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is generally understood ironically, as if he had said, Indulge all the pleasures to which your corrupt affections or natural inclinations lead ; but know thou, be assured of this, that for all these (things]
God will bring thee into judgment ; let this strike an awe upon 10 thy spirils, and engage there to be religious. Therefore remove
sorrow, or indignation, in allusion 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 lusis i for childhood and youth [are] vanity ; exposed to many strong temptations, very precarious, and may soon come to a period ; therefore by serious religion remove evil and sorrow from thee, and remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor ihe years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them.
REFLECTIONS. 1. Í ET us cultivate and manifest that liberal disposition, which
I 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 lost which is given away : though its return may be slow, yet it will be sure and happy. We know not what evil is before us. Covetous people think this a strange argument for charity ; they urge it for saving, I may want myself ;' 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 fruit. ful. 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 shall 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 though light may shine around you on every side, yet remember the days of darkness ; you must expect your share of trouble. and sorrow. Do not raise your expectations too high, but be moderate in your pursuits and enjoyments ; affliction and death will certainly come ; and afier 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 sensual 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.
Solomon here recommends piety to young people, from a view of the ine
firmities 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 necessary to come up well in the future judgment. This chapter is improperly divided from the former, the last verse of which is connected with the beginning of this ; the most effectual method to frut away evil and sorrow, and to relieve the vanity of childhood and youth, is what he here exhorts to.
1 D 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 sor
row, nor the years dray nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no 2 pleasure in them; 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, another 3 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 4 the windows be darkened, that is, the sight 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 rést is broken, and all the daughters of music
shall be brought low, the ear and voice shall fail, so that he can 5 neither sing himself, nor take pleasure in the music of others; Also
(when] they shall be afraid of (that which is] high, and fears [shall be] in the way, when the spirits being broken, men gruw timorons ; dare not venture on high places, stumble at every clod, and fear where no fear is ; and the almond tree shall flourish, the hair shall grow while, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, if it but leap on them it shall put them into a fright, or out of humour ; and the desire shall fail, all appetite or relish for former pleasures be lost : 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 fiety, viz. that even in youth 6 death may come suddenly : Or ever the silver cord, the white
nervous substance on the back bonc, on which the motion of the lower parts depend, be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, thal is, the brain, especially its yellow covering ; or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern, that is, the vital motion of the heart and lungs (so necessary to the cir. Vol. V.
culation of the blood) cease : 80 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, 7 or breaking a bowl, or disordering a single wheel. Then shall the
dust 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 demonstrat
ed the proposition I set out with. 8 Vanity of vanitics, saith the preacher ; all [is] vanity. 9 And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he still taught . the people knowledge ; yea,' he gave good heed, and sought out,
[and] set in order many proverbs; this discourse is not a hasty
performance, but the result of deep reflection and careful observa. 10 tion. The preacher sought to find out acceptable words : anch
[that which was) written (was] upright, [even) words of truth ; il he designed 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 true but affecting ; like goads quickening us to duly ; or like nails that take fast liold, and leave an abiding impression upon the mind, when driven by the masters of assemblies, the preachers of truth, (which] are given from one shepherd ; an allusion to the master shepherd, who gives a goad to him that drives the plough, or a nail 10 him that is 10 repair a building ; 80 God, the great shepherd,
has teachers and officers under him ; no groads, no nails, are like his 12 word. 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 need less, 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 spirits in search of natural knowledge, but
never arrive at full satisfaction. 13 Let as hear the conclusion of the whole mailer, my great
design and the most important end of all I have said, viz. Fear God and keep his commandments : for this [is] the whole [du
ty) of man ; his whole duty and interest, for this weighly reason, 14 quith which I conclude; For God shall bring every work into
judgment, with every secret thing, whether [it be] good, or whether [it be) evil; though here all things come alike to all, our intentions as well as actions shall then be rewarded or punished, ac. cording to their respective natures.
1. T. ET young people be entreated to attend to Solomon's ad.
La vice; often to think of him who gave them their being, to consider what duties they owe him, to mak: a sense of him familiar to their minds, and to live in his fear and love ; for this will soften the infirmities of age, or reconcile them to an early death.
2. This beautiful description of the infirmities of old age may be serviceable to all ; particularly to old persons, to whom it ought to be familiar, and who should feel the force of every part of the description. Old age was the same in Solomon's days as in ours; its infirmities nothing but what are common to men, and therefore should be patiently borne. Let us pity the aged, endeavour to make their burdens as light as possible, and not increase them by contempt or neglect.
3. If all that Solomon has said of the vanity of the world does not convince us, great will be our folly and guilt; we shall ere long know the truth of it by bitter experience, and be ashamed of not believing him sooner. He has plainly proved the fact, and shown that it always was and will be fact. His conclusions are the result of divine inspiration, as well as close observation of men and things. We are not put off with trite remarks, and what comes next to hand ; but have the strongest arguments methodically ranged, and all the arts of eloquence used to enforce his admonitions. There. fore let us believe that all is vanity, and act consistently with such a belief. Especially, * 4. Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter. It cannot be too often repeated : to stand in awe of God, worship him religiously, and observe all his commandments, is the whole of man. This knowledge is plain. To compose and read many books is needless. If the scriptures will not make us wise, no other books will. Remember that this ought to be the principal care of all, young and old, rich and poor; for there is a day coming when every work and secret thing shall be brought into judgment. And let us remember that we are then to give an account af what attention we have paid to this book, and what advantage we have gained by this illustration
The SONG of SOLOMON.*
I T HE song of songs, which [is] Solomon's. Let him kiss 2 1 me with the kisses of his mouth : for thy love [is] better 3 than wine. Because of the savour of thy good ointments thy
name [is as] ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins 4 love thee. Draw me, we will run after thee : the king hath brought me into his chambers : we will be glad and rejoice in
thee, we will remember thy love more than wine : the upright $ love thee. I[am) black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jeru6 salem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon. Look
not upon me, because I (am) black, because the sun hath look: ed upon me: my mother's children were angry with me ; they made me the keeper of the vineyards ; [but] mine own vine7 yard have I not kept. Tell me, Q thou whom my soul loveth,
where thou feedest, where thou makest (thy flock] to rest at noon : for why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions ?
If thou know not, O thou fairest among women, go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock, and feed thy kids beside the 9 shepherds' tents. I have compared thee, O my love, to a com10 pany of horses in Pharaoh's chariots. Thy cheeks are comely 11 with rows (of jewels,] thy neck with chains (of gold.] We will
make thee borders of gold with studs of silver. 12 While the king (sitteth] at his table, my spikenard sendeth 13 forth the smell thereof. A bundle of myrrh (is) my well belov. 14 ed unto me ; he shall lie all night betwixt my breasts. My be.
loved [is] unto me [as] a cluster of camphire in the vineyards 15 of Engedi. Behold, thou (art] fair, my love ; behold, thou (art] 16 fair ; thou shast] dove's eyes. Behold, thou (art] fair, my be. 17 loved, yea, pleasant : also our bed [is] green. The beams of
our house [are] cedar, [and] our rafters of fir.
There is neither exposition nor improvement of the chapters of this Book in Mr. Or. ton's manuscripts. Whatever might have been his opinion of the authenticity of that Book, or the propriety of admitting it into the sacred Canon, this I am well satisfied of, that he chought it improper to be read or expounded either in public or în families. Edit.