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|0 our to distinguish between right and wrong. Receive my instruction, and not silver, that is, ra ther than silver; and knowledge rath .

11 er than choice gold. For wisdom [is] better than rubies, or the most precious gems; and all the things that may be desired

J2 are not to be compared to it. I wisdom dwell with prudence, do not content myself with speculation, hut extend to practice, and find out knowledge of witty inventions, thatis, ingenious inventions, which arc of great use in human life, and subservient to the moit important purposes. I instruct men in the firsl /ilace, that

13 The fear of the Loud [is] to hate evil, pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate, all sinful prac

14 ikes, slander, and detraction. Coupsel [is] mine, and sound wisdom; I [am] understanding; I have strength ; I show men what is fit to be done, and inspire them with courage to do. it.

15 16 By me kings reign, and princes decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, [even] all the judges of the earth ; that is, by wisdom they make just and merciful laws for tlte government of their people, and conduct the weighty affairs of kingdoms and no

17 tions. I love them that love me; and those that seek me early

18 shall find me. Riches and honour [are] with me ; [yea,] durable riches and righteousness, wealth which wears well, and brings

19 with it a title to a bctter, inheritance. My fruit [is] better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver.

20 I lead, or direct, in the way of private righteousness, in the

21 midst of the paths of public judgment. That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance, make them truly and com

22 pletely happy; and I will fill their treasures.* The Lord possessed me as his treasure in the beginning of jiis way, before his works of old ; it is an argument that wisdom is the most ex* cellent thing, because it dwelt in God before thetcreation of the world, and directed his actions in aU he made. As if he had said, Since it is an attribute displayed in all his works of creation and providence, therefore, the more wisdom any creature has^ the more

23 he resembles the great Creator. I was setup from everlasting, 2-t from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When [there

were] no depths, I was brought fqrth ; [when there were]

25 no lountains abounding with water. Before the mountains

26 were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: While as yet he had not made' the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust ofthp world, tkje ground on which ii!e tread, er rather, the beginning or mass of dust, before it was distin

2i guhiied into mountains avd plains. When he prepared the heav-. ^ ens, I [was] there: when he set a compass upon the face of tjie depth; marked how far it should extend, and where the hills

28 thould be placed : When he established the clouds above: when,

29 he strengthened the fountains of the deep: When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his command

• Many writers applT all that follow, to Christ- What the New Testament teachesconfeminp hitn. shows th c it m^y t,e - -iccommodatefl to him ; but I fitvl no suifieient proof Tint snlordon MfcAkd it ot bUn J nor is any ctauM of this Jtscriptiou applied to film in lis New Testament.

SO trtent: When he appointed the foundations of the earth: Then I was by him [as] one brought up [with him :] and I was daily [his] delight, rejoicing always before him ;producing daily some

31 new wort, which he approved and pronounced to be good ; Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights [were] with the sons of men ; I rejoiced to see koiv the world was formed intoa fit habitation for man, and the sons of men enjoying the effects of

32 the divine power and goodness. Now therefore hearken ontome, O ye children: for blessed [are they that] keep my ways.

33, 34 Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not. Blessed [is] the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors ; earnestly desiring to become my

35 disciple, and improving all opportunities to get knowledge. For whoso findeth me findeth life, that which will make life pleasant

36 to hint, and he shall obtain favour of the Lord. But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death ; they who hearken to sinners, and reject my counsels, do in effect choose death; and their perverseness will end in, their ruin.

REFLECTIONS.

1. TT'R O M hence we are led to observe and adore the wisdom of JO God, as it is displayed in his works. We should take notice of their beauty, order, and exactness; and consider that it is he who hath prepared and adorned the heavens, laid the foundations of the earth, set a bound to the sea, and provided sustenance for man and beast. The more attentively we survey the works of God, th* more evident and striking marks of wisdom and goodness shall we perceive; and often take up the psalmist's admiration, O Lord, hov> manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all.

