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Author Topic: A Closer Look At The Book Of Proverbs  (Read 6265 times)
airIam2worship
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« on: September 01, 2006, 01:45:51 PM »

A little background about Solomon.

MHC

We have now before us,
 
  I. A new author, or penman rather, or pen (if you will) made use of by the Holy Ghost for making known the mind of God to us, writing as moved by the finger of God (so the Spirit of God is called), and that is Solomon; through his hand came this book of Scripture and the two that follow it, Ecclesiastes and Canticles, a sermon and a song. Some think he wrote Canticles when he was very young, Proverbs in the midst of his days, and Ecclesiastes when he was old. In the title of his song he only writes himself Solomon, perhaps because he wrote it before his accession to the throne, being filled with the Holy Ghost when he was young.  In the title of his Proverbs he writes himself the son of David, king of Israel, for then he ruled over all Israel. In the title of his Ecclesiastes he writes himself the son of David, king of Jerusalem, because then perhaps his influence had grown less upon the distant tribes, and he confined himself very much in Jerusalem. Concerning this author we may observe,
 
1. That he was a king, and a king's son. The penmen of scripture, hitherto, were most of them men of the first rank in the world, as Moses and Joshua, Samuel and David, and now Solomon; but, after him, the inspired writers were generally poor prophets, men of no figure in the world, because that dispensation was approaching in which God would choose the weak and foolish things of the world to confound the wise and mighty and the poor should be employed to evangelize. Solomon was a very rich king, and his dominions were very large, a king of the first magnitude, and yet he addicted himself to the study of divine things, and was a prophet and a prophet's son. It is no disparagement to the greatest princes and potentates in the world to instruct those about them in religion and the laws of it.
 
2. That he was one whom God endued with extraordinary measures of wisdom and knowledge, in answer to his prayers at his accession to the throne. His prayer was exemplary: Give me a wise and an understanding heart; the answer to it was encouraging: he had what he desired and all other things were added to him. Now here we find what good use he made of the wisdom God gave him; he not only governed himself and his kingdom with it, but he gave rules of wisdom to others also, and transmitted them to posterity.  Thus must we trade with the talents with which we are entrusted, according as they are.
 
3. That he was one who had his faults, and in his latter end turned aside from those good ways of God which in this book he had directed others in. We have the story of it 1 Kings 11, and a sad story it is, that the penman of such a book as this should apostatize as he did. Tell it not in Gath.  But let those who are most eminently useful take warning by this not to be proud or secure; and let us all learn not to think the worse of good instructions though we have them from those who do not themselves altogether live up to them.

Pr 1:1 The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel:


MHCC


The subject of this book may be thus stated by an enlargement on the opening verses. 1. The Proverbs of Solomon, the son of David, king of Israel. 2. Which treat of the knowledge of wisdom, of piety towards God, of instruction and moral discipline, of the understanding wise and prudent counsels. 3. Which treat of the attainment of instruction in wisdom, which wisdom is to be shown in the conduct of life, and consists in righteousness with regard to our fellow-creatures. 4. Which treat of the giving to the simple sagacity to discover what is right, by supplying them with just principles, and correct views of virtue and vice; and to the young man knowledge, so that he need not err through ignorance; and discretion, so that by pondering well these precepts, he may not err through obstinacy. Take the proverbs of other nations, and we shall find great numbers founded upon selfishness, cunning, pride, injustice, national contempt, and animosities. The principles of the Proverbs of Solomon are piety, charity, justice, benevolence, and true prudence. Their universal purity proves that they are the word of God.
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« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2006, 01:52:57 PM »


Pr 1:1 The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel:

Pr 1:2 To know wisdom and instruction, To perceive the words of understanding,

Pr 1:3 To receive the instruction of wisdom, Justice, judgment, and equity;

Pr 1:4 To give prudence to the simple, To the young man knowledge and discretion-

Pr 1:5 A wise man will hear and increase learning, And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel,

Pr 1:6 To understand a proverb and an enigma, The words of the wise and their riddles.


MHCC

The use of the Proverbs. (1-6)

 1-6 The lessons here given are plain, and likely to benefit those who feel their own ignorance, and their need to be taught. If young people take heed to their ways, according to Solomon's Proverbs, they will gain knowledge and discretion. Solomon speaks of the most important points of truth, and a greater than Solomon is here. Christ speaks by his word and by his Spirit. Christ is the Word and the Wisdom of God, and he is made to us wisdom.


POOLE


 THE PROVERBS
 
The penman of this book is expressed in the title, Solomon, who was famous for his proverbs, of which he spoke three thousand, as it is recorded, 1Ki 4:32, the most eminent and useful of them being doubtless collected in this book. And that the greatest part of this book was composed by Solomon doth sufficiently appear, because that part of it which was collected and composed by other hands is so plainly distinguished from the foregoing part, Pr 25:1. The nine first chapters contain a preface or introduction to the book, or an exhortation to true wisdom; and all the following chapters contain the precepts of wisdom called proverbs; wherein we are not to expect that order and coherence which is in many other books of Scripture.
 
  PROVERBS CHAPTER 1
 
The use of the proverbs, Pr 1:1-6. An exhortation to fear God, and believe his word, Pr 1:7. The glory of those children that obey the instruction of their parents, Pr 1:8,9. A caution against yielding to enticing sinners, Pr 1:10. The contrivance, Pr 1:11,12, arguments, and invitation of these sinners, Pr 1:13,14. Reasons against complying with them, Pr 1:15-19. Wisdom's call to repentance, Pr 1:20-22. Her promise, Pr 1:23. Her complaints and threatenings, Pr 1:24-30. The fruit of sin, Pr 1:31,32. Peace to the penitent, Pr 1:33.
 
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« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2006, 01:56:41 PM »

Pr 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Pr 1:8 My son, hear the instruction of your father, And do not forsake the law of your mother;

Pr 1:9 For they will be a graceful ornament on your head, And chains about your neck.

MHCC

Exhortations to fear God and obey parents. (7-9)

7-9 Fools are persons who have no true wisdom, who follow their own devices, without regard to reason, or reverence for God. Children are reasonable creatures, and when we tell them what they must do, we must tell them why. But they are corrupt and wilful, therefore with the instruction there is need of a law. Let Divine truths and commands be to us most honourable; let us value them, and then they shall be so to us.

MHC


Solomon, having undertaken to  teach a young man knowledge and discretion, here lays down two general rules to be observed in order thereunto, and those are, to fear God and honour his parents, which two fundamental laws of morality Pythagoras begins his golden verses with, but the former of them in a wretchedly corrupted state. Primum, deos immortales cole, parentesque honora--First worship the immortal gods, and honour your parents.  To make young people such as they should be,
 
  I. Let them have regard to God as their supreme.
 
1. He lays down this truth, that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (Pr 1:7); it is the principal part of knowledge (so the margin); it is the head of knowledge; that is,
 
(1.) Of all things that are to be known this is most evident, that God is to be feared, to be reverenced, served, and worshipped; this is so the beginning of knowledge that those know nothing who do not know this.
 
(2.) In order to the attaining of all useful knowledge this is most necessary, that we fear God; we are not qualified to profit by the instructions that are given us unless our minds be possessed with a holy reverence of God, and every thought within us be brought into obedience to him. If any man will do his will, he shall know of his doctrine, Joh 7:17.
 
(3.) As all our knowledge must take rise from the fear of God, so it must tend to it as its perfection and centre.  Those know enough who know how to fear God, who are careful in every thing to please him and fearful of offending him in any thing; this is the Alpha and Omega of knowledge.
 
2. To confirm this truth, that an eye to God must both direct and quicken all our pursuits of knowledge, he observes, Fools (atheists, who have no regard to God) despise wisdom and instruction; having no dread at all of God's wrath, nor any desire of his favour, they will not give you thanks for telling them what they may do to escape his wrath and obtain his favour. Those who say to the Almighty, Depart from us, who are so far from fearing him that they set him at defiance, can excite no surprise if they desire not the knowledge of his ways, but despise that instruction. Note, Those are fools who do not fear God and value the scriptures; and though they may pretend to be admirers of wit they are really strangers and enemies to wisdom.
 
