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froward pettishness, give up thine office ; but yield way humbly to that displeasure, and seek by submission to satisfy his indignation.
X. 5. As an error which proceedeth from the ruler.
As an error, that proceeds from princes, in the ill choice which they make of those whom they promote.
X. 6. Folly is set in great dignity, and the rich sit in low place.
That foolish and unfit men are advanced to places of dignity and employments in public affairs, while those that are truly able, both for their parts and estate, and are well worthy of eminent places, are neglected and disregarded ;
X. 7. I have seen servants upon horses, and princes walking as servants upon the earth.
Which, what is it other, than as if servants should ride on horseback, while princes walk by their stirrups, as their grooms on foot in a servile attendance?
X. 8. He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him.
It is a dangerous matter, to attempt any thing against authority and established government: whosoever doth so, doth but dig a pit whereinto himself shall fall; and, while he is breaking up an old hedge, is unawares stung with an adder that lay under those bushes.
X. 9. Whoso removeth stones shall be hurt therewith ; and he that cleaveth wood shall be endangered thereby,
Such a one doth as the man, who, while he labours to remove an old heap of stones, bruiseth his feet; or, as he, who, cleaving of wood, cuts himself with the axe, or receives some of the splinters into his eye.
X. 10. If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength : but wisdom is profitable to direct.
Strength without wit prevails not: if the axe be blunt and want an edge, there needs much force to be put to it in vain : wisdom doth, as it were, whet the edge of the axe, and directs to do that, with ease, which otherwise cannot be achieved with much labour.
X. 11. Surely the serpent will bite without enchantment ; and a babbler is no better.
As the serpent which is not charmed will bite or sting the passenger, so will a busy and babbling detractor wound the absent, with his malicious tongue.
X. 12. But the lips of a fool will swallow up himself.
X. 14. A fool also is full of words : a man cannot tell what shall be ; and what shall be after him, who can tell him?
A fool is full of words : a man cannot tell what he would have, or what he would say; and what the end of his speech or drift will be, no man can tell.
X. 15. The labour of the foolish wearieth every one of them, because he knoweth not how to go to the city.
Fools tire out themselves with laboursome and needless circuitions; and, out of simplicity, fetch large compasses over untracked ways, because they do not so much as know the beaten road to the city, which is both easy and short.
X. 16. Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child, and thy princes eat in the morning!
Woe to thee, O land, whose king, being unmeet for age or impotency to sway the public government, is not assisted with temperate and orderly peers, but such as spend that time, which they should set apart to justice, in riot and revelling.
X. 17. Blessed art thou, O land, when thy king is the son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunken. ness!
Blessed art thou, O land, whose king is royally descended, and whose princes are sober and temperate ; eating and drinking seasonably, and without excess, as those that would nourish their health, and not their luxury and disorder.
X. 19. A feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh merry; but money answereth all things.
Feasts are for jollity and pleasure, and wine is for mirth ; but it is money, that must provide these, and all other helps, whether for delight or necessity.
X. 20. Curse not the king, no not in thy thought ; and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber : for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter.
Do not entertain so much as an undutiful thought in thy heart, concerning thy sovereign; neither do thou speak evil of great persons that are in authority, so much as in thy bedchamber ; for God will find means to bring it out, and revenge it; and rather than it should not be revealed, God will cause the very fowls of the air to disclose it.
XI. 1. Cast thy bread upon the waters : for thou shalt find it after many days.
Bestow thy beneficence upon them, which are utterly unlikely ever to return it; for he, that seeth in secret, will, when thou hast forgotten it, restore it unto thee with a happy increase.
XI. 2. Give a portion to seven, and also to eight ; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth.
Be not straight handed in thine alms, but give them liberally to all that have need; for thou knowest not how soon thou mayest have need of others' bounty, nor how soon thou shalt be bereaved of an opportunity to give thine own.
XI. 3. If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth ; and if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be.
As the clouds which are full of rain empty themselves upon earth, so the liberal heart that is full of bounty empties itself in seasonable contributions; and which way soever thou castest thy beneficence, whether to the south or north, thou shalt be sure there to find it, through God's gracious remuneration, with advantage.
XI. 4. He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.
Let not every circumstance of vain fear discourage thee from doing good and distributing : he, that is too curious to observe every wind that blows, shall never find opportunity to sow.
XI. 5. As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child : even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.
As thou knowest not how or when the soul comes into the body; or how and by what degrees the child is formed, in all the several parts thereof, within the womb of the mother; so, much less canst thou know those secret works of God, which he will do in time to come.
XI. 6. In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand : for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether, &c.
