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Full text of "A commentary on the whole Book of Proverbs"

|HcIj0rs Series 0f C^mnictttaries. 





W. LINDSAY ALEXANDEE, D.D., Professor of Theology, Congregational Union, Edinburgh. 

JAMES BEGG, D.D., Minister of Newington Free Church, Edinburgh. 

THOMAS J. CRAWFORD, D.D., S.T.P., Professor of Divinity, University, Edinburgh. 

D. T. K. DRUMMOND, M.A., Minister of St Thomas's Episcopal Church, Edinburgh. 

WILLIAM H. GOOLD, D.D., Professor of Biblical Literature and Church History, Reformed 

Presbyterian Church, Edinburgh. 
ANDREW THOMSON, D.D., Minister of Broughton Place United Presbyterian Church, Edinburgh. 

THOMAS SMITH, D.D., Edinburgh. 







[We have not been able to obtain any information regarding tlie author of this exceedingly 
rare Commentary. He was an old man in 1594, when the second edition of it was pub- 
lished. He must, therefore, have been one of the Elizabethan divines. His name does 
not appear either in the Athena or Fasii Oxonienses, or in the A thence Ccmtabrigienses, in 
Tanner's Bibliotheca, or in Fuller's Church History. His " Commentary on the Proverbs " 
appears to have been his only published work. It will be found to be sound and judicious, 
and well worthy of a place in this series. — Ed.] 





THE former edition of m}- Coimneutary upon the 
Proverbs of Solomon, Riglit Honourable Earl, 
was not only by your honour favourably received, 
but by divers godly Christians right well accepted. 
Nevertheless, it seemed unto some of my friends to 
be somewhat too brief. The former imj)ression be- 
ing sold, they desired me to think upon a second 
edition, and therein to handle matters somewhat 
more amply. Wherefore, according to their desire, 
although mine encumbrances and infirmities have 
been of late exceeding many and great, yet have I 
the second time travailed with my work again, and 
now published a larger and fuller exposition than 
that was which went before ; yea, and added a table 
and another short treatise to the former. If yet 
either in regard of largeness or plainness of writing 
(which I see to be a thing necessary, and which I 
more respect than before I have done) I shall scant 
satisfy all, I would pray them to impute it to my 

want of leisure, the true and only hindrance thereof. 
If there be escapes in the words or in the points and 
distinctions of any sentences, this could not by me 
be remedied, by reason of mine absence from the 
press. If any hereafter of those who best can do it 
shall set forth some perfect exposition upon the holy 
Proverbs, (which to do is a work of infinite labour,) 
it shall be the gain of the church, and the thing 
that I desire. In the mean season. Most Honourable 
Earl, I dedicate once again this my Commentary 
unto your Honour, desiring you with wonted favour 
to receive it, and to bend your eyes to look into it. 
Hoping that you will so do, and wishing all pros- 
perity, as unto yourself, so to all of your most noble 
stock, whereunto I am deeply bound, I reverently 
commend your honour to Almighty God. 

Your Honour's at commandment, 

P. M. 




VEE. 1. The p-ffierls of Solomon the son of David 
king of Israel. 
Two things are contained in this first verse : the 
one, the matter of this whole book, in this word 
p-overhs ; tlie other, the author thereof, in these 
titles of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel. 
Proverbs are certain general, short, and pithy say- 
ings, used, or to be used, in every man's mouth. 
Albeit sundry parables are set down in the writings 
of the prophets, the evangelists, and the apostles ; 
yet this book only of the Scripture is entitled by the 
name of Proverbs, because in it alone proverbial 
sentences are continued without ceasing or intermis- 
sion, and without mingling of stories or prayers, 
or other matters therewithal. For in this little 
volume a great heap of grave and most prudent 
sayings is so nearly couched and so briefly comprised, 
as that proverbs, like drifts of snow, seem to lie 
thick together, and, lilce grapes of the same bunch, 
to cluster one upon another. As concerning the 
methods of this book, neither are the proverbs 
thereof so confusedly shuffled, but that some of them, 
now and then, have affinity and coherence together ; 
nor yet so suitably sorted, but that even those often- 
times which are placed as neighbours very nearly, 
differ far in matter asunder, and have no dependence 

upon one another. But, letting pass the order of 
these divine parables, we are rather to consider the 
author or utterer thereof, who is affirmed to have 
been Solomon. Solomon, in the Hebrew language, 
doth signify peaceable, which name even the Lord 
himself did give unto the author of this book, 1 
Chron. xxii. 9, because in his days, after long wars, 
he purposed to grant such peace unto the Israelites 
as that they might safely and securely sit under 
their vines and under their fig-trees. Now as the 
very name of Solomon, which signifieth peace, is 
sweet, so his stock was honourable, seeing he was a 
flourishing branch or bud, as it were, of David, 
whose son he is affirmed to have been. It is the 
manner of the Hebrew writers, when they mention 
any person, for distinction's sake to set do^\^l not 
only his own proper name, but his father's. But 
whereas Solomon here is called David's son, it 
seemeth to me that his father's name is expressed, 
not only for distinction, but for honour's sake. Never- 
theless, whereas David had divers children, this title 
of being his son was no such special or singular pre- 
rogative, but that it did agree in common as well to 
Absalom, or Adonijah, or the other sons of David, 
as to Solomon. Wherefore, to the end that Solomon 
might be known from all other by the garland upon 
his head, and declared to be more honourable than 
his brethren by his sceptre in his hand, he is shewed 


[Chap. I. 

to have been king of Israel — of Israel I say, the 
chosen people of God, among whom only in those 
days was the visible church. 

Ver. 2. To knoiv wisdom and instncdion, and to 
understand the words oj prudence. 

In this second verse two ends or uses of the 
parables of this book are noted unto us. The for- 
mer end is the knovidng of wisdom and instruction. 
Wisdom is an effectual knowledge of things which 
are to be believed or practised, wrought by the light 
of God's word and Spirit clearing and directing the 
mind and understanding. As concerning instruc- 
tion, it is a virtue consisting in the right using of 
wisdom, whereby, through the Lord's working and 
schooling, the heart and life of men is refoimed. 
The second use of these parables is to understand the 
words of prudence, (or skilful speeches.) These words 
of prudence are those holy doctrines or di-vine instruc- 
tions whereby a man may reform that which is amiss in 
hhn, and govern himself axight in the whole course of 
his life. For wherewithal shall a young man, yea, 
any man, redress his way, but by ruling himself after 
the word of God, every sentence whereof is, as it 
were, a straight line leading to repentance, but espe- 
cially the sentences of this excellent book? 

Ver. 3. To receive the instruction of understanding, 
of justice, of judgment, and of all eqidtij, (or righteous- 

Herein divers parcels of instruction, mentioned 
in the former verse, are specified. First, These 
parables serve unto the renewing and lightening of 
the mind, which here is meant by understanding. 
Secondly, They teach justice, whereby is given to 
every one that which is his due. Thirdly, They 
teach also judgment, whereby the straight rule of 
God's word and his exact law is in every point and 
action observed. Finally, They teach all equity, 
whereby ' whatsoever things are true, whatsoever 
comely, whatsoever just, whatsoever holy, whatso- 
ever acceptable, whatsoever of good report, of any 
praise or any virtue, are thought on, practised, and 
followed after,' PhiL iv. 8. 

Ver. 4. To give unto the simple sharpness of wit, (or 
wariness,) and to the child knowledge and discretion, 
(or wittines.s.) 

Tliat wisdom which Avas spokon of him in the 
second verse, is now in tlii.s divided into certain 

branches, as, namely, into shai-pness of wit, know- 
ledge, and discretion. The simple, by whom they 
are understood who are rude and heedless in their 
dealing, shall by the parables of this book attain 
unto sharpness of ^Y^.t or wariness, — that is to say, 
not only a quick conceit, or good capacity, but a 
forecast in foreseeing of dangers, and preventing of 
harms. For these proverbs have the nature and 
effect of the whole word of God, whereof they are a 
part, which, as the prophet David affirmeth, giveth 
wisdom unto the simple. Again, that chUd, or 
childish person, who wanteth experience or staid- 
ness, or who is a novice, as it were, in understand- 
ing, shall by learning the divine sentences written 
in this book, not only come unto knowledge, or a 
perceiving of truth and error, but unto discretion, or 
soundness in judgment, and staidness in affection. 
For as the fountain of the whole word of God 
maketh those that are exercised therein, Ps. cxix. 
99, more learned than their teachers, and more 
prudent than their elders ; so these sacred pro- 
verbs, as rivers flovsdng therefrom, have the same 
sovereign virtue, and work the self-same wholesome 

Ver. 5. A wise man shall hear, and increase in 
learning ; and a man of understanding shall attain 
unto wise counsels. 

Herein is further declared that the sentences of 
this book will be profitable, not only to the un- 
learned, but to the learned. The wise man, or he 
who already hath some good knowledge in spiritual 
and holy things, shall by the help of these parables 
see into divine mysteries more fully than ever he 
did. Again, a man of understanding, or a profound 
clerk, who is singularly well seen in the Scriptures, 
shall by these proverbs be more furnished than 
ever he was with skill and cunning. 

Ver. 6. 2'o teach (or to understand) a parable and 
an eloquent speech ; the words of the tvise, and their 
dark sayings. 

Solomon now declareth herein what he meaneth 
by the words of prudence mentioned in the second 
verse of this chapter, for they are by him divided 
into four kinds : first, A parable, or a common pro- 
verb ; secondly. An eloquent speech, or a fine de- 
scription of a matter ; thirdly, The words of the 
wise, or choice terms full of art and learning ; last 

Ver. 7-9 ] 


of all, Tlieir dai'k sayings, or hard and obscure 
riddles, which shadow or cover some secret meaning. 
Tiie prophet Habakkuk, chap. ii. 6, describing in his 
prophecy the unsatiable covetousness of the Baby- 
lonians, who had preyed upon all the nations of the 
world, doth threaten those greedy cormorants, that 
the people whom they had devoured should take 
up against them a parable, an eloquent speech, and 
dark sayings ; by which place of Scripture it ap- 
peareth that three of these words do differ one from 
the other, albeit not simply, yet at the least in some 
respect. Now besides these three sorts of choice 
and picked sentences, this our author in the book of 
the preacher, Eccles. xii. 11, maketh mention of the 
words of the wise, which he affirmeth to be as 
goads, and as nails that are fastened. Whereby it 
is further manifest, that even those four terms, to 
vnt, a parable, an eloquent speech, the words of the 
wise and their dark sayings, are to be distinguished 
the one from the other. But howsoever it is, (not to 
stand too curiously on the scanning of the difference 
of words,) it is evident that the fruit of this book 
will be exceeding great, seeing the diligent reader or 
hearer thereof shall thereby be enabled to pierce 
into the meaning of most excellent instructions, 
which are able to build up a man in faith and obedi- 

Ver. 7. The fear of God is the beginning of know- 
ledge : (but) wisdom and instruction fools despise. 

Solomon having declared the use of this book, 
sheweth now the sum or chief point of the matter 
therein contained, and laboureth to stir up every 
one to hearken diligently to the particular precepts 
thereof The word of God, which teacheth and 
engendereth a reverent awe of the Lord, is here (as 
elsewhere in the Scripture, Ps. xix. 9) called the 
fear of God. It is said to be the beginning of 
knowledge, because no art or doctrine, saving this 
only, can bring a man to eternal life. For this cause 
Moses speaketh thus to the children of Israel in the 
book of Deuteronomy, chap. iv. 6, ' You shall keep 
and do these statutes ; for this is your wisdom and 
your prudence, before the eyes of the people, who 
hearing all these statutes will say, only this great 
nation is a wise and understanding people.' Never- 
theless, howsoever indeed the doctrine of God's 
word is the flower of all knowledge which is in the 

world : ' yet (as is added in the latter part of this 
verse) wisdom and instruction fools despise ; ' for 
they neglect and refuse wise counsel given them 
concerning the choosing of that which is good, and 
reject all warning whereby they are admonished to 
shun that which is evil. 

Ver. 8. My son, hear the instruction of thy father, 
and forsake thou not the doctrine of thy mother. 

Ver. 9. For they sliall he a comely ornament unto 
thine head, and a chain unto thy neck. 

After that Solomon hath declared what is the 
chief point of knowledge, he cometh now to ex- 
hort children to obey and regard the admonitions 
of their parents, whereby they may most readily 
attain unto true wisdom. He most lovingly calleth 
every one to whom he speaketh his son, to shew 
that with a fatherly affection he desireth aiid seeketh 
the salvation of all. Furthermore, saith he, hear 
the instruction of thy father ; as if he should have 
said, Inasmuch as instruction is the means whereby 
wisdom is attained, for none is born wise, children 
are before all things to hearken unto counsel, but 
especially to the advice of their parents, as those 
who most naturally tender, and most heartily wish, 
their welfare and well-doing. But it is the part of 
children, not only to hearken to the advice of their 
fathers and mothers, but not to forsake the same, 
either for the seducing of sinners, or for any other 
cause whatsoever. For if that which is planted by 
the father or mother be rooted out by Satan or his 
instruments, or if that which is received by hearing 
is not retained in a good conscience, or a constant 
heart, unto the end, all is to no purpose. Now, to 
the end that children may be brought to regard and 
keep their parents' admonitions, Solomon in the 
next verse declareth the fruit which they shall 
reap by their obedience. ' For,' saith he, ' they shall 
be a comely ornament unto thine head, and a chain 
unto thy neck' — that is to say, as jewels and gay 
apparel greatly adorn and set out those that there- 
with are arrayed and decked, so thy parents' in- 
structions, by thee obeyed, shall grace and beautify 
thine heart and life in such sort as that thou shalt 
seem amiable both unto God and man. For by the 
outward ornaments of comely attire, and of a chain, 
long life, a good name, honour, wealth, the favour 
of good men, and of God himself, yea^ eternal glory 


[Chap. I. 

and happiness, are shadowed out, ivhereunto obedi- 
ent children attain, partly in this world, partly in 
the world to come. 

Ter. 10. My son, if sinners entice thee, consent tliou 

As parents are to be heard, so seducers are to be 
avoided, by whom great danger ariseth, especially 
to those that are young, who are not only void of 
experience, but naturally prone unto evil ; for such 
as go about to seduce are wont to draw youth from 
those good things which they have been taught at 
home. Wherefore, after that children have been ex- 
horted in the former verses to honour theii- parents, 
they are now very fitly dissuaded from following of 
e\'il company and wicked counsel. Indeed all men 
are transgressors of the laws of almighty God ; but 
l)y the name of sinners in this place, notorious 
oftenders, as, for example, thieves and robbers, are 
understood. If then, saith the wise king, either 
any in general, that are set on mischief, or such in 
particular, as use to lie in wait for a purse by 
the highways, entice or allm-e thee by flattering 
speeches or fair promises, consent thou not ; yield 
not to their temptations, but resist them. There is 
no admonition more needful for youth than this, 
yea, it is very necessary even for those children 
who are best disposed, unto whom oftentimes it 
faUeth out that albeit they have been well brought 
up by their parents from the cradle, or are well in- 
cUned of their own natural disposition, yet, if at any 
time they hght into the company or acquaintance of 
lewd persons, they are led aside to do that wliich 
is evil, and to commit all manner of wickedness. 
Many a good man's son hath been cast away at this 
rock, for the which cause it is the more carefully to 
be shunned, especially when the Spirit of God, by 
the pen of the wisest instructor that ever wrote, 
giveth warning thereof. 

Ver. \\. If they shall say. Come with us, let us lie in 
wail for blood, let us freely hide ourselves against the 
innocent : 

Ver. 12. We shall swallow them up alive as the 
grave ; and whole, as they that go down into the pit : 

Ver. 13. We shallfind all precious substance, {a.nd) fill 
our houses with spoils. 

Ver. 14. Thoxi shall cast thy lot amongst vs ; there 
shall he one purse amongst ns all. 

Ver. 15. My son, walk not in the same icay with 
them ; draw buck thy foot from their path. 

Solomon, in the person of a careful father, coun- 
selleth the young man herein to take heed of being 
seduced by the enticing speeches and allurements of 
those who make no conscience to steal or rob by the 
highway. To this end he first bringeth in these 
thieves or robbers, making, as it were, an oration 
to the simple young man ; secondly. In the last of 
these verses, he exhorteth him, though he hear their 
words, not to follow their deeds, not to enter into 
their company : ' If they shall say, Come with us, let 
us he in wait for blood, let us freely hide ourselves 
against the innocent : we shall swallow them up 
alive as the grave, and whole, as they that go down 
into the pit,' &c. In these verses the robbers, pre- 
senting the objection of danger wMch the young 
man might make, declare unto him the course which 
they mean to take in spoiling travellers of their 
goods and Uves. They tell him, first of all, that they 
will n6t openly murder the passenger, but lurk in 
some bush or corner for such an intent, so that, carry- 
ing the matter closely, they shall never be called into 
question. Thus, by breeding in him hope of Ijang 
lud or escaping punishment, they go about to draw 
him into their league, and to make him one of their 
devilish fraternity. Secondly, They shew how sure 
they are to meet with the prey, aflBrming that inas- 
much as they are many and mighty, they will un- 
doubtedly take the passengers and hold them fast 
enough for making hue and cry after them ; for 
they compare themselves to the grave and pit, which 
consume and enclose those persons or things which 
are put or fall thereinto. Wherefore the thieves 
very arrogantly boast that they will bind and spoil 
those that travel by the highway, swallowng them, 
though they be not dead but alive, and devouring 
them, albeit they neither are wounded nor lame, but 
sound of their limbs : 'We shall get all precious sub- 
stance ; we shall fill our houses with spoils ; thou 
shalt cast thy lot amongst us ; there shall be one 
purse amongst us aU,' &c. In these speeches profit 
is propounded as a lure to draw the young man to 
theft and murder. The sense of the former of these 
two verses is, that by the course before spoken of, 
a rich booty, and great store of money, of jewels, and 
suchlike treasures, may be attained, and shall cer- 

Ver. 16-19.] 


tainly be gotten. In tlie 'fourteeutli verse an objec- 
tion is presented wliicli the young man may make, 
who may think or say that peradventure he shall 
take as much pains as other, but find less gains than 
they, seeing it is to be feared that such as are his 
masters in this trade, and captains in mischief, %vill 
challenge the greatest part unto themselves, or deal 
unjustly and unequally -ivith him. Unto tliis doubt 
and secret objection the enticing robbers answer to 
this effect : Albeit we, young man, who persuade 
thee to join with us in taking a purse, as captains or 
masters in this craft, may, by a kind of right, chal- 
lenge to ourselves the greater part of the spoils ; yet 
when we come to divide it we will suffer thee to cast 
in thy lot amongst us, that thereby thou mayest draw 
out such a portion as it shall give or assign thee, be 
it never so great a one. Now to this end, mates 
and fellows all, let every one of us bring that which 
we shall take from the travellers unto one common 
bag, out of which it being afterward drawn, shall by 
lot be parted amongst us aL ' My son, walk not in 
the same way with them ; draw back thy foot from 
their path.' Wliereas the robbers in the beginning of 
their oration said to the young man, ' Come with us;' 
the wise father here chargeth thee quite contrary, 
saying, 'Walk not in the same way with them.' The 
eifect of Solomon's admonition is, that the young 
man is not in any case to keep these seducers com- 
pany, but rather to renounce their acquaintance, and 
to have no lilting of them nor dealing with them. 

Ver. 16. For with their feet they run unto mischief, 
and make haste to shed blood. See Isa. Hx. 7. 

The wise father in this verse dissuadeth his son 
from the company of wicked robbers, by a reason 
taken from the mischievousness of their minds, 
which he layeth open. When he saith that ' -with 
their feet they run into mischief,' he declareth unto 
the young man, that as thieves and robbers go about 
to enrich themselves, so they do not this without 
the harming of others, whom they spoil of their 
goods, and put in fear of their lives. Nay, that 
which is more, and which nature most abhorreth, 
they ' make haste to shed blood,' and foreslow no 
time to commit murder. Who would not now avoid 
the company of such detestable villanies, who not 
only themselves commit that crime, but counsel 
others thereunto? which causeth the earth to cry 

for vengeance ; which the magistrate is, according to 
God's commandment, to punish with death without 
shewing mercy ; and, to conclude, which nature it- 
self doth detest above all other. 

Ver. 1 7. Because the net is sirread in vain before the 
eyes of every foiul. 

Ver. IS. Therefore they lie in wait fm- their blood; 
they hide themselves pivily fm' their lives. 

Ver. 19. Such are the ways of every one who is greedy 
of gain; lie would take away the life of the mvners 

In these his last speeches the gocUy father dis- 
co vereth unto his son the reason why the robbers 
will not openly be seen, but lurk in corners. He 
resembleth them not only to fowlers, but to cunning 
and skilful fowlers, who are careful in laiding their 
trains and nets, that they may not be espied of the 
birds : ' For the net is spread in vain before the eyes 
of every fowl' A heathen poet observed thus much, 
and could say, 

' From nets, the which too open lie, 
The wary bird away doth fly.' 

Now if the fowls of the air have this wit by the 
instinct of nature, to fear and shun the snares which 
they suspect and perceive, much more then have 
men this reason and understanding to prevent open 
mischiefs, and to escape manifest dangers. Hence 
then it cometh to pass, that even as bird-catchers 
are wont to use secret net-laying, because if they 
should openly spread their snares or gins in the 
sight of the wily fowls, their labour should be in 
vain ; so crafty money-catchers and thieves do there- 
fore lurk in corners for blood, because otherwise, if 
they should be seen, they should easily be avoided, 
and frustrated of their jDurpose. This comparison 
of hunting is not only used here in this sense, but 
in other places of the Scripture. For the prophet 
Micah, complaining of the general corruption of all 
sorts of people in his time, speaketh thus : ' All that 
are, lie in wait for blood ; every one hunteth his 
neighbour with a net,' Micah vii. 2. In this land of 
hunting (if with the best writers I am not deceived) 
was Nimrod mighty before the Lord. Of such 
hunters and fowlers Jeremiah complaineth also, 
when he saith, ' Mine enemies do even hunt me as a 
bird undeservedly ; they cast my life into the pit, 
and fling stones at me,' Lam. iii. 52, 53. Wherefore, 


[Chap. I. 

as it followetb, ' Such are the -ways of every one who 
is gi'eedy of gain ; he would take away the life of 
the owners thereof.' Wherein, as I take it, (neither 
only I, but some writers of singular good judg- 
ment,) the application of the foiTner similitude is 
contained. The sum of this speech is, that such is 
the course of all such covetous robbers, that they 
are ready to take away a man's life to have his 
goods. For whereas they know they cannot lie liid, 
nor take away the rich man's goods, if they let him 
escape with his life ; they must for their own safetj', 
and for the obtaining of the prey, as it were even of 
necessity, shed his blood. 

Ver. 20. Wisdom cridh icithout ; she lifteth up her 
mice in the streets : 

Ver. 21. She calleth on the top of the assemblies ; she 
uitereih her voice at the entries of the gates in every city, 
(saying. ) 

After that Solomon hath brought in a godly 
father warning and instructing his sons, now he 
raiseth up, as it were, a matron or queen-mother 
provoking her children unto virtue. Because he 
speaketh of perfect wisdom, which excelleth in the 
highest degree, therefore in the original text he 
calleth her tvisdovis in the plural number, according 
to the Hebrew phrase. Indeed there is but one 
wisdom in reg;ird of the author and fountain of all 
knowledge, who is Jesus Christ, the personal Wisdom 
of his Father ; but in regard of the means and instru- 
ments which this eternal Wisdom useth to lighten 
men by, wisdom is manifold, and as it were several 
■wisdoms are in sundry places, even in the fields, in 
the streets, in the churches, in the judgment seats 
of the city, for what corner or country is there 
wherein the light of truth shineth not, or is not 
levealed either by God's messengers, creatures, 
operations, or inspirations 1 But whereas it skilleth 
much after what manner speeches are delivered, it 
is worthy the observing, that these wisdoms well 
seen in musical harmony, or muses so full of heavenly 
wisdom, are said to cry and to lift up their voices. For 
do they publish the will of God unto us after the 
manner of criers, who make proclamation 1 do they 
lift up their voices as trumpets, to tell us of our 
transgressions 1 do they utter their words after the 
manner of orators, to persuade us unto the practice 
<jf all sorts of virtues I finally, do they sing, as the 

Levites of Israel, to affect us with the feeling of 
matters spiritual ? and do we like deaf adders stop 
our ears at the voice of the charmers, charm they 
never so ^lasely 1 or are we so fast asleep in our sins 
that no noises can awaken us out of the same 1 Truly- 
then we are like unto those frowai'd children, of 
whom our Saviour speaketh in the Gospel, who, 
sitting in the market-place, behave themselves so 
suUenly, that their companions cry out unto them 
and say, ' We have piped unto you, but ye have 
not danced ; we have mourned unto you, but ye 
have not wept,' Luke vii. 32. 

Ver. 22. How long (0 ye simple ones) will ye love 
simplicity, and scorners delight in scorning, and fools 
hate knowledge 1 

Now wisdom beginneth her oration unto mortal 
men, whom first of all in these words she roundly 
reprovetli. The obstinacy of men is reproved in 
this question, How long % for this brief demand is 
thus much in efiFect, as if wisdom had said in larger 
speeches : ye mortal men, how long will ye love 
vanity, and follow after leasing ? will ye not only 
grievously sin, but contmue in iniquity? will ye 
spend so many days, yea months, yea years, in the 
transitory pleasures of this world? finally, wiU ye 
always abuse my patience, and never profit by the 
means of your conversion? The vices wherein 
wisdom complaineth that mortal men so long con- 
tinue, are these three in number : first. Their love of 
simplicity ; secondly, Their delight in scorning ; and 
thirdly. Their hating of knowledge. They are called 
simple ones who offend of ignorance and frailty ; 
such are scorners, who continue in evO, and make 
but a mock of sin. To conclude, all hate know- 
ledge that care not for it, but rather despise it, and 
rage against it. 

Ver. 23. Turn you at my correctum : behold, I will 
po%i,r out my Spirit unto you, I will make knmcn my 
ivords unto you. 

From reproving, wisdom cometh to exhorting, 
stirring men up partly to cease from doing evil, 
and partly to follow after that which is good. 
For whereas she calleth them to turn at her cor- 
rection, she willeth them to return from vice to 
virtue, and from sin to grace. On the other side, 
^vhereas wisdom saith she will poiu- out her spirit, 
and make known her words, she promiseth to send 

Ver. 24-33.] 


the Holy Ghost into the hearts of those that hearken 
to her, and to lighten their minds ^yith heavenly 
knowledge by the preaching of the word. Thus, as 
the prophet speaketh in the psalm, ' The secret of 
the Lord is with those that fear him, and his cove- 
nant to be a witness unto them,' Ps. sxv. 14. 

Ver. 24. Forasmuch as I call, but ye refuse; I 
stretch out mine hand, hut none regardeth ; 

Ver. 25. But ye withdraw yourselves from all my 
counsel, and yield not unto my correction : 

Ver. 26. / will also laugh at your destruction, (or 
calamity,) and mock when your fear cometh; 

Ver. 27. Wlien your fear cometh like an horrible 
desolation, and your destruction approacheth as a whirl- 
wind ; when affliction and anguish sluill come upon you. 
Ver. 28. Then they shall call unto me, hut I will 
not hear ; they shall seek me early, hut they shall not find 

Ver. 29. Because they have hated knowledge, and not 
chosen the fear of the Lord : 

Ver. 30. Nor yielded unto my counsel, but despised 
all my correction. 

Ver. 31. Thus shall they eat the fruit of their own 
ways, and be filled with their own wicked devices. 

Ver. 32. For ease slayeth the foolish, and the pros- 
perity of fools destroyeth them. 

Ver. 33. But he that hearkeneth unto me shall dwell 
securely, and be quiet from fear of evil. 

Hitherto we have heard how wisdom hath re- 
proved and exhorted mortal men; now in these 
verses we are to consider how she upbraideth and 
threateneth tliem. First, She objecteth unto them 
their refusing to come at her call and beck, in these 
words, ' Forasmuch as I call, and ye refuse ; I stretch 
out mine hand, and none regardeth.' The benefit 
of calhng men by God's word is exceeding great ; 
for God dealeth not thus with all people, neither 
have the heathen knowledge of his law. It is an 
honour to be invited to the feast of an earthly 
prince; how much more to be bidden unto the 
banquet of the King of kings ? And as the desiring 
of any to dinner or supper is a sign of love and 
goodwill in him that offereth this courtesy, so it is 
a pomt of great ungentleness and sullenness for a 
man without just cause to refuse so kind a proffer ; 
for in so doing he sheweth that he maketh none 
account at all of him, who not only hath borne to- 

ward him a loving affection, but made declaration 
thereof in some sort, and gone about to seal it by 
certain pawns and pledges of friendship ; yea, that 
which is yet more, he causeth him to lose the cost 
which he hath bestowed about provision and enter- 
tainment, and his messengers to lose their speech 
and their pains and travail. Wherefore the wise 
stand ia this case so affected, that neither they can 
abide to be said nay, when they call their neigh- 
bours or friends to eat and drink with them, neither 
yet will hghtly say nay themselves, when they are 
by any of their acquaintance requested home to 
their houses, thinking it a contempt to be denied 
when they seek to make other partakers of the good 
things which they possess and provide, and a fault 
to deny when they are spoken unto to taste the 
sweetness, not so much of a table well furnished, as 
of amity, and of a friend well affected. Now then, 
whenas those that are bidden to the kingdom of 
God, Luke xiv. 18, desire to be held excused, some 
pleading one thing, some another, how can this be 
but a great sin ? but when God shall not only caU 
with his voice, but all day long stretch out his hand 
to a rebeUious people, continuing his word preached 
with aU means thereunto appertaining ; as the grace 
offered in this respect is doubled, so the sin of not 
profiting thereby is trebled and mightily increased. 
And yet nevertheless many there are who neither 
regard the Lord's word nor his worlvs, yea, and who 
withdraw themselves from all his counsel, and yield 
not unto his con-ection. For though the Lord by 
his counsel instruct them to choose that wliich is 
good, and by his correction warn them to take heed 
of evil, yet they remain impenitent and disobedient; 
for they are hke to stubborn cliildren, who neither 
care for their father's advice nor stripes. Such 
were the inhabitants of Chora2in, of Bethsaida, 
Luke X. 13, yea, and of Jerusalem, among whom 
many good doctrines were taught, and many strange 
miracles wrought, but they no whit the better. 
Certainly the Lord "vviU not suffer by any means this 
contempt of his judgments to be unpunished, nay, 
he will most severely revenge it, as appeareth by 
the words following : ' I will also laugh at your de- 
struction, and mock when your fear cometh.' There 
is not in the Lord any such affection or disposition 
of laughing or mocking as is in man, but when in 




[Chap. I. 

the course of liis providence lie so worketli that he 
leaveth the mcked in their miseries, or maketh them 
a mocking stock to the world, he is said ia the 
Scripture to scorn, or to have them in derision, be- 
cause he dealeth as a man which scorneth. Now 
we know, that if no man visit him who is in adver- 
sity, the afflicted person taketh it heavily ; but if 
any shall rejoice at his trouble, this is a double 
corsey to him. Oh then, when the Lord himself 
shall not only not visit, but deride the wicked in 
the time of their calamities, must not this needs be 
unto them a state as hard to be borne as hell itself? 
Surely it must needs be a thing intolerable, especially 
considering that their fear cometh like a horrible 
desolation, and their destruction approacheth as a 
whirlwind. For although the Lord should not 
laugh at the wicked, being in a most woeful plight 
and condition ; yet should they have sufficient cause 
to weep, and to shed even tears of blood, if it were 
possible. For, first, alas ! (but why do I pity the 
impenitent, whom the Lord justly scorneth T) de- 
solation shall strip and spoil them of all their com- 
forts, ornaments, possessions, and inheritances : for 
if not in this world, yet in the world to come, they 
shall be deprived of aU good things. Secondly, Even 
as the wind doth blow the dust or chaff hither and 
thither, or as the whirlwind doth suddenly throw 
down mighty trees and buildings, so some sudden 
judgment shall drive the unrepentant sinners into 
the grave and into hell-fire. The day of the Lord 
shall come upon them as a thief in the night, or as 
travail on a woman with child, which seizeth upon 
her suddenly, sometimes when she is asleep, some- 
times when she is at meat, sometimes when she is 
least fearful, yea, and sometimes when she is most 
jojrful. Last of all, as followeth in the next words, 
' affliction and anguish shall come upon the wicked ; ' 
for the pains of the body and terrors of the mind 
shall wring and sting them here, while they live in 
this world ; and when they are departed, the chains 
of darkness and torments of hell shall vex and 
plague them even for ever and ever. It may be that 
these wretches, when they feel such unspeakable 
miseries, will beg some crumb of the Lord's mercies, 
as Dives requested a drop of water at Abraham's 
hands, or wiU cry to Christ for comfort, as Esau 
howled unto Isaac for a blessing. But what saith 

the Lord, or what saith the heavenly vrisdom of God, 
Christ Jesus 1 ' Then shall they call unto me, but I 
will not hear ; they shall seek me early, but they 
shall not find me.' This is a sore judgment, that 
God wiU not hear the prayers of unrepentant 
sinners when they are in misery ; for when the 
afflicted are forsaken by men, this only refuge they 
have, that they may pray to God, wherein, if they 
find no comfort or help, how wretched is their estate ! 
It may be here objected, that God sometimes grant- 
eth the desires of the wicked, and delivereth them 
out of trouble, when they cry unto him. This is 
true indeed, but when once the time of their utter 
ruin, and of the fulness of God's wrath cometh, then 
all their supplications and tears are vain ; yea, 
though they seek the Lord early, and rise betimes 
to find him out, yet all their labour and travail shall 
be lost. A reason why these wicked people shall 
not be heard in their miseries, is rendered in the 
verses following, which shew what wrongs and in- 
juries they have done to wisdom ; for it is said 
that they have hated knowledge, and not chosen the 
fear of the Lord, nor yielded unto her counsel, but 
despised all her correction. A great fault it is 
even to hate that knowledge whereby God and 
Christ is made manifest ; for this is eternal life, to 
know the Father to be the true God, and him whom 
he hath sent, Jesus Christ. Now this knowledge 
springeth from the fear and the word of God, which 
before hath been affirmed to be the beginning of 
wisdom. Wherefore, when men make no account 
of the fear of the Lord, this is another grievous 
sin of theirs. But to refuse or reject that good 
counsel of God, whereby he declareth to men the 
means of their welfare and salvation, or persuadeth 
them thereunto, is yet a higher degree, as it were, 
of rebeUion. Only the despising of all correction, 
which is the last fault here rehearsed, is more hein- 
ous and unpai'donable than all the former offences, 
inasmuch as it is a sign of an obstinate and repro- 
bate heart not to be molhfied or vanquished with 
any rebukes or punishments. No marvel then if 
vnsdom, justifying her severity to all the world, do 
in the next verse even triumph over her enemies in 
these words, ' Thus shall they eat the fruit of their 
o'vsTi way, and be filled with their own wicked de- 
vices.' As if she should have said, this is the golden 

Ver. 24-33.J 



harvest of the wicked, that as they sow to the flesh, 
so they shall reap of the flesh corruption ; yea, this 
is also their cup or portion, that they shall not only 
be punished, but be made drunk as it were with the 
plagues of the Lord, which for their manifold mis- 
deeds shall fall upon them in great abundance. These 
evils properly or principally come not upon the 
wicked from the Lord, but originally spring from 
themselves, as wisdom testifieth in the conclusion of 
her speech ; for, saith she, ease, or as some trans- 
late, frowardness slayeth the foolish, and the pros- 
perity of fools destroyeth them. The root of all 
sin, yea, of the utter ruin of all sinners, is their 
delight in iniquity, increased by hope of impunity, 
and by enjoying of prosperity for the time. The 
truth hereof may appear in that which the pro- 
phet Jeremiah speaketh of Moab. For, saith he, 
' Moab is at rest from her youth, and is settled upon 
her dregs, neither is poured from vessel to vessel, 
and hath not gone into captivity j wherefore her 
favour remaineth in her, and her scent is not changed. 
For this cause the days will come, saith the Lord, 
when I will send strangers against her, which shall 
deal strangely with her, and shall empty her vessels 
and scatter her bottles,' Jer. xl\-iii. 11, 12. By which 
borrowed speeches the Lord meaneth that he will 
bring his judgments on the people of Moab, and by 
tossing and rolling them up and down, draw them to 
humiUty. To conclude, on the contrary side, saith 
wisdom, in the shutting up and pausing of her ex- 
cellent oration, 'hut he who hearkeneth to me shall 
dwell safely, and be quiet from fear of evil.' As if 
she should have said in larger speech, that person 
which obeyeth my precepts and putteth my coun- 
sels in practice, shall not only be safe from calami- 
ties and heavy judgments, but even free from the 
dread of evil, wherewith to be shaken is oftentimes 
very grievous; for indeed the godly, not being 
guilty to themselves of grievous crimes, or at least 
being assured of the remission of all their sins through 
Christ, have peace with God, and are secure in the 
midst of great dangers and troubles oftentimes. 
This promise then, in this place, is all one with that 
in Leviticus, where the Lord speaketh thus to the 
observers of liis laws, ' You shall eat your bread even 
unto fulness, and dwell securely in the land,' Lev. 
xxvi. 5. Be it so, that some fits of fear, like 

grudgings of an ague, in the midst of fiery tempta- 
tion, begin sometimes to cause the faithful to quake a 
little, yet the grace of God's Spirit \idll so drive them 
out in tune, and put them all to fiight in such man- 
ner in the end, that instead of timorousness, 
stoutness ; of unquietness, peace ; of bashfulness, 
boldness ; of shrinking, triumphing will arise. Oh 
the valiant courage and unterrified heart of the 
Christian laiight and spiritual champion who is 
furnished with the whole armour of God, spoken of 
in the epistle to the Ephesians, and fighteth under 
the banner of divine vrisdom, his renowned lady and 
mistress, for certainly he resteth in the secret of the 
Highest, and lodgeth in the shadow of the Almighty. 
Who saith unto the Lord, Thou art my refuge and my 
fortress ; my God, in whom I put mine afiiance. 
What evil or instrument of death and destruction is 
there then whereof the faithful man hath cause to 
be afraid 1 The privy practices of Satan or his in- 
struments need not any whit at all to trouble his 
mind, seeing God above will safely preserve him 
from the snare of the hunter, or crafty and cniel 
pursuer. As for the troublesome speech of the 
slanderer or accuser, (for so I take the meaning of 
the prophet, with the Greek translators, and the old 
Latin interpreter,) he need not be moved therewithal, 
seeing also he shall be delivered from the scourge of 
the tongue. Now so strong and large is the wing 
of our heavenly wisdom, and so broad and invincible 
is the slaield of faith, whereby hold is laid on her, 
that no messenger of death, be he never so terrible ; 
no weapon of destruction, be it never so sharp, like 
an arrow or dart ; no pestilence, be it never so in- 
fectious; no disease, be it never so dangerous ; finally, 
no evil, never so pernicious, at what time soever it 
shall be stirring, shall be able to hurt the righteous 
and innocent person, so that he hath no cause there- 
with to be affrighted. For though infinite milUons 
of other people fall by famine, sword, pestilence, or 
other evils round about, yet the godly shall be pre- 
served alive, if need require, for they shall be left 
as God's witnesses to behold the just vengeance 
of the Lord upon the wicked ; even as the Israel- 
ites saw the Egyptians with their eyes drowned 
in the Red Sea. For when they make God their 
refuge, and the Highest their defenced city, no 
evU shall touch them, no, nor enter into their 



[Chap. II. 

family to the hurting of their children and servants, 
or harming of their house and possessions. Yea, 
moreover, as mothers or nurses carry their little 
infants in their hands, and keep them from falling ; 
so the Lord's holy angels shall preserve the faithful 
in their journeys and outgoings in such sort, as that 
they shall receive no hurt in the way wherein they 
walk, the very stones of the street being in peace 
with them, and no more willing to hurt them than 
one loving fiiend is to hurt another. Neither only 
shall the godly not he hurt with evUs, hut even 
triumph over all evUs, treading down and subduiag 
by faith the lions and the dragons, according as we 
read that all sorts of wild beasts were so subject to 
Noah as to enter with him into the ark ; and that 
both Samson overcame a lion, and David a lion 
and a bear; and to conclude, that Paul shook a 
viper off from his hand without receiving any harm, 
and fought with beasts at Ephesus, who could not 
overcome him. But moreover, and besides that, the 
true worshippers of God shall thus be more than 
conquerors in Christ over all evils ; they shall also be 
partakers of most excellent good things, inasmuch 
as they love God unfeignedly, and know him truly. 
For howsoever the vncked shall cry, and wisdom 
will not hear, yet when they shall call, she will 
hearken, and be with them in affliction, and deUver 
them, and honour them, yea, she will grant them in 
this hfe long days and good, and in the world to 
come, eternal glory and happiness. But remember- 
ing myself, I must return to expound the Proverbs, 
and leave paraphrasing on this psalm, whereunto I 
was led by treading in the steps of Solomon, who in 
his writings foUoweth often liis father's footing, and 
whose sentences commonly accord very justly with 
the instructions of that golden book of the praises 
of God, for so is the title thereof in the Hebrew 


Ver. 1 . My son, if thou wilt receive my sayings, and 
hide my commandments within thee ; 

Ver. 2. If listening with thine ears unto wisdom, 
thou wilt incline thine heart unto understanding ; 

Ver. 3. Yea, moixover, if thou callest after prudence, 
and liftest up thy voice to understanding ; 

Ver. 4. If thou shall seek her as silver, and search 
for her as for hidden treasures ; 

Ver. 5. Then thou shall understand the fear of God, 
and ohtain the knowledge of God. 

Ver. 6. For the Lord giveth wisdom; out of his 
mouth knowledge and understanding proceedeth. 

Ver. 7. He hath laid up true substance for the right- 
eous, and a shield for them who walk uprightly. 

Ver. 8. Observing the paths of equity; and to con- 
clude, he preserveth the way of his holy ones. 

Ver. 9. Then shall thou understand justice, and 
judgment, and equity, and every good path. 

Ver. 10. WTien wisdom shall enter into thine heart, 
and knowledge he pleasant to thy soul. 

The wise king in these verses sheweth his son, 
both by what means he may attain unto wisdom, 
and what fruits he shaU reap by wisdom once 
attained, setting down two sorts of good things 
which thereby he shall receive, the one the grace of 
feariag and knowing God ; the other the grace of 
obedience to his will. Six means there are here 
specified, if I am not deceived, of attaining unto 
wisdom. The first is, The admitting of wisdom's 
speeches ; for it is said, 'If thou ivilt receive my say- 
ings.' Even as therefore a man wilhngly takcth his 
friend's gift with his hand, so must we be ready and 
prepared to entertain the teachers and doctrine of 
God's word. The second is, Committing of good in- 
structions to memory, as appeareth in that it is 
further added, ' and hide my commandments within 
thee.' Wherefore, as we use to lay up our treasures 
safely in the ground, or to keep our jewels under 
lock and key, so we must not let good lessons slip 
out of our mind, but keep them steadfastly and 
firmly in our remembrance. The third is. Listening 
with the ears unto wisdom ; divers hear the word of 
God, but with such careless and drowsy ears, that 
it is in at the one ear, as we say, and out at the 
other j hereby it cometh to pass, that through the 
negligence of the hearer, the labour and doctrine of 
the speaker is commonly lost. Even as therefore 
worldlings, when they hear of some good bargain, 
hearken very dihgently ; or as they who think that 
one speaketh of them put theii- ears near to him 
that speaketh ; so, if we will profit by heavenly doc- 
trines, we must listen to them very attentively. The 
fourth is, ' If thou wilt incline tliine heart to under- 

Ver. 1-10. 



standing. ' All the religion of lij-pocrites is commonly 
outward — as outward going to the church, outward 
hearing, and outward spealdng ; but they that hear 
the word of God aright have an earnest desire unto 
it, and bend their wits upon it. For as the ground 
which receiveth the seed, and hath some good heart 
in it, bringeth forth fruits, so that person which 
inwardly receiveth and regardeth heavenly doctrine 
profiteth thereby, Mat. xiii. 23 ; James i. 5. The fifth 
is prayer, or an earnest begging of wisdom at God's 
hand: 'Yea, moreaver, if thou callest after prudence, 
and liftest up thy voice to understanding.' 'For ask,' 
saith our Saviour, ' and ye shall have, seek and ye 
shall find.' 'And if any want wisdom,' saith James, 
' let him ask it of God, who giveth to aU frankly, 
and upbraid eth none.' The sixth and last is labour 
and diligence, yea, such industry and painstaking 
as worldhngs use to attain money and treasure ; 
for it is said, ' If thou shalt seek her as sUver, and 
search for her as for hidden treasures.' Inasmuch 
as heavenly riches far surpass earthly, the Lord 
might have required instantly of his cliildren, even 
greater pains in seeking after wisdom, than world- 
Imgs use to take for the attaining of wealth. But 
herein appeareth the mercy of our God, that if we 
labour for graces but as earthly people do for riches, 
we shall be indued therewithal. Nevertheless, where 
is that Christian who so eagerly foUoweth after the 
kingdom of God, and the righteousness thereof, that 
peerless pearl, as merchants seek for treasures 1 who 
for the same run into the farthest parts of the world, 
with danger of their Uves, or, as common artificers 
follow their trades, who labour night and day, in 
heat and cold, to earn a Uttle of the muck of this 
world. And yet great is the gain of godliness, and 
of heavenly wisdom, which if thou hast once ob- 
tained, then thou shalt understand the fear of God, 
and obtain the knowledge of God ; for thou shalt 
be indued with such holiness and piety, that both 
thou shalt reverence and honour him, as thy king 
and judge, and have such an insight into his nature 
and will, that thou shalt be able to know and be- 
heve how he is disposed in himself, and how he 
standeth affected unto thee in Christ, Col. iii. 10. 
For the Lord giveth wisdom, out of his mouth 
knowledge and understanding proceedeth ; he hath 
laid up true substance for the righteous, and a shield 

for them that walk uprightly, observing the paths 
of equity ; and to conclude, he preserveth the way of 
his holy ones, Eph. i. 17. As there is great cause 
to pray to God for wisdom, so we are not to doubt 
but we shall have it if we ask it. For as James also 
testifieth, ' Every good giving, and every perfect gift 
is from above, descending from the Father of Hght, 
who, according to his will, hath begotten us by the 
word of truth,' James i. 1 7 ; wherefore the Lord doth 
not only give knowledge to his worshippers, but true 
substance, even every good thing here, and an endur- 
ing substance and inheritance in heaven, Heb. x. 31. 
For how many good things hath the Lord treasured up 
for those that love him, as the prophet speaketh. Cer- 
tainly he hath not only laid up for the righteous an 
infinite heap of excellent good things, but weapons 
of defence against evils, and armour, as it were, 
against the day of war, Ps. xxxi. 20. Oh that the 
precious sentence of the prophet David in the psalm, 
where he saith that the Lord is the sun, and a 
buckler, Ps. Ixxxiv. 11, were written, not there only, 
but in every one of our hearts, and graven not with 
a pen of iron, but by the Spirit of God, within our 
souls and consciences ! For then, behaving him not 
only to be the author of grace and glory to us, but 
the defender of us from dangers and evUs, we would 
more glorify him and more depend upon him than 
commonly we do, kno-ndug and considering that his 
faith and truth are a surer protection than any spear 
or shield whatsoever. What should I speak more of 
the care which the Lord hath in guarding and de- 
fending his people ? ' He doth even preserve the way 
of his holy ones:' for he hath not only given his 
angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways, 
but even himself watcheth over thee, and preserveth 
thy goings out and comings in, so that thou shalt 
not dash thy foot agauist a stone. Finally, ' Then 
shalt thou understand justice, and judgment, and 
equity, and every good path, when wisdom shall 
enter into thine heart, and knowledge be pleasant to 
thy soul : ' for he that receiveth the word of God, 
and that %vith such joy and gladness that it seemeth 
to him sweeter than the honey and the honeycomb, 
shall not only be indued with hoUness, but with 
obedience, and shall not only be enabled to know 
the truth, but to practise the duties of both the 
tables of the moral law. Let our hearts then be 



[Chap. II. 

opened that the heavenly wisdom of God may enter 
in, and let our affections be so set upon her that she 
may seem most amiahle in our eyes, considering 
and remembering both what is said of her here, and 
taught by the apostle James, who commendeth her 
to be pure, holy, peaceable, and fuU of many good 
works and graces, James iii. 1 7. 

Ver. 11. Then counsel shall watch over thee, and 
understanding shall keep thee : 

Ver. 12. To deliver thee from the evil way, (or the 
way of the evil man,) /rom the men that speak froward 
things ; 

Ver. 13. TFho leave the paths of righteousness, to 
walk in the ways of darkness, (evil men.) 

Ver. 14. Who delight in doing evil, and exceedingly 
rejoice in most vile perverseness ; 

Ver. 15. Who are crooked in their ways, and olstin- 
ate in their paths. 

We have heard before what good things wisdom 
bestoweth on those that possess her. Now Solomon 
declareth what evils she preserveth them from, nam- 
ing one particular mischief in these verses, to wit, 
the seducing of ungodly men : ' Then counsel shall 
watch over thee, and understanding shall keep thee.' 
Then the advice, not of flesh and blood, but of God's 
Spirit, wiU, as a watchman, look with open eyes that 
no hurt approach unto thee ; and then again discre- 
tion will, as a soldier armed with shield and spear, 
keep thee safe and sound from evils corporal and 
spiritual : 'To deliver thee from the evil way, from the 
men that speak froward things.' A chief and special 
fruit of wisdom's watchfulness will be tliis, that thou 
shalt be preserved from the persuasions and allure- 
ments of those men that give evil counsel, or en- 
tice to the committing of villanies, for there is great 
danger of being entangled or ensnared by the 
speeches of such persons, and of being drawn into 
the practising of some mischief by their example. 
Now as these wicked men's words are crooked, and 
contrary to the truth, so their works are foul and 
filthy ; for they leave the paths of righteousness, to 
walk in the ways of darkness. They not only 
refuse to do that which is good, but commit all 
wickedness with greediness, giving over themselves 
unto surfeiting, drunkenness, chambering, and wan- 
tonness, Eom. xiii. 14, and suchlike vices, which 
are the works, not of the day, but of the night ; yea, 

that which is more, ' they delight in doing evil, and 
exceedingly rejoice in most vile perverseness ; ' for 
they do not only commit idolatry, adultery, and 
such other abominations, but take great pleasure in 
the doing of evil themselves, and dehght in others 
that practise all impiety and iniquity. To conclude, 
they are crooked in their ways, and obstinate in 
their paths ; for they are not only great sinners, but 
even unrepentant sinners. Even as then stubborn 
horses will stray out of the right way, and not be 
ruled and brought into the right path again ; so 
these wicked wretches will by no means be re- 
claimed, but rush on into all mischief, and proceed 
forward in all lewdness. These are those dangerous 
rocks of which the apostle Jude giveth warning to 
all Christians, lest thereby they make shipwreck of 
their salvation. These are those heretics which, 
compassing sea and land, seek to infect all sorts of 
vain people with their erroneous doctrine ; and 
when they have done, they make them the sons of 
hell a thousand times more than they were before. 
These are those pestilent philosophers, who are said 
to read lectures of atheism ; and profanes, account- 
ing the books of Moses to be but a fable, and the 
sacred Scriptures to be but a device of human 
policy. Finally, these are those wicked companions, 
who, not thinking it enough wittingly and willingly 
to sin against God themselves, provoke and lead 
captive others unto the committing of all iniquity, 
and that with greediness. Is it not then a singular 
mercy of God, and a precious fruit of grace, to be 
preserved from such detestable and devilish men, 
whose very shadow, as it were, is contagious and 
deadly? But here it may be objected. What! are 
not even they that mean well sometimes seduced 
into error, or led aside to the allowing or following 
of some evil course by naughty men? How then 
doth wisdom preserve all such as reverence or re- 
gard her from this bad kind of people? Indeed, by 
such seducers or tempters as here are spoken of, the 
very elect are sometimes carried away into the ap- 
proving of falsehood or doing of evil. But like as, 
if these weU-meaning people had been always wise, 
they never should have fallen ; so if they have been 
once truly wise to their own salvation, they shall, by 
the Spirit of God within them, in the end be freed 
from corruption, and delivered out of temptation. 

Ver. 16-22.] 



2 Pet. ii. 9, as Noah and Lot were out of God's 

Ver. 16. To deliver thee from, the strange woman, 
even from the stranger who flattereth with her lips ; 

Ver. 1 7. Who forsaketh the guide of her youth, and 
forgelteth the covenant of her God. 

Ver. 18. Inasmuch as she hath bent her house toward 
death, and her patlis toward those who are void of life. 

Ver. 19. Whosoever go unto her return not bach, 
neither come unto the ways of life. 

Herein is shewed, that ivisdom wiU preserve those 
who possess her from another most perilous evil — 
to wit, the naughty woman, who is called a stranger, 
though she be too famihar, because she should be 
strange, and doth in right pertain to some one hus- 
band. She is first described by her properties, and 
then the danger is laid open whereinto she casteth 
her companions. One of her qualities is, that she 
'flattereth with her lips,' or maketh her speeches 
very smooth, which property is very justly given to 
her ; for her custom is to entice young men to adul- 
tery by wanton words and plausible persuasions, 
telling them of her love, and what delight in daUiance 
they shall have. Another mark whereby she is noted 
out is, that ' she forsaketh the guide of her youth, and 
forgetteth the covenant of her God.' This misde- 
meanour of hers argueth her impiety and her im- 
pudency ; for what greater shamelessness can there 
be in a woman than to cast away the veil of her 
eyes, yea, to reject that her husband, whom first she 
chose and was linked unto even in her tender years 1 
Again, what greater ungodliness is there than to 
break that solemn promise which was made at the 
times of affiance and marriage, both before God and 
his angels and people 1 It is a great fault to break 
promise in a small matter, how much more in the 
greatest contract or bargain that may be? If, then, 
only these bad qualities of the adulteress be con- 
sidered, it is a great favour of God to be kept from 
yielding to her baits and snares. But her behaviour 
is not more foul and filthy than her house and com- 
pany is dangerous and pernicious ; for, ' inasmuch as 
she hath bent her house toward death, and her paths 
toward those that axe void of life, whosoever go unto 
her return not back, neither come unto the ways of 
life.' The place where she keepeth is so perilous, 
and the way that leadeth thereto is so dangerous, 

that whosoever meddle with her are caught in her 
snares, and meet with some judgment which God or 
man inflicteth ; for commonly adulterers are pursued 
and slain, either by the woman's friends or husband 
whom they abuse, or by the magistrate's sword, or 
by the Lord's own hand. It is, then, even a greater 
mercy of God to be kept from the strange woman 
than from the pestilence or any deadly disease. 

Ver. 20. To the end that thou maijest walk in the 
way of good men, and keep the paths of the just. 

The end why wisdom preserveth the faithful from 
evils, and delivereth them out of dangers, is here 
shewed to be, that they may serve the Lord in hoh- 
ness and righteousness all the days of their Hfe, 
following the example of the godly, by whom they 
may be directed and made better. It is not enough 
to shun the evil way, unless a man walk in the good 
way. Now this good way is the life of the holy 
men that have gone before, or that are Hving, wherein 
is no error, but hope of reward, inasmuch as it tendeth 
to the kingdom of heaven. 

Ver. 2 1 . For they that are upright sJiall dwell on the 
earth, and the righteous shall remain therein. 

Ver. 22. But the wicked shall be cut off from the 
earth, and the transgressors shall be plucked out of it. 

There is great cause, as herein is shewed, why a 
man should shun the bypaths of the wicked, and walk 
in the ways of the just ; for, first, ' The upright shall 
dwell on the earth, and the righteous shall remain 
therein.' The elect and just shall continue for ever 
heirs in Christ of heaven and earth. Secondly, on 
the contrary side, ' The wicked shall be cut off from 
the earth, and the transgressors shall be plucked out 
of it.' They that are of corrupt conversation, and 
care not how they break the laws of God, shall by 
some particular judgment in this life, or by God's 
vengeance hereafter, be taken away, even as the 
grass is mown down, and together with their pos- 
terity, hke fruitless plants or naughty trees, be quite 
rooted out, so that no memory of them shall remain. 
The event seemeth to be contrary to the promise 
here made, for the earth commonly is possessed by 
those who take evil ways, whilst in the mean season 
the godly are tossed up and down with many afiiic- 
tions. But we must consider, for our comfort, that 
the wicked wrongfully and unlawfully, as usurpers, 
possess the earth and the goods of this world ; and 



[Chap. III. 

again, that by many troubles, and by death in the 
end, they are put out of their possession at the last. 
As for the godly, they by right inherit the earth, so 
that, as Abraham was the heir of the land of promise 
even when he had not a foot of ground therein, in 
like manner all the godly are heirs of this world, 
according to the saying of the apostle, that all things 
are theirs, ' whether it be the world, or things pre- 
sent, or things to come,' 1 Cor. iii. 22 ; howsoever 
often here they possess little or nothing. Although, 
therefore, the godly are molested, and even put to 
death by the wicked oftentimes, yet in right they 
are heirs, and in part possessors of the earth, looking 
also by hope for a new heaven and a new earth, ac- 
cording to God's promise, wherein the just shaU 
dwell, 2 Pet. iii. 13. Tliis is, then, a most sure and 
faithful saying, that the upright shall dwell on the 
earth, Ps. xxxvii. 29, which, as David had taught 
before this our Solomon, so our Saviour confirmeth 
in the Gospel, where he saith, ' Blessed are the meek, 
for they shall inherit the earth,' Mat. v. 5. 


Ver. 1. My son, forget not my doctrine ; but let thine 
heart keep my precepts : 

Ver. 2. For they shall heap upon thee length of days, 
and years of life, and peace. 

In this third chapter Solomon exhorteth and in- 
stmcteth his son the third time. In this entrance 
thereof he prepareth him by a general preface to 
receive the special commandments following. In 
the first verse he wameth him to look to two points, 
the one, that he forget not his doctrine, the other, 
that he keep his precepts. They are said in the 
Scripture to forget the word who either let good 
lessons slip out of their memories, as the disciples of 
our Saviour often did his sayings, or put not the 
truth into practice, as that natural man of whom 
James speaking saith, that he looketh his face in 
a glass, and immediately forgetteth of what fashion 
it is, James i. 23. Now, on the other side, they 
are said to keep the word in their hearts who lay 
up wholesome instruction in their remembrance, and 
practise them in their Hves, being like herein to the 
thrifty householder who treasureth up his goods, or 

to the good ground which keepeth the corn, in time 
convenient bringeth forth fruit, Luke viii. 15. Great 
rewards are promised in the second verse unto those 
who obey good admonitions. First of all, A promise 
is made unto them of long Hfe, the root whereof is 
to be found in the fourth commandment of the 
moral law ; secondly, A promise is made also of 
peace, that is to say, of prosperity even in these out- 
ward things ; for godliness hath the promises both of 
this life and the life to come. But here may some say, 
How are these promises performed, seeing oftentimes 
the wicked live as long or longer than the godly, and 
enjoy outward blessings more than they ? To answer 
briefly unto this doubt, first. The promises of God 
touching outward blessings, are not absolute or sim- 
ple, but conditional ; secondly, The obedience of the 
godly is not full, but in part, and therefore no mar- 
vel it is if in part only they are made partakers of 
outward blessings. Last of all. The Lord, giving his 
children in heaven eternity and glory, performeth 
a great deal more than here he doth promise. 

Ver. 3. Let not mercy (or goodness, or bounty) and 
tmth forsalce thee : bind them about thy neck ; write them 
upon the table of thine heart : 

Ver. 4. And thou shall find favour and good success 
before the eyes of God and man. 

In these verses, two points or precepts are sum- 
marily propounded, which throughout the whole 
chapter afterward are severally handled. To be 
brief, herein two virtues are commended, and two 
rewards promised unto the practice of them. The 
former virtue is mercy, whereby all sorts of duties 
serving to the benefiting of men are to be under- 
stood, as alms, visiting of the fatherless and widows, 
and suchlike ; the latter is truth, under which gift 
faith unfeigned, and sincerity in all actions, is compre- 
hended. For, indeed, the end of the law, as Paul 
speaketh to Timothy, is love, out of a pure heart, 
and a good conscience, and faith unfeigned, 1 Tim. 
i. 5. And behold, saith David in the psalm unto 
the Lord, ' Behold, thou art dehghted -with truth, 
and in secret hast made wisdom known unto me,' 
Ps. li. 6. Now, even as signs and frontlets, which 
are bound about the face or neck, are always pre- 
sent, so both' these virtues must always be medi- 
tated on and practised. Again, as notes or letters 
written in paper or graven in metal continue; so 

Veb. 5-10.] 



these graces must continually be ' thought on, and 
firmly Trritten, not in paper or in stone, but in the 
fleshly tables of our hearts. The self-same thing is 
here signified which is set down in Deuteronomy, 
where it is said, ' Lay up these my words in your 
hearts and minds, and bind them for a sign on 
your hands, and place them between your eyes,' 
Deut. xi. 8. A Hke phrase is used by the apostle 
Paul to the Corinthians, 2 Cor. iii., and by the author 
of the Epistle to the Hebrews, chap. viii. The re- 
wards promised to the forenamed vii'tues being also 
two, the former of them is favour, Avhereby is meant 
the well liking of the Lord, 1 Pet. i. 3, before whose 
eyes the hidden man of the heart, in the incorruptible- 
ness of a gentle and meek spirit, is much worth and 
most amiable. The latter reward is good success, 
that is, prosperity and acceptation among men, who 
are wont to love and recompense such as do them 
good. This promise then is all one in a manner 
with that which the apostle Paul setteth down in 
the Epistle to the Romans, where, speaking of 
righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost, he 
saith, ' that he which in these things serveth Christ, 
pleaseth God, and is acceptable to men,' Eom. xiv. 

Ver. 5. Trust in the Lord with thy whole heart, 
hut lean not unto thine own understanding. 

Ver. 6. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he 
will direct thy paths. 

The first particular duty which we are exhorted 
to perform to the Lord is herein set down : ' Trust 
in the Lord with thy whole heart,' doubt not of 
God's favour in Christ, or of the truth of any of 
his promises, ' but lean not unto thine own under- 
standing,' on the contrary side, think not by thine 
own poHcy to avoid evils, or to attain unto good 
things. For indeed so long as we put any con- 
fidence in our own gifts, we can never truly or 
surely rely on God alone, or look for help from 
him only. Yea, that which is more, the wisdom 
of the flesh is enmity to God, and the natural 
understanding of man is not able to comprehend 
spiritual mysteries, but disputeth against the plain 
truth of God's word or promises. ' In all thy ways 
acknowledge him.' In all the actions of thy hfe, 
set the Lord only before thee ; ask counsel what is 
best to . be done at his word, call upon him by 

prayer, give him thanks, and refer all things to 
his glory. ' And he wiU direct thy paths,' the 
Lord will bless thy counsel and enterprises; for 
it cannot be but that we must needs find God 
an approver and defender of those actions and 
courses which we attempt and go about in his 
name and fear, having him for our author and 

Ver. 7. Be not wise in thine own eyes : fear God, and 
depart from evil. 

Ver. 8. So health shall he unto thy navel, and mois- 
ture unto thy bones. 

In these verses we have the second duty of piety 
commended unto us : 'Be not wise in thine own 
eyes ;' foUow not thy corrupt reason, neither in mat- 
ters of religion nor in the ordering of thy hfe and 
conversation ; but follow the line of God's word in 
all things. For indeed conceit and self-love causeth 
men to err most grossly, and to think they do very 
well when they do very iU, as also to be secure in 
their sins, yea, to defend themselves in their most 
■wicked deeds, as may appear in Saul's ofi"eriag of 
sacrifice, and sparing of Agag, 1 Sam. xiii. 9, and xv. 
1 3. ' Fear God, and depart from evU : ' be not so 
bold as to worship! God after thine own conceit, but 
follow the direction of his word, and reverence his 
majesty, who will grievously plague thee if thou con- 
tinuest obstinately in thy irill- worship or evil course 
of life. Wherefore, if thou hast been overtaken with 
any sin, forsake it, because thou canst not please 
God nor do good, before thou hast departed from 
that which is evil. ' So health shall be unto thy 
navel, and moisture unto thy bones : ' when thou 
confessest and forsakest thine iniquity, then, if thou 
art visited with sickness or any adversity, thou shalt 
be restored to health, and enjoy the welfare both of 
body and soul. The prophet David felt the ex- 
perience hereof in his own person, Ps. xxxii. 2-5, 
&c., for all the while that he kept close his sin his 
humours were turned into the drought of summer ; 
but when he made it known, or confessed it, then 
the Lord took away the purdshment of his iniquity, 
so that on the contrary side there was health to his 
navel, and moisture to his bones. 

Ver. 9. Honour God luiih thy suhstance, and with 
the first-fruits of thy whole increase. 

Ver. 10. So shall thy hams he filled uith plentiful- 



[Chap. III. 

ness, and thy wine-presses break in sunder loith neiu 

These verses contain a precept, wherein the third 
duty of godliness is prescribed : ' Honoiu' God with 
thy substance ; ' by outward signs of thankfulness, as 
bypajing of tithes, and by bestowingthy goods on holy 
uses, declare and express that reverence and account 
which thou hast the Lord in. Albeit, where ability 
is wholly wanting, the Lord is content with the in- 
ward tliankfulness of the miud alone : yet he would 
have those who are rich, or of ability, to declare the 
gratitude of their hearts, by outward testimonies and 
fruits of obedience. The ninth verse is nothing else, 
in sum, but a repetition or exposition of that statute 
of the Lord in Exodus, concerning the paying of 
first-fruits and suchlike oblations to him : for in the 
four and thirtieth chapter of that book, and the six 
and twentieth verse, Moses saith to the people of 
Israel from the Lord, ' Bring aU the first-fruits, the 
first-fruits of thy land, into the houses of Jehovah 
thy God.' Now, albeit, we are not at this time tied, 
as the Israelites in old time were, to bring our corn 
and wine into the temple to be ofiered, or beasts to 
be sacrificed, or the first-born to be redeemed with 
a sum of money ; yet we ought to honour the Lord 
by bestowing our goods on holy uses, as on the main- 
tenance of the ministry, and the relief of the poor : 
for this cause Paul saith to the Galatians, ' Let him 
wliich is instructed in the word, minister to him who 
instructeth him in all things. Be not deceived ; God 
is not mocked,' Gal. vi. 6. Now, whereas here we 
are exhorted not only to honour God with our sub- 
stance, but with the first-fruits, or, as the word also 
importeth, the chief of our increase : this sheweth 
that it is not enough for us, when God hath given us 
abundance, to bestow only a Uttle, and that of the 
worst of our goods, on good uses ; no, but we must 
be very frank and Uberal, sowing plentifully, that 
also we may reap plentifully. Truly, if any be in- 
dued vrith zeal or faith indeed, they wiU not be 
sparing or niggardly, but very forward and bounti- 
ful in those things which appertain to. the Lord. An 
example of the truth hereof we may have in Abel : 
for whereas Moses afiirmeth that Abel did ofier a 
gift to the Lord of the first-born and fattest of his 
flock. Gen. iv. 4; the apostle unto the Hebrews 
plainly tcacheth that he. by faith, offered a gi-eater 

sacrifice to the Lord than Cain, Heb. xi. 4, insinu- 
ating that, because Abel beheved in God, he cared 
not what cost he bestowed on his worship. The pro- 
mise which, in the tenth verse, is made unto those 
who honour the Lord with their goods, importeth 
thus much, that such shall not want in this world or 
the world to come, but enjoy store of all good 
things. Worldly people commonly think that if 
they bestow much on good uses they shall go a- 
begging, and that whatsoever goeth that way is lost. 
But here we are taught tliat by our Uberality toward 
the maintenance of God's service we do not only not 
lose, but gain much to ourselves. For this cause 
the prophet Malachi speaketh thus to the people of 
Israel, ' Bring your tithes into the treasure-house, 
that in mine house there may be food, and try me 
now herein, saith the Lord of hosts, whether I 
will not open to you the windows of heaven, and 
bring forth a blessing without measure,' Mai. iii. 10. 

Ver. XL My son, despise not ilie chastisement of the 
Lord ; neither faint under his correction : 

Ver. 12. For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth, 
and he scourgeth every son whom he receiveih?- 

These sentences, wherein a fourth duty of piety 
is commended, contain partly an exhortation unto 
patience, and partly a reason enforcing the same. 
' My son, despise not the chastisement of the Lord;' 
make not light account of the Lord's visitation, either 
imputing it unto chance or fortune, or sufiering it to 
pass without any fruit or profit to tliine own soul. 
' Neitherfaint under his correction.' Torment not thy- 
self with grief, languish not nor pine away, quail 
not nor shrink under the crosses which the Lord 
layeth on thee, be they never so many, so great, or so 
continual. ' For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth j ' 
for the Lord, oftentimes suffering his enemies to go 
unpunished in this world, in great favour, chasteneth 
his friends, as it were, that they should not perish 
with the world. ' And he scourgeth every son whom 
he receiveth.'^ The Lord also schooleth by adver- 
sity every one whom he admitteth to be his spiritual 
son or daughter. 

1 Vce ah, I turn scourgeth, reading it rather ca ah, as the 
apostle did, Heb. xii. 6, and as the same word is used, Job v. 
17, where see the root of this instruction. 

^ See this place of Scripture amplified and applied, Heb. xii. 

Ver. 13-20.] 



Ver. 13. Blessed is that man who findeth wisdom, 
and the man that gettelh understanding. 

