Imágenes de páginas

[and] considered [it] well : I looked upon [it, and) received instruction ; the wisest men may and ought to learn instruction from impertinent, idle, useless creatures ; if we will consider their ex

ample and conduct well, we may learn 10 avoid their errors, and 33 do better ourselves. (Yet] a little sleep, a little slumber, a little

folding of the hands to sleep a little longer, and then I will put 34 my good resolutions into practice : So shall thy poverty come

[as] one that travelleth, silently, insensibly, and unexpectedly, and thy want as an armed man; at length it shall seize thee in a powerful, irresistible manner. We have too many such instances as this before our eyes : let us look upon them; consider them well; and receive instruction : God intends that we should do so. Industry is a duty we owe to God, to ourselves, to our families, and to society. As we desire to secure our substance, our comfort, our credit, our usefulness, and the favour of God, let us not be slothful in business, but fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.


CHAP. XXV. THESE [are] also proverbs of Solomon, which the men of 2 T Hezekiah* king of Judah copied out. (It is) the glory of

God to conceal a thing, the reasons of his judgments and decrees:

but the honour of kings [is] to search out a matter ; to search 3 out secret contrivances and intricate cases. The heaven for

height, and the earth for depth, and the heart of kings (is) unsearchable to vulgar minds, and prudently concealed from others. These two verses are an important lesson to princes not to indulge themselves in an idle life, but to inquire diligently into things, and

make necessary remarks upon them, and yet maintain a prudent re4. serve. Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall 5 come forth a beautiful vessel for the finer. Take away the wicked (from] before the king, and his throne shall be estab

lished in righteousness į remove wicked ministers, and then the 6 public affairs will go on prosperously. Put not forth thyself in

the presence of the king, and stand not in the place of great

[men ;] do not appear 100 splendid for one of thy rank, nor affect 7 a higher place than becomes thee. For better, more honourable,

[it is] that it be said unto thee, Come up hither ; than that thou shouldst be put lower in the presence of the prince whom

thine eyes have seen, which must be very mortifying, (Luke xiv, 8 9.) Go not forth hastily to strive without due consideration,

either in battle, or at law, lest (thou know not] what to do in the 9 end thereof, when thy neighbour hath put thee to shame. De.

bate thy cause with thy neighbour (himself ;] and discover not a secret to another, that is, a secret quarrel: a maxim particular. ly to be regarded by husbands and wives if they should have any

• These were probably some prophets that Hezekiah selecred out of the public schools, to attend in his court as domestic chaplains; they copied these proverbs out of some private collections, and published them for general instruction. A useful design, as many of them contain as much important sense and solidity as any that were before made public.

10 differences : Lest he that heareth [it] put thee to shame, and

thine infamy turn not away ; lest by telling the story he expose 11 thee 10 contemp!. A word fitly spoken (is like) apples of gold in

pictures of silver, or rather, like oranges in a basket of wrought silver,' which must look extremely beautiful. Such words as these

have a rich and valuable meaning, beside the handsome manner in '12 which they are spoken. [AS] an earring of gold, and an orna

ment of fine gold, (so is] a wise reprover upon an obedient ear;

far from thinking himself wronged or being provoked by it, he es13 teeme it precious. As the cold of snow, or a cocling breeze, in

the time of harvest, (so is) a faithful messenger to them that

send him : for he refresheth the soul of his masters, who were 14 ready to faint under the apprehension of ill success, Whoso

boasteth himself of a false gift, of fine compliments not answered,

and fine promises not performed, is like clouds and wind without 15 rain, which disappoint the expectation. By long forbearing is a

prince persuaded, whereas by violent opposition he is more incensed;

and a soft tongue breaketh the bone, overcomes the most stub16 born resolution, Hast thou found honey ? eat so much as is

sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it :

this is applicable to all worldly delights, use them with moderation. '17 Withdraw thy foot from thy neighbour's house ; lest he be

weary of thee, and (so] hate thee ; do not frequently press in upon him, or tarry 100 long, for that is hindering his business and thy own. There is such a thing as making ourselves 100 cheap ; a

caution which ministers should attend to above all other persons. 18 A man that beareth false witness against his neighbour [is] a

maul, and a sword, and a sharp arrow; a complicaled instrument of mischicf, it smites and bruises like a maul, it pierces like a sword,

when near at hand, and at a distance it wounds like a sharp arrow, 19 so that a man is never out of ils reach. Confidence in an un

