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God's government of the world, that which I have ture what he will do, or not do. said in the paraphrase seems to me the nearest to thing conduce to the end at which he aims, it is the business. And Jansenius his exposition is not likely he will do it; but if it cross his design, lie forced, who discourses to this purpose : It is part will not. Therefore he passes this judicious obserof God's glory that he need search into nothing ; vation upon the whole ; that princes are best inbesides, he perfectly knows all things; and yet terpreted by their natures, and private persons by need not declare that he takes notice of every their ends.' Advancement of Learning, b. viii. thing, (because he can do it when he pleases Buell from hence also he observes, (in his Grst book), but rather seem to dissemble his knowledge, in which he wonderfully declares his patience and that it is best not to be too inquisitive to penetrate long-suffering towards ns. But kings on earth into the hearts of kings, since we are so ignorant must not herein imitate bim, for it is their honour of the things we see with our eyes every day ; to search diligently and inquire into the state of which the custom of the Levant aims at, that their kingdom, and to correct presently what they makes it an heinous offence to gaze and fis their find amiss, lest it be ont of their power, when it eyes apon princes; wliich is barbarous in the oute is strengthened by long custom and numerous of ward ceremony, but good in the moral : for it be. fenders. But especially in difficult and intricate comes not subjects to pry too far into their prince's business, covered with darkness and obscurity, counsels. But it may as well check the ambition, perplexed with many windings and turnings, and as the curiosity of private persons, because they with crafty and subiile conveyances, there to spy can hardly be sure of that favour which they may light, and by wisdom and diligence to rip up a imagine their prince hath for them; there being foul matter, and searching the cause to the bottom, such depths in their inclinations and affections as to make a discovery of all, is a thing most worthy they cannot sound. of a king, and tends highly to his honour. In But in the next verses princes are admonished, that short, as it makes for the glory of God, that he there is no true policy like true virtue, to support need inquire into 'nothing, but, when he knows their thrones; and that in order to it they should all things, yet conceals that knowledge ; so, on not keep so much as one ill man about them, who the contrary side, it makes for the glory of kings, oft-times corrupts the whole court, and disturbs that when they are forced to confess that they are the whole kingdom. ignorant, as well as other men, of many things, [d] And in the next verse he admonishes subjects, they make such diligent inquiry, that they disco not to be vainly ambitious, nor bold and forver and detect those things, which others have en. ward to thrust themselves into offices, or into a tangled, and would have buried in darkness.

rank that doth not belong to them ; but to be mo. To some such purpose all interpreters expound these dest, especially in the prince's presence, and (ac

words, save one; who refers both parts of the cording to our Saviour's rule) to be invited to hosentence to kings, (understanding by Elohim, Gods, nour, rather than greedily seek it. And withal he. judges and princes), in this sense; “ wise kings secretly commends to kings, the care of keeping preserve the reverence which is due to their per up their state and dignity; not suffering every sons and place, by concealing carefully their own body to intrude into their presence, but giving a intentions and counsels, and by finding out the de check to proud, bold, and saucy persons. signs of other men.” Thus Maldonate, which I Then follow private instructions, not to be too forward mention, because it is a great truth, though not to go to law; and when we do, to manage suits the sense of the words, but rather the meaning of fairly, without aspersing those with whom we conthe following verse, ver. 2.

tend, and without breaking the laws of friendship; [c] Which concerns kings also, as some of those that which require us not to discover the secrets where

come after likewise do, (which would incline one with another hath entrusted us, ver. 9. 10. to think this part of the book of Proverbs, was [e]. In the IIth verse I have followed Maimonides particularly collected for the use of Hezekiah), his interpretation of the word maskijotb, in his preand hath received this gloss from the same great face to his More Nevochim. And it being doubtman I named before, the Lord Bacon ; who gives ful, whether by apples of gold he mean apples this as one of the chief reasons why the hearts of that look like gold, or apples made of gold, I kings are inscrutable, because " they, being at have expressed both. the very top of human desires, have not, for the [f] But I must not give a particular account of every most part, any particular ends proposed to them verse ; and therefore I shall only add, that I have selves, (none at least to which they vehemently taken the meaning of the 16th and 17th verses to and constantly aspire), by the site and distance of be, that moderation is good in all things, especialwhich ends, we inay be directed to take the mea. ly in those that please us; as honey doth, which sure and scale of the rest of their actions; where. was so plentiful in those countries, (as it is in many as there is no private person, who is not altogether other), that it was ordinarily found in the woods, like a traveller, that goes intently aiming at some and holes of rocks, &c. as may be seen in Bochart. certain terms of his journey, where he may stay 1. iv. c. 12. p. 11, de Sac. Animal. and rest ; from whence one may probably conjec- [g] In the 20th verse, I have followed Melancthon in

