Proverbs 11

* An exhortation to king Lemuel to take heed of sin, and to do

duties. (1-9) The description of a virtuous woman. (10-31)

1-9 When children are under the mother's eye, she has an

opportunity of fashioning their minds aright. Those who are

grown up, should often call to mind the good teaching they

received when children. The many awful instances of promising

characters who have been ruined by vile women, and love of wine,

should warn every one to avoid these evils. Wine is to be used

for want or medicine. Every creature of God is good, and wine,

though abused, has its use. By the same rule, due praise and

consolation should be used as cordials to the dejected and

tempted, not administered to the confident and self-sufficient.

All in authority should be more carefully temperate even than

other men; and should be protectors of those who are unable or

afraid to plead their own cause. Our blessed Lord did not

decline the bitterest dregs of the cup of sorrow put into his

hands; but he puts the cup of consolation into the hands of his

people, and causes those to rejoice who are in the deepest

10-31 This is the description of a virtuous woman of those

days, but the general outlines equally suit every age and

nation. She is very careful to recommend herself to her

husband's esteem and affection, to know his mind, and is willing

that he rule over her. 1. She can be trusted, and he will leave

such a wife to manage for him. He is happy in her. And she makes

it her constant business to do him good. 2. She is one that

takes pains in her duties, and takes pleasure in them. She is

careful to fill up time, that none be lost. She rises early. She

applies herself to the business proper for her, to women's

business. She does what she does, with all her power, and

trifles not. 3. She makes what she does turn to good account by

prudent management. Many undo themselves by buying, without

considering whether they can afford it. She provides well for

her house. She lays up for hereafter. 4. She looks well to the

ways of her household, that she may oblige all to do their duty

to God and one another, as well as to her. 5. She is intent upon

giving as upon getting, and does it freely and cheerfully. 6.

She is discreet and obliging; every word she says, shows she

governs herself by the rules of wisdom. She not only takes

prudent measures herself, but gives prudent advice to others.

The law of love and kindness is written in the heart, and shows

itself in the tongue. Her heart is full of another world, even

when her hands are most busy about this world. 7. Above all, she

fears the Lord. Beauty recommends none to God, nor is it any

proof of wisdom and goodness, but it has deceived many a man who

made his choice of a wife by it. But the fear of God reigning in

the heart, is the beauty of the soul; it lasts for ever. 8. She

has firmness to bear up under crosses and disappointments. She

shall reflect with comfort when she comes to be old, that she

was not idle or useless when young. She shall rejoice in a world

to come. She is a great blessing to her relations. If the fruit

be good, the tree must have our good word. But she leaves it to

her own works to praise her. Every one ought to desire this

honour that cometh from God; and according to this standard we

all ought to regulate our judgments. This description let all

women daily study, who desire to be truly beloved and respected,

useful and honourable. This passage is to be applied to

individuals, but may it not also be applied to the church of

God, which is described as a virtuous spouse? God by his grace

has formed from among sinful men a church of true believers, to

possess all the excellences here described.
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