2. The noble description here given of the effects of wisdom, should increase our esteem of, and value for it. Wisdom, will lead us to choose the best ends, and to pursue them by the best means, and therefore comprehends the knowledge of our duty, the fear of God and a hatred of evil. This wisdom is the greatest excellency of a rational being. It is to be preferred to gold and rubies, and every thing the heart of man can desire. It brings us substance; what is solid and durable, and will afford us the highest and noblest delight. It directs in the government of kingdoms, churches, and families; discovers the useful arts of life, and especially ennobles, enriches, and sanctifies the soul. It is absoluunnecessary for all the sons of men ; all their learning and wealth, without this, will only make them so much the more'contemptible and miserable. Let us all then, especially those who are in early life, pursue it; for wisdom loves these that love her, and those that icck Iter early shallfind her.

3. How inexcusable and miserable will they be who hate wisdom .' Iaexcusable, because it is offered them, and the way, to possess it is plainly marked out. Conscience, Providence, ministers, good books, and above all, the scriptures, propose it to our choice, and direct us Jn the way to attain it. It is easily found by unprejudiced minds; but it must be sought daily and diligently, if we whould come to a thorough knowledge of it, and be well skilled in those excellent arts which it teaches. But if this wisdom be neglected, the soul is Pronged, whatever else it enjoys; and death, everlasting death, must be its portion. Hearken then to wisdom, for blessed are they tliat keep her ways.

CHAP. IX.

This chapter contains a description of wisdom and folly, as persona sending their invitations to mankind; and the different reception of their respective guests. These seem to be detached pieces, which Solomon might write and give to young people about his court, to instruct them in the same thing, by a variety of language end images, according to the manner of the easterns. He here describes wisdom as a princess, making a splendid entertainment for her guests.

1 "TTTISDOM hath builded her hou9e, she hath hewn out

V V her seven pillars ; in allusion to the custom of the eastern princes, who entertained their guests in gardens, where pavil

2 ions or tents were spread upon a number of pillars: She hath killed her beasts; she hath mingled her wine of various kinds;

Z she hath alio furnished her table. She hath sent forth her maidens :* she crieth upon the highest places of the city,

4 Whoso [is] simple, let him turn in hither; I am willing to receive the weakest and the vilest: [as for] him that wanteth un

5 derstanding, she Saith to him, Come, eat of iny bread, and drink of the wine [which] I have mingled, that'is, hear my instructions, and receive my consolations : and in ,firder to this,

6 Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of Inderstand* ing. And my first lesson is, that to despise reproof is a most hate

f ful character: He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame, by being disappointed: and he that rebukcth a wicked [man, getteth] himself a blot, by being censured and rcprcached. t Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, 9 and he will love thee. Give [instruction] to a wise [man,] and f)he will be yet wiser: teach a just [man,] and he will increase

10 in learning. The fear of the Lord [is] the beginning of wisdom; arid the knowledge of the holy, that is, of holy things, the

11 doctrines and services of religion, [is] understanding. For by me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall

12 be increased. If thou be Wise, thou shalt be wise for thyself: but [if] thou scornest, thou alone shalt bear [it \]" I shall receive

• A circutmtanfe of deenntn, ai it would have heen reckoned in infamous tLinf in thnse «nutrie, for a lady to be attended 07 men icrvaiw.

neither benefit by the one, nor prejudice by the other; it is thine own interest which is solely concerned.

13 A foolish woman, that is, folly, the contrast of true wisdom, [is] clamorous : [she is] simple, and knoweth nothing; she speaks in a loud, impudent manner, but is perfectly ignorant of God and re

14 Ugian. For she sitteth at the door of her house, on a scat in the

15 high places of the city, To call passengers who go right on their ways ; who pursue their business, or are going to the place

.Z-V6 where they might receive instruction: Whoso [is] simple, let hiin turn in hither; using the same language as wisdom, and urging the great pleasure arising from prohibited gratifications: and [as for]

17 him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him, Stolen waters, or pleasures, are sweet, and bread [eaten] in secret is

18 pleasant. But to comply with her invitation would be destructive, for he knoweth not that the dead [are] there ; [and that] her

guests [are] in the depths of hell ; not only the bodies of those who had been murdered in their criminal pursuits, or died martyrs to their lusts, but the spirits of the damned come to the entertainment, assembling as it were to seize their prey, and conduct the sinner down to the depths of hell.