Be thou constant and assiduous in doing good, and desist not at any time: if one of thy endeavours succeed not, yet another may; and thou knowest not which of them may speed the best.
XI. 7. Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun.
Indeed life is sweet, and light gives cheerfulness unto our life ; it is a comfortable thing to enjoy the benefit thereof, which our eye sends into our soul.
XI. 8. But if a man live many years, and rejoice in them all ; yet let him remember the days of darkness : for they shall be many. All that cometh is vanity.
But let a man live, and enjoy both the light and all the pleasures and delights of this life, never so many years ; yet, let him bethink himself of that darkness of death, and the grave whereinto he is entering, and consider the long continuance of that darkness, in comparison of this short and momentary life and light; he shall have no lust to surfeit of these things, but shall confess that all that comes is vanity.
XI. 9. Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth ; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth.
Go to then, 0 thou vain young man, take thy full scope of pleasure in thy youth, &c. Deny nothing to thyself, that either thine eye seeth or thy heart desireth; live wantonly and jocundly; but be thou assured, that a day of reckoning will come, when, for
all these wild and lawless courses of thine, God will call thee to a just and severe judgment.
XI. 10. Therefore remove sorrow from thine heart, and put away evil from thy flesh : for childhood and youth are vanity.
Therefore strive to refrain all thy headstrong passions, and rid thyself of those vicious affections and dispositions whereto thou art subject; for thy childhood and youth, wherein thou now vainly rejoicest, are momentary things, gone and passed, ere thou canst find thou enjoyest them.
XII. 2. While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain :
Before thine eyes grow dim with age, so as thou dost not clearly discern the sun, the moon, or stars; and before the evils and miseries of age succeed one another in thee, in a woeful vicissitude:
XII. 3. In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened,
Before the time, that thine arms, which are the guard of this thy house of clay, shall tremble with palsies; and thy legs, which were thy strong supporters, shall bow themselves; and thy teeth grind slowly and difficultly, because they are few; and thine eyes, which are as glasses in the windows of the head, be dusky and darkened :
XII. 4. And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the duughters of music shall be brought low;
When the street doors shall be shut upon thee, as now retired to thine own home, without care of others' visitations or affairs ; when thy slow feeding shall have made thee unfit for other men's tables ; when every little noise, but of a bird, shall wake thee out of thy sleep; and when thy spirits shall be so dull and dejected, that thou shalt take no pleasure in the hearing of the most melodious music :
XII. 5. Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail : because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets.
When thy decrepit age shall make thee so unfit to move, that thou shalt be afraid of every rub or clod that lies in thy way; when the white blossoms of age shall cover thy head; and every light thing, though it be but of the weight of a grasshopper, shall seem burdensome to thee; and all those lusts and desires, which haunted thy stronger times, are now gone and past : for there is no way but this one; man goeth to his long home, the grave; and the mourners, in a hired formality, go about the streets: . XII. 6. Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.
Before ever all thy natural and vital spirits be utterly exhausted, and all the functions and offices of life be quite discharged ; which shall be in the last act of death; for, as, when the cord is loosed, and the bucket broken, and the pitcher broken at the well, or the wheel at the cistern, no water can any more be drawn; so when those vital parts fail, can there be no longer protraction of life. · XII. 10. The preacher sought to find out acceptable words ; and that which was written was upright, even words of truth.
The Preacher sought to find out excellent and divine sentences, and matters of high and singular use; and such he hath indeed attained unto; for that, which is written by him, is full of admirable wisdom and truth.
XII. 11. The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd.
The words of the wise and holy prophets of God are of singular benefit, for they are as goads to prick us forward to all good duties : yea, they go yet deeper; they are as nails driven up to the head, by gracious teachers, so as they cannot easily be pulled out: which words, however they be delivered to us, by several messengers, yet they come all originally from one hand, even from the great Pastor of his Church, the Word of his Father.
XII. 12. And further, by these, my son, be admonished : of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.
By these divine words, O my son, do thou content thyself to be admonished; not roving in thy desires after multitude of other volumes, whereof there is no end; in the compiling and reading of which, there is much toil and weariness of the flesh, and much expense of the spirits.
THE SONG OF SOLOMON.
THE CHURCH TO CHRIST. 1. 2. Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth : for thy love is better than wine.
Oh that he would bestow upon me the comfortable testimonies of his love; and that he would vouchsafe me yet a nearer conjunction with himself; as in glory hereafter, so for the mean time in his sensible graces! For thy love, O my Saviour, and these fruits of it, are more sweet unto me, than all earthly delicates can be to the bodily taste.
I. 3. Because of the savour of thy good ointments thy name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love thee.
Yea, so wonderfully pleasant are the savours of those graces