Ver. 14. For the merchandise thereof is letter than 
the merchandise of silver, and the revenue thereof is 
letter than gold. 

Ver. 15. She is more precious than pearls, and all 
thy delights are not to le compared unto her. 

Now the wise king returneth to cornmend that 
wisdom, whereof he hath before entreated : ' Blessed 
is the man who findeth wisdom ' — happy is he who 
attaineth to the knowledge of God ; ' and the man 
that getteth understanding' — happy is he that 
Cometh unto the practice of God's wUl ; 'for the mer- 
chandise thereof is,' &c., Eccles. vii. 13 ; for the gain 
which is gotten hereby is exceeding great, seeing 
wisdom preserveth the life of a man, and bringeth 
him unto salvation. ' She is more precious than 
pearls,' &c.. Mat. xiii. 46. To conclude, wisdom is 
also more excellent and more pleasant than all the 
treasures or pleasures of this world, Ps. xix. 10, 
which are but dung in regard of the excellent know- 
ledge of Jesus Christ, PhU. iii. 8. 

Ver. 16. Length of days is in her right hand : in 
her left hand riches and honour. 

, Ver. 17. Her ways are the ways of pleasantness ; 
her patlis are all (paths) of peace. 

Ver. 18. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold on 
her ; and they viho keep her are llessed. 

The gifts which wisdom bestoweth on men are 
rehearsed in these verses. ' Length of days are in 
her right hand.' Wisdom giveth long life, yea, 
immortality, to those who seek after her, whilst in 
the mean season the ungodly perish by untimely 
death, some of them wasting their strength by 
adultery, some of them overwhelming their stomachs 
■\vith drink, some consuming their hearts with ennui, 
some breaking their galls with anger, some being 
slain in frays, some executed by course of laws ; 
finally, some being cut off by the immediate hand of 
the Lord himself ' In her left hand riches and 
honour.' Moreover, wisdom, as a bountiful queen, 
giveth to them who obey her, not only long life, but 
worldly wealth and earthly glory, or at the least, 
spiritual graces, which are durable riches, and eternal 
salvation, which is a crown of immortal glory. ' Her 
ways are ways of pleasantness ; her paths are paths 
of peace.' Furthermore, wisdom worketh joy in the 

Holy Ghost, so as that the spiritual worshipper of 
God not only practiseth the word of God with de- 
light, Mat. xi. 30, or meditateth therein -mth ex- 
ceeding comfort, 1 John v. 3, but feeleth certain 
sugared motions of the Spirit, Phil. iv. 7, together 
with peace — that is to say, inward and outward 
C[uietness ; so that the godly wise man is at rest 
within himself, and moreover, through the favour of 
the Lord, findeth good success in all things, and 
prosperity. The stones of the street and the beasts 
of the field are in league with him who walketh up- 
rightly. He that is under the shadow of the Al- 
mighty, shall not need to fear the arrow nor the 
noisome pestUence. Now, because it would be end- 
less to prosecute in this sort all the particular fruits 
which wisdom worketh in her children, Solomon 
concludeth that which was affirmed in the beginning, 
with an effectual and excellent sentence, saying, 
' She is a tree of life to those who lay hold on her, 
and they who keep her are blessed,' — that is to say, 
she saveth men's souls, and maketh them immortal. 
Look, then, what a manner of thing the tree of life 
in paradise was, which was a sign of God's favour, 
Gen. iii. 22 ; or the tree of life shewed to Moses in 
Marah was, which sweetened the bitter and deadly 
waters, Exod. xv. 25 ; or the tree of life seen by 
John in the Eevelation was, which brought forth 
twelve fruits, and the leaves thereof were for the 
curing of the Gentiles, Eev. xxii. 2 ; or, to conclude, 
any Hving or good tree is, which bringeth forth fruit 
whereby men may live ; such a thmg is the wisdom 
of God, which sealeth us unto our election, bringeth 
forth in us the fruits of sanctification, purgeth out 
our corruption, and maketh us partakers of salvation. 
Ver. 19. The Lord by wisdom hath founded the 
earth; lie hath estallished the heavens by understand- 

Ver. 20. By his sicill the depths have leen cleft in, 
sunder, and the clouds above drop down the dew. 

In these sentences the praises of wisdom are en- 
larged by the mentioning of those great things 
which thereby the Lord hath wrought in the world. 
It ought not to seem strange unto any, that Solomon, 
having before considered wisdom as it is possessed by 
man, now proceedeth to speak of it as it lodgeth in 
the bosom of Jehovah, even the first person in the 
Trinity, for so tliis name is taken va this place. 



[Chap. III. 

The river and the fountain are both of one nature ; 
and when piire water hath been looked on in the 
stream, it is a pleasant thing to behold it in the 
conduit head. Now Jesus Christ, the wisdom of 
the Father, worldng together with him, is here 
shewed to have wrought four excellent works of 
wonder. The first is, The founding of the earth, 
which being made of nothing, and being upheld by 
nothing, save only by the power of God, and yet 
being also the mother and pillar of all things, must 
needs be a foundation and groundwork of singular 
skill and cunning. The second is. The estabhsh- 
ing of the heavens, which declare the glory of 
God, as the prophet speaketh ; the heat of the sun, 
the moisture of the moon, the influence of the stars, 
the motions of the celestial globes, are manifest 
proofs of understanding incomprehensible. If we 
marvel at the little clocks which are made by the 
art of man, how much more may we justly wonder 
at the sky, the dial of the world '! The third is. 
The cleaving of the deeps in sunder ; as the mercy 
of God appeareth herein, that the earth as a nurse 
giveth waters as milk, to quench the thirst of the 
creatures ; so his wisdom doth no less shew itself, 
in that a passage is made in the ground and hardest 
rocks for soft and moist waters to pierce through, 
and to rise up by, Ps. civ. 8. Now to come to 
the last effect of wisdom, the Lord in causing the 
vapours to ascend out of the earth, to the end that, 
being distilled in the air, they might fall down as 
honey-drops on the ground beneath, declareth his 
rare and singular art and cunning. Not without 
cause then is this reckoned among the works of divine 
wisdom, that ' the clouds above drop down the 
dew,' whereby the withered plants are refreshed, 
and the parched earth is cooled. And yet all this 
whUe nothing is said of the frosts, of snow, of haO, 
of other meteors or creatures, wherein the great 
power or the singular wisdom of God appeareth. 
But the sums of all that doctrine which in these 
sentences is taught, is, that by the Son of God all 
things were made, and are continually governed and 

Ver. 21. My son, let not these things depart from 
thine eyes; keep true wisdom, and counsel, 

Ver. 22. And they shall be life unto thy soul, and a 
grace unto thy necTc. 

Ver. 23. Then shalt thou go on thy way securely, 
and not stumble with thy foot. 

Ver. 24. If thou shalt lie down, thou shalt not be 
afraid; but whilst thou restesf, thy sleep shall be 

Ver. 25. Thou shalt not he afraid of any sudden 
terror, or of the destruction of the wicked, when it 

Ver. 26. For God will be present with thy trust, and 
keep thy foot from being caught. 

Solomon cometh now to apply that doctrine 
touching the excellency of wisdom which he hath 
taught in the verses going before. In the one and 
twentieth verse he giveth his son an admonition ; 
in the rest, he sheweth him the fruits which he 
shall receive by obeying his instructions. ' My 
son, let not these things depart from thine eyes ; 
keep true wisdom and counsel, or advisement.' 
Even as they who love anything, continually and 
constantly set their eyes on that wherewith they 
are ' enamoured ; so cast thine eye always, and 
perpetually meditate on, that heavenly wisdom which 
descendeth from above, James iii. 17, and is contrary 
to that false and feigned wisdom which is earthly, 
sensual, and devihsh. ' And they shall be life unto 
thy soul, and a grace unto thy neck.' So, by the 
word of God and his Spirit, thou shalt be nourished 
in this life unto eternal life, yea, thou shalt also be 
made partaker of the ornaments of this hfe and the 
life to come, shining as a star on earth and in heaven. 
' Then shalt thou go on thy way securely, and not 
stumble with thy foot.' So, prospering in thine affairs, 
thou shalt be free from the arrow that flieth by day, 
neither shalt thou commit any such wickedness, or 
incur any such danger or trouble, as that thou shalt 
fall, or at the least without rising again. ' If thou 
shalt lie down thou shalt not be afraid ; but whilst 
thou restest, thy sleep shall be sweet.' So not only 
abroad, but at home, not only in the day-time, but in 
the night-season, when troubles most stir in the 
heart, and enemies practise mischief, thou shalt be 
safe, and without dread or perplexity of spirit. This 
is that which the prophet speaketh of in the psalm, 
when he saith that the Lord giveth his beloved 
sleep, Ps. cxsrvii. 2. Nevertheless true it is, that 
sometimes the Lord holdeth the eyes of his children 
waking, as he did David's, Ps. lxs-\ai. 4 ; and troubled 

Ver. 27-30.] 



them -ivitli fearful dreams, as he did Job, chap. vii. 
14 ; but when he dealeth thus with them, it is either 
to chastise them for their offences, or to try their 
faith, or to stir them up to prayer, or to warn them 
of some thing to come to pass. Otherwise ordinarily 
they take most sweet naps, yea, even then often- 
times when they are in greatest troubles. The 
case standeth otherwise with the ungodly, who never 
Hghtly have peace, but are as a raging sea, only ex- 
pecting temporal judgments and eternal condemna- 
tion. Hence it cometh to pass that even in the 
night season, whilst they are asleep, horrible dreams 
affright them, as may appear in Nebuchadnezzar, 
Dan. ii. 1, and afterward grievous interpretations 
thereof arise in their hearts, as is manifest by that 
exposition which one of the Midianites gave of liis 
neighbour's dreams, when Gideon made war against 
that people. Judges vii. 13, 14. Thou shalt not 
be afraid of any sudden terror, nor of the destruc- 
tion of the wicked when it cometh, for God will 
be present with thy trust, and keep thy foot from 
being caught. ^ To conclude; so when thousands shall 
faU on thy right hand, or ten thousand on thy left ; 
when some pestilence or sword, or other plague, shall 
sweep away the wicked, thou shalt be of good cour- 
age, or, at the least, have no cause to fear ; for not 
mortal men only, no, nor celestial angels alone, 
but the Lord himself, shall stand by thee to defend 
and succour thee, upon condition that thou put thy 
trust in him. True it is that the godly are some- 
times enwrapped in those common calamities which 
befall the wicked ; but always, as the apostle speak- 
eth, they receive the reward of their faith, even the 
salvation of their souls, 1 Pet. i. 9, for which cause 
they may be always secure. 

Ver. 27. Withhold not the good from the owners 
thereof, when it is in the power of thine hand to do 

Now Solomon cometh to prescribe those duties 
which properly belong to the second table of the 
law, as the former did to the first. ^ In this verse he 
chargeth his son in no case to keep back from 
others the things wliich are due unto them, in regard 
of their necessity, or of right which they have there- 

' See the root of these sentences, Job v. 21 ; Ps. xci ; and 
the use thereof, Phil. i. 28. 

' See the ground hereof, Esod, xxii. 7, 14. 

unto. The borrower is then to repay his debt to the 
lender; the finder to restore that which he hath taken 
up to the loser ; he which hath received anji;hing 
into his custody, is to bring it forth to him who re- 
posed trust in him ; the master is to pay the servant 
his wages. Finally, every one is to practise that 
precept of the apostle, ' owe nothing to any man, but 
to love one another,' Eom. xiii. 8. 

Ver. 28. Say not unto thy neighbour. Go thy way 
and return, to-morrow I will give thee ; when the 
thing is with thee. 

Herein every one is commanded in no case to 
defer the doing of good deeds. Three causes there 
are why gifts should be given, and help lent to our 
neighbours without delay : the first is. For that the 
Lord loveth a cheerful giver ; the second, That 
whilst we defer our help the souls of our brethren 
may faint or their bodies perish ; the last is, That 
delay is a sign of an unwilling mind. 

Ver. 29. Practise no evil against thy neighbour, when 
he dwelleth peaceably by thee. 

Treachery or practising of mischief against those 
who dwell in the same place with us, is here for- 
bidden. Injury is to be done to none, but to do 
wrong to a friend or neighbour, yea, to devise or 
practise mischief against one that abideth in the 
same town or city with us, and thereia carrieth him- 
self quietly, is above all things to be avoided, as a 
sin most odious unto God and man. Da\'id, pondering 
the grievousness of this iniquity, wisheth that, if he 
had committed it, then the enemy might take his 
soul, and lay his honour in the dust, Ps. vii. 4. 
Nevertheless, many now-a-days exercise this craft, as 
it were, only bending their wits how to draw into 
trouble such simple and harmless people as dwell 
where they do. 

Ver. 30. Strive not with any man causeless, lohen he 
hath done thee no harm. 

Quarrelling or brabbhng is condemned in this in- 
struction. The meaning hereof is thus much, in 
any case neither provoke to wi-ath, nor molest him 
who meddleth not with thee, nor hath any way 
offended thee. It is lawful to confer privately, or 
to complain to a magistrate, of a wrong offered. 
But to lay blame on any one who is not faulty, or 
to accuse an innocent person, or to contend with 
one who is quitted, is to overthrow all humanity and 



[Chap. IV. 

society. Josiah would needs take up the sword 
against Pharaoli-Necho, but lie perished by it. Now 
■whereas here it is said, ' when he hath done thee no 
harm,' these words contain no warrant of private re- 
venge, or of wreaking our anger upon every one who 
giveth us just occasion of ofiFence, but a reason prov- 
ing that we are not to strive with a man causeless, 
whereof this is the sum, that it were an unreasonable 
thing to molest those who have not deserved to be 

Ver. 31. Fret not at a troublesome man, (or a man 
of violence or oppression,) neither choose any of his 

Ver. 32. For the frouard is ahomination to the 
Lord, hut his secret is with the upright. 

Ver. 33. The curse of God is in the wicked maris 
house, hut the dwelling of the righteous is blessed. 

Ver. 34. Surely he will scorn the scorners, but he 
will give grace to the humble. 

Ver. 35. The wise shall inherit honour, but shame 
shall talce away fools. 

In this conclusion of the chapter, first, An exhorta- 
tion not to envy the wicked is contained.^ Secondly, 
Sundry reasons are set down, both enforcing this 
admonition, and those which before have been given. 
' Fret not at a troublesome man, neither choose any of 
his ways;' neither grudge at the rage or power of any 
who annoyeth thee, or other, neither be di'a'wn aside 
by his prosperous estate to Uke of his doings, or to 
fawn on him. 'For the froward is abomination to the 
Lord, but his secret is with the upright.' For, first of 
all, God abhorreth the obstinate as his enemies, shun- 
ning them also as filthy excrements or serpents, but 
he hath a secret fellowsliip with the godly as his 
friends, \'isiting them in'troubles, bestowing his bless- 
ings on them, talking with them by his word, and 
drawing near unto them by his Spirit. ' The curse of 
God is in the wicked man's house, but the dwelling of 
therighteous is blessed.' Secondly, God dothplaguethe 
house of the wicked, overthroweth their habitations 
by tempests, putting grief into their hearts, and 
sending diseases on them and theirs ; but, in the 
mean season, he blesseth the righteous in their 
goods, their bodies, their souls, and the places 
wherein they keep. ' Surely he will scorn the 
scorners, but he will give grace to the humble.' 
^ See the root hereof, Pa. xxxvii. 25 ; Job v. 3. 

Thirdly, The Lord resisteth the proud, crossing 
their enterprises, overthrowing their estates, pour- 
ing on them temporal and eternal plagues ; but he 
honoureth the lowly, induing them mth outward 
blessings, the inward gifts of his Spirit, and im- 
mortal glory. The truth hereof may appear in 
the examples of the builders of the tower of Babel : 
Pharaoh and Nebuchadnezzar, on the one side ; and 
in Abraham, Job, John the Baptist, Elisabeth, and 
the Virgin Mary, on the other. Now they are 
called lowly who willingly submit themselves to 
the Lord, neither refuse an3d;hing which either by 
the word of God, or his providence, is imposed on 
them. ' The wise shall inherit honour, but shame 
shall take away fools.' Last of all. They who are 
wise unto the Lord and their own salvation shall 
be advanced to account and estimation, if not in 
this Hfe, yet in the world to come, where they shall 
be crowned with everlasting glory ; but as for those 
fools who contemn God's word, and follow their 
own fancies, the Lord will make them spectacles of 
vengeance and shame, either on earth, or at the 
day of judgment in hell. If, then, the enemies of 
God may be pitied by the faithful, for these causes 
the godly are rather to take compassion on them, 
than either in regard of their rage to be moved to 
any passion, or in respect of their prosperity, which 
lasteth but a while, to follow their iniquity, which 
shall be punished for ever. 


Ver. L Hear, sons, the iyistruction of your father, 
and hearken to know 'prudence : 

Ver. 2. For I give you a good precept, therefore 
forsake not my doctrine. 

In these verses is contained a preface to the 
precepts following, wherein the wise king stirreth 
up all to hearken to his instructions, declaring that 
there is good cause why they should so do. For 
first he claimeth obedience and attention to his 
advice, by the fatherly authority which he chal- 
lengeth to himself, calling them his sons. Inas- 
much, then, as they must needs be unnatural chil- 
dren that will not lend their ears, and bend their 
hearts, when their father speaketh, Solomon being 

Ver. 3-9.] 



our S23iiitual father to advise us in the Lord, we 
should be very undutiful and ungodly if we should 
not be ready to hear and obey liis counsel, especially 
seeing also he protesteth that his precept or doc- 
trine is good. For he is deprived of his wits, and 
void of reason, that will refuse to listen to those 
sayings which many ways may be comfortable and 
profitable to him. Seeing, then, this divine instruc- 
tor -writeth not the fancies of his own head, or the 
traditions of men, but delivereth unto us the good 
word of God, which is able to save our souls, let us 
mark those lessons which he giveth us with all care 
and heedfulness. 

Ver. 3. Whilst yet I was my father's son, a tender 
and only one in the sight of my mother, 
. Ver. 4. He instructing me, said unto me, Let thine 
heart holdfast my words; keep my commandments, that 
thou mayest live. 

Ver. 5. Purchase wisdom, purchase prudence ; for- 
get not, nor decline from the speeches of my mouth. 

Ver. 6. Foprsake her not, and she will heep thee; love 
her, and slie will preserve thee. 

Ver. 7. First of all (seek) wisdom, purchase wisdom ; 
and with thy whole possession purclmse prudence. 

Ver. 8. Magnify her, and she will advance thee ; if 
thou shalt embrace her, she will honour thee. 

Ver. 9. She will set on thine head a comely attire ; 
she will put upon thee a crown of glory. 

In the beginning of these verses Solomon en- 
forceth his former exhortation by his own example : 
Even as, saith he, I found much good by obeying 
my father David's advice, so it wUl go well with 
you if you shall yield unto mine admonitions, now 
that I go about to instruct you. He maketh men- 
tion of his tender a.ge, and dearness to his mother, 
to declare unto us that no affection, nor want of 
age, could hinder his parents from instructing him. 
Parents are here admonished not to cocker their 
children in their tender years, but to train them up 
in the information of the Lord ; neither are fathers 
and mothers to tliink their duty discharged when 
they have passed over the care of then- children unto 
schoolmasters or friends, but, as appeareth by David's 
example in this place, they must themselves with 
their own eyes watch over them, and with their own 
mouths instruct them. But whereunto especially 
did David exhort his son? Even as it. folio weth. 

to purchase wisdom, and to purchase prudence. 
Whereas other parents commonly are careful to 
leave unto their children worldly treasures, and are 
earnest with them to be good husbands, in procui'- 
ing of goods and lands to themselves ; David's study 
and endeavour, as here appeareth, was to stir up liis 
son to use all means of attaining spiritual and 
heavenly riches ; for in these words he willeth him, 
by selhng his commodities and pleasures, and by 
taking such pains, and laying out such costs, as pur- 
chasers are wont to do when they go about to get 
some good bargain to themselves, to procure to 
himself the knowledge of God's will, and the discre- 
tion of his Spirit, which graces, once attained, are by 
no means to be neglected or foregone. Indeed wis- 
dom, as before we have heard, is the good gift of 
God ; but, as the common proverb is, the Lord doth 
sell all things for man's labour, so that it may be 
bought and purchased after a certain sort. Great 
cause there is why wisdom should not only be 
followed after, but be held fast as a most precious 
jewel ; for, saith David, ' forsake her not, and she 
will keep thee ; love her, and she will preserve thee.' 
So doing, wisdom and prudence, as certain watch- 
men, wiU shield thee that thou come not into 
any danger, or if peradventure thou shalt fall into 
any trouble, they will preserve and deliver thee 
from destruction. Wherefore it is not without 
cause, that in the next verse this admonition is 
given, ' First of all seek wisdom, purchase wisdom 
and with thy whole possession purchase prudence ; 
for before all things, and above aU things, we are 
to labour after the kingdom of God, Mat. vi. 33j 
being ready to part with our sweetest deUghts and 
richest comnaodities, that we may obtain the under- 
standing of God's will : wherefore they take a pre- 
posterous course, and set the cart before the horse 
as it were, that chiefly and principally seek after the 
transitory treasures of this life, being less careful for 
the good and salvation of their souls, than they are 
for those things that appertain to the use or pre- 
servation of their bodies. But to conclude, every 
one is to know, that the labour which he taketh 
in foUovnng after wisdom is not lost, and that she 
is indeed a good mistress to serve, for, ' Magnify 
her, and she will advance thee ; if thou shalt embrace 
her, she wiU honour thee. She wUl set on thine head 



[Chap. IV. 

a comely attire ; she will put upon thee a crown of 
glory.' To magnify -wisdom, is to count aU things 
to be but dung in regard of her, and to have her in 
singular reverence; to embrace her, is to love her 
entirely, and to make much of her. Thus if thou 
shalt exalt and entertain wisdom, she as a queen 
will make thee honourable, and as it were a knight, 
or a lord, so that thou shalt be preferred to some 
good h\'ing, or be lifted up unto such dignity in the 
commonwealth, or church of God, that thou shalt 
seem very gracious and glorious to men and angels j 
neither shall the glory whereunto thou shalt be ad- 
vanced be mean, but exceeding great and princely ; 
so that it may be compared to an ornament that is 
put on the head, or to the diadem wherewith kings 
and emperors are crowned ; for wisdom will either 
bring thee to some office of rule and government in 
this world, or will make thee a spiritual king, and 
an inheritor of eternal glory. These promises of 
David were fulfilled in Solomon; for whereas he 
chose wisdom above all other things, he thereby 
obtained great honour and fame, and in regard 
thereof, was with the general consent and joy of all 
the Israehtes received and lifted up to the kingdom. 

Ver. 10. Hear, my son, and receive my sayings ; 
and years of life shall he multiplied unto thee. 

Ver. 11. / teach thee the way of wisdom ; I lead 
thee hy the paths of equity. 

Ver. 12. When thou, shalt walk, thy gait shall not 
be strait; and if thou shalt run, thou shalt not be 

Ver. 13. Lay hold on her instruction ; leave not off : 
keep her ; because she is thy life. 

Not without cause doth the Spirit of God call 
every one thus often unto the study of wisdom; 
which, as it is a matter of great importance, so all 
men by nature being prone to evil, it is a very hard 
thing to draw them to the love of virtue and to the 
practice of holy duties. Whereas then here again 
the godly father saith, ' Hear, my son, and receive 
my sa)dngs,' he repeateth this admonition, not with- 
out great reason. It is a good sign of grace when 
any are ready to open their ears unto good counsel ; 
but without sticking or staying, and -with dehght and 
joy to admit and receive into the heart wholesome 
admonition, is a declaration of greater forwardness. 
Unto this degi-ee of godliness whosoever shall attain, 

shall have years of life multiplied unto him : for 
both here he shall live long and comfortable, seeing 
good days ; and hereafter shall reign vidth Christ 
eternally, inheriting everlasting glory. It is meet, 
yea, profitable for thee, whosoever thou art, to 
hearken to the exhortation of this divine instructor ; 
for, saith he, ' I teach thee the way of wisdom ; I 
lead thee by the paths of equity,' wherein he sheweth 
that by his precepts and admonitions he directeth 
and guideth every one to tread in the course of vir- 
tue, the way whereof is not crooked, nor yet offensive, 
as is the way of wickedness, but plain and without 
any stumbling-block : for, as is added, if thou dost 
live justly and wisely, ' when thou shalt walk, thy 
gait shall not be strait ; and if thou shalt run, thou 
shalt not be hurt.' To go without stumbling, though 
but a soft pace, is a good thing, but to run swiftly 
without harm, is a harder and happier matter, see- 
ing that he that maketh much haste seeth not com- 
monly the danger before him. Now then, so to walk 
in the way of virtue as that whether a man perform 
his duty with leisure or speed, he meeteth with no- 
tliing that indeed can harm him, this is a great 
benefit and blessing. Wherefore, as foUoweth, ' lay 
hold on wisdom's instruction ; leave not off : keep 
her ; because she is thy Kfe.' It is no less a virtue to 
keep and hold fast a good thing, than to attain or 
get it at the beginning. Seeing then so great fruit 
Cometh by wisdom, that she will make thee par- 
taker of happiness and of eternal life, lose her not 
through any negligence, but preserve and hold her 
fast unto the end, not suffering her to be plucked 
away from thee by any temptations or troubles 

Ver. 14. Enter not into the path of the ivicJced, 
neither walk in the way of evil men. 

Ver. 15. Avoid it, go not through it, turn from it, 
and pass by it. 

Ver. 16. For they sleep not, unless they have done 
a mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless tJiey 
cause some to fall. 

Ver. 17. For they eat the bread of wickedness, and 
drink the wine of violence. 

Such is the course of godliness, as before hath 
been described ; but as for the path of the wicked, 
' Enter not into it, walk not in it, avoid it, go not 
through it, turn from it, and pass by it,' for it is 

Ver. 18-22.] 



not good rashly to come into the place where smners 
are. Their compaii}', presence, conditions, and doings, 
are be shnnned, even mtli might and main : ' For 
they sleep not, unless they have done a mischief; 
and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause 
some to fall.' They sin not of fraUty, but of malice; 
not by occasion, as it were, hut of an unsatiable 
desire of committing wickedness. For as he that is 
earnestly bent upon any matter cannot sleep well 
before he hath brought his matter to pass, so the 
wicked, all the day long devising and wishing 
mischief, cannot rest till they have accomplished 
the same. The adulterer is unquiet till he hath 
satisfied his lust ; the covetous person cannot be 
at ease till he hath got some gain to the hindrance 
of his neighbour. To conclude ; every one that is 
set on doing evil museth thereon, even upon his 
bed, in such sort as that either he cannot sleep, or if 
he slumber a little, he is quickly awake. Thus the 
vehement desire of doing evil doth violently take 
away sleep, which to man is natural. The cause why 
these notorious wicked men are even thus hungry 
and thirsty after the prey, and committing of sin, is 
for that 'they eat the bread of vidckedness, and drink 
the wine of violence;' for they -will not live of honest 
labour, or be content with goods well gotten, but 
they choose rather to enrich themselves with the 
spoil, and to get what they can with hook and crook. 
Truly, there are some of so thievish a nature that 
they cannot but steal, and that take dehght in no 
goods so much as those which they have gotten 

Ver. 18. For the path of every righteous man is 
like the glistering light, which proceedeth to shine, so 
that he is steadfast in the day. 

Ver. 19. But the way of the wicked is like the dark- 
ness : they know not where tliey shall stumble. 

These verses, containing a reason why the way of 
the wicked is to be shunned, declare the difference 
between the state of the godly and of the ungodly ; 
to the end, that by the odds between their condi- 
tions, it may appear how good a thing it is to 
walk in the paths of equity. As the light of the 
morning is glorious, and continueth, yea, increaseth 
in brightness ; even so the state and life of the 
godly is full of blessings and excellent ornaments. 
For they do not only proceed from virtue to 

virtue, neither only receive from the Lord many 
outward blessings in this life ; but as stars in 
the firmiiment send forth theii- hght and beauty, 
so they shall shine hereafter with gi-ace and glory. 
Wherefore, as the prophet Hosea speaketh, 'if 
we shall seek to know the Lord, his arising 
will be like to the rising of the morning, and 
he ivill come down upon us, as the former and 
latter rain upon the earth.' This doctrine was not 
first taught by Solomon ; but the God of Israel spake 
unto me, saith David, toucliing the just, ' that they 
shall be as when the sun ariseth in the bright 
morning,' 2 Sam. xxiii. 4, or as the tender grass 
sprmgeth out of the ground in a clear morning 
after the sun shine. Most sure and certain then 
it is, that every just man is steadfast in the day. 
If any walketh in the day, he stumbleth not, be- 
cause he seeth the Hght of this world, saith our 
Saviour Christ. Now he that loveth his brother 
remaineth in the light, and there is no stumbling- 
block in him, saith the apostle John, chap. xi. 9. 
Wherefore, he that practiseth righteousness, having 
God's word and mercy shining before him, must 
needs stand upright without falling, as being in the 
day, 1 John ii. 10; for the elect are children of 
the day, that is, of blessing and salvation, and not 
of the night, or of misery and damnation, as the 
apostle Paul testifieth to the Thessalonians, 1 Thes. 
V. 5. Happy then is the state of the godly, and 
like unto light ; but woeful is the condition of the 
wicked, and may fitly be resembled to the mist or 
darkness ; for as darkness is uncomfortable, and doth 
deprive men of sight and ability to espy and prevent 
dangers, so the life of the ungodly is full of miseries, 
and subject to calamities, which it neither can dis- 
cern nor escape. Hereby it cometh to pass that they 
are ignorant when and upon what they shall fall and 
rush. God's judgments so overtake them on a sudden, 
that they are overthrown with them at unawares : 
' So let all thine enemies perish, Lord ; but let 
them that love thee be as the sun when it marcheth 
on his strength,' Judges v. 31. 

Ver. 20. My son, hearken wnto my loords; incline 
thine ears unto my sayings. 

Ver. 21. Let them not depart from thine eyes ; keep 
them within thine heart. 

Ver. 22. For they are life unto those that find 



[Chap. IV. 

them, and wholesome to the whole flesh of every one of 

Before that new instructions are declared by him, 
the spiritual father thiuketh it good again and 
again to prej^are his son. He first demandeth an 
attentive ear, saying, ' My son, incline thine ears 
unto "my sayings ; ' for the ear is the door, at the 
which knowledge doth especially enter ; and faith, 
as the apostle speaketh, cometh by hearing. 
Secondly, He requireth a watchful eye : 'Let them 
not depart from thine ej-es ; ' for if the eye be not 
sanctified and careful, as well as the ear, virtue 
will easily depart, and vice come m place thereof. 
Thirdly, He claimeth also a faithful heart : ' Keep 
them within thine heart ; ' for if the soul be not 
reformed, as well as the outward senses, or resigned, 
as it were, to the Lord, the seed of the word must 
needs be lost. Great cause there is to hearken to 
the doctrines of the Scripture : ' For they are life 
unto those that find them, and wholesome to the 
whole flesh of every one of them.' Whosoever obey 
the word of God shall thereby be preserved in soul 
and body from many miseries, and in them both 
taste many good blessings. 

Ver. 23. Above all watch and ward Iceep thine heart; 
for out of it proceed the issues of life. 

Nature itself in the body of man hath so fenced 
the heart on every side, whereupon this life chiefly 
dependeth, and from whence it floweth to the other 
parts, that by the very placing of it, it seemeth to 
be a most noble entrail, whereof chief regard is to 
be had. The heart then is with all care and dili- 
gence to be preserved from hurt and from infection, 
but especially from sin and from damnation. Hence 
it is that the Lord in Deuteronomy, chap. iv. 9, 
willeth his people to look to themselves and to 
their souls dihgently, meaning that this is to be 
done even above all watch and ward, as here it is 
said ; for it is not enough to free the soul from sin, 
or to furnish it with the gifts of God's Spirit, but this 
is to be done with greater care and diligence than 
anything else. Eather, then, look to the cleansing 
of thine heart, than to the cleansing of thy well ; 
rather look to the feeding of thine heart, than to the 
feeding of thy flock ; rather look to the defending 
of thine heart, than to the defending of thine house; 
finally, rather look to the keeping of thine heart. 

than to the keeping of thy money. Great cause 
there is why thou shouldst have this special regard 
of thine heart, ' for out of it proceed the issues of 
life.' A man may be maimed, blind, dumb, and 
lame, and yet live, yea, enter into God's kingdom. 
But seeing the heart is not only the well-spring of 
motion and sense, but of infidelity and faith, if that 
be unsound, especially to God-ward, death, even 
eternal death, must of necessity follow. Wliereas, 
then, out of the heart floweth all sin, and the heart 
is the seat again of God's Spirit, ' above all watch 
and ward look to thine heart;' for what would it 
gain a man to win the whole world, and to lose his 
own soul ? 

Ver. 24. Remove from thee the frowardness of the 
mouth, and put far away from thee the naughtiness of 
the lips. 

After that we have been exhorted to look to our 
hearts, we are now, not without cause, willed to put 
evil speaking from us ; for there is no member in our 
whole body more hurtful than the tongue, if it 
break the bridle, or abuse itself in speeches. AH 
the vices of the tongue being comprehended in 
these two words, frowardness and naughtiness, we 
are herein charged to take heed of blasphemy, lying, 
perjury, cursing, jesting, slandering, and infinite 
other such deformities of the mouth and of the 
lips. He is a very wise man that ofiendeth not at 
all in his tongue ; but to abuse our speech to vanity 
and lewdness, were as indecent as if any, when he 
goeth abroad, should draw his mouth or Hps awry. 

Ver. 25. Let thine eyes look directly on afore, and let 
thine eyelids view straight before thee. 

To take heed to the way, and to look on straight 
before, are properties of a wary and circumspect 
man, Eph. v. 15. We are then herein exhorted 
to walk circumspectly, not as the unwise, but as the 
wise, redeeming the time. We must, as the com- 
mon proverb is, look before we leap, and have our 
eyes in our head, wherein they are placed, as in a 
watch-tower, to direct the whole body, and to fore- 
see all dangers. But we are not to think that 
Solomon would only direct the eyes of the body, 
but that he would have the eyes of the mind also 
do their duty, and always be bent upon that which 
is good, and watchful in foreseeing all dangers. How 
perilous a thing it is to look awry, and not to have 

Chap. V. 1-5.] 



the eyes of the head and heart continually attentive 
on God's commandment, and our o'\i"n good, the 
example of Lot's wife may sufficiently testify. 

Ver. 26. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all 
thy ways he ordered aright. 

A wise traveller doth diligently ex'amine wliat 
way he is to go, and if there be two jDafchs, whereof 
he doubteth whether is the right, he will weigh 
with liimself which of them it is best for him to 
take ; even so it is meet that every one, by the 
balance and weights of equity and justice,' do ponder 
his affections, and the means which he useth to 
bring anything to pass, that he may know whether 
they be lawful or not, and if he find them to be 
amiss, then he must alter and correct the;m. Every 
one is to make such straight paths to his feet, not 
only for his own welfare, but for the good of others, 
lest that which is lame, be, by a rough and crooked 
way of an offensive example, even turned quite out of 
joint, Heb. xii. 13, whenas rather it should be healed. 

Ver. 27. Tvrn not to the right hand or to the left : 
remove thy foot front evil. 

This phrase of declining to the right hand or to 
the left is often used in the Scripture. The Lord 
in Deuteronomy speaketh thus to the people of 
Israel : ' You shall take heed that ye do as the Lord 
God commandeth you ; see that ye decline not either 
to the right hand or to the left," Deut. v. 32. We 
must then walk not only by measure, but, as it were, 
by Une, yea, by a straight line. We are not by any 
means to start aside from the truth of God's word, 
either for love, or fear, or any such affection ; but 
abhorring that which is evil, we are to cleave con- 
stantly to that which is good. Let then every one 
take heed that neither he be of the number of those 
dissolute people that make no conscience of anything, 
nor of the company of those fantastical professors 
who will needs be, as Nazianzen speaketh, more 
straight than the rule, more bright than the sun, 
more right-landed than the right hand itself; for 
although the very Spirit of Christ, which is known 
by the mortifpng of sin, doth apparently work in 
divers members of our congregations ; and though 
the best divines in Christendom, and most famous, 
not only for their writings, but godliness, acknow- 
ledge our assemblies to be the churches of Christ ; 
yet all this, and much more, cannot satisfy them, nor 

stay them from separating themselves from us and 
condemning us, as if they themselves were of better 
judgment than the very lights of the world, or were 
led with a more excellent spirit than the Spirit of 
Clirist himself. What is this, but either through 
zeal without knowledge to decline on the right hand, 
in seeking after more excellent things than are ; or 
through unadvised rashness to turn too much on the 
left hand, in condemning those things as utterly 
unholy, which only are unperfect? whenas that 
which is lame is not by such rough and offensive 
ways to be put quite out of joint, but rather by the 
plasters of patience, charity, wisdom, and a life un- 
reprovable, to be healed. 


Ver. 1. My son, hearkenunto my wisdom, bow down 
thine ear unto mine understanding : 

Ver. 2. Thai thou mayest observe counsel, and thy 
lips may preserve hno wledge. 

The drift of the divine instructor in this chapter 
is to dissuade every one from the foul sin of adultery. 
It contameth two principal points : the one, an ad- 
monition to avoid all fellowship with the adulteress ; 
the other, an exhortation to use the means of chas- 
tity. Before that the wise father cometh to give his 
son his lesson, he useth a preface to draw him to 
attention, saying, ' My son, hearken unto my wisdom, 
bow down thine ear to mine understanding : that 
thou mayest observe counsel, and thy lips may pre- 
serve knowledge,' — that is, stir up and apply thy 
mind and affections, and bend the outward senses 
also of thy body, to the end that thou mayest neither 
conceive in mind, nor willingly hear any evil or 
vanity ; and to the end also that thou mayest have the 
word of God in thy mouth, that thy lips may be 
fenced against the lips of the harlot, which allure 
unto lewdness. 

Ver. 3. Albeit the lips of a strange woman drop as 
an honeycomb, and the roof of her WMuth is softer 
than oil: 

Ver. 4. Yet her latter end is hitter as wormwood, and 
sharp as a two-edged sword. 

Ver. 5. Her feet go down to death; her steps go down 
to the grave. 



[Chap. V. 

Ver. 6. She pondereth not the -way of Life; her pathi 
are moveable, she hath no knowledge, i 

In these verses the harlot is very lively painted, 
forth in her colours, to the end she may be not only 
the better known, but the more detested. ' Albeit 
the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, 
and the roof of her mouth is softer than oil : yet her 
latter end is bitter as wormwood, and sharp as a 
two-edged sword.' Although the naughty woman's 
■words are pleasant to flesh and blood, inasmuch as 
they tickle the senses with promise of joys and de- 
lights, so that they may be compared to the honey- 
comb, which is most sweet to the taste ; and 
although her speeches are most plausible and 
smooth, so that they may be resembled to the 
oil, -which hurteth not the tenderest skin, but 
rather supplieth the veins and sinews ; yet for all 
this, her effects are most grievous to be borne, so 
that they may be hkened very fitly to wormwood, 
which exceedeth in bitterness ; and the evils which 
at last she bringeth men unto are most deadly, so that 
they may justly be called a two-edged sword ; for 
howsoever at the beginning she bringeth solace or 
comfort, and telleth that her lover may be secure and 
free of all fear of danger or trouble, yet in the end 
she worketh unto him shame, beggary, heart-grief, 
destruction, and damnation, as afterward shall more 
plainly appear. ' Her feet go down to death ; her 
steps go down to the grave.' Such are her speeches 
and lips, as they before have been described. Now 
as touching her feet and steps, they lead unto 
misery and utter ruin, so that they which go with 
her, or follow her, are sure to meet with most 
heavy judgments, and most fearful plagues, which 
the Lord hath prepared for her and her companions ; 
for fornicators and adulterers the Lord will judge. 
To conclude : ' She pondereth not the way of life ; 
her paths are moveable, she hath no knowledge.' 
By reason that people regard not the good way of 

^ In this sense I take this verse, which before I liked well, 
but I was then loath to vary from the common translators ; 
but the words well bearing this interpretation, I thought 
good now to set it down. The only objection against it 
with a show of reason may be, that pen doth not signify 
lo in the Scripture. But Rabbi Jonah so turneth pen both 
here and Isa. xxviL 3. And David Kimbi readeth pen by way 
of interrogation, for num in Latin, which in effect is all one 
with non or lo. 

vii'tue and ^asdom, which bringeth life before 
spoken of, they run into all vices. This the harlot 
careth not for, and therefore though she live, yet 
she is dead, because that, being wanton, she wanteth 
God's Spirit, which is the life of the soul. Hence 
it cometh to pass that her paths are moveable ; so 
that now she is without, now she is in the streets, 
and she lieth in wait in every corner, as is after- 
ward affirmed in this book, chap. vii. 12. Finally, 
she knoweth nothing as she ought to know, neither 
can come to the full knowledge of the truth unto 
her salvation. For, as also is afterward set down 
in the ninth chapter of this book, though 
the foolish woman is full of words and babbling, 
yet for all that she knoweth nothing, being so blind 
that she doth not effectually see either the fulness 
of her sin, or the misery of her estate, or the way 
to God's licingdom; for truly, whosoever hath not 
God's gratie is blind, not seeing things afar off, even 
those spiritual and heavenly duties and virtues 
wherewith God is well pleased, and which he hath 
prepared that we should walk therein, 2 Pet. i. 9. 

Ver. 7. Now therefore, sons, hearken unto me, 
and depart not from the words of my mouth. 

Ver. 8. Put thp way far off from her, and draw 
not near to the door of her house : 

Ver. 9. Zest thou give thine honour unto other, and 
thy years to the cruel : 

Ver. 1 0. Lest strangers be filled luith thy riches, and 
thy labours be in another .r^ri.v'ji house : 

Ver. 11. And thou mourn at the lasi, ^fter that thy 
body and flesh have been consumed. 

Ver. 12. And say. How have I hated instruction, 
and my soul despised correction ; 

Ver. 13. And have not hearkened to the voice of 
my teachers, and not inclined mine ear to mine in- 

Ver. 14. Within a little space I am in all evil in 
the midst of the congregation and assembly. 

In these verses the spiritual father both admon- 
isheth his son to use certain means whereby he may 
be preserved from adultery, and allegeth sundry 
reasons tending to dissuade him from this sin. One 
means of avoiding the allurements of the strumpet, 
is listening to good counsel, or the word of God 
contained in the first of these sentences ; ' Now 
therefore, sons, hearken unto me.' Another is, 

Ver. 15-20.] 



the sliunning of the place where she dwelleth and 
keepeth : ' Put thy way far off from her, and draw 
not near to the door of her house ; ' for, indeed, as it 
is in our common proverb, 

' He that will no evil do, 
Must do uotliicg that longeth ^ thereto.' 

Men will shun a house infected with the pestilence, 
much more then is the dwelling-place of the harlot 
to be avoided, who is infinitely more contagious and 
dangerous than any plague. The first reason set 
down to dissuade men from passing by the way 
wherein the adulteress keepeth is, ' Lest thou give 
thine honour to other ;' lest by this means thou 
not only lose the flower of thy beauty and dignity, 
but give it unto a harlot to enjoy, becoming one 
flesh with her. The second reason is, ' Lest thou 
give thy years to the cruel ; ' lest thou by this 
means not only, through unsatiable lust, shorten 
thy days, but, incurring the fierce wrath of the 
naughty woman's husband, or of some revenger, be 
cruelly cut off, even before the natural course of thy 
life be expired. The third cause is, ' Lest stran- 
gers be filled with thy riches, and thy labours be in 
another man's house ;' lest also, like the prodigal 
son, thou not only spend thy patrimony upon har- 
lots, bawds, rufiians, and ill companions, but enrich 
them even with that, thy substance, which thou 
hast got by the toil and labour of thine hands, and 
earned dearly vidth the sweat of thy brow. The 
last argument is, 'Lest tnou mourn at the last 
day_that Vny flesh and body have been consumed^ 
and say. How have I hated instruction, and my 
soul despised correction, and have not hearkened to 
the voice of my teachers ; nor incUned mine ear to 
mine instructors ! within a httle space I am in all 
evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly.' 
Finally, Lest thou not only receive the punishment of 
wanting so many good things as have been rehearsed, 
but of feeling sorrow, and many evils joined there- 
withal ; and so, when it is too late, thou howl and 
cry, as the beasts which are stricken, or drawn to be 
slain, whenas now thy vital spirits have been spent, 
and thy carcase hath been plagued with some sore 
disease, and speak after this manner : unwise 
and most miserable wretch that I am, how fond and 
mad have I been in former times, so little to regard 
' That is, 'belongeth.' — Ed. 

the good counsel of my parents, who wished my 
good, and of the Lord's prophets, who reproved 
my sin ! What cause had I to be so stubborn to 
them, or to rage against them ? For if I had obeyed 
them, I should never have lost those good things 
that I had, nor have felt the miseries that have 
justly come upon me. But because I have cast 
their precepts behind my back, I am made suddenly 
an open spectacle of shame and vengeance, in place 
of arraignment and execution before the bench and 
common people. These reasons then, taken from 
human damages, are very forcible and sufiicient, 
not only to dissuade men from adultery, but from 
coming near to the house of the adulteress. 

Ver. 15. Drinh water out of thine own cistern, and 
flowing streams out of the midst of thine own well. 

Ver. 16. Let tliy fountains disperse themselves 
abroad, thy streams of waters in the streets. 

Ver. 17. Let them he thine in several, and not 
other men's with thee. 

Ver. 18. Let thy well-spring be blessed: and rejoice 
in the wife of thy youth. 

Ver. 19. Let her be a most lovely hind, and a most 
amiable roe. 

Ver. 20. Let her breasts satisfy thee at all times ; 
and dote in the love of her continually. 

Oftentimes in the Scripture the estate and use of 
wedlock is shadowed out by the allegory or borrowed 
speech of waters, Num. xxiv. 7 ; Deut. xxxiii. 28 ; 
Isa. xlviii. 1; Ps. Ixviii. 27; Isa. li. 1. If, then, 
the self-same thing is here also, by similitudes, re- 
presented, in which opinion divines and Hebricians 
of most excellent judgTuent are, this is the natural 
sense of this place : Quench the thirst of thy de- 
sire, not by abusing those that belong to other, but 
by enjoying thine own wife, even as it is meet that 
one having a well or pit of his own should drink 
thereof, and not of another man's. The fruit of 
this lawful course will be sweet and great, for thou 
shalt have children begotten in honest wedlock, of 
whom thou mayest be sure that they are thine own, 
and which may be an ornament to the common- 
wealth, and a refreshing to thee in the streets of the 
city. Let, therefore, thy wife become a fruitful vine, 
and, forsaking all other, keep thyself only to her, 
and dehght in her. But if these words and verses 
be more largely understood of the use and right dis- 



[Chap. V. 

posing of riches before spoken of — which, interpreta- 
tion pleaseth some, and seemeth to them the fittest 
— then they carry this meaning, which to add to 
the former exposition I judge it in this case no more 
inconvenient than it is for mariners to set up a full 
sail in their boats when they see the wind to move 
them so to do. 'Drink water out of thine own 
cistern, and flowing streams out of the midst of 
thine own well.' Enjoy comfortably, and apply to 
thine own behoof, thy corn, thy wine, thine oU, and 
all thy goods ; for by one possession here named as 
most necessary and usual, to wit, water, every one 
in this sense is to be understood. It was the cus- 
tom of the Jews commonly to drink water, for 
which cause every one almost had his own proper 
wells, and pits, and cisterns. ' Let thy fountains 
disperse themselves abroad, thy streams of water in 
the streets.' Not only take part of thy goods thy- 
self, but impart them to other who stand in need, 
as to the fatherless, the widow, the beggar in the 
street. 'Let them be thine in several, and not 
other men's with thee.' Let not bawds and harlots 
have any part of them or interest in them, but keep 
thou to thyself alone the right and power of them. 
' Let thy well-spring be blessed.' To conclude ; give 
thy goods to those that are in need so plentifully 
that the Lord may increase them, and the poor may 
bless thee for them. Thus far reach those sentences 
which are dark, of the true meaning whereof let the 
servants and prophets of the Lord judge. As for 
the verses that follow, they are more plain and with- 
out controversy, and to be understood of the duties 
of husbands towards their wives. ' And rejoice in 
the wife of thy youth.' Live cheerfully with her 
whom the Lord hath first matchei with thee, as most 
naturally loving and to be loved. ' Let her be a 
most lovely hind, and a most amiable roe.' Even 
as the hart, being fond of the hind, followeth her up 
and down, and solaceth himself with her, or as the 
roebuck, being exceedingly enamoured with the roe, 
delighteth in her, and wandereth with her ; so walk, 
talk, and refresh thyself with the wife of thy youth, 
being not bitter, but most kind and loving unto her 
all the days of thy life. ' Let her breasts satisfy 
thee at all times ; and dote in the love of her con- 
tinually.' Finally, even as the little infant con- 
tenteth himself with the breasts of his mother or 

nurse, or as they who are stricken in years dote 
greatly on thof;e things which they like ; so, being 
satisfied with her alone, and not offended with any 
of her wants or infirmities, think her the most 
beautiful of ajl other, and as a peerless pearl in 
thine eye let her be most acceptable unto thee. 

Ver. 21. 'And why, my son, shouldst thou go 
astray with a strange woman, or embrace the bosom of 
another man's wife 2 

Ver. 22. Since every mans ways are before the eyes 
of the Lord,, and he pondereth all his paths. 

Ver. 23. ; His own iniquities shall take the wicked 
man, and he: shall be held by the cords of his own sin. 

Ver. 24. He shall die for want of instruction, and 
for that he wandereth in his great folly. 

In this conclusion of the chapter, the Spirit of 
God addoth a divine reason, dissuading from adul- 
tery, unto those human, which before have already 
been set down to this intent : 'And why, my son, 
shouldst thou go astray with a strange woman?' 
Great cause there is why thou shouldst fly all liking 
of other worn' an besides thine own wife, and why 
thou shouldst not be so bold as to come near to a 
harlot : ' Since every man's ways are before the eyes 
of the Lord ; ' inasmuch as God plainly seeth the 
most secret action,? that are done ; yea, the very 
inward cogitations of the heart. 'And he pondereth 
all his paths ;' yea, since the eternal God examineth 
all the deeds and thioughts of men, and judgeth 
them in justice. ' His own liTj.ouity shall take the 
wicked man.' Wherefore, howsoever for---'?' time 
the ungodly person, or adulterer may go abroad 
freely, or be out of trouble, yet his own sin, as a 
bailifi' or sergeant, shall at the last arrest and appre- 
hend him ; for his conscience shall check him, and 
summon him before the tribunal seat of God. 'And 
he shall be held by the cords of his own sin.' More- 
over, the troubles of the Lord raised up by his 
transgressors shall, as jailers, bind him vsdth such 
bonds or irons, as it were, that he cannot possibly 
escape, being kept together with the evil angels in 
chains of darkness against the day of judgment. 
' He shall die for want of instruction.' At the last 
death and destruction, as the Lord's executioners, 
shall take away his life from him, yea, they shall 
torment him in hell-fire.^ Now all this shall befall 

'See a like saying, Job xxxvi. 12. 

Chap. VI. 1-5.] 



him for want of instruction, for Ms ignorance, care- 
lessness, and disobedience, as also for that he goeth 
astray with the strange woman, or committeth 
many like abominations. 


Ver. 1. My son, if thou hast promised to he surety 
to thy friend, or clapped thine hand with a stranger, 

Ver. 2. Thou hast ensnared thyself by the words 
of thy mouth, thou art caught by the speeches of thy 

Ver. 3. Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, 
inasmuch as thou art come into the hand of thy neiyh- 
hour; go thy way, submit thyself, and be importunate 
with thy neighbour. 

Ver. 4. Grant no sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to 
thine eyelids. 

Ver. 5. Deliver thyself as a roe out of the hand of 
the hunter, and as a bird out of the hand of the 

Many precepts are delivered in this book which 
appertain to matters of this life, and are needful for 
the leading of this life the more prosperously and 
comfortably, to the end we may the more freely 
apply ourselves to wisdom, and serve the Lord the 
more acceptably. Among divers of this sort, this 
concerning suretyship is not of the least use and 
profit, inasmuch as many, by rash incurring of debt, 
do undo themselves and their families, so that not 
only hereby it often cometh to pass that their minds 
are much distracted, but that their bodies are im- 
prisoned, and the things which they possess are 
taken away. The apostle Paul, considering what 
a hindrance every way such running into debt must 
needs be to them that fear God, willeth all Chris- 
tians to owe nothing to any man, as much as in them 
lieth, but to love one another, Rom. xiii. 8. Likewise 
here Solomon, to the end that his son should be with- 
out care and unnecessary trouble, counselleth him in 
these verses, first. Not to enter into suretyship, then 
if, peradventure, this way he hath overshot himself, to 
use all good means of getting his word or bond re- 
leased ; wherefore he saith, ' My son, if thou hast 
promised to be surety to thy friend, or clapped thine 
hand with a stranger, thou hast ensnared thyself by 

the words of thy mouth, thou art caught by the 
speeches of thy mouth.' The ■svise king doth not 
simply or altogether forbid suretyship in these words 
as a thing unlawful ; for as charity bindeth us some- 
times to lend our goods to our neighbour, so also to 
become surety for him. The apostle Paul himself, 
who gave the precept before named, to owe nothing 
beside love, yet off'ered himself to be surety unto 
Philemon for Onesimus, Philem. 19, which he would 
not have done, if it had been unlawful for him so to 
do. Only, then, the danger of suretyship is here 
shewed, to the end that none should easily or rashly 
cast himself thereinto. The spiritual father reasoneth 
thus : Seeing suretyship is, as it were, a snare or a 
dangerous net, enter not into it rashly or hghtly, 
and put not thine head voluntarily, like an unwise 
woodcock, into the gin that will take thee to de- 
struction. But if any, through a yielding nature or 
unadvised speech, have so cast himself into surety- 
ship as that he hath, either by clapping of the hand 
or by promise, bound himself to pay his friend's debt, 
what is he then to do 1 Then, ' Do this now my 
son, and deliver thyself, inasmuch as thou art come 
into the hand of thy neighbour ; go thy way, submit 
thyself, and be importunate with thy neighbour. 
Grant no sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine 
eyelids. Deliver thyself as a roe out of the hand of 
the hunter, or as a bird out of the snare of the 
fowler.' Lest this snare entrap thee, or be hurtful 
to thee or thine, inasmuch as thou ait fallen into it, 
do thine endeavour to be delivered out of it. Sit 
not still, but trot up and down, and in most humble 
manner earnestly request the creditor to be favour- 
able to thee in releasing thee, or in letting thee alone. 
Secondly, Run to thy friend for whom thou wast 
surety, and press him to pay his own debt, where- 
unto he is principally bound. Delay in this case is 
not good ; wherefore before thou goest to bed, or 
takest any rest, with all speed and diligence seek to 
make thyself free. It were a shame for thee, in- 
dued with reason, not to shift or provide so well for 
thyself as brutish creatures do for themselves. As, 
therefore, the beasts labour by aU means to escape 
the pursuit which is made after them, or as the 
fowls strive to get out of the nets wherein they are 
entangled, so endeavour thou with might and main 
to come out of the bonds of suretyship. 



[Chap. VI. 

Ver. 6. Go to the ant, sluggard ; behold her ways, 
and lie icise : 

Ver. 7. For she having no guide, taskmaster, nor 

Ver. 8. Prepareth her meat in the summer, and 
gathereth her food in harvest. 

Ver. 9. How long wilt thou lie, sluggard? when 
wilt thou arise out of thy sleep ? 

Ver. 10. By a few sleeps, a feiD slumbers, a little 
folding of the hands to sleep, (or rest.) 

Ver. 11. Thy poverty cometh on thee in the mean 
season as a speedy traveller, and thy necessity as an 
armed man. 

It were a shame, saith a philosopher, not to learn 
virtue from the example of the little creatures.^ To 
the self-same purpose writeth the divine instructor 
in this place of Scripture ; for now, intending to 
draw men from slothfulness, as before from siirety- 
ship, he setteth before them the example of the ant, 
which may be a pattern of great industry and 
labour. She taketh such pains, that aU day long 
she carrieth grains of corn, which are even greater 
than her body. Again, she hath such a forecast, 
by a certain natural instinct, that in summer she 
provideth for winter, and in harvest hideth and 
treasureth up food against a hard time. The sluggard, 
then, may well learn by her example to be diligent 
and provident ; and it may be said unto him, even to 
his confusion, ' Go to the ant, sluggard.' The 
praise of the ant is by so much the greater, for that 
' she, having no guide, taskmaster, nor ruler, prepar- 
eth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food 
in harvest ;' for if some schoolmaster had taught her, 
or some overseer did call her to account, or, finally, 
if there were any magistrate to punish her when 
she did amiss, it were the less marvel that she is so 
painful and careful. But seeing, when she hath no 
director or governor, she is yet so provident and 
diligent, whenas the sluggish man, having magis- 
trates and masters to direct and correct him, is so 
idle and reckless, great cause there is why, as he 
should be confounded and ashamed, so she the more 
commended and extolled. Solomon having thus 
propounded the example of the ant, as if that he 
stood hard by the sluggard, crieth out, ' How long 
wilt thou lie, sluggard, when wilt thou arise out 
' Seneca, lib. s. de dementia. 

of thy sleep 1 By a few sleeps, a few slumbers, a 
little folding of the hands to sleep, thy poverty 
cometh on thee in the mean season as a speedy tra- 
veller, and thy necessity as an armed man.' The 
time which the slothful person spendeth in lying in 
his bed, and in sleeping, is very long and much, for 
he doth not rise commonly till it be noon, or at least 
till it be very late. But yet he, thinking this long 
time short, excuseth himself, sajang that he would 
sleep and slumber but a little, and stretch out his 
limbs but a while longer. Thus whilst he multipU- 
eth liis naps and slumberings, want overtaketh him, 
as a swift traveller doth one who walketh slowly, 
and need meeteth with him as an armed man doth 
one without a weapon, that is not able to withstand 
him. Necessity, as we say, hath no law, and poverty 
maketh the old wife to trot. Not to have a crumb 
of bread, or a drop of drink, or any necessaries of 
this life, is a miserable thing. A man in this case 
must beg, which is shameful, or starve, which is 
intolerable, or steal, which is abominable. When 
such want and need shall not befall a man by casu- 
alty, but be incurred by carelessness and negligence, 
it is not only a cross, but a fearful curse of God. 
As, then, thou wouldst be loath to come to extreme 
beggary, so shun slothfulness, the highway there- 

Ver. 12. The lawless person, the wicked man, walketh 
with a froward heart. 

Ver. 13. He winkeih with his eyes, he speaketh with 
his feet, he instructeth with his fingers ; 

Ver. 14. Wily imaginations are within his heart, 
he practiseth mischief continually; he stirreth up 

Ver. 15. Therefore shall his destruction come speedily ; 
he shall suddenly he broken without recovery. 

A notorious wicked man is herein partly described 
and partly threatened. First, He is called a lawless 
person, because he will not be subject to the yoke 
either of God's law or of man's law, but giveth over 
himself to all such impieties and iniquities as the 
statutes and decrees of all well-ordered countries do 
forbid and grievousl}^ punish. For the Hebrew 
word Belial, (which with the best writers I translate 
lawless,) in the use which it hath in the Scriptures 
and good writers, noteth out an ungracious and 
disorderly person, who shaketh the law of heaven 

Ver. 12-15.] 



from his neck. We caU siicli a one in our English, 
tongue, one that is past all grace, an unthrift, a 
devil incarnate. If any would know to what sort 
of sinners this name of the sons of Belial is attri- 
buted in the Scriptures, it is manifest that they are 
termed thereby who are either notable idolaters, or 
given over to gross vices, and to work aU unright- 
eousness, even with greediness. Moses in Deuter- 
onomy, speaking of false prophets or seducers, saith 
to the people of Israel, ' If any of the sons of Belial 
have gone out of thee, and have dra^vn aside the 
inhabitants of their city, saying, Come, let us go and 
worship strange gods ; when thou hast inquired and 
sought, and well searched this out, if this abomina- 
tion be committed ia the midst of thee ; thou shalt 
in any case smite the inhabitants of that city with 
the edge of the sword,' Dent. xiii. 13. Hannah, 
being charged by Eli the priest with the vice of 
drunkenness, and of beastly behaviour in God's 
church, going about to excuse herself, answered him, 
saying, ' Account not, I pray thee, thine handmaid 
as a daughter of Belial,' 1 Sam. i 16. Such a law- 
less person as is a son or daughter of Behal must 
needs be a reprobate ; ' For what concord,' saith the 
apostle to the Corinthians, ' is there between Christ 
and Belial?' 2 Cor. \'i. 15. By all these places of 
Scripture it appeareth, that Belial noteth out in the 
word of God always either Satan himself, or the 
child of the devil, cast out of the Lord's favour and 
vowed to perdition. Now in the second place, that 
bad one whom the Spirit of God would mark out as 
a notorious malefactor, is called a wicked man, or the 
man of iniquity. The word used in the original 
text, which is avcn, signifieth commonly in the 
Scripture such unrighteousness as worketh some hurt 
or vexation. "Wherefore he is said to be a man of 
iniquity, who not only is full of all sorts of sins, but is 
very harmful withal, and troublesome unto his neigh- 
bours. For example, when you see any that is a 
promoter, a pursuer of good men, a sower of discord, 
a disturber of the church or commonwealth, or a 
causer of slaughter, you may justly call him a man 
of iniquity. For he that is such a one goeth about 
those things which not only are forbidden by God's 
laws, but joined vtdth the wronging and injuring of 
men. All the chief poison of this serpent is in his 
tongue, in regard whereof it is said of him that he 

walketh with a froward mouth ; whereby is meant, 
as the firophet speaketh in the psakn, that his 
mouth is full of cursing, deceit, and guile, and 
that labour and affliction, or iniquity", is under his 
tongue, Ps. X. 7. Daily experience teacheth, that 
wheresoever such a wicked man as hath been de- 
scribed walketh, or is conversant, he blasphemeth, 
curseth, sweareth, or abuseth his tongue unto some 
hurt or other. Now if this wicked man had 
but this one bad property alone, that he did 
what harm he could with his mouth, although this 
were much to be detested, yet it were the more 
tolerable, if likewise he did not abuse all the other 
members of his body unto deceit and mischief But 
behold, he hath not only one ill property, but many, 
if not all ; neither doth he give over his mouth alone 
unto unrighteousness, but his eyes, his feet, his 
fingers, and consequently all his members and 
senses : for he winketh with his eyes, he speaketh 
with his feet, he instructeth with his fingers. It is 
not unlawful by signs to express the secret meaning 
of the heart, or to admonish any to take heed of 
evil. Orators may use the eloquence of the body, as 
they call it, and they that be dumb must needs speak 
by gestures. Wlien Zacharias, that divine sacrificer, 
was taken speechless, Luke i 62, his godly friends and 
kinsfolks by signs demanded of him how he would 
have his son called, whereunto he answered by signs 
agaiti. But to abuse the members of the body to be 
signs of lewdness, of cozening, of deceit, this is 
abominable, and this is that which here is reproved. 
There is some place and time wherein the wicked 
man dare not, or is loath to speak, wherein yet he 
is desirous that his fellows in mischief should know 
his mind ; then and there he winketh wiles with 
his eye, or treadeth his companion on the foot, or 
pointeth closely with his finger, or maketh some 
privy sign or other. The prophet David, in a cer- 
tain psalm, complaineth of such winkers and hypo- 
crites, saying to the Lord, ' Lord, let them not 
wink with the eye that hate me ivithout cause ; for 
they speak not peace, but devise deceit against those 
that are peaceable in the earth, Ps. xxxv. 19, 20. 
The son of Syrach, whom I may caU a good interpre- 
ter of this book of the Proverbs, painteth out the dis- 
sembler here spoken of in his colours. ' He that wink- 
eth with the eye (saith he) imagineth mischief; but he 




[Chap. VI. 

that hath knowledge will depart from him. lu thy 
presence he wiU keep under his mouth, and ^viU shew 
admiration of thy speeches ; but at last he wU pervert 
thy talk, and work thee some stumbUug-block for 
thy words. I have heard many things, but I have not 
compared anything to him, and the Lord hateth 
him,' Ecclus. xx\-ii. 22-25. Now seeing this 
detestable dissembler is such a one, no marvel if 
Solomon afterward in this book affirmeth, Prov. x. 
10, that he is of the number of those who pervert 
their ways, and opposeth him to the plain-dealing 
man who walketh uprightly. But of all the -n-inkers 
and sign-makers in the world at this day, the mass 
priests do excel, who to cozen the people, and to 
make them beUeve that they are most devout and 
holy, when there is as much religion in them as in 
horses, dance such high the gays with their feet, 
frame such figures with their fingers, and cast such 
countenances on the matter, at what time they are 
hoUoing, tossing, and worshipping their meally god, 
as that they may seem not only to be practisers, but 
masters of the art of dissimulation. But to conclude ; 
as fishes are known by their eyes and gills, whether 
they be good or evil, so are men discerned by their 
looks and gestures ; for the disposition of the mind 
is seen in the estate of the body, and the motion of 
the body is, as it were, a voice of the mind. \\Tiere- 
fore let every one be careful that he govern aright 
all the senses and parts of his body, and frame his 
gestures into modesty, comeliness, and sincerity. 
But such as is the disposition of the mind within, 
such will be the outward behaviour and carriage of 
a man's self. No marvel then that it is further said 
of the wicked man, that ' Avily imaginations are in 
his heart, and that he imagineth or practiseth mis- 
chief continually.' In which words the very entrails 
of the ungodly person are ripped up, wherein is no- 
thing else but deceit and mischief ; for as an artificer 
deviseth and maketh new fashions of garments, so 
he inventeth and practiseth evU. He cometh in 
sheep's clothing like a lamb, but inwardly he is a 
ravening wolf. The thoughts of man's heart are 
only e\-il continually, but from time to time to de- 
vise and work iniquity even with delight, this is a 
badge of one that is unregenerate. Now to con- 
clude ; the very ear-mark, as it were, whereby the 
ungodly person hitherto pointed unto and painted 

out, may especially be known, is, that he stirreth up 
contentions : for what worse property can there be, 
than to be a makebate, or who would not judge 
him to be a limb of the devil, who by backbiting or 
tale-carrying soweth the seeds of strife 1 Well, see- 
ing the lawless person and the man of Belial is thus 
fuU of all iniquity, and seeing he taketh away con- 
cord from among men, which is the chiefest good 
thing in this Ufe, ' therefore shall his destruction 
come speedily ; he shall suddenly be broken without 
recovery.' Great sins have great punishments ; neither 
only great, but sudden. The day of judgment shall 
at last utterly overthrow the sinner, but sometimes 
also even in this Ufe he is overwhelmed with a flood 
of calamities, which in great heaps come on him un- 
awares. There may be a breaking which may be 
repaired, and a wound which may be remedied ; 
but the ruin of the sower of contention shall be an 
utter undoing of him in his estate, name, body, and 
soul ; for the Lord will quickly overthrow him, and 
plague him most grievously, who, as it foUoweth, 
hateth sundry vices, but especially abhorreth the 
stirring up of strife among bretliren. 

Ver. 16. These six things doth the Lord hate; yea, 
these seven are abomination to his soul : 

Ver. 17. The haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and the 
hands that shed innocent Mood, 

Ver. IS. A heait that plotleth wicked devices, feet 
that he swift in running to mischief, 

Ver. 19. A false witness that forgeth lies, and him 
that raiseth up contentions among brethren. 

