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to the benighted state of the human race, hath been pleased to bestow. Solomon, therefore, in the very outset of this book, entreats us to remember and to believe this great truth, to be well persuaded that without a reverential fear of the Supreme, without a wholesome and pervading sense of the irresistible power and unchangeable holiness of the Lord Jehovah, we can never hope to attain unto such knowledge or experience as shall be lastingly profitable to us. And he, doubtless, foresaw in the spirit of divine illumination, that unless faith was so established in the heart, the counsels of morality which he was proceeding to give, his wise precepts towards a life of virtue and use. fulness, would fall but unheeded on the ear, would be forgotten as soon as uttered, even if they did not meet with worse treatment, that of scorn and ridicule.
Inasmuch, further, as youth is the seedtime of life, since youth is the season when
good or ill impressions are the easily made and taken, the royal penman addresses himself first of all, and more particularly, to the young.
He would have them, at their first entrance into the world, give heed unto the discipline and doctrine of religious wisdom, and the wholesome word of parental instruction. " My son,” are his beautiful words, “ hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother; for they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.” 1
In so exhorting, however, in so counselling the young man to honour his parents, to follow their instructions, and to fulfil their wishes, this one thing is evidently supposed, that the parents themselves do not encourage, do not set in themselves an example of evil conduct, or of a despising and disregarding of the fear of God. As children are commanded,
i Prov. i. 8, 9.
on the one hand, to honour and obey their parents, so, on the other, it is the bounden duty of the parents “to bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”? Shocking and disgusting is the sight or sound whenever this command is violated. And, yet, that it is never violated, is more than one dare affirm, is more than common experience will warrant one in asserting. scarce be denied that not only negligence and inattention to the moral and religious habits of the child may be laid to the charge of some parents, but that, in too many instances, a yet weightier sin may lie at their door, even the guilt of having set in their own persons an example of evil, and irreligion, and profligacy.
But it was not the purport of Solomon in this place to speak to, or to dwell upon the vile and unnatural wickedness of any such conduct. He is speaking more immediately to enforce respect to parents as a general rule, and therefore makes not at the moment any exception, neither hints at the wickedness and unworthiness of the parents.
2 Eph. vi. 4.
Having then established as a first principle the fear of the Lord;" having also inculcated the natural and grateful duty of filial obedience, that a
son should honour his father; Solomon immediately proceeds to deliver the words of our text, and commences that very important subject which occupies the remaining portion of the chapter. His sentiments express the words of God who speaketh herein, and who demands of us that submissive attention and respect to his voice, which the intrinsic worth of his precepts so well merits. In truth, my brethren, we wrong the inspired eloquence of the royal writer, we sadly contract, and to our own loss, the comprehensive instruction of the wise preacher of Israel, if we confine these latter words of his first chapter
as addressed only to the young, and as conveying his reproof only on one vice in particular. The young undoubtedly, as not yet hardened in iniquity, as being not as yet grossly familiar with crime, are affectionately and earnestly admonished to beware of the insidious approach of evil allurements, to beware of the temptations and deceits of sin, to beware of the sophistry and lies of wicked men and seducers. Nevertheless, not the
young only, but men of all ages and conditions, and the many who may yet be children in understanding, are here likewise addressed and most powerfully admonished. The voice of Solomon in our text speaks aloud to all, who are not utterly profligate, who are not yet absolutely lost to every feeling of virtue and religion, all such are here solemnly warned not to listen to the enticements of sin, not to be deceived by the plausible statements of the crafty and the wicked ones.
My son,” is the brief but energetic language, “ if sinners entice