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PROVERBS III. 14.
HAPPY IS THE MAN THAT FINDETH WISDOM, AND THE MAN THAT GETTETH UNDERSTANDING.
T HAT some of my hearers have not found happiness, I know, without any confession from them. Now, if I had nothing to propose that could make them happy, I would not give them pain by reminding them of their misery: I would rather add my efforts to theirs, to enable them to forget it. But I know that happiness is to be found. I believe the word of God, which offers it to all. There is a happiness-the only substantial and lasting happiness-spoken of in the text. What is it? "Happy is the man," says Solomon," that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding." "Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace." Wisdom, throughout the Book of Proverbs, is only another name for Reli
gion; or, the knowledge and love of God as He is revealed to us in the Holy Scriptures. This is affirmed to be the path of pleasantness and peace.
Our merciful God and Father saw our whole race departed from Himself; and knew, that left without a guide, we should spend our strength for nought, in seeking that satisfaction in earthly things, which, from their very nature, they are not calculated to afford. He therefore gave us His own word-the Bible-to direct our wandering steps. He has therein revealed to us Himself, as the proper rest and portion of man. This revelation has been virtually the same in all ages of the Israelitish and of the Christian Church, and even in the Patriarchal times only, what was taught before the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ by types and shadows, is now more fully manifested to us in the antitype and substance. The same Gospel was, in fact, preached to the Israelites as to us, only in a less plain and intelligible manner; and it was intended to guide their feet, as it is also to guide ours, into the paths of peace. Religion, then, or the knowledge and love of God as He is revealed to us in
the Bible, and especially in the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, which contains the full developement of the scheme of man's redemption, is that to which we are directed, by God Himself, for happiness and peace.—It shall be my endeavour, in this discourse, to shew that the revelation made to us in the Gospel, and that alone, is calculated to satisfy the desire after happiness which we all feel.
How then does the Gospel confer happiness and peace on those who embrace it? This will appear, from considering what is the source of all human misery. The source of all our misery is sin, or the transgression of the Law of God. Sin brought us under the displeasure of God. It made a breach between God and man. It introduced death, bereavements, bodily pains, and all the disorders of the soul-evil tempers, inordinate desires, envious heartburnings, and malignant contests-condemnation to eternal misery, with the sad forebodings of it.
Now, in this state the Gospel finds us-departed from God, and therefore far from happiness. It addresses us as sinners, and therefore under the