We are taught in these verses that albeit the 
Lord abhorreth all sorts of sins ; yet there are 
some particular vices which he, after a special sort, 
detesteth, and useth most severely to revenge. The 
Lord hath no soul, as man ; but to declare that he 
doth not lightly, but fuUy, and as it were inwardly, 
detest and loathe the sins here specified, he is said 
to abhor them in his soul. The things most odious 
unto God are in order these : first, The haughty 
eyes. The eyes of the body lifted up above measure, 
or abased to shew contempt, as signs of a proud 
person, are abominable in God's sight ; and how 
much more then the eyes of the mind searching 
into matters that are too high, and thinking that 
they see most clearly when they are most bUnd. 
Mark this, you proud peacocks of the world, that 

Ver, 20-23.] 



boast so mucli of your gifts or virtues, and take 
such a pride in your beauty or apparel. Shall dust 
and ashes be thus puffed up, and rise up in pride 
and presumption ; and will not God, think you, cast 
you down, as he did the builders of the tower of 
Babel, or humble you, as he did Nebuchadnezzar, or 
plague you, as he did Herod? The second abomi- 
nation is, The lying tongue. Falsehood is most 
contrary to God, who is truth ; and God hath given 
to man his tongue, that he may express that by 
his mouth which he hath conceived in his heart. 
Wherefore they greatly abuse the gift of God, who 
use it to cover falsehood or to utter untruths. So 
did Ananias and Sapphha, but death was their re- 
ward. The tliird is. The hands that shed innocent 
blood. Our hands were given us to help ourselves, 
and others that stand in need of our aid, or are 
wronged. If then any shall so abuse his hands as 
that he shall not only hurt, but murder his innocent 
neighbour, he must of jiecessity be a great sinner, 
and his sin must needs appear heinous in God's 
sight; for innocent blood crieth for vengeance to 
heaven, from whence it cannot but pull down God's 
heavy judgments on him who hath shed it without 
cause, as may appear in the history of Cain and 
Abel. The fourth is, The heart that plotteth wicked 
devices. There is no man's heart but hath evil 
thoughts ; but of purpose and malice to devise mis- 
chief, this is a property, as before hath been affirmed, 
of a very w^icked man. Whenas then the heart shall 
be such a shop, as it were, of devilish policies and 
practices, God, which judgeth men especially ac- 
cording to their intents and inward affections and 
cogitations, not only abhorreth it, but will punish 
it most severely. Thus the Lord, beginning at the 
scornful eyes, will proceed to the lying tongue, and 
so to the bloody hands, and from them to the cor- 
rupt heart, till at last he descend and come to the 
feet, which are swift to run unto mischief, wherein 
the fifth abomination is contained. Such is the 
frailty of the flesh that it is an easy and common 
thing to shde into sin, or to be drawn to do that 
which is evil. But with great desire, and swiftness 
of affection and travail of body, to run or post from 
place to i^lace to do some harm or villany, this is 
an execrable thing in God's sight, and a property of 
Satan. Of this sort of people were the pharisees, 

who compassed sea and land to make a proselyte or 
a receiver of their opinions ; but a woe was there- 
fore pronounced against them by our Saviour Christ. 
These five sorts of sinners, who have already been 
spoken of, are corrupt in some part of the natural 
body ; the other two remaining are most hurtful 
plagues to the body of commonwealths, and there- 
fore no marvel if the Lord abhor them — and, namely, 
the false witnesses that speaketh lies, the sixth de- 
testable person. Much hurt doth the deceitful and 
lying witness, for he corrupteth the judge, oppresseth 
the innocent, suppresseth the truth, and in the court 
of justice sinneth against his own soul and the Lord 
himself most grievously. So did the false accusers 
of our Saviour Christ, upon whom a perpetual brand 
of infamy is set in the gospel. The last detestable 
person here mentioned is he that maketh contention 
among brethren, but not the least ; for he that by 
backbiting, ill counsel, or any other means, setteth 
those together by the ears that are tied in the bond 
of unity and amity, doth more hurt oftentimes than 
the murderer, inasmuch as he slayeth not only men's 
bodies, but their souls. Oh that this were well con- 
sidered by heretics and schismatics in these days, 
who break the peace of the church, and divide them- 
selves from the members of the body of Christ ; and 
not only cast themselves into unnecessary troubles, 
but draw aside many into endless errors, perverting 
wavering professors, wounding the consciences of 
constant Christians, hardening the hearts of atheists, 
causing the chief enemies of God's grace to triumph, 
and offending the majesty of the Highest, howsoever 
they imagine they do him good service. 

Ver. 20. My son, observe thy father's commandment, 
and forsake not thy mother's instruction : 

Ver. 2L Bind them alway upon thine heart, (and) 
tie them about thy neck. 

Solomon intending in this chapter again to dis- 
suade his son from adultery, prefixeth in these words 
a preface containing his advice : ' My son, observe,' 
&c. ; my child, lay up thy parents' counsel as a most 
precious treasure, and keep it safely as most costly 

Ver. 22. It shall lead thee when thou vjalkest, it 
shall watch over thee when thoxc sleepest, it shall talk 
with thee when thou wakest. 

Ver. 23. For the commandment is a lantern, (or 



[Chap. VI. 

lamp,) and doctrine a light, and reproofs of instruc- 
tion a xuay of life, 

Ver. 24. To 'preserve thee from the naughty woman, 
(and) from the flattery of the strange woman's tojigue. 

Herein Solomon shewetli the reasons of that his 
advice, which he did set down in the two verses 
going before. ' It shall lead thee when thou walkest ; ' 
the counsel of thy godly parents, or the word of 
God by them applied unto thee, shall as a guide 
direct thee in thy calling, actions, and journeys. ' It 
shall watch over thee when thou sleepest ;' it will be 
also as a watchman to preserve thee from temptations, 
troubles, and dangers in the night season. ' It shaU 
talk -ndth thee when thou wakest ;' finally, it will 
likewise be as a familiar friend unto thee, conferring 
with thee in the morning, or in the daytime, of the 
mercies of God, of the promises of the word, and of 
spmtual matters ; see Ps. xii. 8. 'For the command- 
ment is a lantern ; ' for the law of the Lord is as a 
bright lamp, see Ps. cxix. 105, which in the night 
season shineth in a dark chamber ; inasmuch as it 
enjoineth that which is good, and forbiddeth that 
which is evil. 'And doctrine a light ;' the instruction 
of the word is again as the light of the sun, which 
in the daytime manifesto th the way which is to be 
gone ; for in like manner the doctrine of the Scrip- 
ture manifesteth truth and error. 'And reproofs of 
instruction a way of life ;' finally, rebukes for sin, or 
the admonitions of God's word, are like the way or 
path which directly bringeth men to their journey's 
end, or to the place whither they would go. For as 
wholesome reproofs pull us from our vices, so they 
do hold us in our duties. ' To preserve thee from 
the naughty woman ;' the word of God, I say, is such 
a sovereign preservative, as hath been spoken of, to 
keep thee from the adulteress, 'and from the flattery of 
the strange woman's tongue,' and to preserve thee from 
being seduced by the enticing speeches of the harlot. 

Ver. 25. Desire not her beauty in thine heart, rieither 
let her catch thee with her eyelids. 

Now Solomon cometh to warn his son, that he be 
not dra'svn to go astray by any provocations unto 
unchastity. ' Desire not her beauty in thine heart ;' 
albeit she is fair, yet look not on her to lust after 
her. ' Neither let her catch thee with her eyelids ; ' 
neither yet suffer her wanton or pleasant looks to 
be a net to entangle thee, or a fire to inflame thee. 

Ver. 26. For hy a whorish woman one is brought to 
a morsel of bread ; ajid the adulteress hunteth for life, 
which is precious. 

Two great hurts arishig unto men by following 
after strange women are here specified, as sufficient 
reasons to dissuade every one from the foul sin of 
adultery. One is, the loss of goods : ' For by a 
whorish woman one is brought to a' morsel of bread.' 
Through whoredom men come to extreme poverty : 
for the harlots have one part of theu' substance, who 
haunt their company; bawds and ruffians another 
part ; officers before whom they are often convented 
another part ; the rest consumeth through a secret 
curse of the Lord, and thus at last all cometh to 
nothing. Another mischief is, the loss of life itself : 
' For the adulteress hunteth for life, which is pre- 
cious.' The vile harlot not only bringeth a man to 
beggary, but to death and destruction, being in this 
respect like unto hunters, who seek after the hfe of 
the poor beast ; for the adulteress seeketh by aU 
means to draw her companion to commit folly with 
her, whereby it cometh to pass that he is laid 
open to her husband's rage, the magistrate's sword, 
and God's wrath. Now, because she useth craft 
and deceit to entangle her lovers, it is not only 
here said of her that she hunteth, but in the book 
of the Preacher, Eccles. vii. 26, that her heart is as 
nets and her hands as snares. 

Ver. 27. Can any tcilce fire into his bosom, and his 
garments not be burned ? 

Ver. 28. Can any walk upon burning coals, and his 
feet not be burned ? 

Ver. 29. So is he that goeth in to his neighbour's 
wife : whosoever toucheth her shall not be unpunished. 

Now the wise king cometh to amplify the former 
reasons, which here he doth by a most fit similitude. 
There is great likeness between the adulteress and 
fire, both in the property of inflaming and consum- 
ing. ' Can any take fire in his bosom,' &c. Even as 
it is impossible that fire should not consume those 
clothes or that body which it toucheth ; so it cannot 
be but that the adulterous woman wiU undo, or hurt 
at the least very sorely, both in outward things and in 
his person, him who committeth folly with h er. The 
consideration hereof caused Job to say, from whom 
it is hkely that Solomon took this comparison, that 
the sin of adultery is such a fire as would, if he had 

Chap VII. 1-5.] 



committed it, have consumed liim unto destruction, 
and quite rooted out all his increase, Job xxxi. 12. 

Ver. 30. A thief is not despised wlio steals to satisfy 
his soul when he is hungry ; 

Ver. 31. BiU if he he taken, he repayeth sevenfold ; he 
maketh recompense with any substance of his house. 

Ver. 32. As for him who commiiteth adultery with a 
woman he is void of understanding : he ivho shall do 
this destroyeth his own soxd. 

Ver. 33. He shall receive a blow and blame ; and his 
reproach sliall not be blotted out. 

Ver. 34. For the fierce rage of a man is hi jealousy ; 
and he sheweth no mercy in the day of revenge. 

Ver. 35. He hath no respect to any ransom, and he 
resteth not, albeit thou profferest many gifts. 

The reasons before set down tending to dissuade 
from adultery are, in this conclusion of the chapter, 
enlarged by a comparison between the lesser sin and 
the greater. ' A thief is not despised who stealeth 
to satisfy his soul.' Albeit it is a shame to steal, 
yet theft is not so foul a fault as to defile another 
man's wife. True it is, he who did steal to preserve 
his Hfe, Exod. xxii. 1, was, by the law of God, to be 
punished, for he was to make full restitution or to be 
sold ; but he was not to be put to death, or to be 
noted with public infamy ; at the least, when he had 
made restitution, all Ids discredit was to cease. ' As 
for him who committeth adultery with a woman,' &c. 
The case standeth otherwise with the adulterer, who 
considereth not the greatness of his sin, or of God's 
judgment against it, and therefore is void of under- 
standing, for he deserveth death, and by the law of 
God he is to die. ' He shall receive a blow and 
blame; and his reproach shall not be blotted out.' 
He who committeth adultery shall be pursued by 
the whorish woman's husband unto death, and ex- 
ecuted by the magistrate ; neither only shall he hve 
and die like a stained and spotted man, but even 
when he is dead, his infamy shall remain. ' For the 
fierce rage of a man is in jealousy.' Although 
effeminate persons can put up the wrong offered 
them in the defiling of their wives, yet those who 
have any manhood in them, wiU not, neither possibly 
can. Indeed, private revenge is unlawful ; but the 
secret motions of nature will so work in this case that 
men will pursue those before the magistrates, even 
unto the death, who have done them wrong in their 

chief est treasures, which are more dear unto them than 
life. How true this is, may appear Ln the example 
of that Levite, of whom mention is made in the 
book of Judges, who, seeing his wife to have been 
shamefully abused, sent the parts of her dead body to 
the tribes of Israel with this message, ' Consider the 
matter, consult, and give sentence,' Judges xix. 30. 
To conclude, the husband which is inflamed with 
jealousy, or rage for wrong offered unto him in his 
wife, will never be reconciled nor rest till he hath 
been revenged of his adversary the adulterer, even 
unto the full. Now, if man -ndll not pardon the offence 
this way done to him, how much more will God 
punish the transgression of his law in this case, yea, 
how much more severely will he revenge such villany 1 


Ver. 1. My son, observe my words, and lay up my 
precepts within thee. 

Ver. 2. Keep my precepts and tlwu shall live ; and 
my doctrine as the apple of thine eye. 

Ver. 3. Bind them to thy fingers, write them on the 
table of thine heart. 

Ver. 4. Say unto wisdom. Thou art my sister; and call 
prudence thy kinswoman. S 

Ver. 5. lliat she may preserve thee from the strange 
woman, from the adulteress wJw flattereth with her lips. 

This chapter, wherein Solomon stiH entreateth of 
adultery, consisteth of a preface contained in these 
verses, and a parable, wliich first is propounded, 
then applied in the rest of the chapter. After what 
manner we are to receive the word of God, the wise 
king sheweth first in these speeches. 'My son, observe 
my words,' &c. If a man have jewels, he wOl not 
cast them in every place, but he wiU keep them as 
safe as he can, under lock and key. Such careful- 
ness would the Holy Ghost have us also use in 
hiding and keeping good instruction in our hearts. 
' Keep my precepts, and thou shalt live; and my doc- 
trine as the apple of thine eye. ' The instruction of the 
word is the same to the soul, which the eye is to the 
body. For as the body without the sight of the 
eyes runneth upon many things that hurt it, and 
falleth at every little stumbling-block ; so the soul 
most fearfully runneth into sins, if it want the light 
and direction of the word. As, therefore, we are 



[Chap. VII. 

most careful to keep our eyes from hurt, so should 
■we be as chary and wary to preserve the admoni- 
tions of the Scripture. When ISTahash the Am- 
monite offered to make a covenant of peace with the 
children of Israel, upon condition that they would 
pull out theu" right eyes, albeit they were in great 
distress, yet would they not yield thereunto. In 
like manner then, let us not for anything in the 
world part with the good instructions which ouce 
we have received ; yea, let us sooner part from our 
eyes than from them ; let us rather, as is added, 
' bind them to our fingers, and write them on the tables 
of our hearts ;' let us have them, I say, at our fingers' 
ends, never suffering them to vanish or to perish. 
To this end every one is admonished, in the last 
place, to ' say unto wisdom. Thou art my sister,' &c. 
The love between brethren, sisters, and kinsfolk is 
very natural, and again their familiarity very great. 
They often feast one another, as did Job's children ; 
and they live lovingly together, as did Mary, Martha, 
and Lazarus. In like sort then we are not to be 
strangers m the word, but we must be daily conver- 
sant therein, loving it most dearly, and foUoiving it 
most carefully. Thus if thou embracest and enter- 
tainest prudence, then ' she will preserve thee from 
the strange woman.' The sum of these words is, that 
forasmuch as no man by himself is able enough to take 
heed of the harlot, and the word of God is an only sove- 
reign preservative against this evU, therefore it is with 
aU diligence to be kept and regarded. 

Ver. 6. For as I looked through the windoio of mine 
house out of a casement, 

Ver. 7. / sm.v among the fools, I marked among the 
lads, a witless youth, 

Ver. 8. Who, passing through the street near unto 
her comer, went the way towards her house, 

Ver. 9. In the twilight, at evening-tide, in the hlack- 
ness of the night, and the darkness. 

Now the wise king beginneth to propound his 
parable, describing in these verses the foolish and 
wanton young man which was drawn at last to com- 
mit folly with the naughty woman. ' As I looked 
through the window of mine house.' They that will 
stand in their chambers, or look out of the windows 
of their houses, may hear and see many such things 
done and said as here are spoken of. But Solomon, 
through the window of his mind, did view and be- 

hold the customs and behaviour of wantons. ' I 
saw among the fools,' &c. He considered and found 
by observation that some rash and ungodly youth, 
with whom God is angry for former sins, faUeth 
through his own corruption into the deep pit of the 
mouth of the harlot at the last. ' Who passing 
through the street near unto her corner.' Here he 
would give us to understand that the vain young 
man, by going the way where the harlot dwelt, was 
brought at last to commit whoredom. ' In the 
twilight, at evening-tide, in the blackness of the 
night, and the darkness.' He considered what was 
done, and said, from evening to morning, and all 
night long, as also how the adulterer is wont to stray 
abroad when it is dark. 

Ver. 10. Now, behold, a woman came forth to meet 
him, in whorish attire, and subtle in heart. 

Ver. 11. She is a babbler (and) stubborn: her feet 
abide not within her house : 

Ver. 12. JVbw she is without, now in the streets, 
and she lieth in ivait at every corner. 

The wise king having described the wanton youth, 
proceedeth to paint out the naughty woman in her 
colours. ' Now,' saith he, ' behold, a woman came 
forth to meet him,' &c. An unmodest strumpet, 
light in her apparel, and cunning as well to hide her 
craft as to deceive, spying the wanton youth out 
of her house, took this occasion to tempt him unto 
folly. ' She is a babbler and stubborn,' &c. She 
hath these three ill properties : first, She is not spar- 
ing of words, but very talkative ; secondly. She is 
not of a meek spirit, but disobedient to God and her 
husband, yea, very stout ; last of aU, She is not a 
house-dove, but a gadder to and fro. ' Now she is 
without, now in the streets.' She hath this property 
also, to lie in wait for the chastity of men in every 
place, as Tamar did when she sat in the highway 
to tempt Judah unto whoredom. 

Ver. 1 3. Then she taking hold on him, kissed him, 
and hardening her face, said unto him, 

Ver. 14. J have at home sacrifices of thanksgivings: 
this day have I paid my vows. 

Ver. 15. For this cause I am come forth to meet thee, 
whilst earnestly I seek thy face in good time I find thee. 

Those speeches of the harlot are here set dovra, 
wherein she entreateth him to sup with her. ' Then 
she taking hold on him, kissed him.' The whorish 

Ver. 16-26.] 



■woman saluteth the young man in a most bold and 
"wanton manner, not with a holy, but ■with a filthy 
kiss. As Potiphar's wife laid, hold on Joseph to 
stay him, so she layeth hold on the young man to 
draw him toward her house. ' I have at home sacri- 
fices of thanksgiving.' Since I have very good fare 
at home, saith she, I pray thee, come and sup with me. 
- God commanded in his law that when any offered 
peace-offerings for their prosperity, part of those sacri- 
fices should be burnt, part given to the priest, part re- 
fused to be eaten by them who brought the same. Of 
this part., then, she speaketh in this place. ' For this 
cause I am come forth to meet thee,' &c. Here is 
great good-will pretended ; but this love was not 
true love indeed, because none can love his neighbour 
aright, but he which loveth God as he ought. The 
sense of these words is as if she should have said. 
Because I bear thee most entire good-wiU, I have not 
sent a messenger for thee, but come myself, and 
what good luck is this that I meet with thee ? 

Ver. 16. I have decked my bedstead with coverlets, 
with sundry picture works, with curtains of Egypt. 

Ver. n. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, 
and cinnamon. 

The harlot in these words entreateth the young 
man, having now supped with her, to stay and lodge 
in her house all night. The reason which she bring- 
eth to this intent is taken from the ornaments and 
furniture of her bedding : I have princely lodging 
for thee, saith she, therefore I pray thee refuse not 
to stay ynth. me all night. 

Ver. 18. Come thy way, let us take our fill of love 
until the morning : let us deliglii ourselves with amor- 
ous joys. 

Ver. 19. For mine husband is not at home, he is 
gone a far journey. 

Ver. 20. He took in his hand a bag of money, at the 
day appointed he will return home. 

The naughty woman in these verses enticeth the 
young man into the very act of adultery. To this 
end she bringeth two reasons : whereof the one is 
pleasure, (a subtle bait to take the young man by ;) 
the other is security, telhng him that her husband 
is gone a far journey, which long absence of her 
husband is confirmed by two signs thereof, the great 
bag of money which he took with him, and the set 
day wherein he appointed to return. 

Ver. 21. She drew him by her great craft, (or the 
store of her craft,) by the flattery of lier lips she 
prowled him on. 

Ver. 22. He followeth her forthwith : as anox goeth 
to the slaughter, and as a fool to the correction of the 

Ver. 23. Until a sharp poxnied weapon cleaveth his 
liver : like as a bird hasteneih to the snare, not knoiu- 
ing tlvxt it is set for her life. 

The force or issue of the strange woman's oration 
is declared in these verses. First of all, hereia she 
is resembled to a schoolmistress, which leadeth and 
draweth her novices and scholars to foUow her, and 
do what she prescribeth or persuadeth. Secondly, 
he (the young man I mean) is resembled, first, to an 
ox which followeth the drover to the shambles, 
where he is knocked on the head. For, indeed, in 
like manner the wanton youth followeth the harlot 
to her house, where the goodman coming in at un- 
awares revengeth him. In the next place, the young 
man is compared to a foolish malefactor, led to the 
prison, there to be kept in chains until the day of 
execution, at which time the executioner thrusteth 
him through with some sharp pointed sword, to the 
end that his heart or hver being cleft, or cut in sun- 
der, his Hfe may quite be taken away.^ For after 
this manner it fareth with the witless youth, who, 
either by the harlot's husband, or the pubhc magis- 
trate, is at last taken and put to death. Last of all, 
the young man is likened to a bird, which, flying 
greedily toward the lure, is caught in the snare, to 
her destruction. For he committing folly with the 
naughty woman, is by one means or other plagued 
and revenged. 

Ver. 24. A'ow therefore, sons, listen unto me, and 
hearken to the words of my mouth. 

Ver. 25. Let not thy soul go astray toward her ways, 
ivander not aside toward her paths. 

Ver. 26. For she hath wounded and struck down 
many, and mighty men of all sorts have been slain by 

^ I turn these words as Drusius doth, who thus rendereth 
them in Latin, Sicut stultus ad castigationem corapedis. — 
Pro., class. 1 lib. iv. 

^ That the executioners in those times used with the sword 
to thrust through or kOl malefactors, may appear, \ Kings ii. 
25, and other places of Scripture. 



[Chap. VIII. 

Ver. 27. The ways to her house (are the ways) 
to the grave, going down to the secret vaults of 

In this conclusion of the chapter Solomon cometh 
to apply the former parable. First, He sheweth the 
remedies of adultery ; one whereof is the hearing of 
the word, another, the flying of the place where the 
harlot keepeth. Secondly, He declareth the ruins 
which the adulteress hath wrought in the world, 
whereof one is, that she hath slain innumerable 
people, as may appear in the destruction of the old 
world, the plaguing of the Israelites for their wan- 
tonness, and the wars between the Grecians and 
Trojans ; another is, that the mighty potentates of 
the world have also by her means been brought to 
misery or death, as Samson, David, this our Sol- 
omon, with infinite other. 


Ver. 1 . Doth not wisdom cry 1 and understanding lift 
up her voice ? 

Ver. 2. On the top of the high places, standing by 
the highway in the place of many paths. 

Ver. 3. At the side of the gates, in the coming in of 
the city, in the entry of the doors they sing, saying. 

The excellency of wisdom and understanding is at 
large set down in this chapter, which containeth two 
points : the one, the manner of their calling unto 
men to come unto them, in these three verses (the 
exposition whereof is set down in the interpretation 
of the twentieth and one and twentieth verses of the 
first chapter of this book ;) the other is, the sum or 
matter of their proclamation or oration, in the rest 
of the chapter. 

Ver. 4. men, I call unto you, and I utter my voice 
unto the sons of men. 

Ver. 6. ye simple ones, understand wariness, and 
ye fools, be wise in heart. 

In this beginning of the proclamation, the persons 
called by understanding, or wisdom (even by the 
personal wisdom of God, Jesus Christ) are described. 
' men, I call to you,' &c. I, Jesus Christ, call all 
estates of people to hear my doctrine, both those 
who are of high degree, as, namely, on the one side, 
the noble, the learned, and the rich ; and those that 

are of low degree, as the j)Oor, the simple, and con- 

Ver. 6. Hearken ; for I icill utter excellent things, and 
the opening of my mouth shall propound upright things. 

Ver. 7. Foi- the roof of my mouth shall record truth, 
and wickedness is abomination to my lip)S. 

Ver. 8. All the speeches of my mouth are just ; there 
is nothing in them crooked or awry. 

Ver. 9. All of them are easy to the prudent man, 
and plain to those who find knowledge. 

Ver. 10. Receive mine instruction, and not silver ; and 
knoivledge rather than most fine gold. 

Ver. 11. For wisdom is better than pearls, and no 
delights can be matched with her. 

The Son of God declareth herein the excellency 
of his doctrine, to the end that every one should 
hearken thereunto. First he saith, I will speak of 
excellent things. The doctrine of the word is full 
of majesty and royalty, for it doth entreat, not of 
base arguments, but of divine and rare points, as of 
election, regeneration, faith, and the glory which is 
to come. Secondly, The word of God is upright, 
for it is perfect, and able to make a man wise unto 
salvation, see Ps. xdx. ; in it is nothing wanting, no- 
thing unsound. Thirdly, The word is also true ; for 
whatsoever God hath said, it shall come to pass, 
whose word hath been tried as the silver, seven 
times in the fire. Fourthly, The speeches of Christ 
are just, condemning all things which are unlawful, 
and commanding all things which are lawful. Fifthly, 
The word of God is plain and easy ; for albeit the 
natural man perceiveth not the things which belong 
to God, yet the spiritual man discerneth all things. 
Wherefore, if the gospel be hid from any, it is hid 
from those whose eyes the god of this world hath 
blinded that they cannot see the truth. Sixthly, 
The word is also profitable, yea, more profitable than 
gold ; for what would it profit a man to win the 
whole world and to lose his soul eternally, which by 
the word of God is saved 1 Last of all. The word of 
God is also most sweet and pleasant, for it rejoiceth 
the heart and sweeteneth the soul like a heavenly 
kind of honey. And who would not now rather 
hearken to the royal, upright, true, just, easy, profit- 
able, and pleasant speeches of wisdom, than the vile, 
wicked, flattering, impure, snbtle, and in very deed 
most bitter words of the harlot ? 

Ver. 12-26.] 



Ver. 12. / wisdom dwell with prudence, (or ■wari- 
ness,) and find forth the hioivledge of politic devices. 

Ver. 1 3. The fear of the Lord, the hatred of evil ; 
contemptuousness and haughtiness, and the way of 
luichedness, and a mouth of perverseness, I hate. 

Ver. 14. Counsel is mine, and substance ; prudence 
is mine ; strength mine oion. 

Herein Jesus Christ proceedetli to make liimseLf 
further kno^vn, and more and more amiable, by en- 
treating a while of his own divine virtues. ' I wisdom 
dwell with prudence, or wariness.' The Son of God, 
Chxist Jesus, is most circumspect, witty, prudent, 
and politic himself, and the worker of these graces 
in mortal men. ' The fear of the Lord, the hatred 
of evil,' &c. The Son of God is also most righteous, 
for he loveth the good, and detesteth the evil ; Ps. 
xlv., wherefore God, even his God, hath anointed 
him with the oil of gladness above his fellows. 
' Counsel is mine, and substance,' &c. The Son of 
God is also a counsellor, as Isaiah calleth him ; for 
he is both of the privy councU of his Father, and the 
adviser of his church. Moreover, he hath strength 
in him, being the arm of God to conquer sin, with 
hell and Satan, and is able to do whatsoever he will. 
Substance, or the being of things, is hkewise his, for 
he causeth all creatures to be and subsist. 

Ver. 15. By me kings reign, and rulers decree 

Ver. 16. By me princes hear rule, and all the 
noble judges of the earth. 

Now Christ Jesus speaketh of his excellent and 
wonderful works. ' By me kings reign,' &c. There 
is no power or potentate but they are from me, the 
Son of God ; yea, by me also they discharge their 
functions, for I give all magistrates and worthy per- 
sons their places and graces. The chief monarchs 
of the world come unto their sceptres by the power 
and permission of the Son of God. Lawgivers and 
counsellors, by his direction and inspiration, give 
advice and invent politic laws. Inferior rulers and 
lieutenants keep their places, countenance, and au- 
thority by his assistance, whereunto also they rise 
by his secret disposing of matters. Finally, judges 
and justices, who use to keep courts, and to sit on 
benches, do by him, from him, and for him, pro- 
nounce sentence, handle matters of state, execute 
laws, and finally determine all cases. 

Ver. 17. / love them who love me ; and they who 
seek me earnestly find me. 

Ver. 18. Riches and honour are with me ; enduring 
wealth and righteousness. 

Ver. 19. My fi'uit is better than gold; yea, than 
right pure gold ; and my revenue than most fine silver. 
Ver. 20. / walk through the ivay of justice, through 
the midst of the paths of equity : 

Ver. 21. To cause my lovers to inherit substance, 
and I replenish their storehouses. 

The heavenly wisdom of the Father, Jesus Christ, 
affirmeth in these sentences that he bestoweth all 
happiness on his true worshippers. For, first, He 
loveth them who love him — that is, he giveth them 
his grace and favour, like a friend talking, walking, 
dining, supping with them, and secretly cheering up 
their hearts. Secondly, He bestoweth on them the 
riches of the mind, as knowledge, temperance, pa- 
tience, and suchhke virtues, which remain in the 
faithful for ever, and which are more precious than 
gold or any metal, more pleasant than grapes or any 
fruits of the trees. Thirdly, He doth impute his 
righteousness unto them, sanctifying them also by 
the Holy Spirit, wlaich leadeth them in the ways of 
the Lord's commandments. Last of all, he will 
glorify them in the world to come, causing them to 
enjoy the presence of God for evermore. 

Ver. 22. Jehovah possessed me in the beginning of 
his ways, before his works, before all time. 

Ver. 23. Before the world was I anointed, before 
the beginning, before the first beginning of the earth. 

Ver. 24. Whilst yet there were no depths was I 
born : whilst yet there were no springs abozmding ivith 

Ver. 25. Whilst as yet the mountains viere not 
settled, before the little hills vjos I born : 

Ver. 26. As yet he had not made the earth, or the 
plains, no, nor the groundwork, (or) the dust of the 
world inhabited. 

Herein the Son of God entreateth of his being, 
and of his calHng to the ofiice of a Mediator. ' Je- 
hovah possessed me in the beginning,' &c. I, the 
eternal Word of God, was with God the Father at 
the beginning, Jolui i. 1, being of one and the self- 
same essence with him and the Spirit. ' Before the 
world was I anointed,' &c. I was appointed to the 
office of a mediator betwixt God and man from all 



[Chap. IX. 

eternity. ' Whilst yet there were no deptlis -was I 
born,' &c., Heb. i. 2. I had my person from the 
person of my Father from all eternity, being be- 
gotten before all creatures, and to continue for ever. 

Ver. 27. When he made firm the heavens, I was 
there: when he set the round compass on the outside of 
the deep : 

Ver. 28. Wlien he strengthened the upper clouds 
above: when he made firm, the fountains of the deep : 

Ver. 29. When he prescribed his decree to the sea and 
the waters, that they pass not his commandment : when 
he laid the foundation of the earth. 

Now Jesus Christ declareth that he did work 
together -with the Father in the creating of the 
world at the beginning. For, first, As concerning 
the heavens, he made hard and fast as the adamant 
those liquid waters whereof they consist. Secondly, 
As touching the air, called here the compass on the 
deep, he so framed the clouds, as that, like bottles or 
glasses, they were, and still are, fit vessels to contain 
the waters above. Thirdly, He formed the floods, 
springs, and seas, binding up the waters herein, as it 
were, in certain swaddling bands. Last of all. He 
laid the earth at the beginning, as the groundwork 
or foundation of the whole world. 

Ver. 30. Moreover, I am with him as a nourisher ; 
and I am a daily delight, cheering up before him at all 

Ver. 31. Cheering up his earth in the world in- 
habited ; and my delights are with the sons of men. 

As before Christ Jesus hath shewed that he 
created all things, so now his intent is to declare 
that he governeth the whole world, bearing it up by 
the word of his power. ' Moreover, I am with him as 
a nourisher.' Furthermore, I the Son of God, being 
God co-essential with my Father, together with him 
preserve aU things as a nurse, reaching out my hand 
to feed them and cherish them, Ps. cxlv. 16. 'An-d 
I am a daily delight, cheering up before him at 
all times.' In me also the Father is continually 
well pleased, to whom I am a singular recrea- 
tion as it were. ' Cheering up his earth in the world 
inhabited.' Again, I am the joy of the earth, which, 
together with all the creatures therein, I refresh, 
causing my sun to shine, and my dews to fall up)on 
them. Acts xiv. 1 7. ' And my delights are with the 
sons of men.' But, to conclude, I chiefly love and 

solace mortal wights, whose hearts I fill mth joy 
and gladness, to whom I give the use of all my 
creatures, whom I indue with reason and other 
excellent gifts : finally, whose redemption I am, 
and on whom I bestow my word and Spirit. 

Ver. 32. Now therefore, sons, hearken unto me : 
for blessed are they that keep my ways. 

Ver. 33. Hear instruction, and beicise, and withdraw 
not yourselves. 

Ver. 34. Blessed is the man who hearkeneth unto me, 
attending diligently at my gates from day to day, waiting 
at the posts of my doors. 

Ver. 35. For whosoever findeth me findeth life, and 
hath obtained favour of the Lord. 

Ver. 36. But he who sinneth against me hurteth his 
own soul : all they who hate me love death. 

From teaching, wisdom now cometh to exhort. 
' Now therefore, sons, hearken unto me,' &c. The 
case thus standing, as hath been declared, give not 
care to the harlot, but obey me the personal wisdom 
of God. ' Blessed is the man who hearkeneth unto 
me.' Happy is every one who heareth the word of 
God and keepeth it, seeldng also by prayer for the 
grace of God, and knocking continually at the gate 
of his mercy. 'For whosoever findeth me findeth 
life.' For this is eternal Hfe, to know the true God, 
and him whom he hath sent, Jesus Christ. 'All 
they that hate me love death.' They that reject me 
draw on themselves damnation ; wherefore, 'if any 
love not our Lord Jesus Christ, let him be 'Avah//.a 


Ver. 1. Wisdom hath built her house, she hath heivn 
out her seven pillars. 

This chapter is, as it were, a table, wherein two 
pictures are painted out before our eyes : the one 
of divine wisdom, the other of the harlot or foohsh 
woman. Heavenly wisdom is in the beginning of 
this chapter resembled to a lady or queen, that 
erecteth up some stately and magnifical building, 
wherein she meaneth to keep great hospitality. This 
is the doctrine then which here is delivered, that 
there is a place, yea, a fair and princely j)alace, 
wherein the lovers of msdom shall be feasted with 

V£E. 2-4.] 



delights unspeakable, and wliitlier it is good for 
them to rejjair ; this is the kingdom of heaven, 
the house of God, the bosom of Abraham. This 
building is strong, standing upon sufficient pillars ; 
this frame is goodly, for all the pillars are lieivn and 
carved. To conclude, this palace hath all rooms 
therein well contrived ; for wisdom hath built it. 
Thus have we considered one of the works of 
wisdom, let us proceed to another. 

Ver. 2. She hath killed her beasts ; she hath mingled 
her wine ; she hath furnished her table. 

Whenas a gentlewoman or lady intendeth to make 
a feast unto strangers, or her friends, she causeth 
divers beasts to be slain, as oxen, sheep, calves, and 
suchlike, that there may be food enough for the 
guests. For this cause it is said that wisdom hath 
killed her victuals, to shew that she hath prepared 
meat enough. But the chief ornament of a feast 
is pleasant, pure, and strong drink ; wherefore it is 
further added, that she hath mingled, or, as the 
Hebrew word doth also bear, strained her wine, 
which maketh glad the heart of man. Now, beside 
this good provision which wisdom hath made, she 
hath also furnished her table ; for she hath spread 
the cloth, set on the cups, and placed all things 
on the table in print. Neither bread nor salt, nor 
any things needful to a feast, are wanting. Such 
things as these do lady-like dames provide for their 
guests ; but those things, which neither eye hath 
seen, nor ear hath heard, nor the heart of man 
conceived, hath the Lord prepared for his. Christ 
Jesus is bread indeed ; his flesh is meat indeed ; 
his blood is drink indeed. The grace of God's 
Spirit, and the glory to come, are greater dainties 
than can be in this world. Of these our Saviour 
speaketh in the Gospel of Matthew, where he saith 
that the king hath slain his victuals, and prepared 
all things, Mat. xxii. 1, 2. David meaneth these, 
when he boasteth in the psalm that God prepareth 
a table before him, and anointeth his head with oil, 
and causeth his cup to overflow, Ps. xxiii. 5. I tell 
you plain, there is good cheer in God's kingdom : 
go to what table you will, you shall not find the 
like. If, then, you would be well fed, and withal 
well taught, go to wisdom. Thus much concerning 
the second work of wisdom, to wit, her entertain- 

Ver. 3. She hath sent forth her liandmaids : she 
calleth throughout the assemblies, and the high places of 
the city. 

It is not for the credit of a gentlewoman or lady 
herself, in her own person, to go about bidding her 
giiests ; but rather it is agreeable to her estate that 
she send forth her servants to invite them, and that 
they go to those meetings for that intent, where the 
greatest number of people are gathered, or stand in 
those high places from whence they may be best 
heard. In like manner the King of kings, even the 
eternal God, going about to solemnise the marriage 
of his Son, sent forth liis servants to call those that 
were bidden to the marriage. Mat. xxii. 3. These 
choice and special servants were the prophets and 
apostles, according as our Saviour testifieth in the 
Gospel, where he telleth the lawyers, that the wisdom 
of God hath said in the Scripture, ' I mil send unto 
you prophets and apostles, and of them shall they 
slay and persecute,' Luke xi. 49. The very heathen 
themselves, that they might be left the more with- 
out excuse, had their wise men and prophets sent 
unto them by heavenly wisdom, many of whom 
truly did walk very civiUy, and reprove sin ve- 
hemently, and exhort to virtue notably ; whereas 
some in these times, who intrude themselves into 
sacred functions, neither knov/ the mystery of Christ, 
nor are able to speak of vice or virtue to any pur- 
pose, neither are patterns of godliness or righteous- 
ness to their flocks, but rather examples of all im- 
piety and iniquity in the whole course of their deal- 
ings. It may be thought that wisdom never sent 
forth these handmaids, but that the rashness of 
their brains, the darkness of their minds, the pride 
of their hearts, and the covetousness of their affec- 
tions, have moved them to run before they were 
sent, as giddy-headed servants are wont to do. Thus 
much concerning the third work of wisdom, which 
is her sending forth of her servants. Now let us 
hearken to her words. 

Ver. 4. Whosoever is foolish, let him turn in hither : 
and to him that is void of understanding, she speaketh. 
The guests or persons invited to come to wisdom's 
house, before spoken of, that therein they may hear 
her doctrines, enjoy her presence, and taste of her 
banquet, are herein described. First of all the 
foolish are called into wisdom's house, even those 



[Chap. IX. 

simple ones wlio are ignorant, and blind, and void 
of judgment ; secondly, Such as are void of under- 
standing, in such sort, as that, preferring earth before 
heaven, and vanity before virtue, they are corrupt in 
their hves, are like-ivise bidden to repair to the palace 
wherein msdom keepeth. Not the great states of 
the world, nor the famous pohtics ; but the rude, 
the base, the publicans and sinners, are invited and 
sent unto. Such poor and miserable people are not 
to fear that wisdom will shut her gates against 
them, but rather to assure themselves that he will 
open them wide unto them. 

Ver. 5. Come, eat of my meat, and drinlc of my wine 
which I have mixed. 

A bountiful lady cannot abide to eat her morsels 
alone, nor that those which sit at her table should 
abstain from her victuals which she hath provided. 
No more can the Lord away, that men should refuse 
to feed on his blessings, or to be partakers of the 
good tilings which he hath prepared for them. 
Hence it is that in the prophet the Lord crieth out, 
'0 whosoever thirsteth, come to these waters ; come, 
I say, buy wine and milk without money ; hearken 
unto me, and eat that which is good, and let your 
soul delight itself in fatness,' Isa. Iv. 1. Which is 
as much as if he should say, I would fain have you 
be satisfied with all sorts of my benefits — with 
linowledge, with joy of heart, with health, with 
peace, with plenty, with life eternal. These and 
suchlike are the milk, the vidne, the bread, the 
water, the fat beasts I speak of. But what is to be 
done by foolish and simple people, that they may 
be partakers of these blessings, which something 
hitherto hath hindered them from ? Even that wliich 
followeth in the next verse, where it is said : 

Ver. 6. ye simple ones, forsalce your error, and 
live, and walk in the way of understanding. 

The meaning of these words is, that if sinners 
would taste the goodness of God, yea, and be filled 
with his blessings in this life, and the hfe to come, 
they must lay aside evU, and do that which is good, 
and in one word repent. To the same efiect speaketh 
the prophet David in the psalm, when he saith, 
' Who is the man that would Uve, that desireth to 
see good? depart from evil and do good; seek peace, 
and ensue it,' Ps. xxxiv. 

Ver. 7. He which instructdh a scorner getteth 

himself reproach ; and he that reproveth a wicked man 
purchaseth to himself a blot. 

Wisdom seemeth in this verse secretly to insinu- 
ate, that she would not have obstinate or unrepen- 
tant sinners, who despise God, and all godliness, 
called to her banquet, or earnestly urged by her 
messengers to their duties. Our Saviour in the 
Gospel speaketh to the same effect to his disciples, 
telling them that he would not have them cast pearls 
before swine, or give holy things to dogs. Mat. vi. 7 ; 
we are not to count every one a scorner or wicked 
person, that is, a great sinner, but such only as 
are given over to wickedness, and persecute the 
known truth. Whosoever goeth about to admonish 
such, doth but procure to himself some harm or 
discredit, seeing the mockers of all good counsel 
will but strike them, or revile them for their labour. 
All reproving of the ungodly is not forbidden, 
neither is aU rebuking even of scorners condemned, 
who, for example's sake, are by those that are in 
the ministry oftentimes to be checked and con- 
trolled, as the pharisees were by our Saviour Christ. 
But when no good will come of our schooling of 
them, neither anything else will arise thereof, saving 
that their rage and cruelty wiU be incensed and 
increased, it were great foUy to spend labour in tell- 
ing them of their faults, and wisdom rather it were 
to make a separation from them ; for it is not good 
to stir up hornets, or to put the hand into a wasp's 
nest, which point while some consider not, for that 
without discretion they bestow the seed of whole- 
some admonition on cursed and unprofitable ground, 
they worthily reap for all their pains the thorns of 
mocks, reproaches, and many troubles. 

Ver. 8. Eehuke not a scorner, lest he hate thee: re- 
prove a wise man, and he will love thee. 

It is extreme madness to strive against the stream, 
and to seek for nothing but hatred. Whereas then 
the wicked hate them that reprove them in the 
gate, as the prophet speaketh, he is void of under- 
standing that will unnecessarily stir them up to 
bear ill-will ; for what if the scorner reproach thee 
not by words, yet if he malice thee in his affections, 
it will be the worse with thee, and when occasion is 
offered, he vsdU do thee some mischief. Whereas then 
the same action of reproving hath a contrary effect 
in a wise man, bestow thine admonitions rather on 

Ver. 9-13.] 



him, and lie vnil bear thee good-mil, and for the 
same do thee a good turn when it lieth in liis 
power. For inasmuch as he seeth that thou dost 
not hate him, but tell him plainly of his sin, and 
feeleth that thy reproof worketh in him amend- 
ment of life, he will bless the Lord for thee, and 
bless thee for thy friendly dealuig, as David did 
Abigail, when she by her persuasion stayed him 
from bloody revenge. 

Ver. 9. Give iiisiruction to the wise man, and he 
will become the more wise ; cause the righteous man to 
understand, and he will increase in learning. 

In these words we are to mark who are to be 
taught, and why these persons are to be taught. 
The wise, who are sound in judgment, although they 
have some errors, and the righteous, who walk in 
some obedience to the word, though they have some 
frailties, are to be instructed. The reason why 
these persons are to be instructed is, for that such 
will by such means wax the wiser, as Apollos did by 
the direction of Aquila and PriscUla, and Moses 
did by Jethro's advice; and increase in godliness 
and virtue, as David did by Abigail's persuasion, 
and by Nathan's parable. 

Ver. 10. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom ; 
and the knowledge of holy things is understanding. 

Methinketh that this sentence is very excellent, 
and not without cause so often repeated, not only in 
this book, but in other places of the Scripture, 
Job xxviii. 28 ; Ps. cxi. 10. For take away the fear 
of God, engendered by the word of God, and who 
will abstain from doing wickedness, whenas he 
thinketh he may lie hid 1 who vnll shun those vices 
which by law are not punished? who will fear an 
oath that feareth not God ? who will of conscience 
shun evil and do that which is good 1 Because the 
fear of God is in the wise and just, they profit by 
instructions and reproofs. The foolish and simple 
can never become wise till they have begun to fear 
the Lord. So, likewise, the knowledge of holy 
things is understanding ; for what good would it do 
a man to be a cunning lawyer, and yet condemned 
everlastingly ? and to be a skilful physician, and yet 
not able to salve the sores of liis soul? and to be 
passingly well seen in music, and yet always troubled 
with a jarring conscience? or to conclude, to be 
learned in all the arts and sciences, and yet ignorant 

of Christ, whom only if thou knowest, the matter 
is not great, if thou knowest nothing else. 

Ver. 11. For by me thy days shall he multiplied, 
and years of life heaped upion thee. 

"Wisdom in this verse sheweth every one whom 
she calleth to her banquet that they shall not lose 
anything by coming to her, but be preserved in life 
and happiness. How true this is it may appear in 
that the godly enjoy many blessings, and continue 
in this world ; whilst the wicked perish through their 
sins, and are cut off by untimely death oftentimes. 

Ver. 12. If thou he wise, thou shalt be wise for thy 
self : but if thou be a scorner, thou alone shalt suffer. 

As great profit will redound unto men if they 
embrace wisdom, so wisdom shall neither be hurt 
nor advantaged whether they embrace her or no : 
' For if thou be wise, thou shalt be wise to thyself.' 
If thou fearest the Lord, and attainest to the know- 
ledge of his will, this will not advantage God, who 
cannot be benefited by thee, nor needeth anything ; 
but this will profit thee, who shalt, as a reward of 
wisdom, receive many blessings in this hfe, and save 
thy soul for ever. ' But if thou be a scomer, thou 
alone shalt sufier.' On the contrary side, as male- 
factors hurt not the judge who condemneth them 
justly, but bear theii' own crosses, and smart for their 
own offences ; so, if thou be a despiser of God and 
godliness, thou shalt not hurt the Lord, who is out 
of thy reach, but thou shalt bear thine own judg- 
ment. Consider this, ye blasphemers of the name of 
God, who jest at the Scriptures, and who, if God 
lay any sore affliction on you, rage against him, as if 
he were neither of any power nor of any hohness. 
Cast up your blood with Julian toward the heaven, 
and say with scorn. Thou hast overcome, thou 
GaUlean ; but know that ye kick against the prick, 
which, as it will hurt you, so can it not receive any 
hurt from you. I tell you, wisdom is as a mighty 
stone, at which you may not only break your shins 
if you take not heed, but dash out your brains to your 
unrecoverable destruction. Thus much concerning 
the wise matron ; let us now proceed to the descrip- 
tion of the foolish woman. 

Ver. 13. The foolish woman is full of babbling ; the 
simple woman even hnoweth nothing. 

In this latter part of the chapter the folly of flesh 
and blood, contrary to heavenly wisdom, is repre- 



[Chap. X. 

sented to our view in the person of a base and beg- 
garly harlot. As, therefore, the whorish woman 
useth many speeches of enticing, so this foolish 
woman allureth men to sin by many reasons and 
persuasions, oftentimes telling them of the sweetness 
thereof, and the profit which they shall have thereby. 
Again, as the harlot knoweth not the foulness of 
adultery, or the greatness of God's judgment, so neither 
doth human foUy understand aright and eifectually 
either the filthiness of sin, or heaviness of God's 
wrath against it, or the will of the Lord. 

Ver. 14. She sitteth at the door of her house, on a 
seat in the high places of the city. 

As a strumpet lieth in wait abroad, most subtlely 
and shamelessly to draw companions to her, so 
human folly, having great desire to catch men to 
destruction, openly and yet withal craftily, enticeth 
men to evil ; for the end of her sitting is that which 
is set down in the next verse. 

Ver. 15. To turn aside passeiigers who even go on 
straight in their patJis. 

As wisdom goeth about to convert such as go 
astray, so human folly laboureth to pervert and to 
entangle with the lusts of the flesh such as indeed 
had escaped from those who have their conversation 
in error, 2 Peter ii. 

Ver. 16. And whosoever is foolish, lei him turn in 
hither ; and whosoever is void of understanding, to him 
she spealceth. 

Flesh and blood allureth the godly, and enticeth 
also those which are ignorant of the word of God, 
and those which have not the love thereof ; for she 
knoweth that she shall prevail most with such as 
can least resist her, and therefore she hopeth that 
of evU she shall make them stark naught. 

Ver. 17. Stolen ivaters are sweet, and hidden bread 
is pleasant. 

Ver. 18. But he hioioeth not that they who are void 
of life are there, and that her guests are in the valleys of 
the grave. 

Delightsome pleasures and gainful commodities, 
howbeit unlawful, are here meant by the parable of 
stolen waters and hidden bread. Unto some 
sort of people (I cannot tell how) their own posses- 
sions seem vile, but other men's goods are much 
desired by them. Hence it cometh to pass, that 
when by hook or crook they can get either drink or 

meat from their neighbours, they greatly delight in 
the tasting thereof But because they are loath to 
be kno'\\"n, or counted thieves, therefore commonly 
they eat their stolen bread, and drink their stolen 
drink in corners. Truly, so the baits of sin are 
sweet and pleasant to earthly-minded men. A de- 
light they take in adultery, theft, robbery, drunken- 
ness, and such other vices, especially when they 
commit these sins in darkness, or in some 
corner. But even as they that join themselves to 
a harlot meet with sorrow, shame, and destruc- 
tion, as before hath been declared ; so they that have 
fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness 
incur God's vengeance and endless damnation. This 
vnUingly they are ignorant of, that they which do 
these things shall never enter into the kingdom of 
God. But it is most sure and certain that sin is the 
bane of transgressors, as the harlot is of her lovers ; 
yea, the harlot hath slain many, but sin more. The 
good cheer of the harlot hath often proved deadly 
poison to adulterers ; but the pleasures of sin are al- 
ways the destruction of all unrepentant evU-doers. 
' Without are dogs, and enchanters, and whoremon- 
gers, and murderers, and idolaters, and those that 
love and work falsehood,' Eev. xsii. 15. These are 
the guests that are void of life, and that are in the 
valleys of the grave. 


Ver. 1. A laise son rejoiceth his father : "hut a foolish 
son is an heaviness to his mother. 

Children are admonished in this holy proverb to 
honour and comfort their parents as much as in 
them heth. He only is a wise son who knoweth 
and feareth God. Such a child rejoiceth his godly 
parents by the virtues which are in him, and the 
good report which goeth on him. He is a foolish 
son who is rude or wicked. Such a child bringeth 
sorrow to both his parents, but chiefly to his mother, 
who loveth him most tenderly, and being the 
weaker vessel, cannot but grieve most extremely to 
see his foUy, and to hear of his lewdness. 

Ver. 2. The treasures of iniquity profit nothing : but 
righteousness delivereth from death. 

The goods which are gathered with evU aSections, 

Yer. 3-7.] 



and heaped up by unlawful means, are treasures of 
iniquity. Store of such wealth doth nothing avail, 
to -wit, in the day of wrath ; for it vnll not save the 
life of the sinner, or turn away the plague from him, 
when God goeth about to punish offenders, or to 
revenge the world for sin. But righteousness deliver- 
eth from death, to mt, in the time of vengeance ; for 
uprightness is that mark of election and life, wMch 
the Lord spying in any, when he plagueth" the 
wicked for their transgressions, spareth them, and 
preserveth them from destruction. Thus although 
the righteousness of the just person deserveth 
nothing at God's hands, neither is any cause of 
men's preservation or salvation, yet it serveth as a 
sovereign treacle to preserve the well-doer from that 
deadly plague, which is sent from the Lord to des- 
troy the disobedient, and as a letter of passport to 
safe-conduct the faithful person in perilous times, 
and to protect him from all dangers. 

Ver. 3. The Lord siiffereth not tlie soul of the 
righteous to hunger, hut he scaitereth the substance of 
tJie wicTced. 

God so loveth the just that he preserveth them in 
the time of famine. 'The Lord suiferethnot the soul of 
the righteous-to hunger.' It is the custom of the Lord, 
in the time of some common dearth, so extraordinarily 
and plentifully to pro\'ide for his, that they feel no 
want. 'But he scattereth the substance of the wicked.' 
On the contrary side, God so consumeth the goods 
of the ungodly, that they become very poor, and so 
oftentimes suffer extreme famine. Thus as Hannah, 
the mother of Samuel, witnesseth, ' They that are full 
lend their service for bread, and they that suffer famine 
cease to be hungry,' 1 Sam. ii. 5. Thus, as the prophet 
David also testifieth, ' The young lions become needy 
and suffer hunger : but they that fear the Lord shall 
want nothing,' Ps. xxxiv. 11. Finally thus, as the 
Virgin Mary affirmeth in her most excellent song, 
' The Lord hath filled the hungry with good things ; 
and the rich he hath sent empty away,' Luke i. 52. 

Ver. 4. A slothful hand maketh poor, tut the hand 
of the diligent malceth rich. 

That is, a slothful hand, which worketh not at all, 
or laboureth slackly, such a slack hand maketh poor; 
for it earneth less than the mouth eateth, and 
spendeth more in a short time than it getteth in a 
long time. ' But the hand of the dihgent maketh rich. ' 

The painful hand which worketh hard, not only 
getteth so much wealth as is sufficient, but gathereth 
store of riches, and plenty of all things. 

Ver. 5. He that gathereth in summer is a son of 
understanding : but he that sleepeth in harvest, is a son 
of confusion. 

The opportunity is in all matters carefully to be 
observed. ■ He gathereth in summer who, redeeming 
the time, maketh his best advantage of the season ; 
for the summer is that fit season wherein 
the fruits of the earth are got into the barn 
for the whole year following. He that thus in due 
season provideth for his body or soul, is worthily 
called a son of understanding, or a vidse man ; for he 
hath not only prudently foreseen what was best to 
be done, but wisely took the occasion offered unto 
his best advantage. On the contrary side, he sleepeth 
in harvest, who fondly letteth slip the most con- 
venient means or opportunity of doing or receiving 
good. Such a one is a son of confusion, that is to say, 
one that shall be ashamed or confounded, by reason 
of the want or misery whereinto he shall fall 
through his own folly. 

Ver. 6. Blessings are on the head of the righteous : 
but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked. 

Not one, but many blessings are on the head of the 
righteous; the blessing of peace, the blessingof plenty, 
the blessing of grace, and the blessing of health, 
shall be upon them. The precious ointment of the 
Lord's favour or blessing shall so be poured upon 
their heads, as that it shall not here stay, but run 
down to the rest of the members of their bodies, 
and enter into their very hearts. But violence 
covereth the mouth of the wicked ; that is to say, 
vengeance, or some violent plague, shall seize upon 
the ungodly person, in such sort as that it shall 
even stop his breath, and take away his life. 

Ver. 7. The memory of the just shall be blessed : but 
the name of the ivicked shall rot. 

Among the manifold blessings wherewith God 
crowneth the righteous, a good name is one of the 
chiefest. 'The memoryof the justshallbe blessed.' The 
remembrance and fame of the upright person shall 
be acceptable, honourable, and everlasting. 'But 
the name of the wicked shall rot.' As for the present 
fame or glory of the ungodly man, it shall not only 
decay in time, and wither lilie a leaf, but be turned 



[Chap. IX. 

into infamy, and become abominable like a thing 
that is corruiDt, or a stiuldng carrion. 

Ver. 8. He iliat receiveih instruction is ivise in heart : 
but he that is foolish in his lips shall be beaten. 

This sentence teacheth that every man ought to 
be swift to hear, and slow to speak. Great cause 
there is why a man should be swift to hear ; for 'he 
thatreceiveth instruction is wise in heart.' Such a one 
as hearkeneth unto and obeyeth good counsel 
attaineth to knowledge, and provideth well for him- 
self. Again, no less reason there is why a man 
should be slow to speak : for ' he that is fooUsh in 
his lips shall be beaten.' Such a one as careth not 
to hear other speak, but useth himself to talk much 
and undiscreetly, shall be scourged for his folly with 
manifold troubles, misery being always the end and 
reward of an unbridled tongue. 

Ver. 9. He that walketh uprightly, walketh boldly : 
hut he tliat perverteth his ways shall he made an ex- 

It is a good thing for a man always to have a good 
cause, and a good conscience. He walketh uprightly 
that liveth innocently, being without all guile, and 
doing that which is good. Such a one walketh 
boldly, that is, feareth no evil, but assureth himself of 
the protection of the Lord, and of good success. It 
is not so with him that perverteth his ways, that is 
to say, who committeth wickedness, or followeth 
after guOe ; for he shall be made an example, that 
is to say, he shall not only be troubled with inward 
fears, but openly be punished. 

Ver. 10. He thai ivinketh with the eye shall have 
sorroto : and he that is foolish in his lips shall he 

Two sorts of wicked people who pervert their 
ways are herein reproved. The one, dissemblers, 
who are noted out by the property of winking with 
the eye, wherewith if any wink to an evil purpose, 
as in so doing he applieth himself to work sorrow 
to other, so he shall be sure to procure some trouble 
to himself which will grieve his heart. The other, 
rash talkers, who are foolish in their lips ; for which 
cause they shall receive stripes in their bodies, as 
dissemblers shall in the end feel sorrow in their 
minds, when they see their crafty devices over- 
thrown, or feel the Lord's heavy hand upon them. 

Ver. 11. A well-spring of life watereth the mouth of 

the righteous, hut violence covereth the mouth of the 

The latter part of this sentence hath before in this 
chapter been expounded, ver. 9. As concerning the 
former, therein is taught that the just man shall 
not perish with thirst; for it is said that a well- 
spring of life, that is, a fountain of living waters, 
shall besprinkle and refresh the mouth of the right- 
eous. But whereas under one blessing the Scrip- 
ture comprehendeth many, and therein a well-spring 
of life doth often signify plenty of excellent bless- 
ings, we are further from this kind of speech to 
gather and understand that store of God's sweet 
mercies shall never be wanting to the just person. 

Ver. 12. Hatred raiseth up contentions : but love 
covereth all offences. 

The former part of this sentence declareth that 
ill-wiU is the very root of brawls, frays, suits in law, 
and all sorts of controversies. Hatred raiseth up 
contentions, by offering occasion of faUing out, by 
objecting secret faults, and by amplifying of small 
offences. But love covereth all offences, or a multi- 
tude of sins ; for they who bear hearty good-will 
to one another, revenge nothing, wink at many 
things, and pardon all things done amiss. Love 
covereth offences, partly by forgetting and forgiving 
them, partly by reproving them in a friendly man- 
ner, and partly by conceahng them from all those 
to whom the knowledge of them hath not come. 

Ver. 13. Wisdom is found in the lips of the wise ; 
hut a rod on the hack of the fool. 

The ornament of the prudent person is on liis hps. 
For therein wisdom, that is to say, wise doctrine, is 
found, whereby he instructeth the rude and ignorant, 
and caUeth them from their error and wickedness. 
But seeing the fool will not regard nor obey the 
counsel or instruction of the wise man, therefore the 
rod, that is, the punishment of the Lord, is on his 
back. For he that heareth good advice, and yet 
will not follow it, is chastened by the Lord with one 
affliction or other ; yea, and scourged with more 
stripes than he that never had the means of his con- 
version or salvation. 

Ver. 14. The wise treasure up knowledge: hut de- 
struction is near to the mouth of the fool. 

Albeit knowledge is a very good thing, yet the 
prudent person doth not in all places, or at all times, 

Ver. 15-20.] 



publisli that which he knoweth ; but as a j)rudent 
householder layeth up aud keepeth under lock and 
key his money and provision, so he treasureth up 
in his heart the good things -vyhich he hath learned 
or knoweth, to the end he may draw them forth in 
time convenient unto the good of others. But albeit 
vanity is an evil thing ; yet the fool, that is, a 
simple or ungodly man, doth so desire to utter it, 
that he cannot keep it in, although it hurt both 
others and himself. Thus the fool, by his vain 
mouth, draweth upon himself great trouble and swift 

Ver. 15. The substance of the 7-ich man is his de- 
fenced city : the povtrly of the poor is their breaking. 

Herein the commodity of riches on the one side, 
and the discommodity of poverty on the other, is 
declared. ' The substance of the rich man is his 
defenced city.' The "wealth of the rich man is his 
stieng-th, and both preserveth him from many evils, 
and ministereth unto him many good things. The 
poverty of the poor is their breaking. For want 
and penury, like a mighty hammer, breaketh the 
hearts and bodies of the needy, who, by reason of 
their poverty, can neither resist evils, nor attain 
unto the comforts of this life. 

Ver. 16. The labour of the rig/hieous is unto life: 
the revenue of the wicked is unto sin. 

Some use riches aright, others abuse them. The 
righteous man is said to get his goods unto life, 
because the drift of his labour is, that he may have 
wherevrith to maintain himself, and to minister unto 
the necessity of others. The revenue of the mcked 
is said to be unto sin, because he spendeth his com- 
ings in upon his lusts, or some ill uses. Thus the 
vain person abuseth his goods, even to his own de- 

Ver. 17. -He that keepeth instruction is in the laay 
to life : but he that forsaketh correction goeth astray. 

Much good doth he find, that regardeth good 
counsel. ' He that keepeth instruction is in the way 
to life.' He that obeyeth wholesome advice, walketh 
in that narrow path which leadeth to prosperity in 
this world, and to eternal glory. Much hurt doth 
he incur, who profiteth not by reproofs or chastise- 
ments ; for ' he that forsaketh correction goeth 
astray.' He that suffereth rebukes or troubles to pass 
without due profit, so wandereth from the paths of 

happiness, as that he runneth headlong into tempo- 
ral or eternal destruction. 

Ver. IS. He that hideth hatred is a man of deceit- 
ful lips ; and he that vttereth a reproach is a fool. 

He that is close in cloaking his malice, is reproved 
here for his hypocrisy, for he is said to be a man of 
deceitful lips, that is, one that feigneth friendship in 
words, where he wisheth evil in heart. Again, he 
that openly sheweth his anger by uttering railing 
speeches, is condemned of folly, and called a fool. 
Indeed he is a fool, because he is rash, and hath no 
stay of his affection. 

Ver. 19. In many words sin cannot be wanting : hut 
he that refraintth his lips is wise. 

Multitude of words is the well-spring of many 
vices. He that talketh much, must needs much 
offend, seeing among a multitude of words he can- 
not lightly but utter some superfluous, false, or 
offensive. Yet we are not to think that all long 
prayers or orations are here condemned ; for it is no 
fault to utter many speeches which have in them 
matter of edification, or which proceed from the ful- 
ness of the grace of God's Spirit. But to have a 
talkative tongue, or to prattle without ceasing, is 
not only a sin of itself, but a fountain of many sins. 
The vice condemned in the former part of this sen- 
tence, is that superfluous babbling which is gotten 
by a certain love of speaking. The virtue on the 
contrary side commended, is sparing of speech ; for 
it is said, that he that refraineth his lips is wise. 
Why is he wise 1 Because by this means he shunneth 
many sins, and the offence of many persons ; besides 
that he ruleth his tongue, which is a most unruly 

Ver. 20. The tongue of the righteous is as fined 
silver, (but) the heart of the wicked is little worth. 

Precious and excellent is the speech of the godly, 
not drossy or superfluous, nor false and idle. For as 
the fined silver is pure and without mixture, so the 
talk of the just man is not only void of vanity and 
babbling, but fuU of divine instructions and admoni- 
tions. For the just man's mouth, as David speaketh, 
meditateth wisdom, and his tongue uttereth right- 
eousness, Ps. xxxvii. 30. There is no deceit nor 
lying in his lips. On the other side, ' The heart of 
the wicked is little worth.' For the mind, and con. 
sequently the speech, of the evil man, is rather like 



[Chap. X. 

unto dross than unto pure silver. Hence it is that 

out of the evil treasure of his heart he bringeth forth 

evil tilings. 

Ver. 21. The lips of the righteous feed many : hut 

fools die for want of hnoioledge. 

By feeding men are preserved in life. Whereas then 
it is said that ' the lips of the righteous feed many,' 
the meaning hereof is, that the words of godly 
pastors, and professors of the truth, nourish many 
in the life of the Spirit, and preserve them to eternal 
salvation. This is the best hospitality which the 
stewards of the Lord's house can keep, even to give 
every one of the household his portion of instruction 
in due season. ' But fools die for want of know- 
ledge.' The ungodly perish, and die the second death 
of the soul, through ignorance and neglect of good 

Ver. 22. The blessing of the Lord maketh rich, and 
it doth bring no sorrow with it. 

Not fortune, not labour, not favour of men, but 
the blessing of God, maketh rich indeed. For except 
the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that 
go about to build it. True it is that wicked men, 
by theft, extortion, and many evil means, rise up 
many times to great wealth ; but as they get their 
goods with vexation of mind, and toil of body, so 
they possess them with no less care and fear. Where- 
fore riches which proceed not from the mere good- 
will of God, are mingled with such trouble and 
heart-grief, as that a man were in a manner as good 
be without them as possess them. But the favour 
of the Lord not only causeth those that depend 
thereon to prosper, but giveth them wealth witliout 
woe, and store without sore. 

Ver. 23. It is a pastime to a fool to commit wicked- 
ness : but wisdom is the delight of the prudent. 

As the ungodly rejoice in doing evil, so the godly 
with joy follow that which is good. ' It is a pastime 
to a fool to commit wickedness.' The practising of 
iniquity, as for example of drunkenness or adultery, 
is, as it were, the game and recreation of the wicked 
man ; for he thinketh it a trifling matter to commit 
sin, and when he doth any evil, he even triumpheth. 
Thus, as one speaketh no less truly than wittily, 
deriders and voluptuous persons go down to hell 
merrily, even smiling and laughing. ' But wisdom 
is the delight of the pradent.' Learning and godh- 

ness is the joy and recreation of the well-disposed 
person, to whom it is even meat and drink to do 
God's will. 

Ver. 24. That luhich the wicked man feareth shall 
come upon him : but God will grant the desire of the 

The conscience of the evil-doer threateneth him 
oftentimes with much evil ; for sometimes he feareth 
that his secret sin shall come to light ; sometimes 
that for his wickedness he shall be punished ; some- 
times that he shall miss his purpose, and be crossed 
in his enterprises. Wherefore, to avoid and prevent 
evils feared and doubted of, he seeketh out and de- 
viseth all the shifts he can, howbeit all in vain ; for 
not only those miseries which he never thought on, 
but those which he most doubted, befall him on a 
sudden. It is then most sure and certain, that 
' that which the wicked man feareth shall come upon 
him.' No less true it is, that ' God will grant the 
desire of the righteous.' Indeed, if the just shall 
ask anything amiss, they shall not obtain it. But 
when the godly shall with faith, and upon just cause 
and in due manner, wish something which is good, 
and may turn greatly to their comforts, they shall 
be sure to obtain their hearts' desire. For as the 
Lord useth to bestow on his many blessings which 
they think not of, so especially his custom is to 
grant them those good things which, in their neces- 
sity, they earnestly crave and pray for. The latter 
part of this sentence then notably accordeth vtdth 
the sweet promise which is made in the psalm, 
where it is said, ' The Lord will grant the desire of 
those that fear him, and he wiU hear their prayer 
and save them,' Ps. cxlv. 19. 

Ver. 25. As the whirlwind passeth, so is the wicked 
no more : but the Just man is as an everlasting founda- 

Whether the former part of this sentence be trans- 
lated. When the whirlwind passeth, then the 
wicked is no more, or as it is set down, the sense 
is all one ; for by both these speeches is meant, that 
the ungodly person doth not long continue ; he is 
quickly gone as a storm, and easily thrown down by 
the tempest of God's wrath. The just man, on the 
contrary side, is compared to an everlasting founda- 
tion, because either he remaineth long in this life, 
or if he die, liveth and reigneth for ever with Christ, 

Ver. 26-31.] 



on whom, as on a sure rock, he is grounded and 

Ver. 26. As vinegar is to tlie teeth, and as smohe to 
the eyes, so is the slothful person to them, that send 

Whatsoever is sharp or sour, be it vinegar or any 
like thing, it setteth the teeth an edge, and worketh 
pain unto them. In hke manner smoke hurteth the 
eyes, and causeth them to smart exceedingly. The 
neghgent messengers or servants who are sent of an 
errand, no less by their slowness or delay vex the 
very heart of him who sendeth them about any hasty 
business, than those things by their sharpness and 
fretting annoy the senses of the body. For such, 
as we say, are good to go on dead men's errands, 
and they cause those that send them to wait with 
grief for their return ; yea, and they so trouble 
them, that they have no list either to take any food, 
or to take any rest. Beware then that neither thou 
be thyself such a slow messenger, nor commit thine 
affairs unto any that are slothful. 

Ver. 27. The fear of the Loi'd increaseth the days: 
hut the years of the inched are cut short. 

The holy reverence of the Lord is said to increase 
the days of a man's hfe, because it is a means of pre- 
serving those that are indued therewith from un- 
timely death by the sword of the magistrate, or the 
immediate revenging hand of God ; and again, for 
that it not only bringeth peace of conscience, 
which prolongeth and sweeteneth the natural life, 
but maketh men partakers of eternal salvation. On 
the contrary side, the years of the wicked are cut 
off, either by some plague of God, or punishment of 
rulers, which befalleth them by reason that they 
want the fear of God, which if it were in them, it 
would preserve them from many vices to which they 
are given, and so consequently save them from hasty 

Ver. 28. Tlie hope of the righteous shall be glad- 
ness : but the expectation of the wicked shall perish. 

Albeit the Lord doth sometimes, even a long 
space together, exercise his true worshippers with 
troubles, and hold them in suspense, yet at the last 
he granteth them the things which they hope they 
shall in the end receive. Hereupon must needs 
arise abundance of comfort and sundry joys unto 
them, seeing they find by experience that they have 

, not hoped in the Lord in vain. As for the expec- 
I tation of the wicked, that shall perish, inasmuch as 
I they shah not obtain the things looked for ; and so, 
j instead of joy, they shall have sorrow and vexation. 
See an example. Judges v. 30. 

Ver. 29. The way of the Lord is a strengthening to 
the tipriglit : hut a breaking in pieces to the workers of 

Sometimes, by the way of the Lord, the observing 
of God's law, sometimes the course of God's pro- 
vidence, is meant in the Scripture, as here in this 
place. It is said to strengthen the upright, not 
only for that it fortifieth their hearts, but because 
it preserveth them by sundry means from destruc- 
tion. The manner of the Lord's deahng with the 
wicked is quite contrary ; for the Lord plagueth and 
crosseth them for their iniquities, and in their evil- 
doing, even throughout the whole course of thelr 
life, which is unfortunate and full of many miseries. 
Ver. 30. The righteous shall never be removed : but 
the wicked shall not dwell on the earth. 