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what he observes out of Pliny concerning nitre, thus: “ To eat much honey, indeed, is not good, (whose nature is not now well known), that it is ex but to search out their glory, (viz. of just men), is asperated by vinegar or lime. But in the latter glory.” And if we take the verse by itself, then end of the verse, I have kept to our translation, the sense may be this, as the Belgic interpreters which by lebra understands an heart ill affected by translate it, (of whom he, if I mistake not, was grief or sorrow; which he takes literally for an one): “ To eat much honey is not good; but to evil or wicked heart. And makes this the mean. search into excellent things is a great commenda. ing, (which some others have followed), that per tion, and we cannot therein easily offend by extinacious sinners are made inore furious by admo. cess :” which is quite contrary to the Valgar Lanitions.

tin, whose sense and meaning (though not the In all ancient translations there follows after this

words) may be defended, even without repeating verse this sentence : “ As a moth in a garment, the word nut, as we do in our translation, in this or a worm in wood, so is heaviness in the heart of

As honey, though pleasant to the taste, man.” But Saint Hierom, in the latter end of his oppresses the stomach, if it be immoderately used; commentaries upon Isaiah, tells us, that it was sub so, upon a curious search into things sublime and obelo in Origen's Works. Where he noted all su. glorious, (though they be most sweet and desirable perfluous additions with that mark,

to our understanding), we shall find ourselves overh] I must not omit neither, that the 33d verse will whelmed with a greater glory than we can bear." admit of a quite contrary sense to that in our And so the latter part of the verse should word translation, and is by some rendered thus; “ as the for word be thus translated : “ The search of their north wind begetteth rain, (for so it doth in some glory, (viz. of things as sweet as honey, but tranclimates), so a backbiting tongue raiseth up anger scending our knowledge), is glory;" viz. too bright and indignation ;” (which appear in the counte for our weak minds. nance both of him that believes the calumny, and [1]. The last verse, which in the Hebrew belongs to of himn that is calumniated, when he knows how all men whose passions are unruly, is by the Vul. he is abused).

gar restrained to him that cannot command his (i) There is no great difficulty in ver. 26. But tongue ; which is part of the sense.

For as men interpreters are divided about this, whether he may go out of a city without walls when they will, spake of a just man's falling into sin, or into some so every thing is blurted out by him, even the calamity. Melancthon understands the latter, and

greatest secrets ; and by too much liberty lie dismakes this the sense, that “even wise men's minds obliges others, and undoes himself. are extremely troubled, when they see the wicked prevail against the virtuous :" of which he gives a

Ver. 1. THESE

are also proverbs of Solomon, great many examples. But I have taken in both,

which the men of Hezekiah king of Judah and have referred it also to all manner of sufferings, copied out.] Besides the foregoing lessons sententiousand not restrained it to public injustice, as the Lord ly delivered by Solomon, these also were collected Bacon doth ; who hath this excellent observation out of his works, by some of the servants of that upon the place, (book viii. chap. 2. parab. 25). good king, Hezekiah ; who setting himself with all “ This parable teaches us, that states and republics his heart to reform the people of Judah, among must above all things beware of an unjust and in other things wherein God blessed his endeavours, famous sentence, in any cause of great importance, (2 Chron. xxxi. 21.), caused these proverbs to be especially where the innocent is not absolved, but transcribed out of the ancient records, for their fuller he that is not guilty condemned. For injuries ra

