Proverbs 1

** 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.

* The use of the Proverbs. (1-6) Exhortations to fear God and

obey parents. (7-9) To avoid the enticings of sinners. (10-19)

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

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.
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.
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?
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 every thing 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.
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