Page images

upon this Question, What it is to be Wise ?

To extricate our Thoughts in some measure out of this Confusion, we may distinguish Wisdom into Three Kinds, viz.

The Wisdom of Grace,
The Wisdom of Nature, and

The Wisdom of Imagination, I. The Wisdom of Grace is called in Scripture, the Wisdom from above ; because thence it cometh, and we cannot attain it without the Influence of God. Now the Power and Use of this Wisdom is to secure our Eternal Interest, by the Means of Holy Living and Conformity to the Divine Will: And because this is our main Concern, and all the rest is but Loss and Shame and Misery with. our it, the Style of the Holy Spirit allows nothing to be Wisdom but purely This, The Fear of God, that is Wisdom; And our Apostle, who had large Ta.



lents of other Knowledge, which he might have boasted of, if they could justifie the boasting ; styles all Foolish. ness, none worth the owning, but know Christ Jesus, and the power of his Resurrection. He that has this Wisdom has sufficient; and without it, the grea. ter our pretences are to Wisdom, the more conspicuous is our Folly.

II. The second Kind of Wisdom is that of Nature, i. e. such as Men may have of themselves, thro' che Power of their native Faculties, and the Improve. ments of Industry and observation. And from this Fountain has flow'd many commendable Fruits in all Ages ; All Rules and Arts for the Conduct, Employment, and Accommodation of Life. But forasmuch as this Wisdom is often feparate from that of Grace, so it as often turns to Subrilcy and Artifice, co Doubling and Insincerity, to Deceiving and being deceived. This is that Wis.

B 2


dom whereby our Saviour says, The Children of the World are wifer in their Ge. neration than the Children of Light: Wiser in their Generation, i. e, Wiser to serve themselves in reference to present Ad. vantages.

Nor char Worldly Men are therefore esteemable to have the better Understandings: Ic were in a manner Blasphemous to think, That Godliness did ever occasion Stupidity ; or that is ever was occasion’d by it. The Good Man knows as many Methods of Management ; but the Worldly Man is bolder to make use of all he knows : The Good Man walks on simply in the Road of Providence, believing God's Blessing to be his best Portion ; But the Worldly Man turns into every crooked Way, as if it were to make himself amends for the want of that Providence and Blessing he has no mind to trust up. on : The Good Man looks upon the World as his Inn; and therefore is not so sollicitous for his Accommodations





here, as he is for his Arrival at his Journey's End: But the Worldly Man looks upon it as his Hoine; and therefore im. ploys all his Care and Intention to make it as easie and entertaining to him as he

For Example; In the first Age of the World, Cain is said to have gone forth from the presence of God, i.e. To have cast off all Care of Religion ; And this Personal Inclination of His form’d all his Posterity to be Profane : On the other side, Seth walked with God, and instituted his Po. sterity to the same pious Care of being Religious. In che mean time we may observe, That the Chief Inventions, which serve both to the Use and Divertisement of the present Life, as the Forma ing of Societies, Building of Cities, and finding out curious Arts and Manufactures are all attributed to the Profane Line : But it would be very Rath for all this to conclude, Thac" these were Men of better Parts and Capacities


B 3

than the other. The Children of Seth accounted it sufficient for their Happiness to be contented with what was needful, and to pursue the favour of God as the Consummation of their Enjoyments , which is undoubtedly the Supreme Wil. dom. Whereas the other being defticute of hopes from God, made ic all their study to procure such Enjoyments to themselves as might be had without Him. But let us observe a little further, and fue what the World it self was the bet. ter for all these issues of it's Wisdom : In the power of it Men brought in many agreeable Advantages; but thro’ the Corruption of it they likewise brought in the Flood; wherein all were destroyed but those few that had escaped the common Depravation. And what then is che Wisdom of the World but, (as our Apostle calls it) Foolishness with God?

[ocr errors]

III. The Third kind is what I call che Wisdom of Imagination, that is, a Wil


« PreviousContinue »