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tinued. God is very good to us in these advantages, and it becomes us to receive them with all thankfulness.

4. Let us observe the bad consequences of despising and neglecting this advice; fear and anguish, distress and de. struction, shall come upon such. They may call for mercy, but God will not hear. v. 26. I will laugh at your calamity ; I will mock when your fear cometh. Dreadful expression! enough to make one tremble: and what a fad reflection will it be, that they brought all their misery upon them. felves, and that they eat only the fruit of their own doings. They live and die fools, and perish, without hope and without remedy. Let us then receive instruction, and be wise and happy for ever.

CHA P. II. In order to encourage his pupil to hearken to his advice, Solomon

in this chapter fows him, that wisdom may be obtained ; represents the benefits of it, as what would secure the blesing and guidance of God, preserve from the shares of evil men and women, and lead him in the way to happiness.

A Y son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide · IVT my commandments with thee, that is, be careful 2 to remember them; So that thou incline thine ear unto

wisdom, [and] apply thine heart to understanding;

command thy roving thoughts, check thy foolish.pafons, hear 3 with diligent attention and fincere affe&tion; Yea, if thou

criest after knowledge, [and] liftest up thy voice for

understanding; if thou Teekest direction from men, and 4 above all from God by fervent prayer, (James i. 5.) If thou

seekeft her as silver, and searchest for her as (for) hid

treasures, with the greatest diligence, resolution, and per5 severance, and art not discouraged; Then shalt thou un

derstand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge

of God; know what true religion is, and be inclined to 6 practise it. For the Lord giveth wisdom : out of his 7 mouth (cometh] knowledge and understanding. He layeth up found wisdom for the righteous: (he is a

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buckler

8 buckler to them that walk uprightly. He keepeth the

paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints. 9 Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judg

ment, and equity; [yea,] every good path; thy duty to 10 God and man. When wisdom entereth into thine heart, Il and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; Discretion 12 Ihall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee : To

deliver thee from the way of the evil [man,) from the

man that speaketh froward things, that would instil bad 13 principles into thee; Who leave the paths of uprightness,

to walk in the ways of darkness, of perplexity, poverty, 14 Jhame, and misery; Who rejoice to do evil, [and] de,

light in the frowardness of the wicked, that is, to make 15 others as bad as themselves; Whose ways [are] crooked,

and [they] froward in their paths; who act contrary to 5 reason and understanding, and their true interest: To de-

liver thee from the strange woman, [even) from the

stranger (which] flattereth with her words, that is, from 17 lewd women; Which forsaketh the guide of her youth,

her husband, whom she chose as such, and forgetteth the

covenant of her God; her folemn vows of fidelity, to 18 which God was both a party and a witness. For her house

inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead; the Hebrew is, to the giants, that is, finners of the old world,

who for indulging fleshly lusts were swept down to hell by the 19 flood. None that go unto her return again, neither

take they hold of the paths of life. An awful passage, intimating that it is very uncommon, and next to imposible,

for impure finners to be 'reclaimed. Wisdom will keep thee 20 from these paths, and incline thee to a better way; That

thou mayest walk in the way of good [men,] and keep : the paths of the righteous; the ways of the holy patriarchs 21 and prophets, and other righteous men. For the upright

shall ... As the jewish law inflicted heavy punishments on those who

committed fornication and adultery, it is probable that the Jews had harlots among them from the neighbouring nations, which seduced them to impurity and idolatry; and might be tolerated.. in some corrupt periods of their state. The case was the same at Athens, where foreign trumpets were tolerated. Hence this name strange women came to be applied to all bad women, whether foreigners or Ifraelites,

- shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in 22 it; enjoy the good things of life, and peace with them. But

the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it; their hopes from this world shall be disappointed, their families be extinet, And none left to preserve their memory.

