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. contend with them : it is a sign of real piety to oppose the wick 5 ed. Evil men understand not judgment; their minds are des

praved, and they cannot judge between right and wrong : but they

that seek the LORD understand all (things ;] they that seek di6 rection from his word and spirit will not err. Better [is] the poor

that walketh in his uprightness, than she that is] perverse (in his] ways, though he [be] rich; who gains his riches by dishona

est firactices, or by shuffling ways, which is the proper sense of the 7 word. Whoso keepeth the law, who observes the rules of sobrie

ty, temperance and other virtues, [is] a wise son, and his parents have honour and comfort in him ; but he that is a companion of

riotous [men] shameth his father, who ought to have restrained 8 him and taught him better. He that by usury and unjust gain : increaseth his substance, he shall gather it for him that will pity 9 the poor, who will exercise the charity he has neglected. He that

turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer

[shall be] abomination, instead of making up the deficiency of his Lo actions. Whoso causeth the righteous to go astray in an evil

way, who altempts to seduce upright men into dangerous practices he shall fall himself into his own pit : but the upright shall have

good [things] in possession ; the peculiar reward of that virtue, Il which triumphs over the snares of a seducing world. The rich · man [is] wise in his own proud conceit; but the poor that hath

understanding searcheth him out ; in his discourse he finds him to 12 be but a fool.. When righteous [men] do rejoice, Ethere is

great glory: but when the wicked rise, a man is hidden; men 13 are glad to conceal themselves for fear of ill usage. He that cov• ereth his sins, who excuses or lessens them, shall not prosper : but

whoso confesseth and forsaketh (them) shall have mercy ; con14 fession and reformation must go together. Happy [is] the man

that feareth alway; who has an habitual awe and reverence of the

divine Being and his own conscience : but he that hardeneth his 15 heart shall fall into mischief. [As] a roaring lion, and a rang

ing bear ; [so is] a wicked ruler over the poor people, who are 16 not able to resist his power. The prince that wanteth under

standing [is] also a great oppressor : [but] he that hateth covo

etousness shall prolong [his] days ; a maxim applicable 10 firi17 vale as well as frublic life. A man that doeth violence to the

blood of [any] person shall flee to the pit ; let no man stay him ; he shall be so universally abhorred that his neighbours shall not endeavour to save him. It is wrong to intercede for such per

sons, and it is the glory of a king not to pardon them, though of the 18 highest rank. Whoso walketh uprightly shall be saved : but

[he that is] perverse (in his] ways shall fall at once ; he

who thinks to save himself by artifice and deceit, shall sometime or 19 other fall, so that nothing can preserve him. He that tilleth his

land shall have plenty of bread ; firudent, frugal persons shall thrive : but he that followeth after vain [persons]frequenis

idle and loose company to the neglect of his business, shall have 20 poverty enough. A faithful man, both in word and deed, shall abound with blessings from God and man: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent ; he brings misery upon

himself: it is impossible to be very eager after riches, without vio21 lating integrity and a good conscience. To have respect of per

sons [is] not good; for, for a piece of bread [that] man will trans

gress ; he will get such a habit of injustice as to sell his integrity 22 for a dinner. He that hasteth to be rich [hath] an evil eye, he

envies every one that gets more than himself, and grudges every penny he parts with, especially in charity, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him : this is a paradox ; one would think that the covelous man would consider most of all the best way to thrive, yet in fact he does not, because he doth not 8C

cure the blessing of heaven by generous and charitable actions. 23 He that rebuketh a man, though he may displease him at first,

afterward shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the

tongue; we ought to consider how men will look upon us at last. 34 Whoso robbeth his father or his mother, and saith, [It is) no

transgression ; the same [is] the companion of a destroyer ; he is as bad as any other robber. Children should be content with what their parents allow them; and parents who have it in their power should allow their children some spending money, that they may be under no temptation to steal. Let us all remember that it

is not our persuading ourselves an action is lawful that will make it 25 80: it is our duty to examine and consider. He that is of a proud

heart stirreth up strife : but he that putteth his trust in the LORD shall be made fat, that is, shall live comfortably; while nothing.

