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is generally underatood ironically, a» if he had »aid, Indulge all the pleasure» to which your corrufit affection» or natural inclination* lead; but know thou, be assured of this, that for all these [things] God will bring thce into judgment ; ¡el this strike an awe ujton 10 thy s/iiriis, and engage thee to be religious. Therefore remove sorrow, or indignation, in allusic/n to the firide and haughtiness of youth in desfiising the religious advices of their friends, from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh ; the indulgence of irregular a/ificlites andßeshly lusts: for childhood and youth [are] vanity ; exfiosed to many strong temptations, very Jirecarious, and may soon come to a fieriod; therefore by serious religion remove evil and sorrow from thee, and remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw night when thou »halt say, I have no pleasure in them.
I. T ET us cultivate and manifest that liberal disposition, which • -t Solomon in this chapter recommends by such weighty argu-> ments. Let us abound in acts of kindness, according to the abilities God has given us, and not think that lost which is given away i though its return may be slow, yet it will be sure and happ/. We know not what evil is before us. Covetous people think this a strange argument for charity; they urge it for saving, ' I may want myself;' but this is no wisdom in Solomon's opinion, for by charity \ve secure something, and may expect the kindness of men, but particularly the care of Providence in future calamities. We should observe the clouds, they do not hoard up their stores and grow bigger and bigger, but empty themselves and make the earth fruitful. Our opportunities will soon be over, and our future state fixed: and our being charitable or covetous will have a great influence upon it. Let us not therefore plead those idle excuses which are so common in the mouths of worldly men, but do good to all that we can, and trust Providence with every future event ; let us not be ivcary in -ati/I duing,for in due time we shall rcafi if we faint not.
2. Let all, especially the young, seriously think of and prepare for death and judgment, for they are most ready to forget it. However pleasant your path may be, and though light may shine around you on every bidei yet remember the days of darkness; you must expect your share of trouble and sorrow. Do not raise your expectations too high, but be moderate in your pursuits and enjoyments ; affliction and death will certainly come ; and after death, the judgment. Young people should recollect the vanity of childhood and youth ; what dangerous temptations surround them, and how uncertain life is; and should consider the future judgment to correct their love of pleasure, and keep them from sensual mirth. But if they will despise the advice of their friends, and walk in the way of their own hearts, they will bring evil upon their flesh and sorrow upon their souls, and will have a dreadful account to give at last. Let us all therefore, seeing we look fur such things, de diligent t that we may be found of him infieacc at his atfiearing.
Solomon here recommends fiiety to yoimg people, from a vieiv of the infirmities rf approaching age, and the prospect of sudden death; and urges a regard to what he had been saying from his own wisdom and care, and the excellency of such kind of writings: and conclude* with recommending religion as what was absolutely necessary to come ^jf well in the future judgment. This chapter is improperly divided frorn the former, the last verse of which is connected with the beginning of this; the most effectual method to put away evil and sorrow, and to relieve the vanity of childhood and youth, it what he here exhorts to.
1 "O EMEMBER now thy Creator, think of him, fear, and serve JLV him, in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, that is, the days of old age, which are full of trouble and sorrow, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no
2 pleasure in them; While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars be not darkened, before the comforts of life are obscured by the dulness of the .tenses; nor the clouds return after the
- rain; when one infirmity being removed, or a little abated, another
3 succeeds, or the former returns: In the day when the keepers of the house, the hands, shall tremble, and the strong men, the legs, shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, the teeth be loosened and drop out, and those that look out of
4 the windows be darkened, that is, the sight be decayed; And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the mouth can hardly be opened to eat or speak, when the sound of the grinding is low, the digestion weak and disordered; and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, be easily awakened by every little noise, and rise early because his rest is broken, and all the daughters of music shall be brought low, the ear and voice shalt fail, so that he can
5 neither sing himself, nor take pleasure in the music of others; Also [when] they shall be afraid of [that which is] high, and fears [shall be] in the way, when the spirits being broken, men grow timorous; dare not venture on high places,stumble at every clod, and fear where no ftar is; and the almond tree shall flourish, the hair shall grow white, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, if it but leap on them it shall put them into a fright, or out of humour; and the desire shall fail, all appetite or relish for former pleasures be lost: because man goeth to his long home, is Just dying, and the mourners go about the streets, every funeral reminds him of hit *wn : the next verse does not refer to the consequences of old age, but is another argument for. early piety, viz. that even in youth
£ death may come suddenly: Or ever the silver cord, the while nervous substance on the back bone, on which the motion of the lower parts depend, be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, that is, the brain, esfiecially its ytlloiv covering; or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern, that is, the vital motion of the heart and lungs (no necessary to the «>• Vol. V. O
culation of the blood) erase: so curious is the contexture Of the human frame, that its life is as easihi and as suddenly destroyed as the motion of some complex machine is stopped, by laosing a cord,
7 or breaking a bowl, or disordering a single wheel. Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it, to be fixed in its firofier everlasting abode. This is the end of human life, and thus have I largely demonstrated the proposition I set out with,
8 Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all [is] vanity.
