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CHAP. VII,

Solomon here renews his cautions to all, especially to his young readers, against fleshly lusts, with regard to which they need line upon line,

IMTY son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments 2 IT with thee, as thy best treasure. Keep my commandments, and live ; and my law as the apple of thine eye, that is, with the greatest cure ; as if he had said, Thou hadst beller loose

thine eyes, and live in darkness, than that thy mind should be with. 3 out wisdom. Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the 4 table of thine heart ; have them always ready for use. Say unto

wisdom, Thou (art) my sister ; and call understanding [thy] kinswoman ; grow into such an intimate acquaintance and friend

ship with them, as persons usually have with their near relations. 5 That they may keep thee from the strange woman, from the

stranger (which] flattereth with her words; to comply with whose solicitations there might be great temptations amidst the luxury of Solomon's reign. To enforce the caution, he relates an

account of a thoughtless young man, who was seduced and ruined. 6 by a wicked woman. For at the window of my house I looked 7 through my casement, And beheld among the simple ones, I

discerned among the youths, a young man void of understand8 ing, a giddy, unexperienced young fellow, Passing through the 9 street near her corner ; and he went the way to her house, In

the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night ; it

was in the twilight that I saw it, but to him it proved a black and 10 dark night : And, behold, there met him a woman (with) the.

attire of an harlot, a gay, airy dress, not used by modest women, Il and subtile of heart. (She [is] loud, talks and laughs loud ; a

pretty sure mark of an immodest, at least of a weak mind; and stubborn, she will not be advised and controled.; her feet abide

not in her house ; she loves gadding abroad, and any thing but 12 family business ; Now [is she) without, now in the streets, and 13 lieth in wait at every corner.) So she caught him, and kissed 14 him, [and] with an impudent face said unto him, [I have) peace 15 offerings with me ; this day have I payed my vows." There

fore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and 16 I have found thee, I have decked my bed with coverings of 17 tapestry, with carved (works,] with fine linen of Egypt. I have 18 perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come,

let us take our fill of love until the morning : let us solace 19 ourselves with loves. For the good man [is] not at home;

acknowledging herself to be a married woman, but making light of that ; she does not call him her husband, but the good man, or the man of the house, whom they call my husband ; he is gone a long journey, and will stay a long time, therefore there is no danger

• It is generally understood by this verse, that she kept up some forms of religion. But as part of the peace offerings were to be exten at home, it may only intiinite, that she had a great deal of good provisions in her house.

20 of his discovering it. He hath taken a bag of money with him, 21 [and] will come home at the day appointed. With her much

fair speech she caused him to yield; with the flattering of her

lips she forced him, notwithstanding some reluctance from his own 22 conscience. He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to 23 the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks ; Till

a dart strike through his liver ; as a bird hasteth to the snare, 24 and knoweth not that it [is] for his life.* Hearken unto me now

therefore, o ye children, and attend to the words of my mouth. 25 Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her

paths ; do not show any inclination to go near her ; do not hearken 26 to her, but check the first rising of temptation. For slie hath cast

down many wounded : yea, many strong (men) have been slain

by her ; there are many melancholy instances of this in Lor, Sam27 son, David, and others, which are intended for our warning. Her

house, however it may be decked with ornaments, [is] the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death, that is, 10 the grave and everlasting destruction.t

REFLECTIONS.

1. W E may hence learn, the regard we should show to wis.

VV dom, namely, to keep it as the most valuable treasure, to have its dictates familiar to our niinds, and, by frequent meditation, ready for our use. A superficial knowledge of divine things, a general acquaintance with them only, will not be sufficient : by tois alone we shall not perceive their beauty and excellence, what. ever degrees of religious knowledge we have gained. May we keep it as the apple of the eye ; be very tender of it, that nothing may injure it or deprive us of it: this is the way to be secure against temptation. They are those who are void of undersianding that are corrupted and destroyed : whereas, to keep the commandments of God, is the way to live comfortably and to secure everlasting life.

