صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني


The former chapters were but by way of preface to recommend whať follows to our practice. Here begin those choice and pithy sentences, called proverbs, and which are too unconnected to admit of reflec tions on the contents of each chapter.

A son

THE proverbs of Solomo the wise messakis a glad

father: but a foolish son [is] the heaviness of his mother. 2 Treasures of wickedness, that is, the treasures of wicked men, especially those gotten by wickedness, profit nothing: but righteousness delivereth from death, from the judgments consequent 3 upon wickedness and from eternal death. The LORD will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish: but he casteth away the substance of the wicked; he will seize it as the property of 4 an enemy and make a spoil of it. He becometh poor that dealeth [with] a slack, that is, with an idle and deceitful hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich, both as to the world and the 5 soul. He that gathereth in summer, who imfiroves his opportunities, [is] a wise son: [but] he that sleepeth in harvest [is] a son that causeth shame; he loses the benefit he might enjoy, and 6 will be a disgrace to his friends. Blessings [are] upon the head of the just but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked; an allusion to laying on the hand in blessing, and covering the face of a 7 criminal when executed. The memory of the just [is] blessed; though obscure while he lives, though slandered, yet shall he be spoken of with praise: but the name of the wicked shall rot; it 8 shall survive them, but it shall be regarded with abhorrence. The wise in heart will receive commandments; esteem it a privilege and a favour to be taught but a prating fool shall fall; one who loves to hear himself talk shall fall into troubles and be undone. 9 He that walketh uprightly walketh surely; he is easy and happy in the divine approbation, and the consciousness of his own integrity; but he that perverteth his ways, who useth indirect methods, 10 shall be known and discovered. He that winketh with the eye, who gives signs to his accomplices to do a man mischief while he is speaking him fair, causeth sorrow: but a prating fool shall fall. 11 The mouth of a righteous [man is] a well of life; wholesome, instructive words spring up as naturally as good water in a well, refreshing and strengthening all about him: but violence covereth 12 the mouth of the wicked. Hatred stirreth up strifes; malicious, ill natured people, by slander and telebcaring raise disturbances, and make people quarrel about trifles but love covereth all sins; overlooks and conceals, or extenuates and makes the best of 13 them. In the lips of him that hath understanding wisdom is found; he shows it by his speech: but a rod [is] for the back of him that is void of understanding; nothing but correction will 14 teach a fool his duty. Wise [men] lay up knowledge, continually and safely, as a treasure: but the mouth of the foolish [is] near destruction, by venting unseasonably all he knows, to his own mis

15 chief. The rich man's wealth [is] his strong city; he thinks it will defend him against many of the evils of life: the destruction of the poor [is] their poverty; wicked men take advantage to oppress and ruin them; or, poverty fills them with fear and des16 pair, and so is the cause of their ruin. The labour of the righteous [tendeth] to life; wisdom and goodness make a man's life a blessing to himself and others: the fruit of the wicked to sin; wicked men abuse it, and turn it into a curse, make it an occasion 17 of guilt and ruin. He [is in] the way of life that keepeth instruction; but he that refuseth reproof, when offered to him, 18 erreth, wanders out of the way of life. He that hideth hatred

