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ta this Solomon intimates, that what is given is not thrown

away, but, like corn, is sent on a voyage, which in return will 2 richly repay the merchant. Give a portion to seven, and

also to eight; give in a very liberal manner, and take in as many objects as possible; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth, how soon you may want the

afistance of others; and you may expeet their help and the 3 peculiar care of providence if you have been charitable. If

the elouds be full of rain, they empty [themselves] upon the earth; providence intended they should do so; and God gives us money, not to hoard up, but to do good with; and if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be, and there is no hopes of its bringing forth any more fruit. Thus shall we soon be cut down, and whether we have been fruitful or barren, (as opposite characters as north and fouth) none can raise us up to the exercise of charity any more. Let us not frame excuses for negleEting liberality ; for 4 He that observeth the wind, left it should blow away his

feed, shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds, who is afraid of a little rain, shall not reap, and will make poor work of his husbandry; fo he that withholds his charity

till every objection can be answered, will never bestow it, 5 As thou knoweft not what (is) the way of the spirit, or

wind, (nor] how the bones (do grow) in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knoweft not the works of God who maketh all, thou knowejt not what will be in future; how he may profper or impoverish thee ;

therefore be not anxious about futurity, do thy duty, and 6 leave the event to God. In the morning fow thy seed,

and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knoweft not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both [shall be) alike good; in youth and age, in prosperity and adversity, be always doing good, and

depend upon God for the issue. 7

Truly the light [is] sweet; and a pleasant thing it is] for the eyes to behold the sun; life and the comforts $ of it are very agreeable: But if a man live many years,

(and) rejoice in them all; yet let him remember the days of darkness, adversity and forrow, especially death;


for they shall be many. All that cometh (is) vanity; therefore be not too fond of earthly things, but labour to do

all the good you can, which will afford the most comfortable 9 refle&tions. Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and

let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the fight of thine eyes; this is generally understood ironically, as if he' had faid, Indulge all the pleasures to which your corrupt affe&tions or natural inclinations lead: but know thou, be asured of this, that for all these [things] God will bring

thee into judgment; let this strike an awe upon thy spirits, so and engage thee to be religious. Therefore remove for

tow, or indignation, in allufion to the pride and haughtiness of youth in despising the religious advices of their friends, from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh; the indulgence of irregular appetites and fleshly lufts: for childhood and youth [are] vanity; exposed to many strong temptations, very precarious, and may foon come to a period; therefore by serious religion remove evil and forrow from thee, and remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth, While the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in then.



ET us cultivate and manifeft that liberal dil

position, which Solomon in this chapter recommends by such weighty arguments. Let us abound in acts of kindness, according to the abilities God has given us, and not think that loft which is given away: tho’ its return may be flow, yet it will be fure and happy. We know not what evil is before us. Covetous people think this a strange argument for charity; they urge it for faving, 'I may want myfelf;' but this is no wisdom in Solomon's opinion, for by charity we secure something, and may expect the kindness of men, but particularly the care of providence in future calamities. We should observe the clouds, they do not hoard up their stores and grow bigger and bigger, but 'empty themselves and make the earth fruitful. Our opportunities will soon be over, and our future state fixed: and our being charitable or covetous will have a great influence upon it. Let us not therefore plead those idle excuses which are so common in the mouths of worldly men, but do good to all that we can, and trust providence with every future event; let us not be weary in well doing, for in due time we fall reap if we faint not.


2. Let all, especially the young, seriously think of and prepare for death and judgment, for they are most ready to forget it. However pleasant your path may be, and tho' light may shine around you on every side, yet remember the days of darkness; you must expect your share of trouble and forrow. Do not raise your expectations too high, but be moderate in your pursuits and enjoyments; affliction and death will certainly come; and after death the judgment. Young people should recollect the vanity of childhood and youth; what dangerous temptations surround them, and how uncertain life is; and should consider the future judgment to correct their love of pleasure, and keep them from senfual mirth. But if they will despise the advice of their friends, and walk in the way of their own hearts, they will bring evil upon their flesh and sorrow upon their souls, and will have a dreadful account to give at last. Let us all therefore, seeing we look for such things, be diligent, that we may be found of him in peace at his appearing.

