« AnteriorContinuar »
of God ;* and of Lot's wife, Gen. xix. 26. xxxii. 29. • wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name?' Exod. xix. 23. 6 set bounds about the mount—.' Deut. xxix. 29. the secret things belong unto Jehovah our God.? 1 Sam. vi. 19. "he smote the men of Bethshemesh, because they had looked into the ark of Jehovah.' Acts i. 7. it is not for you to know the times or the seasons. xix. 19. many of them also which used curious arts, brought their books together. Rom. xii. 3. not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every men the measure. of faith.'
Fourthly, in human or carnal wisdom. Job v. 12. . he disappointeth the devices of the crafty.' xii. 24. · he taketh away the heart of the chief of the people of the earth. xxviii. 13, 14. man knoweth not the price thereof ... the depth saith, It is not in me,' Eccles. i. 17. “I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly;. I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit.' vii. 29. “they have found out many inventions.'
xii. 12. of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.' Isai. xix. 11, &c. 'the princes of Zoan are fools .... how say ye unto Pharaoh, I am the son of the wise, the son of ancient kings ?' xxix. 14. the wisdom of their wise men shall perish.' xxxiii. 11. “ye shall bring forth stubble.' 'lix. 15. he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey.'
Hare my fill
Beyond which was my folly to aspire. Paradise Lost, XII.558.
Mark iii. 21. when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him ; for they said, He is beside himself.: John x. 20. he hath a devil, and is mad.' Acts xvii. 18. certain philosophers of the Epicureans
encountered him; and some said, What will this babbler say
v. 32. when they heard of the resurrection from the dead, some mocked.' xxvi. 24.
Paul, thou art beside thyself.' 1 Cor. i. 19, 20. it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise. v. 23. “we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling-block, and unto the Greeks foolishness ; but unto them which are called,' &c. ii. 19. the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. vi. 4. “if then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church. Col. ii. 8. beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy. Luke xii. 56, 57. “ye can discern the face of the sky, and of the earth .... and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?" Hence we are frequently permitted to be deceived with false shows of human wisdom, in requital for our contempt of that which is true and divine. Psal. lxxxi. 11–13. my people would not hearken to my voice..., so I gave them up unto their own heart's lusts, and they walked in their own counsels.'
Prudence is that virtue by which we discern what is proper to be done under the various circumstances of time and place. Prov. xxix. 11. 'a fool uttereth all his mind ; but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.' Eccles. iii. 1. to every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.' v. 11. he hath made every thing beautiful in his time. Matt. x. 16, 17. behold, I send you forth as
sheep in the midst of wolves; be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves: but beware of men—, Philipp. i. 9, 10. 'that your love may abound yet more and more, in knowledge and in all judgment, that ye may approve things that are excellent. Heb. v. 14. 'strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.' This quality is an indispensable seasoning to every virtue, as salt was to the ancient sacrifices. Mark ix. 49. ' every one shall be salted with fire; and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt.'
Hence the maxim, "of the evils of sin choose none, of those of punishment the least.” If this be true with regard to the evils of sin, it is obvious how preposterously, they interpret the law, who hold that usury, divorce, polygamy, and the like, were conceded to the hard-heartedness of the Jews as venial infirmities, or as evils which were to be abated or regulated by law ; whereas the law can no more concede or tolerate the smallest degree of moral evil, than a good man can voluntarily choose it.
Thus much of the general virtues which belong to the understanding; those which belong to the will are sincerity, promptitude, and constancy.
Sincerity, which is also called integrity, and a good conscience, consists in acting rightly on all occasions, with a sincere desire and a hearty mental determina
Gen. xvii. 1. walk before me, and be thou perfect. Deut. xviii. 13. thou shalt be perfect with Jehovah thy God. Job xxvii. 5, 6. «till I die I will not remove mine integrity from me.' Psal. xxvi. 1. judge me, O Jehovah, for I have walked in mine integrity.' Prov. iv. 23. keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.' Matt. xii. 35. 'a good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth good things——' Acts xxiii. 1. I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.' xxiv. 16. “to have always a conscience void of offence toward God and toward men.' 2 Tim. i. 3. I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience.' 1 Cor. iv. 4. • I know nothing of myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.' Philipp. ii. 15. "that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation. Col. iii. 23. whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.' 1 Tim. i. 19. · holding faith, and a good conscience, which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck.' 2 Tim. iv. 7,8. 'I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course.' Heb. xiii. 18. "we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.' 1 John iii. 19. hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.' v. 21. if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.' Properly speaking, however, a good conscience is not in itself sincerity, but rather an approving judgment of the mind respecting its own actions, formed according to the light which we have received either from 'nature or from grace, whereby we are satisfied of our inward sincerity. Rom. ii. 15. which show the work of the law written in their hearts,' &c. This feeling is described Job xiï. 15, &c. "I will maintain mine own ways before him.' xxiij. 3, &c. • that I knew where I
might find him-! xxxi. 6. •let me be weighed in an even balance, that God may know mine integrity.' v. 35. “O that one would hear me!' 2 Cor. i. 12.
our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world.'
The opposite to this is an evil conscience ;* that is to say (allowing some latitude of signification to the word) the judgment of each individual mind concerning its own bad actions, and its consequent disapproval of them, according to the light enjoyed from nature or grace; which may be more properly called a consciousness of evil. Gen. xlii. 21. we are verily guilty concerning our brother ....... therefore is this distress come upon us.' Hos. x. 8. they shall say to the mountains, Cover us, and to the hills, Fall on us,' compared with Rev. vi. 16. they said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth upon the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb.' Luke xx. 5,6. “they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say,
From heaven, he will say, Why then believed ye him not ?" Acts xxiv. 25. as he reasoned of righteousness...... Felix trembled. Rom. ii. 15. their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another.' Heb. X. 22.
having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience.' John viii. 9. “ being convicted by their own conscience.'
* "I will begin somewhat higher, and speak of punishinent; which as it is an evil, I esteem to be of two sorts, or rather two degrees only; a reprobate conscience in this life, and hell in the other world. Reason of Church Government urged against Prelaty. Prose Works, I. 132. VOL. II.