For injuries ra- instruction. See Arg. [a] raging among private persons do indeed trouble Ver. 2. It is the glory of God to conceal a thing ; but and pollute the streams of justice, yet only as in the honour of kings is to search out a matter.] The the smaller rivulets; but such unjust judgements almighty Creator and Sovereign of the world declares as I mentioned, from which examples are derived, his supereminent majesty, authority, and wisdom, infect and distain the very fountain of justice. (which cannot be ignorant of any thing), and proFor when the courts of justice side with injustice, cures to himself the greatest veneration, by concealthe state of things is turned, as into a public rob- ing the reasons of his decrees, and of his judgements ; bery, et homo homini fit lupus, and one man preys but earthly princes, whose knowledge is very imperupon another.”

fect, do themselves the greatest honour, when they (k] With this verse, de Dieu connects the next, decree and judge nothing but after the strictest search

ver. 27. and gives the easiest account that I find and examination, and give the clearest reason for their any where, of the Hebrew text; only translating proceedings. See Arg: [b] that particle but, which we translate so, as it is Ver. 3. The heaven for beight, and the earth for depth, often taken in the scripture. And his sense is this: and the heart of kings is unsearchable.] It is as impos. 's though the just may be trampled under foot for sible for vulgar minds to penetrate into the secrets a while by the wicked, yet their glory shall not of state, and understand the counsels and designs of perish ; but remain so fresh and sweet, that it shall wise princes, (and the various ways and means where. be a glorious thing to inquire into their glorious by they project to effect their ends), as it is to know actions.” So he would have the verse translated how far it is froin hence to the highest heavens, or


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how far to the centre of the earth upon which we &c. is no less grateful and valuable, than golden balls, tread. See Arg. [c]

or beautiful apples, presented in a silver net-work Ver. 4. Take away the dross from the silver, and basket. See Arg. [e] there shall come furth a vessel for the finer.] As when Ver. 12. As an ear-ring of gold, and an ornament the finer hath separated the dross from the silver, it of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear. ] will become so pliable, that he may cast or work it A good man will not think himself reproached, but into what form he pleaseth.

rather obliged, by a prudent reproof; which meeting Ver. 5. Take away the wicked from before the king, with an attentive, considering, and patient mind, makes and his throne shall be established in righteousness. So a man receive it so kindly, that he esteems him who let the king not only remove the wicked (who are bestows it, as much as if he had hung a jewel of the scum of the nation) from his counsels and com gold in his ear, or put the richest ornament about his pany, but punish them severely, and his people will neck. be easily moulded to righteousness, piety, and all man. Ver. 13. As the cold of snow in the time of harvest, ner of virtue ; which will settle his kingdom in peace, so is a faithful messenger to them that send him ; for be and make his government durable.

refresheth the soul of his masters.) A trusty messenger, Ver. 6. Put not forth thyself in the presence of the (or ambassador), that faithfully and dextrously exeking, and stand not in the place of great men.] Aud cutes his commission to the satisfaction of the persons among other virtues, learn humility and modesty, if that sent him, is as welcome, when he returns, as thou art a subject, though never so rich; and do not the coldest drink or air is to the reapers in the time of make thyself taken notice of, by too splendid an ap- harvest; for he revives the spirits of his masters, who pearance at court ; much less by intruding thyself into were ready to faint with fear of ill success in their the place where none but the great officers or nobles business. ought to come. See Arg. [4]

Ver. 14. Wboso boasteth himself of a fal:2 gift, is Ver. 7. For better it is that it be said unto thee, like clouds and wird without rain.] He that raiseth high Come up wither, than that thou shouldest be put lower in expectations by promising much, and then deceives the presence of the prince whom thine eyes bave seen.]

n.] them by performing little or nothing, leaves him For it will be much more for thine honour, and thy that depended on these promises, as sad as the country satisfaction too, if, standing at a distance, thou art in people are, after the clouds have made a great shew, vited to come up higher, (whither of thyself thou aná the wind a great sound, but are followed by no durst not presume to go), than to have a check given showers of rain. thee for thy forwardness, and to be disgracefully Ver. 15. By long forbearing is a prince persuaded; thrust out of the presence of the prince, unto whom and a soft tongue breaketh the bone.] It is not prudent thou hast adventured to approach too near.

