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hills of electing love, and “ by the way in the places of the paths.” Here she stands, in all these watering places, breathing places, resting places, halting places, and fainting places, in order to give caution, encouragement, refreshment, seasonable counsel, strength, and comfort; by all which they go from firength to strength, “ while passing through the valley of Baca.” Heavenly showers fill the pools: “I will pour water on him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground : I will make the wilderness pools of water, and the dry land springs of water."
“ She crieth at the gates;" and the voice of her cry is, “ The Lord loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob. Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation, which keepeth the truth, may enter. This is the gate of the Lord, into which the righteous shall enter.”
“ She crieth at the entry of the city," saying, « Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God. Ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. Wherefore thou art no more a stranger and a
foreigner, but a fellow-citizen of the saints and of the household of God. Sce that ye refuse not him that speaketh.”
« She crieth at the coming in of the doors.” Prov. viii. 3. The first doors she cries at are the doors of death's shadow ; “ Hast thou seen the doors of the shadow of death ?" Job xxxviii. 17. These doors are the covering and veil that is spread over all nations (Isa. xxv. 7), and the difmal gloom that the god of this world hath blinded our minds with, left the light of the glorious gorpel of Christ should thine into us, and we should be saved. But Wisdom cries at these doors, saying, “ The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined." Isa. ix. 2. The light of the Lord penetrates through and opens these doors, and the understanding receives the light, and gocs forth in it, and we begin (the doors being opened) “ with open face to behold, as in a glass, the glory of the Lord.” 2 Cor. iii. 18. But, though the understanding is gone forth, the soul is not wholly enlarged : « Light is given to him that is in misery, and life to the bitter in soul." Job iii. 20.
Then Wisdom leads us to another door, saying, “ Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her. And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of
hope." hope.” Hosea ii. 14, 15. Now hope enters in, and expectation goes forth; and the cry of Wifdom at this door is, “ Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is; for he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, which spreadeth out her roots by the river, and fjall not see when heat cometh ; but his leaf shall be green, he shall not be careful in the year of drought, nor shall he cease from yielding fruit.” Thus Wisdom rends the veil, and opens the doors of death’s hadow, and lets the understanding look out of obscurity, and out of darkness. Then the banishes black despair, and opens the door of hope, when hope enters the soul, and expectation of better times goes forth.
And next she leads us to another door, saying, • They rehearsed all that God had done by them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.” Acts xiv. 27. The seat, or proper place, of faith is the heart: “ With the heart man believeth unto rightcousness," &c. Obdurate hardness and unbelief are the doors that keep the word and faith out of the heart, till a divine power attends the voice of Wisdom, But the cries at this door, and her powerful voice is, “ As soon as they hear of me they shall obey me.” Now faith goes into the heart by hearing, and hearing by the word of God; then our obdurate hardnels gives way, the door of faith opens, and the right hand of the Lord makes the injurious
bolt of cursed infidelity fly back. The opening of this door diffolves the soul : “ My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him.” Song v. 4. But still we are not enlarged; for this is but the hole of the door. The bowels move for him, but he is not come in the promised and glorious manifestation of himself. Faith is come, as it was to the blind man healed; but the object of faith is not yet discovered ::" Dost thou believe on the Son of God? Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.”
The next door that Wisdom opens is the door of " the strong hold of Satan." And her voice at this door is, I am sent “ to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison-house." Ifa. xlii. 7. “ Son, daughter, thy sins are forgiven thee.” And this is a full discharge, Guilt flies, the yoke of our transgression is broken, Satan vanishes, pardoning love flows in, and fear and torment are cast out; the chains of our fins are knocked off, the prison garments are laid aside, and the wedding garment is put on. He puts off our fackcloth, and girds us with gladness.
The next door is the door of mercy. This opens almost of its own accord, as soon as we escape the prison. By Jesus we have access with con
fidence into this grace wherein we stand. And the cry of Wisdom at this door is, “ Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear thein. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and Mall go in and out, and find pariure." John x. 7-9. Now this door, that admits us into the presence of God, and into communion and fellowship both with the Father and the Son, is God's lifting up the light of his countenance upon us, and giving us the light of the knowledge of the glory of himself in the face of Jesus Christ, and a full enjoyment of God's everlasting love through Christ, which is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost. This is the door; for, if God hides his face, who can behold him ? and, without being drawn by his love, who can come to him? And, if he leaves a man in his own guilt, and under the wrath of the law, by these things “ he shutteth up a man, and there can be no opening." Job xii. 14. Hence it appears that a man must have the light of the Lord's countenance, attended with his love, before he can enter into the joy of the Lord.
The next door that Wisdom crics at is the door of the wedding-chamber: “ And they that were ready went in with him to the marriage; and the door was shut.” Matt. xxv. 10. Wisdom's cry at this door will be, “ Come, ye blessed of my Father,