2. How desirable is it for all, especially the young, to consider the consequences of their actions when any pleasures solicit them, to consider how they will end. When the temptation is proposed, every thing looks charming and pleasant ; but if they would only consider the dart which will strike them through, that anguish of conscience which forbidden pleasures will bring i and that place of torment to which they tead, they would not comply. Oh let our young friends therefore be cautious, not high minded, but fear: let

• What we render, as a fol to the correction of the siocks, a learned critic would render, as the deer skipth into the tail, which the huntsman setteth to entrap hin). There is a beautiful gradation in the motion of the three aniinals here mentioned; the ox, the deer, and the bird; each foes swifter than the other, and so it represults the increasing speed with which the young sinner is hurried on to his ruin, till he feels himself mortally wounded, and it is too late to go back.

+ Mr. Henry observes, tbat this story would serve the licentious poets and play writers of our age to make a comedy on. The hariot, with them would be the heroine, and the audience would be much diverted with her method of decoying the young squire ; and those who saw ir actrd, would go away and be glad to be so picked up. Thus fools make a mock at sin. But Soloinon tells it, and all wise men will read and heat it as a very melancholy story, and wbat should excite their Caution.

them not boast of their strength and resolution, for, v. 26. She hath cast down many wounded ; yea, many strong men have been slain by her. Therefore watch and pray, lest ye enter into temptation,

3. When sinners take so much pains to allure and seduce others, what pity is it that wise and good men will take so little to preserve or recover them. What pains is the harlot here represented as taking to corrupt ! to procure every thing alluring, to make the temptation plausible, to answer every objection which the person tempted might be apt to make ; and all to make another more and more a child of hell. Where do we see such zeal as this in good men! Where do we see such a concern to direct unexperienced souls ! to seek out, take notice of, and encourage, those who appear to be serious ; to warn them of the spares of sin ; to represent to them the pleasures of religion ; and exhort them to taste and see that the Lord is good ? The artifices and zeal of sinners ought to shame and humble us, that we do no more for one another's souls, and take so little pains to warn, admonish, and encourage one another ; especially since so much is to be said in favour of religion, and we may hope for the concurrence of divine grace in our pious attempts to promote it. He that turneth a sinner from the error of his ways, saveth a soul from death. Therefore exhort one another daily, while it is called today, lest any be hardened through the deceil. fulness of sin.

CHAP. VIII.

In this chapter there is an evident contrast or ofiposition to the allure.

ments of the harlot mentioned in the former chapter.

.

inOTH not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her 2 U voice ; earnestly invité men to receive her ? She standeth

in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths. 3 She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming

in at the doors ; in the most public places, in open day ; not like · the harlot, ashamed to be seen ; her instructions are plain to all. 4 Unto you, O men, I call ; and my voice [is] to the sons of man. 5 0 ye simple, understand wisdom ; and, ye fools, be ye of an 6 understanding heart. Hear ; for I will speak of excellent, or

princely, things, worthy the attention of all ; and the opening of 7 my lips (shall be] right things. For my mouth shall speak

truth ; and wickedness [is] an abomination to my lips, it is the & design of all my addresses to prevent it. . All the words of my

mouth Care) in righteousness ; [there is) nothing froward or perverse in them ; nothing to hamper or perplex you, io abridge

you of your just liberty, much less 10 mislead or pervert you. 9 They [are) all plain to him that understandeth, and right 10

them that find knowledge; who are well disposed, and endeavo,

so our to distinguish between right and wrong. Receive my instruc.

tion, and not silver, that is, rather than silver ; and knowledge rath11 er than choice gold. For wisdom [is] better than rubies, or

the most precious gems ; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it. I wisdomn dwell with prudence, do not content myself with speculation, but extend to practice, and find out knowledge of witty inventions, that is, ingenious inven. tions, which are of great use in human life, and subservient to the

most important purposes. I instruct men in the first place, that · 13 The fear of the LORD (is) to hate evil, pride, and arrogancy, and

the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate, all sinful prac. 14 tices, slander, and detraction. Counsel [is] mine, and sound

wisdom ; I [am] understanding ; Į have strength ; I show

men what is fit to be done, and inspire them with courage to do it. 15 16 By me kings reign, and princes decree justice. By me

princes rule, and nobles, (even) all the judges of the earth ; that is, by wisdom they make just and merciful laws for the government