Whereas it is said, ' The righteous shall never be 
removed,' the meaning of this speech is, that who- 
soever practiseth the works of obedience (divers 
whereof are specified in the 15th Psalm) shall not 
perish, although in this Hfe he be shaken with sundry 
affiictions, but continue a peaceable possessor of the 
earth, a true member of the church, and a perpetual 
inheritor of God's kingdom, being never removed 
from the joy of the Spirit, the fellowship of the faith- 
ful, or the favour of the Lord. On the contrary side, 
'The wicked shall not dwell on the eartb,' for either 
the very ground will cast out the sinner for his 
iniquity ; or an evil conscience wUl without ceasing 
disquiet him ; or the true Church wiU separate and 
cut liim o£F from her body as an unsound member ; 
or Satan vnll pull him even into the pit of endless 

Ver. 31. The mouth of the righteous is fruitful in 
wisdom : hut the tongue of the froward shall be cut out. 
The tongue is fitly and finely herein resembled 
unto a tree — the good tongue to a good tree, the evil 
tongue to an evil tree. As therefore a good tree 
prospereth and bringeth forth new fruit in abun- 
dance from year to year, so the mouth of the godly 
man, assisted and blessed by the Lord, uttereth 
continual exhortations and most profitable instruc- 



[Chap. XL 

tions, whereby many are nourished and edified in 
knowledge and obedience ; for not only by a godly 
life, but by- -a wise and fruitful tongue, he doth 
much good unto those among whom he Hveth. 
Again, on the contrary side, as a barren or corrupt 
tree, for the unfruitfulness and naughtiness thereof, 
deserveth to be cut down, and is often pulled up by 
the roots, so the tongue of froward men, who over- 
throw the faith, or subvert good manners, shall be 
hewn down by the axe of God's judgment, and put 
to utter silence. 

Ver. 32. The lips of the righteous Iciiow that which 
is acceptable : but the mouth of the wicked frotuard 

A good tree cannot but bring forth good fruits, 
and an ill tree cannot but bring forth evil fruits. 
' The lips of the righteous know that which is accept- 
able.' The mouth of the just man, who knoweth 
how to speak to every one, uttereth not foolish or 
uusavoury words, which the ear of a wise man would 
abhor, but such gracious speeches as may both be 
acceptable and profitable to the hearers. Col. iv. 6. 
On the contrary side, corrupt communication pro- 
ceedeth out of the mouth of the ungodly, and such 
as rather destroyeth than buildeth up in the faith ; 
for their lips are well acquainted with blasphemy, 
heresy, ribaldry, and vanity ; with evil words cor- 
rupting good manners, and with perverse doctrines 
infecting the minds of many. Wherefore, also, as 
the good tongue shall know or feel God's sweet 
blessing, so the evil shall taste of his bitter judg- 
ment, as a due punishment of that frowardness 
wherein it hath delishted. 


Ver. 1. False balances are abomination to the Lord: 
hut an upright weight is acceptable to him. 

This sentence well accordeth with that precept 
which the Lord in Deuteronomy giveth the Israel- 
ites, where he saith unto them, ' Thou shalt not 
have in thy bag divers weights, a greater weight and 
a lesser; but thou shalt have a just and a true weight,' 
&c.,Deut.xxv. 13. Now surely not •n'ithout cause doth 
the righteous Lord abhor false balances and weights, 
and such as use them ; for what greater iniquity 

almost can there be than to turn the measures of 
justice into the instruments of craft, whereby the 
poor are much pinched and all decayed? On the 
contrary side, 'An upright weight is acceptable to 
God. Just deaUng in selhng is a thing well-pleas- 
ing the Lord, whose favour is better than all the 
goods of the world. Wherefore, although they that 
use true weights get not so much worldly gain as 
they that use false, yet they have more wherein to 
rejoice, and indeed greater advantage another way 
than they that deal deceitfully in their weights or 

Ver. 2. When pride cometh, contempt cometh also : 
but with the lowly is wisdom. 

Disdainfulness is the companion of pride, and 
wisdom of humility. The arrogant person never 
hghtly cometh to any place but he striveth for the 
upper room, or sheweth some despising of those that 
are in his company ; and as he despiseth others, so 
he is for his stateUness despised by others. ' But 
with the lowly is wisdom. With the humble and 
modest there is such reverent and prudent behaviour, 
that both men esteem them and advance them, and 
the Lord himself giveth them grace and favour. 
Thus there is wisdom with them ; both honouring 
other, and honoured by other. 

Ver. 3. The uprightness of the just guideih them,; 
but the frowardness of transgressors shall destroy them. 
A reward herein is promised to sincerity, or plain 
dealing ; and, on the contrary side, frowardness and 
falsehood is threatened with a punishment. ' The 
uprightness of the just guideth them.' The sound 
dealing of the righteous bringeth unto them many 
good things, and leadeth them unto peace ; yea, and 
to eternal hfe in the end, without going astray in 
error, or stumbhng at the punishments of sin. ' But 
the frowardness (or unrighteousness) of transgres- 
sors shall destroy them ; ' for the perverseness of 
the wicked, wherein they have walked themselves, 
or whereby they have gone about to overthrow 
others, shall bring them to desolation, like buildings 
or cities broken down. 

Ver. 4. Riches profit not in the day of wrath : but 
righteousness delivereth from death. 

Not only the treasures of iniquity, but riches law- 
fully gotten, profit nothing in the time of trouble or 
vengeance, seeing the Lord respecteth not the wealth 

Ver. 5-9.] 



of any, nor will be stayed from executing justice by 
any gift, or corrupted with any bribe. 

Ver. 5. The righteousness of the fust man diredeth 
his way : but he that is incked falleth in his icickedness. 
Righteousness not only delivereth from death, 
but prospereth a man throughout the whole course 
of his life ; for it directeth the way of the sincere- 
hearted man — that is, it holdeth him upright from 
falling into any error or misery, and maketh the 
path safe, sure, and plain for him to walk in. ' But 
he that is wicked falleth in his wickedness.' Who- 
soever transgresseth the holy law of God, or enter- 
priseth any evO action, is so crossed or plagued with 
one calamity or other, as that he may fitly be re- 
sembled to a traveller, who, walking or riding in 
some filthy or dangerous way, slideth into some pit, 
or falleth into some ditch. Thus the very sin which 
he doth, slayeth the evil-doer, and bringeth him in 
the end unto destruction. 

Ver. 6. The righteousness of the fust delivereth them : 
but the deceitful are caught in their own mischief. 

As righteousness bringeth men to that which is 
good, so it freeth them from evil. Indeed, the in- 
nocent are often drawn into trouble by those that 
are cruel adversaries unto them. When this cometh 
to pass, then they begin to be troubled, and seeing 
all in a manner to forsake them, they fear that they 
shall alway continue in adv^ersity. Here, therefore, 
to comfort them, the Spirit of the Lord telleth them 
that even their own righteousness shall in the end 
set them free, and deliver them out of prison, from 
infamy, and from the edge of the sword. ' But the 
deceitful are caught in their own mischief The 
crafty being in gi'eat power and prosperity, through 
the just judgment of God, are oftentimes brought 
into trouble by those very practices which they have 
devised against others. The laws which they enact 
for the entrapping of the innocent, now and then 
take hold on themselves. The means whereby they 
go about to suppress the truth oftentimes further the 
same. Finally, the weapons which they prepare for 
the destruction of the godly, do commonly pierce 
their own hearts and sides. 

Ver. 7. JVhen the wicked man dieth his expectcdion 
'jjerisheih : the hope of his strength perisheth. 

The things wherein the wicked man putteth his 
trust and confidence are his riches and glory. This 

outward prosperity he looketli long to enjoy, and 
hopeth that if any danger shall come, he shall be 
delivered from it thereby.- But by death all this 
prosperity and abundance shall utterly be taken 
from hun ; for the rich man, as it is in the psalm, 
' shall not take away anything with him when he 
dieth ; his glory shall not go down after him,' Ps. 
xlix. 17. Now, when the righteous person shall see 
the proud rich man thus fall from all his hope, he 
shall say, as it is in another psalm, ' Behold, this is 
he who made not God his strength, but tnisted in 
the abundance of his riches, and made himself strong 
in his substance,' Ps. lii. 7. 

Ver. 8. The just man is delivered out of trouble, and 
the wicked man cometh in his stead. 

Such is the condition of the righteous person, that 
he commonly is first in some afifiiction. But if he 
be cast into prison, or molested with any trouble, 
he remaineth not alway therein, but through the 
help of the Lord, is set at liberty at the last. This 
may then be a great comfort to the innocent, that 
they shall in the end be freed out of that trouble 
wherein the Lord suffereth them to continue for a 
season. Yet, as if this were not enough, behold 
another comfort, the wicked man cometh in his 
stead, his adversary falleth into the same, or hke, or 
greater tribulation. He that rejoiced, mourneth, 
and he that vexed others wrongfully, is justly pun- 
ished himself. Thus the Lord can easily turn the 
troubles of the righteous into triumphs, and the 
prosperity of the wicked into woeful misery. 

Ver. 9. The hypocrite corrupteth Ids neighbour with 
his mouth : but the just are preserved by knowledge. 

He is a hypocrite who, being wicked, or bearing 
ill-will, maketh an outward show of godliness and 
good-will. Such a one corrupteth his neighbour, 
dissuading him from that which is good, as from 
virtue and truth ; or persuading him to that which 
is evil, as to sin, or anything tending to his hurt. 
The weapon whereby the ungodly harm and destroy 
their neighbours, is their speech, which sometimes 
woundeth more deadly than any sword or arrow. 
The buckler, on the contrary side, whereby the just 
are preserved, is knowledge ; knowledge of the craft 
of the wicked, but especially knowledge of the Scrip- 
tures ; for this is of so great efficacy, that it maketh 
the godly to take heed of all flatterers and seducers. 



[Chap. XI. 

'\Mierefore, if any would be safe from h}^iocrites or 
heretics, they must not only have zeal, but know- 
ledge of the word of God. 

Ver. 10. For the prosperity of the just the city re- 
joiceth, and when the wicl-ed are destroyed there is sing- 

Two things, as herein is shewed, do move the 
righteous unto joy. The one is, the honouring and 
good success of the just ; for it is said, that ' for the 
prosperity of the just the city rejoiceth.' When it 
is well with those that do well, the well-disposed 
multitude cannot but be inwardly glad, and out- 
wardly testify this inward joy by signs and tokens 
of mirth. The other thing that moveth the well- 
disposed to rejoice, and even to sing, is the destruc- 
tion of the wicked ; for it is said, that ' when the 
wicked are destroyed there is singing.' There is 
great cause why the people of God should rejoice at 
the vengeance which is executed on the ungodly; 
for they persecute the church, or infect many with 
their evil counsel and example, or draw God's pun- 
ishrnents on the places wherein they hve. Thus did 
the ancient Israehtes rejoice in old time, when the 
enemies of God were overthrown ; and thus did 
we of late sing and triumph when the proud popish 
Spaniards were drowned and confounded. 

Ver. 11. By the blessing of the righteous the city is 
exalted : by the mouth of the wicked it is destroyed. 

The commodity and discommodity which the city 
receiveth from the just on the one side, and the 
wicked on the other, is herein expressed. ' By the 
blessing of the righteous the city is exalted.' By 
the good deeds, good doctrines, good counsels, and 
good prayers of the just, which are their blessings, 
the societies of mankind are greatly benefited. ' By 
the mouth of the wicked it is destroyed.' A king- 
dom is overthrown by the flattery, heresy, foolish 
counsel, and conspiracy of mischievous and ungodly 
persons. Thus a tongue can even buOd and over- 
throw a city, it can exalt and destroy a nation. 

Ver. 12. He that is void of understanding reproach- 
eth his neighbour : but he that is prudent will keep 

This sentence teacheth that the importunity of 
some is rather to be borne with patience than to be 
requited with speech of defamation. ' He that is void 
of understanding (such a one as is ra.sh) reproach- 

eth his neighbour.' Breaketh out into opprobrious 
speeches against him with whom he hath any deal- 
ing ; for either he will object unto him some imper- 
fection which he knoweth by him, or else will with- 
out cause revile him and shew some contempt of his 
person. ' But he that is prudent will keep silence.' 
Although one that is discreet be railed on by his ad- 
versaries, or spy some want in his friends, yet he 
will neither give taunt for taunt, neither shew any 
contempt, but rather behave himself as a deaf man 
toward the one, and as a dumb man toward the 
other; for the outrage of enemies is to be borne 
with patience, and the frailties of friends are to be 
covered with sUence. 

Ver. 13. He that walketh as a tale-bearer revealeth 
a secret : but he that is of a faithful mind concealeth a 

This proverb sheweth that we are not to acquaint 
every one with our intents or doings. A note to 
know a talker by, is that he is a walker from place 
to place, hearing and spying what he can, that he 
may have whereof to prattle to this body and that 
body. Such a gadder up and down can keep 
nothing, but discloseth the secret intents, speeches, 
and faults of those with whom he is acquainted, for 
which cause he is not to be trusted. On the con- 
trary side, ' He that is of a faithful mind concealeth 
a matter.' Such a one as hath power over his 
affections, and loveth not only in show, but in truth, 
covereth those faults, purposes, words, and deeds of 
his friend, which with a good conscience may be 
kept close. This cari-jing of tales the Lord for- 
biddeth in his law, where he saith, ' Thou shalt not 
walk among thy people with reporting of tales,' 
Lev. xix. 16. 

Ver. 14. Where prudent counsels are not, the people 
perish: but in the multitude of counsellms there is 

This sentence teacheth that people are to provide 
and to pray for wise governors and counsellors ; as 
also that they are dutifully to obey such, as upon 
whom their welfare chiefly dependeth. As the 
ship must needs perish wherein there is not a skil- 
ful pilot ; so that commonwealth must needs decay 
wherein there is not a prudent or politic governor. 
On the contrary side, 'In the multitude of counsellor-; 
is health ;' for the welfare of a commonwealth i!; 

Yer, 15-20.] 


procured and preserved, not so much by a multi- 
tude of warriors, as of 'vvise men, -who by pondering 
of matters, and conferring about the same, give and 
set do'wn such wholesome advice, from whence 
floweth health both of body and soul, and satisfy in 
time of danger and of war. 

Ver. 15. He that is surety for a stranger shall 
wholly he Iroken : but he that hateth those that clap liands 
is secure. 

The danger of rash suretyship is herein laid open, 
which point hath before been declared, chap. vi. 1. 
' He that is surety for a stranger' (that rash person 
who promiseth to pay another man's debt, whatso- 
ever he is) shall wholly be broken (utterly shall be 
undone :) but he that hateth those who clap hands 
(as for that wise man that misUketh such as rashly 
enter into suretyship, which commonly is done by 
clapping of the right hands) is secure ; he remaineth 
not only without trouble, but without fear of being 

Ver. 16. A gracious tvoman heepeth honour ; and 
strong men heep riches. 

Albeit the woman is the weaker vessel, yet when 
she is gracious, that is to say, graced, not so much 
with beauty, as with wisdom and virtue, she 
keepeth honour, that is, maintaineth her credit, and 
preserveth her chastity. 'And strong men keep 
riches.' Likewise mighty men who are strong in body, 
hold fast their substance which they have gotten 
and earned by labour and travail. It were a hard 
thing to rob or spoil a strong man of his goods ; but 
to take away the chastity of an honest matron, be 
she never so weak, it is impossible, who will rather 
die a thousand deaths than be stained with the least 
speck of dishonesty. 

Ver. 17. Tlie merciful nan doth good to his own 
soul : but he that is cruel troubleth his own flesh. 

We are to preserve as much as in us lieth these 
two parts of our nature, our souls and our bodies. 
' The merciful man is good to his own soul.' As he 
that doth good to others herein doth good to him- 
self, inasmuch as the Lord will in mercy reward 
him for his welldoing; so he that may truly be called 
a kind man, is kind to his own soul, in comforting 
his own heart, and in granting thereunto the delight 
which may be received by sleep, by food, and the 
use of all things necessary or pleasant. Wherefore 

the counsel which the son of Sirach giveth is good 
and worthy to be followed : ' Love thy soul, and 
comfort thine heart, and put heaviness far away 
from thee,' Ecclus. xxx. 21, &c. On the contrary side, 
' He that is cruel, or hard-hearted, troubleth his 
flesh,' Ecclus. iv ; for either by niggardliness, or 
travail, or sorrow, he pincheth, consumeth, or pineth 
his body. Such a cruel person, as the preacher 
speaketh, ceaseth not to labour, nor saith, For 
whom I do travail and deprive my soul of good 

Ver. IS. The wicked man ivorketh a deceitful work: 
but he that soweth righteousness hath a sure recompense. 

Although the ungodly person labour much, yet he 
doth a deceitful work, which neither shall contiuue, 
nor bring any fruit unto him. The hj^ocrite giveth 
akas oftentimes to be seen by men, but he shall never 
be rewarded for his liberaUty by the Lord. The 
transgressor of God's law buUdeth himself, not 
upon the truth of obedience, but upon the show of 
an outward profession : such a house will fall. The 
vain teacher delivereth the straw and stubble of 
error and vanity for tnie doctrine and sound divin- 
ity. This work cannot abide ; the day vnh reveal 
it, and the fire will consume it. Thus every wicked 
manworketh a deceitful work. But on the contrary 
side, ' He that soweth righteousness hath a sure re- 
compense.' For he that soweth sound doctrine, or 
the fruits of obedience, shall of the Spirit reap life 

Ver. 19. The righteous man soweth to life: but he 
that followeth wickedness, to death. 

The wages of sin is death, but the grace of God 
is eternal life, Eom. vi. 23. ' Whereas it is said 
that the righteous man soweth to life ; the meaning 
is, that he which walking with a sincere heart, doth 
that which is good, shall inherit God's blessing and 
kingdom ; for godhness hath the promises both of 
this Ufe and of the life to come. Whereas on the 
contrary side it is affirmed, that he which followeth 
wickedness soweth to death ; the meaning is, that 
the sinner, who with greediness followeth after evil, 
even as the hunter doth his game, shall of the flesh 
reap corruption, receiving for his ungodliness and 
iniquity temporal plagues and eternal punishment. 

Ver. 20. The froward in heart are abomination to 
the Lord : but the upright in way are acceptable to him. 



[Chap. XI. 

Some are not greatly wicked in their outward 
works wlio yet are inwardly corrupt, either suffer- 
ing fond opinions or evil affections to reign in 
them. These are froward in heart, that is, unre- 
formed in their souls. These are an abomination 
unto the Lord, that is to say, sucli whom he hateth 
and abhorreth, even as men do filthy or execrable 
things. But on the contrary side, ' The upright in 
way are acceptable to him,' that is to say, such as 
are not only sincere in heart, but have their con- 
versation not according to the flesh, but according 
to the Spirit, please the Lord, as being regenerated 
by God's grace, and justified by Jesus Christ. 

Ver. 2L Tliough hand join in hand, the wicked shall 
not escape scot-free : hit the seed of the righteous shall be 

Generation here is opposed to generation, and 
congregation, as it were, to congregation. The 
estate of the generation of the ungodly is declared 
in these words, 'Though hand join in hand, the 
wicked shall not be unpunished.' The ungodly, 
though they be many and great, notwithstanding 
all their friends or aiders, shall be revenged and 
plagued. The estate of the generation of the godly 
is shewed in the latter part of this sentence, ' The 
seed of the righteous shall be delivered.' Although 
the faithful are for the time in great adversity and 
persecution, yet shall they in the end, by the won- 
derful power of God, escape out of danger and 
affliction, even in spite of their malicious and mighty 

Ver. 22. As a jewel of gold in a swine's snout, so is 
a fair woman void of discretion. 

No gifts of nature or of the body are ornaments 
without wisdom. If a ring or jewel of gold were 
put about a swine's snout, so fair an ornament would 
not become so foul a creature. Moreover, the filthy 
sow would defile these precious things in the dirt, 
wherein she useth to dig and wallow. The wanton 
and wicked woman that is void of grace is more 
foul and brutish than any sow in the world; for 
she walloweth in the mire of unchastity, riot, scold- 
ing, pride, and such other vices. If, then, beauty 
be in her face, or brave attire on her head, how can 
these ornaments become her? Certainly the Lord 
thinketh her no more seemly than men do a sow 
that walloweth in the mire. 

Ver. 23. The desire of the just obtaineth that which 
is good : the hope of the wicked indignation. 

The righteous at the last obtain wished prosperity, 
whereas the ungodly meet with troubles and ven- 
geance unlocked for. ' The desire of the just ob- 
taineth that which is good.' The soul of the just is 
by the Lord filled with good blessings, as peace, 
plenty, wealth, and many suchlike. The hope of 
the wicked is turned into indignation. The expec- 
tation of the ungodly doth not only perish, but is so 
crossed, that the wrath and judg-ment of God be- 
falleth it. See a fuller exposition hereof, chap. x. 

Ver. 24. Some by scattering are the more increased; 
and some sparing moi'e than is meet, come to poverty. 

They do scatter that pour out their goods plenti- 
fully to the poor, or bestow great cost unto good 
uses. Such are the more increased ; for, as the 
apostle speaketh, 2 Cor. ix. 10, ' He that giveth 
seed to the sower, and bread to eat, multiplieth 
their seed, and enlargeth the increase of the fruit of 
their righteousness.' The Lord himself requireth 
their liberality. Thus some give alms continually, 
entertain their friends often, and keep hospitality 
all the year long, and yet are not the poorer, but 
the richer. On the contrary side, some again there 
are who, sparing more than is meet, come to poverty. 
For divers of those who will not give a penny to 
those that stand in need, nor pay to ministers or 
magistrates those things that are due, prosper not, 
but go backward even in their worldly estate. 

Ver. 25. The liberal mind shall wax fat: and he that 
giveth plentifully shall pour forth. 

There is no cause why men should fear that, by 
bestowing their goods on good uses, they shall at 
last become beggars ; for the liberal mind shall wax 
fat ; the bountiful person shall not only grow rich, 
but become fat in goods and possessions. ' And he 
that giveth bountifully shall pour forth.' More- 
over, he that abundantly refresheth and feedeth the 
needy with a great portion of his goods, shall be 
like to the springs or wells, which the more they 
are drawn, the more they abound with water; for 
he giveth and lendeth all the day long, and his seed 
is full of blessings, as it is in the psalm, Ps. xxxvii. 

Ver. 26. The people will curse him that keepeth in 

Vee. 27-30.] 



Ms corn ; but a hlessing shall be on his head that selleth 

Corn is that precious seed of the earth whereby 
the life of man is preserved ; if that be wanting or 
kept back, such as lack it must needs perish. Not 
without cause, then, do the people curse him that 
keepeth in his wheat ; for whilst the covetous 
miser, under hope of greater gain, withholdeth the 
selling of wheat, or such necessary provision, for 
that he would sell it at the dearest price he can, the 
poor, that have nothing but what they buy in mai-- 
kets by their penny, famish. Thus, whUst some seek 
to make a private commodity, the commonwealth 
is undone, and a great number starve. It is lawful 
to keep in corn, but not in the time of extreme 
dearth, and with a covetous mind. On the contrary 
side, a blessing shall be on his head that selleth 
corn ; for both God will prosper him, and the 
people will wish God's blessing on his heart, who 
setteth corn, or any like provision, to sale in the 
time of dearth, and selleth it at a reasonable rate, 
whereby it cometh to pass that many poor and 
hungry souls are fed and preserved ahve. 

Ver. 27. He that followeth after that which is good 
getteih good-will ; but to him that seeketh after evil it 
shall befall. 

This is a notable sentence. He is said to follow 
after that which is good, who so setteth himself to 
benefit the people among whom he liveth, either in 
their bodies, or goods, or souls, that he goeth about 
this even early in the morning, as the Hebrew word 
doth signify. Such a one getteth good-will ; for 
he winneth the people's hearts, and findeth God's 
favour. On the contrary side, he is said to seek 
after evil that bendeth himself in such sort to hurt 
or annoy any ; that in the night he deviseth or prao- 
tiseth mischief. Such a one shall meet with hatred 
of men, or with some plague of the Lord. 

Ver. 28. He that trusteth in his riches shall fall; 
but the just shall flourish as a branch. 

Riches are frail and transitory things. The man 
then that putteth confidence in his wealth, as if that 
could save him from troubles, or preserve him in 
happiness, shall fall ; for he that trusteth in riches, 
leaneth but on a broken reed, and therefore shall 
not be able to stand, but shall fall down from his 
prosperity and glory. On the contrary side, ' The 

just shall flourish as a branch;' for he that walketh 
uprightly, trusting in the Lord, shall be in a pros- 
perous and flourishing estate, Ps. lii. 9. The reason 
is, for that he is nourished by a sound root, and 
standeth upon a sure foundation, Ps. xcii. 13. 

Ver. 29. He that troubleth his home shall inherit the 
wind ; and the fool shall be servant to the wise in heart. 

He is said to trouble his house that spendeth his 
goods prodigally, or suff"ereth them to waste for 
want of good husbandry. Such a one shall inherit 
the wind, that is to say, have nothing, and want 
food, money, and all necessaries ; for what re- 
maineth to the miserable unthrift, when all his 
goods are spent and consumed, but that, that he 
feed himself and his with the wind ? Thus a man 
by prodigality is brought to extreme poverty, yea, 
to bondage also, as is declared in the latter part of 
this sentence ; for it is said, that ' the fool shall be 
servant to the wise in heart.' The unprovident 
person shall be constrained to sell himself to be a 
drudge to some rich man or other, who hath been a 
wiser householder than he. 

Ver. 30. The fruit of the righteous mem is the fruit 
of a tree of life ; and he that is wise winneth souls. 

It is manifest that by the righteous man he is 
meant that practiseth not only justice or liberality, 
but all sorts of virtues. What is to be understood 
by 'the fruit of the righteous man' is somewhat 
doubtful; for thereby either may be meant, the 
good which he doth to others, or the good which 
he receiveth from the Lord himself, who, as it is 
in the Revelation, will give to the faitliful to eat 
of the tree of life wliich is in the paradise of God, 
Eev. ii. 7. Truly they that are not only just them- 
selves, but justify others, as Daniel speaketh, Dan. 
xii. 3, and that are not only wise, but instruct 
others, shall shine at the day of resurrection as 
tlie firmament, and as the stars of heaven, for 
ever and ever. But by that which here is spoken 
of the wise man, which is, that he winneth other 
men's souls, it may be gathered that by the fruit of 
the righteous man is not meant the reward which 
he shall receive himself, but the liberality, counsel, 
or good whatsoever which he imparteth to others. 
This is said to be ' the fruit of a tree of life,' be- 
cause it quickeneth, saveth, and justifieth many, as 
the prophet speaketh. Thus the righteous man by 



pap. XII. 

his righteousness doth much good, and again the 
wise man by his -wisdom '-innneth souls,' for by 
spii-itual instructions and admonitions he converteth 
and comforteth the hearts of such as go astray or 
are weak. They that bring this to pass are called 
by our Saviour Christ fishers or catchers of men, 
Luke V. 10 ; whereunto the Lord malce us wise by his 
Holy Spirit ! 

Ver. 3L Behold, the just man shall be recompensed 
on the earth ; how much more the toicked m-an and the 
sinner ? 

This sentence is, as it were, a peerless pearl ; it 
containeth the doctrine of the pro\'iden<;e of God, 
and sheweth that there remaiueth a day of judgment 
for the wicked. The matter which now we have to 
consider is not of small importance, for the Spirit 
of God biddeth us behold, that is to say, with the 
eyes of our mind very dihgently to mark the point 
here taught, and the estate of the godly here on 
earth. The person whom we are to behold is the 
just man. There is none that is void of all sin, or 
that hath in this hfe attained to th« perfection of all 
virtues. The Holy Ghost, then, speak^th not here 
of any that is simply just, but that is righteous in 
some respect, inasmuch as he is justified and sanc- 
tified, although he hath divers imperfections remain- 
ing in him. This just man shall be recompensed, 
that is to say, chastened, even for his frailties and 
infirmities ; for judgment in this world must begin 
at God's house ; yea, the just man is oftentimes so 
sorely scourged by the Lord that he is hardly saved. 
But where is the righteous person thus scourged, 
judged, and recompensed 1 On the earth, even in 
this life, and in this world. The earth is not that 
seat which the Lord hath properly appomted for 
judgment or vengeance, neither is this hfe the day 
of the great assize ; yet rather than sin shall be 
unpunished, yea, even in the elect, the Lord wiU 
keep a petty sessions in this life, and make the 
earth a house of correction, 1 Pet. iv. 18. But where 
then shall the wicked and the ungodly appear ? If 
they that walk in the obedience of the spirit are so 
sharply corrected for their sins, how much more 
shall the wicked man, even the profane person 
and the sinner, the notorious unrepentant offender, 
be plagued, either in this hfe or the world to 
come ? 


Ver. 1. lie tluxt loveth insfi-uction lavh knowledge: 
hut he that hateth correction is brutish. 

Here is shewed that adversity is le best uni- 
versity. 'He that loveth instruction - that person 
who joyfully receiveth admonitions, pofiteth there- 
by, ' loveth knowledge,' waxeth dail^'^aore learned 
and more godly ; ' but he that hatetk ^irrection,' as 
for him that cannot abide either the iproofs of the 
godly, or the Lord's corrections and .sjurges, ' he is 
brutish' — he remaineth as a brute-ber:- in his error 
and rudeness. For by reason that mther the re- 
bukes of men, nor the rods of the Lol. prevail with 
him, he neither seeth his sins, nor th'%anity of this 
hfe, nor the righteousness ,of the Loi, as he ought 
to do. 

Ver. 2. T/ie favour of the Lord adinceth the good 
man : but lie condemneth the toicked prs'in. 

As a judge will exalt the weU-doe:-.:nd pronounce 
the sentence of condemnatioa on tb malefactor, so 
God will bless the innocent, and cuae the ungodly, 
upon whom he will both pronounce ad execute the 
decree of some temporal plague, ciof eternal de- 
struction. By the favour of theLbrd, grace is 
meant, the fruit whereof is peace. 'IThere is none 
simply good but God ; yet they tharvralk uprightly 
are said to be good, inasmuch a.-they are made 
partakers of God's goodness. Unti^uch there is no 
condemnation, as there is to the Tdied, that is to 
say, to the reprobate, who are obnunable in their 
thoughts and deeds, who wax dai! more and more 
wicked and miserable, until they rwive eternal con- 
demnation, as a most just and perl'cfe reward of their 

Ver. 3. A man sJiall not be establued by vnckedness : 
but tlie root of tlie righteous shall ni>te removed. 

As a wise gardener ^vill pluck ujthe weeds in his 
ground, but ^vill not touch the roots of the good 
herbs to hurt them, so the LorH^nll destroy the 
wicked as plants which he nerciplanted, but will 
spare, yea, preserve the godly, as founded and 
grounded on Christ Jesus. T\iereas it is said 
that a man shall not be establishd by wickedness, 
the meaning is, that although ke evil person go 
about by all means to strengtheiliimself, or his pos- 

Ver. 4-9.] 



terity, yet he shall not continue. By the root of 
the righteous their state is meant, which is always 
sure, though it be often shaken with the troubles 
of this life. 

Ver. 4. A virtuous luife is her husband's crown : hut 
she that sliameth him is as rottenness in his bones. 

She is said to be a virtuous wife who, fearing 
God, loveth also her husband, and not only liveth 
chastely, but foUoweth her vocation diligently. 
Such a woman is her husband's crown or garland, 
that is to say, a comfort and a glory to him ; for she 
not only preserveth his health, but increaseth his 
wealth and dignity. That woman shameth her hus- 
band, who, by her frowardness, unchastity, or some 
like vice, causeth him to blush, and worketh him 
grief. Such a wife is as rottenness in lais bones, that 
is to say, is an inward or deadly corsey unto him ; 
for the disease or worm that eateth the flesh, or 
sucketh up the blood, is not such a torment as the 
ache of the bones, or the corruption of the marrow. 

Ver. 5. The thoughts of the just are right : the subtle 
devices of the wicked are deceit. 

There is great difference between the regenerate 
and unregenerate concerning the very inward cogi- 
tations and affections of their hearts. ' The thoughts 
of the just are right.' The upright manbendeth his 
study how most to glorify God, benefit his neigh- 
bour, and to stir up himself to do that which is good. 
He judgeth himself, and taketh care that none be 
wronged, but that every one have his due. 'But 
the devices of the wicked ai'e deceit.' The ungodly 
muse on mischief, bending their wits by craft to 
circumvent them, whom by force or violence they 
cannot oppress, and thinking how best to colour their 
own devilish practices. 

Ver. 6. The words of the wiched lie in ivait for blood : 
the mouth of the upright delivereth them. 

The ungodly abuse their tongues unto evil, which 
tlie righteous use aright. ' The words of the wicked 
lie in wait for blood ;' the questions, conferences, and 
speeches of the ungodly tend to catch the innocent 
even unto destruction : ' But the mouth of the up- 
right delivereth them.' The godly will preserve, by 
their pleadings or answers, such as the wicked go 
about to slay. Thus the speech of the ungodly is 
a snare, which yet is broken by the mouth of the 

Ver. 7. God doth overthrow the wicked so as that 
they are not : but the house of the righteous shall stand. 

When a change of the estate of the ungodly is 
made from prosperity unto adversity, their utter 
destruction is commonly ^vrought ; for their house 
being built upon the sand, the tempests and the 
ivinds arise and quite overtlirow it. The whole 
manner of the overthrow of the wicked man is at 
large described in the book of Job, chap, xviii. 15, 
where it is said, ' He so dwelleth in his tent, that 
he hath no hope ; brimstone is scattered over his 
habitation. His roots are dried up beneath, and 
his bough above is he^vn down. His memory 
perisheth from the earth, and he hath no name in 
the streets. He is driven from the light into dark- 
ness, and cast out of the earth inhabited. Neither 
hath he son nor nephew among his people, neither 
is any remaining in his habitation. They that come 
after are astonished at the day of his doom, and 
they that are present quake for horror. Truly these 
are the tabernacles of the wicked man, and this is 
the place of him that knoweth not God.' On the 
contrary side, not only the righteous man himself, 
but his house, his dwelhng-place, his family, and 
his children, shall long continue. 

Ver. 8. A man shall be commended for his prudent 
mouth : but he that is of afroward heart shcdl be despised. 

Certain causes, both of estimation and contempt, 
are herein shewed. ' A man shall be commended for 
liis prudent mouth.' A man shall be praised for his 
wise speech, wherein, by instructing or counselling 
others, he uttereth and expresseth the understanding 
of his heart. ' But he that is of a froward heart shall 
be despised.' As for him, who either is so ignorant 
that he cannot speak vidsely, or so overthwart that he 
uttereth only those things that are cross or evil, he 
becometh contemptible by this means. 

Ver. 9. Better is he that dehaseth himself and hath a 
servant, than he that boasteth himself and wantelh bread. 

That person who, setting his hand to all works, 
and carrying a low port, hath somewhat about him, 
and one to do his business, is more to be commended, 
and in better estate, than he who, carrying the coun- 
tenance of a great gentleman, ruflfleth it out in brave 
apparel, but hath not a penny in his purse, yea, nor 
sometimes food sufficient to put in his belly. Thus 
much is meant when it is said, ' Better is he that 



[Chap. XII. 

clebasetli himself and liatli a servant,' that is, is able 
to maintain a family, ' than he that boasteth himself 
and wanteth bread.' The son of Su-ach, who may 
well be called an interpreter of this book of the Pro- 
verbs, hath a very like saying to this, where he 
speaketh thus, 'Better is he that worketh and 
aboundeth with all things, than he that boasteth 
himself, and wanteth bread,' Ecclus. x. 30. 

Ver. 1 0. The righteous man regardeth the life of liis 
beast : but the bowels of the wicTced are cruel. 

Pity is now commended, and hardness of heart 
condemned. ' The righteous man regardeth the Hfe 
of his beast.' A just man will not hurt the dumb 
creature which he possesseth, either by overtoiling 
it or suffering it to want food, or looking to. But if 
he be so pitiful to his beast, much more to the bodies 
and souls of men. As for the very bowels of the 
wicked, they are cruel; for the ungodly are un- 
merciful to the dumb creatures, unnatural to their 
children, hard-hearted to the poor, and bloody per- 
secutors of the people of God, delighting in their 
destruction, and laughing at theii- torments. 

Ver. 11. He that tilleth his ground shall be satisfied 
with bread : but he that followeth vain companions is 
void of understanding: 

Seeing this sentence is afterward at large ex- 
pounded, chap, xxviii. 19, it were a needless labour 
here to handle it. 

Ver. 12. The wielced man desireth a defence against 
evils : but the root of the righteous giveth fruit. 

That which the ungodly person feareth shall befall 
him, but that which he desireth shall not come unto 
him. ' The wicked man,' the grievous sinner and 
unrepentant transgressor, ' desireth a defence against 
evils ;' wisheth and seeketh, howbeit all in vain, a 
refuge and protection against miseries and calamities. 
' But the root of the righteous giveth fruit.' As for 
the estate of the godly, such it is, as that they are not 
only preserved from evils, but flourish and prosper 
in good things. 

Ver. 13. The sriare of the evil man is in the trans- 
gression of his lips, but the just man escapeth out of 

As the speech of the wicked man is oftentimes a 
snare wherein he catcheth others to destruction, so 
it is a net wherein he himself is sometimes so en- 
tangled that he cannot by any means come out of 

it. Thus much is meant when it is said, that ' the 
snare of the evil man is in the transgression of his 
lips.' On the contrary side, ' The just man escapeth 
out of trouble.' For although the innocent, by false 
accusations, are sometimes brought into question or 
molested, yet they are freed at last and escape, as a 
bird out of the snare of the fowler, or as a poor 
beast from the net of the hunter. 

Ver. 14.^ good man is satisfied with the fruit of 
his mouth : and the work of a man's hands shall 
reward him. 

Albeit, the opening of the mouth is a small mat- 
ter, yet, when it is done in wisdom, it shall be 
recompensed by the Lord with great blessing. For 
such as use their tongues to God's glory, and the 
edification of their brethren, instructing them and 
exhorting them from day to day, shall be loved by 
God and man, and taste many good things. Thus 
m.uch is taught when it is said, that a ' good man is 
satisfied with the fruit of his mouth.' Now, as good 
words, so good works also shall be rewarded. For 
the recompense of a man's hands shall reward him, 
that is to say, not only the vncked shall be plagued 
for their iU-doing, but the godly shall be blessed 
for their well-doing. The reward here spoken of 
is not a reward of merit, but of mercy to the 
godly, whose good actions are crowned with com- 
fort and good success, as the evil deeds of the 
wicked have a curse and cross attending on them. 

Ver. 1 5. The luay of a fool is right in his own eyes : 
but he that hearkeneth to counsel is wise. 

Self-liking is herein reproved, and hearkening to 
advice is commended. ' The way of a fool is right 
in his own eyes.' The conceited person, imagining 
himself to be a very vnse man when he is a fool, 
thinketh his own course best, using no advice of 
others, as if he himself were suflScient of himself to 
see what is best for himself. ' But he that hearken- 
eth to counsel is vsdse ; ' that is to say, he that, sus- 
pecting his own judgment, inquireth after, and 
practiseth the good advice of others, provideth well 
for himself, and by hearing, becometh wiser and 

Ver. 16. The wrath of a fool is made known the 
same day, but a -prudent man covereth a reproach. 

As the foolish man is soon angry, so he doth be- 
wray the passion of his mind very quickly by his 

Vee. 17-22.] 



outcries, threateuings, and suchlike signs of clioler. 
Thus much is signLfied when it is said, ' The wrath 
of a fool is made known the same day.' Whereas it 
is added, that ' the prudent man covereth a re- 
proach ; ' the meaning is, that he which is wise sup- 
presseth all angry speeches and behaviour, and by 
silence passeth over the disgrace offered unto him 
by his adversary, not revenging but hiding it, as if 
he had suffered no abuse. 

Ver. 17. A faithful man will speak, he, will declare 
that which is just : hut a false witness utiereth deceit. 

Among other properties of love, the apostle Paul 
noteth these two, that ' it rejoiceth not in unright- 
eousness, but rejoiceth in the truth,' 1 Cor. sdii. 6. 
To the same effect speaketh Solomon in this verse. 
For first he afiirmeth of such a faithful man, who 
believeth in God and truly loveth his neighbour, 
that ' he will declare that which is just.' Whereby 
he meaneth, that without respect of persons, the 
upright man wiU testify that which is agreeable to 
the matter, and that which is certain, whereby the 
hearers and the judge may be directed and led to 
know and embrace the truth. ' But a false witness 
uttereth deceit ; ' that is to say, he that maketh no 
conscience of lying, no, not in the place of judgment, 
coloureth his forged accusations with plausible 
speeches, and faceth down an untruth. 

Ver. 18. There are some that utter xeords like the 
pricking of a sword : hut the tongue of the wise is a 

The cutting of the body with the edge of the 
sword doth not wound so deeply or dangerously, as 
the pricking of it with the point thereof. Whereas, 
then, here it is said that the words of some are 
like the prickings of a sword ; the meaning is, that 
they are most piercing and deadly. David felt such 
inward prickings when he said, 'They pierce my 
soul, whilst they say unto me. Where is now thy God.' 
Ps. xlii. He is no less a murderer that kUleth a man 
with a word, than he that slayeth him with a sword ; 
yea, sometimes it is a point of greater cruelty to spot 
a man's good name than to shed his blood. Now, 
as in the former part of this parable is taught, that 
some by words hurt their neighbours most griev- 
ously, in body, goods, and name ; so whereas it is 
added, that ' the tongue of the wise man is a medi- 
cine ;' herein is declared, that the godly by their 

wholesome speeches, as it were by certain salves or 
treacles, cure the wounds of aflBicted hearts, and 
drive away the poison infused by evil tongues. 

Ver. 19. The lip of truth shall be established for 
ever : the lying tongue scant for the space of a moment. 

Truth, which is uttered by the Ups of the godly, 
is firm and stable. _ For although it is suppressed 
for a time, yet at the last it prevaileth and abideth 
for ever. The utterer of truth, meant here by the 
lip of truth, shall hkewise remain for ever ; for he 
that speaketh the truth from his heart shall either 
live long in this world, or for ever in the world to 
come. On the contrary side, ' The lying tongue en- 
dureth scant for the space of a moment,' for God 
will quickly destroy all those that speak hes, and 
root out the false tongue out of the land of the 

Ver. 20. Deceit shall be unto tlie heart of the practisers 
of mischief: but joy unto the counsellors of peace. 

Evil counsel most hurteth those that give it. By 
deceit here is meant a deceitful reward, or an 
issue of a matter deceiving a man's expectation. 
Such as are the authors of evil, here called ' the 
practisers ox devisers of mischief,' commonly miss of 
their purpose, or meet with some trouble that 
worketh sorrow in their hearts. ' But joy shall be 
unto the counsellors of peace ;' for such as either 
make concord between neighbour and neighbour, or 
give any advice tending to their brethren's welfare, 
are blessed and find good success. 

Ver. 21. No evil shall befall the just man: but the 
2vicked shall be full of misery. 

Not so much as a thorn shall hurt the good 
man's foot. Indeed many are the tribulations of the 
righteous, but all their adversities turn unto their 
good. Moreover when God plagnaeth the world for 
sin, he passeth over the innocent, neither doth any 
of his strokes fall upon him. ' But the wicked shall 
be full of misery.' Not one, but many troubles shall 
take hold on the ungodly, for they shall be filled 
with infamy, poverty, heart-grief, and infinite moles- 
tations and plagues. 

Ver. 22. Deceitful lips are an ahomination to the 
Lord : but they that deal faithfully are accepted of him. 

By deceitful lips they are meant who seek to 
deceive, and do not perform that which they say or 
promise. They deal faithfully whose deed is as 



[Chap. XII. 

good as tlieir word, and who use no deceit in either 
of them both. The former sort not only displease 
men, but highly offend Godj the latter not only 
please the Lord, but are deeply in his favour ; how- 
soever, men oftentimes make small account of them-, 
for flattery getteth friends, but truth getteth hatred. 

Ver. 23. A prudent man kideth knowledge : hut the 
heo.rt of fools proclaimeth folly. 

In this verse silence is commended, as a virtue 
whereby both knowledge and folly is wisely covered, 
and babbling is condemned, as a vice by which wis- 
dom and foolishness is unadvisedly laid open. ' A 
prudent man hideth knowledge,' that is to say, he 
that is wary or circum'Spect neither boasteth of his 
cunning, neither speaketh of any good matters out of 
time or place. ' But the heart of fools proclaimeth 
foUy,' that is to say, fools either speak of good 
things unseasonably, or talk of vain things con- 
tinually. In it is, and out it must ; they can keep no 
counsel. Their heart being fuU of foolish thoughts 
and vanities, provoketh them to pubhsh and utter 
the same by rash and undiscreet speeches, having no 
power at all to keep close, or to suppress such fancies 
and follies. 

Ver. 24. The hand of the diligent shall hear rule : 
hut the idle shall pay trihute. 

Before we have heard, chap. x. 4, how labour 
bringeth men unto wealth. And now in the former 
part of this sentence is affirmed, that it advanceth 
them also to honour ; for it is said, ' The hand of the 
diligent shall bear rule,' whereby is shewed that the 
following of a man's caUing faithfully and painfully, 
will not only bring them to wealth, but to such pre- 
ferment, that they shall bear some office in the 
place wherein they hve. On the contrary side, 
' The idle shall pay tribute ;' for sloth bringeth men 
not only to poverty, but to bondage. The idle are 
driven to go to service, and to be subject to the 
diligent and the rich. 

Ver. 2-5. Heaviness in the heart of man presseth it 
down : hut a good word rejoiceth it. 

In the former part of this verse the force of sor- 
row or care is shewed to be exceeding great ; for it 
is said that ' heaviness in the heart of man presseth 
it down,' that is to say, immoderate pensiveness both 
fretteth the mind, and so weakeneth and dulleth 
the body, that it is unfit to labour or any good 

work. 'But a good word rejoiceth' or cheereth 'it 
up;' for the comfortable speech of a friend, but 
especially the wholesome word of God, wherein remis- 
sion of sins is promised through Christ, expelleth 
heaviness of the heart, and instead thereof raiseth 
joy therein, whereby both the soul is refreshed, and 
all the senses of the body revived and made fit to 
discharge their duty. 

Ver. 26. The righteous man is more excellent than 
his neighhour ; but the way of the wicked deceiveth 

This sentence declareth that, above aU things, 
righteousness is to be embraced and followed after, 
whereby a certain excellency is attained. ' The 
righteous man is more excellent than his neighbour ' 
in many respects ; first, His birth is more noble, for 
he is born again of the word and of the Spirit ; 
secondly, His deeds are more commendable ; thirdly. 
His death is sweeter ; last of aU, His life is more 
blessed, in regard of God's favour toward him, and 
the good success which he findeth in his affairs. 
In this respect especially the just man is here said 
to be more excellent than the unjust. This may be 
gathered by that it is said in the latter part of this 
sentence, ' But the way of the wicked deceiveth 
them;' for hereby is meant, that howsoever the un- 
godly go about to excel, yet their prosperity being 
in the end turned into adversity, they feel, by woe- 
ful experience, their pleasures and glory to be but 
vain and inconstant. 

Ver. 27. The deceitful man shall not roast that 
%»hich he hath caught hy hunting ; hut he that is 
diligent (shall enjoy) the precious substance of a 

Goods ill-gotten will not long continue. ' The 
deceitful man shall not roast that which he caught 
by hunting,' or his venison. The crafty person shall 
not long enjoy nor taste the prey which he hath 
gotten by fraud ; for either one trouble or other 
will so come upon him, that he shaU not be able 
long to possess or take dehght in the spoU. I re- 
member a true story which I have heard of, and 
which was done not very many years ago, by set- 
ting down whereof some light may be brought to 
this saying, and men may be warned to take heed 
of stealing, seeing therein they may see the swift 
flight of stolen goods. A butcher there was who 

Chap. XIII. 1-4.] 



had stolen an ox, which, marrjdng within a while 
after the deed was done, he caused to be dressed 
on his wedding-day, and bade his friends to the 
feast, purposing to feed and cheer up both himself 
and them with other good cheer, and with this un- 
happy venison gotten by unlawful hunting. Whilst 
the venison was roasting, vengeance elsewhere was 
preparmg, and the owner of the ox finding out the 
thief, and pursuing the wrong done unto him, caused 
the butcher on the very wedding-day to be appre- 
hended, who, as I think, was afterwards for this 
fact executed. Thus many things fall betweem the 
cup and the lip, and the mouth tasteth not, at the 
least long or with any joy, that which the hand 
pulleth by hook and by crook unla-\\^fiilly. 'But 
he that is diligent shall enjoy the precious substance 
of a man ; ' for he that, by honest and painful labour, 
getteth goods unto himself without wronging of any, 
shall possess them safely and surely, and enjoy them 
peaceably and comfortably a long time togetlier. 
The dihgent person shall possess his corn, his silver, 
his jewels, and such other precious things that are 
in account among men, which here are called the 
precious substance of a man. 

Ver. 28. In the way of righteousness is life : and in 
the pathway thereof there is no death. 

Sundry precious and pleasant fruits springing from 
righteousness have already been set dowa in this 
book. In this verse is shewed that prosperity and 
salvation belong unto it, and that adversity and 
damnation are far from it. ' In the way of righteous- 
ness is Hfe.' They that embrace and practise the 
will of God, and walk after the Spirit, enjoy peace 
of heart, prosperity in this life, and many blessings. 
Thus there are many good tilings in the way of 
righteousness, and a.s is shewed in the latter 
part of this sentence, there is no condemnation or 
evil unto those that are in Christ, who walketh not 
after the flesh but after the Spirit : ' For in the path- 
way thereof there is no death. ' They that walk in the 
obedience of the Lord's commandments, neither are 
troubled with fear, nor confounded with shame, nor 
vexed with sorrow, nor ever taste of eternal damna- 
tion, but shall in the end be .crowned with immor- 
tality through Jesus Christ. To whom, with the 
Father, and the Holy Spirit, be all honour and 
glory, for ever and ever. Amen, 


Ver. 1. A wise sen (hearkeneth) to the instruction 
of Ids father : hut a scorner heareth no rehuhe. 

This holy proverb teach eth that children are to 
obey their parents. ' A wise son,' a reverent child, 
that knoweth and feareth God, ' hearkeneth to the 
instruction of his father,' heareth and obeyeth the 
counsel and advice of his parents ; ' but a scorner,' 
that is, one that is stubborn and lewd, ' heareth no 
rebuke,' cannot abide to be ^•Iwcked or controlled. 

Ver. 2. A ^ood man eateth the fruit of his mouth : 
but the soul of transgressors violence. 

A man shall be recompensed not only according 
to his deeds, but according to his words. ' A good 
man eateth the fruit of his mouth.' He that speak- 
eth to the glory of Ood, or the edification of his 
neighbour, shall receive good-wiU of men, and God's 
blessings, as a reward of his gracious speeches. The 
fruit which the soul of transgressors shall reap and 
feed upon is violence ; for such as break God's laws, 
or abuse their tongues to lying, slandering, blas- 
phemy, or suchlike vices, shall reap God's curse, 
the anguish of soul and conscience, hatred, wounds, 
and fruits of law. 

Ver. 3. He that keepeth his mouth, keepeth his life : 
but destruction shall be unto him that opcneth his lips 

It is a good thing to bridle the tongue, or to use 
moderation in speeck ' He that keepeth his mouth, 
keepeth his life.' He that setteth a watch before his 
lips, and shutteth the door of his mouth, not speak- 
ing but when he ought, and what is meet, preserveth 
not his body only, but his soul, from those 
harmless and deadly dangers which they that talk 
unadvisedly incur, drawing on themselves by this 
means oftentimes, not only hatred, but extreme 
misery ; for, as it followeth in the latter part of this 
sentence, destruction shall be to him that openeth 
his lips wide,' that is to say, as concerning him 
whose mouth, as a common strumpet, spreadeth itself 
to aU filthy communication, or openeth itself to talk 
lavishly, he shall be sure to meet with much trouble, 
and in the end he shall be quite overthrown. 

Ver. 4. The sluggard lusteth, and yet his soul hath 
nought : hit the soul of the diligent slmll be made fat. 



[Chap. XIIT. 

Wisliers and \roulclers are never good household- 
ers. The idle ■ivish sometimes for raiment, some- 
times for money, sometimes for food, but all in vain. 
' The sluggard lusteth, and yet his soul hath no- 
thing.' The slothful person being very hungry, de- 
sireth food, but yet his belly is empty and pinched with 
famine. ' But the soul of the diligent shall be made 
fat.' As for the belly of the painful man, it shall 
be filled mth dainties, and pleasant meats and 
drinks. In one word, idleness is the mother of 
want and famine, labour of plenty and abundance. 

Ver. 5. The ptsf man hateth a false matter, and 
causeth the wiched man to stivJc, and to he ashamed. 

The righteous person, as herein is shewed, not 
only setteth himself against sin, but the sinner. 
' The just man hateth a false matter.' The upright 
person not only loveth truth, but detesteth lying 
and an ill cause, even as a foul or filthy thing that 
is to be abhorred. ' And he causeth the wicked 
man to stink, and to be ashamed.' Moreover, he 
zealously pursueth the mahcious, unrepentant evil- 
doer, complaining on him, or punishing him in such 
sort that he maketh him odious and infamous, and 
bringeth him unto miserable and woeful confusion. 

Ver. 6. Righteousness preservetli the upright in loay : 
hut wichedness overthroweth the sinner. 

The ungodly attempt many things against the 
just, going about to overthrow them. In the mean 
season the godly walk in the way of the Lord, 
neither declining to the right hand nor to the left. 
This upright course which they keep, keepeth them. 
They need not any buckler or castle for their 
defence. Righteousness alone preserveth the way 
of the upright. It keepeth them from those evils 
which vices bring ujion men. Thus much is taught 
in the former part of this sentence. The doctrine 
of the latter part thereof is no less true and plain ; 
for whereas it is said that wickedness overthroweth 
the sinner, herein is manifestly declared, that the 
sinner, by his own evil course of life, draweth misery 
and destruction upon himself; for which cause he is 
not to blame the Lord, or any mortal man besides him- 
self, inasmuch as he is the author of misery to 

Ver. 7. Some boast themselves to be rich, luhen they 
have nothing ; others feign themselves to he poor, viloen 
they have great stihstance. 

Divers men take divers -courses concerning their 
estate. ' Some boast themselves to be rich when 
they have notliing.' Divers that are poor indeed 
make a show of great wealth ; for though they have 
little or nothing, or be in debt, yet they go bravely 
appai'elled, and keep a great port. ' Others feign 
themselves poor when they have great substance.' 
Some, when they are worth hundreds of thousands, 
complain of great want, and go and fare so barely 
as if they were not worth a groat. The former sort 
boast of the wealth which they have not, to win the 
more credit and estimation. The latter make show 
of want or poverty to avoid payments, charges, and 
the greater dangers. 

Ver. 8. The riches of a man are the ransom of his 
life : bid a poor man heareth not rebuke. 

There is some help in wealth to deliver out of 
trouble. Oftentimes ' the riches of a man are the 
ransom of his life.' Substance is that whereby a 
man imprisoned or held captive is now and then 
set free and redeemed. ' But a poor man heareth 
not rebuke.' He that hath nothing, sustaineth not, 
nor is able to resist the reproof or sentence of con- 
demnation. He that hath no money must pay in 
his body. Indeed, oftentimes the poor man is not 
called into question, because he hath nothing, when 
the rich man is troubled and brought into danger of 
life. And for that he knoweth that few or none 
will pursue him or lay hold on him, seeing his 
enemies shall gain nothing by him ; he feareth not 
the summons of the court, neither doth he dread 
the voice of the crier, neither is he terrified with 
the fierce eyes of the judge. But let him once be 
pricked at by the mighty, or hotly pursued by the 
envious, and he shall pay his head for that 
which the rich man shall easily answer with his 

Ver. 9. The light of the righteous shall rejoice : but 
the candle of the wicked shall be put out. 

The prosperity of the just is here compared unto 
the hght of the sun, which, rejoicing to run his course, 
continueth firm from time to time in the sky. The 
welfare of the godly shall increase, and remain con- 
stant after the same manner, ' but the candle of 
the wicked shall be put out,' the pomp and flourish- 
ing of the wicked shall quickly decay, Job xviii. 6 ; 
for as a candle shineth indeed bright, but soon con- 

Ver. 10-16.] 



sumeth, so tlieir glory seemeth excellent, but in a 
short time vanisLeth. 

Ver. 10. Through mere pride a man maheth conten- 
tion: hut iciih the luell-advised is wisdom. 

The cause or fountain, as well of strife as peace, 
is here opened and declared. ' Through mere pride 
a man maketh contention.' The conceit of a man's 
own excellency breed eth in him a stomach and con- 
tempt of others ; maketh his affections fierce, and 
emboldeneth him to contend with his neighbours. 
' But %vith the well-advised is wdsdom.' As for those 
that follow the advice of God's word or Spirit, they 
are indued with that wisdom which is peace- 
able, whereby they avoid all occasions of strife; 
yea, whereby sometimes they pacify wrath that is 

Ver. 11. Substance gotten by vanity shcdl be dimin- 
ished : but he that gathereth with the hand shall increase 

A wise man is to take care, not so much how 
much he getteth, as how well he getteth goods ; for 
'substance gotten by vanity shall be diminished.' 
Eiclies attained unto by unlawful means shall not 
prosper, but wax less and less. ' But he that gather- 
eth with the hand shall increase wealth.' That per- 
son who getteth anything with honest labour and 
by good means shall thrive in this world, and daily 
grow richer and richer. 

Ver. 12. The hope ichich is defeired maketh the heart 
sick : but a desire, when it cometh, is a tree of life. 

This verse sheweth the danger or hurt of delay, 
and the comfort of present good things. By hope 
the thing hoped for is meant, whether it be some 
comfortable news, or any acceptable thing whatso- 
ever. Even as food long kept from the hungry 
stomach maketh the body weak, so the thing longed 
for prolonged causeth a fainting soul ; for the mind, 
wanting the thing expected, grieveth because it doth 
not presently enjoy it, and feareth that it shall never 
obtain it. ' But a desire, when it cometh, (or which 
is present,) is a tree of life ;' for the sight or receiv- 
ing of the good thing which hath been earnestly 
wished for, healeth the malady of the heart, and 
reviveth the spirits. 

Ver. 13. He that despiseth the icord shall be destroyed: 
but he that reverenceth the law shall have peace. 

It is not good to contemn the commandments of 

princes, much less of God. ' He that despiseth the 
word shall be destroyed.' That person who con- 
temptuously rejecteth the commandment of the al- 
mighty God, or will by no means be subject there- 
unto, shall be plagued at the last with some fearful 
punishment. ' But he that reverenceth (or feareth) 
the law shall have peace.' Whosoever, trembling 
at God's word, putteth it reverently and dutifully 
into practice, shall enjoy prosperity. 

Ver. 14. The doctrine of a wise man is a icell-spring 
of life, to depiart from the snares of death. 

This sentence declareth that the precepts of the 
learned and godly wise bring unto the younger and 
ruder sort great j^rofit. By the doctrine of the wise 
man, Ms counsel, which he giveth to those with 
whom he hath occasion to deal, is meant. This 
counsel is said to be a well-spring of hfe, because it 
is a means whereby those that obey it are made 
partakers of many good things. Now, because it is 
also a means that many avoid the dangers and 
miseries of this present hfe, yea, and that they are 
preserved from sin and eternal destruction, it is 
added, that it serveth likewise to depart from the 
snares of death. 

Ver. 15. Grrace giveth good success ; but the way of 
the deceitful is rough. 

By grace, such gracious behaviour is meant as 
deserveth and wmneth favour among men, and is 
also acceptable to God. Such grace giveth good 
success ; for prudence bringeth matters happily to 
pass, and favour ea.sily obtaineth things desired. 
' But the way of the deceitful (or as the word doth 
also signify, of despisers, who are themselves 
commonly despised) is rough. For they that, 
wanting the grace of God, either by reason of then- 
craft, or any other vice, are in disgrace and despised, 
lead a life full of troubles, and as it were walk in a 
way which is rugged or full of thorns, inasmuch as 
both the Lord is wont to cross such, and aU sorts of 
people to molest them and vex them, in their courses 
and enterprises. 

Ver. 16. Every wise man wm-kelh with knowledge; 
but a fool layeth open his folly. 

Prudence is now commended again, and foolish- 
ness condemned. ' Every wise man worketh with 
knowledge.' Every one that is prudent doth his 
affairs discreetly, not only setting down the means 



[Chap. XIII. 

of attaining Ms enterprises, or the order of liis 
courses, but forecasting tlie issues, and preventing 
the hindrances of his attempts. ' But a fool layeth 
open his follj'.' On the contrary side, he that is 
unskilful or indiscreet, goeth rashly and rawly 
about aU things, and by his rude and imperfect 
works, betrayeth and layeth open his own ignorance 
and vanity. 

Ver. n. A wicked messenger falleth into evil ; hut a 
faithful ambassador healeth. 

Trusty and unfaithful dealing in messages is now 
spoken of ' A incked messenger falleth into evil.' 
He that doth his errand slothfully or guilefully not 
only much grieveth others, but hurteth himself, 
drawing by this means on liimself both his master's 
displeasure and God's judgment. On the contrary 
side, 'a faithful ambassador healeth.' A trusty 
messenger freeing his master's mind from fears and 
griefs, so healeth the malady thereof, even as a 
physician cureth the diseases of the body ; for he 
not only doeth good to himself by reporting the 
truth, but unto others, and especially to his master, 
to whom he bringeth true and glad tidings. 

Ver. 18. Poverty and sharae shall he unto him that 
forsaketh instruction : hut he that rcgardeth correction 
shall be honoured. 

The Spirit of God herein sheweth the fruit of 
chastisement either received or despised. Two 
greater outward evils there are not than poverty 
and shame ; for poverty causeth a man to starve, 
and infamy maketh him hide his head. Yet even 
these two miseries usxially befall him as just rewards 
who forsaketh instruction. For such a one as 
despiseth or disobeyeth the voice of his instructors, 
commonly either cometh to want, or committeth 
something for which he is put to open shame. 
'But he that regardeth correction shall be honoured.' 
For such a one as yieldeth to wholesome advice, 
and profiteth by chastisements, attaineth usually to 
wisdom, and so to preferment. 

Ver. 19. The desire that is present is pleasant to the 
sold : but it is an abomination to fools to dejMii from 

With great joy of heart do men enjoy their plea- 
sures, and with no less grief do they part from 
them. 'The desire present is pleasant to the soul.' 
The obtaining of the thing desired, be it never so 

vain or unlawfLil a delight, is a sweet and very com- 
fortable thing to the mind and affection. ' But it is 
an abomination to fools to depart from evil.' It is a 
deadly grief to the wicked to be pulled from their 
vain delights, be they never so sinful. They will 
rather lose heaven than forego their ungodly plea- 

Ver. 20. He that wcdketh with the wise shall be the 
wiser : but he that keepeth company with fools shall be the 

There is great force in the company which a man 
keepeth, to change him either unto the better or the 
worse. He is said to walk with the wise who is 
often in their company, to hear their words, and to 
see their behaviour ; such a one waxeth wiser, that 
is to say, more learned and wary than he was before. 
' But he that keepeth company with fools shall be the 
worser.' As for him that joineth in fellowship with 
the ungodly, he shall be infected thereby with some 
evil, and corrupted by their ill example. 

Ver. 21. Evil pursueth sinners : hut that which is good 
rewardeth the just. 

Punishment is the companion of unrighteousness. 
By evil is meant the punishment of sin, but especi- 
ally the check and sting of an evil conscience ; for 
the vainest man is more punished with his own con- 
ceits than with the severe jDroceedings of courts. 
As evO pursueth sinners, so that which is good re- 
wardeth the just. For God's blessing, as a reward, 
not of merit, but of mercy, maketh a recompense to 
the upright person for all his pains in doing of his 

Ver. 22. The good man leaveth an inheritance to his 
children's children : and the sinner's goods are laid up 
for the just. 

This sentence declareth that righteousness not only 
causeth a man's own goods to be stable, and to 
remain in his family, but draweth also unto him the 
riches of others. 'The good man leaveth an inherit- 
ance to his children's children.' The godly person 
not only himself enjoyeth his goods whilst he liveth, 
but when he dieth leaveth the same to his children, 
in such sort as that also their children, tlirough God's 
mercy, inherit the same. Again, ' The sinner's goods 
are laid up for the just man.' The wicked man is so 
far off from leaving his goods to his posterity, as that 
by God's providence they are oftentimes rolled from 

Ver. 23-25.] 



liim upon the rigliteous person, -vvho is his heir, as it 
were, against his Arill. Thus the goods of the pro- 
digal youth come to the thrifty, good liusband ; the 
revenues of the rebel to the chest of the prince ; and 
the treasures of the miser to the hands of the liberal 

Ver. 23. Much food is in the ground of the poor 
which is new tilled : hut some are consumed by indiscre- 

Be the ground never so barren or unaccustomed 
to be ploughed, it will jield the poor tiller thereof 
good increase, if that he bestow labour enough 
upon it, and sow his seed in due season. Neither 
only doth the husbandman by skill and diligence 
cause his ground, through God's blessing, to be 
fruitful ; but every man, by wisdom and painfulness 
in his calling, enricheth himself and getteth his liv- 
ing. This much is meant when here it is said, 
' Much food is in the gi'ound of the poor which is 
new tilled.' Now, again, on the contrary side, some 
are consumed by indiscretion or negligence ; for 
many a one, who hath a good stock and fruitful 
ground, by neglecting labour, and not ordering 
things aright, wasteth all that he hath, and cometh 
greatly behind-hand in his worldly estate. 

Ver. 24. He that spareth his rod hateth his child: hut 
he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes. 

The duty of children hath often before in this 
book been declared. Now in this sentence the 
duty of parents is touched. ' He that spareth his 
rod,' the cockering father, who seldom or never 
correcteth his son, ' hateth his child ;' is an enemy to 
him, if not in affection, yet in action, seeing he doth 
that which is contrary to liis welfare ; for foolishness 
is bound in the heart of a child, but the rod of cor- 
rection will drive it out. Wherefore the letting 
pass of chastisement hindereth the well-doing of the 
child. It is not enough to rebuke him by words, but 
he must of necessity be now and then corrected 
with stripes, yet not with a great staff or sword, but 
with a rod. 'He that loveth him chasteneth him 
betimes,' or hasteneth instruction to him. Fond 
fathers and mothers think love to consist in cocker- 
ing their children, and mnking at their faults ; but 
their true and pure love indeed is seen in providing 
a teacher to instruct them, and twigs to correct 
them ; for the rod and correction give wisdom, but 

a child left to himself shameth his mother. Now 
it is dUigently to be observed that such a word is 
used in the Hebrew text, whereby is declared that 
the careful and wise father, early in the morning, 
seeketh the means of instructing and chastening Ms 
son. Tor this phrase or kind of speech admouisheth 
parents, not only to procure the means of their child- 
ren's welfare whilst they are young, a,nd whilst there 
is hope of them, but to do this before all other mat- 
ters, and, as it were, as soon as they rise out of their 
beds. The Lord be then merciful unto us for neglect 
of this duty ; for if we have any worldly business to 
do, we go first about that, and then teach and in- 
struct our children at our leisure. The hawks 
and hounds, the oxen and the horses, are better 
looked to and trained up commonly than our chil- 
dren. Oh reacliless carelessness about the chiefest 
matters ! Oh that, as we use to feed our children 
in the morning, so we could once be brought to in- 
struct them also betimes ! 

Ver. 25. The righteous man eateth to the satisfying 
of his soul : but the belly of the wicked shall icant. 

There is no cause why any that fear the Lord 
should take carping care for food in this present life ; 
for such as seek the kingdom of God and the right- 
eousness thereof shall have either plenty, or that 
which is sufficient. The righteous man not only 
eateth, but to the satisfying of his soul. Indeed, 
now and then God suffereth his servants to be in 
some want, which he doth to try them. But often 
it is to be seen that the tnie worshippers of God, 
who practise obedience to his laws, are so blessed by 
him that their table is furnished, and their cup doth 
overflow. On the contrary side, ' The belly of the 
wicked doth want.' For as they earn nothing, and 
deserve nothing, so they starve and suffer hunger. 
The idle vagabonds, the pilfering thieves, the disso- 
lute wantons, yea, and the greedy misers, endure 
famine oftentimes, whilst the faithful and the dih- 
gent enjoy store of all necessaries, and comfortably 
feed themselves at tables well furnished. Thus 
godUness hath the promises and rewards both of this 
life and of the hfe to come. 



[CHAr. XIV. 


Ver. 1. A icise woman huilddh up her house, hut a 
foolish wonum 2ndleth it doicn ■with her own hands. 

She is a wise woman that feareth God, loveth 
her husband, setteth her hands to work, and with 
her eyes overseeth the ways of her family. Such a 
prudent wife buildeth up her house, that is to say, 
by her pains and provident care so heapetli up 
wealth, that she filleth her habitation with store of 
necessaries, and enlargeth the building of the very 
material house wherein she dwelleth. ' But a foolish 
woman puUeth it down with her own hands.' Such a 
wife, as is careless or wickedly given, by neglecting 
her calling, or lavishing out her husband's goods, 
overthroweth the estate of her family, and con- 
sumeth all that is in her house. 

Ver. 2. lie tliat walketh upright It/ feareth God : but 
he that is froward in his ivays desjnseth him. 

The outward life declareth whether a man feareth 
or dcspiseth God. ' He that walketh uprightly 
feareth God.' Not every one that maketh a show 
of holiness, but he that doeth the will of the Lord, 
feareth him aright. ' But he that is froward in his 
ways despiseth him.' He that leadeth a wicked life^ 
in heart maketh no account of God, howsoever he 
may think or say that he honoureth him. Nathan 
the prophet told David plainly that he despised God, 
inasmuch as he committed adultery and murder. 