makes a man's life more miserable than strife, and living in conten." 26 tion with his neighbours and relations. He that trusteth in his

own heart, who relies entirely on his own judgment, is a fool: but

whoso walketh wisely, who takes and follows good advice, he 27 shall be delivered. He that giveth unto the poor, shall not lack;

he procures the blessing of God upon his substance : but he that hideth his eyes, who does not desire to know those in distress lest

he should be obliged to relieve them, shall have many a curse ; 28 men will censure him, and God will punish him. When the wick

ed rise to power and dignity, men hide themselves, that they may not suffer injury by them : but when they perish, the right. cous increase ; they openly show themselves, and their numbers increase by their mutual erample and encouragement. We here see how much need good men have to strengthen and countenance one another, and how carnestly we should pray that all who are in authority may be just, ruling in the foar of the Lord.


1 U E that being often reproved by good men, perhaps cora

11 rected by God himself, but obstinately goes on in his former

wicked courses, and hardeneth (his) neck, shall suddenly be dee 2 stroyed, and that without remedy. When the righteous are in

authority, the people rejoice : but when the wicked beareth rule,

the people mourn ; groan under their oppression, not daring fier3 haps to speak aloud. Whoso loveth wisdom rejoiceth his father,

who is sincerely desirous of his welfare : but he that keepeth

company with harlots spendeth (bis) substance, and grieveth his 4 friends. The king by judgment establisheth the land : but he

that receiveth gifts to pervert judgment, overthroweth it, though 5 it was, well established before. A man that flattereth his neigh, 6 bour spreadeth a net for his feet ; leads him into mischief. In

the transgression of an evil man [there is) a snare ; he finds hims self undone by the means whereby he thought to ruin others : but the righteous doth sing and rejoice under the protection of God,

The righteous considereth the cause of the poor, that he may do lim justice : [but the wicked regardeth not to know it ;] he

expects no advantage from it, and therefore will not give hin, 8 self the trouble to inquire into it. Scornful men bring a city into

a snare ; but wise (men) turn away wrath ; they divert the fury 9 of men, which the scorner enrageth. [If] a wise man cor tendeth

with a foolish man, whether he rage or laugh, (there is) no rest; whether he dispute a matter with him, or seek to reclaim him, whether he taketh it well or ill, be pleased or displeased, it haih

no good effect ; the best way is to keep at a distance from such 10 persons. The blood thirsty hate the upright: but the just seek 11 his soul, do him all the good offices he can. A fool uttereth all

his mind ; tells every thing he knows, without considering time or persons : but a wise (man) keepeth it in till afterward; chooses the most convenient time and circumstances, and thinks before he

8peaks : a maxim which young people in particular should attend 10. 12 If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants [are wicked ; they 13 will arm themselves with his authority to injure others. The poor

and the deceitful man meet together : the LORD lighteneth both their eyes. The poor, as opposed 10 deceitful, may signify persons of great simplicity ; and the deceitful may mean greai, pola iticians and cunning men : now whatever knowledge and sagacily.

they have God gives it them ; he can enlighten the poor to guard '14 against the shares of the artful, and humble the deceitful. The

king that faithfully judgeth the poor, his throne shall be estaba

lished for ever by the affections of his people, and the blessing of a 15 righteous God. The rod and reproof give wisdom; they should

be used together ; correction without reproof is very absurd : but a child left (to himself] bringeth his mother to shame, who

by her imfirudent fondness has probably done most to spoil him, 16 When the wicked are inultiplied, transgression increaseth : but

17 the righteous shall see their fall. Correct thy son, and he shall

give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul, to see 18 him reclaimed from his evil courses. Where there is) no vision,

no public instruction, no knowledge of religion, the people perish ; - grow licentious and wicked, and so are destroyed : but he that

keepeth the law, happy [is] he ; he shall remain in a prosperous, 19 peaceful condition. A servant will not be corrected by words :

for though he understand he will not answer : a servant that

will not bear a reproof, or take a hint of advice, but is of a conceited, 20 sullen spirit, is a wretched character. Seest thou a man (that is)

hasty in his words, who is rash and conceited, and will not take advice nor submit to direction ? (there is) more hope of a fool than

of him ; better employ a man that has scarce common sense, if he 21 will be ruled. He that delicately bringeth up his servant from a

child shall have him become [his) son at the length ; he who treals serrants with too much familiarity and indulgence, will often find them become insolent and saucy, and expect as much as children,