  II. Let them have regard to their parents as their superiors (Pr 1:8-9): My son, hear the instruction of thy father. He means, not only that he would have his own children to be observant of him, and of what he said to them, nor only that he would have his pupils, and those who came to him to be taught, to look upon him as their father and attend to his precepts with the disposition of children, but that he would have all children to be dutiful and respectful to their parents, and to conform to the virtuous and religious education which they give them, according to the law of the fifth commandment.
 
1. He takes it for granted that parents will, with all the wisdom they have, instruct their children, and, with all the authority they have, give law to them for their good. They are reasonable creatures, and therefore we must not give them law without instruction; we must draw them with the cords of a man, and when we tell them what they must do we must tell them why. But they are corrupt and wilful, and therefore with the instruction there is need of a law. Abraham will not only catechize, but command, his household. Both the father and the mother must do all they can for the good education of their children, and all little enough.
 
2. He charges children both to receive and to retain the good lessons and laws their parents give them.
 
(1.) To receive them with readiness:
 
  "Hear the instruction of thy father; hear it and heed it; hear it and bid it welcome, and be thankful for it, and subscribe to it."
 
(2.) To retain them with resolution:
 
  "Forsake not their law; think not that when thou art grown up, and no longer under tutors and governors, thou mayest live at large; no, the law of thy mother was according to the law of thy God, and therefore it must never be forsaken; thou wast trained up in the way in which thou shouldest go, and therefore, when thou art old, thou must not depart from it."
 
Some observe that whereas the Gentile ethics, and the laws of the Persians and Romans, provided only that children should pay respect to their father, the divine law secures the honour of the mother also.
 
3. He recommends this as that which is very graceful and will put an honour upon us:
 
"The instructions and laws of thy parents, carefully observed and lived up to, shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head (Pr 1:9), such an ornament as is, in the sight of God, of great price, and shall make thee look as great as those that wear gold chains about their necks."
 
Let divine truths and commands be to us a coronet, or a collar of SS, which are badges of first-rate honours; let us value them, and be ambitious of them, and then they shall be so to us. Those are truly valuable, and shall be valued, who value themselves more by their virtue and piety than by their worldly wealth and dignity.
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« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2006, 04:21:09 PM »

Pr 1:10 My son, if sinners entice you, Do not consent.

Pr 1:11 If they say, "Come with us, Let us lie in wait to shed blood; Let us lurk secretly for the innocent without cause;

Pr 1:12 Let us swallow them alive like Sheol, And whole, like those who go down to the Pit;

Pr 1:13 We shall find all kinds of precious possessions, We shall fill our houses with spoil;

Pr 1:14 Cast in your lot among us, Let us all have one purse" -

Pr 1:15 My son, do not walk in the way with them, Keep your foot from their path;

Pr 1:16 For their feet run to evil, And they make haste to shed blood

Pr 1:17 Surely, in vain the net is spread In the sight of any bird;

Pr 1:18 But they lie in wait for their own blood, They lurk secretly for their own lives.

Pr 1:19 So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain; It takes away the life of its owners.


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« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2006, 04:23:40 PM »

MHCC

 To avoid the enticings of sinners. (10-19)

 
10-19 Wicked people are zealous in seducing others into the paths of the destroyer: sinners love company in sin. But they have so much the more to answer for. How cautious young people should be! "Consent thou not." Do not say as they say, nor do as they do, or would have thee to do; have no fellowship with them. Who could think that it should be a pleasure to one man to destroy another! See their idea of worldly wealth; but it is neither substance, nor precious. It is the ruinous mistake of thousands, that they overvalue the wealth of this world. Men promise themselves in vain that sin will turn to their advantage. The way of sin is down-hill; men cannot stop themselves. Would young people shun temporal and eternal ruin, let them refuse to take one step in these destructive paths. Men's greediness of gain hurries them upon practices which will not suffer them or others to live out half their days. What is a man profited, though he gain the world, if he lose his life? much less if he lose his soul?

MHC


 
Here Solomon gives another general rule to young people, in order to their finding out, and keeping in, the paths of wisdom, and that is to take heed of the snare of bad company. David's psalms begin with this caution, and so do Solomon's proverbs; for nothing is more destructive, both to a lively devotion and to a regular conversation (Pr 1:10):
 
  "My son, whom I love, and have a tender concern for, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not."
 
This is good advice for parents to give their children when they send them abroad into the world; it is the same that St. Peter gave to his new converts, (Ac 2:40), Save yourselves from this untoward generation. Observe,
 
1. How industrious wicked people are to seduce others into the paths of the destroyer: they will entice.  Sinners love company in sin; the angels that fell were tempters almost as soon as they were sinners. They do not threaten or argue, but entice with flattery and fair speech; with a bait they draw the unwary young man to the hook. But they mistake if they think that by bringing others to partake with them in their guilt, and to be bound, as it were, in the bond with them, they shall have the less to pay themselves; for they will have so much the more to answer for.
 
2. How cautious young people should be that they be not seduced by them:
 
  "Consent thou not; and then, though they entice thee, they cannot force thee. Do not say as they say, nor do as they do or would have thee to do; have no fellowship with them."
 
To enforce this caution,
 
  I. He represents the fallacious reasonings which sinners use in their enticements, and the arts of wheedling which they have for the beguiling of unstable souls. He specifies highwaymen, who do what they can to draw others into their gang, Pr 1:11-14. See here what they would have the young man to do:
 
  "Come with us (Pr 1:11); let us have thy company."
 
At first they pretend to ask no more; but the courtship rises higher (Pr 1:14):
 
  "Cast in thy lot among us; come in partner with us, join thy force to ours, and let us resolve to live and die together: thou shalt fare as we fare; and let us all have one purse, that what we get together we may spend merrily together,"
 
for that is it they aim it [at?]. Two unreasonable insatiable lusts they propose to themselves the gratification of, and therewith entice their pray into the snare:--
 
1. Their cruelty. They thirst after blood, and hate those that are innocent and never gave them any provocation, because by their honesty and industry they shame and condemn them:
 
  "Let us therefore lay wait for their blood, and lurk privily for them; they are conscious to themselves of no crime and consequently apprehensive of no danger, but travel unarmed; therefore we shall make the more easy prey of them. And, O how sweet it will be to swallow them up alive!"
 
  Pr 1:12.  These bloody men would do this as greedily as the hungry lion devours the lamb. If it be objected,
 
"The remains of the murdered will betray the murderers;"
 
they answer,
 
"No danger of that; we will swallow them whole as those that are buried."
 
Who could imagine that human nature should degenerate so far that it should ever be a pleasure to one man to destroy another!
 
2. Their covetousness.  They hope to get a good booty by it (Pr 1:13):
 
"We shall find all precious substance by following this trade. What though we venture our necks by it? we shall fill our houses with spoil."
 
See here,
 
(1.) The idea they have of worldly wealth. They call it precious substance; whereas it is neither substance nor precious; it is a shadow; it is vanity, especially that which is got by robbery, Ps 62:10. It is as that which is not, which will give a man no solid satisfaction. It is cheap, it is common, yet, in their account, it is precious, and therefore they will hazard their lives, and perhaps their souls, in pursuit of it. It is the ruining mistake of thousands that they over-value the wealth of this world and look on it as precious substance.
 
(2.) The abundance of it which they promise themselves: We shall fill our houses with it.  Those who trade with sin promise themselves mighty bargains, and that it will turn to a vast account (All this will I give thee, says the tempter); but they only dream that they eat; the housefuls dwindle into scarcely a handful, like the grass on the house-tops.
 
