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First. That the substance of what is contained in spiritual wisdom and prudence, is to understand and know the Lord in his ways and dealings with his people, as they have been expressed in the former part of this chapter. Who is wise and he shall understand these things ? prudent, and he shall know them?
Second. The ways, the acts, and the exercise of the Lord's will, throughout all his dispensations, in his people, towards and upon them, are all good and worthy of his glorious Majesty. For the
ways of the Lord are right. Third. So that the Lord's people have a real delight to walk in them. This is expressed thus: and the just shall walk in them. This also implies perseverance in the same.
Fourth. These things are a stumbling block to the wicked. But the transgressors shall fall therein. It may be regarded as a prophecy of what will be the case of such, even in the last days, who are not enlightened with the light of everlasting life. And thus ends this vastly important chapter. May the Lord most graciously be pleased to enable me to open each of these particulars, so as thereby to convey suited instruction to the minds of those who shall read this. In a real dependance on the Lord for his blessing and presence, I proceed to enter on my first division of the present subject.
I. That this is the substance of all contained in
spiritual wisdom and prudence, to understand and know the Lord, in his ways and dealings with his people, as they have been expressed in the former part of this chapter. Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know thein? The words are put in the form of a question. The design of their being thus spoken must be to arrest the attention, and prepare for a right answer: suggesting it requires the utmost attention of the mind to study and contemplate them. Reference is here made to what had been antecedently expressed, so that these words, Who is wise, and he shall understand these things ? must be connected with that which went before; and thence it will be found the whole contained in the chapter must be involved and included herein. So that the wisdom and prudence here spoken of must be considered as spiritual, such as is apprehensive of heavenly, eternal, and important matters. The words wise and prudent, in the sense here used, may be to shew that such as have, by the Lord's light and teaching, a true intuitive knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus, have also a spiritual prudence and discretion in their delivering out the same; and, that both joined together, serve to display the glory and excellency of heavenly and divine truth. The Apostle prayed for the saints at Colosse, that they might be filled with the knowledge of the Lord's will, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. He says to
the saints at Ephesus, that the Lord had abounded towards them in all wisdom and prudence, which two words seem to be employed to set forth the exuberancy of the same. To understand and know the Lord, is the substance of all contained in spiritual wisdom and prudence. This will be most readily confessed by us; as also that these words must be considered as in connexion with all the foregoing verses, and must, of necessity, be understood as including the knowledge of the Lord, in his ways and dealings with his people, as they have been before expressed in this chapter, Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? The natural inference cannot but be this : that such as were endued with spiritual knowledge, to understand the grace contained in the foregoing particulars, in which it had pleased the Lord so abundantly to open and express the good pleasure of his will towards his elect and beloved ones, should be blessed by the same. And it is a mercy and blessing of vast importance, to receive into the mind the knowledge of God, in his love and acts of everlasting kindness towards his elect in Christ. We may here, and, doubtless, ought to restrict the subject to the Lord's deal- . ing with the elect of Israel on their return to him in the latter day glory state of the church ; and to the fulfilment of his declarations of the glory and beauty he will then put upon them; of their honour and renown; of their increase and per
fection ; purity, holiness, happiness, security, and enjoyment of all good they will then partake of. No doubt can be entertained but these are the things pointed at, when it is here said, Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? It may also be expressive of the expectation the former verses raised in the mind of the wise in heart, who understand knowledge, to look for fulfilment of all the grace contained in the revelation of the same, towards and upon the Jews in the latter day. Here is also annexed a promise, to such as are wise in the things of God : he shall understand these things. It may imply, that in proportion as time hastens on the accomplishment of the same, light will be given, knowledge will be increased, and clear views will be so let in on some spiritual minds, as that the Scriptures on these subjects will be most fully opened, and comprehensively received. Whoso is prudent, and properly intellectual, shall know the Lord's revealed will so clearly in these matters, that by the same, whether he lives to see the real accomplishment of it or not, yet his heart shall rejoice in the foreviews thereof. To pass from this to another view of the subject before us: it has been the course of my pursuit through the whole of these Lectures, not to confine them exclusively to what they may particularly relate, but to intersperse here and there reflections which may be useful unto us; so that in this
place I would suggest, that the knowledge of the Lord, in his ways and dealings with his people, in the dispensations of his providence, his acts of grace, and communion with them, are subjects suited to the study and contemplation of the spiritual mind; it may therefore be said, who is wise? Who considers God in the revelation of himself in the person of Christ, as made known in the Scriptures of Truth? Who is he that is enlightened into the knowledge of the Father's everlasting love to the person of Christ, and to the persons
of the elect in him? Who is wise in the knowledge of what Christ is to the elect; of his twofold relation to them as their eternal head, in whom as such, all the blessings suited to the character he sustains are treasured up? And who knows Christ as standing in a second relation unto them, that of a Saviour; and as having obtained eternal redemption for them; all the blessings of which are contained in his immense fulness? Who is wise in these mysteries of grace, and he shall have such gospel apprehensions of the same, as will conduce greatly to his spiritual advantage? It is hereby his spirituality, and spiritual communion with Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, will be promoted and increased. He who is wise, shall understand these things, how the Lord is pleased to deal with his people; in what way, and by what means he restores and recovers them from such a state! how he makes known