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it is steadily growing. When men live up to its precepts and are true followers of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, then swords will be beaten into ploughshares, and spears into pruningNation shall not lift up sword against nation.
But we have a third paragraph, and that gives us advice. Micah did not like the habits of the Jews in his day. They were trying to be good by offering costly sacrifices and by going through forms. He rebuked them, saying: If you would bring about the time of peace and righteousness, make yourselves better. Begin at home. Improve yourselves. What does the high God care for sacrifices of rams and for rivers of oil? Be humble and not proud, deal justly with your fellowmen, love and not hate, so shall the good days come.
HINTS FOR TEACHERS.
This is our last lesson on the prophets. Give a helpful summary and review of these Hebrew leaders, and bring out their traits. (See Cornill's little book.)
2. Confirm and enforce the general faith in the final reign of peace. Offer proofs from history as to the progress already made.
3. Micah and Jeremiah both made use of the same exhortation as to personal religion; at least, we find the passage in both books. Point out that this goes to prove the existence in continuous lines of the higher standards of religion amid priestly corruption and formal worship.
QUESTIONS FOR PUPILS.
Who was Micah? Can you mention other prophets like him? Were there two kinds of prophets? What is a "fortune-teller "? Have you ever heard of any y? Can you describe a true prophet? What do you think of war? Is any war good? Are some wars necessary? Are battles different now than of old? Different in kind or in arms? Would wars cease if every one followed the teachings of Jesus? Why are they disobeyed?
THE GLORY OF WISDOM.
WISDOM is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: yea, with all thou hast gotten get understanding. Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her. She shall give to thine head a chaplet of grace: a crown of beauty shall she deliver to thee. Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies and none of the things thou canst desire are to be compared unto her. Length of days is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honour. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.
My son, let not them depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion: so shall they be life unto thy soul, and grace to thy neck. Then shalt thou walk in thy way securely, and thy foot shall not stumble. When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.
PROVERBS, chapters three and four.
THE GLORY OF WISDOM.
Once upon a time, long ago, a boy stood in a road where it divided. He did not know which way to go. No one was with him. After looking about for some time, he drew from his pocket a book, and seemed to study it carefully. Yet that did not settle his puzzled mind; for he closed the book, and again looked around with an anxious face.
Just then a bright, smiling man came toward the hesitating youth from a road on the left. "What is the trouble?" the new-comer asked.
"I cannot tell which way to go," was the reply, "to the right or to the left."
"Oh," said the gracious man, "I can tell you. Come with
me. This is the safe road. I understand what you want and where you wish to go. Come, I will bring you to the House of Happiness. I live there. You wish to be happy. That is right. My road leads to pleasure and good times. That is what life is for."
And, as the strange but agreeable man spoke, the boy saw sunshine in the direction pointed out, and heard merry ices from the distance. He was very much inclined to go that way, to the left.
The book, however, directed him to turn to the right. There must be a mistake. The road leading that way was not attractive. It turned sharply up a steep hill, and had many threats of hard climbing. What ought he to do?
Suddenly another man drew near. He descended from the hill on the right, and spoke to the boy. "My son," he said, "you do not want to seek happiness. If you do, you will never find it. If you go with me, I will give you something noble to do. Perhaps you will find happiness along the way. That man's name is Pleasure: my name is Wisdom. Come with me, and I will teach you what honor is, and how to help others; and I will make you a friend to some others who are not seeking happiness, but goodness and manhood,”
This second man was not so pleasing as the first. older, not so smiling, and had a deeper voice. something a little stern in his manner.
Which road did the youth take?
He opened his book once more, and read, “Happy is the man that findeth wisdom."
"Wisdom is the principal thing: get wisdom."
“Whoso findeth me findeth life.”
He was There was
The boy read these words aloud, he was so honest and earnest. And the man who represented Happiness laughed, and ridiculed the sayings :
"All that is from an old book. We do not care for such things. You will find the road hard and disappointing if you go with that sour fellow, called Wisdom. Oh, come with me, and dally no longer."
The other man said nothing, but gazed at the boy with an earnest, friendly countenance, and reached out his hand. The boy went with him.
A True Story.
Now that is a true story, much truer than some you read about in wild adventures. Because it tells what is happening all the time. Not one, but thousands of boys, thousands of young men and young women, are having just that experience.
The road of life divides; and which way will you go? Will you turn toward pleasure or toward usefulness? Wisdom leads to usefulness.
What is Wisdom?
Wisdom does not mean book knowledge or college courses. A boy can be wise, not so wise as a man, but part way; on same road.
Looking the right way is wisdom. Going in the right direction is wisdom. Admiring the best examples is wisdom. Having a grand purpose in life is wisdom.
In this book of Proverbs we find that the writer exalts wisdom to a place beside God. He says that God made everything in the beginning by the aid of wisdom. He means, really, what we now say, that God is wisdom. He who loves wisdom loves God, and he who follows wisdom draws nearer to God.
Wise people are not always so happy, in some ways, as others. But they are truly the happiest people in the world.
If they do what is right and suffer, their approving conscience makes them happy. If they work hard to be true and good, and are not praised, they can get along without praise, and be very happy. They trust God.
The Jews have always been a very independent race. They have been persecuted and wronged; yet they have shown a great faith in God, and were happy even in such times of disThe Jew who wrote this splendid tribute to Wisdom must have stirred his people to higher life and nobler duty.
But we have learned from science and new thought more about God. Wisdom means more to us than to the Jews living when Proverbs was written.
Wisdom means to us the learning of God's laws and obeying them. God's laws are not only told in books, but they are revealed in sky, earth, in ourselves.
HINTS FOR TEACHERS.
1. Read the poem by Sir H. Wotton, “The Happy Life.” Perhaps a pupil will memorize it.
2. Show the difference between knowledge and wisdom. Make clear how religious in its influence wisdom is.
3. Distinguish well between the error of making happiness a direct aim in life and the truth of reaching happiness indirectly. The first aim is selfish, ruinous; the second, unselfish and Christian.
4. As for the book of Proverbs, if questions arise, explain that these sayings were ascribed to Solomon, according to the habit of those days, because he was called the wise king. We do not know the authors of the book. The excellence remains the same.
QUESTIONS FOR PUPILS.
Can you tell the story of the boy at the parting of the ways? Who was on the left road? Who on the right? From what book did the boy read? Who, do you suppose, gave it to him? Why is wisdom so important? Do the schools teach wisdom or knowledge? What is wisdom? Have the Jews been a happy people? What is happiness? How do we find true happiness? Must a wise man necessarily be sour and sad?