The subject of this book may be thus stated by an enlargement
on the opening verses. 1. The Proverbs of Solomon, the son of
David, king of Israel. 2. Which treat of the knowledge of
wisdom, of piety towards God, of instruction and moral
discipline, of the understanding wise and prudent counsels. 3.
Which treat of the attainment of instruction in wisdom, which
wisdom is to be shown in the conduct of life, and consists in
righteousness with regard to our fellow-creatures. 4. Which
treat of the giving to the simple sagacity to discover what is
right, by supplying them with just principles, and correct views
of virtue and vice; and to the young man knowledge, so that he
need not err through ignorance; and discretion, so that by
pondering well these precepts, he may not err through obstinacy.
Take the proverbs of other nations, and we shall find great
numbers founded upon selfishness, cunning, pride, injustice,
national contempt, and animosities. The principles of the
Proverbs of Solomon are piety, charity, justice, benevolence,
and true prudence. Their universal purity proves that they are
the word of God.
The use of the Proverbs. (1-6) Exhortations to fear God and
obey parents. (7-9) To avoid the enticings of sinners. (10-19)
The address of Wisdom to sinners. (20-33)
The lessons here given are plain, and likely to benefit
those who feel their own ignorance, and their need to be taught.
If young people take heed to their ways, according to Solomon's
Proverbs, they will gain knowledge and discretion. Solomon
speaks of the most important points of truth, and a greater than
Solomon is here. Christ speaks by his word and by his Spirit.
Christ is the Word and the Wisdom of God, and he is made to us
Fools are persons who have no true wisdom, who follow their
own devices, without regard to reason, or reverence for God.
Children are reasonable creatures, and when we tell them what
they must do, we must tell them why. But they are corrupt and
wilful, therefore with the instruction there is need of a law.
Let Divine truths and commands be to us most honourable; let us
value them, and then they shall be so to us.
Wicked people are zealous in seducing others into the
paths of the destroyer: sinners love company in sin. But they
have so much the more to answer for. How cautious young people
should be! "Consent thou not." Do not say as they say, nor do as
they do, or would have thee to do; have no fellowship with them.
Who could think that it should be a pleasure to one man to
destroy another! See their idea of worldly wealth; but it is
neither substance, nor precious. It is the ruinous mistake of
thousands, that they overvalue the wealth of this world. Men
promise themselves in vain that sin will turn to their
advantage. The way of sin is down-hill; men cannot stop
themselves. Would young people shun temporal and eternal ruin,
let them refuse to take one step in these destructive paths.
Men's greediness of gain hurries them upon practices which will
not suffer them or others to live out half their days. What is a
man profited, though he gain the world, if he lose his life?
much less if he lose his soul?
Solomon, having showed how dangerous it is to hearken to
the temptations of Satan, here declares how dangerous it is not
to hearken to the calls of God. Christ himself is Wisdom, is
Wisdoms. Three sorts of persons are here called by Him: 1.
Simple ones. Sinners are fond of their simple notions of good
and evil, their simple prejudices against the ways of God, and
flatter themselves in their wickedness. 2. Scorners. Proud,
jovial people, that make a jest of every thing. Scoffers at
religion, that run down every thing sacred and serious. 3.
Fools. Those are the worst of fools that hate to be taught, and
have a rooted dislike to serious godliness. The precept is
plain; Turn you at my reproof. We do not make a right use of
reproofs, if we do not turn from evil to that which is good. The
promises are very encouraging. Men cannot turn by any power of
their own; but God answers, Behold, I will pour out my Spirit
unto you. Special grace is needful to sincere conversion. But
that grace shall never be denied to any who seek it. The love of
Christ, and the promises mingled with his reproofs, surely
should have the attention of every one. It may well be asked,
how long men mean to proceed in such a perilous path, when the
uncertainty of life and the consequences of dying without Christ
are considered? Now sinners live at ease, and set sorrow at
defiance; but their calamity will come. Now God is ready to hear
their prayers; but then they shall cry in vain. Are we yet
despisers of wisdom? Let us hearken diligently, and obey the
Lord Jesus, that we may enjoy peace of conscience and confidence
in God; be free from evil, in life, in death, and for ever.