violently to oppose a prince in his resolutions, who Ver. 8. Go not forth bastily to strive, lest thou know will more easily yield to reason, if one give way to not what to do in ihe end thereof, when thy neigblour his heat, and patiently expect the fittest time to rebath

put thee to shame.] Take some time to consider present things to him ; but this must be done also with well, both the goodness of the cause, and its weigh- soft and tender language, which is apt to bow the tiness, and how to manage it, before thou bring an stiffest minds, and work upon the hardest hearts. action of law against thy neighbour, lest in conclusion Ver. 16. Hast tbou found boney ? eat so much as is thou wish it had not been begun, when he puts thee sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit to open shame, by shewing thou hast impleaded him it.] All pleasures should be used like honey, which wrongfully, or for a trifle.

when it offers itself, cat as much as suffices thee for Ver. 9. Debate tby cause with thy neighbour himself, thy refreshment, not as much as thou desirest; for as, and discover not a secret to another ;] Nay, let me ad- moderately taken, it strengthens the body, and provise thee, though thy cause be just and good, (yet the longs life, so too much of it disturbs the stomach, event being doubtful), to debate things privately, and and turns the pleasure into pain and torment. See if it be possible to make up the difference between Arg. [f] yourselves, especially if it be about a secret business, Ver. 17. Withdraw thy foot from thy neigbbour's which ought not easily to be divulged; or if it can house ; lest be be weary of thee, and so hate ibee.] Which not be composed, yet let not hatred nor anger pro. is wholesome advice, even in the enjoyment of a good yoke thee to discover other secrets, merely to disgrace neighbour, or friend, (the sweetest thing in the thy adversary, when they appertain not to the cause ; world); do not upon every light occasion interrupe bis

Ver. 19. Lest be that beareth it put thee to shame, weightier affairs, lest, having too much of thy comand thine infamy turn not away.) Lest not only every pany, it grow not only troublesome, but loathsome one that heareth reproach thee for thy perfidiousness, to him, and his love turn into hatred of thee. but he be enraged to retort such infamous things upon Ver. 18. A man that bearetb false witness against bis thee, as shall stick so close, that thou shalt never be neighbour, is a maul, and a sword, and a sharp arrow.) able to wipe off the dirt, nor recover thy credit, as There is nothing more pernicious than him that makes jong as thou livest.

no conscience of bearing false witness against his Ver. 11. A word fitly spoken, is like apples of gold neighbour, whose tongue alone serves bim instead of in pictures of silver.) A word of counsel, reproof, or a maul to beat down a man's fame, or break in pieces comfort, handsomely delivered, in due time and place, his estate ; nay, instead of a sword, to take away his

life, and of a sharp arrow to destroy him, not only is to a thirsty traveller, especially when he meets with when he is near, but much more when he is afar off, it in remote and uninhabited places, where he did not not able to answer for himself.

expect it. Ver. 19. Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of Ver. 26. A righteous man falling down before the trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint.] wicked, is as a troubled fountain, and a corrupt spring. ] As a broken tooth or leg out of joint not only fails A truly religious, just, and charitable man, is such a a man when he comes to use them, but likewisse blessing unto all about him, that they suffer no less puts him into pain, so doth a faithless person serve when he is oppressed (and thrown out of authority) them that depend upon him, when they have the by the violence and craft of wicked men, or when greatest need of his help; and such also is the con- he disgraces himself by any foul sin, or loses his fidence that a faithless person himself places in riches, courage, and dare not oppose impiety, than they do or craft, or great friends, &c. which some time or when dirt and filth is cast into a public fountain, or a other will disappoint him to his great grief, when he spring is stopped up, or corrupted and made useless. expects the most from them.

See Arg. [i] Ver. 20. As be that taketh away a garment in cold Ver. 27. It is not good to eat much honey : so for weather, and as vinezar upon nitre ; so is be tbat singeth men to search their own glory, is not glory.] Honey is songs to an beavy heart.] It is as improper to sing plea- very pleasant to the taste ; and to eat inuch of it (as sant songs to a man full of grief, as to take away

his we said before, ver. 16.) is so far from being wholegarment from him in sharp weather, or to pour vine- some, that it is hurtful; and in like manner, to hunt gar upon nitre ; for as the one increaseth his sense greedily after honour and glory, of which men are of cold, and the other irritates the nitre, so such ùn- very desirous, proves at last not honourable, but reseasonable mirth makes a sad man's heart far more proachful to them. See Arg [*] heavy and sorrowful than it was before. Seo Arg. Ver. 28. He that hath no rule over his own spirit, is [8]