Ver. 3. In the mouth of a fool is a rod of pride ; 
but in the lips of the wise their own preservation. 

Whereas it is said, ' In the mouth of a fool is a 
rod of pride,' the meaning hereof is, that the unwise 
are sometimes beaten, yea, stricken upon their 
mouths, for their proud and presumptuous speeches. 
' But in the hps of the wise is theii' own preserva- 
tion.' Such answers and defences are uttered by the 
lips of the prudent, whereby, as by certain bucklers, 
they keep themselves from dangers and troubles. 

Ver. 4. Whei-e there are no oxen, the barn is empty : 
but store of fruit cometh by the strength of an ox. 

Among four-footed creatures the ox is of principal 
use in the calling of husbandry, which herein is com- 
mended ; for the ox cutteth the ground, draweth the 
team, helpeth the plough, and treadeth out the corn. 
One of the heathen writers, considering the great 

good that cometh by this beast, giveth him that 
would thrive in the world this counsel: first, 
get a house, then a wife, then an ox that lust- 
ily plougheth. The sense of this divine proverb is 
briefly this : Where there are no oxen, where the 
means of husbandry are neglected, the barn is 
clean, or empty ; there is want of necessaries, as of 
wheat, rye, oats, and suchhke provision : but store 
of fruit cometh, abundance of food and necessaries 
ariseth, by the strength of an ox, by diligent plough- 
ing with strong oxen, and by following after hus- 

Ver. 5. A faithful witness will not lie : but he that 
telleth lies will be a false witness. 

Herein we have two marks : the one, whereby 
we may knovv^ who wdll not easily lie ; the other, 
whereby we may discern who will easily be a false 
witness. 'A faithful witness wUl not he.' He that 
in the seat of judgment constantly testifieth the 
truth, will not usually, or in common speech, tell un- 
truths. ' But he that telleth lies wUl be a false wit- 
ness.' Whosoever is accustomed to he, will not stick 
to forswear himself, or to bear false witness before a 

Ver. 6. The scorner seeketli wisdom, and she will not 
be found ; hut knowledge is easy to him that is prudent. 

Not only he is a scorner who derideth all godli- ^ 
ness, but he who making a profession of hohness, 
yet livetli wickedly. Such a one seeketh -svisdom, 
that is, useth the means whereby he may attain to 
true understanding; for he readeth, prayeth, and 
frequenteth sermons ; ' but she will not be found.' 
Wisdom estrangeth herself from the scorner, as a 
gentlewoman hideth herself from a suitor whom she 
fancieth not. The reason why scorners are always 
learning, and yet never able to come to the clear 
knowledge of the saving truth is, for that they retain 
an evil disposition, and seek not wisdom with a pure 
affection. ' But knowledge is easy to him that is 
prudent ;' for he that is holy and lowly easily at- 
taineth to the true knowledge of divine mysteries. 
As a loving spouse, when he cometh to the door 
whom she affecteth, %vill shew herself to him, and 
run to meet him ; so the grace of God's Spirit 
offereth itself, and draweth near unto the humble 
and modest. 

Ver. 7. De^xirt from the piresence of the foolish man 

Ver. S-12.] 



and from him ivhom thou perceivcsl not to have the lips 
of hioioledge. 

Herein we are exliorted to avoid the company 
of the ^v•icked. ' Depart from the presence of the 
foohsh man.' Break off fellowship with the ungodly 
person ; eat not nor di'ink with him, but seeing he 
walketh disorderly, and not according to his profes- 
sion, separate thyself from him, that he may be 
ashamed. But as thou art to depart from him that 
is of an iU hfe, so thou art to shun him ' in whom 
thou perceivest not the words of knowledge ;' for 
evU words corrupt good manners. "We are not to re- 
ceive false teachers to our house, nor to say God 
speed unto them. 

Ver. 8. Tlie wisdom of the prudent inan is to take 
heed unto his own way ; the folly of fools to deceit. 

This sentence declareth in what thing especially 
both the wisdom of the wise and the foUy of fools 
consisteth. ' The wisdom of the prudent man is to 
take heed to his own way.' Wisdom standeth not 
in loiowledge of matters, but in framing a man's life 
to God's laws, and taking care that he be in a good 
course. As he is a wise traveller that looketh to his 
way, so he is a wise worshipper of God that ordereth 
his hfe aright. The chief folly of fools is to under- 
stand deceit ; for to know how to deceive others, 
or to practise craft, is the very highway that leadeth 
to destruction, which befalleth those that give them- 
selves to gude, and therefore they are stark fools 
that use it. 

Ver. 9. Fools mah a jest of sin; hut among the right- 
eous is favour. 

No doubt but that by fools in this verse evil 
men are meant, who give themselves over to commit 
wickedness. These wicked ones jest at sin, that is, 
they not only laugh at it, as before hath been said 
that they do, chap. x. 23; neither only, as is after- 
ward taught, chap. xv. 21, rejoice in heart when it 
is committed, but talk thereof pleasantly and merrily, 
as the Hebrew word doth signify. Such glee there 
is among the wicked. ' But among the righteous 
is favour ;' that is to say, the practice of vii-tue, and 
uttering of gracious speeches, joined with such good- 
will and sweet joj", as that their meeting is like 
the precious ointment that was poured on the head 
of Aaron. Oh what loving conference is among 
them ! what holy prayers are poured out by them ! 

How do they with one heai-t and hand work that 
which is good ! and how doth the Lord bless 
them and comjiass them -nith favour, as with a 
shield ! 

Ver. 10. T/>e heart hioweth the hitterness of the 
soul thereof; and a stranger shall not meddle with the 
joy thereof. 

Every word in this sentence carrieth with it his 
force, and hath need to be made plain. By the 
heart is meant that chief part of the body which is 
the fountain of life, and the seat of affections. By 
bitterness, extreme anguish, or whatsoever in the 
mind is bitter or unpleasant, as wormwood, is un- 
derstood. That heart knoweth bitterness which, 
having experience of miseries, feeleth sharp and 
piercing sorrow. The bitterness of the soul is in. 
ward heart-grief or vexation of mind, as when the 
very spirit of a man or woman is vexed, or the con- 
science tormented. A stranger is any man besides 
a man's own self. Meddling with joy, is being ac- 
quainted with the affection or matter of rejoicing. 
The closeness of some is noted in this parable, 
touching the concealing of their affections, or of the 
causes of their grief aad comfort. Divers wiU bite 
in theii- sorrow, and contain the bitterness of their 
minds and desires within their hearts. Again, they 
wiU not communicate or tell to any the sweet com- 
forts they feel, and the matter of their consolation, 
but will enjoy the same secretly within their own 

Ver. 11. The house of the inched shall be destroyed; 
but the tent of the righteous shall flourish. 

Not unfitly is a house here attributed to the 
wicked, and a tent or tabernacle to the just; for 
the ungodly oftentimes build strong and fair houses, 
and fill them with goods ill-gotten. Nevertheless, 
' The house of the vacked shall be destroyed.' The 
dwelling-place of the ungodly, wliich for a time 
flourisheth, shall at the last be overthrovra through 
God's judgment. 'But the tent of the righteous 
shaU flourish.' The habitation of the just man and 
his household, be it never so poor or small at the 
beginning, shall prosper and increase in the end. 

Ver. 12. There is a way that seemeth right to a 
man : but the end thereof is tlie highivay to death. 

A complaint is here taken up of the darkness 
and error of human judgment, which chooseth and 



[Chap. XIV. 

al!oA\-etli of that which is e-s-il, and proyeth hurtful 
in the end. There is no doubt but that by a way 
a course of hfe is meant, or some action whatsoever. 
The beginning of such a way seemeth right to a 
man, because he thinketh it good, or findeth therein 
some pleasure or gain. But the end of this course 
is the highway to death, or manifold ways to death ; 
for the latter part of this course, meant here by the 
end thereof, leadeth to destruction, which is the 
reward of sin. Indeed the very entrance into an 
e'\al course of life is, as it were, the gate which 
bringeth to destruction ; but proceeding or con- 
tinuance in evil is that patliway which is near to 
destruction and damnation, near to sorrow and 
shame, to poverty and misery, which are the mani- 
fold ways of death. For example, entering into the 
company of thieves or robbers seemeth to some no 
such hurtful, but rather a gainful matter. But rob- 
bing and stealing in the end bringeth such as join 
themselves to thieves and robbers unto the gallows. 

Ver. 13. Even by laughing the heart is made heavy; 
and the end of rejoicing is mourning. 

This sentence accordeth with that threatening of 
our Saviour, ' Woe be to you that laugh, for you 
shall weep.' Moderate laughter or modest sports 
is not to be disallowed or condemned. But they 
are aid here to laugh, who, being tickled with the 
pleasures of sin, or drowned in the vanities of this 
Ufe, spend their time in playing, and bathe them- 
selves in carnal delights. By this enjoying of the 
pleasures of sin in the flesh ' the heart is made 
heavy ;' the mind is stricken oftentimes with sad- 
ness ; for either the conscience is troubled with feel- 
ing of sin, or shaken with fear and sense of God's 
judgments. Likewise again, ' The end of rejoicing is 
mourning ; ' for when the mind hath a long time 
been merry and cheerful, by reason of continued 
pleasures and daily delights, then some affliction 
befalling the flesh at the last, on a sudden there 
is great waihng and weeping. Wherefore, as bodily 
delight worketh heart-grief in the end, so ease of 
heart causeth pain of flesh at the last. Banquets 
are turned into vomitings ; drinkings into palsies ; 
lusts into gouts ; jpleasures into torments. 

Ver. 14. He that is ofafraward heart shall be filled 
with his men ways ; and a good man with his own (ways). 

The former part of this sentence is plain; for 

whereas it is said, ' He that is of a froward heart 
shall be filled with his own ways ; ' the sense is 
e'sddent, namely, that the ungodly person, ^ y\Q 
who hath in him a wicked heart of infidelity to de- 
part from the living God, shall not taste, as it were, 
a little spoonful of God's wrath, but be made drunk 
with, the great cup of his whole vengeance. The 
latter part is dark ; but, to leave all scanning of 
words, the meaning of it seemeth to be, that as the 
wicked man is fully recompensed for his evil deeds, 
so the godly man shall also in mercy be thoroughly 
rewarded for his good deeds. 

Ver. 15. The simple man believeth all things : hut 
he that is prudent taketh heed to his steps. 

As it is a fault to credit none, so it is no less a 
fault to believe all. He is worthUy reproved as a 
simple man, that believeth all things. It is danger- 
ous to be carried away with every tale which is told, 
even concerning the matters of this life ; for through 
such foolish credulity a man may be brought to 
suspect the innocent, or to follow evil company. 
But this lightness of behef is most dangerous La 
matters of faith and doctrine ; for when any is ready 
to believe every spirit, or to receive every doctrine, 
he becometh unstable, embracing error for truth, 
and following every new sect which ariseth. ' The 
prudent man taketh heed to his steps.' For being 
thoroughly rooted and grounded in knowledge and 
love of the truth, he frameth his life and judgment 
to the rule of God's word, and will not by any en- 
ticing speech be drawn from the right faith, or 
sincere obedience. 

Ver. 1 6. The wise man feareth, and departeth from 
evil : but the fool goeth on, and is bold. 

It were needless here to discourse of this matter, 
which afterward in this book is handled at large. 
Chap. xxi. 27. ' The wise man feareth' (he that is 
wary is stricken with some dread, when he is warned 
or threatened), and departeth from evil.' Moreover, 
he shunneth that which might hurt lum, as the 
cunning fencer doth the stroke of a sword. ' But the 
fool goeth through ;' the rash person rusheth into 
danger, and is bold, and is very secure. 

Ver. 1 7. He that is swift to wrath loorlceih folly : 
but he that is full of wiles is hated. 

Two contrary vices are herein compared together 
hastiness and subtlety. ' He that is swift to wrath,' 

Ver. 10-24.] 



that is, quickly moved to anger upon every occasion; 
such a rash fool worketh folly, that is to say, by 
speech or deed sheweth some signs of fondness and 
indiscretion. Such a furious madman is mocked. 
'But he that is full of wiles is hated.' The dissem- 
bler who outwardly feigneth good-will, but inwardly 
bearing a grudge in his heart, intendeth revenge^ 
and practiseth some mischief, is odious and detested 
by the Lord, and those that find out his hypocrisy. 

Ver. 18. The simple inherit folly : but the wise 
crown themselves with knowledge. 

Such as are of little wit, especially in spiritual mat- 
ters, are said to be simple. The portion which these 
simple ones shall possess, as it were by inheritance, 
is folly, or ignorance and foolish behaviour, wliich 
worketh shame and contempt. ' But the wise crown 
themselves with knowledge.' For the prudent, who 
discern what is good and evil, neglect not their 
time, but study for understanding, and attain through 
industry unto learning, whereby it cometh to pass that 
they are in account and honour, and climb up imto 

•Ver. 19. Evil men shall how themselves before the 
good, and the wicked at the gates of the just. 

At one time or other, in one respect or other, the 
ungodly serve and crouch unto the godly. Sometimes 
they that fear the Lord are lifted up to honour, and 
then the evil men bow themselves before them. Some- 
times again the righteous wax rich through God's 
blessing on their labours, and then come the wicked 
to their gates for alms and relief Not only the 
poor ones, but the great ones, who yet are wicked 
ones, seek and sue now and then with all submission 
to the godly for their counsel or help. And I can- 
not tell how, but such a majesty there is in the godly 
oftentimes, that most desperate wicked men rever- 
ence their faces, and are silent or courteous in their 

Ver. 20. The poor man is hated even of his neigh- 
hour : but the rich man's friends are many. 

He that is in adversity is called a poor man. Such 
a one is not only forsaken, but hated, not only by 
strangers, but by those that are near to him in 
dwelling and kin. ' But the rich man's friends are 
many.' Divers fawn on the wealthy, and pretend 
friendship to them, although in truth they are 
friends not to them, but to their goods. 

Ver. 21. He that despisethhis neighbour is a sinner : 
hut he that sheweth mercy to the poor is blessed. 

The word sinner is taken here, as elsewhere in the 
Scripture, 1 Kings i. 21, for one who, being a great 
offender, hath his sin laid to his charge, and is con- 
demned for it. He that despiseth or forsaketh his 
neighbour is a sinner in this sense, that is, a great 
offender, that shall be grievously plagued, and whose 
sins shaU not be forgiven. ' But he that sheweth 
mercy to the poor is blessed.' He that is merciful 
to the needy and afflicted shall find mercy ; his sins 
shall be forgiven, his necessities shall be relieved, 
and the blessings of God shall be multiplied on him. 

Ver. 22. Do not they err that devise mischief? but 
mercy and truth shall be to such as practise that lohich 
is good. 

By the borrowed speech of erring or going astray, 
which to do is a dangerous and uncomfortable thing, 
missing of a man's purpose, or meeting with some 
trouble, is meant. The Lord bringeth to nought 
the de\T.ces of the crafty, so that their hands are 
able to do nothing. Job v. 1 2. This is the estate 
of the workers of iniquity. ' But mercy and truth 
shall be to such as practise that which is good.' 
Mercy, for God 'will pardon their sins, and shew 
them favour in Christ. Truth, for God will per 
form his promises to those that do well, so that 
they shall not miss a sure and happy reward. 

Ver. 23. In every labour there is increase : but the 
talk of the lips only bringeth want. 

Not the talking of the tongue, but the working 
of the hand, maketh rich. ' In every labour,' as in 
husbandry, merchandise, and suchhke trades and 
sciences, ' there is increase ;' some gain is to be 
gotten. ' But the talk of the lips only bringeth want.' 
By idle prattling nothing is gotten. Here is to be 
observed, that the word translated labour, doth 
signify earnest travail. Again, that by the talk of 
the lips, not all speaking, but vain and idle prat- 
tling, is meant. Otherwise, great is the fruit that is 
reaped by gracious and wise speeches. 

Ver. 24. The riches of the wise are their crown : the 
folly of fools remaineth folly. 

Wealth with wisdom greatly adometh a man. ' The 
riches of the wise are their crown.' See an example in 
Job, chap. xix. 2. The wealth which the prudent per- 
sonpossesseth and useth aright maketh him in account 



[Chap. XIV. 

like a prince, whereas if lie were poor he should 
be despised, for all his wisdom. ' The folly of fools 
remalneth folly.' For let rude and mcked men 
be never so wealthy, neither their wisdom nor 
account will be the greater, but they will live and 
die unwise and contemptible. 

Ver. 25. A true luitness delivereth souls : but a de- 
ceitful one forgeth lies. 

He that uttereth a true testimony thereby often- 
times doth much good ; for he delivereth not one, 
but many, from wrong and death. ' But a deceitful 
witness forgeth lies;' for he deviseth and uttereth 
untruths, wherebj'- oftentimes it cometh to pass that 
not only the goods, but the Hves, of many are taken 

Ver. 26. In the fear of the Lm-d there is strong hope, 
who is wont to he a refuge to his children. 

The fearing of man's face worketh fainting of the 
heart. The fear of the Lord doth not so, but rather 
raiseth a man up to strong hope, as here is shewed; 
for he that reverenceth the Lord with a son-hke 
awe, neither feareth what man can do to him, nor 
doubteth of God's favour, but calleth him Abba, Father. 
Truly the Lord is a refuge to such reverent children, 
who do thus honour him as their father ; for they 
may boldly come to him in trouble, and he will 
grant their requests, and preserve them from danger. 

Ver. 27. The fear of the Lord is a well-spring of 
life, to depart from the snares of death. 

The reverence of the Lord is a well-spring of life 
— that is, a fountain of many good things ; for it 
ministereth wisdom, counsel, comfort, and many 
sweet blessings. It serveth also ' to depart from the 
snares of death ;' for as it preserveth men in life, so 
it dehvereth them from the death of the body and 
the soul. 

Ver. 28. In the multitude of people is the lionour of 
a king : but by the want of people cometh the destruction 
of a pince. 

Nothing is more certain than that ' in the multi- 
tude of people is the honour of a king;' for that 
ruler which hath store of subjects under him may 
in time of war be defended by them, and by them 
is witnessed to be just and merciful, seeing otherwise 
so many would not live under his dominion. Again, 
it is as true, on the other side, that ' by the want (or 
decay) of people cometh the destruction of a prince;' 

for that prince which wanteth people wanteth re- 
venues and defence. 

Ver. 29. He that is sloiv to wrath aboundeth with 
understanding : but he that is of a hasty mind raiseth up 

The patient man, who is not easily provoked, but 
forbeareth a long time, aboundeth with understand- 
ing, is exceeding wise, inasmuch as having stay of 
his affection, he still hath the use of his reason, and 
cutteth off quarrelling. ' But he that is of a hasty 
mind raiseth up folly;' as for him that is testy or 
furious, he playeth some foolish part or other. 

Ver. 30. A sound heart is the life of the jlesh : hut 
envy is the rotien^iess of the hones. 

By a sound heart is meant a quiet, or, as the word 
doth signify, a healing mind, not only void of 
troublesome passions, but full of peace and consola- 
tion, 1 John iii. 21. This sound and healing soul 
is the life of the flesh ; for it quickeneth the tender 
parts of the body, strengtheneth the limbs, and 
cleareth the very skin. ' But envy is the rottenness 
of the bones.' Fretting at a man's own trouble, or 
another's prosperity, tormenteth the poor carcase 
without and within ; for it is a very worm, as the 
Hebrew word doth signify, and that of the bones, 
the stronger parts of the body. It is the moth of 
the soul — the senses it eateth, the breast it burneth, 
the mind it grieveth, the heart of a man, like a cer- 
tain plague, it feedeth upon, aad with a pestilent 
burning devoureth all the good things which he 
possesseth. The causes of a sound heart are in- 
tegrity of life and holy piety. It is a good thing to 
have health both of body and soul, which John wit- 
nesseth to Gaius in his epistle to him, saying, ' Be- 
loved, I wish that thou mayest have prosperity and 
health, even as thy soul prospereth.' 

Ver. 31. He that oppresseih the poor reproacheth 
him that made him : hut he that sheweth mercy to the 
needy honoureth him. 

He is said to oppress the poor that dealeth hardly 
with those that are in necessity, or by his might 
beateth down the right of him that is in affliction. 
Such a one reproacheth him that made him ; for in 
the creature he despiseth and disgraoeth the Creator, 
who made the poor man as well as the rich. ' But 
he that sheweth mercy to the needy honoureth 
him.' He that doth good to those that want or are 

Chap. XV. Ver. 1.} 



in misery, by helping the servants, doth shew that 
he esteemeth and loveth their heavenly Lord and 

Ver. 32. The wicked man is jncrsued in his trouble : 
but he that is righteous is protected in his death. 

He that hath sold himself as a slave to work 
iniquity is called here a -wicked man. Such a one 
is pursued in his trouble ; that is to say, driven on 
forward into misery when once his affliction begin- 
neth; for either his heart tormenteth him, or he 
layeth violent hands upon himself, or the angel of 
the Lord driveth him forward from one calamity 
into another. Against such wicked men the prophet 
prayeth in the psalm after this manner, ' Let their 
way be dark and slippery, and let the angel of the 
Lord pursue them,' Ps. xxxv. 6. On the contrary 
side, ' He that is righteous is protected in his death ;' 
that is to say, the just man is assisted or delivered 
from misery and destruction in his greatest adver- 
sity or extremity, yea, in the very danger and tor- 
ment of death itself. 

Ver. 33. Wisdom resteth in the heart of the pru- 
dent : and in the midst of fools she maJceth herself 

Understanding and truth is said to rest in the 
heart of the prudent ; for that the grace of God's 
Spirit entering into the holy soul, not only worketh 
comfort therein, but dwelleth and continueth in the 
same for ever, as a place fit to entertain so honour- 
able a guest. As wisdom remaineth thus in the 
hearts of the godly, so in the midst of fools — that 
is, of wicked men — she maketh herself known ; for 
that knowledge of God which may leave them with- 
out excuse is. made manifest unto them. Indeed 
wisdom dwelleth not within unclean souls, but yet 
she shineth even into the hearts and spirits of the 
wicked, and the light of their consciences doth in 
many things shew them the truth and convince 

Ver. 34. Righteousness exalteth a people : hit sin is 
a reproach to nations. 

The righteousness here spoken of comprehendeth 
true religion, and the enacting, executing, and prac- 
tising of wholesome laws. This 'righteousness 
exalteth a people,' that is, causeth the inhabitants of 
a well-ordered commonwealth to prosper and to be 
commended; for God poui'eth many blessings on 

those that practise mercy, judgment, and suchhke 
virtues. ' But sin is a reproach (or, as some read 
the Hebrew word here used, a decay or ruin) to 
nations.' Countries or kingdoms are infamous for 
their special vices, and public offences draw do-\vn 
public judgments on those places and lands wherein 
they are committed. 

Ver. 35. The faioiir of the king is toward a wise ser- 
vant : but his urath toward him that causeth shame. 

Wisdom is necessary for all estates of people, and 
namely for servants, as here is shewed unto us, and 
especially those servants that attend upon princes. 
Every ruler is a king in some sort vsdthin his juris- 
diction and house; but properly he is said to be 
a king, who as supreme head ruleth a whole king- 
dom. The favour of such a king is a great good 
thing, for it is as the dew upon the herbs. It is a 
friendly affection, the effects whereof are riches, 
honour, preferment, and many good things. But 
who is a wise servant ? He that is trusty, discreet, 
obedient, ready to please, and that despatcheth his 
affairs in due season. Toward such an officer, such 
a subject, such a servant, vnll be the favour of a king, 
of a ruler, of a master. ' But his wrath will be 
toward him that causeth shame.' The servant that 
by doing his business untowardly or fondly, offendeth 
his governor, or maketh him blush, or to receive 
some discredit, shall feel his master's most heavy dis- 
pleasure, the effects whereof are frowning, chiding, dis- 
placing, correction, and destruction. 


Ver. I. A soft answer turneth away wrath : but a 
bitter word stirreth up anger. 

A speech wherein fair words are used, or titles of 
reverence given, causeth displeasure to cease. ' But a 
bitter word stirreth up anger.' Sharp and reproach- 
ful terms move choler. The reason hereof is mani- 
fest ; for by the speaking of a hard word the cause 
of anger is increased. Again, by uttering of a gentle 
speech, the matter of wrath is diminished. ^ 

' See an example, on the one side, in Gideon, Judges viii. 2, 
&c. On the other, in jSTabal, who by his currish answer roused 
David to great anger. 



[Chap. XV. 

Ver. 2. The tongue of the wise seiteth forth knowledge : 
hut the mouth of fools poureth out folly. 

The prudent person speaketh in sucli sort as that 
his speeches carry a grace and force ■with them, 
which he placeth and ordereth rightly and wisely. 
The indiscreet man on the other side hath no regard 
either to the matter or manner of his speech ; Col. iv. 
6, ' Let then your speech be gracious always, and 
powdered with salt, that you may know how to 
answer every man.' 

Ver. 3. The eyes of the Lwd are in all places, le- 
holding the wicked and the good. 

Here is observed that the all-seeing Spirit of the 
Lord •\'ieweth and pondereth all the corners of the 
world, and all sorts of persons. This is all one with 
that which the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews 
meaneth when he saith, that all things are naked 
and manifest before him with whom we have to do, 
Heb. iv. For as concerning the quarters of the 
world, ' Lord, whither shall I go from thy Spirit, or 
whither shall I fly from thy presence ? If I climb 
up to heaven thou art there ; if I lay my bed in the 
grave, behold thou art there also,' Ps. cxxxix. Now, 
as touching the persons of all sorts, the Lord 
is in the temple of his hoUness, the Lord's throne is 
in heaven, whose eyes behold, and whose eyelids try 
the sons of men, Ps. xi. The Lord trieth the just 
man, but his soul hateth the wicked man, and him 
who loveth violence. 

Ver. 4. The healing of the tongue is as a tree of life : 
the mischievousness of it is as a breach made by the wind. 

As a tree which bringeth forth pleasant and whole- 
some fruits is a precious and profitable thing, so the 
tongue which converteth and comforteth the hearts 
of men is a rare jewel, Job viii. 1 ; James iii. On 
the contrary side, as a blustering wind, which 
throweth dovra trees and houses, doth much harm, 
so a venomous tongue, which causeth troubles and 
great calamities, is one of the greatest evils in the 

Ver. 5. A fool despiseth his father's instruction : but 
he which regardeth a rebuke is very wise. 

He who is an enemy unto his own welfare, will 
not be ruled by good counsel ; but he who is con- 
tent to be reproved, teudereth his own haj)py estate. 
See chap. x. L 

Ver. 6. In the house of the righteous man there is 

great treasure (or strength) .■ bid the wicked man's revenue 
wasteth of itself. 

The meaning of this sentence is manifest — namely, 
that the goods of the just remain and continue firm 
unto them and theirs, and that sinners' substance 
consumeth, none in a manner can tell how. The 
root of this sentence is to be found in the book of 
Deuteronomy, where the Lord, first, maketh this pro- 
mise to those who fear him, that he will bless their 
baskets and their barns ; and secondly, threateneth 
the transgressors of his laws, that he will curse them 
in their baskets and their kneading troughs, yea, in 
the fruit of their belly and of their ground, Deut. 
xxviii. 17. 

Ver. 7. The lips of the icise scatter knowledge : but 
the heart of the fools that which is not good. 

The godly, wheresoever they come, speak to the 
edification of their brethren. In their houses they 
catechise their children ; in the company of their 
neighbours they entreat of God's word and works ; 
finally, in the church, if they be teachers, they pub- 
lish wholesome doctrine. On the contrary side, 
the ^vicked, out of the ill treasure of their hearts, 
bringeth forth evil things, spread abroad errors 
and vanities. 

Ver. 8. The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination to 
the Lord : hit the prayer of the righteous is acceptable 
unto him. 

The judgment which the Lord carrieth, as well 
concerning the wicked as the just, herein is revealed 
unto us. ' The sacrifice of the wicked is abomina- 
tion unto the Lord. ' Not only all the labour, but all 
the cost which the unfaithful or vncked bars bestow 
on the worship of God is in vain ;i yea, it is nothing 
else but a sin, and provocation of the wrath of God. 
The reason hereof is, for that God respecteth not 
men's actions, but their persons. Sacrifices were at 
this time not evil in themselves, but as they proceed 
from the wicked, they were evil ; for it is an abom- 
inable thing to God that the wicked man should 
take unto him before his sight the person of a just 
man. On the contrary side, ' The prayer of the 
righteous is acceptable unto him.' Even the least 
service of the believer who walketh in the Spirit is 
precious and acceptable to the Lord, because he 
accepteth him in Christ. 

' See an example in Cain and Abel. 

Vee. 9-12.] 



Ver. 9. Tke way of the ivicked man is abomination 
to tlie Lord : but he loveth him who followeth after right- 

That ^vicked course of life which the ungodly lead 
is called here the way of the wicked. This is said 
to be an abomination to the Lord, because the just 
God abhorreth unrighteousness as a most foul and 
filthy thing. From hence it cometh that so many 
plagues fall down from heaven upon the sinner, and 
that, as the psalmist speaketh, ' the way of the 
wicked doth perish,' Ps. i. Now he is said to 
follow after righteousness who is not cold or 
slow in doing that which is good, but with might 
and main pursueth after whatsoever is upright and 
just. True it is, we can never attain unto perfect 
righteousness while we live in this world ; but with 
our whole endeavour we must follow after it, making 
it as it were our gain. Him who thus, followeth 
after righteous:aess, the Lord loveth. The meaning 
of this speech is, that God in Christ not only 
favoureth or acc«pteth the just person, but that he 
useth to bestow many benefits on him, as signs and 
tokens of his fatherly good-will. Hence it is that 
they that walk uprightly have oftentimes such wealth, 
estimation, honour, and prosperity in this world. 
Hence it is that always they who fear the Lord are 
indued with the graces of God's Spirit, and abound 
with joy of the Holy Ghost. Finally, hence it is 
that the true worshippers of God are preserved from 
so many dangers of body and soul, and that often- 
times miraculously. For indeed the love of God is 
to be considered, not only in the afiection, but in the 
effects of his good-^T^ll. This sentence is therefore 
diligently to be observed, because divers think they 
are in the love of God, and shaU find favour through 
Jesus Christ ; howsoever they commit all sorts of 
wickedness even with greediness, or proceed in their 
evil course of life until the last gasp. But either 
such do greatly deceive themselves, or the Spirit 
here setteth down an untruth, which once to imagine 
were most horrible and impious. 

Ver. 10. Instruction seemeth evil (or an evil chas- 
tisement shall be) unto him who forsaJceth the way : 
he who hateth correction (or reproof) shuU die. 

The ungodly are in this sentence threatened with 
destruction. ' Instruction seemeth evil unto him 
who forsaketh the way.' The doctrine whereby the 

sinner is warned and instructed displeaseth him, as 
being in his eyes too sharp and bitter ; for which 
I cause he shall meet with some grievous adversity and 
scourge, inflicted by God or man. ' He who hateth 
correction shall die.' As for him who not only for- 
saketh the way of virtue, but hateth reproofs, or any 
chastisements whatsoever, he shall either before the 
time lose this temporal life, or after this life die 

Ver. 1 1 . Hell and destruction are before the Lwd : 
how much moi'e the hearts of the sons of men ? 

There is nothing hidden from the all-seeing Spirit 
of the Lord, be it never so secret. ' HeU and de- 
struction are before the Lord.' God not only seeth 
the outward things which are on the face of the 
earth, or of the waters, but he knoweth also the 
state of the dead and damned, who have their being 
in the grave, or the infernal pit. The condition of 
the deceased is of all other things most hidden from 
the eyes of man, seeing the dead never return, and 
are in most secret and deep places. For this cause 
Job attributeth this praise unto God, Job xxvi. 6, 
as being peculiar to him alone, that 'Hell is naked 
before him, and destruction uncovered in his sight.' 
But now, if God knoweth that which is most deep, 
much more doth he know that which, though it is 
deep, yet is not so deep — the heart of man I mean. 
Wherefore the Spirit of God reasoneth thus : ' How 
much more the hearts of the sons of men V Hence 
it is that Jeremiah speaketh after this sort : ' The 
heart of man is evil and unsearchable, who shall 
know it ? I the Lord, who search the heart and try 
the reins.' For he which knoweth those things 
which have unto men no being, much more doth 
know those things, which although they are secret, 
yet they are. 

Ver. 12. A scorner loveth not him who rebuketh him ; 
neither will he go unto the wise. 

He is a scorner who either in words scoffeth at 
religion, or so carrieth himself as that by his lewd 
and offensive conversation he witnesseth that he 
maketh but a jest or mock thereof. Such a -vvicked 
man esteemeth not, but hateth, not only the doctrine, 
but the person of him who telleth him of his faults. 
Moreover, he abstaineth both from the company, the 
house, and the school of learned men. Hence it is 
that profane people are so good fellows with those 



[Chap. XV. 

vrho are like themselves, but sucli strangers with 
their godly neighbours and their faithful teachers. 

Ver. 13. A joyful heart maketh a good (or glad) 
countencmce : but by the sorrow of the heart the spirit 
(or breath) is broken. 

The Sijirit of God herein speaketh to the heavy- 
hearted person as tender mothers are wont to do to 
their cliildren who cry, when they tell them that if 
they whine thus they will mar their faces. ' A joyful 
heart maketh a good countenance.' A merry and 
quiet mind maketh not only the whole body health- 
ful, but the face, which is the glory thereof, and 
wherein the senses are specially seated, comely. For 
the affections of the mind pierce into the whole body, 
but especially work in the countenance. . Hence it is 
that, when the heart is cheerful, the eye is quick, the 
cheeks are ruddy, the blood is clear, the skin is fair. 
On the contrary side, ' By the sorrow of the heart 
the spirit is broken.' Heart-grief not only marreth 
the look, but duUeth the spirits in such sort as that 
the sorrowful wight neither hath the perfect use of 
his wits, neither can with ease draw his breath. 

Ver. 14. The heart of the prudent man seeketh knoiv- 
ledge : but the mouth of fools is fed with foolishness. 

Herein is declared that every man seeketh after 
that wherewith he is delighted. ' The heart of the 
prudent man seeketh knowledge.' The soul of a man 
indued with understanding seeketh for learning as 
the proper food thereof, to the end that thereby it 
may increase in wisdom. ' But the mouth of fools 
is fed with foolishness.' Not only tlie inward soul 
of the fool is delighted with vanity, but the outward 
parts of the body rejoice therein ; so that, with open 
and gaping mouth, as it were, he swilleth in and 
feedeth on vain spieeches and fooHsh toys. 

Ver. 15. All the days of the qfflicied person are evil : 
but a good heart is a continual feast. ^ 

Great difference there is between a woeful wia;ht 
and a merry-hearted man. 'All the days of the 
afflicted person are evil.' He who, being under some 
great adversity, is vexed in mind, as one not well 
contented with his estate, can neither sleep, eat, 
work, nor joy in anything at any time; but both 
night and day seemeth long and grievous unto him, 
because the grief wliich pained him causeth him to 

' Or a merry heart. Or his days who hath a merry heart 
are a continual feast. But the sense is all one. 

mislike whatsoever is present. How true this is 
it may appear in Job, who, being pressed down 
with manifold and sore afflictions, complaineth and 
crieth out, under the burden of the same, that he had 
as an inheritance the months of vanity, and that 
painful nights had been appointed unto him. ' When 
(saith he) I laid me down, I said, "When shaU I arise 1 
and measuring the evening, I am full with tossing to 
and fro unto the dawning of the day,' Job vii. 4. ' But 
a good heart is a continual feast.' On the contrary- 
side, he who, being in prosperity, carrieth in him a 
cheerful mind ; or being in adversity, is of good 
courage ; or being in any condition of hfe, is content 
with his estate, and quiet in his conscience, passeth 
away his life and days so pleasantly, as they do the 
time who, being at a wedding feast, there taste of 
dainty deUcates, see most delightsome spectacles, and 
hear most sweet instruments of music. For indeed 
a merry heart continually refresheth a man with 
security, and comforteth him in all adversity. But 
this is diligently to be observed, that none can have 
a cheerful mind indeed, but only such as, through 
faith in Christ, having peace with God pollute not 
their consciences with detestable iniquities. For in- 
deed evils enter in into such to trouble their minds, 
to profane their joys, and to pull them from the con- 
tinual feast of security here spoken of, who either 
walk in the committing of gross offences, or are close 
hypocrites and dissemblers. 

Ver. 16. Better is a little with the fear of the Lord, 
than a great treasure and trouble thereivith. 

' Better is a httle,' a small portion of goods is more 
profitable and comfortable, Ps. xxxvii. 16, 'with 
the fear of the Lord,' with godliness causing a con- 
tented mind, yea, and working joy in the Holy 
Ghost, ' than great treasure,' than the abundance of 
wealth, ' and trouble therewith,' with fear, care, sor- 
row, or the check of an ill conscience. For what 
good can the greatest store of treasures or pleasures 
do a man when he hath not a heart to enjoy them ? 

Ver. 17. Better is a dinner of green herbs where love 
is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith. 

' Better is a dinner of green herbs where love is,' 
slender fare where concord and hearty good- will is, 
is indeed better cheer ' than a stalled ox and hatred 
therewith,' than dainty dishes with ill-will or 
brawhng; for indeed love recompenseth the slen- 

Ver. 18-25.] 

muffe;t on proverbs. 


derness of the fare, but hatred and brawhng causeth 
most deHcate meats to seem unsavoury. 

Ver. 18. An angry man stm-eth up contention : hut 
he that is slow to wrath appeaseth strife. 

The angry man, the furious person, whose very 
presence is hurtful, ' stirreth up contention,' maketh 
debate where none was before. ' But he that is 
slow to wrath,' as for him who can suffer much, ' ap- 
peaseth strife,' he causeth contention already raised 
to. cease; so profitable is the very presence of the 
patient man. 

Ver. 19. The way of a slothful man is as an hedge 
of thorns : but the piath of the righteous is (as) a paved 

' The way of a slothful man,' the course which the 
sluggard taketh in going about his affairs, ' is as an 
hedge of thorns,' is slow and hard; for he goeth 
creepingly about his business, yea, his fears and 
griefs prick him and stay him like thorns or briers. 
' But the path of the righteous is as a paved cause- 
way.' The order which the godly man taketh is most 
plain and easy, who so readily and lustily runneth on 
in the works of his calling as if he walked on a paved 

Ver. 20. A wise son rejoiceth his father : but a 
foolish man despiseth his mother. 

A godly child at all times by his obedience com- 
forteth his father, ' but a foolish man despiseth his 
mother.' An ungodly youth, when he cometh to 
man's age, maketh no account of his parents, but 
especially contemneth or disobeyeth her who bare 
him, being a great hea-viness unto her by this means. 
This sentence then teacheth that we owe obedience 
to parents, both whilst we are young and whilst we 
are old. 

Ver. 21. Foolishness is a joy to him who is destitute 
of understanding : but a man of understanding will 
walk uprightly. 

' Foolishness is a joy to him who is destitute of 
understanding.' A vain man is delighted in seeing, 
hearing, and doing of vain things. ' But a man of 
understanding will walk uprightly.' The joy of a 
prudent person is to make his paths straight, or to 
do the will of God. 

Ver. 22. Without counsel thoughts come to nought : 
but by store of counsellors they shall be established. 

Intents not advised on vanish, or have unlucky 

issue; but those enterprises which are considered 
on, or debated by learned counsel, are afterward 
executed with very good success. 

Ver. 23. Joy cometh to a man by the ansioer (or 
speech) of his mouth ; and how good is a word in his 
season ! 

This sentence containeth a commendation of wise 
speeches. ' Joy cometh to a man by the answer of 
his mouth.' A gracious speech bringeth gladness 
to him who uttered it ; for he rejoiceth either for 
the honour which is given him for his words, or 
for the profit which he seeth others thereby receive. 
' And how good is a word in his season.' How pro- 
fitable and delightsome is counsel or instruction, given 
in time of necessity, and when it falleth out well. 

Ver. 24. The way to life above (is walked in) by the 
uiise man, to the end that he may depart from hell below. 

There is a double way, the one strait, which 
leadeth to life, and this only the wise do find ; the 
other broad, which leadeth to destruction, and this 
the ungodly walk in, but the prudent avoid it, Mat. 
vii. 13, 14; Col. iii. 2; Phil. iii. 20. Wherefore 
the meditation of the faithful is on holy things, yea, 
their conversation is heavenly, to this end, that not 
being entangled "vrith sin of the world, they may be 
preserved from destruction and damnation. Thus 
then doth the path of virtue bring the godly at last 
to Ufe above, whom- not only it raiseth up to 
heavenly thoughts and actions, but lifteth up in the 
end to celestial glory. 

Ver. 25. The Lord will destroy the house of the 
proud : but he will establish the border of the widow. 

This sentence commendeth the justice of God, 
unto the tenifj-ing of mighty oppressors, and unto 
the comforting of the poor people, who are insinuated 
in the name of the widow, whose estate is of aU 
others most grievous, because she being desolated 
of her husband lieth open to all wrongs, but espe- 
cially to the injuries of great and wealthy men. 
See the root hereof, Exod. xxii. 22. ' The Lord 
then will destroy the house of the proud.' God 
often overthroweth their families, yea, pulleth them 
up by the roots, who in the pride of their hearts 
have oppressed the poor, taking from them either 
their lands or goods. ' But he vrill establish the 
border of the ividow.' The Lord will restore the 
poor to their right, or else, by some means or other, 



[Chap. XVI 

he vnH so defend their possessions and fields against 
the power of the mighty, that they shall not be able 
to pull them out of their hands. 

Ver. 26. The thoughts of the wicked man are 
abomination to the Lord : hct the words of the pure 
are pleasant words. 

AU things which proceed from the wicked, as, for 
example, even their thoughts, are unclean and abom- 
inable in the sight of God, Tit. i. 15. On the con- 
trary side, not only their thoughts, but the words of 
the godly, which flow from the good treasure of their 
hearts, are acceptable to the Lord, and as a clean and 
sweet sacrifice before him. 

Ver. 27. He which is given to gain trouUeth his 
own house ; hut he which hateth gifts shall live. 

Covetousness is herein threatened. ' He which is 
given to gain troubleth his own house.' Such a one 
as getteth goods by hook or crook, or is addicted 
to evil gain, is a cause and occasion of many evils 
in his estate and family, Hab. ii. 9. ' But he which 
hateth gifts shall live.' On the contrary side, such a 
one as abhorreth bribes given to pervert justice, or to 
any such ill intent, shall live in prosperity and peace. 

Ver. 28. The heart of the righteous studieth to speah : 
hut the mouth of the wiclced babbleth (or poureth) out evil 

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart 
bringeth forth good things ; but an evil man out of 
the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth evil 
things. See the root hereof, Ps. xxxvii. 30, 31. 
' The heart of the just man studieth to speak.' The 
upright person premeditateth what to say, and when 
and how to utter his "words : ' but the mouth of the 
wicked poureth forth evil things.' The mouth of 
the ungodly can neither be silent nor speak well, 
but prattleth and babbleth vainly, rashly, offensively 
and lewdly. 

Ver. 29. The Lord is (far off) from the luiclced : but 
he heareth the prayer of the righteoxis. 

God is far oS" from the ungodly, not in place, but 
in help. See the root hereof, or a like sentence, 
Ps. cxli. 1 3. On the contrary side, God is near to 
those who fear him, not in presence only, but in 
favour, granting their prayers, and succouring them 
in their adversities. 

Ver. 30. The light of the eyes rejoiceth the heart : 
and a good hearing malceth the bones fat. 

Those things which are received in by the eye or 
ear, have great force to affect a man. ' The light 
of the eye rejoiceth the heart.' A sight jDleasant and 
acceptable to the eye revivetli the spirits. ' And a 
good hearing maketh the bones fat.' A good report, 
but especially the doctrine of the gospel, which is 
the voice of joy and gladness, not only comforteth 
the mind, but causeth the body to be in good pUght. 

Ver. 31. Tlie ear that hearheneth to the correction 
(or reproof) of life shall lodge among the wise. 

' The ear that hearkeneth,' the person which 
heareth and yieldeth obedience, ' to the correction 
of life,' to wholesome reproofs which teach men to 
live well here, and lead them to life eternal, ' shaU 
lodge among the wise ;' shall not only in this world 
have a place, yea, honour also among the learned, 
but hereafter reign with them in God's kingdom. 

Ver. 33. He that refuseth instruction (or withdraw- 
eth himself from instruction) despiseth his own soul : 
but he that obeyeth correction possesseih his own heart. 

' He that refuseth instruction,' the contemner of 
good counsel, who neither is wise himself, nor will 
be taught by other, ' despiseth his own soul,' by 
want of knowledge and grace layeth open his life to 
destruction ; ' but he that obeyeth correction pos- 
sesseth his own heart.' On the contrary side, he 
who doth profit by rebukes preserveth his soul 
from death and from God's wrath. 

Ver. 33. The fear of the Lord is the instruction of 
wisdom ; and before honour (goeth) humility. 

' The fear of the Lord,' the reverence of God, ' is 
the instruction of wisdom,' is that which maketh a 
man wise, or which, as a schoolmistress, teacheth 
wisdom ; for the fear of God giveth a man many 
good lessons. ' And before honour goeth humility ;' 
and lowliness of mind bringeth a man to glory. 


Ver. 1 . The preparations of the heart are in man, 
but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. 

Herein is taught, that when a man hath obtained 
a former grace of thinking well, he standeth in need 
of a second grace — namely, to speak well, without 
which he shall never be able aright to utter any part 
of that matter, or of those words, which he hath 

Ver. 2-6.] 



meditated on or conned by heart. ' The jweparations 
of the heart are in man.' There are oftentimes in a 
man's mind whole ai-mies of thouglits, placed therein 
in exact order, as it were in battle array, so that he 
setteth clown with himself both what and how to 
speak. ' But the answer of the tongue is from the 
Lord.' Nevertheless, utterance is the gift of God, 
and a man shall so speak as God guideth his mouth, 
not as he purposeth -himself Mark here, that it is 
not said the preparations of the heart are of man, 
but that they are in man. For of ourselves we are 
not able to think a good thought, much less then to 
have such armies of good thoughts as may in them- 
selves please the Lord. 

Ver. 2. All the ways of man are pure in his own 
eyes ; hut the Lord pondereth the spi7-its. 

We all oftentimes please ourselves when we dis- 
please the Lord. ' All the ways of a man are pure 
in his own eyes.' All the courses, proceedings, and 
actions of a man, so Uke him oftentimes as that 
therein he justifieth himself, and his conscience doth 
not charge or accuse him with anything done amiss. 
'But the Lord pondereth the spii'its.' Nevertheless 
God, who seeth more than men do, and searcheth the 
very inward affection and disjiosition of the mind, 
considereth the hearts themselves, and weighing 
them, as goldsmiths do then- plate and coins, findeth 
them light, and counterfeit oftentimes. 

Ver. 3. Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy 
thoughts shall he directed. 

When we would admonish any to commend his 
affairs to the Lord, we may rehearse and commend 
this saying unto him, ' Commit thy works unto the 
Lord,' Ps. xxxvii. 5, and Iv. 23. Whereas thy 
troubles and the labours of thy calling are, as it were, 
certain weighty burdens, which lie heavily on thy 
back, torment not thyself with care, but roll them, 
as it were, upon almighty God, ' and thy thoughts 
shall be directed,' and so thy desires shall at last 
happily be accomphshed. . We are then, according 
to the exhortation of the apostle, to be careful for 
nothing, Phil. iv. 6, but in every matter to make 
knoAvn our suits unto God by prayer and supplica- 
tion with thanksgiving. 

Ver. 4. The Lord hath made all men for himself ; 
yea, even the tvicked man unto the day of evil. 

Predestination is herein touched, and the causes 

thereof are briefly set dovrn. ' The Lord,' the eter- 
nal God, from whom and by whom all things are, 
' hath made,' hath not only created, but ordained, 
' all men,' all sorts of people, ' for himself,' for the 
setting forth of his justice, power, wisdom, and glory. 
' Yea, even the -wicked man,' he hath also ordained 
the very reprobate person, ' unto the day of evil,' to 
the time of judgment and afiliction, that so in this 
vessel of wrath the justice of God may be declared, 
and the glory thereof appear in his destruction. The 
cause of the damnation of the wicked is in them- 
selves, who are evil of themselves, and are not made 
evil of the Lord, nor by him compelled unto evil. 
But the fountain, not only of election but reprobation, 
is, as here is shewed, the will of God, which is a rule 
of justice. God is without fault in refusing the 
wicked, since he is indebted unto none ; but the 
wicked are most justly condemned, seeing by their 
suits they are indebted unto God. 

Ver. 5. Every one that is proud in heart is ahomiii- 
ation to the Lord ; thoiigh hand join in hand, he shall 
not he unpunished. 

There are divers sorts of pride, and of proud per- 
sons. Some are proud in apparel, some proud in 
speech, some proud in work, some proud in heart. 
These, albeit they neither have lofty looks, nor 
utter proud words, nor deal in matters too high for 
them, yet, seeing they have haughty minds, they are 
so far off from being highly accounted of by the 
Lord, that they are abomination to him. Neither 
only are they high-minded, who are puffed up witliin 
themselves in regard of outward or inward gifts, 
abhorred by the Lord, but they are also sure to be 
plagued by him. For 'though hand join in hand,' 
that is, though the proud person labour with both 
hands to escape, yet ' he shall not be unpunished.' 

Ver. 6. By mercy and truth iniquity is purged : 
and by the fear of the Lord evil is departed from. 

When a man hath sinned against God, it is a very 
profitable and necessary point of instruction for him 
to know how or by what means his iniquities may 
be so covered or cleansed, as that they shall not be 
imputed unto him.i This point is here taught in the 
former part of this sentence, when it is said that 
' by mercy and trath iniquity is purged.' Outward 
sacrifices, or the blood of beasts, were not able of 
' See mei'cy and truth in the same sense, chap. xiv. 22. 



[Chap. XVI. 

themselves to take away sins. But the mercy and 
truth of God, that is, the Lord's free grace in Christ, 
and the performance of the promises of the word in 
him, washeth away and cleauseth all iniquities. The 
mercy and truth of God, I say, for that the mercy 
and trath of man cannot do it ; neither is it any- 
where in the Scripture said, that by the mercy and 
truth of man iniquity is purged ; whereas therein 
often it is affirmed that our sins are washed and 
cleansed by the favour and truth of God. As God's 
mercy and truth thus pardoneth sin, so the fear of 
the Lord, as is shewed in the latter part of this sen- 
tence, preserveth from sinning. For by the son-like 
awe of the Lord, sin is so shunned as that it is not 
committed, or at , least that an evil way, where- 
by God may be offended, is forsaken and laid 

Ver. 7. When the Loi-d favoureth the ways of a man, 
he maheth his enemies at peace with him. 

It is a miserable thing to be hated or pursued by 
troublesome adversaries. He th^jt is vexed by 
deadly foes would give anything that he possesseth 
for peace. This change from hatred into love, and 
from trouble to rest, must proceed from the Lord 
above ; for he alone can turn lions into lambs, and 
alter men's hearts. Hence it is that it is said, ' When 
the Lord favoureth the ways of a man, he maketh 
his enemies at peace with him.' That is to say, at 
what time God is reconciled to any person, orbeareth 
toward him a friendly affection, there he causeth his 
adversaries not only to lay aside their hatred, but to 
bear good-will, and to enter into a league of friend- 
ship with him. 

Ver. 8. Better is a little with righteousness, than 
great comings in without equity. 

We are to be well contented with that portion 
which we attain by lawful means, be it never so 
small. ' A httle with righteousness,' a small stock 
well gotten, ' is better than great comings in without 
equity,' is to be preferred before abundance of goods 
heaped together by injury and oppression. For 
goods ill-gotten prosper not, but those that are law- 
fully come by continue. The wicked in their abun- 
dance are unquiet, without God's favour, and not 
under his blessing, but his curse. The righteous 
man, on the contrary side, in his poor or mean estate, 
Uveth quietly and joyfully with his wife and children, 

beholdeth God's mercy in that Uttle which he pos- 
sesseth, and is blessed of the Lord. 

Ver. 9. The heart of man purposeth his way : hut 
the Lwd ordereth his steps. 

When we have obtained God's preventing grace, 
so that we purpose a matter, or intend to do that 
which is good, we have need of a new assisting or 
finishing grace to be able to perform the same ; for 
the issues or success of matters are not in our hand, 
but in God's grace or power, who worketh in us both 
to will and to perform according to his good-will 
and pleasure. Wherefore not without cause it is 
here said, that ' the heart of man purposeth his 
way, but the Lord ordereth his steps.' The sum 
and sense of which speech is, that many journeys are 
often intended, and many courses devised, by mortal 
men, which so fall out as the Lord disposeth of 
them ; for man purposeth, but God disposeth. 

Ver. 10. A divine sentence shall be in the mouth of 
the king : his lips shall not transgress in judgment. 

By the name of kings, who were wont themselves 
to sit to hear and determine causes, all magistrates 
who bear the sword are meant. These rulers are 
first here exliorted to have a divine sentence in their 
mouth ; that is, to pronounce the truth, and to utter 
the very oracle of God. To this end the kings of 
Israel were by the Lord in the law commanded to 
read the word of God, Deut. xvii. 18. Now, se- 
condly, the king's lips ought not to transgress in 
judgment ; that is to say, in the court, or on the 
tribunal-seat, pronounce a wrong or false sentence. 
This also was forbidden by the Lord in the old law, 
where he saith to the judge, ' Thou shalt be far off 
from a false sj^eech, and not slay the innocent and 
the just,' Exod. xxhi. 7. 

Ver. IL The scale and the balances of justice belong 
to the Lord : all the weights of the hag are his work. 

To shew that all measures and weights must be 
just, and that God hath ordained such things, men- 
tion is made here both of the scale or beam, and of 
the balances, and of the weights. But seeing this 
point hath been handled before, it is not .again to 
be stood upon. See chap. xi. 1. 

Ver. 12. It should be an abomination unto kings to 
commit wickedness : for the throne is established by 

Herein is declared what should displease rulers, 

Ver. 13-19.] 



' It stould be an abomination to kings to commit 
wickedness.' Above all other persons, princes should 
most of all abhor iniquity, which they are to punish 
in whomsoever they find it. Great cause there is 
why they should so do. ' For the throne is estab- 
lished by justice.' The royal crown is maintained, 
not so much by weapons or fortresses, as by main- 
taining right and punishing sin, which course what 
rulers soever take, people will love them, and God 
will bless them. 

Ver. 13. Religious lips should he the delight of kings: 
and he that speaketh upright words is to be loved by 

We have heard what ought to displease princes, 
consider now what ought to please them. ' Right- 
eous hps should be the delight of kings.' Wise and 
faithful speech, void of dissimulation, and far from 
flattery, ought to please rulers. ' And he that speak- 
eth upright words is to be loved by them.' Not 
only good speeches, but those persons that utter 
them, ought to be acceptable to princes; for such 
are good helpers to the well-governing of the com- 
monwealth and counselhng of the people, and there- 
fore deserve to be made much of. 

Ver. 14. The wrath of a king is as messengers of 
death : but a wise man will pacify it. 

To displease princes is a dangerous matter ; for 
' The wrath of a king is as messengers of death.' 
The anger or rage of a ruler is of so great force, as 
that it is a sign of vengeance near, or of present 
death, being herein Uke unto messengers who are 
sent to slay a man. Wrath is a thunderbolt where 
it is joined with power ; there all must needs perish, 
where power permitteth to do as much as anger 
persuadeth. The very threatening and checks of 
princes are terrible. Yet a wise man will pacify the 
wrath of a king ; for either by some calm and pru- 
dent speech, or by some politic device, he will assuage 
his fury. 

Ver. 15. In the light of the king's countenance is 
life : and his favour is as a thick cloud of the latter 

As in a prince's wrath is much terror, so in his 
favour is much comfort. The good-wiU of a prince 
is very fitly herein resembled to the light of the 
sun, and to the rain that falleth in due season ; for 
the shining of the sun causeth the earth to fructify, 

and reviveth all living creatures; in hke manner 
also the gracious countenance of the prince rejoiceth 
the hearts of his subjects, and quickeneth their very 
spirits. Again, the latter rain falhng before harvest, 
refresheth the ground and ripeneth the corn; so 
likewise the favour of the king comforteth and bene- 
fiteth the subject not a little. 

Ver. 16. How much better is it to get ivisdom than 
gold! and to get pi-udence more to be desired than 
silver ! 

Wisdom exceUeth wealth by many degi-ees, and 
in divers respects. First, Many things are done by 
policies which cannot be done by riches. Secondly, 
Earthly treasures are corruptible, but the graces of 
God are immortal. Last of all. Worldly goods make 
this life the more happy, but the gifts of God's 
Spirit, which are parcels of the wisdom here spoken 
of, enrich the soul, and further a man to eternal 

Ver. 17. The highway of the upright is to depart 
from evil : he that keepeth his way keepeth his life. 

This sentence teacheth that it is a safe thing for 
a man to walk in the laws of God. ' The highway 
(or causeway) of the upright is to depart from evil.' 
The safe course or defence of the righteous is to fly 
sin; for he that observeth the law of God both 
avoideth that which may displease him and his 
judgments. ' He that keepeth his way keepeth his 
life.' Whosoever ordereth his life aright, not stray- 
ing into the paths of error or sin, saveth his o-ira 
soul from destruction. 

Ver. 18. Pride goeth before destruction: and an 
high mind before a fall. 

The proper reward of pride is destruction, for 
pride will have a fall. ' Pride goeth before destruc- 
tion.' Stately behaviour, shewing itself Ln pre- 
sumptuous words or vainglorious deeds, is the 
forerunner which goeth immediately before some 
plague or misery; for when pride of life most ex- 
ceedeth, then God's judgment is even at hand. 
'And a haughty mind before a fall.' A secure, 
stout, contemptuous, or rebelhous heart is the im- 
mediate forerunner of disgracing or displacing. 

Ver. 19. Better it is to be of an humble mind with the 
lowly, than to divide the spoils with the proud. 

It is a pleasant thing to be enriched with other 
men's goods ; it is a gainful thing to have part of 



[Chap. XVI. 

the prey ; it is a glorious thing to divide the spoil. 
But what are all outward possessions to the inward 
virtues of the mind? what will goods ill gotten 
profit the possessors thereof? finally, what is the end 
of the proud person, but to have a fall ? ' Better it 
is then to be of an humble mind with the lowly, 
than to divide the spoils with the proud.' Surely it 
is better to be injured than to do injury ; it is 
better to be patient than to be insolent ; it is better 
with the afflicted people of God to be bruised in 
heart and low of port, than to enjoy the pleasures 
or treasures of sin or of this world for a season. 

Ver. 20. He that hearlceneth to the wordfindeth good : 
and blessed is he that trusteth in the Lord. 

Two things make a man happy, as herein is 
shewed ; the one, hearing of the word, the other, 
faith in God. ' He that hearkeneth to the word 
obtaineth, or findeth, good.' Whosoever hsteneth to 
the doctrine of the Scriptm-e, shall thereby receive 
great comfort and instruction. 'And blessed is he that 
trusteth in the Lord.' Whereas the word profiteth 
nothing without faith ; most happy is he that 
putteth his confidence in the power and mercy of 
God, and beheveth the doctrine of the Scripture. 
' Blessed,' saith the prophet ' is the man whose 
helper is in the Lord God, that made heaven and 
earth,' Ps. cxlvi. 

Ver. 21. He that is wise in heart is to ie called 
pi-udent : and the sweetness of the lips giveth instruction. 

Wisdom and eloquence are herein compared to- 
gether. He is said to be wise in heart, who hath 
filled his breast with the knowledge of many profit- 
able matters. Such a one shall be called and is 
indeed a prudent man ; for by the quickness of 
his wit, and by diligent reading, he attaineth to 
great learning, and is counted and called a profound 
clerk. ' And the sweetness of the lips giveth in- 
struction.' Eloquence, or a gracious utterance, 
edifieth. The wise man profiteth himself, the elo- 
quent man profiteth others. Knowledge maketh a 
man commended. A good delivery of speech com- 
mendeth the doctrine that is delivered, and maketh 
it the more acceptable, profitable, and easy to be 

Ver. 22. Understanding is a ivell-spiring of life to 
them that have it : lut the doctrine of fools is (a foun- 
tain) of folly. 

True knowledge, called here understanding, is said 
to be a well-spring of life ; for that it ministereth 
continual instruction to those that are therewith in- 
dued, being in this respect like to a fountain flowing 
vnth running waters. It teUeth men what they are 
to do, what to shun, what to believe, and how to 
behave themselves in aU estates, ' But the doctrine 
of fools is a fountain of folly.' The instruction which 
proceedeth out of the mouths of false teachers or 
seducers, is but as a fountain or spring of filthy or 
deadly waters, to wit, of errors and manifold corrupt 

Ver. 23. The heart of the wise man giddeth his 
mouth aright : and hy his lips ministereth instruction. 

Two effects of an understanding heart are herein 
set down. The one, that it worketh eloquence in 
the speaker ; the other, that it increaseth knowledge 
in the hearer. ' The heart of the wise man guideth 
his mouth aright.' The mind of the learned man 
moderateth his mouth, ministering to him fit words, 
and directing him for the manner of his speech. 
' And by his hps ministereth instruction.' Moreover, 
by instructing and guiding the hps of the wise 
speaker, it helpeth the understanding, and edifieth 
the affection of the hearers. 

Ver. 24. Pleasant speeches are as it loere an honey- 
comb : sweetness to the soul, and health to the hones. 

As the honey is pleasant to the taste, so eloquence 
dehghteth the mind ; yea, and cureth sometimes the 
body. The mind, for the affection is pleased by it ; 
the body, for it willingly stayeth without weariness 
a long time together, hearing holy and heavenly 
sayings, and thereby even the bones that were 
broken do rejoice. The manner and the matter of a 
holy eloquent speech is sweet and wholesome. 

Ver. 25. There is a way that seemeth straight to a 
man, the end whereof is the highway to death. 

The same things, as Irenseus speaketh, are to be 
spoken of the same matter. Wherefore this sentence 
having been handled before, chap. xiv. 12, is not to 
be handled again after a new and diverse manner. 

Ver. 26. The soul of the troublesome man troubleth 
itself : for his mouth recoileth upon himself. 

Such is the fruit of the wise and eloquent tongue, 
as hath been declared ; but the fruit of a trouble- 
some tongue is the trouble of a man's mind often- 
times. For, ' the soul of the troublesome man troub- 

Yer. 27-31.] 



leth itself: for his mouth recoileth upon himself 
The busybody is iu grief and fear of punishment, 
because he hath spoken false or slanderous -n-ords, 
which cause liim to be hated or molested. Thus 
his mouth recoileth upon him, as a broken bow or a 
bended sword. Thus, as the prophet speaketh, ' He 
travaileth with wickedness, and conceiveth a mis- 
cliief, but shall bring forth a He. He hath made a 
pit and digged it, and is fallen into the pit that he 
hath made. His mischief shall return upon his own 
head, and his iniquity upon his own pate,' Ps. vii. 1-5- 
17. This judgment of thine, Lord, upon trouble- 
some tongues is just. Wherefore, let the poison of 
such be their own bane ; let the troublesomeness of 
their lips fall upon them, Ps. cxl. 10. 

Ver. 27. A wicked man diggeth up evil : and in his 
lips is as it were huming fire. 

The wicked person doth much hurt by his 
naughty tongue to himself, he doth also thereby 
much harm to others. ' A wicked man, or a man of 
BeUal, diggeth up evil.' The ungodly person joineth 
cruelty -n-ith craft, and laboureth by word and deed 
to entrap his neighbour, and, as we say, to make a 
pitfold for him. Thus a wicked man diggeth up 
evil, and, moreover, ' in liis hps is as it were burning 
fire.' Fire consumeth those things which it taketh 
hold of, and the burning of fire is a sore torment. 
Whereas then the words which the mahcious man 
uttereth with his lips are as it were fiery coals, they 
must of necessity work extreme grief, and do much 
hurt. ' The tongue,' saith James, ' is a fire, or world 
of iniquity ; it setteth on fire the course of nature, 
and is set on fire by hell,' James iii. 6. 

Ver. 28. A froward person soweth strife : and a 
whisperer separateth a chief friend. 

There is no miscliief to the mischief of the tongue. 
He is called a froward person that perverteth an- 
other man's speeches, or himself uttereth false and 
deceitful words. Such a one soweth strife, that is, 
causeth discord, than which there cannot be a 
greater evil. He is a whisperer that secretly car- 
rieth tales, or backbiteth his neighbour. Such a one 
separateth a chief friend, that is, maketh strangeness 
between those who were before most near and dear 
to each other. It alienateth the prince from the sub- 
ject, the husband from the wife, the master from the 
servant, and the friend from his familiar companion. 

Ver. 29. 4 viicked man enticeth his neighbour, and 
leadeth him into some evil way. 

He is called a wicked man that goeth about to 
do some hm-t. Such a one enticeth his neighbour, 
flattereth his very friend, using to him fair speeches 
and plausible persuasions. ' And he leadeth him into 
a way that is not good.' He seduceth and bringeth 
him to some dangerous place, or to some evil course, 
which tendeth to the undoing of his estate, or to the 
destruction of liis body or soul. 

Ver. 30. He that winketh with his eyes deviseth mis- 
chief: (and) he tluit hiteth his lips worketh evil. 

So great is the desire of doing hurt in some, that 
they tend thereunto with all the parts of their bodies, 
and, as bere is shewed, by outward gestures express 
their inward evil purposes one to another. ' He that 
winketh with the eyes deviseth mischief.' That per- 
son who useth often to shut and twinkle his eyes, 
commonly thinketh on some q\t\, which yet for the 
time he keepeth close from him to whom he inteudeth 
it; howsoever he siguifieth it to his companion. 'And 
he that biteth his lips worketh evil.' He also that 
moveth his lips by way of contempt or threatening, 
or therewith mumbleth and muttereth to himself, 
will accomplish some mischief or other. 

Ver. 31. The gray head is a crown of glory, when 
it is found in the way of righteousness. 

The old age is to be reverenced most which is 
white, not with gray hairs only, but with heavenly 
graces. Commendable old age leaneth upon two 
staves — the one the remembrance of a life well led, 
the other the hope of eternal life. Take away these 
two staves, and old age cannot stand with comfort ; 
pluck out the gray hairs of virtues, and the gray head 
cannot shine with any bright glory. Concerning the 
gray head, first it is here said, that it is a crown 
of glory, or a glorious ornament. The white head 
is worthily said to be a crown of glory. For, first. 
Hoary hairs do wonderfully become the ancient per- 
son, whom they make to look the more grave, and 
to carry the gi-eater authority in his countenance. 
Secondly, They are a garland or diadem, which not 
the art of man, but the finger of God, hath fashioned 
and set on the head. Thirdly, They are a sign of 
many troubles passed and dangers escaped ; for these 
and sucliHlce causes doth the Lord command in his 
law, ' To rise up before the gray head, and to give 




honour to the face of the aged person,' Lev. xix. 32. 
Then the gray head is a crown of glory, when, as is 
declared in the latter part of this sentence, it is 
found in the way of righteousness. Now, it is found in 
the way of righteousness oftentimes ; for wickedness 
cutteth off the ungodly commonly in the midst of 
their days, but obedience prolongeth the life of the 
godly, and bringeth them to old age, and so to gray 

Ver. 32. He that is slow to wrath is better than the 
strong man ; and he that ruleth his own mind is better 
than he that winneth a city. 

He that is patient, or not easily provoked to anger, 
is said to be slow to wrath. Such a one is better 
than the mighty man ; he is more excellent than he 
that is strong of body ; for he can bear reproaches^ 
which are more untolerable burdens than any that 
are wont to be laid on the backs of the strongest. 
And again, he hath strength of mind, whereas the 
strong man hath only the strength of the body. 
Generally he is said to rule his mind, that subdueth 
not only wrath, but all other \'iolent affections. Such 
a one is better than he that winneth a city ; for he 
overcometh those things which are more invincible 
than towns or castles, even sins, lusts, principahties, 
and spiritual wickednesses. 

Ver. 33. Tlie lot is cast into the lap ; but the whole 
disposition thereof is from the Lord. 

The Jews were wont to put lots into some man's 
bosom or lap, from whence afterwards every man's 
lot was taken out. Hence it is that mention here is 
made of casting the lot into the lap. Whereas it 
is further added, that ' the whole disposition there- 
of is from the Lord.' The meaning of these words 
is, that the whole ordering thereof, and the issue of 
it, is not to be ascribed to chance, labour, or art, but 
to the providence of the Almighty only. But touch- 
ing lots, more shall be set down in the eighteenth 


Ver. 1 . Better is a morsel of dry bread tvith peace, 
than an house full of slain- beasts with strife. 

A little with love, a little with the fear of the 
Lord, and a Uttle ■o'ith righteousness, is sweet and 

good. So likewise is a little with ease and quiet- 
ness, as here is shewed. ' Better is a morsel of dry 
bread with peace, than an house full of slain beasts 
with strife.' A Httle homely fare with quietness is 
to be preferred before store of dainty dishes, \vith 
brawhng ; for where there is'falling out at the table, 
there food cannot be eaten with any delight. 

Ver. 2. A wise servant shall have rule over a leiud 
son, aiul he shall divide the inheritance among the 

Wisdom hfteth up them that are bound, or of 
low degree, above the free born. ' A wise servant 
shall have rule over a lewd son.' He who being 
by condition a bondman, dealeth discreetly in all his 
actions, and behaveth himself dutifully toward liis 
master, shall by him be appointed to be guardian 
and governor unto that his child that is rude and 
dissolute. 'And he shall divide the inheritance 
among the brethren.' Moreover, he shall by him be 
so betrusted, that he shall be appointed steward of 
his family, or left executor to distribute his goods 
unto his sons. 

