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workmen are oppressed by cruel masters, and tenants by their landlords. There are few to pity them, and fewer still to redress them. Let us lament such scenes, and carefully avoid such a detestable character; and appear as far as we can, the comforters of those that are oppressed.
2. How malevolent and wretched is that spirit which leads men to envy those who prosper more than themfelves! When honest men take pains, deal honourably, and meet with success, their neighbours, especially their brother tradesmen, and some who are in plentiful circumstances too, will envy them, misrepresent them, injure them by : false suggestions, vile insinuations and endeavours to lessen their reputation and undermine their interests. This is a most wicked disposition, and yet very common. A man of true charity and christian love is glad to see his neighbour thrive, and takes pleasure in his prosperity.
3. We fee of what an insinuating, growing nature, the love of money is, which should make us careful to guard against it. One would scarcely believe, if one had not seen it, that there are persons in plentiful circumstances, who have no near relations dependant upon them, yet are continually flaving; are not content with their own business, but keep pushing into that of any others where there is profit; who have no other pleasure but that of seeing their money, and thinking how much they are worth. They have no excuse for this avarice, and have no good from it. May we therefore beware of the love of money, which in. creaseth dreadfully in the heart which indulges it; and remember, that labouring incessantly to hoard up wealth, is robbing the foul of good at present, and drowning it in future perdition,
4. The benefit and comfort of society should lead us to cultivate social and kind affections. There are noble helps and comforts from it in almost every circumstance of life. Let us then labour to gain and keep friends; and in order to this show ourselves friendly. This temper should be car. ried with us into religion; there we shall find the benefit of pious friendship and religious associations; and by strengthening one another's hands in God, and provoking one another to love and to good works, we shall have great affift.
ance in the attack of spiritual enemies; and the body of Christ will be edified, while the members are knit together in love
5. We learn, that to be unwilling to be admonished, is one of the worst and most contemptible of characters. A wise child, an humble, teachable person, is much more worthy and honourable than a conceited obstinate old king, with all the dignity that his crown and age could give him. This is often the case of the rich and great; it is often the case of the aged; they think themselves above admonition, efpecially if those who give it are poorer or younger than themselves. Those who need admonition most, bear it worst. But let us show that we are wise (at least not incorrigible fools) by receiving admpnition calmly and thankfully, and setting ourselves to correct our errors, and go on to perfection.
CHA P. V... Solomon having described the vanity of the world in many ina
Stances, and hinted that religion was the only, antidote against it, here proceeds to caution against those errors in religion into which men are ready to fall; and then returns to the vanity
of power and wealth. IT EEP thy foot when thou goeft to the house of
A God; consider what thou art going about, and behave in the most reverent manner; do not run haftily and rafbly into the divine presence; and be more ready to hear, to be instručted in his will, and to obey it, than to give the sacrifice of fools, such facrifices as wicked men frequently offer : for they consider not that they do evil; they do not confider that while they go on in wicked courses,
or worship in an indecent manner, they are adding to their 2 guilt. Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine
heart be hasty to utter fany] thing before God by - way of prayer or vow: for God [is] in heaven, and thou
Here is an allusion to the eastern custom of putting off the shoe in token of reverence; as putting off the hat, and uncovering the head is among us.
upon earth, he is highly exalted above thee: therefore let 3 thy words be few, that is, well considered. For a dream
cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool's voice [is known] by multitude of words; as a multitude of business occafions confused dreams, fo'in multitudes of
words men are led to say vain and foolish things before they 4 are aware. When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer
not to pay it; for (he hath] no pleasure in fools; he is
highly displeased with them : pay that which thou hast 5 vowed, for God is not to be jested with. Better [is it]
that thou shouldst not yow, than that thou shouldst
vow and not pay; the one being only a negleet, the other 6 a dire al contempt of the divine majesty. Suffer not thy
mouth to cause thy flesh to fin; do not entangle thyfeif with a needless vow, which the frailty of human nature may lead thee to break; neither say thou before the angel, to the priest, when thou bringest a facrifice, or the angels that are present at divine worship, that it (was] ane error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice,
and destroy the work of thine hands? This is offensive to 7 God, and tends to bring a curse on what thou doest. For in
the multitude of dreams and many words (there are] also [divers) vanities; many words uttered in a folemn manner without due consideration, as vows or prayers, are as vain as dreams: but fear thou God; reverence his pre
fence and majesty, and do not offend him by thy rashness. 8 If thou feeft the oppression of the poor, and violent
perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter : for she that is] higher than the highest regardeth; and (there be] higher than they; there is one higher than the oppressors, who will punish them
for it. 9 Moreover the profit of the earth is for all; another , reason against covetousness; the necessaries of life are easily
obtained; vegetable nature supplies the whole animal world,
and all men, even the greatest, yea, the king shimself) is 10 served by the field. He that loveth silver shall not be
satisfied e Absolute vows again marriage, certain food, or recreations, are to be avoided ; for by breaking the vow those things may become finful which in their own nature are indifferent.
