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who without reserve tells in one place what he has heard in another, 12 especially if it be any thing too free about the government. The
words of a wise man's mouth Care) gracious, pleasing 10 his
prince ; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself; bring 13 him to trouble and sometimes to death. The beginning of the
words of his mouth (is) foolishness: and the end of his talk [is] mischievous madness; he works himself up into a heat, and then
8qy8 what doth mischief to others, and brings ruin upon himself. 14 A fool also is full of words : a man cannot tell what shall be ;
and what shall be after him who can tell him ? Probably a description of the fool's manner of talking, who multipties words unnecessarily, or rather, talks confidently of what he will do, and what he will have, and of thing's past, present, and 10 come, or in such a foolish manner that you cannot tell from
qukat he is saying what he will say ; he rambles an in impertinence. 15 The labour of the foolish wearieth every one of them, because
he knoweth not how to go to the city ; a fool takes most pains 16 about, and yet blunders in the most plain and obvious things. Wo
to thee, O land, when thy king sis) a child, a weak, fv olish man, and thy princes eat in the morning i are persons addicted 10 luxury and intemperance, indulging their appetites, when they
should be engaged in public business, feasting in a morniny, when 17 they should be trying important causes. Blessed (art] thou, O
land, when thy king [is] the son of nobles, of an illustrious family and excellent qualities, and thy princes eat in due season, for
strength, lo fit them for their proper business, and not for drunk18 enness! By much slothfulness the building decayeth, the rain
gets in and rots it ; and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through. This is the case in private life ; and
it is so in government ; by luxury and sloth the whole government 19 is disordered, and oftentimes dissolved. A feast is made for
laughter, and wine maketh merry : but money answereth all [things ;] it procurer all worldly advantages; therefore rulers should not waste the public treasure in luxury and folly, which
they may want to support the state. 20 Curse not the king, no not in thy thought, neither his fierson
nor government ; and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber : for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter ; a piroverbial expression, and intimales, that by some surprising, unexpected method, it may be discovered, as if a bird flying by had heard and told it.
W E here see the benefit of wisdom and prudence, even in
VV. the common affairs of life. If we have nothing to do with the government of the nation, yet we should be careful to rule ourselves and our houses well. Let us cultivate that wisdom which is profitable to direct ; and learn it by thought and observation on
the conduct of others. Let us learn to do things readily and dexter. ously; to concert the means well; lay good plans, and pursue them with resolution and caution ; that our judgment may not fail us when difficulties occur. There is room for improvement in every branch of wisdom, and by it we shall save ourselves much pains, and probably much shame.
2. Let us earnestly pray that our king may be directed in the choice of coupsellors and officers under him ; that persons of true worth, honour, and virtue, may not be neglected, and men of shal. tered heads, and broken fortunes, advanced ; that none may be raised to important offices, but those who will sacrifice pleasure to busi. ness, and keep their heads cool for counsel and judgment. Considering how much the welfare of the nation depends upon this, it should be the subject of our fervent prayers ; for the king's heart is in the hand of the Lord.
3. We should learn those lessons of loyalty and subjection, upon which our comfort and happiness so much depend, and guard against a factious complaining spirit. Too many by attempting to cure some defects in a well settled government, have done more harm than good. We are in general very incompetent judges of the administration of government; let us not therefore allow ourselves to find fault with it. Reviling those who rule over us, though done secretly, may be known; the providence of God may by some unsuspected way discover it, and then it will turn to our shame, and the reproach of our profession. Let us therefore lead quiel and theaceable lives in all godliness and honesty ; fearing God and honour, ing the king.
4. We see that diligence and frugality are very necessary for pris vate persons, as well as governors, v. 18. By much slothfulness the building decayeth, and through idleness of the hands the house drop, perħ through. When men neglect their business, and desert their shops, to pursue their pleasures or to sit with vain persons, poverty, shame and distress will soon come upon them. v. 19. A feast is made for laughter, and wire maketh merry ; but money answereth all things. Yet this must be taken with limitation ; for money cannot supply the wants of the soul ; cannot save from sin, sorrow, death, and hell : but it contains a proper caution to young men especially, not to be expensive in entertainments, dress, or equipage; the feast of one day may consume the money that should support the family for a week; and leave none to do good with. Those who make the most splendid entertainments and the greatest appearance, are gen. erally most backward to works of piety and charity ; for there is neither charity nor justice without frugality and prudence : but wiss dom is firofitable to direct.