9 And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea,'he gave good heed, and sought out, [and] set in order many proverbs; tins discourse is not a hasty performance, but the result of deep reflection and careful observa
10 tion. The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and [that which was] written [was] upright, [even] words of truth;
J1 he designed to please as far as he could consistent wi.'A truth. The words of the wise [are] as goads, and as nails fastened [by] the masters of assemblies, the words of the preacher are not only true but affecting; like goads quickening us to duty; or like nails that take fast hold, and leave an abiding impression upon the mind', when driven by the masters of assemblies, the preachers of truth, [which] are given from one shepherd; an allusion to the master shepherd, who gives a goad to him that drives the plough, or a nail to Mm that is to repair a building; so God, the great shepherd, has teachers and officers under him; no goads, no nails, are like his
i'2 word. And further, by these, by what has been said already, my son, be admonished: of making many books [there is] no end; / could easily write large volumes of these matters, but that is needless, seeing things 7iecessarily lie in a narrow compass; and much study [is] a weariness of the flesh; a man may tire himself, and waste his strength and spirits in search of natural knowledge, but never arrive at full satisfaction.
I3 Let ns hear the conclusion of the whole matter, my great design and the most important end of all I have said, viz. Fear God and.keep his commandments: for this [is] the whole [duty] of man ; his whole duty and interest, for this weighty reason,
14 with which I conclude; For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether [it be] good, or whether [it be] evil; though here all tl.ings come alike to all, our intentions as well as actions shall then be rewarded or punished, according to their respective natures. /
1. T ET young people be entreated to attend to Solomon's adJL-# vice; often to think of him who gave them their being, to consider what duties they owe him, to mak-j a sense of him familiar to their minds, and to live in his fear and love; for this will soften the infirmities of age, or reconcile them to an early death.
5. This beautiful description of the infirmities of old age may be serviceable to all ; particularly to old persons, to whom it ought to be familiar, and who should feel the force of every part of the description- Old age was the same in Solomon's days as in ours -y its infirmities nothing but what are common to men, and therefore should be patiently borne. Let us pity the aged, endeavour to make their burdens as light as possible, and not increase them by contempt or neglect.
3. If all that Solomon has said of the vanity of the world docs not convince us, great will be our folly and guilt; we shall ere long know the truth of it by bitter experience, and be ashamed of not believing him sooner. He has plainly proved the fact, and shown that it always was and will be fact. His conc)ubions ar,e the. result of divine inspiration, as well as close'observation of men and things. We are not put off with trite remarks, and what comes next to hand ; but have the strongest arguments methodically ranged, and all the arts of eloquence used to enforce his admonitions. Therefore let us believe that all is vanity, and act consistently with such a belief. Especially,
4. Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter. It cannot be too often repeated: to stand in awe of God, worship him religiously, and observe all his commandments, is the whole of man. This knowledge is plain. To compose and read many books is needless. If the scriptures will not make us wise, no other books will. Remember that this ought to be the principal care of all, young and old, rich and poor: for there is a day coming when every work and secret thing shall be brought into judgment. And let us remember that we are then to give an account of what attention we have paid to this book, and what advantage we have gained by th'u illustration of it.
The SONG of SOLOMON •
I r I 1H E song of songs, which [is] Solomon's. Let him kiss 3 J. me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love [is] better
3 than wine. Because of the savour of thy good ointments thy name [is as] ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins,
4 love thee. Draw me, we will run after thee: the king hath brought me into his chambers : we will be glad and rejoice in thee, we will remember thy love more than wine: the upright
5 love thee. I [am] black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jeru
6 salem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon. Look not upon me, because I [am] black, because the sun hath look-, ed upon me: my mother's children were angry with me; they made me the keeper of the vineyards; [but] mine own vine
1 yard have I not kept. Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where thou makest [thy flock] to rest at noon: for why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions?
8 If thou know not, O thou fairest among women, go thy way forth by the footsteps. of the flock, and feed thy kids beside the
9 shepherds' tents. I have compared thee, O my love, to a com
10 pany of horses in Pharaoh's chariots. Thy cheeks are comely
11 with rows [of jewels,] thy neck with chains [of gold.] We will make thee borders of gold with studs of silver.
12 While the king [sitteth] at his table, my spikenard sendeth
13 forth the smell thereof. A bundle of myrrh [is] my well belov
14 ed unto me; he shall lie all night betwixt my breasts. My beloved [is] unto me [as] a cluster of camphire in the vineyards
15 ofEngedi. Behold, thou [art] fair, my love; behold, thou [art]
16 fair; thou [hast] dove's eyes. Behold, thou [art] fair, my be
17 loved, yea, pleasant: also our bed [is] green. The beams of our house [are] cedar, [and] our rafters of fir.
• There i» neither expositinn nor improvement of the chapter* of this Book in Mr. Orion's manuscripts. Whatever might have been his opinion ot the authenticity of that Book. °l,ne Pr.°P.ric,y of admitting it into the sacred Canon, this I am well satisfied of, that he thought it improper to be read or expounded either in public or in families. Edit.