  II. He shows the perniciousness of these ways, as a reason why we should dread them (Pr 1:15):
 
  "My son, walk not thou in the way with them; do not associate with them; get, and keep, as far off from them as thou canst; refrain thy foot from their path; do not take example by them, not do as they do."
 
Such is the corruption of our nature that our foot is very prone to step into the path of sin, so that we must use necessary violence upon ourselves to refrain our foot from it, and check ourselves if at any time we take the least step towards it.  Consider,
 
1. How pernicious their way is in its own nature (Pr 1:16): Their feet run to evil, to that which is displeasing to God and hurtful to mankind, for they make haste to shed blood. Note, The way of sin is down-hill; men not only cannot stop themselves, but, the longer they continue in it, the faster they run, and make haste in it, as if they were afraid they should not do mischief enough and were resolved to lose no time.  They said they would proceed leisurely (Let us lay wait for blood, Pr 1:11), but thou wilt find they are all in haste, so much has Satan filled their hearts.
 
2. How pernicious the consequences of it will be.  They are plainly told that this wicked way will certainly end in their own destruction, and yet they persist in it.  Herein,
 
(1.) They are like the silly bird, that sees the net spread to take her, and yet it is in vain; she is decoyed into it by the bait, and will not take the warning which her own eyes gave her, Pr 1:17. But we think ourselves of more value than many sparrows, and therefore should have more wit, and act with more caution. God has made us wiser than the fowls of heaven (Job 35:11), and shall we then be as stupid as they?
 
(2.) They are worse than the birds, and have not the sense which we sometimes perceive them to have; for the fowler knows it is in vain to lay his snare in the sight of the bird, and therefore he has arts to conceal it. But the sinner sees ruin at the end of his way; the murderer, the thief, see the jail and the gallows before them, nay, they may see hell before them; their watchmen tell them they shall surely die, but it is to no purpose; they rush into sin, and rush on in it, like the horse into the battle.  For really the stone they roll will turn upon themselves, Pr 1:18-19. They lay wait, and lurk privily, for the blood and lives of others, but it will prove, contrary to their intention, to be for their own blood, their own lives; they will come, at length, to a shameful end; and, if they escape the sword of the magistrate, yet there is a divine Nemesis that pursues them. Vengeance suffers them not to live. Their greediness of gain hurries them upon those practices which will not suffer them to live out half their days, but will cut off the number of their months in the midst. They have little reason to be proud of their property in that which takes away the life of the owners and then passes to other masters; and what is a man profited, though he gain the world, if he lose his life? For then he can enjoy the world no longer; much less if he lose his soul, and that be drowned in destruction and perdition, as multitudes are by the love of money.
 
Now, though Solomon specifies only the temptation to rob on the highway, yet he intends hereby to warn us against all other evils which sinners entice men to. Such are the ways of the drunkards and unclean; they are indulging themselves in those pleasures which tend to their ruin both here and for ever; and therefore consent not to them.
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« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2006, 10:51:16 PM »

Pr 1:20 Wisdom calls aloud outside; She raises her voice in the open squares.

Pr 1:21 She cries out in the chief concourses, At the openings of the gates in the city She speaks her words:

Pr 1:22 "How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity? For scorners delight in their scorning, And fools hate knowledge.

Pr 1:23 Turn at my rebuke; Surely I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you.

Pr 1:24 Because I have called and you refused, I have stretched out my hand and no one regarded,

Pr 1:25 Because you disdained all my counsel, And would have none of my rebuke,

Pr 1:26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your terror comes,

Pr 1:27 When your terror comes like a storm, And your destruction comes like a whirlwind, When distress and anguish come upon you.

Pr 1:28 "Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; They will seek me diligently, but they will not find me.

Pr 1:29 Because they hated knowledge And did not choose the fear of the LORD,

Pr 1:30 They would have none of my counsel And despised my every rebuke.

Pr 1:31 Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way, And be filled to the full with their own fancies.

Pr 1:32 For the turning away of the simple will slay them, And the complacency of fools will destroy them;

Pr 1:33 But whoever listens to me will dwell safely, And will be secure, without fear of evil."
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« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2006, 10:55:58 PM »

MHCC

The address of Wisdom to sinners. (20-33)

 
20-33 Solomon, having showed how dangerous it is to hearken to the temptations of Satan, here declares how dangerous it is not to hearken to the calls of God. Christ himself is Wisdom, is Wisdoms. Three sorts of persons are here called by Him: 1. Simple ones. Sinners are fond of their simple notions of good and evil, their simple prejudices against the ways of God, and flatter themselves in their wickedness. 2. Scorners. Proud, jovial people, that make a jest of every thing. Scoffers at religion, that run down everything sacred and serious. 3. Fools. Those are the worst of fools that hate to be taught, and have a rooted dislike to serious godliness. The precept is plain; Turn you at my reproof. We do not make a right use of reproofs, if we do not turn from evil to that which is good. The promises are very encouraging. Men cannot turn by any power of their own; but God answers, Behold, I will pour out my Spirit unto you. Special grace is needful to sincere conversion. But that grace shall never be denied to any who seek it. The love of Christ, and the promises mingled with his reproofs, surely should have the attention of every one. It may well be asked, how long men mean to proceed in such a perilous path, when the uncertainty of life and the consequences of dying without Christ are considered? Now sinners live at ease, and set sorrow at defiance; but their calamity will come. Now God is ready to hear their prayers; but then they shall cry in vain. Are we yet despisers of wisdom? Let us hearken diligently, and obey the Lord Jesus, that we may enjoy peace of conscience and confidence in God; be free from evil, in life, in death, and for ever.


Cont.

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« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2006, 10:57:01 PM »

MHC

Solomon, having shown how dangerous it is to hearken to the temptations of Satan, here shows how dangerous it is not to hearken to the calls of God, which we shall for ever rue the neglect of. Observe,
 
  By whom God calls to us--by wisdom. It is wisdom that crieth without. The word is plural--wisdoms, for, as there is infinite wisdom in God, so there is the manifold wisdom of God, Eph 3:10. God speaks to the children of men by all the kinds of wisdom, and, as in every will, so in every word, of God there is a counsel.
 
 Human understanding is wisdom, the light and law of nature, the powers and faculties of reason, and the office of conscience, Job 38:36. By these God speaks to the children of men, and reasons with them. The spirit of a man is the candle of the Lord; and, wherever men go, they may hear a voice behind them, saying, This is the way; and the voice of conscience is the voice of God, and not always a still small voice, but sometimes it cries.
 
 Civil government is wisdom; it is God's ordinance; magistrates are his vicegerents. God by David had said to the fools, Deal not foolishly, Ps 75:4. In the opening of the gates, and in the places of concourse, where courts were kept, the judges, the wisdom of the nation, called to wicked people, in God's name, to repent and reform.
 
 Divine revelation is wisdom; all its dictates, all its laws, are wise as wisdom itself. God does, by the written word, by the law of Moses, which sets before us the blessing and the curse, by the priests' lips which keep knowledge, by his servants the prophets, and all the ministers of this word, declare his mind to sinners, and give them warning as plainly as that which is proclaimed in the streets or courts of judicature by the criers. God, in his word, not only opens the case, but argues it with the children of men. Come, now, and let us reason together, Isa 1:18.
 
 Christ himself is Wisdom, is Wisdoms, for in him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, and he is the centre of all divine revelation, not only the essential Wisdom, but the eternal Word, by whom God speaks to us and to whom he has committed all judgment; he it is therefore who here both pleads with sinners and passes sentence on them. He calls himself Wisdom, Lu 7:35.
 
   How he calls to us, and in what manner.
 