satisfied with silver ; he will never think he has enough;
nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this sis) 11 also vanity. When goods increase, they are increased
that eat them; there is a larger family and retinue, and therefore more expense; and others enjoy his wealth as much
as he: and what good 'is there] to the owners thereof, 12 saving the beholding of them) with their eyes. The
sleep of a labouring man [is] sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep ; it brings cares which counterbalance
the satisfaEtion it affords, and which often prevent his re13 pose. There is a sore evil [which] I have seen under
the sun, (namely,] riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt; the rich are fometimes marked out as objects
of oppression and ruin in arbitrary countries, and anxiety 14 often destroys their health, their peace, and their fouls. But
those riches perish by evil travail, by extravagance and imprudence: and he begetteth a son, and [there is nothing in his hand; he leaves his family impoverished, which is so much the worse, as his fon was educated with the
hope of a fortune, so that he is reduced to peculiar calamity. 15 As he came forth of his mother's womb, naked shall
he return to go as he came, and shall take nothing of his labour, which he may carry away in his hand; if no
other accident deprives him of his wealth, yet death will 16 strip him of all. And this also [is] a fore evil, [that]
in all points as he came, so shall he go: and what profit hath he that hath laboured for the wind? who hath
taken abundance of pains for that which he can no more hold 17 than he can the wind? All his days also he eateth in
darkness, either does not allow himself the conveniences of life, or is disturbed by irregular pasions, so that he has no comfort in his enjoyments; and (he hath] much forrow and wrath with his sickness; fickness and confinement are peculiarly grievous to him, because they take him off from his favourite pursuits, and are likely to end in death, when he
must leave all his polesions behind him. 18 Behold [that] which I have seen : [it is) good and , comely (for one) to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the fup all
· the days of his life, which God giveth him : for it [is]
his portion, all that falls to his share of the enjoyments and 19 pollefons of life. Every man also to whom God hath
given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in
his labour; this [is] the gift of God; it ought to be ac. 20 knowledged as a singular fruit of his bounty. For he shall
not much remember the days of his life; because God anfwereth shim) in the joy of his heart; he shall not think life tedious and long, nor be too much concerned at the evils that befall him, because God gives him inward tranquillity, the pleasures of religion, communion with himSelf, and the hope of a glorious immortality; these amply compensate all his trouble and forrow.
REFLECTION S. 5. U E have need to be extremely cautious that our
V religious services be not vain and finful. There is much excellent advice on this head in the former part of the chapter, that should be seriously recollected every fabbath. We should enter upon divine worship with a folemn pause, with great composure of spirit, and all external marks of reverence. Sensible of the infinite distance between God and us, let us attend to the words we utter, and join heartily in those which are uttered in our name. Our prayers in general ought to be short, because (if they be long) it is next to impossible to keep up a due attention and fervent affection. Let us also remember the caution here given about our vows. As christians, we ought to recollect and pay them. It were a fad thing that our worship should be vain; that we should be doing evil when we think we are doing good. To imagine that God will connive at our fins, because we pay him folemn worship, is a high affront and indignity. By such services men are contracting new guilt, instead of atoning for past. . ii.
2. We fee of what admirable use the fear of God is. A sense of his presence and providence, and a reverence for his majesty and authority, will prevent our being disturbed hy our own or others dreams; it will also prevent our