We have here the application of Wisdom’s discourse; the design and tendency of it is to bring us all into an entire subjection to the laws of religion, to make us wise and good, not to fill our heads with speculations, or our tongues with disputes, but to rectify what is amiss in our hearts and lives. In order to this, here is,
I. An exhortation to hear and obey the voice of Wisdom, to attend and comply with the good instructions that the word of God gives us, and in them to discern the voice of Christ, as the sheep know the shepherd’s voice.
1. We must be diligent hearers of the word; for how can we believe in him of whom we have not heart? “Hearken unto me, O you children!” Prov. 8:32. “Read the word written, sit under the word preached, bless God for both, and hear him in both speaking to you.” Let children age, and what they hearken to then, it is likely, they will be so seasoned by as to be governed by all their days. Let Wisdom’s children justify Wisdom by hearkening to her and show themselves to be indeed her children. We must hear Wisdom’s words, (1.) Submissively, and with a willing heart (Prov. 8:33): “Hear instruction, and refuse it not, either as that which you need not or as that which you like not; it is offered you as a kindness, and it is at your peril if you refuse it.” Those that reject the counsel of God reject it against themselves, Luke 7:30. “Refuse it not now, lest you should not have another offer.” (2.) Constantly, and with an attentive ear. We must hear Wisdom so as to watch daily at her gates, as beggars to receive an alms, as clients and patients to receive advice, and to wait as servants, with humility, and patience, and ready observance, at the posts of her doors. See here what a good house Wisdom keeps, for every day is dole-day; what a good school, for every day is lecture-day. While we have God’s works before our eyes, and his word in our hand, we may be every day hearing Wisdom, and learning instruction from her. See here what a dutiful and diligent attendance is required of all Christ’s disciples; they must watch at the gates. [1.] We must lay hold on all opportunities of getting knowledge and grace, and must get into, and keep in, a constant settled course of communion with God. [2.] We must be very humble in our attendance on divine instructions, and be glad of any place, even the meanest, so we may but be within hearing of them, as David, who would gladly be a door-keeper in the house of God. [3.] We must raise our expectations of these instructions, and hearken to them with care, and patience, and perseverance, must watch and wait, as Christ’s hearers, that hanged on him to hear him, as the word in the original is (Luke 19:48) and (Luke 21:38) came early in the morning to hear him.
2. We must be conscientious doers of the work, for we are blessed only in our deed. It is not enough to hearken unto Wisdom’s words, but we must keep her ways (Prov. 8:32), do every thing that she prescribes, keep within the hedges of her ways, and not transgress them, keep in the tracks of her ways, proceed and persevere in them. “Hear instruction and be wise; let it be a means to make you wise in ordering your conversation.” What we know is known in vain if it do not make us wise, Prov. 8:33.
II. An assurance of happiness to all those that do hearken to Wisdom. They are blessed, Prov. 8:32; and again Prov. 8:34. Those are blessed that watch and wait at Wisdom’s gates; even their attendance there is their happiness; it is the best place they can be in. Those are blessed that wait there, for they shall not be put to wait long; let them continue to knock awhile and it shall be opened to them. They are seeking Wisdom, and they shall find what they seek. But will it make them amends if they do find it? Yes (Prov. 8:35): Whoso finds me finds life, that is, all happiness, all that good which he needs or can desire. He finds life in that grace which is the principle of spiritual life and the pledge of eternal life. He finds life, for he shall obtain favour of the Lord, and in his favour is life. If the king’s favour is towards a wise son, much more the favour of the King of kings. Christ is Wisdom, and he that finds Christ, that obtains an interest in him, he finds life; for Christ is life to all believers. He that has the Son of God has life, eternal life, and he shall obtain favour of the Lord, who is well-pleased with all those that are in Christ; nor can we obtain God’s favour, unless we find Christ and be found in him.
III. The doom passed upon all those that reject Wisdom and her proposals, Prov. 8:36. They are left to ruin themselves, and Wisdom will not hinder them, because they have set at nought all her counsel. 1. Their crime is very great; they sin against Wisdom, rebel against its light and laws, thwart its designs, and by their folly offend it. They sin against Christ; they act in contempt of his authority, and in contradiction to all the purposes of his life and death. This is construed into hating Wisdom, hating Christ; they are his enemies, who will not have him to reign over them. What can appear worse than hating him who is the centre of all beauty and fountain of all goodness, love itself? 2. Their punishment will be very just, for they wilfully bring it upon themselves. (1.) Those that offend Christ do the greatest wrong to themselves; they wrong their own souls; they wound their own consciences, bring a blot and stain upon their souls, which renders them odious in the eyes of God, and unfit for communion with him; they deceive themselves, disturb themselves, destroy themselves. Sin is a wrong to the soul. (2.) Those that are at variance with Christ are in love with their own ruin: Those that hate me love death; they love that which will be their death, and put that from them which would be their life. Sinners die because they will die, which leaves them inexcusable, makes their condemnation the more intolerable, and will for ever justify God when he judges. O Israel! thou hast destroyed thyself.