 Very publicly, that whosoever hath ears to hear may hear, since all are welcome to take the benefit of what is said and all are concerned to heed it.  The rules of wisdom are published without in the streets, not in the schools only, or in the palaces of princes, but in the chief places of concourse, among the common people that pass and repass in the opening of the gates and in the city. It is comfortable casting the net of the gospel where there is a multitude of fish, in hopes that then some will be enclosed. This was fulfilled in our Lord Jesus, who taught openly in the temple, in crowds of people, and in secret said nothing Joh 18:20, and charged his ministers to proclaim his gospel on the housetop, Mt 10:27. God says (Isa 45:19), I have not spoken in secret. There is no speech or language where Wisdom's voice is not heard. Truth seeks not corners, nor is virtue ashamed of itself.
 
  Very pathetically; she cries, and again she cries, as one in earnest. Jesus stood and cried.  She utters her voice, she utters her words with all possible clearness and affection. God is desirous to be heard and heeded.
 
   What the call of God and Christ is.
 
 He reproves sinners for their folly and their obstinately persisting in it, Pr 1:22. Observe,
 
 Who they are that Wisdom here reproves and expostulates with. In general, they are such as are simple, and therefore might justly be despised, such as love simplicity, and therefore might justly be despaired of; but we must use the means even with those that we have but little hopes of, because we know not what divine grace may do. Three sorts of persons are here called to:--
 
 Simple ones that love simplicity.  Sin is simplicity, and sinners are simple ones; they do foolishly, very foolishly; and the condition of those is very bad who love simplicity, are fond of their simple notions of good and evil, their simple prejudices against the ways of God, and are in their element when they are doing a simple thing, sporting themselves in their own deceivings and flattering themselves in their wickedness.
 
 Scorners that delight in scorning--proud people that take a pleasure in hectoring all about them, jovial people that banter all mankind, and make a jest of every thing that comes in their way.  But scoffers at religion are especially meant, the worst of sinners, that scorn to submit to the truths and laws of Christ, and to the reproofs and admonitions of his word, and take a pride in running down every thing that is sacred and serious.
 
 Fools that hate knowledge.  None but fools hate knowledge. Those only are enemies to religion that do not understand it aright. And those are the worst of fools that hate to be instructed and reformed, and have a rooted antipathy to serious godliness.
 
 How the reproof is expressed:
 
  "How long will you do so?"
 
This implies that the God of heaven desires the conversion and reformation of sinners and not their ruin, that he is much displeased with their obstinacy and dilatoriness, that he waits to be gracious, and is willing to reason the case with them.
 
 He invites them to repent and become wise, Pr 1:23. And here,
 
 The precept is plain: Turn you at my reproof. We do not make a right use of the reproofs that are given us for that which is evil if we do not turn from it to that which is good; for for this end the reproof was given. Turn, that is, return to your right mind, turn to God, turn to your duty, turn and live.
 
 The promises are very encouraging. Those that love simplicity find themselves under a moral impotency to change their own mind and way; they cannot turn by any power of their own. To this God answers,
 
  "Behold, I will pour out my Spirit unto you; set yourselves to do what you can, and the grace of God shall set in with you, and work in you both to will and to do that good which, without that grace, you could not do."
 
Help thyself, and God will help thee; stretch forth thy withered hand, and Christ will strengthen and heal it.
 
 The author of this grace is the Spirit, and that is promised: I will pour out my Spirit unto you, as oil, as water; you shall have the Spirit in abundance, rivers of living water, Joh 7:38. Our heavenly Father will give the Holy Spirit to those that ask him.
 
 The means of this grace is the word, which, if we take it aright, will turn us; it is therefore promised,
 
  "I will make known my words unto you, not only speak them to you, but make them known, give you to understand them."
 
Note, Special grace is necessary to a sincere conversion. But that grace shall never be denied to any that honestly seek it and submit to it.
 
 He reads the doom of those that continue obstinate against all these means and methods of grace. It is large and very terrible, Pr 1:24-32.  Wisdom, having called sinners to return, pauses awhile, to see what effect the call has, hearkens and hears; but they speak not aright (Jer 8:6), and therefore she goes on to tell them what will be in the end hereof.
 
 The crime is recited and it is highly provoking. See what it is for which judgment will be given against impenitent sinners in the great day, and you will say they deserve it, and the Lord is righteous in it. It is, in short, rejecting Christ and the offers of his grace, and refusing to submit to the terms of his gospel, which would have saved them both from the curse of the law of God and from the dominion of the law of sin.
 
 Christ called to them, to warn them of their danger; he stretched out his hand to offer them mercy, nay, to help them out of their miserable condition, stretched out his hand for them to take hold of, but they refused and no man regarded; some were careless and never heeded it, nor took notice of what was said to them; others were wilful, and, though they could not avoid hearing the will of Christ, yet they gave him a flat denial, they refused, Pr 1:24.  They were in love with their folly, and would not be made wise. They were obstinate to all the methods that were taken to reclaim them. God stretched out his hand in mercies bestowed upon them, and, when those would not work upon them, in corrections, but all were in vain; they regarded the operations of his hand no more than the declarations of his mouth.
 
cont.
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« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2006, 11:03:50 PM »

[2.] Christ reproved and counselled them, not only reproved them for what they did amiss, but counselled them to do better (those are reproofs of instruction and evidences of love and good-will), but they set at nought all his counsel as not worth heeding, and would none of his reproof, as if it were below them to be reproved by him and as if they had never done any thing that deserved reproof, Pr 1:25. This is repeated (Pr 1:30):
 
"They would none of my counsel, but rejected it with disdain; they called reproofs reproaches, and took them as an insult (Jer 6:10); nay, they despised all my reproof, as if it were all a jest, and not worth taking notice of."
 
Note, Those are marked for ruin that are deaf to reproof and good counsel.
 
[3.] They were exhorted to submit to the government of right reason and religion, but they rebelled against both. First, Reason should not rule them, for they hated knowledge (Pr 1:29), hated the light of divine truth because it discovered to them the evil of their deeds, Joh 3:20. They hated to be told that which they could not bear to know.  Secondly, Religion could not rule them, for they did not choose the fear of the Lord, but chose to walk in the way of their heart and in the sight of their eyes. They were pressed to set God always before them, but they chose rather to cast him and his fear behind their backs. Note, Those who do not choose the fear of the Lord show that they have no knowledge.
 
(2.) The sentence is pronounced, and it is certainly ruining.  Those that will not submit to God's government will certainly perish under his wrath and curse, and the gospel itself will not relieve them. They would not take the benefit of God's mercy when it was offered them, and therefore justly fall as victims to his justice, Pr 29:1. The threatenings here will have their full accomplishment in the judgment of the great day and the eternal misery of the impenitent, of which yet there are some earnests in present judgments.
 
[1.] Now sinners are in prosperity and secure; they live at ease, and set sorrow at defiance.  But, First, Their calamity will come (Pr 1:26); sickness will come, and those diseases which they shall apprehend to be the very arrests and harbingers of death; other troubles will come, in mind, in estate, which will convince them of their folly in setting God at a distance.  Secondly, Their calamity will put them into a great fright. Fear seizes them, and they apprehend that bad will be worse. When public judgments are abroad the sinners in Zion are afraid, fearfulness surprises the hypocrites. Death is the king of terrors to them (Job 15:21, &c.; Job 18:11, &c.); this fear will be their continual torment. Thirdly, According to their fright will it be to them. Their fear shall come (the thing they were afraid of shall befall them); it shall come as desolation, as a mighty deluge bearing down all before it; it shall be their destruction, their total and final destruction; and it shall come as a whirlwind, which suddenly and forcibly drives away all the chaff. Note, Those that will not admit the fear of God lay themselves open to all other fears, and their fears will not prove causeless.  Fourthly, Their fright will then be turned into despair: Distress and anguish shall come upon them, for, having fallen into the pit they were afraid of, they shall see no way to escape, Pr 1:27. Saul cries out (2Sa 1:9), Anguish has come upon me; and in hell there is weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth for anguish, tribulation and anguish to the soul of the sinner, the fruit of the indignation and wrath of the righteous God, Ro 2:8-9.
 
