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4. If the spirit of the ruler rise up against thee, leave not thy place; for yielding pacifieth great offences.
He here shews the excellent use of wisdom in ordering our conversation towards superiors, teaching us to bridle all disloyal passions, to restrain all unlawful attempts, and to maintain the same even and unmoved temper, whatever provocations we meet with to the contrary.-“ If the spirit of the ruler rise up against thee.” The Chaldee hereby understands the power and dominion of any ruling lust, by which a man should not suffer himself to be shaken from his steadfastness, nor removed out of his place, or from his duty. But this interpretation is not consonant with the connection, which is confined to the errors of government, and the inconvenient passions which those errors may produce in the minds of the people. Others refer it to the spirit of rule and government, as we often read of the spirit of judgment, of prophecy, of revelation, of wisdom, of knowledge: so the skill of governing is called the spirit of God, 1 Sam. x. 10, 11 ; xi. 6; and xvi, 14; Isai. xv. 1, 2: and they suppose the sense of this expression to be, If the Lord advance thee to a high situation of power and authority, leave not thy place, be humble and lowly still, forget
not thy obligations to thy brethren, as Deut. xvii. 15-20. But the latter clause of the verse plainly leads us to another meaning.-" If the spirit," that is, if the wrath and displeasure of the ruler rise up against thee; so passion is sometimes called, ch. vii. 9; Prov. xxv. 28; Judg. ix. 23; 2 Chron, xxi. 16; and it seems to denote high displeasure, like that of Saul of Tarsus, who, it is said, breathed out threatenings and slaughter, Acts ix. 1. His rage was as a terrible blast of a storm against a wall, Isai. XXV. 4: and this is further intimated in the phrase of ascending or rising up, as a grievous tempest, or as a flame of fire, 2 Sam. xi. 20; Ezek. xxiv. 8; Ps. lxxviii. 21. If the high displeasure of the ruler, though unjustly and injuriously, be lifted up against thee, as Potiphar's against Joseph, Saul's against David, Laban's against Jacob, and Paul's against the church of Christ“ leave not thy place.” Continue within the bounds of thine own calling and condition ; do not, either through fear or despair, withdraw thyself from thy duty, or, through insolence and impatience, rise up in disloyalty against him whose spirit is risen up against thee; keep still in the rank of a subject, and behave with suitable lowliness and submission. He speaks not against a prudent withdrawing from a storm, as Jacob fled from Esau, David from Saul, Elijah from Jezebel, and Christ from Herod, Mat. x. 23; but against disloyal defection, going out of the ruler's sight, ch. viii. 3. as Israel departed to their tents, 1 Kings xii. 16. He requires us, for conscience sake towards God, to suffer wrongfully, and to be subject even to those that are froward and injurious, 1 Pet. ii. 18, 19; not to violate our allegiance, nor to attempt any conspiracy against our governors, but only in our sufferings to make our complaints known to God, who is a judge between them and us, and who is able to vin. dicate our innocence, as well as to deliver us out of their hands. Every man must abide in his station, as soldiers in an army are to keep in their ranks, 1 Cor. vii. 20, 21. We cannot expect to have the blessing of the Lord any where but in our own place. His promises and protection are annexed to our duty, Ps. xci. 11; 2 Chron. xv. 2. This was the sin of the ten tribes against the house of David, Hos. viii. 4; and of Absalom and Sheba against David himself, 2 Sam. xv. 10. and xx. 1.-“ For yielding pacifieth great offences.” This is a reason ab utilitate, to persuade to the duty recommended. If a subject should conceive that the wrath of a king is implacable, and his lost favour irrecoverable, so that his case is desperate; it is here proved, that, by submission and lenity, he may not only regain his prince's favour, but preserve him from many offences. Some render the words vir sanans, a healer pacifieth great offences, agreeable to tbe Septuagint, “Οτι ίαμα καταπαύεται αμαρτιας μεγαλας: lie that by modest and gentle behaviour seeks to heal the wound, and make up the breach between himself and his sovereign, shall pacify great offences; or, as an invalid in a course of medicine will abstain from what is injurious to him, so a wise man will relinquish those sins by which the anger of the ruler may be stirred up against him. Wisdom is of a healing nature, Prov. xii. 18. and xvi. 24; as we see in the carriage of Abigail to David, 1 Sam. xxv. and of the woman of Abel to Joab, 2 Sam. xx. Others, preferring another interpretation, by mollities or remissio, yielding or fainting, give a double sense: First, that a man's yielding to temptations and passions of disloyalty, causes many offences to rest upon him, being accompanied with many other sins, through his fainting in the day of adversity, Prov. xxiv. 10. Secondly, that yielding for awhile to the tempest, breaks its force, and causes the heart to relent, and to melt towards those who with calmness and humility endeavour to divert it, Prov. xv. 1. and xxv. 15; as a tempest which breaks strong oaks that resist it, does no injury to the weak corn that yields to it; or as wool or mud abates tho force of a cannon ball, more than walls of stone that stand stubbornly against it, Judg. viii. 1, 2, 3; Gen. xxxii. 13-20. and xxxiii, 4; 1 Sam. xxiv. 16-19. and xxv. 32, 33,
5. There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, as an error which proceedeth from the ruler:
6. Folly is set in great dignity, and the rich sit in low place.
Another cause of defection and rebellion against princes is here intimated,-misgovernment; when, through their error and inadvertency, unworthy persons are exalted, and emi. nent and deserving men are depressed.—“There is an evil,” another evil, or a common evil, an evil under the sun in human affairs :-“ as an error,” which is indeed an error; the caph is not a note of comparison or similitude, but of truth, as Judg. xij. 23; Nehem. vii, 2; Hos. iv, 4. and v. 10; Luke xxii. 44. By the word error is denoted a fault committed ignorantly and inadrertently, as Levit. iv. 2; Numb. xv. 24: by which we are taught to put the fairest construction
upon the faults of superiors in the case of misgovernment; it being so easy for them, who must see much with other men's