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dence, forethought, and steadiness is necessary in the care of the soul ; and it is peculiarly necessary for young people to acquire a habit of this. Let us then be careful that we walk circumspectly; not as fools, but as wise men.
Solomon here reflects his cautions 10 young people, and particularly
warns them against uncleanness.
IN Y son, attend unto,my wisdom, [and] bow thine ear to $9 V my understanding: That thou mayest regard discretion • thyself, (and that] thy lips may keep knowledge, and bepable to 3 instruct others. For the lips of a strange woman drop (as an
honeycomb, and her mouth [is] smoother than oil; she has 4 many arts of address : But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp, 6 as a two edged sword, wounding both body and soul. Her feet
go down to death ; her steps take hold on hell, lead to ruin in 6 both worlds. Lest thou shouldst ponder the path of life, her
ways are moveable, (that) thou canst not know them;) her chief design is 10 keep thee from considering ; she knows how to vary the method of address, according to the temper of the person she
has to do with ; sometimes soothing, and sometimes frowning. 7 Hear me now, therefore, O ye children, and depart not from the 8 words of my mouth. Remove thy way far from her, and come 9 not nigh the door of her house : Lest thou give thine honour
unto others, bring disease and untimely death on thyself, and thy
years unto the cruel ;* thy strength and the flower of thy age to 10 harlois, who are cruel both in principles and practices : Lest
strangers be filled with thy wealth ; and thy labours [be] in the 11 house of a stranger ; And thou mourn at the last, when thy 12 flesh and thy body are consumed, And say, How have I hated in13 struction, and my heart despised reproof; And have not obeyed
the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that in 14 structed me! I was almost in all evil in the midst of the con
gregation and assembly; I arrived to sush a pitch of wickedness, that I had lost common shame, so that I could say and do many lascivious and indecent things before large companies ; which a man of common sense and decency, though he had no religion, would be ashamed of. Solomon then recommends marriage, as one remes dy against fleshly lusts ; which he describes in a beautiful figure, alluding to the scarcity of water in those hot countries, which made
the property of a well very valuable. 15 Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out
ol thine own well ; iniimating that there was as much greater pleasure in an agreeable wife than in those forbidden lusts, as there.
• This phrase may be understood of the revenge of the husband, who in those countrie: cichs put the adulterer to death.
was in drinking pure water out of a clean well, than dirty water 16 out of a kennel. Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, [and]
rivers of waters in the streets; the children which flow from this fountain thou mayes! bring abroad in public, without repo cach ;
place them in families of their own, and see a progeny descending 17 from them, like pure streams from a fountain. Let them be only
thine own, and not strangers' with thee ; as if he had said, if • thou wilt indulge ikyself in unlawful freedoms, thou wilt set thy own
wife a bad example, by following which she may destroy the cer18 tainty of thy offspring. Let thy fountain be blessed, or a bles: • sing to thee : and rejoice with the wife of thy youth, take delight 19 in her company and converse. (Let her be as) the loving hind
and pleasant roe ; alluding to a custom which still prevails in the cast, of having young fawns kept in their houses for their children to play with : let her breasts satisfy thee at all times ; and be
thou ravished always with her love, that is, let her be the subject 30 of thy thoughts and the object of thy wishes. And why wilt thou,
my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the 1 bosom of a stranger ? For the ways of man (are) before the e eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings ; he seee, and
will severely punish flagrant lusts. Conscience will likewise punish him if he thus go astray, for
His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins, so that he cannot disentangle 33 himself when he desires and attempts it. He shall die without
instruction ; and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray ; this sin huth an unhappy tendency to make men incorrigible, and (like travellers wandering from the right way) 10 precipitate themselves into unexpected ruin.