faithful man in time of trouble (is like) a broken tooth, and a foot

out of joint ; they are not only useless but troublesome, when there 20 is occasion to use them, [As] he that taketh away a gar

ment in cold weather, which is very unseasonable, (and as] vinegar upon nitre, which makes a great ferment, so [is] he that sing

eth songs to an heavy heart; it makes him more melancholy than 21 before. If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat ; and 22 if he be thirsty, give him water to drink : For thou shalt heap

coals of fire upon his head, and the LORD shall reward thee; the human mind is 80 formell as to be won by kindness, and is as

sensible of it as the body is of burning coals applied to the tenderest 23 part. The north wind driveth away rain ; so [doth) an an

gry countenance a backbiting tongue ; if it be proper no other way to reprove it, an angry countenance may testify our strong dis

like, and make the slanderer unwilling to vent his illnature in our 24 presence. This is applicable to hearing prophanene88, 8c. (It is ]

better to dwell in the corner of the house top, than with a brawla 25 ing woman and in a wide house. (As) cold waters to a thirsty soul,

so [is] good news from a far country, from which it is hard to get intelligence. We have reason to bless God for the art of writing, for the convenience of posts, and such easy conveyance of intelli

gence from our absent friends ; especially for good news from 26 heaven. A righteous man falling down before the wicked,

being oppressed and trampled upon by him, [is as) a troubled 27 fountain, and a corrupt spring, a public calamity. [It is] not

good to eat much honey though very pleasant : so [for men] to search their own glory (is not] glory ; 10 hunt after applause is

dishonourable, it counterbalances and lessens all the other beauties of 28 a man's character. He that Chath] no rule over his own spirit,

that cannot bear affronts and provocations with meekness, and af. fictions with patience, [is like) a city (that is] broken down, [and] without walls ; he is liable to every surprize, is very contemptible, and is exposed to innumerable mischiefs. Let us labour after the government of ourselves ; and learn of Chris!, who was meek and lowly in heart ; 80 shall we find honour, security, and peace to our souls.


[ocr errors]

A S snow in summer, and as rain in harvest, which prevent

I reaping and gathering in the fruits of the earth, so hon'our is not seemly for a fool ; though he may look grand, he knows 2 not how to use it, and does mischief with it. As the bird by wan

dering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come ; a man is in no more danger from the causeless

curse of others, than from the flying of a bird over his head ; 3 it fixes no where except upon him that ultered il. A whip

for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool's

back ; a foolish wicked man must be taught and restrained by se4 vere methods ; no others will do. Answer not a fool according to 5 his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. Answer a fool accord

ing to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit ; do not an. swer every impertinent speech or accusation of a clamorous fool ; it is the better way to despise him : but if he should grow insolent from your silence, a wise man may condescend to mortify him, A person must judge for himself which is most proper ; but it is

best in general to be silent, there is no surer way to mortify a fool. 6 He that sendeth a message by the hand of a fool, cutteth off

the feet, [and] drinketh damage; such a messenger will make lame

work of his message, and bring inconveniences on him that employs 7 him. The legs of the lame are not equal, which gives a man a

disagreeable air, especially if he affecis agility : so (is) a parable in the mouth of fools ; so ridiculous is it for wicked men to an.

plaud and recommend virtue ; it only makes their own wicked. 8 ness the more conspicuous. As he that bindeth a stone in a sling,

which is presently thrown out, so [is] he that giveth honour to a 9 fool; it roill not continue with him. (As) a thorn goeth up into

the hand of a drunkard, so [is] a parable in the month of fools ; a drunkard when stumbling catcherh hold of a thorn 10 sulsport him, which wounds him. Thus wicked men, when they talk of re, ligion, meddle to their hurt. A wicked man thinks 10 support him,

8tlf by it; but he only hurts his character the more, though his 10 parable be ever so fine. The great (God) that formed all [things]

both rewardeth the fool, and rewardeth transgressors, though he 11 may suffer them to go on a great while. As a dog returneth to

biş vomit, (so) a fool returneth to his folly ; he coinmils the same

errors for which he formerly smarted and professed to repent of, 14 and so becomes odious 10 God and man. Seest thou a man wise

in his own conceit? (there is) more hope of a fool than of

him, that is, of one that has hardly common sense ; he is a fool 13 of God's making, the other makes himself so. The slothful (man]

saith ; [There is) a lion in the way, a lion [is] in the streets: thus idle people frighten themselves from business ; raise imaginary

difficulties and aggravate real ones. Many of these lions stand in 14 the way on the Lord's day. [as] the door turneth upon his 15 hinges, so (cloth) the slothful upon his bed. The slothsul hid,

eth his hand in [his] bosom; it grieveth him to bring it again to his mouth. A beautiful gradation; he does not care to stir or rise oui of his bed : when he is up, he does not care to streich out his hand to feed himself; and would be gladio eat by proxy.