Ver. 3. The fining pot is for the silver, and the 
furnace for the gold : but the Lord trieth the hearts. _ 

As the vessels which the goldsmith useth prove 
and try the metals of gold and silver ; so God trieth 
not only the hearts of the elect, but of all men, 
Mai. ii. 3 ; Jer. vi. 26 ; Ps. xxvi. 1 ; James i. 3 ; 
1 Pet. i. The means whereby the Lord trieth men's 
hearts, are his works, his word, and his Spirit. 
These are as the fire ; the Lord himself is as the 
fining pot ; the hearts of men are as the metals of 
silver and gold. 

Ver. 4. The iviched man hearJceneth to hurtful lips ; 
and the deceitful man giveth heed to the froward 

It is a note of an evil man, not only willingly 
to speak evil, but gladly to hear evil of his neigh- 
bour. The peevish tongue and the elfish ear are 
well met together, and with a certain itcliing delight 
rub one another. ' The evil man hearkeneth to 
hurtful lips.' He that is given to work mischief 
listeneth wOlingly to tho.se speeches that tend to 
the harm of others. ' And the deceitful man giveth 
heed to the froward tongue.' The dissembler 
heareth with joy secret whispering and slanderous 
reports. Thus that speech pleaseth every evil man , 

Ver. 5-12.] 



best that is agreeable to his humour, and to the dis- 
position of his nund. 

Ver. 5. He that mocheth the poor man, re2:>roacheth 
him that made him : he that rejoiceth at his adversity 
shcdl not he unpunished. 

Insulting over the afflicted is herein condemned. 
By the poor, are meant not only such as are in want 
of outward blessings of this life, but that are afflicted 
with any adversity. As he that scorneth any work 
scorneth the artificer ; so he that mocketh the poor 
man mocketh his Maker, who is the Lord. ' He 
that rejoiceth at his adversity shall not be un- 
punished. Not only he that scorneth by outward 
gestures, but he that is glad in his heart at the 
: adversity of the afflicted, shall be severely revenged. 
Ver. 6. Children's children are the crown of the 
elders : and the glori/ of children are their fathers. 

A fruitful stock is a blessed thing. ' Children's 
children are the crown of the elders.' Many 
nephews, or a great posterity, beseem and commend 
the aged ; for the ancient bve long in children's 
children, and in them they appear to be fruitful and 
blessed. ' And the glory of children are their 
fathers.' It is an honour to the younger sort to 
have descended from many worthy progenitors, and 
to be able to say, such an excellent man was our 
father, such a one our grandfather, such a one our 

Ver. 7. Excellent speech hecometh not a tcild per- 
son : much less doth lying beseem a worthy man. 

By excellent speech, good talk or gracious com- 
munication is meant. That speech which is excel- 
lent, either in regard of the matter of it, or of the 
manner of utterance, beseemeth not a wild person, 
who is contemptible for his wickedness or base de- 
gree ; for in his mouth it loseth all grace, as a jewel 
of gold doth in a swine's snout. But then, ' much 
less doth Ijdng beseem a worthy man.' Corrupt or 
false communication or speech far worse becometh 
one that excelleth others in -virtue or authority ; for 
this is as a spot or stain upon a fair garment, or a 
precious stone : it is as dirt in a beautiful face. 

Ver. 8. A gift in his eyes that thereivith is delighted, 
is as a very pleasant precious stone; it prospereth 
whithersoever it iendeth. 

Two things are herein taught : the one, that gifts 
aie welcome to the covetous j the other, that they 

obtain anything at their hands. 'A gift in his eyes 
who therewith is delighted, is as a very pleasant 
precious stone.' A present doth wonderfully please 
and affect him that loveth to receive. ' It 23rospereth 
whithersoever it tendeth.' It effecteth anything 
for obtaming whereof it is given; for whether it 
be given to get an office, or to find pardon for an 
offence, or to appease wrath, or to win favour, it 
hath a prosperous success. 

Ver. 9. He that covereth a fault seelceth love: hut he 
that repeateth a mcdter, separateth the chief friend. 

This sentence commendeth the concealing of our 
neighbours' offences, and condemneth the blazing of 
them abroad. 'He that covereth a fault seeketh 
love.' He that burieth an offence in silence, pre- 
serveth concord, and maketh them his friends, who 
before were strangers to him. 'But he that re- 
peateth a matter, separateth the chief friend.' As 
for him who rippeth up or telleth abroad a fault 
committed, he estrangeth his friend from him by this 
means, and maketh him his enemy. 

Ver. 10. One reproof entereth more into a xcise man, 
than an hundred stripes into a fool. 

Some are easily brought home when they have 
done amiss ; but others are uncurable, or, at the 
least, hardly reclaimed. ' One reproof,' an admoni- 
tion or rebuke by words, be it never so short, ' more 
entereth into a wise man,' not only much more 
grieveth, but bettereth the humble person, that hath 
in him some sparks of grace, 'than an hundred 
stripes into a fool;' than correction by the rod or 
stick, be it never so sharp or continual, doth pierce 
or benefit the obstinate wicked man. 

Ver. 1 1 . The viiclced man seelceth rebellion only : at 
the last, a cruel messenger sJiall he sent -against him. 

The punishment of rebellion is here set down. 
' The wicked man seeketh rebeUion only.' The 
ungodly and contentious person riseth up in arms, 
and maketh war against his prince. ' At the last, a 
cruel messenger shall be sent against him.' In the 
end, some instrument of wrath shall be sent from 
God or the king, who shall execute vengeance upon 
him in most cruel manner. 

Ver. 12. It is better that a she-hear robbed of her 
whelps meet a man, than a fool in his folly. 

Of all ivild beasts a bear most exceedeth in rage, 
especially then when she is robbed of her young 



[Chap. XVII. 

ones. At such a time, to be met by such a fierce 
beast it were a very dangerous thing. Yet more 
perilous it is, and a more miserable estate, to fall 
into the hands of a wicked or furious man : for a 
bear may be tamed by art, but a fool will not be 
entreated. A bear may be shunned by swiftness, 
but there is no escaping of the pursuit of a mad- 
man. A bear hurteth only the body; a -vidcked 
man both body, goods, and name. A bear doth 
harm only with tooth and paw ; a mischievous man 
with hand, tongue, and weapon. Finally, a bear 
will at the most but kill the body ; a cruel tjTant 
will vex the soul, and torment the poor carcase as 
much as he can. 

Ver. 13. Wliosoever recompenseth evil for good, evil 
shall not depart from his house. 

No vice is so great as unthankfulness ; but that 
kind of ingratitude whereby evil is repaid for good, 
is a sin above measure sinful. Some are of so 
devilish dispositions that they deal ill with such 
who have dealt well with them, and done them much 
good. ' Evil shall not depart from their houses.' 
For as their sin is great, so shall they be plagued, 
not only in their own persons, but in their families ; 
not for a short time only, but continually. To re- 
compense evil for good to any man is a foul fault ; 
to recompense evil for good to the ministers of God's 
word is a greater iniquity ; to recompense evil for 
good unto the Lord himself, is even the highest 
degree of all impiety. See an example, Jer. xviii. 19. 

Ver. 14. He that heginneth strife is as he that 
openeth the waters ; wherefore, before the contention be 
meddled with, leave off. 

A reason is set down in the former part of this 
sentence, tending to move every one that is about 
to go to law with his neighbour, in time to agree 
with him and to stay the suit. The eflFect of the 
reason is, the law is costly and dangerous, where- 
fore, agree before any suit be begun therein. ' He 
that beginneth strife,' that person who first entereth 
his cause into the court, ' is as one that openeth the 
waters,' is like him that unlocketh the well-head, or 
cutteth the ground or bank whereby a pond or river 
is hemmed in ; for he giveth the first onset, and 
can no more stay the strife which once he hath 
begun, than he that hath broken up the ground can 
hinder the water from rushing out, or stop it at his 

pleasure, which overfloweth and waxeth stiU from 
time to time even greater and greater. ' Wherefore, 
before the contention be meddled with, leave off ; ' 
for which cause agree with thine adversary quickly, 
whilst thou art in the way Avith him, even before 
that thou come before the judge, or that the action 
be commenced into the court. 

Ver. 15. He that justifieth the wicked man, and he 
that condemneth the just man, are even both an abomin- 
ation unto the Lord. 

Unrighteousness in judgment is herein condemned. 
A judge offendeth two manner of ways, either by 
oppressing the innocent, or freeing the guilty. ' He 
that justifieth the wicked man,' such a judge as pro- 
nounceth the transgressors righteous, ' and he that 
condemneth the just,' Exod. xxiii. 7, such a judge 
also as pronounceth the righteous man a transgressor, 
' is an abomination to the Lord,' is abhorred by al- 
mighty God : for he committeth two great sins, and 
doth much hurt. He transgresseth God's laws ; he 
spareth the wolf, and so hurteth the lambs ; he shed- 
deth innocent blood, that crieth to heaven for re- 
venge ; he abuseth the sword, he toucheth the mem- 
bers of Christ, and the very apples of the Lord's eyes. 

Ver. 16. To what end is there a price in the hand of 
a fool to buy wisdom, seeing he hath no heart ? 

Happy is he that hath both wit and wealth. 
' To what end is there a price in the hand of a fool 
to buy wisdom ? ' Why or to what purpose doth he 
that is unapt to learn go with money in his hand to 
hire him a teacher, or to buy books, when he hath 
no heart, seeing he is simple-witted, and hath no 
good capacity 1 Let such rather follow some other 
course of hfe whereunto they are apt and inclined, 
than in vain bestow too much time or cost on that 
whereunto they cannot possibly attain. 

Ver. 11. A friend loveth at all times, and a brother 
is born for adversity. 

A mark of a true friend is, that he loveth at all 
times ; that is to say, he beareth his friend hearty 
good-wiU, and sheweth himself kind unto him both 
in prosperity and adversity, not for a day or month, 
but to the death. ' And a brother is born for ad- 
versity.' It is the duty of a kinsman to help his 
Idnsman in trouble. Birth bmdeth one brother to 
help another. It is not the custom of brethren to 
be so kind, but it is their duty. 

Ver. 18-24.] 



Ver. 18. ji man void of understanding clappeth tlie 
hand: and promiseth suretyship before his friend. 

Beware of suretyship. ' A man void of uuder- 
standing,' a simple person, who considereth not tlie 
danger of suretyship, nor the misery that mil follow 
upon it, ' clappeth his hand,' by putting his hand to 
his neighbour's, or by joining of right hands proffer- 
eth liimself to be surety, ' before his friend,' in the 
sight of his friend, and before that by him he be en- 
treated to take this burden upon him. Thus like 
a foolish woodcock he putteth his neck into the gin, 
and rejoiceth in the matter of his own trouble. 

Ver. 19. He loveth sin that loveth contention : he that 
enlargeth his gate seeheth destruction. 

Strife is the cause of much evil, and pride, from 
whence contention ariseth, is also the cause of much 
misery and affliction. 'He loveth sin that loveth 
contention.' Such a one commonly committeth 
many sins as wilhngly goeth to law, or with plea- 
sure folio weth the lusts thereof; for commonly suits 
are accompanied with many evils. Wliere there 
is envying and strife, there is confusion and every 
evil thing, James iii. 16. 'He that enlargeth his gate 
seeketh destruction.' Such a one, as to get a name, 
or in pride of his heart keepeth no measure in build- 
ing, or housekeeping, draweth want on himself or 
such envy whereby he is brought to ruin. Thus, in 
the error of his hfe, he seeketh his own death and 

Ver. 20. He that is of a froward heart shall not 
find good : and lie that hath a penvrse tongue shall 
fall into evil. 

Such a one whose soul within him is unsound and 
corrupt, so that he falleth away from God and godli- 
ness, is said here to be of a froward heart. This 
backslider shall not find good, for he shall want a 
blessing from the Lord. ' And he that hath a per- 
verse tongue shall fall into evil.' Such a one as 
abuseth his tongue to dissimulation, or any evil 
speaking, shall feel and find in the end some heavy 

Ver. 21. He that begetteth a fool begeiteth him to his 
own sorrow : and the father of a wild person shcdl not 

' The old Latin translator, reading the former p.-irt of this 
sentence with other points, turneth it thus : The fool is born 
unto his own shame ; by which words he meaneth that he 

He is a foolish sou, who either applieth himself 
to no goodness, or committeth some evil. ' He that 
begetteth him begetteth him to his own sorrow.' 
The father of such a son grieveth when he seeth him 
prove so bad. ' And the father of a wild person 
shall not rejoice.' He is called a ^vild person who is 
given over to all abominable wickedness, whereby 
he becometh contemptible and infamous. Such a 
son is such a thorn to his father's heart, that he 
cannot take comfort in anything in the world. 

Ver. 22. ^ joyful heart causeth good health : but a 
sorrowful mind drieth up the bones. 

Mirth greatly profiteth, grief greatly hurteth the 
body. 'A joyful heart causeth good health.' A 
merry mind is a wholesome medicine — restoreth the 
body to health if it be weak, and keepeth it in very 
good temper ; for it conveyeth a vital vigour there- 
unto, whereby it is quickened and brought to a good 
constitution. ' But a sorrowful mind drieth up the 
bones.' A heavy spirit causeth the body to be out 
of tune, and greatly diseased ; for when the heart is 
sad then the spirits are drawn back, the humours are 
consumed, and the bones pained with aches, and 
dried for want of marrow. 

Ver. 22>. A wicked man taheth a gift oid of his bosom 
to pervert the luays of jicdgrneni. 

One that hath not only an iU cause, but an evil 
mind, is here called a wicked man. Such a one 
taketh a gift out of his bosom, draweth forth or 
delivereth secretly and closely a bribe, to pervert 
the ways of justice, to overthrow the right, or to 
stop the course of law, which is the hfe of the 
commonwealth. There are divers sorts of gifts, 
some whereof are lawful, some not lawful. There is 
a gift of thankfulness, there is a gift of reconciliation, 
there is a gift of goodwill, all these are lawful. 
Besides these, there is a gift of corruption ; this is 
unlawful, and is both here and elsewhere in the 
word of God condemned. 

Ver. 2L In the face of the prudent wisdom is 
present : but the eyes of tlie fool are in the ends of the 

The countenance is the glass of the mind, and the 
star of the countenance is the eye. ' Id the face of 
the prudent -vvisdom is present.' In the whole 

bringeth such shame upon himself, as that it may seem that 
he was born to confusion and misery. 


[Chap. XVIII. 

couuteuance of the discreet person, and in every part 
thereof, there is a iWse moderation ; for in his brows 
he carrieth calmness, in his eyes modesty, in his 
cheeks cheerfulness, in his lips comehness, in Iris 
whole face a certain grace and staidness. 'But 
the eyes of the fool are in the ends of the earth.' On 
the contrary side, he who is simple or vain governeth 
not his very eyes aright, but letteth loose unto them 
the bridle in such sort as that they roll or rove after 
every vanity, or pry into every corner. 

Ver. 25. A foolish son is a vexation to his father, 
and a bitterness to his mother. 

Wicked children will recompense their parents 
with evil, for their benefits which they have 
bestowed on them. For ' a foolish son is a vexation 
to his father.' A lewd child is a matter of wrath, 
and a provocation to him that begat him, stirriug 
him up, by his stubbornness, or misbehaviour, to be 
offended mth him. 'And a bitterness to his 
mother.' He is also a matter of choler and of 
much grief to her who bred him, and brought him 
forth into this world. Thus a wicked son or daugh- 
ter vexeth both father and mother. 

Ver. 26. It is not good to punish even the good man : 
to strike the well-disposed is contrary to equity. 

Not only to kill, but never so little to wrong the 
innocent, is a great sin. ' It is not good to punish 
even the good man.' It is an evil thing to fine or 
imprison the righteous person that doth good. ' To 
strike the well-disposed is contrary to equity.' It is 
a thing contrary to right, to scourge or afflict him 
that beareth an honest mind, and is well affected. 

Ver. 27. A wise man sparelh his words, and a man 
of understanding is of a cool spirit. 

Moderation both in speech and affections is now 
commended. 'A wise man spareth his speech.' 
A prudent person abstaineth from provolung speeches, 
and useth very few words. ' And a man of under- 
standing is of a cool spirit.' He that spiritually 
discernethwhat is best to be done, is calm of his affec- 
tions, and not inflamed with the fire of anger or wrath. 

Ver. 28. Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is 
counted luise : and he that shutteth his lips 2>riulent. 

Silence is a point and sign of discretion. ' Even a 
fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise.' A 
very idiot and smiple man, abstaining from all signs 
and speeches of choler, is, for his putting up of a 

wrong with patience and silence, thought and said, 
in that respect and for that time, to do very wisely. 
' And he that shutteth his Ups prudent.' Moreover, 
he that muttereth not with his mouth, nor answereth 
one word, is judged wary and circumspect. Truly, 
he that useth to hold his peace, and especially that 
keepetli silence when he is provoked to wrath, pro- 
videth well and wisely for his own welfare ; and 
herein dealeth very warily, that he giveth his adver- 
saries no advantage against him. 


Ver. 1. He that separateth himself seelceth a quarrel : 
he meddleth in every matter.^ 

Such as separate theniselves, either from the friend- 
ship of any private person, or from the fellowship of 
the whole church, are herein very well described. 
Many a man, through the inconstancy or froward- 
ness of his mind, forsaketh the company of those 
with whom he hath lived most lovingly and fami- 
liarly, and severeth himself from others in heart or 
course of life. Such a one, when he hath no just 
reason of his departure or withdrawing himself, 
seeketh a quarrel ; picketh some occasion of falling 
out and of departing, and excusing his departure, 
pleading sometimes this, and sometimes that, to the 
end he may shew that he breaketh off upon just 
cause. To conclude, ' He meddleth in every matter.' 
He stirreth very busily in everything which is done, 
and catcheth at every word that is spoken, to the 
end he may take some occasion of breaking concord, 
or provoke unto contention. 

Ver. 2. A fool is not delighted with understanding, 
but with those things which are in his own heart. 

The disposition of fantastical people is laid open 
in this sentence. One property of a conceited fool 
is, that he is not delighted with understanding ; 
that is, that he regardeth not, nor yieldeth to the 
instruction which is taught, or the reasons which are 
brought by wise men, nor resteth in the advice or 
counsel of his friends or teachers. Heretics and 
vain people take as small pleasure as may be in hear- 
ing the word, and when they are pressed with the 
truth they httle regard it, and stubbornly reject it, 

' Here, with the Greek interpreters, with Jerome, and some 
of sound judgment iu our time, I read lectaana. 

Ver. 3-7.] 



even as the scribes and pharisees, in the days of 
our Saviour, despised the counsel of God against 
themselves, Luke viL 10. Another property of the 
vain person and fond heretic is, that he is delighted 
with those things that are in his own heart ; that 
is to say, he wonderfully pleaseth himself in his 
errors and devices, and in those shows of reasons 
which his own fro ward mind ministereth and pre- 
senteth unto him. Wherefore the wise are not to 
marvel that they can no more prevail with this sort 
of people than they do ; nor to spend too much 
labour in dealing ivith such, considering that they 
shall do no good, but lose all their pains. 

Ver. 3. When the wicked man cometh, contempt 
cometh also, and with the vile person reproach. 

This verse is like unto the second verse of the 
eleventh chapter of this book, but yet there is some 
difference between them. Therein is affirmed that 
contempt accompanieth pride, because the jjroud 
person despiseth all others besides himself, and 
herein it is said, that ' when the wicked man 
cometh, contempt cometh also,' because the ungodly 
person regardeth not any, neither is kept back from 
evil, either by any good counsel, or by fear, or by 
shame. Likewise when, as in the second part of 
this sentence, it is said, that ' with the vile person 
is reproach,' the meaning is, that those who are in 
themselves base, and who commit vile and filthy 
things, do reproach others, and revile them often- 
times most impudently. Experience in our days 
teacheth that the vile person doth not seldom 
rise up against the honourable, and that the base 
rascal people do most reproach the faithful ministers 
of the glorious gosi^el of Christ Jesus. 

Ver. 4. The words of an excellent man's mouth are 
as deep waters; the well-spring of wisdom is as a flow- 
ing river. 

Fitly are the words of the prudent resembled 
unto waters, saith one, inasmuch as they both wash 
the minds of the hearers, that the foulness of sin 
remain not therein, and water them in such sort 
that they faint not, nor wither by a drought and 
burning desire of heavenly doctrine. But the 
speeches of an eloquent man are here called deep 
waters, to shew that they fail not, but are plentiful, 
and that they are not drawn dry at any time, but 
continually abounding. Now the reason why the 

excellent man neither wanteth words or matter, but 
his words are as deep waters, and his sentences 
and reasons as flowing rivers, is, for that he hath 
in his breast or heart a well-spring of wisdom, 
that is, profound and bottomless knowledge, as it 
were, of sundry matters and hidden mysteries. 

Ver. 5. It is not good to accept the person of the 
wicked, to overthroiv the just Tnan in judgment. 

Eespect of persons is condemned as a great sin 
in this sentence, wherein less is said, and more is 
signified ; for it is said, that ' to accept the person 
of the wicked is not good,' but the meaning is that 
it is a very evU thing. Now to accept the person of 
any is to regard anything that is without the cause, as 
honour, friendship, or a gift, more than the truth or 
equity itself Only in judgment to lift up the face, 
or to respect the person of the wicked, is one great 
fault. But to do this, ' to overthrow the just man 
in judgment,' is a double sin ; for this is with the 
one hand to lift him up who ought therewith to be 
beaten clown, and with the other to beat him down 
who ought therewith to be lifted up. When I more 
fully weigh this parable, methinketh that herein is 
not taught the self-same point which is often re- 
peated in this book, namely, that to justify the 
wicked, and to condemn the righteous, both these are 
abomination to the Lord; but that to punish the 
innocent, or to cause liim to lie down, as the word 
signifieth, at the request, or to gratify and satisfy 
the wicked person who is in favour with us, which 
sin Pilate committed, Luke xxiv. 42, 25, is indeed a 
great and grievous iniquity. But let those who are 
abundantly indued with the Spirit of God scan and 
judge all things. 

Ver. 6. The lips of a fool enter into strife, (or come 
with strife,) and his mouth callethfor blows. 

Ver. 7. The mouth of a fool is his own destruction, 
and his lips a snare to his soul. 

The former sentence of these two declareth that 
the words or speeches of rash and unwise people 
stir up two sorts of evils : the one is called strife, 
that is to say, brabbling, scolding, railing, and such- 
like debate uttered by the tongue ; the other is 
blows, that is, strokes, fighting, or cuffs, or wounds, 
by the hand or fist. These two evils fools provoke 
by rash and maUcious speeches, both between others, 
and between and against themselves, as is shewed 



[Chap. XVIII. 

in the latter sentence, tlie wliich teaclietli that the 
naughty tongue not only hurteth, hut overtliroweth 
Mm that hath it; for it is said therein, that 'the 
mouth of a fool is his 0T\-n destruction, and his hps 
a snare to his soul.' By the -ivhich words is meant 
that the talk of quarrellers, blabs, backbiters, and 
slanderers, bringeth upon them much woe, and is 
the cause and matter of their trouble ; for by reason 
that they speak contrary things, or false things, 
they are not only hated, but sometimes beaten and 
buffeted, sometimes called into question in the law, 
and punished accordingly. 

Ver. 8. The words of the whisperer are as it vien-e 
strokes,^ lohich even go down into the inward part of 
the belly. 

Many mischiefs are wrought by the lips of the 
wicked, but none greater than by the speeches of 
wliisperers or secret mutterers and murmurers, for 
so much the word here used doth signify, 131J ^11 
D''an'7j~lD3. The words of the whisperer are said to 
be like unto strokes, or, as some translate, unto 
those that strike, for that they grieve and wound 
such as are bitten or smitten therewith. They axe 
said to go down into the inward parts of the belly, 
for that they being like to lashes, which not only 
raise the sldn, but pierce the bowels, wound deeply, 
and grieve the very heart. A lilce comparison was 
used before in this book, chap. xii. 18, where it was 
said, ' That some utter words like the pricking of 
swords.' What great hurt and grief to body and 
soul a whispering and backbiting tongue doth work 
may appear in the example of Joseph, Gen. xxxix. 
20, who through the complaint of his mistress was 
cast into prison ; and again, in the example of 
David, Ps. lii., who so greatly complained of the 
slanders of Doeg. 

Ver. 9. Se that is negligent in his business is even 
brother to him that is a waster. 

Carelessness and prodigality are the very banes 
of the substance of a family. He is said to be 
negligent in his business who cndeavoureth not, 
or travaileth not, to set forward his work or affairs. 
Such a one is called a brother to him that is a 
waster, for that both of them shall be brought to 
poverty ; albeit by divers ways — the one by his pro- 

' So much the Hebrew word siguifietb, as the best learned 

digaht}'-, the other by Ms wretchedness ; for as the 
prodigal person consumeth his goods by lavishing 
them out, so the sluggard suffereth Ms possessions 
to decay by not looking to them, or labourmg to 
maintaia them. The one speudeth all, the other 
getteth little or nothing, and thus, as both are un- 
thrifty, so both fall into extreme poverty at the last ; 
yea, in which sense some take this sentence, often- 
times he that is slow to do his own business joineth 
himself to the company of thieves and robbers, and 
is swift and quick enough in helping the destroyer. 

Ver. 10. The name of the Lord is a strong toiuer ; 
the righteous man runneth unto it, and is exalted. 

We are exliorted herein to repair unto the Lord 
in all our distresses and necessities. The name of 
the Lord is the favour of God towards the elect in 
Christ, joined together with his mighty power and 
truth. It is resembled unto [a, strong tower, for 
that, like a castle, it protecteth and maketh secure 
those that fly unto it ; for the which cause the just 
man runneth unto it, as he that is pursued by his 
enemy is wont to fly to some strong tower ; so the 
righteous person, who is justified by the blood of 
Jesus Christ, and sanctified by the Holy Ghost, not 
placing any confidence in earthly things, nor in men, 
speedily repaireth in time of necessity and adversity, 
by faith and prayer, unto the mercy and defence of 
the Almighty. Which, whensoever he doth, he 
loseth not his labour, for he is exalted or lifted 
up on high ; that is, so preserved from the rage of 
troubles, and kept out of the reach of all his adver- 
saries,! as if he were taken up into some high turret, 
or set on some place aloft, whither his enemies could 
not pierce or enter. 

Ver. 11. The substance of the rich man is, as it were, 
his defenced city, and as an high wall in his imagina- 

What is the strength of the just man hath been 
declared in the former sentence. In tMs is shewed 
what the rich man counteth to be his tower and 
strong defence. See before, chap. x. 15. Indeed, the 
wealth of the rich man is a means oftentimes of pre- 
serving Mm from many evils, and of procuring of 
many good things unto him. But some have a very 
fond and false opinion of riches ; for they think that 
in them there is succour and defence against all 
' So did David, Asa, Jehoshaphat, and Hezekiah. 

Ver. 12-16.] 



chances and calamities. But they are deceived j for 
nothing is weaker, nothing more subject to losses or 
crosses, than wealth. "Wherefore here it is very 
rightly added, that riches are not a defenced city or 
wall in themselves, or in truth, but in the rich man's 
imagination. Whereas, then, it is said, ' The sub- 
stance of the rich man is, as it were, his defenced 
city ; the meaning hereof is, that it seemeth so 
indeed, but is not so in truth. And whereas it is 
added, that they be also as an high wall in his 
imagination, the sentence is that they are indeed but 
a wall of straw, howsoever they appear to be a strong 
wall. Wherefore let not the rich man trust in the 
uncertainty of riches, or put any confidence in 
chariots or horses, or anything besides the name of 
the Lord, which only is a strong tower, and a sure 
defenced city indeed. 

Ver. 12. Before destruction the heart of a man is 
puffed up : hut lowliness goeth before honour. 

The time herein is noted when destruction and 
advancement are wont to befaU men. ' Before de- 
struction the heart of man is puifed or hfted up ; ' 
immediately after that, the mind of a man is secure, 
rebellious, stout, or exceeding proud and haughty. 
He that is so high-minded, through God's righteous 
judgment, is suddenly disgraced, displaced, con- 
founded, and utterly overthrown, or at the least 
grievously plagued. Of the truth hereof Nebuchad- 
nezzar may be an example, Dan. iv. 30, 31, to 
whom a voice from heaven sounded, tlireatening his 
destruction, the self-same hour wherein, walking in 
his palace, he arrogated to himself the praise of 
building and enlarging Babylon, and of all the glory 
wherein then he flourished. On the contrary side, 
' Lowliness goeth before honour ; ' for at what time a 
man is humbled by afflictions, and very humble and 
lowly in his own eyes, so that he thinketh himself 
the basest of all others, and casteth himself down be- 
fore the Lord, the Lord is wont to raise him up to 
comfort or preferment, and to bestow on him some 
great blessings and graces, as may appear in the ex- 
amples of all the faithful. 

Ver. 13. For one to answer a matter before he hath 
heard it, it is a folly and a shame. 

Order is to be observed in all things, but especi- 
ally in judging of cases. For that judge who, having 
not heard both parties speak, giveth his verdict, is 

unrighteous, although he decree that which is right. 
Properly, he is said ' to answer a matter before 
he hath heard it, ' who giveth his sentence, or 
sheweth his opinion, before he hath knoAvu the whole 
sum of his speech that speaketh to him, or of the 
cause which he is to determine. To him that thus 
doth ' answer a matter before he hath heard it, it is 
a folly and a shame.' A folly, for that he speaketh 
before the time ; and a shame, for that all wiU 
blame him, and for that he cannot but be ashamed, 
when he findeth that he hath given a rash or false 
sentence by reason of his hastiness. 

Ver. 14. The sjnrit of a man beareth out his infir- 
mity ; but a wounded spirit who can bear ? 

The diseases of the mind are heavier burdens than 
the sicknesses or sores of the body. ' The spirit of 
a man beareth out his infirmity.' The mind of a 
man, if it be sound suid courageous, sustaineth with 
patience the diseases of the body, or any outward 
cross whatsoever. ' But a wounded or broken spirit 
who can bear 1, ' What giant or strong man is able, 
without fainting or shrinking, to endure the torment 
of a bitter, afflicted soul? No outward comfort of 
this life can cheer up a woeful spirit ; no streng-th or 
health of the body, wherein this heavy heart is, can 
stand firm or sure under the untolerable weight 
of it. 

Ver. 15. The heart of the prudent possesseth know- 
ledge ; and the ear of the wise seeketh after knowledge. 

The heart and the ears are the instruments and 
means of getting and keeping knowledge ' The 
heart of the prudent possesseth knowledge.' The 
mind of the studious person, by meditation and com- 
mitting of things considered or read to memory, 
keepeth and increaseth understanding. ' And the 
ear of the wise seeketh after knowledge.' He that 
regardeth his own welfare endeavoureth also, by 
hearing others besides himself, to increase in learning. 
Wherefore they are to be reproved who, as if that 
they could attain to wisdom enough by their own 
private meditation or labour, refuse to hear the voice 
of the ministers of the word. 

Ver. 16. The gift of a man enlargeth him, and 
hringeth Mm before great persoriages. 

There is great force in presents, both to free men 
out of trouble, and to bring them into favour. ' The 
gift of a man enlargeth him.' A present delivereth 



[Chap. XVIII. 

a man out of adversity, yea, and oiit of close prisons. 
Otherwise, without a gift, he may oftentimes stay 
long enough in trouble and distress ere he shall 
come out of it. ' And it bringeth him before great 
personages.' Moreover, a present maketh a man 
gracious in the eyes of great states, and leadeth him 
into their presence. Otherwise, with all his learn- 
ing, he may stand long enough without doors, and 
never be suffered to enter into the palaces of the 
great ones of this world. 

Ver. 17. He that is first in his cause seemeth just ; 
then Cometh his neighbour and maheth inquiry of him. 

One cause is good till another be heard. ' He 
that is first in his cause seemeth just.' He that 
speaketh first maketh oftentimes in his pleading 
such a show of truth and right, as that, although he 
hath indeed the worse part, yet he seemeth to have 
the better. ' But Ms neighbour cometh and maketh 
inquiry of him.' Afterward the second party plead- 
eth in the second place, and detecting the first, or 
confuting his speeches, sheweth him to be a bad 
person, or to maintain an evil cause. 

Ver. 18. The lot causeth contentions to cease, and 
maketh a partition among the mighty. 

The use of a lot is herein shewed, whereunto, in 
some cases, men are to fly, resting therein as in the 
oracle of God himself. ' The lot causeth contentions 
to cease.' When there is great strife or doubt about 
choosing of ofiBcers, or about earthly possessions, or 
about secret offenders, the lot revealeth the right 
and truth, and determineth what is to be done, 
whereunto, as to the voice or work of God, every 
one that hath reason or rehgion easily yielding, all 
wavering and variance by this means cometh to an 
end. Moreover, the lot ' maketh a partition among 
the mighty.' When the portions of the spoil or of 
the inheritance are unequal, some being greater and 
some less than others, the lot distributeth the parts 
to be divided in such sort, as that the wealthy and 
the strong adversaries, who otherwise would never 
yield one to another, are content with that part 
which the lot giveth them, and with that end which 
it maketh, whatsoever it is. Lots may be, after a 
certain sort, divided in divers kinds, according to the 
uses whereunto they are apphed. First, There is a 
choosing lot, as it were, which is that whereby any 
are elected to an oflBce ; secondly, There is a con- 

demning lot, which is that whereby secret offenders 
are revealed ; thirdly. There is a dividing lot, which 
is that whereby inheritances or possessions are parted. 
Lev. xviii. 8 ; Acts i. 26 ; Joshua vii. 14 ; Ps. xxii. 19. 
These lots were used among the Jews, and may be 
used also by Christians, all circumstances duly ob- 
served, yet not ordinarily. Besides these, there is a 
fourth, which may be called a divining lot, as when 
any by casting of lots inquireth of the success of 
matters to come, which to do is highly to tempt 
God. Hereunto may be added a fifth, which is or- 
dained for the helping or enriching of some bankrupt, 
or vain person, by the picking of money out of the 
purses of simple people, under hope of obtaining some 
great prize, whereof there is no warrant in Scripture. 
To conclude, there is also a sixth, which is called by 
some divines a sporting lot, which, as daily experi- 
ence testifieth, rather maketh contention arise than 
causeth it to cease, both among the poor and the 

Ver. 19. yl hrother offended is harder to win than a 
strong city ; and their contentions are as the bar of a 

The war that is between natural or spiritual 
brethren is even almost unreconcilable ; for it is 
said, that ' a brother offended is harder to wm than 
a strong city.' The meaning of this speech is, that 
a kinsman or friend, displeased by any ofience, or 
estranging himself for an injury offered, resisteth all 
entreaties of peace and means of reconciliation more 
stoutly and stiflHy than a defenced town doth the 
assaults of the weapon, or the embassages which 
entreat for peace. ' And their contentions are as 
the bar of a palace.' Moreover, the suits or strifes 
which they foUow in courts one against another (for 
these the Hebrew word doth properly note out) 
cannot be broken off or ended by any means, but 
are as hard to be brought to composition, or to be 
decided, as most mighty bars, whereby the gates of 
a tower or palace are shut in or kept safe, are firm 
and hard to be broke or cut in sunder; for as they 
loved most dearly before, so, when once they become 
enemies, they hate one another most extremely. 
But especially when brethren fall out, and strive, not 
about the possessions of this world, but the points of 
holy religion, then their contentions are most bitter 
and fierce, and their strifes most durable and endless ; 

Ver. 20, 21.] 



for in these cases the meekest are oftentimes hottest, 
the motion of the spirit overcoming the disposition 
of nature, and zeal to the truth consuming the love 
of brother to brother. But as concerning all -wrath- 
ful contentions, v^hether for temporal or spiritual 
causes, it greatly concerneth those that are at vari- 
ance to end them with all speed, or, at the least, to 
seek to be reconciled as much as in them lieth ; for 
our Saviour teacheth in the Gospel, Mat. v. 23, &c., 
that he who hath offered a -s^Tong, or offended his 
brother, cannot perform any exercise of religion, or part 
of God's worship, so as that it shall please the Lord, 
unless he go first and be reconciled to his brother ; 
and, moreover, the same our heavenly Lord and 
Master teacheth us, that if the party justly oflFended 
by us shall, before we be reconciled, complain of 
us to the Judge above, then we shall be delivered 
by the Judge to the jailer, and by him put into 
prison, even into the prison below, wherein Satan 
with the damned spirits and souls are chained, even 
in the chains of darkness and woeful misery, locking 
them fast and sure until the day of vengeance, 
at which time they shall be cast into the lake 
of Gehennah, which burneth with fire and brim- 
stone. We must, then, be reconciled, although we 
are loath ; and we may be reconciled also, although 
it is a hard matter that brethren offended should 
renew their friendship ; we may, I say, for with God 
this work is not impossible. The brotherly love of 
the godly, as an ancient father well resembleth it, 
is like a graft or scion of a tree.^ A graft of a tree, 
after that it hath been pulled away from the bough 
by force, returneth to his former nature, and happily 
groweth again ; even so, when brotherly love hath 
departed for a time, or been plucked away, as it 
were, by violence from the faithful, yet it returneth 
to the former mild nature wliich it had at the be- 
ginning, and, as it were, waxeth green and fruitful 
again. ^Tierefore, seeing it is so dangerous a 
matter not to be reconciled, and that soon after 
variance ; and seeing it is a thing possible that 
friends who fall out may renew love one to another, 
if we have been divided one against another, or a 
long time together lived in strife, let us not alway 
make war, or die in hatred, but be rather like the 
plants, that are easily bent back to their places, or 
iNaz., Orat. de Per., 2. 

the grafts, that, returning to their natures, happily 
grow, after that they have been parted from the 
bough — than hke to stony waUs which cannot be 
pierced, or bars of iron that iviU not be broken. 

Ver. 20. With the fruit of a marHs mouth shall his 
belly be satisfied ; luith the increase of his lips shall he 
he filled. 

Ver. 21. Death and life are in the power of the 
toTigue : as every one delighteth to use it he shall eat 
the fruit thereof. 

Before in this book, chap. xv. 6, a good tongue 
hath been called a tree of life ; as on the contrary 
side an evil tongue hath been shewed "to have been 
a deadly mischief The same comparison is used, 
and the same doctrine is taught, in these two verses. 
As there is fruit of a tree, so there is fruit of the 
mouth, which is that joy or sorrow, peace or trouble, 
prosperity or misery, which a man receiveth accord- 
ing to the desert of his speeches. The belly or soul 
is satisfied or abundantly replenished with good things 
or evil, according to the words of his mouth. Again, 
as there is an increase of the ground or earth, ac- 
cording to the seed that hath been sown therein, be 
it bad or good ; so there is a harvest, either of bless- 
ings or calamities, according to those answers, re- 
ports, or speeches which the tongue hath uttered. 
Herewith every one is plentifully filled, both in his 
soul, and body, and name, according as he hath 
rightly used or abused his lips. The hurt or benefit 
of the tongue is not small, but exceeding great : 
for ' death and life are in the power of the tongue.' 
A man, by using his tongue aright in talking, ex- 
horting, witnessing, and counselling, may save ; and 
by abusing it in any of these ways, or any other, may 
destroy. ' As every one delighteth to use it he shall 
eat the fruit thereof.' He that abuseth the tongue 
to destroy, shall taste of death for a just recom- 
pense ; and he that useth it to preserve in hfe, shall 
continue in life and happiness. Yea, by thy words, 
as our Saviour teacheth, thou shalt be justified ; and 
by thy words thou shalt be condemned. It is 
worthy the observing that Solomon doth vary his 
words, and speaketh sometimes of the mouth, some- 
times of the lips, sometimes of the tongue, to shew 
that all the instinments or means of speech shall 
have, as it were, their proper and just rewai'd. The 
apostle James, chap, iii., useth other comparisons, 



[Chap. XVIII. 

wherein lie expresseth the nature and effects of the 
tongue, as of a bridle, a rudder, a fire, a world, a bag 
of poison, and a fountain ; all which siniilitudes it 
were good to compare, and to consider together with 
this here set down. 

Ver. 22. He that findeth a wife findeth a good 
thing, and ohtaineth favour of the Lord. 

The Spirit of God in this sentence commendeth 
wedlock as a necessary, comfortable, and holy estate ; 
teaching, that he which marrieth, sinneth not, nor 
hurteth himself, but getteth to himself a great 
benefit. It was not good at the very time of the 
creation for man to be alone ; much less then is it 
good now, and much more is it needful, especially 
for the most, to take unto themselves a fit yoke-fel- 
low. Two are better than one, as the wise man 
teacheth in the book of the preacher, Eccles. iv. 9, 
and woe is to him that is alone ; wliich words, how- 
soever he speaketh to commend the sociable Hfe 
between friend and friend, neighbour and neighbour, 
yet do they also shew and prove the comfort and 
excellency of marriage, which is the nearest and 
sweetest fellowship in the world. ' He that findeth 
a -wife, obtaineth favour of the Lord,' inasmuch as 
God not only ordained matrimony from the begin- 
ning, but joined the married together, moving and 
drawing the wife's heart to like of the husband. 
Many men seek after wives, and can find none to 
like or accept them. This therefore is a mercy of 
God, even to find a wife. And although some wives, 
by reason of their corruption, are crosses to their 
husbands, yet, as they are wives, they are good, and 
the Lord's blessings. Nevertheless, men are not 
therefore to be careless in their choice, or to take 
every one whom they may have ; for if a wife be a 
blessing, a good wife is a great good blessing. And 
if he obtaineth favour of God that findeth a wife, 
much more he that findeth a virtuous wife. And 
if a wife is not found but by God's favour, she is to 
be sought for and sued for unto the Lord. And, to 
conclude, if such a wife flow out of the fountain of 
God's favour, as was Eve at the beginning, who was 
called Isha, which word here is used, then such a 
wife as may be a helper rather than a hinderer is 
only sought for and chosen, as a daughter of the 
heavenly king, and not a limb of Satan. Yet, not- 
withstanding that a wife is so good a blessing for 

some persons, in some times it is better to remain 
unmarried, than to marry. 

Ver. 23. The poor Tnan siieaketli supplications : but 
the rich man answereth roughly. 

The course of men's behaviour, both in prosperity 
and adversity, is touched in this verse. ' The poor man 
speaketh supphcations.' He that is a beggar, a bond- 
man, a prisoner, or any way afflicted, is wont to be- 
have himself very lowly and slavishly toward him that 
is wealthy or mighty, especially when he hath any 
suit unto him. ' But the rich man answereth roughly.' 
On the contrary side, he that hath abundance of 
goods, or is in authority, albeit the poor man 
speaketh never so submissively, yet answereth him 
currishly and stoutly, and even rateth and revileth 
him as a dog. Commonly thus it is, but yet not 
always ; for some of the lowest sort speak most dis- 
dainfully, and again, some great personages behave 
themselves most courteously. This sentence then 
is thus to be understood, that usually poor people 
are lowly in their behaviour, and the rich scornful 
and haughty. 

Ver. 24. A man that hath many friends is to shew 
himself friendly (or to mamtain friendship) : htit some 
one lover there is who is nearer (or cleaveth, to wit, in 
hearty good-will, above a brother) tJian a brother. 

We are exhorted in this instruction to cherish 
amity and maintain friendship as much as in us 
lieth. ' A man that hath many friends is to shew 
himself friendly.' He that hath gxeat acquaintance 
is to hold in with every one of his well-wishers, to 
which end he is not only to take heed, lest by 
strangeness or offering of discourtesy he lose the 
liking of any, but to endeavour, by all signs or 
pledges of good-will, to knit the hearts of all faster 
and faster unto him. ' But some one lover there 
is that is nearer than a brother.' Now, moreover, 
among many friends there is some one especial and 
extraordinary loving mate, whose heart above all 
others, yea, above a natural brother, is glued unto 
his neighbour, in such sort as that he is ready to do 
anything for his good, yea, to die for him, which no 
common friend or kinsman lightly will do. A 
brother loveth naturally, but scant any brother is 
to be found that vpill die for his brother. Where- 
fore, above the rest such a one is to be loved, and 
to be preferred before all precious jewels. Never- 

Chap. XIX. 1-4.1 



theless, love is also to be shewed to every friend, 
and every loving neighbour; for the loadstone of 
love is love. Commonly, he that loveth not, is not 
loved. Hence it is that the heathen give this pre- 
cept, Love, that thou niayest be loved. 


Ver. 1. Better is the poor man tliat ivalheth in his up- 
rightness, than lie that is of froward lijis, and is a fool. 
Albeit povert]'- is a burden, and is counted a 
great cross, yet it doth not hinder a man from be- 
having himself virtuously. Wherefore, ' the poor 
that walketh in his uprightness,' that needy person 
who feareth God, and dealeth justly with men, is 
in a good and happy estate ; yea, he is ' better 
than he that abuseth his lips, and is a fool.' He is 
more acceptable to the Lord, and more blessed than 
such a one as abuseth his tongue to evil speaking, 
and whose heart is full of vanity or wickedness. 
Not that he which lieth or slaudereth, or abuseth 
his tongue, pleaseth God, or hath in him any good- 
ness at all ; but by this phrase is meant, that the 
one is good, the other naught — the one blessed, the 
other viTetched. Wherefore such as are in want 
or affliction are not to think that God hath for- 
saken them, or that they are more miserable than 
others who are in prosperity or unchastened, 
although they walk in the ways of wickedness. 
No, no ; the just God loveth the righteous, be they 
never so poor, and curseth and abhorreth all those 
that speak Hes, or are worker.? of iniquity, be they 
never so rich. 

Ver. 2. Both the soul luithout knowledge is not good ; 
and he that hastencth with his feet offendeth. 

Ignorance of the mind is affirmed in the former 
part of this sentence to be a hurtful and evil 
thing. 'The soul without knowledge is not good.' 
The mind, if it be void of understanding, and with- 
out the knowledge of the Scriptures and Clirist 
Jesus, is corrupt, uncomfortable, and unhaj^py. 
The errors, the terrors, the lusts and conceits of 
the soul that is not lightened by the word of God, 
are many and horrible. As our Saviour teacheth 
in the Gospel, if thine eye be dark, how great is 
that darkness? Wherefore the mind is to be fur- 
nished with the knowledge and sldll of arts and 

sciences, and especially of the mysteries of the word 
of God. In the second part of the sentence, rash- 
ness or hastiness is condemned ; for it is said, 
that he also ' that hasteneth with his feet offendeth :' 
that is to say, that such a one as suddenly or 
rashly goeth about, or executeth matters of weight 
or importance without deliberation or ad\-isement, 
runneth into many errors and inconveniences. 
Wherefore that was good counsel which was given 
to a captain by a renowned emperor among the 
Gentiles, Make slow haste. We have in our 
English tongue a true and wise proverb, agi-eeing 
with this divine sentence of Solomon, which is, 
Haste maketh waste. Let us then, when we go 
about any work, look to our feet, and stay them 
from such rash swiftness as may do much hurt, 
and work repentance. 

Ver. 3. The foolishness of a man overthroweth his 
way : and his heart freiteth against the Lord. 

Murmuring against God is condemned in this sen- 
tence. ' The foohshness of a man overthroweth his 
way.' The corrupt behaviour of a sinner draweth 
upon him sundry crosses and losses, yea, and some- 
times death and destruction ; for sin raiseth up God's 
judgments, and causeth men to have iU success. 
When people either commit idolatry, or practise un- 
righteousness, or despise the word, or abuse the 
Lord's sacraments, then foUoweth and falleth upon 
them some sickness or trouble, one way or another. 
Now when the scourge of God lieth sore upon the 
transgressors, then ' his heart fretteth against the 
Lord.' When the offender feeleth himself to be 
plagued, he accuseth God as the author of his evil 
and adversity, or murmureth against him for dealing 
so sharply with him. Oh, saith he, not openly, but 
to himself, what fortune and luck is this ! yea, what 
a God is this that spareth others, and dealeth so 
rigorously with me ! Thus he is wroth even against 
the Almighty, who neither did him any wrong, nor 
can be hurt by him, nor will cease executing of his 
just judgments on foolish men. 

Ver. 4. Jiiches gather many friends : hut the poor 
ma)i is separated from his neighbour. 

The disposition of men is herein noted, who, 
through covetousness, commonly follow the friend- 
ship of the rich, neglecting and forsaking the poor. 
Wherefore the poets often complain, and Solomon 



[Chap. XIX. 

hatli in part spoken befoi'e, chap. xiv. 20 ; albeit 
there is some difference between that parable which 
hath been already set down concerning this mat- 
ter, and this, which wherein it lieth he that 
conipareth both may easily perceive. ' Eiches gather 
many friends.' Treasures increased increase the 
number and heap of such as pretend good-will, and 
draw daily new friends. The persons of men do 
not this, nor their graces, but their riches. As flies 
come to the honey, and wolves to the carcases, so 
flattering friends to the prey. They are friends 
which love not the rich man, but follow and love his 
riches. These riches draw suitors to wealthy gen- 
tlewomen, and make marriages, and procure favour. 
' But the poor man is separated from his neighbour.' 
Every one forsaketh him, and breaketh off friendship 
vrith him who is needy or afflicted. As the rats leave 
the barn, so worldlings forsake him that is decayed 
or falleth into poverty. Thus they should not do, 
but thus they do and will do. 

Ver. 5. A false witness shall not be unpunished ; 
and a forger of lies shall not escape. 

The Lord giveth this charge in his law, saying, 
' Thou shalt not bring up a false report : thou shalt 
not put forth thine hand with the wicked by playing 
the wrongful witness,' Exod. xxiii. 1. This statute 
was grounded on great equity and reason ; for the 
false witness doth much hurt, and sinneth against 
God, whose truth he perverteth ; and against the 
judge, whose judgment he troubleth ; and against 
him that is accused, whom he causeth to be other- 
wise dealt with than he deserveth. To shew how 
careful every one ought to be of observing the pre- 
cept of the Lord, which hath been specified, and 
how great a sin the transgression thereof is, the 
Holy Ghost herein setteth down a severe threaten- 
ing, both against the false witness-bearer, who, in 
the seat of judgment, telleth an untruth ; and the 
liar, who there or anywhere uttereth a falsehood. 
' A false witness shall not be unpunished.' He that 
testifieth an untruth before a judge shall be severely 
revenged and punished, either in his person or goods ; 
either with a temporal penalty, or with eternal 
punishment. Moreover, ' A forger or speaker of lies 
shall not escape.' He which in private places telleth 
any untruths, whereby his neighbour is hurt or de- 
ceived, shall not always be free from God's plagues 

or judgments, howsoever for a time he lieth in pros- 
perity ; for God will destroy all that speak lies. 

Ver. 6. Many sue unto the face of the noble person ; 
and every one is a companion to him that giveth gifts. 

In the former part of this sentence is declared, 
that the disposition and custom of most men is, in 
humble manner and reverent sort, to seek for the 
favour of great and bountiful personages, and to put 
up supplications unto them. For it is said therein, 
that 'many sue unto the face of the noble person.' 
How true this is, the deeds of all sorts of people 
declare, who are wont to send presents to such as 
are in any countenance or authority, and to kneel 
and crouch unto them. Again, ' Every one is a com- 
panion to him that giveth gifts.' All, almost with- 
out exception, resort unto that person, and join 
themselves in fellowship with him that is Uberal, 
or maketh them good cheer. Thus, as one among 
the heathen truly and justly complaineth, Many axe 
friends for the pot and the cup, but very few in a 
matter of labour and virtue. 

Ver. 7. All the brethren of the poor man hate him ; 
how much more will his friends depart from him who 
followeth words that are not performed ? 

It is manifest that the bond of brotherhood or 
kindred is greater and nearer than the knot of com- 
mon friendship or acquaintance. Again, it is evident 
that poverty is a less cause or reason why a brother 
should be hated than lying or vain prattling ; why 
a companion should be forsaken. Wherefore, in 
this parable the wise king reasoneth forcibly, and 
concludeth firmly, that seeing brethren will hate a 
brother for his poverty, friends will much more for- 
sake a friend for his counterfeiting, and for his false 
speeches. ' All the brethren of the poor man hate 
him.' All his nearest kinsmen that is in adversity, 
despise him in their hearts. ' How much more will 
his friends depart from him who followeth words 
that are not performed 1 ' How much more then 
will such as are no kinsmen, but companions only, 
estrange themselves from him, who only speaketh 
fairly or glossingly, but doth not those things whereof 
he maketh show in his words, or which belong to the 
duty of a friend ? 

Ver. 8. He that possesseth his heart loveth his own 
soul ; and he that keepeth understanding shall obtain that 
which is good. 

Ver. 9-12.] 



Every one liatli a heart, but every one possesseth 
not his heart. He possesseth his heart, that, fur- 
nishing it with knowledge of the truth, holdeth his 
heart firm and fast therein, not suffering his courage 
to fail, nor losing that good possession which he 
hath gotten. Such a one loveth his ovra soul. For 
herein, in so doing, he provideth well for his own 
welfare and life, inasmuch as out of the heart pro- 
ceed the issues of life, and if that be safe and sound, 
all is well. Again, ' He that keepeth understanding 
shall obtain that which is good.' He that not only 
heareth good instruction, but laying it up faithfully 
in his remembrance, observeth the same in the 
course of his life, and retaineth it until death, shall 
find many blessings, both of this life, and of the life 
to come. 

Ver. 9. A false iciiness shall not he unpunished, 
and he that for gelh lies shall perish. 

This verse is a repetition and a brief exposition of 
the fifth verse of this chapter. In that it was said 
that the liar shall not escape, in this it is aflSrmed 
that he shall perish ; by comparing of which words 
together we may gather and conclude, that he that 
forgeth or uttereth Hes shall surely and sorely be 

Ver. 10. Pleasure is not comely for a fool, much less 
for a servant to bear rule over princes. 

An argument is herein brought to condemn the 
rule of a servant over nobles or freemen. ' Pleasure 
is not comely for a fool.' Abundance of wealth, 
dainty fare, and pastime or recreation, is not meet 
for a vain and wicked person. For first of all, He 
rather deserveth correction thanrecreation ; secondly, 
He abuseth all his delights and possessions to his 
o-ivn hurt, being drunken with his vanities ; last of 
all. He is so puffed up and corrupted by prosperity, 
that he oppresseth his neighbours, neigheth after 
their wives, and doth great hurt unto himself and 
others. If pleasure is not comely for a fool, ' much 
less for a servant to bear rule over princes.' For if 
a Hght vanity beseem not a vain person, then 
authority, which carrieth with it a weight of glory, 
less beseemeth a vile person, who is of a servile 
disposition and condition, especially that rule which 
is exercised over noble personages. This is that 
great evil which Solomon elsewhere saith he saw 
under the sun, when he telleth that he beheld 

foolishness placed in high and lofty seats, and 
worthy men sitting below, and that he beheld also 
servants sitting on horseback, and princes walking 
on foot, as servants upon the ground, Eccles. x. 3. 
Yea, this is one of the chiefest of those heavy 
burdens which Agur afiirmeth to cause the earth to 
sink and tremble, Prov. xxx. 22. This is a more 
uncomely and hurtful thing than for a fool to enjoy 
his pleasure ; for pleasure is therefore unseemly for 
a fool, because he cannot rale himself; but honour 
must needs be more unseemly for a servant, seeing 
he neither can rule himself; neither can the honour- 
able brook to be in subjection to the vUe, the wise 
to the simple, the virtuous to the wicked. 

Ver. 11. The understanding of a man maketh him 
slow to wrath ; and his glory is to pass ly an offence. 

Such is the frailty of man that he cannot but be 
provoked unto anger now and then. ' But the 
understanding of a man maketh him slow to wrath.' 
The heavenly wisdom of God, which is in the mind 
of a regenerate person, causeth him not rashly to be 
angry, nor to proceed therein, but to bridle it, and 
pacify himself. For he that is indued with under- 
standing, considereth that he himself hath sinned 
more against God than his neighbour hath done 
against him, and that wrath is a vile and sinful 
affection, which therefore is not to be yielded unto, 
and that he may at another time debate the matter 
with his neighbour more fitly. Now as the under- 
standing of a man maketh him slow to wrath, so it 
is his glory to pass by an offence ; even to forgive 
the great vsrrong and injury which with a certain 
contempt is done unto him, or to wink at it, and let 
it go unrevenged. For herein he shall imitate the 
Lord, who passeth by and pardoneth our iniquities. 
Moreover, he shall get the commendation of men, 
who will say that he is a very meek and patient 
creature. Last of all, when in time and place he 
letteth pass revenge, or will not seem to hear the 
railings of his adversary, he sheweth wisdom, and 
by this forebearing may afterward win his enemy's 
heart, and draw a commendation out of his mouth. 

Ver. 12. The indignation of a king is as the roaring 
of a young lion ; hut his favour is as the deiv upon the 

This parable sheweth what care subjects should 
have not to provoke or offend their piince or 



[Chap. XIX. 

governor. As the eye of tlie lion is fearful, so his 
roaring is most terrible and deadly. As the prophet 
Amos speaketh, 'The lion roareth, who can but 
fear?' As Ambrose, an ancient holy father, wit- 
nesseth : Naturally there is such terror in the voice of 
the lion, that many living creatures, -which by swifts 
ness might escape his force and violence, through the 
sound of his roaring, fall down astonished, and by 
it, as it were by a mighty blow, are struck to the 
ground.! Wlienas then the indignation of a king is 
said to be as the roaring of a young lion, the mean- 
ing is, that it is most terrible and deadly. Thus 
much the wise king afterward teacheth in this book, 
when he saith, ' The terror of a king is as the roar- 
ing of a lion : he that provoketh him sinneth against 
his own soul,' chap. xx. 2. On the contrary side, 
' His favour is as the dew upon the grass.' The dew 
is a moisture which is made in the nights, when the 
sky is clear. As soon as it falleth down, it is re- 
solved into a shower, which maketh the ground 
fruitful, chap. xv. 16. By it the fields are refreshed, 
and the tender grass drawn out of the earth, and 
preserved in the time of heat from withering, and 
from the scorching of the sun. In like manner the 
favour of the prince maketh the subjects rich, raiseth 
them up to honour, rejoiceth their hearts, and pro- 
tecteth them from evil. 

Ver. 13. A foolish son is a hreaking to Ms father : 
and the contentions of a wife are like a continual 

They that are married, as the apostle teacheth, 
shall have afflictions in the flesh. Two of these 
afflictions or evils, which oftentimes befall the gover- 
nors of families, are set down in this sentence — the 
one, by a foolish son, the other, by a brawling wife. 
' A foolish son is a breaking to his father.' An un- 
godly child by his wickedness doth break and grieve 
the heart of his father in such sort as that he can 
hardly recover it, yea, and is sometimes utterly 
undone by this means. ' And the contentions of a 
wife are like a continual dropping.' For as drops 
and showers of rain do hurt buildings, and annoy 
those persons which are therein all night or all day, 
so brawling women by their scolding greatly and 
continually molest their families and husbands. 
Seeing the case standeth thus, parents should be 
' Ambr. Hexa., lib. vi. cap. 3. 

very careful to train up their children in the fear of 
the Lord, and such as go about marriage should be 
very circumspect in choosing to themselves such as 
may live lovingly with them. 

Ver. 14. House and substance are the inlieritance of 
fathers : but a prudent wife is from the Loi'd. 

This proverb warneth the unmarried to seek unto 
the Lord by prayer for a happy match, as a gift which 
is not common to all, nor descendeth, as it were, from 
father to child, as doth an inheritance, but which is 
proper to a few, even to those whom the Lord doth 
favour after a special sort. ' House and riches are 
the inheritance of fathers.' A dwelling-place and 
goods of this life are those things which children, 
by right of inheritance and succession, do ordinarily 
and commonly and mediately receive from fathers, 
grandfathers, and great-grandfathers ; for ancestors 
having gotten these things by labour, and kept them 
by care, do in good-will leave and give them to their 
posterity from hand to hand, albeit the Lord also 
doth move them so to do. ' But a prudent wife is 
fi-om the Lord.' A virtuous wife is not an inherit- 
ance, but a free and special gift — not a gift of parents, 
but an immediate gift of the Father of hghts ; not a 
gift of industry, but of destiny, that I may so speak. 
For God giveth wisdom to the woman, and moveth 
her heart to like the suitor to whom he should join 
her, and directeth the suitor to make a good choice. 
All good things come from God originally, but not 
so immediately or singularly as marriage. 

Ver. 15. Slothfulness causeth heavy sleep to fall: 
and the idle person shall suffer hunger. 

Sloth bringeth sleep, and sleep poverty. The 
two effects of sluggishness which here are set down 
are e^ol, and greatly to be shunned. Heavy sleep 
depriveth a man of the use of his reason, hindereth 
him from labour, and maketh him lose his time, and 
to be like a dead man. Hunger, which is the second 
evil, pincheth the belly, moveth to steal, and work- 
eth in the end death itself. Nothing is herein said 
but that which daily experience sheweth to be most 
true and manifest. The reason why slothfulness 
causeth heavy sleep is, for that the head is oppressed 
with abundance of humours, and the whole body dis- 
posed to rest when the members thereof do not 
labour, nor the mind, wherein it is, take any thought 
or care. 

Yer. 16-21.] 



Ver. 16. He that heepeth the cammandment Tceepith 
his own soul : hut he that regardeth not his ways shall 
he punished with death. 

Tliis sentence declareth the fruit of the command- 
ment observed or transgressed, lest any should think 
it -were a small matter to keep it or break it. ' He 
that keepeth the commandment keepeth his own 
soul.' That person which observeth God's law and 
the king's law, preserveth the life both of his soul 
and body, and shall be blessed. ' But he that re- 
gardeth not his ways shall be punished with death.' 
Such a one as careth not how he liveth, or breaketh 
God's commandments, or the statutes of the land 
wherein he liveth, shall be recompensed with tem- 
poral or eternal death, which is the reward of sin ; 
yea, and shall be made a public spectacle of shame 
and vengeance. 

Ver. 1 7. He that giveth frankly to the poor lendeth 
to the Lord: and he will repay him his recovipense. 

We are exhorted in tliis divine and excellent 
parable unto the bestowing of alms. He that giveth 
— that person which bestoweth anything freely, 
without looking for any reward, and only respecting 
the want of him that is needy ; he, I say, that giveth 
frankly, with a merciful, pitiful, and bountiful affec- 
tion of the heart, which maketh the work acceptable; 
' He that giveth franldy to the poor,' the needy, the 
sick, the helpless creature, lendeth — parteth with 
his goods, not for ever, but for a time, as lenders do. 
He lendeth to the Lord; not to a mortal man, but to 
the immortal God, ' and he will repay him his recom- 
pense.' The Lord will not only pay for the poor 
man, but requite him that gave alms, with usury, 
returning great gifts for small. Give, then, thine 
house, and receive heaven ; give transitory goods, 
and receive a durable substance ; give a cup of cold 
water, and receive God's kingdom. According to 
the words of the Holy Ghost, which here are set 
down, our Saviour in the Gospel saith, that which 
you have done to one of these little ones, you have 
done to me, Mat. xxv. 40. He that bestoweth his 
goods on the poor is so far off from losing hereby, 
that, on the contrary side, by this means he gaineth 
greatly. If our rich friend should say unto us. Lay 
out so much money for me, I wiU repay it, we would 
-nallingly and readily do it. Seeing, then, our best 
friend, yea, our king, the King of kings, biddeth us 

give to the poor, promising that he ivill see us 
answered for that we give, shall we not bestow alms 
at his motion and for his sake 1 

Ver. 18. Cojrect thy son whilst there is hope: hut 
lift not up thy soul to kill him. 

Ver. 19. Being in great wrath, remit the punish- 
ment : but if thou let him escape, yet apply (or add) 
chastiseme7it again. 

Parents are exhorted in these sentences to chasten 
their children in moderation. ' Correct thy son 
whilst there is hope.' Chasten thy child by words 
and stripes, whilst, being young and tender, he is 
not yet grown stubborn, or past hope of amendment. 
There is hope in youth, because tender things may 
easily be bended hither and thither, and evils at the 
beginning may without great difficulty be cured and 
remedied. ' But hft not up thy soul to kill him.' 
Yet, in any case, exceed not measure in thy correc- 
tion, nor set thy mind in thy furious mood to slay 
him with too much beating, or else to wsh him in 
his grave. ' Being in great wrath, remit the punish- 
ment.' When thou art in thy mood, or burnest 
with fiery anger and displeasure, let pass for that 
time the correcting of thy child, lest thou passest 
measure therein, or mayest chance to give him some 
deadly blow. ' But if thou shalt let him escape, yet 
apply chastisement again.' Nevertheless, if for that 
time or for that fault thou let him go free, yet let 
him not always go uncorrected ; but when thou art 
more calm, according as he ofTereth occasion, correct 
him again. 

Ver. 20. Hearken to counsel, and receive instruction, 
that thou mayest he wise at the last. 

We have in this verse an exhortation, and a reason 
thereof. The exhortation persuadeth to two duties ; 
the one to hearken to counsel, the other to receive 
correction or instruction. To hearken to counsel 
is to lend an ear to wise admonitions or precepts ; 
to receive correction or instruction is willingly or 
patiently to bear reproofs or chastisements. The 
reason of the exhortation is, 'that thou mayest be 
wise at the last,' that in the end thou mayest attain 
to grace and everlasting glory ; for the present time, 
afflictions and admonitions seem bitter, but after- 
wards they work the peaceable fruit of righteousness. 

Ver. 21. Many devices are in the heart of man ; but 
the counsel of the Lord shall stand. 



[Chap. XIX. 

The difference between the Lord's counsels and 
men's is herein declared ; men's counsels are change- 
able, for 'many devices are in the heart of a man.' 
The intents of men's minds and the cogitations 
thereof are infinite, changeable, contrary to each 
other, and so vain as that oftentimes they never 
come to effect. ' But the counsel of the Lord shall 
stand,' Ps. xxxiii. 10-11. As concerning the decree 
of God, it is one and the same, it cannot be hindered 
by any human devices, but shall in due season be 
accomplished. As the prophet David teacheth, 
' The Lord maketh frustrate the counsel of the 
Gentiles ; he maketh void the thoughts of the 
people ; but the counsel of the Lord shall remain 
for ever, and the thoughts of his heart from genera- 
tion to generation.' 

Ver. 22. The desire of a man is his relief ; but a 
poor man is better than a liar. 

The thing desired by a man is called here his 
desire, by a figure usual in this book. That which 
is earnestly -wished and craved by a man in his 
necessity, is relief, or receiving of alms. Hence it is 
that many commend, as is afterward said, the 
man of their bounty or reUef, to wit, who hath been 
bountiful to them or relieved them. ' But a poor 
man is better than a liar.' Yet he that is in neces- 
sity, or craveth alms, is more acceptable to the Lord, 
and more worthy to be esteemed by men, than a 
false-dealing rich man, yea, or any man that useth 
deceit ; for the poor man sinneth not in begging, 
but the liar sinneth in lying : the bare man is in- 
deed punished with his desire, but the liar shall 
be punished in hell fire. 

Ver. 23. The fear of the Lard bringeth life, and he 
that is indued therewith shall remain satisfied, and 
shall not be visited with evil. 

Tlrree good things which make a man happy are 
herein attributed to the fear of the Lord. The first 
is hfe, without which other good things cannot be. 
The second is plenty, which how great a good thing 
it is, may appear in that want is so great a misery. 
The third is protection or freedom from evils ; for 
he that feareth God shall not be visited with evil. 
To live, and yet to be in adversity, is to die. To live 
in plenty, and yet to want heart's ease or health, is 
a misery. Not to be visited then with evil is a 
great mercy. But lest we mistake this promise, 

we must know that the godly are not always free 
from affliction, but from hurtful affliction, nor pre- 
served from adversities, hut from those adversities 
that are punishments of sin or signs of God's heavy 

Ver. 24. The slothful man hideth his hand in his 
bosom, and will not put it to his mouth again. 

Wonderful is the slothfulness of some persons. 
' The slothful man hideth his hand in his bosom.' 
The sluggard doth not work with his hand, but 
holdmg it back from labour, giveth himself to ease. 
' And he will not put it to his mouth again.' To 
avoid the cold, and for love of ease, he holdeth 
his hand still in a warm place, and though there 
is but a httle way from the bosom to the mouth, 
yet he vrill not bring it thither, no, not to feed 
himself Some are so sluggish that they will not 
set their hands to most easy and needful works, as 
for example to wash their faces or to comb their 
heads. Afterwar-d in this book it is said, that it 
grieveth the sluggard to put his hand to his mouth 
again, so that though he do this sometimes yet he 
doth it with grief 

Ver. 25. If thou smite a scorner, he that is simple 
will be made wary : and if thou reprove a prudent man, 
he will understand knowledge. 

By two means are they which offend of simphcity 
or infirmity amended ; to wit, by the punishments 
of the wicked, and speeches of the godly. ' If thou 
smite a scorner, he that is simple will be made wary.' 
If thou scourge or put to death an obstinate offender, 
thy correction peradventure will do him no good, 
but yet it will do good to him that erreth of simpli- 
city, whom it vidll make more wary of his words and 
actions than he was before. The simplest person 
gathereth out of another's trouble or danger, that 
he is to beware of that which caused him to be 
afflicted. Again, ' If thou reprove a prudent man, 
he will understand knowledge.' Moreover, if thou 
rebuke a well-disposed person, who hath been over- 
taken in some sin, both he and the simple one that 
standeth by will thereby receive profit. A like sen- 
tence to this is afterward set down in this book, but 
there is yet some difference between this and that : 
for there it is said, that ' when the scorner is pun- 
ished, he that is simple waxeth wise : and when a 
wise man is instructed, he will receive knowledge,' 

Chap. XX. 1.] 



chap. xxi. 11. But here Solomon speaketh of smit- 
ing, there more generally of punisliing or of sinning, 
which may be done ^^^thout striking ; here of wari- 
ness, there of wisdom ; here of reproof, there of in- 

Ver. 26. He that spoileth his father, or chaseth away 
his mother, is a son of confusion and shame. 