1. W E here see what a friend to sobriety and religion con
VV sideration is. Solomon represents it as the design of artful sinners to keep those whom they seduce, or would seduce, from pondering the path of life, and endeavours to stupify their use derstandings. Religion would be minded, and sin avoided, if men would but look about them, and consider the nature and consequences of their conduct. It is therefore the artifice of Satan and his agents to hurry young men on in a round of gaiety and dissipation ; and thus to keep them from serious thought. And this is the great mischief that modern diversions do ; they banish consid. eration ; and when that is effected, men become an easy prey to every deceiver.
2. The time will come when thoughtless sinners will mourn and lainent. They are now jovial and merry ; think religion too strict; ministers too precise ; and their admonitions mere bugbears, iritended only to frighten them from pleasure. But the period is hastening on when they will most certainly be of another mind ; especially when the flesh and body are consumed, and they sick and
dying. Then they will mourn ; and none will mourn more bitter, ly than the children of good parents, who have been both instructed and reproved. They will then remember the instructions they before neglected, and the reproofs they before despised ; and will wish that they had acted otherwise. If therefore it is our desire to remove evil from our flesh; and sorrow from our heart, let us ponder the path of our feet, and choose the way of life.
3. Let this chapter be a warning to all, and especially to young people, against the lusts of the Aesh. Many are watching for your destruction, both artful women, and wicked men, who would tempt you to impurity, by smooth speeches and fair promises. Their lips drop as the honeycomb, but there is poison in them : and if you are seduced, you are likely to lose your health, your substance, your credit, your peace, and your souls. As the best antidote against their artifices, remember v. 21. the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and he pondereth all his goings ; no darkness can hide them; and however light men may make of such crimes, (which it seems to be the design of most modern plays and romances, at least to palliate) the eternal and almighty God hath declared, that whorea mongers and adulterers he will judge ; and that they shall all have their portion in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone. Thered fore, dearly beloved, I beseech you as pilgrims and strangers, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul.
CHAP. VI. iM y son, if thou be surety for thy friend, [if] thou hast
I strickeni thy hand with a stranger, art bound for him to his 2 creditors, Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art
taken with the words of thy mouth ; hast brought thyself into 3 trouble, and art wretchedly hampered. Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, when thou art come into the hand of thy friend ; go, humble thyself, and make sure thy friend; earnestly entreat
him to take some course for thy safety by paying the debt, or getting 4 some other security. Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber $ to thine eyelids. Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand of the
hunter,) and as a bird from the hand of the fowler, for thou may.
est be arrested and ruined, when thou dost not exjuect it, 6 Go to the ant, thou sluggard ; consider her ways, and be wise : ✓ Which having no guide to direct it, overseer to enact law, or 8 ruler to punish idleness, Provideth her meat in the summer, [and]
gathereth her food in the harvest, and lays it up secure against
winter. Thou hast nobler capacities, and much greater business 9 to do, than the ants, therefore How long wilt thou sleep, I slug10 gard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? saying, (Yet) a
little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep ;
waiting to indulge thyself a little more, and yet a little morc, une 11 willing to rise and apply thyself to thy proper business : So shall
thy poverty come as one that travelleth step by step, so that thou canst scarce perceive him niove, and thy want, when it arrives, will seize thee as an armed man, against whom thou canst make
no resistance. 12 A naughty person, a wicked man, walketh with a froward 13 mouth ; maintains himself by lies, flattery and slander. He wink
eth with his eyes, he speaketh with his feet, he teacheth with
his fingers ; he has private signs to instruct his accomplices how 14 they are to play their part ; Frowardness [is] in his heart, he
deviseth mischief continually ; he soweth discord in families and 15 nations, hoping to find his account in it. Therefore shall his ca
lamity come suddenly ; suddenly shall he be broken without
remedy. 16 These six (things] doth the LORD hate : yea, seven (are] an 17 abomination unto him : A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands 18 that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imagi
nations, to gratify his appetites, his covetousness, or revenge, feet 19 that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness in judgment
[that] speaketh lies, that is, perjures himself, and him that sowe eth discord among brethren ; between near relations, where there
ought to be mutual affection. 20 My son, keep thy father's commandment, and forsake not the 21 law of thy mother : Bind them continually upon thine heart,
[and] tie them about thy neck; fix them on thy mind, keep them
continually before thine eyes, and thou will find constant benefit by 22 it. When thou goest, it shall lead thee ;. when thou sleepest,
it shall keep thee; and (when) thou awakest, it shall talk with thee ; true religion will be a guide, a guard, and a pleasant com
panion, and suggest proper and comfortable meditations to thee in 23 the night. For the commandment [is] a lamp ; and the law sist
light; and reproofs of instruction sare) the way of life; they
will direct thee in every circumstance of life : and will be particu24 larly of use To keep thee from the evil woman, from the flat
tery of the tongue of a strange woman, which a prudent educa.
