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Formely of St. John's College, Oxford ;
Rector of Great and Little Cheverel, Wiltshire.

Printed by and for S. Hazard Bath, J. F. and C. Rivington, London, and sold by

them; by E, Palmer, Bristol, J. and W. Eddowes, Shrewsbury," and all other

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Shrewsbury: Printed by J. and W. Eddowes ; and sold by T. Longman,

Pater-nofter-Row, T. Cadell, Strand, and J. Johnson, St. Paul's Church
Yard, London.

The Book of PROVERBS.

INTRODUCTION. WE have here another book, and another author, namely,

Solomon, the wiseft of men, who had uncommon abilities, and large experience. It contains excellent maxims for the conduet of life. The word proverb fignifies, a ruling Speech, or observation, that ought to have great weight with mankind; a Short, fententious speech, of great excellency and importance: and fuch among the antients being chiefly fimiles, and comparisons, in which one thing looked to another for the better illustration of it, it became in common use to fignify any wise, important maxim. The first nine chapters are more connežted than the rest, and contain a commendation of and exhortation to true wisdom; which is the fear of God. The remaining chapters contain directions how to govern ourselves in all circumstances and relations in life. -Other parts of scripture are like a rich mine, where the precious ore runs along in one continued vein; but this book is like a heap of pearls, which, tho they are loose and unftrung, are not therefore the less valuable.

1 2


CHAPTER 1. HE proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Ifrael ; To know wisdom and instruc

tion; to perceive the words of understanding; to make men know when good advice is given, and how to

give it to others; or to teach them to avoid errors, and to 3 correct those they have fallen into ; To receive the instruc

tion of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity;

that is, to make them good in every circumstance, condition, 4 and relation in life; To give fubtilty to the simple, to the

young man knowledge and discretion; they are designed to teach caution and fagacity to the unexperienced ; but they are not intended for them alone, there is that in them Vol. V.



5 which may improve the wifeft. A wise. (man) will hear,

and will increase learning; and a man of understanding 6 shall attain unto wise counsels: To understand a pro

verb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings; to understand the meaning of para

bles, figures, and other ways of instruction. 7 The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of know

ledge: [but] fools despise wisdom and instruction. This verse is a key to the whole book. By wisdom, he does not mean common fagacity, carnal policy, or great learning, but true religion; and by fools here, are not meant those who

want common sense, but who are thoughtless, and oppose 8 themselves to all true religion and piety. My son, hear the

instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother; meaning not his own son merely, but all his rea-,

ders, especially the young, whom he addresses with tender 9 affection as his children: For they [shall be] an ornament of

grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck; 10 better than any gay dress. My son, if finners entice 11 thee, consent thou not. If they say, Come with us, let

us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the inno12 cent without cause: Let us swallow them up alive as

the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the

pit; there is no more danger of a discovery, than if they 13 were swallowed up at once by an earthquake: We shall

find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with

spoil; not only get enough to furnis out a sort entertainment, 14 but to live upon in a splendid manner hereafter: Caft in 15 thy lot among us; let us all have one purse: a My son,

walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot 16 from their path: For their feet run to evil, and make 17 hafte to shed blood. Surely in vain the net is spread in

the sight of any bird, but wicked men are more foolish, they 18 see their danger, and yet run into it. And they lay wait

for their [own] blood; they lurk privily for their [own] lives; the vengeance of the magistrate, or of God, will

overtake * It is probable that lúxury prevailed in the peace and plenty of Solomon's reign; and young men who had spent their fortunes might turn highwaymen and plunderers; therefore they say, Do as we do, and thou, 'tho a new comer, shalt fare as we fare, tho? we have been longer at the trade.

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19 övertake them. So [are) the ways of every one that is

greedy of gain; they are like a bird taken in a fnare; (which] taketh away the life of the owners thereof, the owner's life to get it, or rather, his own life when he has got poression of it, and thinks himself secure.

Wisdom, in the abstract, which is here represented as a perfon, crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the

streets; that is, by conscience and providence, by the scrip21 tures and prophets : She crieth in the chief place of con.

course, in the openings of the gates: in the city the 22 uttereth her words, (saying, ] How long, ye fimple

ones, will ye love simplicity, that is, folly? and the

fcorners delight in their fcorning, and fools hate know23 ledge ? that is, religion and good advice. Turn you at

my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you; I will

communicate my whole mind to you, and explain things in 24 the clearest manner. Because I have called, and ye re

fused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man re25 garded; But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and 26 would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your

calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; if you

disregard my counsel, I will as little regard what becomes of 27 you; When your fear cometh as desolation, and your

destruction cometh as a whirlwind ; when distress of 28 body and anguish of mind cometh upon you. Then

shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me. Here is a remarkable change of persons; divine wisdom began its Speech as to them; but while speaking it turns from them, and speaks only concerning them; as if he had said, I will

have no more to say to them, but thus and thus shall it be 29 done unto them: For that they hated knowledge, and 30 did not choose the fear of the LORD: They would none

my counsel: they despised all my reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be

filled with their own devices; fuffer the natural conse32 quences of their folly. For the turning away of the fimple from the paths of piety, shall slay them, and the B 2


31 of

eafe.or prosperity of fools shall destroy them ; make them

proud, scornful, and forgetful of God, and so hasten their 33 ruin. But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely,

and shall be quiet from fear of evil; not only from real evil, but even the fear of it.



tant one.

1. N order to profit by the instructions of this book, the

fear of God is necessary. This is the first principle which Solomon lays down ; and it is indeed a very impor

We should be duly sensible that there is a God; that it is our highest wisdom to please him, and to be careful of offending him. This is the foundation of all useful knowledge. Without some degree of this principle, no instructions will profit. It should recommend this book to our study, that it far exceeds all other systems of morality among the antients, and that it infifts so much on our res gard and duty to God; of which they take little or no notice.

2. It is our duty to pay a serious attention to the instructions which are delivered by our parents and other teachers. Children should hear the instructions of their fathers, and forget not the law of their mothers; (see v: 8.) for the divine law secures a regard to mothers. If children think themselves wise enough, and too wise to learn, let them remember what Solomon says, v. 5. a wife man will hear and will increase learning. It is a mark of wisdom to hear; and none of us shall lose our labour by studying this book. The aged and experienced, as well as the young, may improve in knowledge and piety by it, and should therefore seriously attend to it.

3. Let us be thankful that we have so many good instructions, for gaining knowledge and regulating our conduct. God uses various methods to communicate wisdom to us; such as reason and conscience, his providence, the holy scriptures, his ministers, and spirit. Instructions are given to all of us; they are plain and open, frequently repeated, strongly and affectionately urged, and have been long con


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