Imagens da página
[ocr errors]

intimating, that wisdom makes a man something like God, res 21 sembling him in knowledge and goodness. My son, let not them 22 depart from thine eyes: keep found wisdom and discre

tion: So shall they be life unto thy soul, and grace to thy 23 neck. Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy

foot shall not stumble; thou shalt go about thy businefs 24 comfortably and successfully. When thou liest down, thou

shalt not be afraid, yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy

sleep shall be sweet; no anxiois diftra&ting cares or painful 25 refle&tions shall disturb thy repose. Be not afraid of sud

den fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when

it cometh; of enemies and wicked men, who are ready to 26 lay all waste. For the LORD shall be thy confidence,

and shall keep thy foot from being taken by those who lie in wait to destroy thee. And if thou desirest that God Mould hear thy prayers, and help thee,

Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, 28 when it is in the power of thine hand to do [it.] Say

not unto thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and tomorrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee; not only pay thy just debts, but be kind and liberal to those ir

distress; keep not any one in a cruel or unnecesary suspense, , 29 Devise not evil against thy neighbour, against his per.

fon, property, or reputation, seeing he dwelleth securely by thee, does not súspeet thee, is off his guard, and there

fore it were greater baseness and wickedness to injure him, 30 Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done

thee no harm; do not go to law, or engage in quarrels,

where there is no real or intended injury, or none that is 31 very great. Envy thou not the oppressor, and choose 32 none of his ways, tho' he thrives by theme. For the fro

ward [is] abomination to the LORD: but his secret [is]

with the righteous; they are his friends and favourites. 33. The curse of the LORD [is) in the house of the wick84 ed: but he blesseth the habitation of the just. Surely

he scorneth the scorners, will expofe them to fcorn and con

tempt: but he giveth grace unto the lowly, that is, fa. 35 vour with himself and with men. The vise shall inherit

glory, tho' they may be disatisfied for a while : but shame Thall be the promotion of fools; Jhame shall render them


conspicuous, and their folly will appear more remarkable and pameful by their exaltation.


· REFLECTION S. H IS chapter is so full of excellent instructions for ' T the conduct of life, that every verse suggests them, Let us particularly attend to the following remarks.

1. The happy consequences of getting wisdom, should excite us diligently to pursue it. Solomon was so sensible of the weakness of human nature, of the importance of gaining wisdom, and how necessary it was that this should be inculcated again and again upon young people, that he urges it by a variety of arguments. The knowledge and practice of piety and virtue conduce to the health of the body, the peace of the mind, to our living upon good terms with others, and being respected by them. It tends to our success in business, and adds an additional charm to all the comforts of life; above all, it ensures the favour of God, How justly then does Solomon represent this as the best trade and merchandise! Let us therefore apply our minds to religion, that we may find, by our own experience, the truth of these observations, Godliness hath the promise of the life which now is, and of that which is to come..

2. Humility and prayer are the best means of engaging the divine direction and blessing. The first maxim of importance to young people is, not to be wise. in their own eyes, nor lean to their own understandings. Conceit makes them rash and contemptible, keeps them in ignorance, and makes them unwilling to submit to the rules and restraints of religion, But God giveth grace to the lowly, and therefore, sensible of our own weakness, let us trust in him; and by daily, serious prayer, acknowledge him in all our ways, especi. ally in all affairs of difficulty and importance. We must not only believe that there is an overruling providence, but seriously acknowledge it. Then will God direct us in the right way; and tho? we meet with affliction in it, it will end well, in everlasting peace and joy.

3. Let us learn how we are to behave under the afflictions of life. The apostle quotes the eleventh verse of this

chapter, chapter, in Heb, xii. 5. and calls it an exhortation that speaks to us as unto children. This is an important hint, viz.that all these exhortations speak to us, as well as to those for whose immediate use Solomon wrote them. May we not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor think lightly of it, or that it is not fent with a good design, and capable of being very ufeful. Nor must we be weary of it, or, as the apostle fays, faint under it, tho' it may he long continued. Tho! it should grow heavier and heavier, we ought not to murmur, nor take unlawful methods to remove it: we should not think it more than we need, or that it is continued longer than is for our good. All proceeds from love; it is not the fword of an enemy, but the rod of a father; that is, a token of his love, and the means of his children's happi. ness,