The lewd behaviour of an ungracious child is not 
only herein described, but with a certain detestation 
reproved. First, The wicked child spoileth his 
father, that is, robbeth even him that begat him of 
his goods, either by taking them away, or by dimin- 
ishing them thi'ough riot and excess. Again, ' He 
chaseth away his mother.' That is, he causeth her 
that bare him to fly from his presence, or out of the 
house where she is, either by railing upon her, or by 
turning her out of doors, when once he cometh to 
his inheritance. He that doeth thus ' is a son of 
confusion and shame,' one that by his evil hfe and 
abominable speeches shameth and reproacheth his 
parents, and shall himself in the end come to de- 
struction and confusion. 

Ver. 27. Leave off, my son, to hear (j-jlJii;^) the 
instruction which causeth to err from the words of know- 

It is not possible for a man to be a fit hearer of 
the doctrine of truth, so long as he wULLngly lendeth 
an ear to the counsel or persuasions of the ungodly. 
Divers are hindered from coming into the truth, not 
so much by a hatred thereof in themselves, as by 
too much love or zeal which they bear to false 
teachers, by whom they are kept in ignorance, and 
infected with many fond opinions. Hence it is that 
the projahet David pronounceth him blessed who 
neither hath walked in the counsel of the wicked, 
nor stood in the way of sinners, nor sat in the seat 
of the scornful, but delighteth in the law of the 
Lord, and in his law doth exercise himself both 
night and day, Ps. i. 1. Hence it is also that Sol- 
omon here, speaking as it were to some one of his 
children whom he observed too long to follow after 
false teachers and evil ways, saith unto him, ' Leave 
off, my son, to hear the instruction which causeth to 
err from the words of knowledge.' As if he had 
said. Let it be sufficient that thou hast spent the for- 
mer times in embracing of heresies and following 
after vanities, henceforward, seeing thou art in great 

danger of erring if thou lendest thine ears to false 
prophets ; renounce them and despise their erroneous 
doctrines, that so thou mayest become a fruitful 
hearer of holy instructions. 

Ver. 28. A wicked witness mocketh at judgment : and 
the mouth of the ungodly swalloweth up iniquity. 

Ver. 29. But judgments are prepared for these 
scorners, and stripes for the hacks of fools. 

In these holy proverbs the Spirit of God thun- 
dereth against notorious witnesses, and ungodly evil 
men. ' A wicked witness mocketh at judgment.' 
A false, dissembling witness maketh no account of 
truth or equity, nor careth for God's law. 'And 
the mouth of the ungodly swalloweth up iniquity.' 
Moreover, the tongues of wicked men utter lies 
without fear or shame, and their mouths are full of 
cursing and evil speaking, making no bones at the 
most abominable speeches that possibly may be 
uttered. These witnesses of Belial and sons of the 
devil are like to the pharisees, who swallowed up 
camels, that is, great and mighty iniquities. ' But 
judgments are prepared for these scorners.' Never- 
theless, sentences of condemnation, and decrees of 
vengeance, are set down and registered concerning 
the punishing and plaguing of these deriders. ' And 
stripes for the back of fools.' Moreover, scourges 
and weapons of destruction are made ready for the 
bodies of the ungodly, which shall not lightly be 
chastened, but grievously and extremely tormented. 
Thus they that willingly and wittingly break the 
Lord's commandments, and even sell themselves, as 
it were, to work wickedness, shall be judged by the 
Lord, and by him heavily plagued and revenged, 
either in this life or in the life to come, or in both. 


Ver. 1. Wiiie is a mocker, and strong drink is rag- 
ing : whosoever erreth therein is not wise. 

This holy proverb warneth every one to take heed 
that he abuse not wine or strong drink, delighting 
too much therein. Three evils proceed from the 
abuse thereof. The first is, that it is a mocker, or 
causeth men to mock, to be vain, talkative, secure, 
wanton, and full of jollit3^ Hereunto, as it seem- 
eth, the apostle Paul alludiag, exliorteth the Ephe- 



[Chap. XX. 

sians not to be filled with wine, wlierein, saith he, is 
excess, or rather intemperancy, Epb. v. 18 ; mean- 
ing that they who excessively drink wine are by this 
means inclined and inflamed to lust and suchhke 
\ices. The second effect of drink that is too heady is, 
that it is raging ; that is to say, it causeth conten- 
tion, brawUng, fighting, and mnrder. For strong 
drink stirreth up tbe passion of anger, and maketh 
men so bold that they fear nothing. The last evil 
is foolishness, for it is said, ' whosoever erreth, or is 
delighted therein, is not wise.' The reason hereof is, 
for that it weakeneth the memory, confoundeth the 
judgment, and duUeth the wit, according to our 
common proverb, wherein we say, that when the 
wine is in the wit is out. The prophet Hosea speak- 
eth to this effect of drunkenness, when he saith, 
'Fornication, wine, and sweet strong drink take 
away the heart,' Hosea iv. 11. 

Ver. 2. Tlie fear of the king is as the roaring of a 
young lion : he that provoketh him sinneih against his 
own soul. 

The former part of this sentence hath fully been 
expounded before, chap. xix. 12, and xvi. 14. The 
meaning of the latter part is manifest. ' He that 
provoketh him,' he that stirreth the king to wrath 
by disobedience, or any manner of way, ' sinneth 
against his own soul ;' not only defileth his soul with 
a grievous transgression, but endangereth his life by 
incurring vengeance, and laying it open to the sen- 
tence of death. 

Ver. 3. It is an honour to a man to cease from strife : 
hut every fool will he meddling. 

This sentence teacheth two points ; the one that 
peace and concord is to be ensued, the other that 
strife is to be shunned. ' It is an honour to a man 
to cease from strife.' It is not only a benefit to end 
a controversy, which is commonly a chargeable 
thing; but a glory, for it is a sign of vidsdom, of 
courage, and of a quiet mind, as, on the contrary 
side, contention is a token of a vile and effeminate 
disposition. The Scripture commendeth Abraham 
for his care that he had of concord, and propoundeth 
htm as a pattern for us to follow, Gen. xiii. 8. ' But 
every fool will be meddhng.' Such as are unwise, 
on the contrary side, love contentions and suits of 
law, and either begin or maintain great quarrels, 
whereby they shew themselves to be stark fools, in- 

asmuch as by this means they not only procure unto 
themselves great troubles, but incur great infamy 
and reproach, being counted and called by all that 
know them, or hear of their deahngs, brabblers and 

Ver. 4. The slothful man will not plough hecause of 
lointer ; wherefore he shall beg in summer (or in har- 
vest), and have nothing. 

Tender and fearful sluggishness is herein con- 
demned. It is to be observed, that it is not simply 
said that ' the slothful man will not plough,' but that 
he will not plough, ' because of winter.' Indeed, the 
winter is cold, but yet it is the season fit for ploughing. 
But because the weather is hard, the sluggard will 
not work. This is a pretence ; it is no just cause to 
hinder any from labour. Many young men, to the 
end that they may spend their time in idleness, pre- 
tend the cold or the heat ; so do the people of these 
times, who, by the sharpness or heat of the weather, 
are easily kept from church. To conclude, so do 
these ministers who, because the times are hard and 
perilous, neglect the doing of many necessary duties 
which they are bound to perform. Seeing ' the 
slothful man will not plough because of winter, 
therefore he shall beg in harvest, and have nothing.' 
When others reap, he shall starve ; for men will not 
nor ought to give to those that will not work, 2 Thes. 
iii. Were it not then better to endure some cold 
at the beginning, than extreme famine in the end ? 

Ver. 5. The counsel in the heart of man is like deep 
icaters : hut a man of understanding will draw it out. 

This sentence may either so be 'understood as if 
thereby were meant that a prudent man, abounding 
with counsel, doth draw it out as occasion serveth, 
or so as if thereby were taught, that one that is 
witty and wise can pierce into secret purposes and 
counsels, which interpretation best agreeth to the 
Hebrew words. ' The counsel in the heart of man 
is like deep waters.' The secret intent of the mind 
and purpose of the heart is by some oftentimes so 
cunningly hidden and closely concealed in the secret 
corners and bottom of the soul, that every one can- 
not easily perceive or sound the same. ' But a man 
of understanding will draw it out.' Nevertheless, 
he that is indued with discretion, or hath a politic 
head, soundeth and fisheth out the secret purpose of 
him that is so close, either by propounding of ques- 

Ver. 6-9.] 

MUFFET 0:T proverbs. 


tions, or by observing of gestures, or by some such- 
like means. As, therefore, deep waters can hardly 
be sounded or drawn out, so counsel that is secret 
can hardly be perceived. But yet, as with a long 
line and with much labour, even deep waters may 
be sounded and drawn dry ; so by a sharp wit, and 
many means used, hidden thoughts maj- be discerned 
and understood. 

Ver. 6. Many commend the man that is beneficial 
■unto them : but who can find a faithful man ? 

The Scripture often joineth these two virtues to- 
gether — mercy, or bounty, and truth. In this sen- 
tence is shewed that there are more that are liberal 
than that are sincere and faitliful. ' Many commend 
the man that is beneficial unto them.' Indeed, some 
there are who, the more they owe to a man, the more 
they hate him ; but as concerning the greatest num- 
ber, they are wont to magnify those that bestow 
alms on them, or do them any good turn. ' But 
who can find a faithful man?' Among those things 
that are rare is a trusty and constant friend, who 
loveth in truth, and will stick by his neighbour in 
adversity; yea, such a man as hath a plain and 
sound heart, and will keej) touch in word and deed, 
is scant to be found on the face of the earth. You 
shall not lightly hear many, or any, commend a man 
for his faithfulness. In all ages the number of faith- 
ful men hath been small, but now it is less than 
ever, and it will be less and less to the end of the 
world ; for, saith our Saviour in the Gospel, A\Tien 
the Son of man doth come to judgment, do joti 
think that he shall find faith on the earth 1 Luke 
xviii. 8. 

Ver. 7. The just man that ivalheth in his upright- 
ness is blessed : and blessed shall his children be after 

The Lord, as it is in Exodus, sheweth mercy to 
thousands of those that love him and keep his com- 
mandments, Exod. XX. 6. The same doctrine is 
taught in this divine sentence : ' The just man that 
walketh in his uprightness is blessed.' The right- 
eous person, who, without dissembling or changeable- 
ness, practiseth the will and commandments of the 
Lord, is happy in this world, and shall in the world 
to come be eternally blessed. ' And blessed shall 
his children be after him.' Moreover liis posterity 
shall, for his sake, fare the better. Indeed, some 

just men either have no children, or leave behind 
them such as be ungracious and mihappy. But 
when the Lord doth good to any of the seed of the 
faithful, he performeth that promise which here and 
elsewhere is made in the Scrijjture. Such are not 
the merits of godly parents as that their virtues 
deserve that God should shew favour to their oflF- 
spring ; but such is the mercy of God to the root 
and branches, that because the fathers are loved, 
their children and seed are also embraced and 
blessed, as may further appear by the places of Scrip- 
ture which are quoted in the margin. 

Ver. 8. A Icing that sitteth on the throne of Judg- 
ment chaseth away all evil with his eyes. 

The great use of magistrates and the duty of 
princes is herein declared. A most wise king affirm- 
eth, that ' a king who sitteth on the throne of judg- 
ment chaseth away aU evil with his eyes.' The 
duty of the prince is not to leave and commit all 
things to under-officers, and himself to do nothmg, 
or only to govern by other men ; no, the king must 
himself sit, not at feasts or vain assembhes, but on 
the throne of judgment. He must exercise judg- 
ment and do law himself, sitting personally on the 
tribunal-seat, and faitlifuUy executing his office. By 
this means he chaseth away all evil with his eyes. 
Thus, by his presence and examining of matters, he 
findeth out and punisheth all sorts of offenders and 
misdemeanours ; and as he punisheth and findeth 
out the evil subjects, so they will fly Ms presence 
and reahn, or amend their manners. It is the duty 
of princes to correct, or put to death even, all the 
wicked, without exception or acception of persons, 
that the godly may live the more quietly and 

Ver. 9. Who can say, I have cleansed mine heart, 
I am pure from my sins ? 

"We have all need of the grace of God to sanctify 
and save us, as is declared in this excellent instruc- 
tion. For when the question is demanded, ' Who 
can say, I have cleansed mine heart, I am pure from 
my sins 1 ' the meaning is, that no mortal man can 
truly affirm this of himself Indeed, the prophet 
David saith in a certain psalm, ' Surely I do purify 
mine heart in vain, and wash nune hands in clean- 
ness' — that is, in mnocence, Ps. Ixxiii. 13. But he 
meaneth not that he did this by his own natural 



[Chap. XX. 

power, but by God's Spirit ; and not that he did 
attain to a perfect, but only to an imperfect pure- 
ness. It may be said of the elect, and they may 
say of themselves, that they are pure in heart and 
clean, after two sorts and by two means : first, By 
faith in Christ ; and, secondly. By the renewing of 
the Spirit. But seeing the reUcs of natural corrup- 
tion will remain in every man's soul until his dying 
day, do what he can ; and seeing also there will be 
corruption in the flesh, and in all the parts of the body 
more or less, none can possibly say, ' I have cleansed 
mine heart, and am pure from my sin;' or if any say 
it, he shall be a har. For the remnants of sin re- 
main, hke spots or stains in the spirit and flesh, even 
of those that are purged by the blood of Christ, and 
washed by the Holy Ghost. Nevertheless, when the 
faithful shall be glorified, then they shall be without 
spot and wruikle. In the mean season, 'Blessed 
are the pure in heart, for theirs is the kingdom of 
heaven,' Mat. v. 8. 

Ver. 10. Divers weights, and divers measures, are 
even both an abomination to tlie Lord. 

Concerning that injustice which is practised by 
false weights and balances, much before hath been 
spoken. Only here it shall be sufficient to observe, 
that certain tradesmen use to have some weights 
lesser, some greater ; and so likewise some measures 
lesser, and some greater. With the greater weight 
and measure they buy, with the lesser they sell ; or 
with the just weight and measure they sell to the 
.wiser, with the unjust to the simpler, whom they 
may easily deceive. Both these ; to wit, divers 
weights and divers measures, are such an abomin- 
able iniquity as the Lord will surely and sharply 

Ver. 11. Even a child will make known by his con- 
versation whether he be 'pure, and whether his work be 

Neither young nor old can so lie hid, but that they 
will by one means or other, at one time or other, 
bewray what manner of persons they are, and what 
manner of deeds they do. If any may be unknown 
or not made manifest in both these respects, surely 
the little children are they who are not tiied by 
such deahngs or in so many matters as men are, and 
who may seem to do they know not what. Yet as 
here is taught, ' even a child will make himself 

known by his conversation, or manifold actions,' 
that is to say, he '^vill be^^Tay by his behaviour, by 
his gestures, by his speeches, and by his practices, 
' whether he be pure,' in what state he standeth before 
God, or whether he be regenerate and inwardly re- 
newed by God's Spirit. ' And whether his works be 
right.' Whether also the thing he doth be just, 
equal, and agreeable to the word of God or no. 
Many works seem right, which yet are crooked, 
when they be done to an evil end, or proceed from 
the polluted fountain of an evil heart, chap. xxi. 4. 
Hence it is that these two words, pure and right, are 
joined together, both here and in the next chapter, 
where it is said that. As concerning the pure man, his 
work is straight or right. This to be the natural 
sense of this sentence I gather and find, after much 
consideration and searching, both by comparing the 
place before mentioned with this, and by examining 
the Hebrew text itself Now truly so it is, that, as 
here is taught, even little children make known their 
disposition by the course of their dealings. For 
even as young plants declare, by their budding and 
growing, whether the root be sound and what fruit 
they bear, so little ones shew, by their actions and 
conversation, what their hearts are, and what their 
works be hkewise. As we say in our common 
speech, that which pricks betimes vnH be a thorn, 
so those young imps that play lewd pranks are 
lewd persons, and will be, except they be changed 
by God's grace. On the contrary side, those little 
children that even in their tender age axe dehghted 
with the reading of God's word, and abstain from 
evil company, and complain of those that commit 
wickedness, and will not defile themselves with the 
corruptions of the world, testify and manifest by 
these signs that they fear God and are virtuously 
disposed. Such good children were Joseph, Samuel, 
Daniel, and Timothy, who even in their young age 
made it known that they were pure, and their work 

Ver. 12. The Lord hath made both these, even the 
ear which heareth, and the eye which seeth. 

The Lord in Exodus, chap. iv. 11, saith unto 
Moses, ' Who gave unto man his mouth ? and who can 
make the dumb or the deaf, or him that can see or hear, 
or the blind ? Is it not I, saith the Lord V To the 
same effect speaketh Solomon in this sentence, for 

Ver. 13-16.] 



when he saith, ' The Lord hath made both these, 
even the ear which heareth, and the eye which 
seeth,' his meaning is, that the Lord hath formed all 
the parts of men's bodies, and namely these two, the 
ear and the eye, and that he enableth and quickeneth 
both these to do their office. Now if the Lord made 
the ear, shall he not hear 1 and if he made the eye, 
shall he not see 1 Ps. xciv. 9. Yes, all things are 
manifest and naked before him with whom we have 
to do. 

Ver. 1 3. Love not sleep, lest thou come unto poverty : 
open thine eyes, and thou shall be satisfied with bread. 

We are called herein unto watchfulness and dili- 
gence in our callings. Now it is to be noted, that 
here sleep is not forbidden, but the love of sleep. To 
sleep is needful, to love sleep proceedeth from cor- 
ruption of nature ; and this affection of delighting in 
sleep causeth sleep to be longer than is meet, and 
therefore it bringeth many unto jjoverty. Now, 
whereas in the second part of this sentence opening 
of the eyes is opposed imto sleep, hereby watchful- 
ness is meant, inasmuch as men watch with open 
eyes, as they sleep with their eyes shut. Unto 
watching, and so consequently early rising and the 
late sitting up about the despatching of the affairs 
of this life, and following of these caUings whereunto 
we are appointed, plenty of all necessaries is pro- 

Ver. 14. It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer : 
hut when he is gone apart he hoasteth. 

The manners of men are herein laid open, who 
seek to buy cheap and to sell dear. ' It is naught, 
it is naught, saith the buyer.' Albeit the ware 
cheapened is well worth the money demanded by 
the seller, yet the covetous buyer, to the end he 
may get it very cheap, whUst he is in buying it, 
displayeth it to the utmost, and saith that it is not 
worth half so much as it is priced at, yea, that it is 
indeed stark naught. ' But when he is gone apart 
he boasteth.' But when he hath bought the thing, 
and is come home, then he will say to his friend, Had 
I not a good pennyworth ? It is even worth twice 
as much as I paid for it. Again, on the other side, 
the seller saith, It is good, it is good, -when he 
knoweth it to be stark naught. Thus both buyer 
and seller calleth that good which is evil, and that 
evil which is good, and speaketh against his own 

conscience, so that sin cleaveth unto them both, and 
a woe hangeth over them for their lying and 

Ver. 15. There is gold, and a multitude of precious 
stones : but the lips of knowledge are a most precious 

Worldly treasures are herein compared with words 
of truth and understanding. ' There is gold, and a 
multitude of precious stones.' There are in the world 
metals and stones of great pirice and value. ' But 
the lips of knowledge are a most precious treasure.' 
The words of truth and wisdom are a most excellent 
jewel ; for as they be most acceptable to God, 
so they be most profitable to men. Wherefore let 
not any, for the wages of iniquity, pollute his con- 
science or speak an untruth, but let every one 
without fear of danger utter the truth, and labour 
after the gift of speaking wisely and graciously, so 
that he may minister edification to the hearers. 

Ver. 16. Talce his garment that is surety for a 
strange man : and a pledge of him that is surety for 
a strange woman. 

The Lord saith to his people in Exodus, chap. xxii. 
26, ' If thou shalt receive to pawn the garment of 
thy neighbour, restore it unto him before the sun 
goeth down : for that only is his covering, that is 
his garment to cover his skin; wherein should he 
lie ? Otherwise it mil come to pass, that when he 
shall cry unto me I will hear him ; because I am 
merciful' This statute was given concerning the 
poor needy person who made known his necessity, 
and was driven by borrowing to relieve himself. 
Albeit then, by the virtue of this law, such favour is 
to be shewed to him that maketh known his neces- 
sity, as that, when he borroweth anything, his 
garment is not to be kept from him, nor that pawn 
wMch he cannot well spare ; yet it doth not follow 
that it is therefore unlawful to take his garment or 
pledge who is surety for strangers. For he dis- 
sembleth and taketli on him the pierson of a rich 
man, and he maketh not his necessity known, but 
boasteth so of his wealth and ability, as if he had 
not only wherewith to maintain himself, but to 
satisfy other men's debts. Wherefore, notwithstand- 
ing the former law, every one is willed in this 
sentence, vsithout scruple of conscience and for his 
own safety, ' to take his garment who is surety for 



[Chap. XX. 

a strange man, and a pledge of Mm who is surety 
for a strange woman.' See cliap. xxii. 6. That is, 
rot to trust such rash persons iidthout a pa^vn, and 
to keep it if they forfeit the same. Truly it is a 
very fond part for a poor man to undertake to dis- 
charge another man's debt, ■which he is not able to 
pay. He deserveth well to smart for such folly. 
He that will not be wise for himself will not be wise 
for others. 

Ver. 1 7. The bread of deceit is siveet to a man ; but 
afterward his mouth shill be filled with gravel. 

Sweet meat, as we are wont to say, will have 
sour sauce. ' The bread of deceit is sweet to a man.' 
Goods ill gotten axe in the beginning very deUglit- 
some to the crafty person ; for that which is gotten 
either with small labour, or by cunning device, 
seemeth very pleasant. ' But afterward his mouth 
shall be filled with gravel.' In the end, the crafty 
person shall meet with many troubles ; for either 
lois conscience will upbraid him and check him, or 
vengeance will plague him for his deceit. The fears, 
sorrows, and cares which he shall have shall be, as it 
were, so many sharp stones to set his teeth on edge, 
and to vex liim. Wherefore, instead of meat he shall 
feed on gravel, and instead of wheat, on pebble stones. 
Small pleasure is taken in the end in goods ill 
gotten, or livings unlawfully come by. 

Ver. 18. Establish thy thoughts by counsel ; and by 
prudent advice make war. 

This sentence teacheth that those things which 
we go about to do are not rashly to be attempted, 
but to be done with meditation or counsel, which 
is to be required of the learned. ' Establish thy 
thoughts by counsel.' In all matters of doubt what- 
soever, seek for and follow the direction and coun- 
sel of faithful and wise men ; for so our thoughts, 
which are otherwise weak, are strengthened and 
brought unto effect. ' And by prudent advice make 
war.' But especially in matters of great weight, of 
which sort war is, wherein more is done by policy 
than strength, and wherein the life of many a man 
is hazarded, use thine own device, and take the 
advice of others who have sldll and experience. 
Many eyes see more than one ; wherefore consult 
(vith many. So doing, thy affairs shall have the 
better success, and thou shalt prevent many dangers, 
and escape sundry evils. 

Ver. 19. With him that going about as a talebearer 
discloseth a secret, and with him that flattereth with 
his lips, join not thyself. 

Albeit it is a good thing to take counsel, yet it is 
not safe, as here is shewed, for a man to communi- 
cate his affairs to all sorts of persons. If a secret 
be not kept, counsel is made frustrate. "Wherefore 
join not thyself with him that, going about as a 
talebearer or backbitei', discloseth a secret ; for this 
were to trust a traitor, and to acquaint an enemy, 
with secrets. Again, 'With him that flattereth 
with his lips join not thyself.' Keep not company 
with those, nor take counsel of them, who will but 
fawn upon thee or gloze with thee, saying as thou 
sayest, or doing all things to please thee, not re- 
garding their own duty or thy good. The word 
here used signifieth not only flatterers, but such 
as are given to blabbing, unto whom it is also a 
dangerous thing to communicate any secrets. In 
sum, we are all here warned to take heed of feigned 
friends, and such prattling gossips as are in aU 

Ver. 20. He that curseth his father or his mother, 
shall have his candle put out in extreme darkness. 

The Lord enacteth in his law, that he that curseth 
his father or his mother shall die the death, Exod. 
xxi. 1 7. This sentence is a repetition and exposition 
or amplification of that statute. That child is said 
to curse his father or mother, who wisheth some evil 
unto them, or revileth them. Whereas it is said 
that his candle shall be put out, hereby is meant 
that his life and prosperity shaU be taken away. 
This shall be done in obscure darkness, inasmuch 
as all his glory shall not only be taken away, but 
turned into extreme misery in a day of ^vrath and 
vengeance. See chap. xxx. 11. 

Ver. 21. An heritage is hastily gotten at the begin- 
ning ; but the end thereof shall not be blessed. 

Too much haste maketh waste, as in all matters, 
so in coming to promotions and possessions. ' An 
heritage is hastily gotten at the beginning.' An 
office in church or commonwealth, and a living or 
good bargain, is by craft or some sinister means 
quickly at the first attained. ' But the end thereof 
shall not be blessed.' The issue of it shall be un- 
happy ; for goods ill gotten shall be consumed, and 
they that by unla'wful means, without God's calling, 

7er. 22-25.] 



enter into places of government, shall find therein 
ill success, and many crosses. 

Ver. 22. Saij not, I will recompense evil; hit icait 
oil the Loixl, and he tvill save thee. 

The Lord saith in his law, Lev. xix. 18, 'Ee- 
venge not, nor keep hatred against those that are 
of thy people, but love thy neighbour as thyself.' 
This precept is here repeated and enlarged. ' Say 
not, I will recompense evil.' Be so far off from re- 
venging thyself indeed, as not so much as in words 
to threaten, or in thought to think of vengeance ; 
for God hateth the bloody heart and bloody mouth, 
as well as the bloody hand. It is lawful to run to 
the magistrate for justice, but private persons may 
not wreak their own anger upon those with whom 
they are offended. As revenge is forbidden, so 
patience is commanded. ' But wait on the Lord.' 
The judges of this world cannot revenge all wrongs, 
neither will oftentimes do right. Wherefore very 
wisely Solomon biddeth those that are wronged to 
repair to the Lord, and not to the magistrate, 
though he also permitteth so to do. To wait on 
the Lord is to commend the cause we have in hand 
unto him, and to stay his leisure till he deUver us. 
A promise is made unto all those that patiently 
expect the Lord's help and deliverance, that he will 
save them. It is to be observed that it is not said. 
Wait on the Lord and he wiU revenge thee, but. He 
will save thee. By this kind of speech the Holy 
Ghost would warn every one that is injured not to 
think of the revenge or hurt of his adversary, but of 
his own defence and salvation. Thus if he do he 
shall both be preserved himself, and see liis adver- 
sary revenged, albeit not according to his wrathful 
desire, yet in such sort as shall seem good to the 
divine justice and equity. 

Ver. 23. Divers weights are abomination to the Lord: 
and false balances are not good. 

This sentence having been largely handled before 
in this book, chap. xi. 1, it were needless here 
to repeat that which already hath been written 

Ver. 24. A man's steps are of the Lord ; and ichat 
doth a man understand of his way ? 

In God we live, we move, and have our being. 
' A man's steps are of the Lord.' The goings out 
and comings in of a man, yea, all his movmg and 

stirring, is not of his own strength, but of the power 
of the Almighty. ' And what doth a man under- 
stand of his way?' As there is weakness in the 
body without the Lord, so without him there is 
notliing but ignorance in the mind. For when any 
goeth a journey, what doth he know which way he 
shall go or return, or how his matters will fall out 1 
God can lead him another way than he purposed to 
take, or can take him away in the midst of the path 
whereinto he is entered. Wherefore let not the 
strong man glory in his strength, nor the wise man 
in his wisdom, but let every one rejoice in the Lord, 
mthout whom we can do nothing, no, not in the 
matters of this Ufe, much less in those things that 
are spiritual. 

Ver. 25. It is a destruction to a man to devour that 
which is hohj : and after votes (made) to call back. 

Sacrdege and profaneness are herein condemned. 
It is a dangerous thing to dally or to be unreverent in 
God's matters. By the law of God sacrifices, tithes, 
and oblations were things holy and consecrated to 
God. Then that which is holy was devoured among 
the Jews, when any of these things, or suchlike, 
were taken away by force or craft. Wherefore the 
sons of Eli, who pulled to themselves the sacrifices of 
the people of Israel, even before they were offered, 
did devour or swallow up that which was holy, 1 Sam. 
ii. 13, 14. In these days a holy thing is devoured 
when the Lord, or the church, or the poor are de- 
frauded of that which hath been given to holy uses. 
To pull from the church after this sort is a destruc- 
tion to a man. It is not only a sin, but such a 
wickedness as will draw upon a man some grievous 
plague and judgment, whereby he shall utterly be 
overthrown. Again, ' It is a destruction after vows 
made to call back.' That is, either to wish a vow 
unmade, or to withhold the thing which in heart 
hath been vowed, or in speech promised to God's 
worship or service. This God forbiddeth in his law 
where he saith, ' If thou hast vowed a vow unto 
the Lord thy God, defer not to pay it : for the Lord 
thy God would require it of thee ; and it would be 
a sin in thee. But if thou abstainest from vowing, 
it shall not be a sin,' Deut. xxiii. 21. Wherefore 
let us duly perform those vows which we make to 
the Lord, lest we cause ourselves so to sin by rash 
vows, that the Lord shall vow us unto destruction. 



[Chap. XX. 

Ver. 26. A ivise king scatkreth the wicked, and 
turneth the. wheel over them. 

A prudent governor is herein resembled unto a 
skilful husbandman, or thresher of corn. The hus- 
bandman first winnow eth or fanneth the corn, to 
the end the chaff may be severed from the pure 
grain; even so ' a wise king scattereth the wicked.' 
He breaketh the conventicles of heretics, tliieves, 
adulterers, and suchUke evil-doers, yea, he driveth 
them, through his severity, out of the country. 
' And he turneth the wheel over them.' Again, as 
the husbandman thresheth the hard corn with a 
cart wheel, so the prudent ruler inflicteth sharp 
punishments upon the ungodly. That it was the 
custom of husbandmen among the Jews to thresh 
the hard corn with a cart wheel, may be gathered 
out of that place of the prophecy of Isaiah, where, 
resembling the Lord's chastening of his children to 
that course which the thresher taketh in dealing 
with his corn, he saith, ' For fitches are not threshed 
with an iron instrument, neither shall a cart wheel 
be turned about upon the cummin ; but the fitches 
are beaten out with a staff, and cummin with a 
rod,' Isa. xxviii. 27, 28. By which comparison the 
propheb declareth that the weak servants of God 
are not chastened by the Lord with so great afilic- 
tions as are the stronger. 

Ver. 2 7. Man's soid is, as it ivere, the candle of the 
Lard (whereby) he searcheth all the bowels of the belly. 

The excellent gift of reason bestowed on man- 
kind is herein commended. ' Man's soul is, as it 
were, the candle of the Lord.' The mind of man 
is not brutish, as is the heart of beasts, but so 
illightened with understanding as that it may fitly 
be called the lamp of the Eternal. ' (Wliereby) he 
searcheth all the bowels of the belly.' A man by 
this spirit of his, indued with reason, seeketh out 
and pierceth into the nature of all things which 
are most obscure, neither only knoweth his own 
estate, but fisheth out the secrets of others with 
whom he hath to do. 

Ver. 28. Bounty and truth preserve the kitig : and 
by bounty he upholdeth his throne. 

Virtue is that whereby the crown is especially 
maintained. ' Bounty,' that virtue which consisteth 
not only in pardoning of offences, but in giving of 
alms or gifts freely to those who stand in need, ' and 

truth,' and that virtue also which giveth every one 
his due, as, namely, honour to the good, and punish- 
ment to the ■wicked, ' preserve the king ; ' are the 
bucklers or bulwarks whereby the royal person of 
the prince is defended from evils. ' And by bounty 
he upholdeth his throne.' Nevertheless, howsoever 
both these virtues are indeed so necessary as that, 
if either both of them, or but one of them, be wanting, 
the prince cannot possibly remain long in safety ; 
yet bounty is the chief pillar of the state or king- 
dom ; for whenas strangers are nourished, the poor 
relieved, the fatherless defended, schools erected, the 
preachers of the word maintained, to conclude all, 
the works of mercy practised, this is that which 
winneth the hearts of the subjects, in whose good- 
will the strength of a land doth especially consist ; 
as, on the contrary side, nothing so soon over- 
throweth the throne of a prince as the Ul-will or 
hatred of the people under him. 

Ver. 29. The glory of young men is their strength ; 
the honour of the aged is the gray head. 

This sentence insinuateth that both the young 
and the old have their several ornaments wherein 
they may rejoice, and for the which also they are- to 
be reverenced. * The glory of young men is their 
strength.' Albeit, they that are of tender or green 
years want oftentimes wisdom or experience, which 
commonly are to be found in the ancient ; yet have 
they courage of mind and strength of body, whereby 
they are enabled to follow their callings, to fight for 
their countries, to do acts of great fame and renown. 
No man, then, is to despise the younger for their 
green years, but rather even in this respect to esteem 
them the more. Now, on the other side, ' The honour 
of the aged is the gray head.' Albeit also they who 
are stricken in years are weak in body, or want the 
use of their senses ; yet the silver crown of hoary 
hairs, which the finger of God hath set upon their 
head, doth make them venerable in all places where 
they come, so that they carry an authority or majesty 
with them, as it were. Hence it is that in the law 
the Lord giveth this commandment especially to the 
younger sort, directing his precept to every one of 
them in particular, as it were, ' Else up before the 
hoary head, and honour the person of the aged 
man,' Le?. xix. Were this commandment of the 
Lord so practised in these times as it ought to be, 

Chap. XXI. 1-4.] 



there would not-be so great sauciness or malapert- 
ness in youth as usually appeareth everywhere. 

Ver. 30. Blueneas and icowids serve to imrcjc (or are 
a purging for) the wicked man : and strokes that inerce 
into the bowels of the belly. 

This instruction teacheth us how needful a thing 
it is for the ungodly to be scourged and punislied 
for their offences. ' Blueness and wounds serve to 
purge the wicked man.' Even as beating (which 
blueness followeth) and lancing (whicli leaveth a 
wound behind) is fit and profitable for diseased and 
naughty jades ; so sharp punishments and cutting 
corrections in the flesh and in the skin are meet for 
evil-doers, and for those who otherwise will not be 
reformed. ' And strokes that pierce into the bowels 
of the belly.' Yea, moreover, as goads or spurs are 
requisite and necessary for stubborn and stiff-necked 
beasts, who will not stir unless they be touched and 
pricked to the quicli ; so most grievous and inward 
plagues and troubles, piercing the bones and enter- 
ing to the heart, are needful for obstinate and 
heinous offenders. True it is, albeit an unrepentant 
wicked man be never so much corrected or sharply 
dealt with, yet his corruption will not quite be 
tamed or wholly purged out ; but yet, nevertheless, 
punishment for the time somewhat restraineth the 
most ungodly wretch in the world. Now, as for 
those penitent sinners who have done amiss through 
ignorance or infirmity, the scourges or punishments 
which they sustain for their wicked offences not 
only scour out of them many vices to which before 
they were given, but work in them many good 
virtues ; so, then, not only aflSictions for righteous- 
ness' sake, but corrections for sin, are profitable for 
God's children, inasmuch as they are by these purged 
from much dross, like as by the other they are de- 
clared to have in them much fine silver, as it were. 


Ver. 1 . The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, 
as the rivers of uater : he turneth it vjhithersoever he 

The rule of princes is over their subjects, but the 
rule of the Lord is over princes. Not only the hand 
but the heart of the king is directed and moved by 

the divine providence. The rivers of water are 
carried sometimes one way, sometimes another ; 
even so the prince's mind is inclined by the Lord, 
sometimes to one affection, sometimes to another, 
and that without resistance. If princes' hearts be in 
God's hands, then private men's much more. If 
kings stand so affectecl as God inclineth them, sub- 
jects have need to pray that God would govern 
them by his Holy Spirit. Finally, if all rulers' 
hearts be in the Lord's disposition, all rulers have 
need to call upon the Lord for themselves, that he 
would assist and aid them in their high callings 
with his grace from above. 

Ver. 2. A man seemeth straight to himself in all his 
xvays : hut the Lord pondereth their hearts. 

God's judgment is more piercing and more perfect 
than man's. ' A man seemeth straight to himself in 
all his ways.'i Some man dealeth so uprightly as 
that his conscience doth not condemn him, but 
rather justify him in all that he hath done ; yet he 
is not therefore justified, for God pondereth the 
hearts, that is, examineth the souls and spirits, and 
findeth them corrupt or faulty in divers points. 

Ver. 3. To do justice and judgment is a thing more 
acceptable to God than sacrifice. 

Holiness without righteousness is mere hypocrisy, 
and a pkin mockery of God, which therefore can- 
not please him. To do justice and judgment is to 
practise the worlds of obedience and charity pre- 
scribed in the law of the Lord, from a sincere con- 
science and faith unfeigned. These, as our Saviour 
witnesseth in the Gospel, are the great command- 
ments, and, as the scribe that was not far from 
God's kingdom therein affirmeth, are more excellent 
than all burnt-offerings and sacrifices ; for sacrifices 
without these are abomination, and vidth these are 
but in a lower degree accepted, Mark xii. 33, being 
by these made savoury, even as meat is seasoned with 
salt, Mark ix. 49. Wherefore let every one not so 
much labour to perform the outward ceremonies of 
God's worships, as to practise the duties of obedience 
toward the Lord, and of love toward his neighbour. 

Ver. 4. He that is of haughty looks (is also) of a 
proud heart : the ploughing of the wicked is sin. 

In the former part of this sentence is afiirmed that 
he who outwardly sheweth himself stately, is in- 
^ See a fuller declaration of this matter before, chap. xvi. 2. 



[Chap. XXI. 

wardly puffed up in his mind with an opinion of his 
own excellency. Hence it is that in the Scripture 
eyes lifted up, and a high or swelhng mind are often 
joined together, and so attributed to one and the same 
person, as that, by the judgment of the Holy Ghost, 
it may appear that he which hath the one cannot be 
without the other. David, in a certain psalm, speak- 
ing of the choice which he would make of his ser- 
vants, saith, ' Him that is of haughty looks, and of a 
piroud heart, I cannot bear,' Ps. ci. 5. And in another, 
going about to clear himself of the crime of ambition 
laid to liis charge, he uttereth these words : ' Lord, 
I am not high-minded, I have no haughty eye,' 
Ps. cxxxi. 1. I am. not ignorant that some join 
the former part of this sentence unto the latter to 
this effect, as if that in the whole were taught that 
the outward and inward pride of the ungodly, and 
all that the -wicked do or plough, were sin. But we 
are not to think that Solomon would labour to Ught, 
as it were, a candle at noonday, or deliver a parable 
which had in it no deep meaning. Finally, the words 
in the text do as well bear the translation set down 
as that which others deliver. In the latter part of 
this sentence, the working of mischief, whereunto 
the vidcked give themselves, is by a borrowed speech 
called ploughing. The reason hereof is, for that as 
the husbandman taketh great pain in tilling of the 
ground, and sweateth at the plough, so the ungodly 
man followeth the accomplishing of mischief with 
earnestness. For this kind of ploughing the prophet 
Hosea reproveth the Israelites, saying, ' Ye have 
ploughed wickedness, and reaped iniquity; and ye 
have eaten the fruit of lying,' Hosea xi. 1 3. Such 
ploughing is no light transgression, but a sin, that is 
to say, a great and grievous abomination. 

Ver. 5. The troubles of the diligent man (further) 
continually to increase ; but the hasty mans continually 
to lose. 

Herein is taught that labour enricheth, and that 
haste, as we are wont to say, maketh waste. ' The 
thoughts of the diligent man further continually to 
increase.' The provident care which the painful 
person taketh to find out the best ways, or to take 
the fittest opportunities of thriving, doth by little 
and little from time to time mend and advantage 
his estate ; for wit and labour are two notable means 
of getting goods, and augmenting of a man's portion. 

' But the hasty man's continually to lose.' On the 
other side, the wily craft of such a one as maketh 
more speed than is meet to rise up unto wealth, 
impau'eth from time to time his stocks and sub- 
stances ; for craft meeteth commonly mth crosses 
and curses, which stop and overthrow the courses 

Ver. 6. Treasures gathered by a deceitful tongue are 
vanity, tossed to and fro of those that seek death. 

In the sentence going before, painful diligence 
hath been commended as a direct and lawful means 
of attaining unto wealth. In this, falsehood is not 
only condemned, but threatened ; whereby, howso- 
ever some come unto store of wordly goods, yet in 
the end they prosper not, but perish together with 
their wealth. Treasures gathered by a deceitful 
tongue are called vanity, because they vanish within 
a short time, being scattered by God's judgment, 
as the dust is by the wind. Now, for that the 
gatherers of such treasures perish together -with them, 
and by them draw upon themselves both temporal 
judgments and eternal condemnation, therefore they 
are called the vanity of men that seek death. Where- 
fore let every one take heed how he getteth goods 
by evil means ; for the gold and silver, or whatso- 
ever it is which he hath gotten unjustly, will cry to 
the Lord for vengeance, and prove his bane in the 

Ver. 7. The destruction, (or destroyer) of the wicked 
shall cut them in sunder, because they refuse to practise 

Behold both the severity and the equity of God's 
judgments upon the ungodly. The angel, or instru- 
ment of destruction whatsoever which the Lord 
sendeth to revenge the evil-doers, shall cut them 
m sunder'; that is to say, put thee to such extreme 
torment as may be made by the sawing in sunder of 
a man's body with an instrument of iron. An ex- 
ample of this severity we have in Agag, whom Samuel 
the f)rophet cut in pieces before the Lord at Gilgal, 
saying unto him, ' As thy sword hath bereaved 
women of their children, so thy mother shall, among 
other women, be bereft of her child,' 1 Sam. xv. 33. 
Darius, as appeareth in the prophecy of Daniel, 
chap. iii. 29, enacted this kind of punishment, to 
wit, of cutting in sunder or quartering, against all 
those that should blaspheme the true God. Our 

Ver. 8-n.] 



Saviour in tlie Gospel threatenetli the same torment 
to those evil servants whom, when he shall come, he 
shall find beating their fellow-servants, and eating 
and diinking with drunkards. Sharp are the judg- 
ments of the Lord on the wicked, but withal most 
just, Luke xii. 46, as is taught in the latter part of 
this sentence. For ' they refuse to practise right- 
eousness ; that is to say, they sin not of frailty, but 
wilhngly and wittingly renounce mercy and equity, 
and choose rather unto themselves unjust dealing and 

Ver. 8. There is a way of a man perverse and strange: 
hut as for the pure man, his work is straight. 

Some are always wavering-minded, and, as the 
apostle James speaketh, men of a double heart, and 
unconstant in all their ways, James i. 8 ; alluding 
in these his words to the description of an un- 
regenerate person set down in this place. For here 
it is said that ' there is a way of a man perverse 
and strange, or unconstant and strange.' That the 
course of the unregenerate is changeable it may 
appear herein, that sometimes they foUow one 
sect, sometimes another ; and that sometimes they 
do that which in itself is good, and within a while 
return to folly. That their course is also strange 
is manifest hereby, in that naturally, commonly, and 
most willingly they embrace darkness rather than 
the light. This is not to be marvelled at, seeing 
they are corrupt even from the birth, and seeing a 
man cannot gather grapes on thorns, or figs on 
thistles. 'But as for the pure man, his work is 
straight.' There is no man perfectly pure ; but he 
whose sins are purged by Christ, and whose con- 
science is washed from unbelief and unholiness by 
the water of God's Spirit, is in the Scripture said to 
be pure, because he is purified in some part. The 
conversation of such a one is straight ; that is, upright, 
constant, agreeable to God's will, and referred to 
God's glory, not deceitful, nor variable, nor crooked, 
nor, in one word, unreformed. 

Ver. 9. It is better to dwell in a corner of the house- 
top, than with a contentio7is woman in a ivide house. 

It is not wisdom for house or land to match with 
such a one, as with whom to dwell under the same 
roof, or to keep in the same roof, is a thing uncom- 
fortable and inconvenient. The houses of the Jews 
were not made shelving, or aslope above, as our 

buildings are, but so broad and open that any might 
walk on the tops thereof. Now it would be a very 
inconvenient abiding for a man to dwell in such an 
open place, subject to wind and weather, as were 
the tops of the houses of the Jews. But not only 
to dwell in the house-top, but to be thrust into a 
corner thereof, or to sit continually moping upon 
the battlement of the ' same, were yet more incom- 
modious ; for how can a man stir him when he is 
pent within a narrow room? or how can he sit at ease 
in a dangerous or troublesome place ? Nevertheless, 
to dwell with a contentious wife is yet a harder 
estate than this ; for she with her continual braw- 
ling will disquiet her husband's mind, and greatly 
hinder him in his calling. And although it is in 
itself a thing more comfortable to keep in rooms 
that are large, covered, and full of company, than on 
a house-top that is uncovered, narrow, and solitary ; 
yet it is, in this respect, better to remain in an 
inconvenient than in a convenient place, that 
the inconvenient place is free from strife and con- 
tention, but the convenient containeth such a trou- 
blesome person, as by her bitterness marreth all the 
sweetness that is therein. Nevertheless, howsoever 
the Holy Ghost, both here and elsewhere in this 
book, speaketh sharply against the contentious 
woman, yet he doth not this to deface tlie weaker 
sex, or to blame all women, but to warn both 
women and men, both one and another, to take 
heed of the vice of contention, and of disturbing 
those places and societies wherein they live. 

Ver. 10. The soul of the wicked man desireth evil : 
his neighbour hath no favour in his eyes. 

In the former part of this sentence the unregene- 
rate are noted out by this property, that the lusts 
of the flesh do reign in them. 'The soul of the 
wicked man desireth evil.' The inward affection of 
the unregenerate person longeth to enjoy something 
that is unlawful, or to do something that is hurtful. 
' His neighbour hath no favour in his eyes.' His 
nearest and dearest friend is neither pitied nor 
helped by him. For such as is his soul, such also is 
his eye ; yea, and his hand, and every part of his 
body, even merciless and cruel. 

Ver. 11. If hen the scorner is punished, he that is 
simple waxeth wise: and ichen a ivise man is instructed, 
he rcceiveih knowledge. 



[Chap. XXI. 

Punislimeuts by stripes, and admouitions by 
words, are two wholesome means of bettering tiiose 
in whom there is any grace. ' When the scorner is 
punished,' when the obstinate breaker and despiser 
of God's law or man's law is chastened or put to 
death according to his desert, ' he that is simple 
waxeth wise.' Such a one as sinneth of ignorance 
or frailty becometh more wary and obedient. ' And 
when a wise man is instructed, he receiveth know- 
ledge.' Moreover, when a prudent person is only 
by words reproved or admonished, he groweth in 
spiritual understanding and obedience ; for one 
word more entereth into a wise man, than a 
hundred stripes do into a fool. 

Ver. 12. He that overihroweth the wicked fffr their 
evil, instrudeth the just man by the house of the wicked 

We have heard by what means both a wise man 
and a simple man hath been bettered, let us now 
herein observe whereby a righteous man is in- 
structed. ' He that overthroweth the wicked for 
their evil,' or that throweth them into evil, that is 
to say, whosoever destroyeth and revengeth sinners 
for then- horrible transgressions, whether it be the 
Lord, or any angel, or any magistrate, 'he instructeth 
the just man by the house of the wicked man,' he 
profiteth the innocent person by the punishments 
which he inflicteth on the transgressor. For as it is 
in the psalm, when the righteous seeth the vengeance 
that falleth on the sinner, ' He shah rejoice and say, 
Doubtless there is a reward for the just : doubtless 
there is a God that judgeth the earth,' Ps. Iviii. 
10, 11. If we shall peruse the examples of the 
Scripture,! ^f^ shall find, that as the just have 
always instructed the families of the wicked, in 
which sense some take this parable, before God's 
judgments have fallen upon them ; so they have by 
their ruin received instruction unto themselves, after 
that they saw the plagues of the Lord to light on 
them and their habitations. 

Ver. 1 3. He that stop2Xth his ears at the crying of 
the poor, shall himself cry, and not he heard. 

In the former part of this sentence the sin of 
hardness of heart toward the poor is described ; in 
the latter, the punishment thereunto due is threat- 

^ See examples, Job v. 3; Ps. sxxvii. 36, and in divers other 
places of Scriptures. 

ened. The fault of the merciless man is noted out 
in two pouits : the one, that he stoppeth his ear ; the 
other, that he regardeth not the crying of the poor. 
He stoppeth his ear, that either will not hear when 
he doth hear, or ■will not help when he can help. 
He regardeth not the crjdng of the poor, who is not 
moved by his loud voice or by his weeping ; for 
crying noteth out a clamour, and is' a sign of lament- 
able misery. The request of the poor man is to be 
heard, much more the cry of the poor afflicted 
beggar, I say not of the stout and idle vagabond. 
He that will not hear the cry of the poor man shall 
cry himself; for he shall fall into some bitter 
afBiction, which shall cause him to roar for grief of 
heart. But he shall not be heard, for God will be- 
have liimself toward him as a deaf man that cannot 
hear, neither delivering him out of evils, nor grant- 
ing him any good things. The merciless man shall 
cry as Dives did, but shaU not receive a drop of 

Ver. 14:. A gift in secret turneth away anger; and a 
present in the bosom vehement wrath. 

The force of gifts is by degrees described in this 
sentence. See chap. xvii. 18, and xviii. 16. A gift in 
itself is gracious, but if it be secretly given, it is yet 
more acceptable ; for privy bestowing taketh away 
the blushing of open receiving. Whenas then a 
present shall even so closely be conveyed unto the 
receiver, as that it shall covertly be put into his cus- 
tom, then it will be most welcome and even forcible, 
as is taught in the latter part of this sentence, to 
pacify vehement wrath. For it will conquer the 
heart, and heap coals of fire even unto the head of 
him who beareth iU-will, chap. xxv. 22. 

Ver. 15. The executing of judgment is a joy to the 
righteous : but a terror to the workers of iniquity. 

As before in this book hath been taught, that the 
way of the Lord is a strengthening to the just, but 
a terror to the workers of iniquity, chap. x. 26 ; so 
here is declared that the upright government of the 
godly magistrate is a joy to the one, and a discom- 
fort to the other. The magistrate is the officer of 
the Lord, appointed for the praise of the good and 
the punishment of the evil-doer, as the apostle teach- 
eth. Hence it is that the executing of judgment is 
a joy to the righteous. For the just, seeing that 
right is done to every one, and that a reward is 

Ver. 16-19,] 



given unto them, cannot but herein exceedingly re- 
joice. Hence it is again that the evil-doer.s quake 
and tremble ; for they, perceiving the magistrate to 
be bent to punish sin, conceive great fear that they 
for their misdeeds shaU be revenged. 

Ver. 16. The vmn that strayeth from the way of wis- 
dom shall rest in the congregation of the dead. 

The law of God is the way of wisdom, and that 
narrow path which leadeth to eternal Ufe. He is 
said to wander from this straight way, who walketh 
not after the Spirit but after the flesh. Such a one 
shall, in the end of his error, ' rest in the congrega- 
tion of the dead.' For being shut out of God's 
kingdom, he shall in this world have his portion 
among those wretches whom divine vengeance for 
sin pursueth, or be tormented for ever in the restless 
resting-place of hell-fire, together with the devil and 
his angels. 

Ver. 1 7. He that loveth pastime shall he a poor man, 
and he that loveth wine and ointments shall not he rich. 

Two sorts of men are in the highway to beggary, 
to wit, unthrifts and spendthrifts. He is an un- 
thrift that loveth pastime ; that is to say, who can- 
not moderate himself in the use of recreations, but 
delighting in play above measure, spendeth his time 
therein. Such a one must needs be poor, because 
he doth not work to get anything, but always play. 
He is a sjDendthrift that loveth wine and loveth oint- 
ments ; that is, who in dainty cheer and costly de- 
lights keepeth no measure, and taketh his pleasure 
to the full. Such an epicure cannot be rich, because 
he not only spendeth much time, but great costs, 
upon superfluous delicates. It is not unlawful to 
use sweet or precious delights, but to over-use them. 

Ver. IS. The wicked man shall he a ransom for the 
just man, and the unfaithfvl man for the npright. 

Some are accursed and detestable wretches, whose 
desert and destiny it is to die for the sins of the peo- 
ple, and by whose death the plague that is in any 
town or country is turned away and ceaseth. These 
are shewed here to be the sacrifices which must be 
offered unto the Lord in the time of any common 
or extraordinary vengeance, to the end that sin be- 
ing purged as it were by sinful blood, and the inno- 
cent redeemed by the guilty head, his fierce wrath 
may be appeased. ' The wicked man shall be a ran- 
som for the just man.' In the time of some strange 

visitation for sin, the notorious offender, who is 
guilty of heinous crimes, by his suffering and death 
shall free the innocent person from the stroke of 
God's vengeance, who should not be spared but 
plagued, if the evil-doer were winked at. ' And the 
unfaithful man for the upright.' Moreover, some 
one that hath, by breaking the Lord's covenant or 
precept, caused trouble to fall both on himself and 
many others who in like manner have not sinned as 
he hath done, shall, suffering alone for the sin which he 
hath committed, deliver by his misery the rest that 
are in the same adversity, but not for the same 
cause. The executing of Saul's sons, 2 Sam. xxi., 
the stoning of Achau, Joshua vii. 20, and casting of ■ 
Jonah into the sea, Jonah i. 12, may more plainly de- 
clare and more fully prove the truth of this matter. 
It may here be objected, if the Lord punish the just 
for the wicked man's offence, how is he then right- 
eous ? To answer hereunto briefly : first. Though the 
Lord afflict the innocent with the sinners oftentimes, 
yet he doth not correct them for the faults of trans- 
gressors, but for their own faults, there being none 
so just but that he sinneth sometimes. Secondly, 
^Vllen the just, having authority to punish sin, wink 
at the known offences of the ungodly, by letting 
them go scot-free, they make their transgressions 
their own, so that in such cases no marvel if the 
Lord scourge the just with the unjust ; for 
even the just do appertain in such cases to the 
family of the unjust, as one^ gathereth very well 
out of the Scripture. Last of all. The troubles of 
this life are only trials of the godly sometimes and 
not chastisements ; so that, if they be now and then 
enwrapped in the same adversities with the ungodly, 
this is not to be wondered at, neither is the Lord 
for this cause to be accused. 

Ver. 19. It is hetter to dwell in the wilderness, than 
with a contentious and angry woman. 

The desert is a very uncommodious and uncom- 
fortable place to dwell in. For therein good things 
are wanting, and evils abounding. The Israelites 
found this to be true by their experience, who in 
the desert not only wanted food and drink, but 
were stung with serpents. Nevertheless, it is more 
tolerable to abide in the wilderness among venom- 
ous creatures and wild beasts, than to dwell in never 
' Tre. Annot. Lev. sx. 5. 




[Chap. XXI. 

so fair or plentiful a house -svitli a brawling and 
unquiet woman. For she by her words and deal- 
ings wiU more trouble and provoke a man to grief 
than any bear or serpent. 

Ver. 20. In the house of the wise man is a precmis 
treasure and ointment: but a foolish man devoureth 

The provident person gathereth, the fool scat- 
tereth. ' In the house of the wise man is a precious 
treasure and ointment.' In the habitation of the 
provident householder there is laid up store of all 
things which are necessary or pleasant ; for what- 
soever is of any profitable use, it is comprehended 
under the name of a precious treasure. Again, 
whatsoever serveth unto delight is contained under 
the word ointment, it being then the custom of the 
Jews to refresh and honour the bodies of men by 
anointing the same. ' But the foolish man de- 
voureth or scattereth it.' That is to say, the 
unthrifty person by his prodigality lavishing out his 
great substance and the patrimony left him by his 
parents or friends, becometh bankrupt. Now 
truly this is a great vanity and vexation of spirit, 
that a fool shall spend that in a few days or months 
wluch hath been long in getting, and hath been 
attained with great painstaking. 

Ver. 21. He that followeth after righteousness and 
hounty, shall find life, righteousness, and glmy. 

Godliness hath the promises both of this hfe and 
of the life to come, as is shewed in this sentence. 
This is the property of a godly man, that ' he followeth 
after righteousness and bounty, or kindness ;' that is 
to say, he doth not slackly seek after, but ensue with 
earnestness, those two virtues, which are most ex- 
cellent, and under which all others are contained. 
The former of these is righteousness, which is that 
virtue whereby that which is due is performed ; 
the latter is bounty, which is that virtue whereby 
good is done of a merciful and kind affection. He 
that thus seeketh these two virtues shall find three 
jewels and singular rewards. The first of these is 
Ufe, that is, length of days in this world, and immor- 
tality in the world to come. ■ The second is right- 
eousness, that is, such a just measure from the Lord 
and men as he hath observed in his dealings. The 
last is glory, that is to say, honour both in heaven 
and earth before the Almighty and among the 

faithful. Thus shall the man be blessed that 
walketh in uprightness. 

Ver. 22. The vnse man goeth up into the city of the 
mighty, and casteth down the strength of the confidence 

This instruction declareth that wisdom can do 
much even in war, yea, more than strength, which 
yet therein is commonly most respected. ' A wise 
man goeth up into the city of the mighty,' one 
l)radent person by his poUcy scaleth the walls 
wherein are many valiant men, ' and casteth down 
the strength of the confidence thereof;' moreover, 
he throweth down by his device and counsel the 
bulwarks and castles of the same. Wherefore 
wisdom is better than strength, and a prudent 
person is to be preferred before one that is valiant. 

Ver. 23. He that heepeth his mouth and his tongue 
preserveth his soul from afflictions. 

Experience witnesseth that he which hath no 
care how to govern his gestures or speech, incurreth 
many troubles, as distress of mind, suits of law and 
wounds, from which he is free who guideth the same 
aright. Mention is made both of the mouth and 
• tongue, to shew that watch and ward is to be kept 
both over our speech and all the instruments 
thereof Not so much as the mouth is rashly to 
be opened, nor the countenance to be cast awry, 
much less then should the tongue be unbridled, 
and utter slanders or revihngs. Now as he that 
keepeth his doors fast barred and locked pre- 
serveth his life from danger, so he that refraineth 
his tongue and setteth a watch before his lips, pre- 
serveth his soul from distress and destruction. 

Ver. 24. Proud, stubborn, scornfid is his name, who 
in his fury icorlceth pride. 

Herein is declared whereby an Ul name is easily 
gotten, than which there cannot be almost a greater 
evO. It is gotten especially by worldng pride in 
wrath, that is to say, by doing in the time of rage 
some presumptuous action. Many being angry be- 
cause their commandments are not obeyed or their 
desires fulfilled, to make their power known perse- 
cute such as resist them, or attempt high matters 
in the pride of their heart. So did Lamech, when 
he boasted that he would slay a man in his wound ; 
Dathan and Abiram, when they rose up against 
Moses; Nebuchadnezzar, when he cast the three 

Vee. 25-27.] 



children into tlie fiery fmniace; and Herod, when 
he sleiy the little infants ; as also Pharaoh, when 
he pursued the Israelites whom he had suffered to 
depart out of his laud. The name of such a one as 
thus in his fury worketh pride, is proud, stubborn, 
and scornful, that is to say, he is publicly infamous, 
and noted wth many titles of reproach. The first 
spot of infamy that is cast on him is, that he is a 
proud man, that is to say, one that is vainglorious. 
The second, that he is stubborn, that is, stout, full 
of stomach, and very wilful. The third is, that he 
is scornful, that is, a contemner and derider of aU 
others besides himself, and indeed a very wicked 
and pestilent man. Thus the arrogant person who 
of all others most desLreth fame and renown, by 
his furious behaviour and insolent dealing becometh 
of all men most infamous. 

Ver. 25. The desire of the slothful man slayeth him, 
because his hands refuse to work. 

Ver. 26. All the day long he coveteth greedily : but 
the righteous man giveth and spardh not. 

Herein the slothful person, who is always un- 
righteous, inasmuch as he neglecteth his duty and 
calling, is in divers points compared with the just 
man, who foUoweth his vocation faithfully. First, 
as concerning the negligent sluggard. His desire 
slayeth him ; that is to say, hunger, which is a most 
greedy wolf, killeth him in the end. The want of 
the things he desireth causeth not only his mind to 
faint, but his body to pine away. Thus wishers 
and woulders are neither good householders, nor yet 
long livers. Secondly, The cause why the slothful 
man cometh to misery and destruction is for that 
his hands refuse to work at aU. The feet of sluggards 
do oftentimes stir enough, as may appear in those 
idle people and vagabonds, who, though they do 
nothing, yet go about from house to house, either 
telling of tales or asking of alms. But as for their 
hands, which are made to be instruments of work- 
ing, they are in their bosoms, or hanging down at 
rest ; for they cannot nor will either plough or dig, 
or occupy themselves in any painful trade or gainful 
work. Thus idleness is bred in the bones, and ^vill 
not out of the flesh of the sluggard. Hence also it 
cometh to pass that, as is taught in the third place. 
He coveteth greedily or exceedingly all the day long ; 
that is to say, he vehemently lusteth after other 

men's goods from time to time, Uving both uncom- 
fortably to himself and unprofitably to others. On 
the contrary side, as is afl&rmed in the latter part of 
the six and twentieth verse, 'The righteous man 
giveth and spareth not.' Every one that laboureth 
dUigentlyiu his caUingdoth not distribute to the poor, 
but many a drudge of the world hoardeth up goods, 
doing no good therewith to the needy, defrauding 
his own soul thereof But the just man, who is both 
painful and merciful, not only hath sufficient for 
himself, but ministereth unto the necessities of 
others, by reason that, as his heart is pitiful, so his 
hands are given to working. Thus he liveth by Ms 
labour, yea, thereby he nourisheth those that are in 
want. Neither is he thus liberal for a day, or month, 
or once, as the manner of some is, in the year, but 
all day long, and that without any sparing and 
niggardliness. Who would not now rather be a 
labourer than a loiterer, seeing the sluggard is so 
miserable a wretch, but the just man so happy, and 
able to do good works ? 

Ver. 27. The sacrifice of the wicked man is an abomi- 
nation : how much more, when he offereth it wickedly ? 

This sentence teacheth that the exercises of re- 
ligion please not God of themselves, but are accept- 
able or abominable in his sight according to the 
persons that perform them, and the manner of per- 
forming the same. ' The sacrifice of the wicked is 
abomination to the Lord.' The gift and service of 
the ungodly displeaseth the Lord very much, because 
the person who offereth or performeth the same is 
unclean and unregenerate ; for as the foul vessel 
polluteth precious liquor, so the filthy soul of the 
offerer defileth his off'erhig. A^Tierefore they are 
deceived who, wallowing in some vice, with repent- 
ance whereof they are not touched, imagine that 
they can pacify the Lord's wrath by the exercises of 
godliness which they perform. But if the sacrifice 
of the wicked be of itself an abomination to the 
Lord, how much more then is it abominable when 
it is performed wickedly? For then it is twice 
odious and detestable — once for the sin of the per- 
son, and again for the corruption of the action. 
"N^Tierefore, if any man do those things which the 
Lord hath prescribed, but perform them not in that 
manner to that end, or -with that afi"ection which he 
requireth, not only all his labour and cost is lost, but 



[Chap. XXI. 

turned into sin, and into matter of provoking the 
Lord into fierce displeasure. For the Lord will be 
served not after the will of men, but after his own 
wiU, and the rule set down in liis holy word. 

Ver. 28. He that witnesseth lies, sliall perish : but 
the man that heareth sliall spealcfor ever. 

That vain person who testifieth the things which 
never he heard, or saw, or knew to be done, witness- 
eth lies ; for hes are untruths, and devised only by 
the brain of some deceitful person or other. Such 
a one as thus witnesseth lies shall perish ; for being 
tripped in his speech, or punished by the magistrate, 
or the Lord himself, he shall be put to silence with 
shame, or cut oflT from the earth, so that he shall not 
live, or at the least tell lies any long time. ' But 
the man that heareth shall speak for ever.' For he 
that testifieth no other thing, save that wliich he 
knoweth to be true, shall both continue in life, and 
in liberty of speaking. Indeed, he that goeth by 
hearsay, as the proverb is, shall teU many lies, as 
well as truths. But he that witnesseth of a man 
that which he hath heard him speak, and not that 
which he hath heard others speak of him, shall 
neither deceive nor be deceived. For in these cases 
the liearing of the ear is as certain a matter as the 
sight of the eye. Let us learn by that doctrine 
which here is set down, always to witness, not those 
things which we never knew, or which only have 
been reported unto us by flying fame, but those tilings 
which we have learned by some of ourselves, in such 
sort as that we have either heard or seen them, or 
else even felt them with our hands. So doing, we 
shall be bold and able in all times and places, before 
any to stand and avouch that which we say. 

Ver. 29. The wiclced man hardeneth his face : hut he 
that is upright ordereth each of his ways aright. 

Great difference there is between those that are of 
a crooked nature, and those that are of an honest 
disposition. 'The wicked man hardeneth his face.' 
The ungodly person goeth on in his sins without 
shame or returning back. The seat of blushing is 
in the face, so that, whereas here it is said of the 
ivicked man that he hardeneth his face, it must be 
understood that he excuseth liis sin, or proceedeth 
therein without blushing. He is like a harlot, that 
hath a forehead of brass, or a traveller that setteth 
his face against the wind and weather, and goeth on 

forward in his journey ; for let the wicked man be 
warned or threatened never so much, he stUl pro- 
ceedeth on in liis iniquity. ' But he that is upright 
ordereth each of his ways aright.' For the just man 
walketh warily and soberly in this world, and taketh 
care that neither he err in any of his opinions, nor 
swerve from the law of the Lord in any of his 
actions. Wherefore also, if he be' reproved or ad- 
monished for anything which is noted to be amiss 
in him, he resistetli not, but amendeth his fault, and 
as much as in him lieth frameth himself in the 
whole course of his life unto the obedience of the 
Lord's commandments. 

Ver. 30. There is no wisdom, and no understanding, 
and no counsel against the Lord. 

Herein is shewed that all the policies or subtleties 
whatsoever, which either are in the wit, or may spring 
from the device of creatures indued with reason, 
whether of men or angels, are utterly unable to resist 
and to hinder the decree and wUl of the Creator. 
For it is afiirmed that ' there is no wisdom, and no 
understanding, and no counsel against the Lord.' 
By wisdom in this place a certain deep and general 
knowledge of many matters is meant. By under- 
standing, a politic disposing or ordering of particular 
affairs or courses is understood. By counsel, prudent 
advice given, arising from scanning and debating of 
cases, is insinuated. None of all these three, nor 
any subtleties of the creatures whatsoever, can over- 
throw the purpose of God, prevail against his truth, 
or hinder his majesty from doing what he vdll. For 
the Lord's infinite -n-isdom is able to overreach and 
prevent the wisdom of the creatures, which is con- 
tained within certain bounds and limits. 

Ver. 31. The horse is prepared against the day of 
battle ; but salvation itself is of the Lord. 

As before hath been shewed that no poUcy pre- 
vaUeth against the Lord, so here is declared that no 
power can do anj^thing without the Lord. The root 
of the former part of this sentence is to be found in 
one of the Psalms, where the prophet speaketh thus : 
' An horse is a vain thing to save a man ; neither 
doth he by the greatness of his strength preserve the 
rider,' Ps. xxxiii. 17. The root of the latter part is 
in another, where it is said, ' Salvation belongeth 
unto the Lord,' Ps. iii. 8. It is la^vful to make ready 
the horse, or to prepare any means or instruments 

Chap. XXII. 1, 2.] 



for the battle. For tliougii God can, yet he will not 
save us ordinarily, irithout our own care and labour. 
But it is not lawful to put confidence in the horse or 
any' other creature; for no creature can help or 
profit us without the Creator. It is the Lord that 
giveth the victory in the battle. For therem that 
part shall prevail, be it stronger or weaker, greater 
or smaller, which he favoureth. If the horse be not 
to be trusted unto m the wars, that is, with flesh and 
blood, much less is the natural soul in the combat 
with principalities and powers. If the conquering 
of men be from the Lord, how much more is the 
■victory over Satan and his angels from him 1 Cer- 
tainly the mind may prepare itself against tempta- 
tion ; but unless the Lord resist and vanquish from 
above, it cannot possibly win the field. 


Ver. 1. A namn is to he desired above great riches: 
favour is better than silver or gold. 

