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there was, as it was proper there should be, a fulness of light and power such as the world had never before enjoyed. "Blessed are your eyes," said the Saviour, "for they see; and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unio you, that many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them."' But the eyes of those who lived before Christ were not left without the light of which he is the original Fountain, and the divinely appointed Revealer. This view then, in the narrow form in which Dr. Gill states it, must be decidedly rejected.
If we turn, now, to the first view, which regards wisdom only as a poetic personification, we shall find that this also has a true side, and is, like the other extreme,Nnore at fault in what it denies than in what it affirms. Here the following remarks are in place:
First: The personification of Wisdom, as representing simply an impersonal order of nature and history, or one in which the presence and providence of a personal God are either denied or left out of view, is not to be thought of for a moment. None but a pantheist would separate nature and history from the God of nature and history ; least of all would a Hebrew do it, who was accustomed to see God's hand directly in all the movements of nature, and in all the events of history. To the Hebrew writer God's personal presence fills heaven and earth, and whatever takes place in the sphere of either nature or human society, His agency is in it, and by it He fulfils His holy counsels. Is it of nature that. He speaks? Nature is plastic like clay in His almighty hand, and He directs all her powers to the accomplishment of His own most free and wise purposes. "He giveth snow like wool; He scattereth the hoar-frost like ashes ; He casteth forth His ice like morsels; who can stand before His cold? He sendeth out His word and melteth them; He causeth His wind to blow and the waters flow." a Or is it of the
course of human affairs? All these are in like manner directed and controlled by God. In every transaction, good or evil, his hand is present and must be acknowledged. "As for yon, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass as it is this day, to save much people alive." i Of the conduct of Jeroboam in following the foolish counsel of the young men who were brought up with him, the sacred historian says: "Wherefore the king hearkened not unto the people; for the cause was from the Lord, that he might perform his saying, which the Lord spake by Ahijah the Shilonite unto Jeroboam the son of Nebat." 2 Such is the uniform view which the sacred writers take of the movements of human society. To the Hebrew, then, all the lessons which nature and history inculcate, come directly from God himself. Through them He speaks, and in them his voice is heard. When Wisdom, therefore, addresses men, it is the personal Wisdom of God that speaks.
Secondly: A Hebrew, when discoursing of divine wisdom, could never leave out of view God's revealed word. To him that was, as it is in truth, the sun of the moral world. He could never be guilty of the unspeakable folly (which seems to have been reserved for the boasted philosophy of these latter days) of expatiating at great length on the lessons which nature teaches, but omitting all allusion to the direct instruction of revelation; as if one were to eulogize in glowing terms the brilliancy of the moon's rays, but carefully withhold all reference to the sun, whence she derives her brightness. It is because the world needs — needs because of its moral perverseness and blindness alone, if one chooses thus to limit the proposition, but still needs — a more direct and authoritative revelation of God and duty than that which nature and conscience furnish, that God has given such a revelation. The sacred writers never for a single moment, put the light of nature in competition with even the comparatively dim and imperfect teachings of the Old Testament. When the rich man in hell beseeches Abraham
1 Gen. 50: 20.
Vol. XV. No. 58.
1 1 Kings 12: 15.
that Lazarus may be sent to warn his five brethren, the reply is: "They have" —what? "the light of nature"? "the inward monitor of conscience"? No, not a word of these; but, — " Moses and the prophets; let them hear them."1 The Wisdom of God, speaking through "Moses and the prophets," constituted at once the highest privilege and the most cherished prerogative of God's chosen people. "What advantage then hath the Jew, or what profit is there in circumcision? Much every way; chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God."2 In that beautiful Psalm of David in which he sets forth the lessons which the heavens teach concerning God's infinite power and skill, the work of warning men against sin, converting them and making them wise unto salvation, is assigned, not to nature, but to God's written Word. "The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth his handy ivork."* But "the law of the Lord is perfect, converting t he soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple." * "More-. over by them is thy servant warned, and in keeping of them ihere is great reward." 5 Such is, from first to last, the spirit of the Old Testament not less than of the New. When Solomon, therefore, represents Wisdom as solemnly addressing men, it is certain that he has primary reference to the Wisdom of God, speaking as well in his written Word, as in the unwritten messages of his prophets.