Where servants are treated with kindness, it should be their care 22 not to abuse it, but to be so much the more solicitous to please. An

angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in

transgression against God and man; therefore we should take great 23 care la command our passions. A man's pride shall bring him

' low ;'shall make him the contempt and derision of all : but honour y shall uphold the humble in spirit ; an obliging disposition will 794 win upon others and gain many friends. Whoso is partner with

a thief hateth his own soul ; endangers both his life and everlasting salvation : he heareth cursing, and bewrayeth [it] not, that is, he hears the adjuration, yet does not discover the truth; alluding

to a law that appointed the oath of the Lord to be given to a person 25 suspected of thefi. The fear of man bringeth a stare ; cowar

dice and excessive complaisance lead men 10 do wicked things : but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe ; shall find security in the greatest dangers, though men should be displeased

with him for not complying with them. It is of more importance 26 to please God than men. Many seek the ruler's favour ; but

every man's judgment (cometh] from the LORD, therefore it is

of more importance to secure his favour than theirs, since final 27 judgment comes from him, as well as worldly prosperity. An

unjust man, though ever so great and powerful, [is] an abomination to the just, and ought not to be courted or countenanced : and (he that is) upright in the way, though ever so excellent and useful, [is] abomination to the wicked, yet he is highly esteemed of the Lord. Therefore let us secure an interest in the friendship of God, for his judgment is always according to truth.


I THE words of Agur* the son of Jakeh, [even] the proe

1 phecy : the man spake unto Ithiel, even unto Ithiel and 2 Ucal, Surely I (am) more brutish than (any) man, and have

not the understanding of a man ; an expression of great modesty 3 and humility. I neither learned wisdom, vor have the knowledge of the holy ; I have no great natural abilities or acquired learn.

ing, but will plainly instruct you in the precents of a pious life. 4 Being asked, What is God? he answers, Who hath ascended

up into heaven, or descended ? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what [is] his name, and what [is] his son's name, if thou canst tell? Who hath ascended and descended to learn his mind and declare it? Who can ex

plain his nature and operations ? 5 Every word of God (is) pure : he [is] a shield unto them

that put their trust in hiin ; rather, have a regard to his revealed

will, and trust in him ; then you will be guided and protected. 6 Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be

found a liar ; lest he take vengeance on thee as a deceiver. 7 Two [things] have I required of thee, deny me (them) not

before I die : they inquired, What is a happy life, and what they 8 should pray for ? Remove far from me vanity and lies ; immod.

erate desires after the world, and deceitful methods of seeking and gaining il : give me neither poverty nor riches ; feed me with food convenient for me ; fix me in the middle condition of life, and if I should be so vain as to think riches will be no snare to me, disappoint my expectations : Lest I be full, and deny (thee, and say, Who [is] the LORD ? lest I become ungodly and irreligious : or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God (in

vain ;] forswear myself to cover the theft. 10 : Accuse not a servant unto his master, lest he curse thee, and

thou be found guilty ; make not any one unnecessarily your ene. my, no not the meanest. It is kind to tell a master a servant's faulis, if he does not know them ; but we are not to slander him, or accuse him falsely, lest he call upon God for justice, and he puna ish us accordingly. They then ask, What company shall we

choose ? He answers, 11 [There is) a generation (that) curseth their father, and doth

not bless their mother ; avoid the company of disobedient, unduti. 12 ful children. (There is) a generation (that are) pure in their

own eyes, and (yet) is not washed from their filthivess ;: who

are exact in external forms, but guilly of gross immoralities in 13 secret, [There is) a generation, O how lofty are their eyes !

and their eyelids are listed up ; their pride discovers itself in their

• Who this Agur was it is impossible to say. Some ancient versions do not read it as a proper name, and suppose the chapter to be part of Solomon's writings; others suppose he We a person of eminent wisdom and piety, who lived in Hezekiah's time, and that these were his instructions to his pupils, or answers to some questions thut they proposed to him.

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