4. We are taught the surest and readiest way of thriving in the world. . Hearken, ye men of trade, to the exhortation of the wisest man and the greatest trader that ever lived; the merchandize of wisdom is better than that of fluer; and the gain thereof than fine gold. Honour the Lord with your fatbstance; do good with it, relieving the poor, and supporting the interests of religion. Honour him with your increase: as your substance increases, do the more good with it. This is the way to have his blessing, which maketh rich, and addeth no Jorrow with it. When we have opportunities of doing good, we ought to embrace them quickly and readily; nat bid our neighbour come again to-morrow. If he demand justice of us, a just debt, it is unjuft to defer payment. If he solicit charity, it is barbarous to keep him in suspense; his wants may be urgent, and we may die before the morrow. Let us never study to find excuses for omitting or deferring to do good; for God loveth a cheerful giver. : 55. We are here taught to guard against anxious fears; be not afraid of sudden fear, which is indeed apt to put a man into confusion, because he has not time to recollect himself. But this is a disposition we should strive against, for our own fakes, and the honour of religion. It is very weak to give way to every little alarm, or to believe every story which foolish and wicked men may spread. It is also very

unbecoming unbecoming those who profess to 'believe that the Lord reigneth. Be not afraid of the desolation of the wicked when it cometh, much less when it is at a distance, and least of all when it is only suspected or rumoured. The Lord is the confidence of his people, and therefore they should not fear. But if they dishonour him and his providence by their un. belief, it may provoke him to give them up a prey to their

own tormenting fears, and thus make their lives very · miserable. Fear the Lord then and depart from evil, and 'fear nothing else.

CHA P. IV. Solomon here continucs his exhortations to all, especially to young

people, whom he addresses with the tender concern of a father. II TEAR, ye children, the instruction of a father, 2 11 and attend to know understanding. For I give

you good doctrine, not a trifling, indifferent matter, but what is absolutely necesary for your peace and happiness; forsake ye not my law. To recommend these instructions he

relates that they were such as he received from his pious from 3. ther. For I was my father's son, tender and only [be4 loved) in the sight of my mother. He taught me also,

and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: 5 keep my commandments, and live. Get wisdom, get

understanding, labour, traffick for it, that is, seek it as diligently as men do the wealth and honours of this world: for

get [it] not; neither decline from the words of my 6 mouth. Forsake her not, and she fhall preserve thee:

love her, and she shall keep thee, as thy surest, strongest 7 guard. Wisdom [is] the principal thing; (therefore

get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding: 8 Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring 9 thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her. She

shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown

of glory shall she deliver to thee. Thus far he seems to . 10 repeat David's instru&tion to him; he then goes on, Hear,

O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of

11 thy life shall be many. I have taught thee in the way · 12 of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths. When - thou goeft, thy steps shall not be straitened; and when

thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble; wisdom will deliver
thee from intricacies and perplexities, which thou wouldt
otherwise fall into. Religion is an easy and safe thing. A
mind under the influence of irregular passions is straitened;

as a man, whose shoe is too tight, is galled, and the speed, 13 the ease, and the gracefulness of his motion spoiled. Take

fast hold of instruction ; let [her] not go: keep her; -. 14 for she [is] thy life. Enter not into the path of the . 15 wicked, and go not in the way of evil [men.] Avoid

it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away; a beau-
tiful climax or gradation; stay not in the path, go not into
it, even for a little while to make experiment; avoid enter-

ing upon it, come not near it, go any other way rather than 16 that. For they sleep not, except they have done mis.

chief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause

[some] to fall; they have no fatisfaétion till they have ac17 complished their wicked designs. For they eat the bread of

wickedness, and drink the wine of violence; they subfist

on ill gotten gain; wickedness is meat, drink, and Neep to 18 them, all their business and pleasure. But the path of the

just [is] as the shining light, that shineth more and
more unto the perfect day; a wise man makes progress in
religion, and he finds its pleasure increasing; as the rising

fun Mines brighter and brighter, till it comes to the perfec19 tion of its lustre. The way of the wicked sis) as dark

ness: they know not at what they stumble; little acci.
dents bring mischief upon them; events which they never
thought of, and which there was no probability of their fal-

ling into.
20 My son, attend to my words ; incline thine ear unto
21 my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes;
22 keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are]

life unto those that find them, and health to all their 23 flesh; a remedy under all their griefs and troubles. Keep

thy heart with all diligence, guard it more cautiously than

any thing else; for out of it (are) the issues of life; the · heart is the spring of astion, and thy actions will be good or


« AnteriorContinuar »