1794 – 1869
An Exposition of the Book of Proverbs
“Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice? She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths. She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors. Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of man.”
Listen we now to the calls of heavenly wisdom, to the voice of the Son of God. Careless soul! shall this Divine call be slighted, when the allurements of sin and vanity have had power to arrest your ear? Can ignorance be pleaded? Does not wisdom cry? and that, not in the hour of darkness, and in the secret corners, but from place to place, in public concourse. Loud and unfettered the call, not to devils, but to men: not to the righteous, but to the sons of men, children of guilty Adam. It is the proclamation of the gospel ‘to every creature.’ (Mark 16:15) Wherever the word reaches, the offer is made. Wherever a lost sinner be found on this side of the grave, the free welcome of the Gospel meets him. If he be not saved, he is more lost than ever. His ruin lies at his own door (Matthew 23:37).
“Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars: She hath killed her beasts; she hath mingled her wine; she hath also furnished her table. She hath sent forth her maidens: she crieth upon the highest places of the city, Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him, Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled. Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.”
We have delighted to contemplate the Divine Savior in his glorious majesty, and specially in his wondrous love to the sons of men. Here his love is poured out before us. The parable of the marriage-feast so clearly identifies the speaker, that we cannot mistake the voice. For who has blessings so rich? Who gives an invitation so free, a welcome so encouraging? There the King made the feast, and sent his servants to invite the guests. (Matt 22:1-4; Luke 14:16,17) Here Wisdom is a Queen, attended, according to Eastern custom, by her maidens, and sending them forth to bid to the feast. She hath builded her house, “the church of the living God,” firm upon the pillars of eternal truth. The great sacrifice supplies her feast. And now that she has killed her beasts, mingled her wine with the choicest spices, and plentifully furnished her table, let the simple and ignorant turn in hither, come, eat of the bread of life, drink of the wine of the gospel grace and joy. (Matt 22:4; Isa. 55:1) Is there not besides a special invitation for her children, a table richly furnished for their refreshment; where they eat of the bread, and drink of the wine, such as ‘the world know not of?’
But are not all comers welcome to the Gospel feast? The Master’s heart flows along with every offer of his grace. His servants are ministers of reconciliation. (2 Cor. 5:18-20) Their message is to tell of the bounty of Messiah’s house, and bid sinners welcome to their Savior. Here, sinner, is your warrant, not your worthiness, but your need, and the invitation of your Lord. All the blessings of his Gospel are set before you, love without beginning, end or change. Honor the freeness of his mercy. Let him have the full glory of his own grace.
[Footnote: Calvin speaks of the pleading invitations of Christ, as ‘his sweet and more than motherly allurement,’ and beautifully adds that ‘the word of God is never opened to us, but that He with a motherly sweetness open his own bosom to us.’ On Matt 23:37]
on Prov. 9:13-18
Wisdom’s free and gracious invitation has been before us. And we might almost ask, who could resist it? Now we have an allurement from the opposite quarter. For sin is no less earnest to destroy, than wisdom is to save.
Reader, the wisdom of God and the great deceiver of man stand before you. Both are wooing your heart, the one for life, the other for death. Both are intensely anxious for success. Wisdom cries. The foolish woman is clamorous. Both take their station in the high places of the city. Both spread out this feast for the simple and ignorant. But how opposite the purpose of each! The one ready to make the simple wise unto eternal life. The other bearing away her willing captive into unutterable misery. Which is the voice that arrests your ear, allures your heart? Which is the feast that excites your appetite? Whose guest are you? Oh! remember that listening to the enticement cheats you of your present, no less than of your eternal, happiness, and will banish you forever from the paradise re-opened as your home. The Lord preserve you from the tempter’s snares, by keeping you closely walking with Himself!