[2.] Now God pities their folly, but he will then laugh at their calamity (Pr 1:26):
 
"I also will laugh at your distress, even as you laughed at my counsel."
 
Those that ridicule religion will thereby but make themselves ridiculous before all the world. The righteous will laugh at them (Ps 52:6), for God himself will. It intimates that they shall be for ever shut out of God's compassions; they have so long sinned against mercy that they have now quite sinned it away.  His eye shall not spare, neither will he have pity. Nay, his justice being glorified in their ruin, he will be pleased with it, though now he would rather they should turn and live. Ah! I will ease me of my adversaries.
 
[3.] Now God is ready to hear their prayers and to meet them with mercy, if they would but seek to him for it; but then the door will be shut, and they shall cry in vain (Pr 1:28):
 
  "Then shall they call upon me when it is too late, Lord, Lord, open to us.  They would then gladly be beholden to that mercy which now they reject and make light of; but I will not answer, because, when I called, they would not answer;"
 
all the answer then will be, Depart from me, I know you not.  This has been the case of some even in this life, as of Saul, whom God answered not by Urim or prophets; but, ordinarily, while there is life there is room for prayer and hope of speeding, and therefore this must refer to the inexorable justice of the last judgment. Then those that slighted God will seek him early (that is, earnestly), but in vain; they shall not find him, because they sought him not when he might be found, Isa 55:6. The rich man in hell begged, but was denied.
 
[4.] Now they are eager upon their own way, and fond of their own devices; but then they will have enough of them (Pr 1:31), according to the proverb, Let men drink as they brew; they shall eat the fruit of their own way; their wages shall be according to their work, and, as was their choice, so shall their doom be, Ga 6:7-8. Note, First, There is a natural tendency in sin to destruction, Jas 1:15. Sinners are certainly miserable if they do but eat the fruit of their own way. Secondly, Those that perish must thank themselves, and can lay no blame upon any other. It is their own device; let them make their boast of it. God chooses their delusions, Isa 66:4.
 
[5.] Now they value themselves upon their worldly prosperity; but then that shall help to aggravate their ruin, Pr 1:32. First, They are now proud that they can turn away from God and get clear of the restraints of religion; but that very thing shall slay them, the remembrance of it shall cut them to the heart.  Secondly, They are now proud of their own security and sensuality; but the ease of the simple (so the margin reads it) shall slay them; the more secure they are the more certain and the more dreadful will their destruction be, and the prosperity of fools shall help to destroy them, by puffing them up with pride, gluing their hearts to the world, furnishing them with fuel for their lusts, and hardening their hearts in their evil ways.
 
4. He concludes with an assurance of safety and happiness to all those that submit to the instructions of wisdom (Pr 1:33):
 
  "Whoso hearkeneth unto me, and will be ruled by me, he shall,"
 
(1.)  "Be safe; he shall dwell under the special protection of Heaven, so that nothing shall do him any real hurt."
 
(2.)  "He shall be easy, and have no disquieting apprehensions of danger; he shall not only be safe from evil, but quiet from the fear of it."
 
  Though the earth be removed, yet shall not they fear. Would we be safe from evil, and quiet from the fear of it? Let religion always rule us and the word of God be our counsellor. That is the way to dwell safely in this world, and to be quiet from the fear of evil in the other world.
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« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2006, 11:09:14 PM »

Pr 2:1 My son, if you receive my words, And treasure my commands within you,

Pr 2:2 So that you incline your ear to wisdom, And apply your heart to understanding;

Pr 2:3 Yes, if you cry out for discernment, And lift up your voice for understanding,

Pr 2:4 If you seek her as silver, And search for her as for hidden treasures;

Pr 2:5 Then you will understand the fear of the LORD, And find the knowledge of God.

Pr 2:6 For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding;

Pr 2:7 He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly;

Pr 2:8 He guards the paths of justice, And preserves the way of His saints.

Pr 2:9 Then you will understand righteousness and justice, Equity and every good path.


MHCC

Promises to those who seek wisdom. (1-9)

 1-9 Those who earnestly seek heavenly wisdom, will never complain that they have lost their labour; and the freeness of the gift does not do away the necessity of our diligence, Joh 6:27. Let them seek, and they shall find it; let them ask, and it shall be given them. Observe who are thus favoured. They are the righteous, on whom the image of God is renewed, which consists in righteousness. If we depend upon God, and seek to him for wisdom, he will enable us to keep the paths of judgment.

cont.
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« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2006, 11:10:14 PM »

MHC


 INTRODUCTION TO PROVERBS CHAPTER 2
 
Solomon, having foretold the destruction of those who are obstinate in their impiety, in this chapter applies himself to those who are willing to be taught; and,
 
  I. He shows them that, if they would diligently use the means of knowledge and grace, they should obtain of God the knowledge and grace which they seek, Pr 2:1-9.
 
  II. He shows them of what unspeakable advantage it would be to them.
 
1. It would preserve them from the snares of evil men Pr 2:10-15 and of evil women, Pr 2:16-19.
 
2. It would direct them into, and keep them in, the way of good men, Pr 2:20-22. So that in this chapter we are taught both how to get wisdom and how to use it when we have it, that we may neither seek it, nor receive it, in vain.
 
Ver. 1. thru Ver. 9.
 
Job had asked, long before this, Where shall wisdom be found? Whence cometh wisdom? (Job 28:12,20) and he had given this general answer (Pr 2:22), God knoweth the place of it; but Solomon here goes further, and tells us both where we may find it and how we may get it. We are here told,
 
  I. What means we must use that we may obtain wisdom.
 
1. We must closely attend to the word of God, for that is the word of wisdom, which is able to make us wise unto salvation, Pr 2:1-2.
 
(1.) We must be convinced that the words of God are the fountain and standard of wisdom and understanding, and that we need not desire to be wiser than they will make us. We must incline our ear and apply our hearts to them, as to wisdom or understanding itself. Many wise things may be found in human compositions, but divine revelation, and true religion built upon it, are all wisdom.
 
(2.) We must, accordingly, receive the word of God with all readiness of mind, and bid it welcome, even the commandments as well as the promises, without murmuring or disputing. Speak, Lord, for thy servant hears.
 
(3.) We must hide them with us, as we do our treasures, which we are afraid of being robbed of. We must not only receive, but retain, the word of God, and lodge it in our hearts, that it may be always ready to us.
 
(4.) We must incline our ear to them; we must lay hold on all opportunities of hearing the word of God, and listen to it with attention and seriousness, as those that are afraid of letting it slip.
 
(5.) We must apply our hearts to them, else inclining the ear to them will stand us in no stead.
 
2. We must be much in prayer, Pr 2:3. We must cry after knowledge, as one that is ready to perish for hunger begs hard for bread. Faint desires will not prevail; we must be importunate, as those that know the worth of knowledge and our own want of it.  We must cry, as new-born babes, after the sincere milk of the word. 1Pe 2:2. We must lift our voice for understanding lift it up to heaven; thence these good and perfect gifts must be expected, Jas 1:17; Job 38:34. We must give our voice to understanding (so the word is), speak for it, vote for it, submit the tongue to the command of wisdom. We must consecrate our voice to it; having applied our heart to it, we must employ our voice in seeking for it. Solomon could write probatum est-- a tried remedy, upon this method; he prayed for wisdom and so obtained it.
 
3. We must be willing to take pains (Pr 2:4); we must seek it as silver, preferring it far before all the wealth of this world, and labouring in search of it as those who dig in the mines, who undergo great toil and run great hazards, with indefatigable industry and invincible constancy and resolution, in pursuit of the ore; or as those who will be rich rise up early, and sit up late, and turn every stone to get money and fill their treasures. Thus diligent must we be in the use of the means of knowledge, following on to know the Lord.
 
  II. What success we may hope for in the use of these means. Our labour shall not be in vain; for,
 
1. We shall know how to maintain our acquaintance and communion with God:
 
  "Thou shalt understand the fear of the Lord (Pr 2:5), that is, thou shalt know how to worship him aright, shalt be led into the meaning and mystery of every ordinance, and be enabled to answer the end of its institution."
 