CH A P. XII, Solomon here recommends piety to young people, from a view of

the infirmities of approaching age, and the prospect of sudden death; and urges a regard to what he had been saying from his own wisdom and care, and the excellency of such kind of writings: and concludes with recommending religion as what was-absolutely necesary to come off well in the future judgment. This chapter is improperly divided from the former, the last verse of which is connežted with the beginning of this; the most effectual method to put away evil and sorrow, and to relieve the vanity of childhood and youth, is what he here. exhorts to.



EMEMBER now thy Creator, think of him, fear,

and serve him, in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, that is, the days of old age, which are full of trouble and sorrow, nor the years draw nigh,

when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them; 2 While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars

be not darkened, before the comforts of life are obscured by the dulness of the senses; nor the clouds return after the

rain; when one infirmity being removed, or a little abated, 3 another succeeds, or the former returns : In the day when

the keepers of the house, the hands, shall tremble, and the strong men, the legs, shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, the teeth be loosened,

and drop out, and those that look out of the windows be 4 darkened, that is, the fight be decayed; And the doors shall

be shut in the streets, when the mouth can hardly be opened to eat or speak, when the sound of the grinding is low, the digestion weak and disordered; and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, be easily awakened by every little noise, and rise early because his rest is broken, and all the daughters of musick shall be brought low, the ear and

voice sball fail, so that he can neither fing himself, nor take 5 pleasure in the musick of others; Alfo (when) they shall

be afraid of [that which is) high, and fears [shall be) in the way, when the spirits being broken, men grow timorous; dare not venture on high places, stumble at every clod, and fear where no fear is; and the almond tree shall flourish, the hair fall grow white, and the grashopper shall be a burden, if it but leap on them it skall put them into a fright, or out of humour; and the desire shall fail, all appetite or relish for former pleasures be loft: because man goeth to his long home, is just dying, and the mourners go

about the streets, every funeral reminds him of his own: the next verse does not refer to the consequences of old age, but is

another argument for early piety, viz. that even in youth 6 death may come suddenly: Or ever the silver cord, the white

nervous substance on the back bone, on which the motion of the lower parts depend, be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, that is, the brain, especially its yellow covering of the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern, that is, the vital motion of the heart and lungs (fo necessary to the circulation of the blood) cease: fo curious is the contexture of the human frame, that its life is as easily and as suddenly destroyed as the motion of some


complex machine is stopped, by loosing a cord, or breaking a 7 bowl, or disordering a single wheel. Then fall the duft

return to the earth as it was : and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it, to be fixed in its proper everlasting abode. This is the end of human life, and thus have I largely

demonstrated the proposition I set out with. 8 Vanity of vanities, faith the preacher; all (is) vanity. 9 And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he ftill

taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and fought out, [and] fet in order many proverbs; this

discourse is not a hafty performance, but the result of deep 10 refiertion and careful observation. The preacher fought

to find out acceptable words: and that which was]

written (was] upright, [even) words of truth; he de11 Jigned to please as far as he could consistent with truth. The

words of the wise [are) as goads, and as nails fastened (by) the masters of assemblies, the words of the preacher are not only irue but affeating; like goads quickening us to duty; or like nails that take fast hold, and leave an abiding impression upon the mind, when driven by the masters of asemblies, the preachers of truth, (which] are given from one Thepherd ; an allusion to the master fhepherd, who gives a goad to him that drives the plough, or a nail to him that is to repair a building ; fo God, the great shepherd, has teachers

and officers under him; 10 goads, no nails, are like his word. 12 And further, by these, by what has been said already,

my son, be admonished: of making many books (there is) no end; I could easily write large volumes of these matters, but that is needless, seeing things necessarily lie in a narrow compass; and much study [is] a weariness of the flesh; a man may tire himself, and waste his strength and fpirits in search of natural knowledge, but never arrive at

full fatisfaction. 13

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter, my great design and the most important end of all I have faid,

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