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THE WISDOM OF GOD.
Romans xvi. 27. To God, only Wise, be glory through Jesus Christ, Amen.
UNTITH these words the apostle Paul concludes
VV his most admirable and useful epistle to the Romans. Having expressed his good will towards the Christians then living in the city of Rome, he prays for the establishment of the gospel among them ; for which gospel he ascribes glory to that infinitely wise God, who is the Author of the gospel, through Jesus Christ his Son, the great preacher and the great subject of it. “To God, only wise, be glory.”
Our present business is to explain and improve the following truth :
GOD IS A BEING POSSESSED OF INFI
Wisdom, in man, is that attainment of his mind whereby he is enabled to regulate all his actions in the best manner; to choose the best object, and to pursue it by the best means. It is the application of good knowledge to good purposes : it is acting according to a correct judgment ; for there is a difference between knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge resides in the understanding ; but wisdom relates to practice. Knowledge is therefore the foundation of wisdom. A man may have knowledge without wisdom; but he cannot have wisdom with.
out knowledge, for wisdom is the right use of knowledge.
But knowledge and wisdom in the blessed God are inseparable. St. Paul puts them together, when he cries—“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!” Rom. xi. 33. His knowledge is infinite. “Great is our Lord, and of great power ; his understanding is infinite.” Ps. cxlvii. 5. God knows himself, and he only knows himself perfectly, for he only is infinite. He also knows all other things, wheiher they be past, or present, or to come. His judgment of all things is perfectly correct, and this regulates all his opera. tions. He directs all things to their proper end, the end for which he gave them being; and this is his own glory : for, as he is the most excellent being, nothing can be so excellent an end as his own glory ; and his wisdom so directs all beings and all occurrences, that this end shall be fully and finally accomplished. “ For OF HIM, and THROUGH HIM, and TO HIM, are all things : to whon be glory for ever. Amen.” Rom. xi. 36.
In our text God is termed “ONLY WISE;" and in another place he is called “ The only wise God;" for God alone is perfectly, universally, and constantly wise. In very ancient times, men distinguished by superior learning and knowledge were called Sophoi, that is, wise ; but Pythagoras and Socrates, two of the most eminent of them, thought this too high a title to be given to any but God; and from that time they were known by the more modest name of lovers of wisdom (Philo-Sophoi) or Philosophers. Wisdom is indeed “ The divine Royalty.” Strictly speaking, it belongs to God alone. As “there is none good but one, that is, God;" so there is none wise but him. Men have often boasted of their wisdom; but “the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God ;” and “he knoweth the reasonings of men that they are vain," especially when they are opposed to his gospel; and, on the other hand, « the foolishness of God,” that is, the gospel of Christ, profanely so called by some, is “ wiser than men"-far wiser than any of the schemes devised by the wit of man. 1 Cor. i. 25; and iii. 19.
But we need not confirm this truth by referring to many other Scripture proofs, for it is what every man must admit; we shall rather shew, in a few select instances, wherein the widom of God is displayed.
I. It is natural, in the first place, to refer to the works of God which our eyes behold; and the slightest observation of their nature and design will constrain us to say, “In wisdom hast thou made them all !”
Observe their variety, and say with the Psalmist, * O Lord, how manifold are thy works !” From the same original matter the infinitely wise God has produced a vast variety of creatures and things. “Let the earth,” said he, “bring forth grass, the herð, and the fruit-tree ; and it was sợ. TAnd God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowls that may fly above the earth : let the earth bring forth cattle, beasts, and creeping things. And God said, Let us make man; and God saw every thing that he had made, and behold it was very good.” Gen. i. How different are the forms, the qualities, the colours, and the uses of the creatures of God! How numerous are the heavenly bodies; the inhabitants of the earth, of the air, and of the water: they all differ in their structure; but they all display the wonderful wisdom of their great Creator: a wisdom we cannot comprehend, " for no man can find out the work that God maketh, from the beginning to the end." Eccles. jji. 11.
The remarkable fitness of every thing which God has made, for its intended purpose, is another proof of his wisdom. It is impossible not to see the most evident marks of design and contrivance in the works of God. Every thing has its proper use, and every
out knowledge, for wisdom is the right use of k ath ledge.
d the But knowledge and wisdom in the ble ,cow for are inseparable. St. Paul puts them tor ti that he he cries—“O the depth of the rich That every wisdom and knowledge of God!" Tinct and proper knowledge is infinite. “Great us for future years, great power ; his understande wisdom. “The cxlvii. 5. God knows him and wide sea, wherein himself perfectly, for he " There go the ships," knows all other things, medium of union among sent, or to come. I although it seems to sepaperfectly correct,
a n other; for, by navigation tions. He directs Boductions of different countries end for which h sock, and wonderfully increase own glory : fr in, while it employs the skill and nothing can
b u dęsfacilitates friendly interand his wis Pinds knowledge, especially that best rences, the edge, the gospel of Christ, which is plished. prof God.” TO HIT ping seasons of the year are a wise and Ame' chointment of Heaven, and are far more
a man a constant sameness. The frost of estroys noxious insects and weeds, braces
an body, and prepares the soil for a new pe bu The returning spring renews the face of the crops and inspires the heart of man with cheerful
ind pleasure. The warmth of summer ripens succeeding productions of the garden and the d; and the autumn crowns the year with fruit and min to reward the care and toil of the husbandman. The succession of night and day is pleasant and useful to man; he welcomes the day as the proper season of labour, and the night is no less welcome as the season of rest. All night would be intolerable, and all day would be extremely inconvenient. “The day is thine, the night also is thine ; thou hast prepared the light and the sun ; thou hast set all the borders of the earth : thou hast made summer and winter.” Ps. Ixxiv, 16, 17.
vicius appois mer than winter destra
carth, and ness and
THE WISDON M .
The bodies of animals and all other living crea's display the wisdom of God in a most wonderanner. Some are formed to live in the water, ment that would destroy others. Birds are d with wings to soar aloft in the air ; some ive beneath the surface of the gound; but
e organs suited to their destination ; pro- provided for their support, and they have y to find it, and stomachs fitted to digest it. chis proceedeth from him who is excellent in Junsel and wonderful in working..
The human frame is itself a world of wonders. Consider some of its parts. The bones are so firm that they support the whole body, yet so flexible that we can perform a vast variety of motions. The muscles, which are more than four hundred in number, have all their particular uses, yet never interfere with each other. The eye is an organ of such astonishing contrivance, that anatomists have called it “a sure cure for Atheism.” The ear is no less wonderfully adapted to its office ; its mechanism is extremely simple, but the variety of its effects is re. markably great. The process of digestion is surprising; the power of the stomach and other organs to turn so many different substances into chyle and blood, and thus to nourish life for many years, is truly amazing. The circulation of the blood is equally admirable. The heart has the power of forcing the blood into the arteries, and receiving it back from the veins, after it has visited the most distant and minute parts of the system ; for this purpose it con. tracts and dilates its muscles, four thousand times in every hour, making one hundred thousand strokes every twenty-four hours; and continuing to do this, without weariness or disorder, for seventy or eighty years together. This wonderful machine is, generally speaking, kept in perfect order; for health requires the exact performance of every function. Little do we consider how much must go to produce the ease we generally enjoy. We need not wonder if at any