Solomon in this chapter exhorts his readers to liberalily, as the best antidote against the vanity of riches ; and then urges a serious preparation for death and judgment,
inAST thy bread, or corn, upon the waters : for thou shalt
find it after many days. Corn was the chief trade of Judea, and a very profitable one ; in allusion to this Solomon intimates,
that what is given is not thrown away, but, like corn, is sent on a 2 voyage, which in return will richly repay the merchant. Give a
portion to seven, and also to eight; give in a very liberal manner, and take in as many objects as possible ; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth, how soon you may want the
assistance of others ; and you may expect their help and the pecu3 liar care of Providence if you have been charitable. If the clouds be full of rain, they empty (themselves,] upon the earth ; Provi idence intended they should do 80 ; and God gives us money, not to hoard up, but to do good with : and if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be, and there is no hopes of its bringing forth any more fruit. Thus shall we soon be cut down, and whether we have been fruitful or barren, (as opposite characters as north and south)
none can raise us up to the exercise of charity any more. Let us 4 not frame excuses for neglecting liberality ; for He that observeth
the wind, lest it should blow away his seed, shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds, who is afraid of a little rain, shall not reap, and will make poor work of his husbandry ; so he that with: holds his charity till every objection can be answered, will never 5 bestow it. As thou knowest not what [is] the way of the spirit,
or wind, (nor) how the bones (do grow) in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all ; thou knowest not what will be in future ; how he
may prosper or impoverish thee ; therefore be not anxious about 6 futurity, do thy duty, and leave the event to God. In the morn
ing sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand : for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both (shall be) alike good ; in youth and age, in prosperity and adversity, be always doing good, and depend upon
God for the issue. 7 Truly the light [is] sweet ; and a pleasant [thing it is) for
the eyes to behold the sun ; life and the comforts of it are very 8 agreeable : But if a man live many years, (and) rejoice in thern
all ; yet let him remember the days of darkness, adversity and Borrow, especially death ; for they shall be many. All that cometh (is) vanity ; therefore be not too fond of earthly things, but labour to do all the good you can, which will afford the most 9 comfortable reflections. Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth ;
and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes ; This 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 upoi 10 thy spirits, and engage thee to be religious. Therefore remove
sorrow, or indignarion, in allusion to the pride and haughliness of youth in despising the religious advices of their friends, from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh ; the indulgence of irregulur appetites and fleshly lusts : for childhood and youth Care] 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 the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them.
1. I ET us cultivate and manifest that liberal disposition, which
Ted Solomon in this chapter recommends by such weighty argliments. 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 fruitful. 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 aveary in well doins, 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 ai'e 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 enjoy. ments ; affliction and death will certainly come ; and afier death the judgment. Young people should recollect the vanity of child. hood 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 ibe 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 diligeni, that we may be found of him in peace at his appearing.
Solomon here recommends piety to young people, from a view of the in.
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 off well in the future judgment. This chapter is imfircperly divided from the former, the last verse of which is connected with the beginning of this ; the most effectual method to put away evil and sorrow, and to relieve the vanity of childhood and youth, is what he here exhorts to.
I R EMEMBER now thy Creator, think of him, fear, and serve
I 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 draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no 2 pleasure in them; While the sun, or the light, or the inoon, 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 rest 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 gruar timorous; 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 white, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, if it bus 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 piety, viz. that even in youth 6 death may come suddenly : Or ever the silver cord, the quhile
nervous substance on the back bone, on which the motion of the lower parts depend, be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, tha: is, the brain, especially its yellow covering ; or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel bruken at the cistern, thut. is, the vital motion of the heari and lungs (so necessary to the cir• VOL. V.