REFLECTIONS.

1. "\X7"^* 'earn to judge of our own character, by the manV V ncr in which we receive reproof. If we hate those who reprove us, blame them, despise them, call them uncharitable, or impertinent, it shows that we are fools and scorners; but if we love a faithful reprover, take his rebuke well, apply our minds to grow wiser by it, and correct the error which he reproves, it is a suremark of wisdom, and the way to grow better. Let us try ourselves then by this mark, for, v. 12, if thou be -.vise, thou shall be wise fir thyself; but thou scornest, thtm alone shall bear it.

2. How d8si^)ile is it-that young people should make a wise choice! Wisdom and folly, holiness and sin, each address them, and solicit their compliance. O that they would examine the each, but always remember to take into the account quences. Wisdom's address is mild and rational, b' c fr benefit, and only requires you to forsake what will I • 6tion. But carnal and criminal pleasures are noisy an L pressing; they promise you much delight ill forbidden enjoyments; but the dead are there; and if you are the guests of folly, the entertainment will end in the depths of hell. Thus does Solomon before them, thus do faithful monitors and friend?, set before th'm Bfe and death, the b'.esiing and the curse ; forsake then the foolish a:ui the

Vol. V. 'D

[graphic]

CHAP. X.

The former chapters were but by way of preface to recommend what" follows to our practice. Here begin those choice and pithy sentences, called proverbs, and wltich are too unconnected to admit of refection» on the contents of each chapter.

1 r I 1HE proverbs of Solomon. A wise son maketh a glad

JL father: but a foolish son [is] the heaviness of his mother.

2 Treasures of wickedness, that is, the treasures of wicked mev, especially those gotten by wickedness, profit nothing : tiut righteousness delivereth from death, from the judgments consequent

3 upon wickedness and from eternal death. The Lord will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish: but he casteth away the substance of the wicked; he will seize it as the property of

4- an enemy and make a spoil 'f it. He becometh poor that dealt tb. [with] a slack, that if, witt, an idle and deceitful hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich, both aa to the world and the

5 soul. He that gathereth in summer, who improves his opportunities, [is] a wise son: [but} he that sleepeth in harvest [is] a son that caitseth shame ; he loses the benefit he might enjoy, and

6 ivill be a disgrace to his friends. Blessings [are] upon the head of the just: but violence coverefh the mouth of the wicked; an allusicn to laying on the hand in blessing, and covering the face of a

T criminal when executed. The memory of the just [is] blessed; though obscure while he lives, though slandered, yet shall he be spoken of with praise: but the name of the wicked shall rot; it

8 shall survive them, but it shall be regarded withabhorreiice. The wise in heart will receive commandments; esteem it a privilige and a favour to be taught : but a prating fool shall fall; one who loves to hear himself talk shall fall into troubles and be und'nr.

9 He that walketh uprightly walketh surely ; he is easy and happy in the divine approbation, and the consciousness of his own integrity; but he that perverteth his ways, who useth indirect methods,

10 shall be known and discovered. He that v. inketh with the eye, who gives nigns to his accomplices to do a man mischief while he it speaking him fair, causeth sorrow: but a prating fool shall fall.

11 The mouth of a righteous [man is] a well of life; •v.'tUes'.me, instructive words spring up as naturally as good water in a we/', refreshing and strengthening ell about him: but violence coveTeth

12 the moiith of the wicked. Hatred stii rcth up strifes; malicious, ill natural people, by slander and talebearing raise disturbance and make people quarrel about trifles: but love covereth all' sins ; overlooks and conceals, or extenuates and makes the best of

13 them. In the lips of him that hath understanding wisdom i3 found; he shows it by his speech: but a rod [is] for the back of him that is void of understanding; nothing but correction will

l!4 teach a fool his duty. Wise [men] lay up knowledge, continually end safely, as a treasure: but the mouth of. the foolish [is] nesr destruction, by venting unseasonably all he knows, to hit own mil

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