But we need not, lor this reason, understand him as excluding either the outward revelations of nature and providence, or the inward revelations of conscience in the human soul. Nature, providence, conscience and scripture, these all have the same God for their Author, and their teachings are all in mutual harmony with each other, and constitute one self-consistent whole. "Thou shalt not steal," commands the divine law. "Thou shalt not steal," responds the voice of conscience. "Thou shalt not steal," proclaims the course of divine providence ; for though a man may seem for a time to prosper by dishonest methods, the end is always
shame and misery. "Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished;" 1 "Bread of deceit is sweet to a man, but afterwards his month shall be filled with gravel,"2 are proverbs based on experience, and they will endure the test of experience to the end of time. The Word of God commands: "Abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul." 3 Conscience always approves this precept as right, and condemns every violation of it; and nature herself fights against the glutton, the drunkard and the debauchee. Here, again, such precepts as the following: "Be not among winebibbers, among riotous eaters of flesh; for the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poperty; and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags;"4 " A harlot is a deep ditch, and a strange woman is a narrow pit,"5 rest on the broad foundation of universal experience. Heavenly Wisdom speaks, first of all, through revelation. But her voice is echoed back by conscience, by history, and by nature. These all speak with her, and in her behalf. Her testimony to the sons of men includes them all. If the view which regards Wisdom, in the passages now under consideration, as only a poetic personification of the lessons of natural religion, is too low, that which confines her testimony to the written Word8 is too narrow.
Thirdly: As a Hebrew writer could not limit the calls of heavenly Wisdom to any one time or manner in the past, but must include all the ways in which she has addressed men from the beginning (the chief of these being, as already explained, the direct revelations of Scripture), so neither could he restrict her voice to any one time or mode of address in the future. As he comprehended under her divine call, all God's warnings and admonitions in the past, through whatever channels received, so must he also include in it all his further revelations reserved for future time. A portion of the instructions of Wisdom his generation had received, but
1 Prov. 13: 11. 2 Prov. 20: 17. !1 Pet. 2: 11
4 Prov. 23 20, 21. 5 Prov. 23: 27
6 As Rashi, who defines Wisdom to be "the divine wisdom of the law, Prov. 1: 20; and simply "the law,'' l'rov. 8: 1.
more awaited God's people in the day when the great Prophet foretold by Moses should appear. Through him, in a preeminent sense, should Wisdom call men to repentance and salvation ; and all they who received him should find life and obtain favor of God ; but all who despised his reproof should perish.
Thus far might an inspired writer in Solomon's day go, in interpreting the words which he himself spake as he was "moved by the Holy Ghost." Whether he would be able to go any further is a question which we need not be anxious to settle. But we who live in "the last days," and have before us the record of the appearance of that Prophet whom Moses foretold, may lawfully inquire what new light it sheds on the passages now under consideration, particularly the remarkable description contained in Chap. viii. 22-31. In the exposition of the Holy Scriptures it must be assumed as a primary principle, that revelation is an indivisible whole, of which the later parts explain and interpret the former. While this revelation was in progress, every new disclosure of the counsels of God cast a light backwards upon all that had preceded, while, at the same time, it awaited for itself a brighter light in the future. The very idea of inspiration implies a prescient mind that sees the end from the beginning, and that shapes the beginning with reference to the end. The principle of interpretation which we are now considering can be set aside only by those who deny, either openly or covertly, that the Scriptures contain a divine communication from God to man in the strict and proper sense of the words. Such unbelievers will of course see no divine plan running through all the parts of revelation, and combining them all into one perfect whole. To them the Bible will be only a patchwork, a mere accretion of documents, most of them fragmentary, accumulated in the course of ages, and put together by men, without any steady progress towards a foreseen and predetermined end. They will admit the influ^ ence of the earlier upon the later portions, for that is a purely human element; but they will reject all adumbration in the earlier writings of truths, the clear and direct revelation