of their people, and conduct the weighty affairs of kingdoms and na. 17 tions. I love them that love me ; and those that seek me early 18 shall find ine. Riches and honour (are) with me ; [yea,] durable

riches and righteousness, wealth which wears well, and brings 19 with it a title to a better inheritance. My fruit [is] better than

gold, yea, than fine gold ; and my revenue than choice silver. 20 I lead, or direct, in the way of private righteousness, in the 21 midst of the paths of public judgment. That I may cause

those that love me to inherit substance, make them truly and com22 pletely happy ; and I will fill their treasures.* The LORD pos

sessed me as his treasure in the beginning of his way, before his works of old ; it is an argument that wisdom is the most excellent thing, because it dwelt in. God before the creation of the world, and directed his actions in all he made. As if he had said, Şince it is an altribute displayed in all his works of creation and

providence, therefore, the more wisdom any creature has, the more B3 he resembles the great Creator, I was set up froin everlasting, 24 from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When [there

were] no depths, I was brought forth ; [when there were] 25.no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains 26 were settled, before the hills was I brought forth ; While, as

vet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world, the ground on which we tread,

or raller, the beginning or mass of dust, before it was distin. 27 guished into mountains and plains. When he prepared the heav

ens, I (was] there : when he set a compass upon the face of the

depth ; marked horu far it should extend, and where the hills 28 should bc placed : When he established the clouds above : when 29 he strengthened the fountains of the deep : When he gave 10

the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his command

Manr writers apply all that follows to Christ. What the New Testament teaches concerning him, slows that it may be accommodited to him ; but I find no suficient proof pliat Sciono intendid it of him nor is any clause of this description applicd to himn in the New Testament,

30 ment : when he appointed the foundations of the earth : Then

I was by him (as), one brought up (with him :) and I was daily

[his) delight, rejoicing always before him ; producing daily some 31 new work, which he approved and pronounced to be good ; Rejoicing

in the habitable part of his earth ; and my delights (were] with the sons of men ; I rejoiced to see how the world was formed into

a fit habitation for man, and the sons of men enjoying the effects of 32 the divine power and goodness, Now therefore hearken unto

me, 0 ye children : for blessed (are they that] keep my ways. 33, 34 Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not. Blessed

[is] the mean that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, wait

ing at the posts of my doors ; earnestly desiring to become my 35 disciple, and improving all opportunities to get knowledge. For

whoso findeth me findeth life, that which will make life pleasant 36 to him, and he shall obtain favour of the LORD. But he that

sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul : all they that hate me love death ; they who hearken to sirners, and reject my counsels, do in effect choose death ; and their perverseness will end in their ruin.

REFLECTIONS.

1. TROM hence we are led to observe and adore the wisdom of

T' God, as it is displayed in his works. We should take notice of their beauty, order, and exactness; and consider that it is he. who hath prepared and adorned the heavens, laid the foundations of the earth, set a bound to the sea, and provided sustenance for man and beast. The more attentively we survey the works of God, the more evident and striking marks of wisdom and goodness shall we perceive ; and often take up the psalmist's admiration, O Lord, how manifold are thy works ! in wisdom hast thou made them all.

2. The noble description here given of the effects of wis. dom, should increase our esteem of, and value for it. Wisdom, will lead us to choose the best ends, and to pursue them by the best means, and therefore comprehends the knowledge of our duty, the fear of God and a hatred of evil. This wisdom is the greatest excellency of a rational being. It is to be preferred to gold and rubies, and every thing the heart of man can desire. It brings us substance; what is solid and durable, and will afford us the highest and noblest delight. It directs in the government of kingdoms, churches, and families ; discovers the useful arts of life, and egpecially endobles, enriches, and sanctifies the soul. It is absolutely pecessary for all the sons of men ; all their learning and wealth, without this, will only make them so much the more contemptible and miserable. Let us all then, especially those who are in early life, pursue it ; for wisdom loves those that love her, and those that seek her early shall find her.

3. How inexcusable and miserable will they be who hale wisdor?! Inexcusable, because it is offered them, and the way to possess it is

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