tion, and even moral precepts, are not always able to do. 25 Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take 26 thee with her eyelids ; talk not of her smiles and charms; For by
means of a whorish woman [a man is brought] to a piece of
bread ; and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life ; she 27 not only destroys the estate, but health and life itself. Can a man
take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned ? at least 28 blackened, which a wise man would not choose. Can one go upon 29 hot coals, and his feet not be burned? So he that goeth in to his
neighbour's wife ; whosoever toucheth her shall not be innocent : 30 it will bring guilt, shame and sorrow upon him. (Men) do not
despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry;
he is not reckoned so infamous, nor do men rigorously punish him, 31 but rather pity and forgive him : But [if} he be found, he shall
restore seven fold, that is, many fold, he shall give all the substance of his house rather than be exposed to public firosccution, VOL. V.
32 [But] whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh under33 standing : he (that) doeth it destroyeth his own soul. A wound
and dishonour shall he get ; and his reproach shall not be wiped away ; adultery is much more infamous than theft : it is an ever
lasting brand of disgrace, beside the fatal consequences which at34 tend the jealousy of the husband. For jealousy (is) the rage of a 35 man : therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance. He I will not regard any ransom ; neither will he rest content, though
thou givest many gifts ; he will prosecute the adulterer even unto death, (as by the law of Moses he might) and no pecuniary recompense will satisfy him.
REFLECTION. N E may observe, that this chapter contains abundance of ex
V cellent cautions to young people, against the errors into which they are prone to fall. Let them avoid entering into bonds and promises for others. In some cases it may be an act of justice or charity ; but persons should be cautious who they engage for ; and not engage for more than they are willing to pay, and can pay without injury to their families. But prudence will generally require young people to avoid such engagements. Idleness is another temptation to which they are exposed, and the want of forecast and frugality. Being provided for by their parents, they are apt to be extravagant ; forgetting that the time of youth and strength, is the time to make provision for families, for sickness, and old age. But they are most in danger from fleshly lusts. They are ready to imagine that they are secure from gross acts of vice; but are often led into them before they are aware. They think they may keep company, at least stay a while with men and women of vicious characters, without danger ; but this is as ridiculous and absurd, as it would be for a man to ful fire into his bosom, or go upon hot coals, v. 27, 28. When once men have brought themselves into straits hy idleness, extravagance, or impurily, then they are tempted to lying, doing mischief, sowing discord, perjury, and all those things that the Lord hates. Now to prevent all these, the grand direction is to be ruled by the law of God; the study of it and meditation úpon it, are at once the best security against vice and a source of the noblest pleasures. Such remarks as these cannot be closed without lamenting over this wicked land of ours. Instead of pitying, and dealing gently with a thief, he is transported, or hanged ; while adulterers and adulteresses, whom the law of God commands to be surely put to death, are not only spared, and go unpunished, but are scarce reckoned infamous ; are put on the same level, in places of public resort, with the chaste and virtuous ; yea, if the truth is reported, in many of our gay assemblies, are treated more respectfully than they. Such is our politeness, wisdom, and piety! It is time, O Lord, for thee to work, for men make void thy law.