  Thou shalt find the knowledge of God, which is necessary to our fearing him aright. It concerns us to understand how much it is our interest to know God, and to evidence it by agreeable affections towards him and adoration of him.
 
2. We shall know how to conduct ourselves aright towards all men (Pr 2:9):
 
  "Thou shalt understand, by the word of God, righteousness, and judgment, and equity, shalt learn those principles of justice, and charity, and fair dealing, which shall guide and govern thee in the whole course of thy conversation, shall make thee fit for every relation, every business, and faithful to every trust. It shall give thee not only a right notion of justice, but a disposition to practise it, and to render to all their due; for those that do not do justly do not rightly understand it."
 
This will lead them in every good path, for the scripture will make the man of God perfect. Note, Those have the best knowledge who know their duty, Ps 111:10.
 
  III. What ground we have to hope for this success in our pursuits of wisdom; we must take our encouragement herein from God only, Pr 2:6-8.
 
1. God has wisdom to bestow, Pr 2:6. The Lord not only is wise himself, but he gives wisdom, and that is more than the wisest men in the world can do, for it is God's prerogative to open the understanding. All the wisdom that is in any creature is his gift, his free gift, and he gives it liberally (Jas 1:5), has given it to many, and is still giving it; to him therefore let us apply for it.
 
2. He has blessed the world with a revelation of his will. Out of his mouth, by the law and the prophets, by the written word and by his ministers, both which are his mouth to the children of men, come knowledge and understanding, such a discovery of truth and good as, if we admit and receive the impressions of it, will make us truly knowing and intelligent. It is both an engagement and encouragement to search after wisdom that we have the scriptures to search, in which we may find it if we seek it diligently.
 
3. He has particularly provided that good men, who are sincerely disposed to do his will, shall have that knowledge and that understanding which are necessary for them, Joh 7:17. Let them seek wisdom, and they shall find it; let them ask, and it shall be given them, Pr 2:7-8. Observe here,
 
(1.) Who those are that are thus favoured. They are the righteous, on whom the image of God is renewed, which consists in righteousness, and those who walk uprightly, who are honest in their dealings both with God and man and make conscience of doing their duty as far as they know it.  They are his saints, devoted to his honour, and set apart for his service.
 
(2.) What it is that is provided for them.
 
[1.] Instruction.  The means of wisdom are given to all, but wisdom itself, sound wisdom, is laid up for the righteous, laid up in Christ their head, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, and who is made of God to us wisdom.  The same that is the Spirit of revelation in the word is a Spirit of wisdom in the souls of those that are sanctified, that wisdom of the prudent which is to understand his way; and it is sound wisdom, its foundations firm, its principles solid, and its products of lasting advantage.
 
[2.] Satisfaction. Some read it, He lays up substance for the righteous, not only substantial knowledge, but substantial happiness and comfort, Pr 8:21. Riches are things that are not, and those that have them only fancy themselves happy; but what is laid up in the promises and in heaven for the righteous will make them truly, thoroughly, and eternally happy.
 
[3.] Protection. Even those who walk uprightly may be brought into danger for the trial of their faith, but God is, and will be, a buckler to them, so that nothing that happens to them shall do them any real hurt, or possess them with any terrific apprehensions; they are safe, and they shall think themselves so. Fear not, Abraham; I am thy shield. It is their way, the paths of judgment in which they walk, that the Lord knows, and owns, and takes care of.
 
[4.] Grace to persevere to the end. If we depend upon God, and seek to him for wisdom, he will uphold us in our integrity, will enable us to keep the paths of judgment, however we may be tempted to turn aside out of them; for he preserves the way of his saints, that it be not perverted, and so preserves them in it safe and blameless to his heavenly kingdom.  The assurances God has given us of his grace, if duly improved, will excite and quicken our endeavours in doing our duty. Work out your salvation, for God works in you.
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« Reply #11 on: September 01, 2006, 11:15:44 PM »

Pr 2:10 When wisdom enters your heart, And knowledge is pleasant to your soul,

Pr 2:11 Discretion will preserve you; Understanding will keep you,

Pr 2:12 To deliver you from the way of evil, From the man who speaks perverse things,

Pr 2:13 From those who leave the paths of uprightness To walk in the ways of darkness;

Pr 2:14 Who rejoice in doing evil, And delight in the perversity of the wicked;

Pr 2:15 Whose ways are crooked, And who are devious in their paths;

Pr 2:16 To deliver you from the immoral woman, From the seductress who flatters with her words,

Pr 2:17 Who forsakes the companion of her youth, And forgets the covenant of her God.

Pr 2:18 For her house leads down to death, And her paths to the dead;

Pr 2:19 None who go to her return, Nor do they regain the paths of life-

Pr 2:20 So you may walk in the way of goodness, And keep to the paths of righteousness.

Pr 2:21 For the upright will dwell in the land, And the blameless will remain in it;

Pr 2:22 But the wicked will be cut off from the earth, And the unfaithful will be uprooted from it.


MHCC

 
10-22 If we are truly wise, we shall be careful to avoid all evil company and evil practices. When wisdom has dominion over us, then it not only fills the head, but enters into the heart, and will preserve, both against corruptions within and temptations without. The ways of sin are ways of darkness, uncomfortable and unsafe: what fools are those who leave the plain, pleasant, lightsome paths of uprightness, to walk in such ways! They take pleasure in sin; both in committing it, and in seeing others commit it. Every wise man will shun such company. True wisdom will also preserve from those who lead to fleshly lusts, which defile the body, that living temple, and war against the soul. These are evils which excite the sorrow of every serious mind, and cause every reflecting parent to look upon his children with anxiety, lest they should be entangled in such fatal snares. Let the sufferings of others be our warnings. Our Lord Jesus deters from sinful pleasures, by the everlasting torments which follow them. It is very rare that any who are caught in this snare of the devil, recover themselves; so much is the heart hardened, and the mind blinded, by the deceitfulness of this sin. Many think that this caution, besides the literal sense, is to be understood as a caution against idolatry, and subjecting the soul to the body, by seeking any forbidden object. The righteous must leave the earth as well as the wicked; but the earth is a very different thing to them. To the wicked it is all the heaven they ever shall have; to the righteous it is the place of preparation for heaven. And is it all one to us, whether we share with the wicked in the miseries of their latter end, or share those everlasting joys that shall crown believers?
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« Reply #12 on: September 01, 2006, 11:18:39 PM »

MHC


 
The scope of these verses is to show,
 
1. What great advantage true wisdom will be of to us; it will keep us from the paths of sin, which lead to ruin, and will therein do us a greater kindness than if it enriched us with all the wealth of the world.
 
2. What good use we should make of the wisdom God gives us; we must use it for our own guidance in the paths of virtue, and for the arming of us against temptations of every kind.
 
3. By what rules we may try ourselves whether we have this wisdom or no. This tree will be known by its fruits; if we be truly wise, it will appear by our care to avoid all evil company and evil practices.
 
This wisdom will be of use to us,
 
   I. For our preservation from evil, from the evil of sin, and, consequently, from the evil of trouble that attends it.
 
1. In general (Pr 2:10-11),
 
"When wisdom has entire possession of thee, it will keep thee."
 
And when has it an entire possession of us?
 
(1.) When it has dominion over us. When it not only fills the head with notions, but enters into the heart and has a commanding power and influence upon that,--when it is upon the throne there, and gives law to the affections and passions,--when it enters into the heart as the leaven into the dough, to diffuse its relish there, and to change it into its own image--then it is likely to do us good.
 
(2.) When we have delight in it, when knowledge becomes pleasant to the soul:
 
"When thou beginnest to relish it as the most agreeable entertainment, and art subject to its rules, of choice, and with satisfaction,--when thou callest the practice of virtue, not a slavery and a task, but liberty and pleasure, and a life of serious godliness the most comfortable life a man can live in this world,--then thou wilt find the benefit of it."
 