[with] lying or flattering lips, and he that uttereth a slander, iş 19 a fool; shows a bad heart, however wise he may seem. In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin; a man that is talkative will often sin: but he that refraineth his lips, who hath prudence to consider when and how and to whom he speaks, [is] 20 wise. The tongue of the just [is as] choice silver; when he speaks in his common and ordinary manner what he utters is of weight and worth: the heart of the wicked [is] little worth, consequently his speech is so, even when he has studied what to say. 21 The lips of the righteous feed many, make others wise: but fools die for want of wisdom ; they lose their very lives and their eternal 22 happiness too. The blessing of the LORD on the hand of the diligen1, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it; ill gotten riches are attended with regret, cares, and discontent, an evil conscience, 23 and fear of discovery and a future reckoning. [It is] as sport to a fool to do mischief; it is a pleasure to him, he does it with a gay air and without reflection: but a man of understanding hath wisdom; or, so is wisdom to a man of understanding, he taketh pleas24 ure in it. The fear of the wicked, it shall come upon him; he hath his fears, but not more than he has reason for; let his imagination be ever so lively, all that he fears shall come upon him: but the desire of the righteous shall be granted, that is, his grand, leading desire, the favour of God and eternal happiness. 25 As the whirlwind passeth, so [is] the wicked no [more;] though he may for a while make a great bustle, like a whirlwind: but the righteous [is] an everlasting foundation; his hope and happiness 26 is in the divine righteousness and faithfulness. As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes, which is troublesome and painful, so [is] the sluggard to them that send him; he neither delivers his message faithfully, performs his business exactly, nor hastens 27 back again. The fear of the LORD prolongeth days: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened, naturally and judicially. 28 The hope of the righteous [shall be] gladness; shall be answered, and occasion joy: but the expectation of the wicked shall perish; shall be disappointed, and give so much the more sorrow 29 on that account. The way of the LORD [is] strength to the upright, that goes on securely and courageously; his work is easy and delightful: but destruction [shall be] to the workers of in30 iquity. The righteous shall never be removed; his soul shall be

kept in peace, and his happiness be secure but the wicked shall 31 not inhabit the earth. The mouth of the just bringeth forth wisdom but the froward tongue shall be cut out, or cut off. 32 The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable; he knows the proper time and manner of speaking, what is acceptable to men, and not displeasing to God; he studies to please as far as is consistent with truth and friendship: but the mouth of the wicked [speaketh] frowardness; he loves to vent his own spleen, though very distasteful to others. Let us avoid this, and remember, that these several maxims relating to the government of the tongue, show its importance, and how carefully it should be attended to.




FALSE balance [is] abomination to the LORD; it is peculiarly abominable, as it is cheating under a pretence of 2 doing right but a just weight [is] his delight. [When] pride cometh, then cometh shame, being shameful in itself, and exposes them to shame but with the lowly [is] wisdom; which is pleasing to God and man, and makes them easy and comfortable in them3 selves. The integrity of the upright shall guide them but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them: if a man comes to a resolution to preserve strict integrity, that will direct him and make his way plain; it is easy to determine what is fair and honourable. But when the question is, What mean, dishonourable things may be done without discovery? a scene is open for perplexity; and men of great subtilty and refinement are oftenest 4 entangled, exposed, and ruined. Riches profit not in the day of wrath but righteousness delivereth from death; from second 5 death, and makes the first comfortable. The righteousness of the perfect shall direct his way, so as to bring all his designs and endeavours to a happy issue: but the wicked shall fall by his 6 own wickedness. The righteousness of the upright shall deliver them out of that sin and misery they might fall into: but transgressors shall be taken in [their own] naughtiness, and irrecov7 erably destroyed. When a wicked man dieth, [his] expectation shall perish; all his hope of pleasure and happiness in temporal things, and his expectation of escaping eternal misery: and the hope of unjust [men] perisheth, while the expectation of a good 8 man is answered and outdone. The righteous is delivered out of trouble, and the wicked cometh in his stead, to that misery he 9 had formerly occasioned to the righteous. An hypocrite with [his] mouth destroyeth his neighbour, by flattering and deceiving him ; but through knowledge, or fuudence, shall the just be delivered 10 from his snares. When it goeth well with the righteous, the city rejoiceth and when the wicked perish, [there is] shouting; men have such a regard for their own interest, and such a sense of what is decent and right, that they rejoice both in the one

11 and in the other. By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted; by their prayers, counsels, and admonitions: but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked; by their blasphemy, 12 perverse opposition, and evil communications. He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour; whatever a man thinks, it is foolish in him to speak contemptuously of his neighbour, because it is provoking him, and he may return it: but a man of understanding holdeth his peace; if he can say no good, he will say no 13 harm. A talebearer revealeth secrets; pries into the secrets of families, and carries stories from one to another: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter; an upright man concealeth that which may be hurtful to another, though he has no express 14 charge about it. Where no counsel [is,] the people fall; they are influenced by private interest, and act rashly: but in the 15 multitude of counsellors [there is] safety. He that is surety