REFLECTION S. 1. L ET us reflect on the importance of gaining wif

L dom, and the certainty of succeeding in the attempt, as a motive to diligence in the pursuit of it. It is of the utmost importance, as it will teach the fear and knowledge of God, which is the noblest science; and lead us in the paths of religion, which are the most pleasant paths. We are likewise sure of success, for God will give wisdom. But he will not give it to the flothful; we must take pains for it. Let us observe the exprefsions, we must incline our ear, apply our hearts, lift up our voice, seek and search, as men who dig in the mines; we must exert all the powers of the soul; must not be discouraged by any difficul. ties, but persevere in the attempt; then the gain will amply repay all the toil and labour. : 2. In order to make progress in religion, and experience its good effects, it is necessary that we take pleasure in it. It must enter into the heart, and be pleasant.to the soul; take poffeffion of the affections, and be pursued and entertained with relish and delight; yea, it must be preferred to every other gain and pleasure, Men neglect religion, or make very little improvement in it, because they come to it with reluctance; do not take delight in it, but esteem it a talk, and therefore find it a burden. Let us labour to conquer this unhappy aversion, and regard religion as our most important business and higheft pleasure. . .

3. The study of wisdom, and the practice of piety, are the best securities against evil company and all its fnares. The love of reading and study is very useful to all, espe. cially to young minds, particularly when it is attended with a suitable difpofition to receive and obey useful inftructions. It will keep them from those that speak froward

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things, things, that would corrupt their minds, argue or laugh them out of good principles, dispositions, and resolutions ; from men that rejoice to do mischief, and take pleasure in the destruction of their fellow creatures. It will also keep them from the company of bad women, which is more dangerous ftill, for they have various charms and artifices to allure;, and yet their abandoned characters ought, one would think, to deter every person from coming near them. If such should ever tempt young persons, let them remember those awful words, none that go unto her return again; it is a thousand to one that they are never recover. ed; for whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. Finally, wisdom will incline them to walk with the righteous, in the ways of good men; to choose them for their friends and companions, to hearken to their advice, and follow their example; men, whose lives are honourable, whose end is peace, and whose glory will be eternal Stand therefore in the paths of wisdom and piety; ask for the good old way, and walk therein, and ye sball find rest to your souls.

CHA P. III. Solomon goes on to recommend the study of wisdom, by the many

benefits it brings; and cautions us against those things which

are inconsistent with it. IMA Y son, let me again intreat thee, forget not my

I law; but let thine heart keep my commando 2.ments: For length of days, and long life, and peace,

shall they add to thee; a long, healthful, and prosperous 3 life. Let not mercy and truth forsake thee, but praftife

these duties : bind them as ornaments about thy neck;

write them upon the table of thine heart; keep them in -4 perpetual remembrance: So shalt thou find favour and

good understanding in the sight of God and man; when

persons are governed by integrity, they generally find that a 5 good interpretation is put upon their actions. Trust in the

LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding, that is, to thine own wisdom and skill, as

6 if that were sufficient for thy dire&tion and prosperity. In

all thy ways, in all thy undertakings, publick and private,

daily and solemnly, acknowledge him, and he shall direct 7 thy paths, and protect and prosper thee in them. Be not

wise in thine own eyes, to the negleet of the rule now given: 8 fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health

to thy navel, or, as some render it, to thy flesh, and mar. row to thy bones; it is the way to obtain health of body and cheerfulness of mind. Honour the Lord with thy

substance, and with the first fruits of all thine increase; 10 with thy tythes, offerings, and first fruits. So shall thy • barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burit Il out with new wine. My son, despise not the chastening

of the LORD, as if it was not worth regarding ; neither • be weary of his correction; afflictions are fent for some good

end; they are very beneficial, and tokens of God's love, there. 12 fore be patient under them. For whom the LORD loveth

he correcteth; even as a father the son [in whom] he

delighteth. 13 Happy [is] the man [that] findeth wisdom, and the 14 man [that] getteth understanding. For the merchan· dise of it is better than the merchandise of filver, and 15 the gain thereof than fine gold. She [is] more pre

cious than rubies : and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her; a comparison peculiarly

beautiful, considering how great their commerce was in Solo16 mon's days. Length of days [is] in her right hand; 1 [and] in her left hand riches and honour; she comes to

thee like a wealthy 'princess, with her hands full of blessings. 17 Her ways sare) ways of pleasantness, and all her paths 18 [are] peace; present peace and eternal rest. She [is] a

tree of life to them that lay hold upon her; a principle of immortality and happiness, alluding to the tree of life in paradise: and happy [is every one) that retaineth her ;

which implies the difficulty of laying hold of her, and of keep19 ing that hold. The Lord by wisdom hath founded the

· earth; by understanding hath he established the hea20 vens. By his knowledge the depths are broken up, and

the clouds drop down the dew, that is, the vapours arise from the sea and the earth, and furnish & Supply of rain ;

intimating,

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