Thus habits of idleness grow : the less a man doth, the less he is 16 disposed to do. The sluggard [is] wiser in his own conceit

than seven men that can render a reason ; as stufrid a creature

as he is, he has a great conceit of his own abilities, though he has 17 nothing to say in defence of his opinions or practices. He that

passeth by, (and) meddleth with strife [belonging] not to him,

[is like) one that taketh a dog by the ears ; he gets the displease 18 ure of both parties, and is often hurt in the quarrel. As a mad 19 (man) who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death, So [is] the man

(that) deceiveth his neighbour, who leads him into sin or im. proses upon him, and saith, Am not I in sport ? pretends that he means no harm, only to make himself and others merry; while vice

is thus encouraged, guilt contracted, and great mischief is done, 20 Where no wood is, (there] the fire goeth out: $0 where (there

is) no talebearer, the strife ceaseth, therefore when you meet 21 with such persons frown upon them. [As) coals [arc] to burning

coals, and wood to fire, kindling one another, so [is] a contentious

man to kindle strife ; he is easily inflamed himself and quickly 22 kindles others. The words of a talebearer [are) as wounds, and

they go down into the innermost parts of the belly, do secret, 23 ycl deep, and incurable injury. Burning lips and a wicked

heart, ill natured, satyrical terms, especially when used 10 e.rpose what is virtuous and good, and to countenance vice, [are like) a potslerd, or piece of broken pot or crucible covered with silver dross, in which silver has been melled, and is spread over il ; $0 contenentiblc is wicked wit. Many of the satyrical productions of 94 our celebrated poets are of this nature. He that hateth dissem.

bleth with his lips, and layeth up deceit within him ; he in.

tends a man's ruin when he makes a profession of friendship; 25 When he speaketh fair, believe him not : for [there are] seven

abominations in his heart; when you huve once discovered a man

to be of that disposition, you have need of the greatest caution in 26 dealing with him ; he is a most dangerous enemy. (Whose] hatred

is covered by deceit, his wickedness shall be showed before the [whole] congregation ; he will probably be exposed to mankind,

and become universally contemptible ; and certainly be exposed to 37 the view of the whole world at the judgment day. Whoso diggeth

a pit, with an evil design, shall fall therein : and he that rolleth

a stone, 10 injure others, it will return upon him, and hurt 98 himself. A lying tongue hateth (those that are] afflicted by it ;

it is hard for those who have done an injury to respect the person wronged; they still go on to do more ; and a Aattering mouth worketh tuin; persons by being courted and applanded are often ruined. Hence we see what mischief deceit, falsehood, and flattery do in the world, and bring on those who firactise them. Let it then be our ambition to be christians indeed, in whom there is no guile,


DOAST not thyself of tomorrow, what thou wilt do, or eso

D pectest to receive ; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth ; it may render frui:le88 all thy designs and ex2 pectations ; death, or a thousand accidents, may do it. Let ano.

ther man praise thee, and not thine own mouth ; a stranger, and not thine own lips; to praise thyself is indecent and imfiru.

dent; it disposes others to undervalue thee, and defraud thee of 3 thy just commendation. A stone [is] heavy, and the sand weigh

ty ; but a fool's wrath [is] heavier than them both; he can neither correct it himself, nor can another restrain it by any rarional

considerations, till it break out in the most insatiable cruelty, 4 Wrath [is] cruel, and anger [is] outrageous ; but who [is] able

to stand before envy ? A man can better guard against the effects

of anger than envy, as that works secretly to do another an injury. 3 Open rebuke [is] better than secret love ; a friend who reproves

is better than one who may have an equal degree of love, but doch o not show it that way. Faithful (are) the wounds of a friend ;

sharp reproofs therefore ought to be thankfully received ; but the kisses of an enemy (are) deceitful; compliments and flattering ex7 pressions ought therefore to be suspected. The full soul lcatheth

an honeycomb ; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is

sweet : this shows the advantage of poverty, and the vanity of & riches. As a bird that wandereth from her nest, and liaves her

eggs to be broken or her young ones to be destroyed, so [is] a man

« AnteriorContinuar »