Though its restraints should be in some respects unpleasant to the body, yet even those must be pleasant to the soul. When it has come to this, with us, discretion shall preserve us and keep us. God keeps the way of his saints (Pr 2:Cool, by giving them discretion to keep out of harm's way, to keep themselves that the wicked one touch them not. Note, A principle of grace reigning in the heart will be a powerful preservative both against corruptions within and temptations without, Ec 9:16,18.
 
2. More particularly, wisdom will preserve us,
 
(1.) From men of corrupt principles, atheistical profane men, who make it their business to debauch young men's judgments, and instil into their minds prejudices against religion and arguments for vice:
 
"It will deliver thee from the way of the evil man (Pr 2:12), and a blessed deliverance it will be, as from the very jaws of death, from the way in which he walks, and in which he would persuade thee to walk."
 
The enemy is spoken of as one (Pr 2:12), an evil man, but afterwards as many (Pr 2:13); there is a club, a gang of them, that are in confederacy against religion, and join hand in hand for the support of the devil's kingdom and the interests of it.
 
[1.] They have a spirit of contradiction to that which is good: They speak froward things; they say all they can against religion, both to show their own enmity to it and to dissuade others from it. They are advocates for Satan; they plead for Baal, and pervert the right ways of the Lord.  How peevishly will profane wits argue for sin, and with what forwardness will they carp at the word of God! Wisdom will keep us either from conversing with such men or at least from being ensnared by them.
 
[2.] They are themselves apostates from that which is good, and such are commonly the most malicious and dangerous enemies religion has, witness Julian (Pr 2:13): They leave the paths of uprightness, which they were trained up in and had set out in, shake off the influences of their education, and break off the thread of their hopeful beginnings, to walk in the ways of darkness, in those wicked ways which hate the light, in which men are led blindfold by ignorance and error, and which lead men into utter darkness. The ways of sin are ways of darkness, uncomfortable and unsafe; what fools are those that leave the plain, pleasant, lightsome paths of uprightness, to walk in those ways!  Ps 82:5; 1Jo 2:11.
 
[3.] They take a pleasure in sin, both in committing it themselves and in seeing others commit it (Pr 2:14): They rejoice in an opportunity to do evil, and in the accomplishment and success of any wicked project. It is sport to fools to do mischief; nor is any sight more grateful to them than to see the frowardness of the wicked, to see those that are hopeful drawn into the ways of sin, and then to see them hardened and confirmed in those ways. They are pleased if they can discern that the devil's kingdom gets ground (see Ro 1:32 ), such a height of impiety have they arrived at.
 
[4.] They are resolute in sin (Pr 2:15): Their ways are crooked, a great many windings and turnings to escape the pursuit of their convictions and break the force of them; some sly excuse, some subtle evasion or other, their deceitful hearts furnish them with, for the strengthening of their hands in their wickedness; and in the crooked mazes of that labyrinth they secure themselves from the arrests of God's word and their own consciences; for they are froward in their paths, that is, they are resolved to go on in them, whatever is said against it.  Every wise man will shun the company of such as these.
 
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PS 91:2 I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust
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« Reply #13 on: September 01, 2006, 11:19:15 PM »

continued

(2.) From women of corrupt practices. The former lead to spiritual wickedness, the lusts of the unsanctified mind; these lead to fleshly lusts, which defile the body, that living temple, but withal war against the soul. The adulteress is here called the strange woman, because no man that has any wisdom or goodness in him will have any acquaintance with her; she is to be shunned by every Israelite as if she were a heathen, and a stranger to that sacred commonwealth. A strange woman indeed! utterly estranged from all principles of reason, virtue, and honour. It is a great mercy to be delivered from the allurements of the adulteress, considering,
 
[1.] How false she is. Who will have any dealings with those that are made up of treachery? She is a strange woman; for, First, She is false to him whom she entices. She speaks fair, tells him how much she admires him above any man, and what a kindness she has for him; but she flatters with her words; she has no true affection for him, nor any desire of his welfare, any more than Delilah had of Samson's. All she designs is to pick his pocket and gratify a base lust of her own. Secondly, She is false to her husband, and violates the sacred obligation she lies under to him. He was the guide of her youth; by marrying him she chose him to be so, and submitted herself to his guidance, with a promise to attend him only, and forsake all others. But she has forsaken him, and therefore it cannot be thought that she should be faithful to any one else; and whoever entertains her is partaker with her in her falsehood.  Thirdly, She is false to God himself: She forgets the covenant of her God, the marriage-covenant (Pr 2:17), to which God is not only a witness, but a party, for, he having instituted the ordinance, both sides vow to him to be true to each other. It is not her husband only that she sins against, but her God, who will judge whoremongers and adulterers because they despise the oath and break the covenant, Eze 17:18; Mal 2:14.
 
[2.] How fatal it will prove to those that fall in league with her, Pr 2:18-19. Let the sufferings of others be our warnings. Take heed of the sin of whoredom; for, First, The ruin of those who are guilty of it is certain and unavoidable, if they do not repent. It is a sin that has a direct tendency to the killing of the soul, the extinguishing of all good affections and dispositions in it, and the exposing of it to the wrath and curse of God and the sword of his justice. Those that live in forbidden pleasures are dead while they live. Let discretion preserve every man, not only from the evil woman, but from the evil house, for the house inclines to death; it is in the road that leads directly to eternal death; and her paths unto Rephaim, to the giants (so some read it), the sinners of the old world, who, living in luxury and excess of riot, were cut down out of time, and their foundation was overthrown with a flood. Our Lord Jesus deters us from sinful pleasures with the consideration of everlasting torments which follow them. Where the worm dies not, nor is the fire quenched. See Mt 5:28-29. Secondly, Their repentance and recovery are extremely hazardous: None, or next to none, that go unto her, return again. It is very rare that any who are caught in this snare of the devil recover themselves, so much is the heart hardened, and the mind blinded, by the deceitfulness of this sin.  Having once lost their hold of the paths of life, they know not how to take hold of them again, but are perfectly besotted and bewitched with those base lusts. Many learned interpreters think that this caution against the strange woman, besides the literal sense, is to be understood figuratively, as a caution,
 
1. Against idolatry, which is spiritual whoredom. Wisdom will keep thee from all familiarity with the worshippers of images, and all inclination to join with them, which had for many ages been of such pernicious consequence to Israel and proved so to Solomon himself.
 
2. Against the debauching of the intellectual powers and faculties of the soul by the lusts and appetites of the body. Wisdom will keep thee from being captivated by the carnal mind, and from subjecting the spirit to the dominion of the flesh, that notorious adulteress which forsakes its guide, violates the covenant of our God, which inclines to death, and which, when it has got an undisturbed dominion, makes the case of the soul desperate.
 
  II. This wisdom will be of use to guide and direct us in that which is good (Pr 2:20): That thou mayest walk in the way of good men. We must avoid the way of the evil man, and the strange woman, in order that we may walk in good ways; we must cease to do evil, in order that we may learn to do well. Note,
 
1. There is a way which is peculiarly the way of good men, the way in which good men, as such, and as far as they have really been such, have always walked.
 
2. It will be our wisdom to walk in that way, to ask for the good old way and walk therein, Jer 6:16; Heb 6:12; 12:1.  And we must not only walk in that way awhile, but we must keep it, keep in it, and never turn aside out of it: The paths of the righteous are the paths of life, which all that are wise, having taken hold of, will keep their hold of.
 
"That thou mayest imitate those excellent persons, the patriarchs and prophets (so bishop Patrick paraphrases it), and be preserved in the paths of those righteous men who followed after them."
 
