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intimating, that wisdom makes a man something like God, re21 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 business 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 anxio“is distracting cares or painful 25 refle&tions shall disturb thy repose. Be not afraid of luda
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
should hear thy prayers, and help thee, 27 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 in
distress; keep not any one in a cruel or unnecessary fufpense. 29 Devise not evil against thy neighbour, against his per.
fon, property, or reputation, seeing he dwelleth securely by thee, does not suspect 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 oppreffor, and choose 32 none of his ways, tho' he thrives by them. 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 wick. 34 ed: but he blesseth the habitation of the just. Surely
he scorneth the scorners, will expose them to scorn and con
tempt: but he giveth grace unto the lowly, that is, fa35 vour with himself and with men. The vife shall inherit
glory, tho they may be disatisfied for a while : but shame
conspicuous, and their folly will appear more remarkable and shameful by their exaltation.
HIS chapter is so full of excellent instructions for
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 juftly 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, especially 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 afflic. tions 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 be 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 happiness.
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 silver ; and the gain thereof than fine gold. Honour the Lord with your farbitence; 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; not bid our neighbour come again to-morrow. If he demand justice of us, a just debt, it is unjuft to defer pay
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.
5. 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 ard wicked men may spread. It is also very
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 unbelief, 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.
CH A P. IV. Solomon here continues his exhortations to all, especially to young people, whom he addresses with the tender concern of a father.
EAR, ye children, the instruction of a father,
and attend to know understanding. For I give you good doctrine, not a trifling, indifferent matter, but what is absolutely necessary 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 fcm 3 ther. For I was my father's son, tender and only [he4 loved) in the sight of my mother. He taught me allo,
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: forget [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 doit embrace her. She
shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown
of glory shall fhe deliver to thee. Thus far he seems to 10 repeat David's instruction to him; he then goes on, Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of
si thy life shall be many. I have taught thee in the way 12 of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths. When
thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened; and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble; wisdom will deliver thee from intricacies and perplexities, which thou wouldst 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-
ing upon it, come not near it, go any other way rather than 16 that. For they sleep not, except they have done mif.
chief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause
[some) to fall; they have no fatisfačtion till they have ac17 complished their wicked designs. For they eat the bread of
wickedness, and drink the wine of violence; they subsist
on ill gotten gain; wickedness is meat, drink, and sleep to 18 them, all their business and pleasure. But the path of the
just [is] as the Mining 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 [is] as dark.
ness: they know not at what they stumble; little acci.
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