign of an ardently Arian Emperor (364-378). But by 362 the utter lack of inner coherence in the Arian ranks was manifest to all; the issue of the fight might be postponed by circumstances but could not be in doubt. The break-up of
Athanasius—Select Works and Letters or Athanasius

An Explanation of Acts ii. ...
An explanation of Acts ii. 36 and Proverbs viii. 22, which are shown to refer properly to Christ's manhood alone. 95. To no purpose, then, is the heretics' customary citation of the Scripture, that "God made Him both Lord and Christ." Let these ignorant persons read the whole passage, and understand it. For thus it is written. "God made this Jesus, Whom ye crucified, both Lord and Christ." [1843] It was not the Godhead, but the flesh, that was crucified. This, indeed, was possible, because the flesh
St. Ambrose—Works and Letters of St. Ambrose

Covenanting Provided for in the Everlasting Covenant.
The duty of Covenanting is founded on the law of nature; but it also stands among the arrangements of Divine mercy made from everlasting. The promulgation of the law, enjoining it on man in innocence as a duty, was due to God's necessary dominion over the creatures of his power. The revelation of it as a service obligatory on men in a state of sin, arose from his unmerited grace. In the one display, we contemplate the authority of the righteous moral Governor of the universe; in the other, we see
John Cunningham—The Ordinance of Covenanting

Covenanting According to the Purposes of God.
Since every revealed purpose of God, implying that obedience to his law will be given, is a demand of that obedience, the announcement of his Covenant, as in his sovereignty decreed, claims, not less effectively than an explicit law, the fulfilment of its duties. A representation of a system of things pre-determined in order that the obligations of the Covenant might be discharged; various exhibitions of the Covenant as ordained; and a description of the children of the Covenant as predestinated
John Cunningham—The Ordinance of Covenanting

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