Behold, you desire truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part you shall make me to know wisdom.
I. THE KNOWLEDGE OF HEAVENLY THINGS, APPERTAINING TO THE RIGHT WAY OF PLEASING GOD, AND OF SAVING OUR OWN SOULS, IS THE TRUE WISDOM. How shall he be held for wise who wanteth judgment and understanding in the principle? And what is the principle, if not this, to know how to serve God so here as that we may be saved with Him, and by Him, hereafter? What were a man but a fool in case he otherwise knew all secrets, and could speak and discourse in matters of the world, as if one spake from an oracle, or did equal Solomon in discovering the natures of trees and herbs, from the cedar in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall, if yet he were to seek in the matters that concern eternity? All this is but like that wisdom which we tax in a man when we say, He is penny wise, but pound foolish: he will be miserable to save a penny, and yet be prodigal in pounds upon a humour. This is poor wisdom: so, on the other side, how can he be taxed for a fool justly who, whatsoever his reach and depth be in the things of this life (haply he hath not so many politic fetches, nor cannot plod and multiply projects as ethers do), yet he knoweth the way of salvation; he knoweth Christ crucified?
II. THE LORD HIMSELF IS THE PROPER TEACHER OF THAT SPIRITUAL AND HEAVENLY WISDOM WHICH IS ACCOMPANIED WITH SALVATION.
1. The Holy Scripture is the Book of Wisdom, out of which God will give unto the simple sharpness of wit: but, teaching by man, is the pipe by which this sacred wisdom is to be conveyed unto us from the Fountain: therefore God honoureth His ministers with the title of teachers, and hath ordained a deputation of faithful men, which should be able to teach others also.
2. In waiting upon the appointed means to get this wisdom, we must be furnished with two especial qualities: first, humility; secondly, earnestness.
(1) The former I ground upon that often-remembered saying, "He will teach the humble His way." Now, he is humble in this case who hath' learned to renounce that wisdom, that sharpness, that sufficiency which he hath in his own opinion in himself. This is that denial of a man's self which Christ requireth in His followers: Paul, "a being a fool, to the end one may be wise." A man must disclaim all possibility of guiding himself, and resign and yield up himself wholly to the Lord's conduct. They which have this disposition are the babes to which God revealeth the mysteries of His kingdom, when He passeth over those which feed themselves with self-conceits.
(2) The second quality required is earnestness. Thus the Kingdom of Heaven must suffer violence, and we must go about to take it as it were by force. In this business there must be labouring, striving, giving all diligence, a seeking early.
3. How shall we know that we are taught? The text answereth: Where God teacheth, the heart is taught. Look, then, what is in thy heart. There be some that have gotten some smack of this wisdom into their brains; they have a kind of lip-wisdom, and can talk somewhat plausibly of religion, but it is not yet come to their hearts. Their hearts be not humbled; they have not that which the apostle commended in the Romans — "obedience from the heart." Is thy heart reformed? Is the natural corruption thereof in some good measure subdued and abated? Is obedience sweet unto thy heart, and that which thy soul delighteth in? This is a sign thou art taught of God.
III. WHEN GOD BESTOWS ON ANY MAN SPIRITUAL WISDOM AND RELIGIOUS KNOWLEDGE, HE GIVES SUCH A BLESSING AS DESERVES ACKNOWLEDGMENT. Hath the Lord been gracious to thee in scattering the mist of thy natural blindness, and in enabling thee to see the things which are given to us of God? Are thy eyes anointed with eye-salve, so that thou beginnest to savour the things of the Spirit, better than in times past? Oh, thank His Majesty for this mercy — this, a kindness of greater value than at first, perhaps, thou art aware; labour to increase in this knowledge, strive to have yet a larger and a fuller measure of this spiritual understanding.
Parallel VersesKJV: Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.