We must not only choose our way in general by the good examples of the saints, but must also take directions from them in the choice of our particular paths; observe the track, and go forth by the footsteps of the flock.  Two reasons are here given why we should thus choose:--
 
(1.) Because men's integrity will be their establishment, Pr 2:21. It will be the establishment,
 
[1.] Of their persons: The upright shall dwell in the land, peaceably and quietly, as long as they live; and their uprightness will contribute to it, as it settles their minds, guides their counsels, gains them the good-will of their neighbours, and entitles them to God's special favour.
 
[2.] Of their families: The perfect, in their posterity, shall remain in it. They shall dwell and remain for ever in the heavenly Canaan, of which the earthly one was but a type.
 
(2.) Because men's iniquity will be their destruction, Pr 2:22. See what becomes of the wicked, who choose the way of the evil man; they shall be cut off, not only from heaven hereafter and all hopes of that, but from the earth now, on which they set their affections, and in which they lay up their treasure.  They think to take root in it, but they and their families shall be rooted out of it, in judgment to them, but in mercy to the earth.  There is a day coming which shall leave them neither root nor branch, Mal 4:1.  Let that wisdom then enter into our hearts, and be pleasant to our souls, which will keep us out of a way that will end thus.
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« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2006, 09:06:28 AM »

MHC

 
 INTRODUCTION TO PROVERBS CHAPTER 3
 
This chapter is one of the most excellent in all this book, both for argument to persuade us to be religious and for directions therein.
 
  I.  We must be constant to our duty because that is the way to be happy, Pr 3:1-4.
 
  II. We must live a life of dependence upon God because that is the way to be safe, Pr 3:5.
 
  III. We must keep up the fear of God because that is the way to be healthful, Pr 3:7-8.
 
  IV. We must serve God with our estates because that is the way to be rich, Pr 3:9-10.
 
  V. We must hear afflictions well because that is the way to get good by them, Pr 3:11-12.
 
  VI. We must take pains to obtain wisdom because that is the way to gain her, and to gain by her, Pr 3:13-20.
 
  VII. We must always govern ourselves by the rules of wisdom, of right reason and religion, because that is the way to be always easy, Pr 3:21-26.
 
  VIII. We must do all the good we can, and no hurt, to our neighbours, because according as men are just or unjust, charitable or uncharitable, humble or haughty, accordingly they shall receive of God, Pr 3:27-35. From all this it appears what a tendency religion has to make men both blessed and blessings.
 
Ver. 1. thru Ver. 6.
 
We are here taught to live a life of communion with God; and without controversy great is this mystery of godliness, and of great consequence to us, and, as is here shown, will be of unspeakable advantage.
 
  I. We must have a continual regard to God's precepts, Pr 3:1-2.
 
1. We must,
 
(1.) Fix God's law, and his commandments, as our rule, by which we will in every thing be ruled and to which we will yield obedience.
 
(2.) We must acquaint ourselves with them; for we cannot be said to forget that which we never knew.
 
(3.) We must remember them so that they may be ready to us whenever we have occasion to use them.
 
(4.) Our wills and affections must be subject to them and must in every thing conform to them. Not only our heads, but our hearts, must keep God's commandments; in them, as in the ark of the testimony, both the tables of the law must be deposited.
 
2. To encourage us to submit ourselves to all the restraints and injunctions of the divine law, we are assured (Pr 3:2) that it is the certain way to long life and prosperity.
 
(1.) It is the way to be long-lived. God's commandments shall add to us length of days; to a good useful life on earth, they shall add an eternal life in heaven, length of days for ever and ever, Ps 21:4. God shall be our life and the length of our days, and that will be indeed long life, with an addition. But, because length of days may possibly become a burden and a trouble, it is promised,
 
(2.) That it shall prove the way to be easy too, so that even the days of old age shall not be evil days, but days in which thou shalt have pleasure: Peace shall they be continually adding to thee. As grace increases, peace shall increase; and of the increase of Christ's government and peace, in the heart as well as in the world, there shall be no end. Great and growing peace have those that love the law.
 
  II. We must have a continual regard to God's promises, which go along with his precepts, and are to be received, and retained, with them (Pr 3:3):
 
  "Let not mercy and truth forsake thee, God's mercy in promising, and his truth in performing. Do not forfeit these, but live up to them, and preserve thy interest in them; do not forget these, but live upon them, and take the comfort of them. Bind them about thy neck, as the most graceful ornament."
 
It is the greatest honour we are capable of in this world to have an interest in the mercy and truth of God.
 
  "Write to them upon the table of thy heart, as dear to thee, thy portion, and most delightful entertainment; take a pleasure in applying them and thinking them over."
 
Or it may be meant of the mercy and truth which are our duty, piety and sincerity, charity towards men, fidelity towards God. Let these be fixed and commanding principles in thee. To encourage us to do this we are assured (Pr 3:4) that this is the way to recommend ourselves both to our Creator and fellow-creatures: So shalt thou find favour and good understanding.
 
1. A good man seeks the favour of God in the first place, is ambitious of the honour of being accepted of the Lord, and he shall find that favour, and with it a good understanding; God will make the best of him, and put a favourable construction upon what he says and does. He shall be owned as one of Wisdom's children, and shall have praise with God, as one having that good understanding which is ascribed to all those that do his commandments.
 
2. He wishes to have favour with men also (as Christ had, Lu 2:52), to be accepted of the multitude of his brethren (Es 10:3), and that he shall have; they shall understand him aright, and in his dealings with them he shall appear to be prudent, shall act intelligently and with discretion. He shall have good success (so some translate it), the common effect of good understanding.
 
  III. We must have a continual regard to God's providence, must own and depend upon it in all our affairs, both by faith and prayer.
 
1. By faith. We must repose an entire confidence in the wisdom, power, and goodness of God, assuring ourselves of the extent of his providence to all the creatures and all their actions. We must therefore trust in the Lord with all our hearts (Pr 3:5); we must believe that he is able to do what he will, wise to do what is best, and good, according to his promise, to do what is best for us, if we love him, and serve him. We must, with an entire submission and satisfaction, depend upon him to perform all things for us, and not lean to our own understanding, as if we could, by any forecast of our own, without God, help ourselves, and bring our affairs to a good issue. Those who know themselves cannot but find their own understanding to be a broken reed, which, if they lean to, will certainly fail them. In all our conduct we must be diffident of our own judgment, and confident of God's wisdom, power, and goodness, and therefore must follow Providence and not force it.  That often proves best which was least our own doing.
 
2. By prayer (Pr 3:6): In all thy ways acknowledge God. We must not only in our judgment believe that there is an over-ruling hand of God ordering and disposing of us and all our affairs, but we must solemnly own it, and address ourselves to him accordingly. We must ask his leave, and not design any thing but what we are sure is lawful. We must ask his advice and beg direction from him, not only when the case is difficult (when we know not what to do, no thanks to us that we have our eyes up to him), but in every case, be it ever so plain, We must ask success of him, as those who know the race is not to the swift. We must refer ourselves to him as one from whom our judgment proceeds, and patiently, and with a holy indifference, wait his award. In all our ways that prove direct, and fair, and pleasant, in which we gain our point to our satisfaction, we must acknowledge God with thankfulness. In all our ways that prove cross and uncomfortable, and that are hedged up with thorns, we must acknowledge God with submission. Our eye must be ever towards God; to him we must, in every thing, make our requests known, as Jephthah uttered all his words before the Lord in Mizpeh, Jg 11:11. For our encouragement to do this, it is promised,
 
  "He shall direct thy paths, so that thy way shall be safe and good and the issue happy at last."
 
Note, Those that put themselves under a divine guidance shall always have the benefit of it. God will give them that wisdom which is profitable to direct, so that they shall not turn aside into the by-paths of sin, and then will himself so wisely order the event that it shall be to their mind, or (which is equivalent) for their good. Those that faithfully follow the pillar of cloud and fire shall find that though it may lead them about it leads them the right way and will bring them to Canaan at last.
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PS 91:2 I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust
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