like a city that is broken down, and without walls.] He Ver-21. If thine enemy be bungry, give him bread that cannot govern his passions, especially his anger, to eat; and if be be thirsty, give water to drink.] If but suffers them to break out upon all occasions, lies he that hates thee be hungry or thirsty, or wants any open to innumerable mischiefs, like a city unwalled, other necessaries, take the opportunity to express thy or whose fortifications are decayed, which is exposed kindness to him, by succouring him in his need, and to the rapine of every enemy.

See Arg. L'] thereby preserving him from perishing. Ver. 22. For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon


CHA P. XXVI. bead, and the LORD shall reward thee.] For if he have the least spark of goodness in him, it will work THE ARGUMENT.—[a] This chapter begins with a taa change in his mind, and make him throw off all

cit admonition to kings (for whose use principally his enmities; or if it have the contrary effect, he this last part of the book of proverbs was collectshall have so much the sorer punishment, and thou ed, as I noted in the beginning of the foregoing shalt not lose thy reward, which the Lord himself chapter) to be very careful in disposing preferwill give thee.

ments only to worthy persons. For bad men are Ver. 23. The north-wind driveth away rain ; so doth made worse by them, and they do as much hurt to an angry countenance a backbiting tongue.] As the others, by the abuse of their power to the discousharpness of the north-wind scatters clouds, and drives raging of virtue, and promoting vice, as snow or away rain, so a severe countenance, full of indigna hail doth to the fruits of the earth, when they are tion against him that traduces his neighbour secretly, ripe and ready to be gathered. So that we may not only gives a check, but puts a stop to his slan make this aphorism out of Solomon's words, that derous tongue, which would not tell such lies, if “ the blending of summer and winter, would not they were not greedily received. See Arg. [h]

cause a greater disorder in the natural world, than Ver. 24. It is better to dwell in a corner of the bouse the disposal of honour to bad men (and consequenttop, than with a brawling woman, and in a wide bouse.] ly throwing contempt upon the good) doth in the Ic is more desirable (as was said before, xxi. 9.) to world moral ;" where wicked men, when they are dwell poorly, inconveniently, and alone in the open in power, if they can do no more, will at least proair, exposed to all the injuries of the weather, nay, to nounce anathemas against those that do not debe cooped up in a little corner on the house-top, than serve it. to have a spacious habitation and numerous family, [b] So the Hebrews understand the next verse, which governed by a contentious brawling wife, whose per I have extended farther, and translated also those petual scoldings within doors, upon all occasions, is two words, zippor and deror, a sparrow and a wild far worse than the thunder, lightning, and blustering pigeon. (see Psal. lxxxiv, 3. For deror signifying winds, which may molest him without.

here a particular bird, in all likelihood zippor doth Ver. 25. As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good so too ; and then all agree it signifies a sparrow, as news from a far country.] Good and certain news, the other (Bochart) hath proved doth (not a swalespecially from a far country, (from whence it is hard low, but a ring-dove, or turtle, or some of that to have any true intelligence), is as grateful to him kind, which are famous for swiftness and strength that longed to hear of his friends there, as cool water of flight. And the meaning of this verse is, that

curses which fly out of men's mouths causeless. cutting off the legs; as much as to say, a business ly, shall no more alight where they would have committed to such a person will no more proceed, them, than a sparrow which wanders uncertainly, than a man

can go without legs: the latter by or a dove that flies away swiftly, will settle ac drinking in injury ; as much as to say, instead of cording to their direction ;” or thus, " such curses having satisfaction in what he desires, he must be fly as swiftly as those birds (whose propriety it is content to swallow abundance of affronts and illto wander, and to fly up and down) over the head dealing. of him against whom they are directed, and never [e] After this follow several other observations about touch hiin."