for a stranger shall smart [for it ;] he does not know his circumstances, and therefore he is in danger: and he that hateth sureti16 ship is sure; it is most prudent to avoid it. A gracious woman retaineth honour and strong [men] retain riches; she is as careful of her reputation, as a strong man of his riches; or, will as effectually secure a good reputation, as a strong man his wealth. 17 The merciful man doeth good to his own soul; while he doeth good to others, he equally does good to himself; such is the connection between man and man; but [he that is] cruel troubleth his own flesh; his own envy and malice tear him to pieces. This may refer to the pleasure which arises from the exercise of benevolent affections, and the anguish and remorse which are inseparable from 18 cruelty. The wicked worketh a deceitful work; that which will deceive his expectations: but to him that soweth righteousness [shall be] a sure reward; though it may tarry it will not disap19 point him. As righteousness [tendeth] to life, in its natural consequence, so he that pursueth evil [pursueth it] to his own death. 20 They that are of a froward heart, persons of double dealing, who are herverse and ill natured, [are] abomination to the LORD: but [such as are] upright in [their] way [are] his delight. 21 [Though] hand [join] in hand, though they forma potent alliance, and strengthen and countenance one another, the wicked shall not be unpunished: but the seed of the righteous shall be delivered 22 from their confederacies, by the help of God alone. [As] a jewel of gold in a swine's snout, which is more taken notice of, and more despised on that account, [so is] a fair woman which is without discretion; without taste, without judging what is right and 23 wrong, and not considering consequences. The desire of the righteous [is] only good; either to do or get good, and it shall be granted them: [but] the expectation of the wicked [is] wrath; whatsoever happiness they promise themselves, the issue will be 24 wrath and destruction. There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and [there is] that withholdeth more than is meet, not providing for their families, sparing necessary expenses in trade, and showing a covetous temper in every thing, but [it tend

eth] to poverty; by a strange train of providences they are fre 25 quently beggared. The liberal soul shall be made fat, comforta ble and happy and he that watereth shall be watered also himself; it shall rain upon him blessings as copiously as showers. 26 He that withholdeth corn in dear times, in hopes of a higher market, and will not sell it at a reasonable price, and for a moderate profit, the people shall curse him: but blessing from God, as well as his neighbour, [shall be] upon the head of him that sell27 eth [it.] He that diligently seeketh good, or to do good, p:ocureth favour from God and man: but he that seeketh mischief, it shall come unto him; he draws upon himself the evils he de 28 signed against others. He that trusteth in his riches shall fall like a withered leaf: but the righteous shall flourish as a branch; 29 shall grow stronger and stronger, and be more fruitful. He that troubleth his own house, who ruins his family by extravagance, or, makes it unhappy by ill nature, shall inherit the wind; he shall have nothing but air to live upon; or, he shall raise a dreadful storm which shall fall upon his own head and the fool [shall be] servant unto the wise of heart; those who are foolish, shall be brought so low, that they shall be glad to become servants to those who set out in life with less than themselves, but by prudence and 30 diligence have risen in the world. The fruit of the righteous [is] a tree of life, is the means of much good; and he that winneth souls to God and goodness, [is] wise, though his method may not be so 31 judicious as that of others. Behold, the righteous shall be re compensed in the ear: much more the wicked and the sinner shall be corrected for their sins, in this world, or in another. See how much religion consists in justice, humanity, good temper, and zeal to do good. May we not only hear these things, but apply our minds to do them.

[ocr errors]



[ocr errors]

HOSO loveth instruction loveth knowledge; is in the way to be wise and good but he that hateth reproof 2 [is] brutish; wants sense as well as grace. A good [man] obɩ taineth favour of the LORD: but a man of wicked devices will 3 he condemn. A man shall not be established by wickedness: but the root of the righteous shall not be moved; he shall be 4 established by righteousness. A virtuous woman, a diligent, active woman, as the word signifies, who applies close to family business, [is] a crown to her husband, an ornament and a blessing to him : but she that maketh ashamed [is] as rottenness in his bones; though he does not show it publicly, it is a continual and incurable 5 vexation to him. The thoughts of the righteous [are] right it is his constant purpose to deal justly with God and man : [but] 6 the counsels of the wicked [are] carried on by deceit. The words of the wicked [are] to lie in wait for blood; to corrupt

« السابقةمتابعة »