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need requireth. Despise not the discourse of the wise, but acquaint thyself with their proverbs : for of them thou shalt learn instruction. If thou hast gathered nothing in thy youth, how canst thou find any thing in thine age? If thou be among the indiscreet, observe the time; but be continually among men of understanding. Strive not in a matter that concerneth thee not; and sit not in judgement with sinners. My son, meddle not with many matters: for if thou meddle much, thou shalt not be innocent: and if thou follow after, thou shalt not obtain, neither shalt thou escape by fleeing. Be not called a whisperer, and lie not in wait with thy tongue : for a foul shame is upon the thief, and an evil condemnation upon the double tongue. Be not ignorant of any thing in a great matter or a small, If thou hast understanding, answer thy neighbour; if not, lay thy hand upon thy mouth. Be not an hypocrite. in the sight of men, and take good heed what thou speakest. Rehearse not unto another that which is told unto thee, and thou shalt fare never the worse. Whether it be to a friend or foe, talk not of other men's lives; and if thou canst without offence, reveal. them not. If thou hast heard a word, let it die with thee: and be bold, it will not burst thee. Winnow not with every wind, and go not into: every way : for so doth the sinner that hath a double tongue. Be stedfast in thy understanding; and let thy word be the same. Be swift to hear; and let thy life be sincere; and with patience give answer. Consult not with a fool; for he cannot keep counsel. Do no secret thing before a stranger; for thou knowest not what he will bring forth. Open not thine heart 10 every man, lest he requite thee with a shrewd turn. Consult nut with one that suspecteth thee: and hide thy counsel from such as envy thee. Neither consult with a woman touching her of whom she is jealous; neither with a coward in matters of war; nor with a merchant concerning exchange; nor with a buyer of selling; nor with an envious man of thankfulness; nor with an unmerciful man touching kindness; nor with the slothful for any work; nor with an hireling for a year of finishing work ; nor with an idle servant of much business: hearken not unto these in any matter of counsel. But be continually with a godly man, whom thou kuowest to keep the commandments of the Lord, whose mind is according to thy mind, and will sorrow with thee if thou shalt miscarry. And let the counsel of thine own heart stand: for there is no man more faithful unto thee than it. For a man's mind is sometime wont to tell him more than seven watchmen, that sit above in an high tower. And above all this pray to the Most High, that he will direct thy way in truth. Let reason go before every enterprise, and counsel before every action.
Thus saith the High and Lofty One, that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways: for as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. I have seen his ways, and will heal him; I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him. Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the Lord, and I will heal him. Hearken diligently unto me: incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live: wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do eyil; learn to do well; seek judgement, relieve the oppressed, hold, ye
judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Be
fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high. Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him ? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the Lord? Is not this the fast that I have chosen ? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye brake every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house ? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy reward. Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; and if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noon day. If thou
Hast thou children? instruct them, and bow down their neck from their youth. An horse not broken becometh headstrong: and a child left to himself will be wilful. Give him no liberty in his youth, and wink not at his follies. Marry thy daughter, and so shalt thou have performed a weighty matter: but give her to a man of understanding. Honour thy father with thy whole heart, and forget not the sorrows of thy mother. Remember that thou wast begotten of them; and how canst thou recompense them the things that they have done for thee? If their understanding fail, have patience with them ; and despise them not when thou art in thy full strength. In the day of thine affliction it shall be remembered; thy sins also shall melt away, as the ice in the fair warm weather. Lend to thy neighbour in time of his need, and
thoa thy neighbour again in due season. Keep thy word, and deal faithfully with him, and thou shalt always find the thing that is necessary for thee. Let not thine hand be stretched out to receive, and shut when thou shouldest repay. Many, when a thing was lent them, reckoned it to be found, and put them to trouble that helped them. Till he hath received, he will kiss a man's hand; and for his neighbour's money he will speak submissively; but when he should repay,