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ingly-All was then overwhelmed by a deluge of enthusiasm and illiterate fanaticism. The deluge which now threatens us is one of another kind, but not a whit less formidable.
Thus much for the wisdom we are exhorted to acquire, and the method of acquiring it. A few words shall be said, and they shall be but few, in the
Third and last place, upon the advantages attending such acquisition to the individual himself, and to the community.
To the individual, wisdom is indeed, as Solomon properly styles it, "the principal thing." The seat of its residence is in the noblest part of the human composition; and that noble part it renders still more noble. What else gives to man the superiority over brutes; to angels over man; and to the Omniscient over all his creatures? "The Lord is a God of knowledge ;" and wisdom was with him from eternity".
The pleasures of wisdom exceed all others, in kind, degree, and duration, far as heaven is higher than earth. "Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and "all her paths are peace. A studious disposition makes those who are blessed with it valuable, good, and happy. It enables them to find a paradise in solitude, and profitably, as well as agreeably, to fill up the intervals of business. It renders them little
f See Warner's Ecclesiastical History, ii. 580. Collier, ii. 848. Nelson, ii. 291.
g Sam. ii. 3.
h Prov. viii. 22. Wisdom, ix. 9.
i Prov. iii. 17.
sensible to the allurements of external objects, to those trifles and improprieties which disgrace the man, and degrade the Christian. The ill instructed and unemployed are the persons whose imagination is always wandering and afloat. For want of solid nourishment, their curiosity and their appetites turn to objects either vain or dangerous; and hence proceed all those inventions for squandering away thought and time, which generally end in a forgetfulness of God and ourselves. It is incredible what inconveniences are avoided by those, who can pass their vacant hours with books and their own thoughts.. "Happy" says a prelate, in his day, the admiration and delight of mankind, I mean the all-accomplished archbishop of Cambray-" Happy they, "who are disgusted with violent pleasures, and know "how to be pleased with the sweets of an innocent "life. Happy they who delight in instruction, and "find a satisfaction in cultivating their minds with knowledge. Into whatever situation adverse for"tune may throw them, they always carry enter"tainment with them; and the disquiet which preys 66 on others in the midst of pleasures, is unknown to "those who can employ themselves in reading. Hap
py they who love to read." Let it be added, that this happiness is one which, as the world does not give, so neither can the world take away. It will never leave us, but continue a fast and firm friend, when every other pleasure shall have forsaken
Telemachus, b. ii. See Phillips on the Study of Sacred Literature, p. 172.
Wisdom will comfort us in the day of sorrow, and support us in the hour of death. Like the holy ark accompanying the camp of Israel, she will go with us over Jordan, and conduct us to our inheritance in the land of promise. "Exalt her," says the wise man, in the words immediately following my text-"Exalt her, and she shall promote thee; "she shall bring thee to honour when thou dost em"brace her; she shall give to thine head an orna"ment of grace, a crown of glory shall she deliver "to thee.'
To a community the advantages of wisdom are many and great. A nation glories not less in the learning, than in the valour, of her sons. Long and illustrious is the train of literary heroes which Britain beholds with an honest and conscious pride, who from age to age have filled the most exalted stations in church and state, or presided in the different departments of science, or, from the shades of an honourable and lettered retirement, sent forth their writings for the entertainment and instruction - of mankind.
My younger brethren, the hope of the rising generation, our future joy and crown, all these were men like yourselves, trained in the same course of education. Think of their examples, and emulate their fame. The trophies of Miltiades, you know, would not suffer Themistocles to sleep. Hear the author of the book of Ecclesiasticus upon this subject, in a chapter read constantly at our universities on the days appointed for a solemn commemoration of founders and benefactors: "Let us now
"praise famous men, and our fathers that begat us. "The Lord hath wrought great glory by them through his great power from the beginning. Such as "did bear rule in their kingdoms, men renowned for "their power, giving counsel for their understanding, and declaring prophecies: leaders of the people by their counsels, and by their knowledge of learning meet for the people; wise and eloquent in "their instructions. All these were honoured in "their generations, and were the glory of their "' times. Their bodies are buried in peace, but "their names live for evermore." While the world shall last, and any regard be paid to that which deserves regard, "the people will tell of their wisdom, and the congregation will show forth their "praise'.'
If, therefore, there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things, meditate on them, give yourselves wholly to them. Time is on the wing. It flies, to return no more. Seize the moments as they pass, and employ them to the best advantage. Lose not the golden opportunity, the sweet hour of prime, the morning of youth, health, and strength. Conquer the difficulties at first setting out, and all will be pleasure ever after. Labour now, and comfortable will be your rest when the season of labour shall be over. "For glorious "is the fruit of labour, and the root of wisdom "shall never fall away". Let the sanctity of your manners keep pace with the improvement of your
1 Ecclus. xliv.
Wisdom, iii. 15.
minds. To your governors be respectful and obedient; to your companions, gentle and loving; to all, courteous and obliging. And that the divine blessing may be upon you in what you do, remember to begin and end your studies with prayer. "If
any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God"." Let him ask THAT, as the Son of David did, and all things else, judged proper for him, shall be added to it. Pray, therefore, that God would give you wisdom that sitteth by his throne, and reject you not from among his children: that he "would send her out of his holy heavens, and from "the throne of his glory, that being present, she
may labour with you, that you may know what is "pleasing unto him. For she knoweth and under"standeth all things, and she shall lead you soberly "in your doings, and preserve you by her power. "So shall your works be acceptable"" in the sight of heaven and earth, bringing glory to God, credit to your instructors, comfort to your friends, honour to yourselves, and benefit to your country.
n James, i. 5. 1 Kings, iii. 11. P Wisdom, ix. 4. 10, &c..