fools, in some of which there are words of no Melancthon by curses in this place understands ca. small difficulty ; which I cannot here particularly

lumnies, of which the world is too full; which explain, as some may desire, because it would take shall not rest upon a good man long, before they up too much room. But I have expressed the be confuted. But he himself is forced to conf. ss, sense of them as well as I could in the paraphrase. that sometimes they do great mischief first; and in As, for example, the word dalju, ver. 7. signifying stances in Joseph, Palamedes, Aristides, Theamenes, something of elevation or lifting up, I have exand Socrates, who lost his life by this means. After plained dancing; than which nothing is more un. which, he observes, the tragedy of Palamedes be suitable to a lame man; as speeches full of reason ing acted, (in which the poet bewailed the death of in themselves, are most absard when witlessly apthe best of the Greeks, who sung like as weet night. plied by a fool. ingale, but hurt no man), the citizens expelled the [f] And the word margema, in the 8th verse, which accusers of Socrates out of Athens. But this doth is variously translated by interpreters, I have ex. not so well agree with the Hebrew word, which pressed in two senses of it; but lock upon it as signifies such evil speaking as amounts to a curse ; superfluous to trouble the reader with what learn. which the wise man saith shall not rest upon a man ed men (such as Scaliger and Selden, &c.) have when it is causeless, but fly away like a bir: that set. written concerning the heaps of stones in the hightles no where till it comes to its proper place : “ As way, into which superstitious people were wont to the curse returns many times, and settles upon him cast one as they passed by, in honour to Mercury, that made it, when it lights not on him that was &c. For I do not think this custom was as old cursed ;" which sense, one reading of the He as Solomon's time. Nor is it necessary to underbrew expresses plainly enough, and therefore I stand such a heap of stones, as covered the dead have not omitted it.

bodies of those who were stoned to death; but in [c] After which observations, there follows another, general ang heap of pebbles, or else a sling, as the

to shew that a lewd fool should rather be sent to Chaldee, and the LXX. whom we follow, expound a house of correction, than have any preferment, 'it. ver. 3. Nothing less will cure him, as it follows, [g] And ver. 10. the first word, rab, great, may ver. 4. 5. wliere he admonishes us, how vain it is be applied either to God, or to a prince, and that to hold any discourse with him, any farther than either good or bad. Al which I have taken no merely to show that he is a fool, and, if it be pose : tice of, and expressed the different senses wherein the sible, to confute (not what he says, but) the vain. word chelali is used. But there is one signification opinion he hath conceived of himself. St Cyprian more of the word rab, which Latherans generally hath given a good account of these two verses, in follow, (which I think fit to mention here, because the beginning of his letter to Demetrian ; who I have not touched on it in the paraphrase, and it having babbled a long time against Christianity, makes no improper sense of the place), who take like a madman, with loud clamours only, and no it for a master in any sort of art or learning, and sense, the good Father thought fit to answer him expound it thus: “A master in his art forms all with neglect, and overcome rage with patience, things excellently well; but he that hires a fool, thinking it to no more purpose to go about to 're (or a brengler, as we speak), gives his money to press an irreligious man with religion, or restrain have his work spoiled." Thus Melanethon, who a madman with meekness, than to offer light to takes it to be an admonition belonging to prudence the blind, or speak to the deaf, or reason with a in the choice of fit persons for every business, not brute. But when Demetrian at last offered some. believing those that crack and brag what they are thing that looked like an argument, St Cyprian able to do, &c. ex. gr. Plarimi sunt impostores, qui could not any longer keep silence, lest his modesty volunt videri medici : plurimi indocti concionatores, should be thought disturbful of his cause ; and qui adulantar valgo aut potentioribus. And he heaps whilst he disdained to refate false criminations, he up many excellent sayings to this purpose, that should seem to acknowledge the crime.

mens should meddle only with that which they Melanchon wholly refers both verses to reproaches understand;" conclading with this admonition to

and calumnies; which he shews it is fit, either ut the people, which they should always remember;

terly to neglect, or to confute in a few words. ** Ignorance makes men impudent.” And thus [d] Then the wise man proceeds to shew, that such a Castalio took the word rab, but to this sense : « A fool is very unfit to be so much as sent on a message,

wise man does his business himself, and not by which he will neither deliver right, nor return a, foots, who mar it all.”' good answer. The first seems to be expressed by th] Among other examples of the wise man's obser

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