Two good things of this life are herein preferred be- 
fore the goods of this world. The former is a name ; 
that is to say, reputation or a good report. This 
name is not that commendation wliich is given to 
a man by the wicked for doing of that which 
pleaseth their humour ; but it is that praise which 
proceedeth out of the mouth of the godly, or, at 
least, that is gotten by well-doing. This glory or 
fame is more excellent than all the treasures of this 
world. For it niaketh a man's speeches and actions 
the more acceptable ; it spreadeth his virtues unto 
his glory, and the stirring up of others ; it remaineth 
after death ; it doth good to the children of him who 
is well spoken of ; and finally, it is a means of ad- 
vancement. Nevertheless, howsoever a name is so 
great a blessing, yet the small reckoning wherein 
some of the godly are often in this world is no curse 
nor disadvantage unto them, because the Lord seeth 
obscurity to be more meet for them, and turneth it 
to be more profitable unto them. Again, although 
good report be so precious a jewel as hath been de- 
clared, yet reproach for doing well is no evU, but 
rather a glory, seeing it is a commendable and happy 
thing to suffer and to be ill-spoken of for righteous- 
ness' sake. To have a name with God, to have a 

name with the angels of heaven, finally, to have a 
name among good men, this is a thing to he desired 
above all worldly goods. The second good thing 
here commended is fa-^^our, which is said to be better 
than silver and gold. Favour in tliis place is that 
good liking whereby any person is acceptable and 
gracious in the eyes of God or man. This favour- 
able affection is to be prized above money. For 
from the favour of God proceedeth salvation ; from 
the favour of men springeth advancement, a rich 
and comfortable marriage, pardon of offences, free- 
dom out of troubles, the obtaining of all sorts of 
suits, and many other benefits and comforts. Hence 
it is that we say, in our common speech, that friend- 
ship must help justice, for a man's cause is ended as 
he is friended, and that a friend in the court is better 
than a penny in the purse. These things being true 
and sure which have been spoken, let us first learn 
this lesson. If we lose all other things, yet to labour 
to keep our credit. Secondly, To follow after what- 
soever is acceptable unto God and unto men, that 
we may have the favour of them both. Thirdly, 
Not to impair the estimation or account that any is 
in upon just desert. Last of all. Through good re- 
port and ill report, and through love and hatred, to 
walk on forward in our calhngs. 

Ver. 2. The rich and the poor meet together : the 
Lord is the maker of thew, all. 

In the former part of this sentence is shewed that 
two sorts of people, differing from each other in con- 
dition, not only are in the world, but as occasion 
falleth out, light one upon another. Sometimes the 
rich and the poor meet in the church, sometimes in 
the highway, sometimes about this business, and 
sometimes about that. A hke phrase to that which 
here is set down we have in the psakn, where it is 
said, ' Mercy and truth meet together ; righteousness 
and peace do kiss each other,' Ps. Ixxxv. 10. In the 
latter part of this proverb is taught that poverty and 
riches fall not out by chance and fortune, but by the 
will and providence of the Lord. For whereas it is 
said that the Lord is the maker of them aU; the 
meaning is, that although there is difference between 
the estate of the rich man and the poor man in these 
outward things, yet they are both alike and equal, 
in that they are the Lord's workmanship and crea- 
tures, formed and made by him according to his 



[Chap. XXII. 

image, and placed in that condition -n-hereof they 

Ver. 3. The pnidant man seeth the evil and hideth 
himself: but the foolish go on still, and are punished. 

We must be vnse as serpents, and harmless as the 
doves. The ser^Dent hideth himself when he spieth a 
danger, and so doth he that is wary prevent and 
avoid perils. The first property of the prudent man 
is, that he seeth the evil, to wit, by the enlighten- 
ing of God's Spirit, which giveth unto him a sense 
and feeling of the greatness of sin, and of the 
certainty of the punishment thereof Every one 
doth not perceive this, yea, a man may have scrip- 
tures at his fingers' ends, and yet not see the danger 
of sin or of God's wrath, unless it be revealed unto 
him by the Lord himself after a peculiar manner. 
The second property of the prudent man is, upon 
the sight of the plague or evil, to hide himself 
The safest and best hiding of a man's self in danger 
is flying unto God, and reposing of a man's self in 
his secret place and under his wings by a lively faith, 
Ps. xci. 1, and cxliii. 9. But it is also lawful and 
good not only to hide the heart but the head, and 
to use the outward means whereby we may be pre- 
served from evils. For although God can save us 
only by his power, yet he will not without our 
own care and endeavour, nor without those means 
which he hath ordained to that intent and purpose. 
Here occasion is offered to entreat whether a man 
may fly from the pestilence with a good conscience, 
or keep himself close in the time of the plague from 
those that are infected with this noisome disease. 
But seeing somewhat is set down in my former 
edition of this book touching this matter, and I 
shun of purpose the entering into controversies, and 
the handling of commonplaces in this treatise, I let 
pass to Avrite anything of this question at this present. 
Only let us all learn by this doctrine that hath been 
already taught, to pray unto the Lord that we may 
not be so brutish as to run into manifest dangers 
and open snares, but on the contrary side have 
eagles' eyes to spy and foresee, and hinds' feet to 
shun and eschew all sorts of evils which may any- 
way hurt us, either in our goods or our names, or 
our bodies or our souls. Arid when we perceive 
that the flood of God's wrath will fall upon the earth, 
let us with Noah enter into the ark, that therein we 

may be safe from the vengeance approacliing. Thus 
to see the plague and to hide himself is the part and 
custom of the prudent man. But the foolish, in the 
latter part of the sentence, go on stiU and are 
punished. In the which words not only the kind- 
ness,i but the boldness of vain and presumptuous 
people is rej)roved, who proceed in wicked actions, or 
walk on in dangerous places, without any change of 
mind, or withdrawing of the body, until they be 
overtaken with some calamity, or overthrown by 
some judgment of the Lord. Indeed we are to 
venture even upon the pikes when our calling shall 
enforce us, or necessity shall constrain us, to be in the 
midst of dangers, assuring ourselves that through 
the mercy and power of God, and the ministry of the 
angels, we shall not dash our foot at any stone, yea, 
we shaU tread upon the lions and the dragons. But 
great rashness it is, and a grievous tempting of God, 
to hazard ourselves unnecessarily, and not to shun 
those evils which by some means we may lawfully 
withstand or avoid, 2 Pet. ii. 12. Such as thus 
rush willingly and wittingly into dangers and 
troubles, are, as the apostle speaketh, brute beasts 
born to the slaughter, and drawing upon themselves 
swift destruction. Let us therefore be harmless 
as the doves, but let us not be simple, as they 
and divers other birds are, who some of them fear 
neither arrow nor bullet, and some of them put 
their necks into the snare, and set their feet upon 
the lime-twigs. Otherwise, going on in perilous 
actions or places, we shall be sure to be punished 
with one punishment or other, which wiU befall us 
as a just reward of our rashness, or as a warning to 
teach us to be more wary and circumspect. 

Ver. 4. The reward of humility a7id of the fear of 
the Lord is riches, honour, and life. 

These two virtues, lowliness and the reverence 
of the Lord, are, as it were, of kin, and linked 
together. Unto them three blessings are here pro- 
mised, which men most desire ; for, first. They desire 
wealth, whereby they may attain to the necessaries 
of this life ; secondly. They desire honour, whereby 
they may get the greater estimation, and come unto 
offices or bearing of rule ; thirdly. They desire life 
or length of days, to the end that they may con- 
tinue long in this world. HumiHty bringeth these 
' Qu. ' blindness ' ? — Ed. 

Ver. 5-8.] 



desired blessings unto men, as it were, by serving 
for them ; for the fear of the Lord procureth the 
same by preserving from sin, whicli briugeth shame, 
poverty, and death. 

Ver. 5. Thorns and snares are in the way of the 
wicked man : hut he that kee2}eth his soul will de^yart 
far off from them. 

By thorns and snares, hurting and entanghug 
evils are meant. These are in the way of the wicked 
man, for the mischievous person persecuteth the just, 
and seeketh to entrap him by some subtlety, even 
as the fowler setteth snares for the silly bird. Thus, 
as the apostle speaketh, destruction and vexation 
are in the way of the ungodly, but the way of peace 
they have not known, Rom. iii. 16. ' He that 
keepeth his soul will depart from them.' Such a 
one as is wary and watchful over his own safety 
will not come near the place of danger, wherein the 
wicked man layeth thorns and snares for him, but 
will fly far from it lest he be hurt. It is lawful 
then, nay, it is our duty to fly from the persecutions 
of the ungodly, and to remove from those places 
wherem they set snares for our lives. 

Ver. 6. Teach a child according to the trade of his 
way : and he will not depart therefrom u<hen he is old. 

This sentence containeth an exliortation to train 
up children in good learning, and a reason to move 
us so to do. The duty enjoined is, teach a child. 
This duty the Lord in the law commandeth parents 
to perform, saying unto every father, ' These words 
which 1 command thee this day shall be in tlune 
heart, and thou shalt whet them on thy children,' 
Deut. vi. 6. The same duty St Paul chargeth 
Christian parents to perform, saying unto them, 
' Parents, provoke not your children to wrath, but 
bring them up in the instruction and information of 
the Lord,' Eph. vi. 4. The manner of teaching 
which parents are to use may be gathered not only 
by the mention of children, but by the signification 
of the Hebrew word here set down, which is as 
much as if it were said, catechise, or enter, as it 
were. The thing wherein a child is to be instructed 
is his way, that is, the rule of God's word and of 
his life ; for wherewith shall a young man cleanse 
his way, but by ruling himself according to God's 
word ? The reason why a child is to be taught is, 
for that lie will not depart from the right way when 

he is old, if he be instructed therein when he is 
young ; for by good education he will have a habit 
of doing well, and retain a savour of that liquor 
always which was poured into him at the beginning. 
They that have been well brought up in youth may 
prove amiss in old age, but surely vktuous educa^ 
tion at the beginning is a good means to cause men 
to continue in virtue to the end. 

Ver. 7. The rich mem ruleth over the poor : and 
the horroiuer is servant to the lender. 

Because the poor man standeth in need of the 
rich, he that is wealthy becometh his lord ; for he 
commandeth him to do his work for the wages which 
he gives to him, and rebuketh him if he do not well. 
Moreover, by reason the rich can bear out the 
charges of government, they are commonly chosen 
into oiEces, and so rule over the poor. Finally, for 
that the rich carry the greater countenance and 
credit with them, they commonly usurp authority, 
and bear away the sway in all matters and in all 
places wherein they live. Likewise, ' the borrower is 
servant to the lender.' For he that goeth a-borrowing, 
as we say, goeth a-sorromng. He that doth so loseth 
his liberty, blusheth oftentimes when he meetetli his 
creditor, cappeth and croucheth to him. or selleth him- 
self to be his drudge, that with his labour and bondage 
he may pay the debt which he hath incurred. 

Ver. 8. He that soweth iniquity shall reap afflic- 
tion : and as concerning the rod, the wrath thereof shall 
consume it. 

It is meet and just that he which doth evil should 
suffer condign punishment for his evil-doing.^ This 
cometh as oft to pass as here is shewed, as it falleth 
out that he that soweth bad seed liath but a bad 
harvest. Again, it is right and equal that the au- 
thority or power which is abused should be taken 
away and abolished. This also as often cometh to 
pass, as is shewed in the latter part of this sentence, 
as it faUeth out that the hard stroke of the rod or 
staff' doth break or knaf> it into pieces ; for therein 
it is said that, as concerning the rod, ' the wratli 
thereof shall consume it.' Whereby is meant, that 
the abusing of rule unto rage or cruelty causeth an 
overthrow thereof, which, how true it is, the examples 
of the tyrants in all ages declare. Others translate 
the latter part of this sentence otherwise, but the 

^ rO'y ^^\'^2V JO^ti'l, Kt vlrgam, furor ejus consumet. 



[Uhap. XXII. 

sense wliicli they give thereof is all one in effect 
Tvith this here set do'^m. 

Ver. 9. He that hath a good eye shall he blessed : 
for he giveth of his bread to the poor. 

The Lord loveth a cheerful giver, as the apostle 
teacheth. He is a cheerful giver that hath a good 
eye. For he doth not grieve to see the goods go 
from him, as doth the niggard ; but pitying the 
necessity of the poor, he is glad, and looketh mer- 
rily when he bestoweth his liberality. He that 
hath such a heart and eye shall be blessed ; for not 
only men will wish him well, but the Lord himself 
will pour upon him store of temporal and spiritual 
blessings, so that the fruits of good graces shall 
increase within him, 1 Cor. ix. 10. 'For he giveth 
of his bread to the poor.' Seeing he bestoweth food 
and suclilike necessaries on the needy, the just and 
merciful God will increase his corn, whereof bread 
is made, and the gifts of liis grace in him, which 
are better and far more excellent than the fruits of 
the earth. 

Ver. 10. Cast out the scorner, and strife will go 
out : and suing and reproaching will cease. 

All remedies are first to be tried and applied to 
heal the wound that is made ; but that member of 
the body which is incurable is to be cut off, lest the 
rest that are whole be thereby corrupted. In like 
manner, thou that art a magistrate, a minister, or 
ruler of a household, art to cast out the scorner — 
that is to say, to remove or cut off the obstinate 
person who will not be amended, and who by his 
scorning and scoffing raiseth contention, from thy 
jurisdiction, from thy congregation, and from thy 
family. Divers like precepts are given in the Scrip- 
ture. Our Saviour in the Gospel willeth his dis- 
ciples to count him that 'svill not hear the church as 
a heathen and a j)ublican. Mat. viii. 1 7. The author 
of the Epistle to the Hebrews admonishetli them to 
take heed that there be not among them any root of 
bitterness — that is, any contentious person, by whom 
many might be infected and provoked to dissension, 
Heb. xii. 15. The apostle Paul hkewise chargeth 
the Thessalonians not to keep company with such a 
member of the church as walketh disorderly, or 
disobeyeth his doctrine, 2 Thes. iii. 14. The same 
apostle wisheth that such as did trouble the church 
of Galatia were cut off — to wit, by the censure of 

excommunication, Gal. v. 12. Sarah would not 
endure Ishmael and Hagar, but moved Abraham to 
cast out both these scorners, and removed both the 
bondwoman and her son from her family. If 
neither these holy precepts nor these godly examples 
can move us to practise this duty, yet the reason set 
down in the latter part of this sentence should pre- 
vail with us ; for therein is shewed, that by cast- 
ing out the scorner three great evils are cast out. 
The first is strife — that is to say, brawling and 
fighting; the second is suing — that is to say, de- 
fending and proving in courts of judgment, or pro- 
secuting of controversies; the third is reproaching 
— that is, railmg and revihng, libelling, and all 
manner of defacing and disgracing. If the scorner 
be as our right eye, or as our right hand, he is to be 
plucked out and cast away. 

Ver. 11. As concerning him that loveth pureness of 
heart grace is in his lips, the king vrill be his friend. 

Every man's words that is able to speak readily 
or finely of matters are not acceptable, nor draw- 
favour or liking to him that uttereth them. For, as 
we have before heard, excellent talk becometh not 
a fool ; and, as afterward is taught in this book, 
a parable is uncomely in an ungodly man's mouth. 
But as concerning him that loveth pureness of heart, 
as touching such a person as is void of dissimula- 
tion, and as is delighted with truth and holiness, 
grace is in his lips, his words are gracious and 
pleasant, and like to precious liquor that cometh out 
of a sweet and clean vessel. See an example, Ps. ci. 
' The king will be his friend.' Tlie prince will affect 
him, and join him near unto him. 

Ver. 12. The eyes of the Lord preserve knowledge : 
but he overthrouieth the word of the transgressor. 

God is the defender of truth, and the rooter out 
of falsehood. By the eyes of the Lord his love 
and tender care is meant, who herein is like to those 
men who never turn away their sight from those 
whom they affect. This loving care of the Lord 
doth preserve knowledge — that is to say, maintain 
the testimony of truth and sound doctrine. ' But 
he overthroweth the words of the transgressor' — 
that is to say, he revealeth in time, and abolisheth 
in the end, all error and falsehood. 

Ver. 13. The slothful man saith, A lion is loithout, I 
shall be slain in the streets. 

Ver. 14-16.] 



In this parable the behaviour of sluggards when 
they are called about their work, is notably painted 
out. The sense thereof is, that the idle person 
doth indeed so behave himself, as if one called to go 
abroad about some business should plead that there- 
fore he will not go out of doors because a Hon is in 
the streets. By the slothful man, such a one is meant 
as delighteth in idleness or loitering. By the Hon 
abroad, some great imagined danger shewed out. 
Imagined I say, because the sluggard thinketh a 
lamb to be a lion, and counteth a small danger great. 
Whereas the sluggard speaketh thus : ' I shaU be 
slain in the streets ;' he sheweth that he feareth not 
only some harm, but death itself. To be brief, thus 
much here is taught, that although it is not the use 
of idle persons to utter the self-same words which are 
set down in this place, yet indeed they always so 
behave themselves as if they spake them. For the 
slothful liinder themselves from their work by feign- 
ing of lets and fearing of dangers, as loss of life, or 
of favour, or of liberty, or of possessions, having 
always one excuse or other, either in their hearts or 
in their mouths. 

Ver. 14. The mouth of strange women is as a deep 
pit : he that is a detestation to the Lord shall fall therein. 

The latter sin is oftentimes a punishment of that 
sin which before hath been committed. Among all 
the evils in the world, there is scant any worse than 
the mouth, that is, the looks and speech, of strange 
women. This is resembled very fitly to a pit, be- 
cause it causeth men to fall into the sin of fornication 
and suchlike vices. It is no less aptly compared to 
a deep pit, because he that falleth thereinto cannot 
rise or get out again, but is plunged into eternal and 
most fearful destruction and bottomless misery. 
' He that is a detestation to the Lord shall fall 
therein.' Such a one as God forsaketh because of 
his former wickedness, being delivered up by him 
into a reprobate sense through a peculiar kind of 
revenge, shall be seduced by the mouth of the harlot. 
He shall be as a beast pursued by the hunter, and 
driven into the pit or snare. Oh fearful and most 
severe, yet withal most righteous judgment of the 
Lord ! more bitter and deadly than wormwood or 
any plague. 

Ver. 15. Foolishness is hound up in the heart of a 
child : but the rod of correction will drive it away. 

Correction much helpeth unto the changing of 
corrupt nature. ' Foohshness is bound up in the 
heart of a chOd.' Frowardness and simphcity 
spreadeth itself throughout the whole flesh of youth, 
but especially hath abode in their souls, wherein it 
is deeply rooted ; for their reason is weak, their 
will wayward, and their whole heart inclined and 
addicted to evil. Hence it is that Job, chap. xi. 12, 
compareth a child new born to a wild ass colt, that is 
most foolish and rude, and never was broken. Not- 
withstanding that foolishness is bound up in such 
sort in the heart of a child, as that it is fast tied 
thereunto, as a pack or fardel is to a horse's back ; 
yet, as is declared in the latter part of this sentence, 
' the rod of correction will drive it away.' If in- 
struction by words will not chase away sin, yet 
chastisement wUl, so that it be moderate, and joined 
with speeches of admonition. Cruelty and continual 
beating will not do it, but correction and moderate 
chastisement will not only drive away foolishness, 
but give and work wisdom ; as afterward is taught in 
this book. 

Ver. 1 6. He that oppresseth the poor to increase his own 
substance, giving to the rich, shall surely come to poverty. 

Although this verse may so be translated, as if 
that thereby two sorts of people were taxed, who 
oftentimes come to poverty, to wit, both those who 
puU unto themselves the goods of those which live in 
want, and those that either favour, or, in the humour 
of vainglory, send rich presents to the wealthy, or 
feed them sumptuously ; yet, nevertheless, rather 
one threatening alone against those that wrong the 
poor seemeth therein to be contained ; for both 
the Hebrew words so lie in the original text as 
they have been set dovm, and they are so turned 
by the old translator. Now surely it is a great sin 
for a man to oppress the poor to increase his own 
substance ; for he that is brought low in his estate 
is rather to be relieved than to be pilled or 
or polled. Nevertheless this is a common practice 
in the world, by usury and such deceitful means to 
pluck from the poor that little which they have. 
He that dealeth thus to multiply his riches, shall in 
the end come to want, and himself be spoiled. For 
' giving to the rich, he shall surely come to povert}^' 
That is to say, being compelled to give to the mighty 
men of the world, to the end they would wink at 



[Chap, XXH. 

liim, or protect him against his adversaries, he shall 
be brought at the last to a poor estate, being sucked 
dry, and preyed upon by them. 

Ver. 17. Incline thine ear, and hearken to the luords 
of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledc/e. 

Ver. 18. For it shall he pleasant if thou keep these 
sayings in thy belly ; and if they le directed together 
in thy lips. 

Ver. 19. To the end that thy confidence may be in 
the Lord, I have shewed knowledge this day unto thee. 

Ver. 20. Have not J written to thee most p)rincely 
sayings in counsels and understanding ? 

Ver. 21. Making known unto thee that which is cer- 
tain, and speeches of truth ; that in thy words thou 
mayest return the truth to those that send to thee ? 

From the beginning of the tenth chapter unto the 
beginning of these verses, divers brief sentences have 
been set down, rather by way of doctrine than of 
exhortiition. Now that style being left or altered, 
Solomon returneth to take unto him the person of a 
father, and to speak after that manner which he used 
in the nine first chapters. A grave exhortation, 
enforced by certain reasons, is contained in these five 
verses. Inchne thine ears, and hearken to the words 
of the wise,' bend the sense of hearing, which is 
the entry of understanding, unto the speeches of 
the learned, ' and apply thiiie heart unto my know- 
ledge.' Moreover, bend the inward powers of thy 
soul unto my doctrine. ' For it shall be pleasant if 
thou keep these sayings in thy beUy, and if they be 
directed together in thy lips ;' for my lessons wUl be 
sweeter unto thee than the honey or the honey- 
comb, if they be laid up iu thine heart, and 
fitly uttered with thy hps. ' To the end that thy 
confidence may be in the Lord, I have shewed know- 
ledge this day unto thee. To the intent that thou 
mayest not despair, nor yet leave unto thine own 
wisdom, I have at this time given thee such instruc- 
tion as sheweth both' Jehovah to be the true God, 
and describeth him to be just, merciful, wise, and 
omnipotent; and also declareth the duties of obe- 
dience wherein men are to walk. Wherefore see 
that thou regard my doctrine, and observe the same. 
' Have not I written unto thee most jsrincely sayings 
in counsels and understanding 1 making known unto 
thee that which is certain, and speeches of truth ; 
that in thy words thou mayest return the truth to 

those that send to thee V Standeth not the case so 
that I have taken pains to set down in writing, not 
base or common, but rare and royal sentences, by 
way of advice and doctrine, teaching and declaring 
not fancies which shall vanish, nor fables which shall 
never come to pass, but truths which shall be per- 
formed in their season, and are to be beUeved, to the 
end thou mayest be able to render a reason of thy 
doings to those that shall call thee to account, and 
give sound advice to those that shall require thy 
counsel 1 Like persuasions to hearken to wholesome 
doctrine as are set down in the two last of these 
verses, are elsewhere used in the Scripture. The 
apostle Paul saith to the Galatians, ' Behold, how 
large a letter I have written unto you with mine 
own hand,' Gal. vi. 11. The apostle John saith 
' These words of God are true,' Rev. xix. 9. Our 
Saviour Christ saith, ' Heaven and earth shall pass, 
but one jot or tittle of the law shall not pass till aU 
be fulfilled,' Mat. ix. 18. Before in this book 
Solomon hath said, ' I will utter the words of rulers,' 
Prov. viii. 6. There he useth a word in the 
Hebrew which noteth out those governors which 
guide and lead the people. Here he useth a word 
which significth those nobles that are in the third 
place next to the king. To conclude the comparing 
of places of Scripture, which were an endless work, 
whereas it is said in the end of these verses that 
thou mayest in thy words return the truth to those 
that send to thee, this phrase accordeth well with 
that exhortation of the apostle Peter, wherein he 
wUleth every Christian to be ready to render a 
reason unto those that shall call them to account of 
their faith, 1 Peter iii. 15. 

Ver. 22. Rob not the poor because he is poor : neither 
tread down the afflicted in the gate : 

Ver. 23. For the Lord pleadeth their cause, and will 
spoil their soxd that spoil them. 

In this precept the Holy Ghost dissuadeth from 
a vice which is both very heinous and common in 
the world. ' Rob not the poor because he is poor.' 
do wrong to no man, but in no case to the needy 
person ; least of aU in this respect, that he is not 
able to resist or revenge thee. It is great inhu- 
manity and cruelty to oppress him that is already 
pressed down, and therefore is rather to be relieved 
than further to be molested. ' Neither tread down 

Ver. 24-29.] 



tlie afflicted in tlie gate.' Above all things, abuse 
not thy might, even in the seat of justice, to over- 
throw the right of him that is wrongfully pursued 
or grievouslj" distressed. It were great injustice to 
beat down the afflicted in that place, wherein, if 
they be innocent, they are to be relieved and de- 
fended. Yet this is often done by rich and mighty 
men, who, by slandering, corrupting of the judges, 
and delaying of the suits, do even break the hearts 
and backs of the poor. ' For the Lord pleadeth their 
cause.' For although the afflicted cannot defend 
themselves, or others refuse to plead for them, yet 
the Eternal, who is their proper judge, will, by pre- 
serving them, shew himself their patron, and will 
spoil their soul that spoil them ; and moreover, by 
revenging their enemies, \\411 shew himself to be a 
punisher of oppressors. 

Ver. 24. Make no friendship with an angry man; 
neither go with a furious person .- 

Ver. 25. Lest thou learn his ways, and receive des- 
truction to thine oivn soul. 

Fellowship with those who are hasty and unbridled 
of their affections is here forbidden. ' Make no 
friendship with an angry man.' Choose not him to 
be thy familiar friend who is of a wrathful dispo- 
sition, neither go with a furious person, neither walk 
in the presence of a moody person, who is soon pro- 
voked, and useth also to provoke others. Some by 
nature somewhat hasty are not utterly to be rejected 
or excluded from our company, if through God's 
grace they bridle themselves in any good measure ; 
but such as neither stay their passions at all by 
reason or God's Spirit, are fit to live alone as dragons 
and wild beasts. 'Lest thou learn his ways.' Lest by 
his example and company thou be infected with his 
vices ; for he is an ill companion who hindereth good- 
ness or furtliereth evil. ' And receive destruction to 
thine own soul.' And lest thou meet with a deadly 
blow at his hands ; for the furious person spareth 
not to shed blood, and sometimes is wont to mischief 
or slay his nearest and dearest friends. 

Ver. 26, Be not of the number of them that touch 
the liand, nor of them that promise to pay debts. 

Ver. 27. If thou hast not wherewith to make recom- 
pense, luhy causest thou that the creditor should take thy 
led from under thee ? 

A precept is herein given to the poor to take heed 

of suretyship, and a reason is added thereunto. ' Be 
not of the number of them that touch the hand. Be 
not one that maketh rash and hasty bargains. 'Xor 
of them that promise to pay debts.' Neither be one 
that easily promiseth to become surety. 'If thou 
hast not where^vith to make recompense, why causest 
thou that the creditor should take thy bed from under 
thee?' Seeing thou art not able to perform thy cove- 
nant, what reason hast thou to cast thyself into such 
extreme misery as that thou shalt be put to give or 
sell the bed whereon thou liest, and so to part wth 
a thing most necessary, to the end thou mayest 
discharge the debt which thou owest for another 
man? Suretyship is not evil in itself, but rash surety- 
ship is a sin. Suretyship) is not a thing unlawful of 
its own nature, but to some it is very hurtful, and to 
all dangerous. 

Ver. 28. TIwu sJicdt not remove the ancient hounds 
which thij forefathers have set. 

Those good things are not rashly or lightly to be 
changed, which by law or custom of the elders are 
received. Moses saith in Deuteronomy, ' Remove 
not the ancient bound of thy neighbour which the 
elders have set down, in the possession which thou 
shalt possess, in the land which the Lord thy God 
shall give thee to inherit,' Deut. xix. 14. The same 
precept Solomon here repeateth and giveth to his 
son. In Judea, the changing of the marks of lands 
did breed great confusion in the year of jubilee, 
wherein the grounds were to be restored to the first 
possessorsthereof, or at least to their posterity. Among 
us, encroaching on other men's possessions, and the 
deceitful displacing of the signs of our own inheri- 
tances, causeth suits of law, frays, and slaughter 
oftentimes. If men's grounds should not be severed 
by creeks, or ditches, or hedges, or some marks, 
much wrong would be done, and none should know 
his own. Let men make as little conscience of this 
sin as they will, the word of God pronounceth every 
one accursed that removeth his neighbour's mark. 
Great men and gentlemen, look you encroach not 
upon other men's possessions, or look for a curse 
upon your encroaching. 

Ver. 29. Ilastthouseenamandiliffent (Heh., swift) 
in his business ? he shall stand before kings, he shall 
not stand before mean persons. 

As slowness is grievous, so swiftness in working 



[Chap. XXIII. 

is acceptable. For he that is quick in despatching 
any matter, performeth the same in a short time, and 
by a ready course. ' Hast thou seen a man swift in 
his busmess?' Hast thou observed one -vvho de- 
spatcheth any work of the body or mind with 
nimbleness and dexterity, or that flieth about his 
master's errands ^ 'He shall stand before kings.' He 
shall be received into the service of nobles and 
princes, who are wont to delight greatly in those 
that are quick-spirited and painful. ' He shall not 
stand before mean or base persons.' He shall not be 
suffered long to live obscurely, or to have some base 
place or office. Here it may be objected, how is this 
promise of God's word true, seeing many diligent and 
painful labourers are meanly provided for, whilst 
idle serving-men and loitering ruffians are enter- 
tained in many great men's houses 1 Truly these 
times are very corrupt ; but yet oftentimes it cometh 
to pass, which is the point here taught, that such as 
are very serviceable and laborious are hired and ad- 
vanced before loiterers and sluggards. Now, how- 
soever, sometimes it is to be seen that the most 
diligent and readiest to do good service are now 
neglected in this world, yet herein they are to com- 
fort themselves, that they shall hereafter stand be- 
fore the King of glory in heaven. Oh what a high 
dignity will that be, above the glory of princes, and 
equal to the honour of angels, for ever to behold the 
face of God, and to stand in his most comfortable 
presence ! There wUl be no doubt more joy in one 
day in standing before the Lord, than can be in a 
hundred years by standing before the most gracious 
and glorious prince in all the world. 


Ver. 1. When, thou shalt sit to eat with a ruler, con- 
sider diligently what is before thee : 

Ver. 2. Otherwise thou shouldst put a knife into thy 
throat, if thou wert of a greedy appetite. 

Ver. 3. Desire not his dainty dishes : for it is deceit- 
ful meat. 

We are taught in these sentences how to behave 
ourselves when we are at some great feasts, or at 
the tables of great personages. They contain two 
exhortations, enforced by their several reasons. The 

former is, ' Consider dihgently what is before thee ;' 
that is to say, ponder and observe with wisdom and 
discretion the nature and the number of those meats 
and drinks which are placed on the table. Tliis 
exhortation, set do-\vn in the first verse, is enforced 
by a reason set down in the second, which is, ' Other- 
wise thou shouldst put a knife into thy throat if 
thou wert of a greedy appetite ;' that is to say, else, 
if thou wert intemperate of thy diet, thou mightst, 
by eating or diinking too much, kill thyself in such 
sort as if that thou didst put a knife to thy throat, 
and so become the author of thine own death. The 
latter exhortation is, ' Desire not his dainty dishes ;' 
that is to say, lust not after, nor covet with an un- 
bridled affection, his pleasant delicates. The reason 
why deUcious fare should not incontinently be de- 
sired is for that it is deceitful meat ; that is to say, 
it is like a bait under which lurketh a hook, and 
such food it is as will easUy overtake a man if he be 
not very watchful and wary. 

Ver. 4. Travail not to attain to riches : cease from 
this wisdom of thine. 

Ver. 5. JVilt thou cause thine eyes to fly after them 2 
(thou mayest) lut they will not he found : for they will 
make themselves wings like the eagle, which flieth up to 

It is not unlawful for a man to take pains in his 
calling that he may get the goods of this life, and 
rise up unto wealth ; but to travail to attain to riches, 
that is, to drudge and moU for the muck of this 
world, and for the same to over-toil the body or 
torment the mind, is a property of an earthly-minded 
man, and a fault here forbidden. Nevertheless this 
worldliness is counted wisdom, and it is indeed the 
wisdom of the children of this world, who in their 
generation are more politic and prudent than the 
children of light. But seeing this is not the wis- 
dom of God, but the wisdom of a man's own brain, 
and seeing the cunning devices whereby worldhngs 
go about to hook riches to themselves, are but crafty 
sleights and evil vices indeed, every one is to cease 
from this his own wisdom, and to labour that he 
may be truly wise indeed. Although riches quickly 
vanish, and although some labour in vain to be rich, 
yet many a covetous man there is in the world that 
setteth his heart upon them, and casteth many a 
long look after them. Unto such a greedy wretch 

Ver. 6-9.] 



the Spirit of God saith in the beginning of the 
fifth verse, ' "Wilt thou cause thine e)"es to fly after 
them ? ' that is to say, wilt thou desire them too 
earnestly, and follow them too eagerly ? Wilt thou 
do as falconers do, who, when they spy any fine 
birds, look after them a long time, or send out their 
hawks to catch them 1 ' Thou mayest, but they will 
not be found;' that is to say, riches will not be 
caught by thine eyes, but fly away from thee, and 
never come to thine hands. Indeed sometimes they 
that earnestly hunt after the goods of this world 
attain to great abundance of earthly treasures, but 
oftentimes also it cometh to pass that, as the son of 
Sirach speaketh, ' He that moileth and hasteneth, 
and taketh carping care to be rich, hath by so much 
the less by how much he travaileth,' Ecclus. xi. 11. 
^ATiereas, in the last place, it is said that riches 
wUl make ' themselves wings like the eagle, which 
flieth up to heaven.' This borrowed speech is 
added to express the impossibility of attaining to 
that wealthy estate which the Lord will not have 
some man come unto ; for the way of an eagle in the 
air cannot be seen nor found out, by reason that she 
flieth both so high and so swiftly. 

Ver. 6. £at not the meat of him that hath an evil 
eye, and desire not his dainty dishes : 

Ver. 7. For as he grudgetli^ his own soul, so he will 
say unto thee, Eat and drink, wlien his heart is not 
ztdth thee. 

Ver. 8. Thou shall vomit out thy morsels ivhich thou 
hast eaten, and lose thy pleasant speeches. 

We are, as much as may stand with civility, to 
abstain from receiving the gifts, or using the courtesy 
of niggards, who are called men of evil eyes, because 
they look awry and sourly on those who fare the 
better for them. ' Eat not the meat of him that 
hath an evil eye.' Either repair not at all to the 
table of the miser, or thereat feed very sparingly, 
and desire not his dainty dishes. In any case, lust 
not after his dehcates in such sort, as by too great 
coveting therefor, or delight therein, to be drawn to 
go to his house, or to feed too greedily at his table. 
' For as he grudgeth his o\vn soul, so he will say to 
thee, Eat and drink, when his heart is not with thee ;' 

■^ Shayar, or Sayar, as some read. The former word signifieth 
to measure, the latter to fear. I follow the latter reading, and 
labour to express the sense. 

that is to say, Hke as he cannot afford his own belly 
a good morsel of meat, so it grieveth him that thou 
shouldst eat up his victuals, howsoever he will bid 
thee welcome, and pray thee not to spare. That it is 
the custom of niggards to spare from their own 
belUes and to grudge at their guests, not only daily 
experience witnesseth, but the son of Sirach, who 
may well be called an expounder of the parables of 
this book, plainly declareth ; for in the book called 
Ecclesiasticus, he saith, ' There is none worse than 
he that grudgeth himself, and this is the reward of 
his mahciousness ; for if he do good to himself he 
doth it against his will, and at last he will declare 
his maliciousness. The evil eye grudgeth bread, and 
is scanty at his table,' Ecclus. xxiv. 6, 2, 10. Great 
cause there is why thou shouldst abstain from filling 
thyself with the delicates of the envious man or 
niggard that hath an evil eye ; for if thou surfeitest 
thereof by reason that thou hast desired them too 
greedilj', ' thou shalt vomit out thy morsels which 
thou hast eaten ;' that is to say, cast up again the 
dainty food whereon thou hast fed. And, more- 
over, thou shalt lose thy pleasant speeches if thou 
goest to his table ; for seeing he wUl be grieved to 
see thee eat up his victuals, thou shalt not be able to 
move him to mirth, or to dehght him by any merry 
talk or courteous speech which thou, as the manner 
is, in the time of the feast shall utter. Wherefore 
also, as a man is in wisdom to abstain from the 
niggard's feast, so he is in discretion to withhold 
instruction and gracious speeches from the ears of 
the senseless and graceless fool, according as is 
taught in the verse which foUoweth. 

Ver. 9. Speak not in the ears of a fool : for he will 
despise the wisdom of thy words. 

The admonition here given is in effect all one 
with that precept of our Saviour in the Gospel, 'Cast 
not pearls before swine, and give not holy things 
unto dogs,' Mat. vti. 6 ; by comparing of w^hich 
parable with this it appeareth that we are not for- 
bidden to instruct any simple or foohsh people, but 
continually to labour in instructing or admonishing 
of those who are profane and unrepentant sinners, 
and whose lives are altogether beastly, and whose 
rage against the truth is bloody. We must not 
speak in the ears, that is, pour forth wholesome 
counsel continually in the hearing of such fools and 



[Chap. XXIII. 

scomers, for every such fool will despise the wisdom 
of thy words ; that is, every such hog or dog, as it 
were, will but scorn thy prudent speeches, be they 
never so excellent, either or that they do not un- 
derstand them, or for that they cannot Wke them, as 
being quite contrary to their humours and dealings. 
Ver. 10. Remove not the bonds of the, little ones ; 
wither enter into the fields of the fatherless : 

Ver. 11. For their revenger is strong; he hinuelf 
will plead their cause against thee. 

By how much it is an easier matter to wrong such 
as cannot help themselves, by so much it is a greater 
offence to do them any hurt. The Lord charge th 
every one of the people of Israel in Exodus, chap, 
xxii. 22, saying ' Thou shalt not molest any widow 
or orphan.' To the same purpose speaketh Solo- 
mon in this place when he saith, ' Remove not 
the bonds of the little ones ; neither enter into the 
fields of the fatherless ; ' that is to say, neither 
encroach upon the grounds of those who, by reason of 
their young age, can make no resistance, neither take 
possession unjustly of the lands of orphans, whose 
parents are departed, and who cannot help them- 
selves. Now great cause there is why thou that goest 
about to defraud and oppress them shouldst abstain 
from offering any wrong or violence unto them. 
For their revenger is strong ; that is, God, that is the 
helper of the helpless, is full of might and power, 
though they be weak. ' He himself will plead their 
cause against thee.' Albeit they find no patrons in 
the world, yet he will defend their right, and punish 
thee for the 'nTong which thou dost offer unto them. 
No man lightly will be so bold to touch or injure the 
servant of a mighty man, for that he knoweth that his 
master wiU revenge his quarrel if he complain unto 
him. And shall any dare to wrong the poor, or to hurt 
helpless people, who are the servants of the Lord of 
hosts, yea, and, if they be faithful, the Idnsmen also 
of Christ Jesus their Eedeemer and revenger 1 The 
greatest potentates in the world shall thoroughly 
smart for it, if they injure or oppress the least of 
those little ones that believe in Christ Jesus. 

V^er. 12. Apjily thine heart to correction, and thine 
ears to the words of knowledge. 

Two means there are whereby wisdom is attained, 
whereof the one is inward, the other outward. Both 
these every one here is willed to apply, that is, very 

earnestly to bend. The heart, in the day of adver- 
sity, is to be a^Dplied to correction, that is, to bear 
affliction, to ponder wherefore it is sent, and to 
receive due fruit thereby. The ears, when there is 
any wise counsellor or instructor, are to be applied 
to the words of knowledge. For by hearing of good 
instructions and precepts learning is attained unto. 
Yea, as the apostle mtnesseth, faith cometh by 
hearing, so that they are foolish and faithless people 
who neglect to hear good advice, but especially who 
contemn the preaching of the word. 

Ver. 13. Withdraw not chastisement from the child : 
when thou shalt smite him with the rod he shall not die. 

Ver. 14. Smite him with the rod, and thou shalt 
deliver his soul from hell. 

Parents are now admonished to correct their chil- 
dren, and moved hereunto by the declaration of the 
great benefit which they shall procure unto them 
by using the rod, and chastening them according to 
their deserts. ' Withdraw not chastisement from the 
child ; ' neither altogether withhold correction from 
that youth that deserveth the same, nor correct him 
too seldom or too sparingly. ' When thou shalt smite 
him with the rod he shall not die.' When thou shalt 
moderately chasten him with a twig or wand thou 
shalt only cause his flesh to smart, but not kill or 
slay him, for a rod will break no bones. ' Smite 
him with the rod, and thou shalt deliver his soul 
from hell.' Scourge him with moderation, and he 
by this means being amended, will not afterward 
deserve temjjoral or eternal death, but shall be pre- 
served by the stripes which he hath received from 
the grave and destruction. The cockering of parents 
is the very cause that divers children come to the 
gallows, and the correction which wise fathers and 
mothers exercise their sons and daughters with, is 
the means whereby divers others are saved from sin 
and the punishments thereof, yea, and oftentimes 
from the very place of execution. 

Ver. 15. My son, if thine heart be wise, mine heart, 
even mine also, shall rejoice. 

Ver. 16. Ayid my reins shall leap for joy, whilst thy 
lips speak upright things. 

What can a father more wish unto his child than 
that he may be wise, and utter gracious speeches 1 
In these two respects the spiritual father here 
declareth that his joy shall be full, if he shall per- 

Ver. 17-21.] 



ceive his son to have both an understanding heart, 
and a lip of truth and grace. ' If,' saith he, ' thine 
heai't be wise,' that is, if thy soul be sanctified, 'mine 
heart, even mine, shall rejoice,' my soul, even mine, 
who am thy father, shall be glad. ' And my reins 
shall leap for joy.' Moreover my inward parts shall 
be moved to exceeding cheerfulness and triumph. 
' Whilst thy lips speak upright things.' In the mean 
season, whUst thou utterest such speeches as are 
true, just, holy, and gracious, which to do is a very 
hard matter, but a thing much acceptable to God, 
profitable to men, and very praiseworthy. For, as 
afterward is affirmed in this book, people will kiss 
the lips of him that uttereth upright tilings. 

Ver. 17. Let not thine heart envy sinners: lut 
(remain) in t/w. fear of the Lord all day long. 

Ver. 18. For surely there is a reward; and thine hope 
shall not be cut off. 

To envy smners is to be moved at the prosperity, 
and to love the company of the ungodly. The fear 
of the Lord is that pure spouse and lovely lady, as 
it were, to whom we ought to bear such a zeal and 
affection as that we should sue unto her continually, 
and delight always to be in her company, to enjoy 
her presence, not caring for the wicked, or the glory 
wherein they flourish. Why so t ' For surely there 
is a reward; and thine hope shall not be cutoff.' 
That is, howsoever the wicked shall be destroyed, 
and the state of the ungodly fade away, yet thou 
shalt not lose thy labour, but that which thou hopest 
shall at last be granted, though it be long first, even 
the possessing, not only of the reverence of the Lord, 
but therewith of the crown of Ufe and eternal glory. 

Ver. 19. Hearken, my son, and direct thine heart in 
this way. 

This sentence may very well be joined to the two 
former, seeing therein, as it seemeth, the spiritual 
father concludeth the former exhortation. Seeing 
knowledge cometh by hearing, the spiritual father 
doth first will his son to hearken. Secondly, Foras- 
much as a man may hear wise counsel and yet be 
never the wser, if he perceive or receive it not, he 
biddeth him, laying aside aU ignorance and childish 
folly, to be wise. Last of all. For that it is not 
enough to know the truth, unless it be loved, de- 
lighted in and embraced in the affection, he exhorteth 
him to direct his heart in this way, that is, to cause 

his soul to affect and foUow after the fear of the 
Lord, and not the way of the wicked. 

Ver. 20. JBe not of the number of those that are 
bibbers oficiiie, or of those that glut themselves uith flesh : 

Ver. 21. For the drinker and f easier shall become 
poor ; and the sleeper shall be clothed tvith rags. 

Divers there are whose belly is their god, of 
whose fellowship the Holy Ghost now warneth us 
to take heed. ' Be not of the number of those that 
are bibbers of wine.' Follow not the custom nor 
company of such as haunt the taverns, or use to 
quaff in one cup of strong drink after another. ' Or 
of those that glut themselves with flesh.' Neither 
yet be of their crew or society who exceedingly love 
good cheer, and cram themselves full of the daintiest 
meat that can be gotten. Here I cannot but think 
upon the foohsh custom of the papists, and smile at 
their bhnd devotion and witless dealing. Forsooth, 
because Clirist fasted forty days and forty nights, 
they also abstain so long, but not from all food, as 
he did, yet from all flesh, which, as they imagine, 
puffeth up the body, and therefore is in so holy a 
time not to be tasted, as is consecrated, as it were, 
unto the Spirit. In the mean season, as if there 
were not a flesh of fishes, or as if here Solomon had 
by the name of flesh forbidden only the over-cliarg- 
ing of the stomach with the flesh of fowls or beasts 
of the earth, they spare not to fill themselves with 
the daintiest fishes of the seas, and most ^jleasant 
fruits of the orchards or gardens. As for wine and 
strong drinks, they make no conscience to abstain 
from them, nor to pour them in by bowlfuls, although 
here the Holy Ghost hath as well condemned bib- 
bing of wine as cramming in of flesh. But the truth 
is, that neither eating of flesh nor drinking of wine 
is in itself unlawful, but that excess in both these 
and either of them is e\il, and here forbidden. The 
reason why surfeiting and drunkenness is to be 
avoided is, for that ' the drinker and feaster shall 
become poor ; and the sleeper shall be clothed with 
rags.' Such banqueters as here are spoken of incur 
poverty, partly through their great expenses, 
and partly through their losing of the time. 
And for that much eating and drinldng causeth 
much sleeping, and much sleeping bringeth extreme 
poverty ; to make the vices of diinking and surfeit- 
ing the more odious, it is said that the sleeper shall 



[Chap. XXIII. 

be clothed in rags, that is, go in torn and patched 

Ver. 22. Hearken to thy father who hath begotten 
thee, -neither despise thy mother when she shall be old. 

In the former part of this sentence a reason is set 
down why a father should be heard and obeyed. 
The reason why thou art to hearken to him is, for 
that he hath begotten thee ; that is, he is the in- 
strument under God of thy being, and the father of 
thy flesh, as the apostle speaketh. In the latter part 
of this verse a charge is given to children not to de- 
spise their mothers in their old age, or for their old 
age, but rather in this respect to honour them the 
more. Indeed there is no cause why the mother 
should be contemned when she groweth into years. 
For although her old age maketh her subject to 
manifold infirmities, yet withal it maketh her wise 
and reverend and grave, for which cause, as she is 
at all times to be honoured, so then especially she is 
to be regarded. 

Ver. 23. Buy truth and sell it not : (likewise) lois- 
dom, instruction, and understanding. 

Properly those tilings are said to be bought, which 
are gotten with some cost or labour. Whereas then 
every one is willed to buy truth, the meaning is that 
he is to purchase faithfulness and sincerity unto 
himself, not sparing any pains or charge to this in- 
tent and purpose. This heavenly truth, as also the 
graces here mentioned, is by all good means to be 
sought after, but it is only to be bought of Jesus 
Christ, as is taught in the Eevelation of St John, 
chap. iii. 22. As truth is to be bought, so it is not 
to be sold ; for we are not to estrange it from us 
for anything in the world, nor to make vile account 
of it, as commonly they do of their possessions that 
sell them. Truly there are many unthrifts of this 
sort, who sell and pass away from them the graces 
of God's Spliit, exchanging them with the vanities 
of this present life. Now seeing wisdom, instruc- 
tion, and understanding, of which three virtues 
much hath before been spoken in this book, are pre- 
cious jewels as well as truth, they are in like man- 
ner to be bought, but not to be sold, especially seeing 
no man can put them away from him without mak- 
ing shipwreck of faith and a good conscience. Yet 
many there are who as easily and willingly forsake 
and forego these and suchlike gifts of the Spirit, 

as Esau sold his birthright for a mess of pot- 

Ver. 24. The father of a righteous son doth greatly 
rejoice : he that hegetieth a wise child is glad in regard 
of him. 

Ver. 25. Let thy father and thy mother rejoice, and 
let her that hath born thee skip for joy. 

Again and agam doth the Holy Ghost exhort cliU- 
dren to labour by all good means that they may be 
a comfort to their parents. Naturally, the father 
counteth the well-doing of his son to be his own 
welfare, and liis virtue to be his own glory. Hence 
it is that the well-disposed father taketh exceeding 
comfort when he seeth his son both to know the 
truth, and to practise that which is just and equal. 
Hence it is also, on the contrary side, that he griev- 
eth not a little when he perceiveth him to be un- 
capable of knowledge, or wicked of Ufe. Seeing it is 
so, saith the Spirit of God in this place to every 
chUd, ' let thy father and thy mother rejoice ;' cause 
both thy parents, by thy wisdom and virtue, to be 
glad ; ' and let her that hath born thee sing for joy ; ' 
but especially cause her to whom thou wast a great 
pain and grief in bringing thee forth, to receive 
abundant consolation by thy prudent behaviour and 
upright life. 

Ver. 26. My son, give me thine heart, and let thine 
eyes diligently observe my ways. 

Ver. 27. For a whore is a deep ditch ; and a strange 
woman is a narrow pit. 

Ver. 28. Moreover she lieth in wait as a robber, and 
mnltiplieth transgi-essors among men. 

As the wise father hath before exhorted other of 
his children to take heed of sundry vices, so here he 
warneth, as it were, one amongst them whom he per- 
ceived to be inclined somewhat unto incontinency, 
to take heed of fornication. To this end, first he 
■willeth him to give him his heart, that is, his affec- 
tion, renouncing himself and settling his love only 
and fully upon the Lord, and the instruments which 
the Lord useth to call him to repentance, and to 
draw him to his kingdom. Secondly, He biddeth 
him to let his eyes diligently observe his ways, that 
is to say, to apply his understanding and mind, and 
his whole care, to regard his precepts and the truth, 
which is the right way wherein he is to walk. 
Thirdly, He sheweth that there is great cause why 

Vee. 29, 30.] 



his young son should obey him, and regard his pre- 
cepts and ways, telling him that there are very dan- 
gerous ways in this world, and snares laid ia sundry 
corners. ' For a whore is a deep ditch ; and a 
strange woman is a narrow pit.' She is here called 
a whore and a strange woman, who is wantonly 
given, being another man's wife. Such a one is as 
a deep ditch, whereunto a man may easily fall, but 
he can hardly come out from thence ; and as a nar- 
row pit, which is a very dangerous and troublesome 
hole, whereunto a man may slip at unawares, but 
therein he cannot stir himself or be at ease. For 
the naughty woman bringeth distress and trouble, 
yea, death and destruction, unto her companions. 
' Moreover she lieth in wait as a robber, and multi- 
pliethi transgressors among men.' Furthermore, 
even as a thief lurketh in a den or bush to get a 
prey, so the wanton woman lieth in wait and useth 
baits to steal the hearts of men, yea, and prevaileth 
with many, thus increasing the number of notorious 
offenders in the world. Wherefore lust not after the 
strange woman in thine heart, neither cast thine eyes 
toward her to covet her in thy mind, but resign 
thine affection unto the Lord, and look upon his law 
as that only right way wherein thou canst walk 

Ver. 29. To whom is woe? to whom is alas? to 
vilwm, is strife ? to whom is babbling ? to whom are 
wovnds without caiise ? to whom is the redness of the 
eyes ? 

The purpose of the godly father being now to 
dissuade his son from drunkenness, in this ques- 
tion which he propoundeth he setteth down in a 
heap the great and sundry evils which this vice 
bringeth with it. It worketh first of all woe — that 
is, extreme grief and misery, temporal and eternal ; 
for the Scripture is wont to call every heavy judg- 
ment of the Lord in this life, and eternal condemna- 
tion, by the name of woe. And certain it is, that as 
the drunkard shall be plagued in this world, so, 
without unfeigned repentance, he shall never enter 
into the kingdom of heaven. Secondly, It worketh 
alas — that is, groaning and sighing by reason of a 
miserable and poor estate, for so much the word 
importeth. Thirdly, It causeth strife — to wit, in the 
time of drinking, at which time drunkards are wont 
to call one at another, and to brawl and scold and 

rage like people out of their ints. Fourthly, It 
maketh men to babble; for when the wine is in, 
neither can men commonly keep any secret, neither 
use they to be silent, but either they pleasantly scoff 
and jest upon every light occasion, or talk vainly 
and frivolously, or inveigh bitterly against magistrates, 
ministers, and good people. Fifthly, Drunkenness 
causeth wounds without cause ; for though the 
drunkard deserveth well to be punished, yet he is 
oftentimes beaten when he provoketh no man, yea, 
and when he knoweth not what is done to him, or 
how to help himself, or to revenge himself. As to 
suffer for a good cause is a happy thing, so to be 
thus wounded without cause is a shame and misery. 
Last of all, It Avorketh redness of the eyes ; for 
much drinking causeth humours to abound in the 
body, and especially in the face, and namely in the 
eyes, which thereby are oftentimes both blemished 
and bhnded. The profane and beastly drunkards 
make a jest of this redness of the eyes, and say that 
they had rather drink out their eyes than that the 
worms should eat them out. But seeing the body 
is the temple of the Holy Ghost, and the eyes are, 
as it were, the lights and windows of this temple, 
as in blemishing their faces they hurt themselves, so 
they herein sin against God, who will destroy them 
that destroy his temple, and cast them into outer 
darkness, who darken, as it were, the lights of his 
habitation. This that hath been spoken in this 
verse against drunkenness may be sufficient to move 
any reasonable man to abhor this vice ; but such as 
give themselves unto s\villing are indeed brute 
beasts, and therefore nothing almost will prevail 
with them. 

Ver. 30. Even to them that tarry long at the udne ; to 
them that go and seek out mixed wine (orrack wine.l 

The answer unto the demand in the verse going 
before is herein contained, which defineth who is 
the miserable man before spoken of, and describeth 
drunkards unto us by their properties and condi- 
tions. They are in the former place noted to be 
such as tarry long at the vfine ; that is, who spend 
much time in drinking, and are not content with a 
little strong drink, but pour in one bowlful after 
another. In the second place, they are declared to 
be such as go to seek out mixed wine ; that is, they 
haunt the taverns, and search from place to place 




[Chap. XXIII. 

where is the pleasantest, strongest, and finest drink, 
that it may spur them on forward unto all excess. 
Thus drunkards offend in spending too much time 
in drinking, in swilling in too much, in seeking their 
bane, and m labouring to satisfy their daintj^ taste 
unto the full. 

Ver. 31. Look not thoti ujion the wine when it 
appeareth red, when it sheioeth his colour in the ciqy, or 
stirreth very kindly. 

A remedy against drunkenness herein is prescribed. 
' Look not thou upon the wine when it appeareth 
red.' Cast not thine eye incontinently upon the 
drinker ^ ; for- that which the eye beholdeth the heart 
coveteth. Looking upon the wine is here forbidden, 
not as an evil tiling, but as a way and means unto 
evil ; so likewise is the beholding of the colour of 
it, or, as it is in the Hebrew, of the eye of it in the 
cup. For when it shall have a lovely and a lively 
look, and when it shall be graced also by the clear- 
ness and comeliness of the vessel wherein it is, then it 
hath the greater force to allure ; but especially when 
it shall stir very kindly, that is to say, leap and spurt 
in the cup. In which words, as it seemeth, good wine 
is painted out and resembled to a fair and beautiful 
damsel, whose cheeks are ruddy, whose eyes are 
lively and piercing, and whose feet are nimble and 
dancing, who by these means doth draw the eyes of 
men toward her, and enamour and entangle their affec- 
tions with her. The sum of this whole sentence briefly 
is, that all occasions and provocations unto drunken- 
ness are to be shunned with all care and diligence. 

Ver. 32. In the end it will bite as a serpent, and 
sting like a cockatrice. 

Lest the pleasantness of the wine deceive and 
allure our senses, the bitterness and grievous effects 
thereof are here declared by way of comparison. A 
serpent or snake greatly hurteth a man by the 
venomous biting of his teeth. But those poisoned 
creatures which sting with the tail, as doth the 
adder, and, as I think, the cockatrice, do work more 
deadly harm. For some of them pain him whom 
they sting with extreme torment ; some make 
him run mad, and some cause him to bleed to death. 
Even so doth wine gulled in without measure affect 
and destroy such as are given thereto. It troubleth 
the brain, it inflameth the hver, it overwlielmeth the 
> Qu. 'drink'?— Ed. 

stomach, it maketh the belly ache, and the whole 
body feeble, and causeth in the end deadly diseases. 
Besides all this, it defileth the conscience, it turneth 
a man into the shape of a beast, and draweth eternal 
destruction both upon body and soul. Povei'ty, 
shame, sickness, death, and condemnation ; these 
are the effects of drunkenness, than which no bitings 
or stingings of serpents or venomous creatures are 
more bitter and intolerable. 

Ver. 33. Thine eyes shall behold strange ivomen, 
and thine heart shall speak froward things. 

Neither the outward senses of the body, nor the 
inward j)Owers of the mind, as here is shewed, will 
be able to do their office if wine be immoderately 
taken. As touching the eyes, they will behold 
strange women. For drunkards, being inflamed and 
made merry with much wine, turn their looks to- 
wards their neighbours' ■wives, whom they see to 
excel in beauty. Thus they have eyes, as the 
apostle speaketh, full of adultery, and which cease 
not to sin. As concerning the hearts also of those 
that are well tippled, they speak froward things. 
For they bid them lie in wait for the chastity of 
such strange women as are fair, and they lust after 
them, and think upon vain and wicked matters. 
Thus drunkenness causeth such as are given to this 
vice to commit adultery in their hearts. Now, when 
the eyes and heart have consented and conspired 
unto evil, the body commonly will not be long ere 
it should yield and put it into practice. Wherefore 
drunkenness causeth wantonness, which is so foul 
and damnable a sin, as that whatsoever bringeth 
men thereunto deserveth to be abhorred and fled, 
even as a toad or a serpent. 

Ver. 34. And thou shah be like him that lieth in 
the midst of the sea, and like him that lieth on the top 
of a mast. 

Whosoever he is that lieth in the midst of the 
sea, he is in great danger of his life, and over- 
whelmed with the floods and waves in such sort that 
he cannot tell what to say or do, or whither to turn 
himself, being tossed up and down, and compassed 
with the waters on every side. Such is the estate 
of the drunkard, who is even overwhelmed with the 
abundance of humours which wine excessively drunk 
causeth, so that his senses are taken from him, and 
he staggereth as he goeth ; yea, and oftentimes lieth 

Chap. XXIV. 1, 2.] 



down in some hole or ditch. Again, he that heth 
on the top of a mast is troubled and much shaken 
with the wnds, if there be any temjjest ; )-ea, and 
blown into the sea, if he hold not the faster. So 
standeth the case with the drunken man ; he is 
carried hither and thither ^nth. the giddiness of his 
head, and lightness of his brain, and is lifted ujJ and 
down with no small danger, which yet, as being 
asleep, he perceiveth not at all. They that have 
any care of themselves would not be in such a case 
for all the goods of the world ; and therefore, seeing 
drunkenness bringeth men into so fearful and dan- 
gerous an estate, it concerneth every one to shun 
this ugly and detestable vice. 

Ver. 35. Some have stricken me, shall thou say, yet 
have I not been sick ; some have beaten me, yet I have 
not felt it : when I shall tvake, I will go on and seek 
after this yet more and more. 

Two other particular harms springing from drunk- 
enness are herein sjiecified, besides those which al- 
ready have been named. The former of these, 
senselessness ; the latter, sensuality. He that saith, 
' Some have stricken me, yet I have not been sick ; 
some have beaten me, yet I have not felt it,' declareth 
plainly that he is very blind and senseless ; for he 
speaketh of himself as if he were a very stock and 
stone. As the juice of the grape, so the wine of sin 
(as of pride and error for example) maketh men 
even without feehng and benumbed. The drunkard, 
that although he hath thus been beaten, yet setteth 
down with himself, that when he awaketh out of his 
drunkenness and wine, he will go on and seek after 
his pots still more and more, doth evidently shew 
that he is no less sensual then senseless ; for he 
plainly declareth, that to enjoy a little pleasure he 
feareth not nor careth to return to great misery. 
He is therefore like the dog that returneth to his 
vomit, and like the sow, that when she hath been 
washed, hasteneth to tumble again into the mire. 
He is like unto the horse-leech, which the more it 
sucketh, the more it thirsteth. Thus the fool re- 
peateth his folly, and the custom of drinking causeth 
in the drunkard a thirst of drink. Nothing in these 
verses is spoken of drunkards, but that which daily 
experience verifieth to be most true. Look on the 
estate of the pot-companions and good fellows of 
this world, as they call them, and either you shall see 

them to be plagued of the Lord with some special 
judgment, or to be poor beggars, or to be notorious 
brabblers or prattlers, or to be marked with some 
blemish in theu* bodies or faces. Moreover, you 
shall see them to be wantons and wanderers, but 
seldom or never come to repentance, or to leave 
their wickedness. Nay, this is their custom from 
day to day, to return to their follies, and to this end 
to seek out strong drink in the morning, and to sit 
at it until the evenin"'. 


Ver. 1. Envy not the wicked, neither desire to be 
with them. 

Ver. 2. For their heart imagineth destruction, and 
their lips speak evil. 

When the ungodly either rage in cruelty or flourish 
in prosperity, the godly are often moved into sore 
passions, and exercised with wonderful temptations. 
Sometimes they are stirred up unto anger and impa- 
tiency, disdaining, and beingoffendedthat they which 
deserve the heaiaest judgments of the Lord should 
receive and enjoy his greatest blessings of this life. 
Sometimes they are tickled and inflamed with a 
burning desire of being acquainted and in a league 
with them, to the end they may not be hurt by them, 
butlivein quietness and prosperity togetherwiththem. 
This envying of the wicked, and desiring to be with 
them, is forbidden in the former of these sentences, 
as a thing unlawful and gxeatly hurtful. There is 
no fellowship nor desire of society between light and 
darkness ; so, likewise, there ought to be in the godly 
no desire of the company or condition of the un- 
godly. And as we see that the little lamb can never 
be brought to be in nature like to the wolf, nor 
seeketh to be with him in the same place or pasture, 
so the innocent and just person should never, by 
any temptation, be drawn to follow the condition or 
company of the evil man, who setteth himself to 
work mischief The only consideration that the 
hearts of the wicked men imagine destruction, and 
their lips speak evil, should stay every one from 
aflecting their ways, and desiring their society ; as is 
declared in the second verse. For who would be in 
love -(vith them, or willingly be like them, who in 



[Chap. XXIV. 

wildness of disposition are like the dung,i or in veno- 
mous maliciousness like unto the serpents '? I mj-- 
self have received comfort hereby, and despised the 
rage and the gloiy of the wicked, when I have ob- 
served and pondered that they are such men whose 
hearts are full of guile, pride, covetousness, and 
suchlike vices, and whose tongues are accustomed 
to utter blasphemies and lies. 

Ver. 3. By wisdom an house is builded, and hy un- 
derstandinff it is established. 

Ver. 4. j4nd by knowledge the imvard rooms thereof 
are filled loith all precious and ■pleasant substance. 

Sundry virtues are herein commended by their 
several works, to the end that they all may be 
laboured after. The first virtue is wisdom, whereby, 
as is said, a house is builded. Indeed, neither can 
the foundation of a building be strongly laid, nor 
the frame thereof be well situated, but by wisdom. 
And if a material house cannot be erected happily 
without -wisdom, much less can that which is spiritual. 
The second virtue here commended is understanding, 
whereby, as is further taught, a house is established 
or ordered. So it is that skill of disposing matters, 
meant here by understanding, doth, if it be used in 
the art of building, square out every part thereof in 
due proportion, and cunningly set the same together. 
Likewise, as the beginning of every matter is happily 
entered on by wisdom, so the ordering and directing 
thereof is accomplished by understanding. The last 
virtue here spoken of is knowledge, whei'eby the 
inward rooms of the house are filled with all precious 
and pleasant substance ; unto the providing and trea- 
suring up of food, of money, and all things necessary 
and comfortable, the knowledge of times, of the prices 
of things, and of the means whereby commodities may 
be attained, is requisite. Wherefore, as wisdom is that 
virtue whereby a house is buUded, and understanding 
the gift whereby it is strengthened, so knowledge 
is the means whereby it is well furnished and filled. 
It is not to be marvelled at that many young married 
folk and householders in these days have nothing in 
their families but want of necessaries and bare walls, 
seeing they want both wisdom, and understanding, 
and knowledge, and are full of ignorance and folly. 

Ver. 5. A wise man is to be with might, and a man 
of widerstanding to fortify strength. 
' Qu. 'dog'?— Ed. 

Ver. 6. For by policy thou shah make war for thy 
self, and by the midtitude of counsellors obtain safety. 

It is manifest that might or force of war needeth 
and requketh a wise man ; for no army, be it never 
so mighty, prevaileth, unless a prudent person lead 
or rule the same. Wherefore in war, with a multi- 
tude of valiant soldiers, wise captains and counsellors 
are always to be joined and sent for. These are 
they who, as is shewed in the former of these verses, so 
fortify strength, as that by their direction and advice 
valiant and mighty men are able to do a great deal 
more than they can -svithout them. Hence it is 
that it is said in the latter of these two verses, that 
' by pohcy thou shalt make war for thyself, and by 
the multitude of counsellors obtain safety ; ' by 
which words is proved that strength is helped by 
wisdom, and that the instruments of war are made 
more forcible by men of skill. For seeing, as herein 
is shewed, the field is won, not by strength, but by 
devices, and dangers are turned away, not by the 
might or valour of armed men, but by advice and 
counsel, it appeareth that wit is above strength, 
and a furtherance thereunto. A like conclusion is 
elsewhere made by this our Solomon upon an- ob- 
servation which he had, which also seemeth to have 
been the occasion and fountain of this instruction. 
' This wisdom also,' saith he in the book of the 
preacher, Eccles. ix. 1 3, &c., ' have I seen under the sun, 
which is great unto me : There was a certain small 
city, and in it a few men ; and there came against it 
a great king, who besieged it and built great forts 
against it ; and there was found therein a poor 
wise man, who delivered the city by his wisdom ; 
but none remembered the man. Then said I, Wis- 
dom is better than strength; although the wisdom of 
the poor be despised, and his words be not heard ; 
and the words of the wise that are lovely are to be 
heard, rather than the cry of him that beareth rule 
over fools. Wisdom is better than instruments of 
war, but one that goeth astray overtumeth much 

Ver. 7. Wisdom is too high for a fool : he cannot 
open his mouth in the gate. 

Ver. 8. Him that imagineth to do evil, men will call 
an author of wickedness. 

Ver. 9. The vjickedness of folly is a sin : but a 
scorner is an abomination v.nto men. 

Ver. 10-12.] 



The praise of wisdom hath been declared in the 
verses going before ; hi these the dispraise of folly 
is set down. As concerning the fool who is pos- 
sessed with ignorance and vanity, by reason of his 
follj^, he cannot open his mouth in the gate. He is 
so pressed down with earthly cares or pleasures, or 
so hindered by the dulness or blockishness of his 
senses, that wisdom is too high for him — that is to 
say, he cannot attain to knowledge, or the good gifts 
of the Spirit. It may be he hath some desire to 
become wise ; but because he taketh no pains, or 
hath no faculty in him, he cannot reach to high 
points of learnuig. Hence it is that he cannot open 
his mouth in the gate ; for seeing he hath no msdom, 
he can have no eloquence, no, nor preferment, if 
these things be ordered aright. Thus much is meant 
when mention is here made of opening the mouth, 
whereby a gift or liberty of speaking is signified, as 
by the naming of a gate the place of assembling is 
noted out, which in old times was in the gates of 
the town or city. In these gates, as is affirmed in 
the eighth verse, ' him that imagineth to do evil, 
men will call an author of wickedness.' In which 
words is further declared, that as folly causeth men 
to want preferment and praise, so it bringeth them 
to punishment and shame. If any, musing on mis- 
chief in his bed, or ha\dng a knavish wit — as we say 
in our English tongue — is cunning in finding out 
the ways of practising mischief, or skilful in the 
tricks of cozening and deceit, the well-affected people 
and upright judges will cry out upon him as a cap- 
tain of mischief, and condemn him as a great offender. 
For as by frailty and error to transgress is a thing 
that is tolerable and may find pardon, so willingly 
and wittingly to do evil is a matter most worthy of 
blame and punishment. Thus much is taught more 
plainly and fully in the ninth verse, wherein is said, 
that • the wickedness of folly is sin, but a scorner is 
an abomination unto men.' Wherein, by the wicked- 
ness of folly, the evil deed which is committed of 
simplicity or infirmity is meant. Such a deed is a 
sin, that is, a transgression of the law, seeing ignor- 
ance or infirmity excuseth not in the whole, but in 
part. ' But a scorner (or a scorner's wickedness) is an 
abomination unto men.' For the evil deed or crime 
which is done of knowledge and pride, and continued 
in, is more than a sin — even an abominable filthiness, 

which not only the Lord, but men, cannot but de- 
test and abhor. And as concerning the scorner him- 
self, who sinneth with a high hand, or scorneth all 
good instructions, he is to be shunned as a heathen 
or publican ; yea, and sometimes as a toad or serpent. 

Ver. 10. If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy 
strength shall be small. 

Ver. 11. Deliver them that are drawn to death; for 
shouldst thou loithdraw thyself from them who go down 
to the slaughter ? 

Ver. 12. If thou say, Behold, we kneiu not of it; sliall 
not he who pondereth tlie hearts understand it ? and 
doth not he know it luho preserveth thy sovl .? doth 
not he also recompense every num according to his 
works ? 

Every one is exhorted in these sentences, accord- 
ing to his place and power, by all lawful means 
to help the afflicted. Divers, when they see the inno- 
cent troubled or oppressed, are slack to succour them ; 
yea, by reason of the rage or power of tyrants, they 
become faint-hearted, so that they are afraid to speak 
for them. If, saith the Spirit of God to every one 
that may by word or deed help the afflicted, thou 
carry thyself thus faintly, and neglectest to perform 
the duty of brotherly love, ' in the day of adversity 
thy strength shall be small ;' that is, in the time of 
trouble thou shalt want both courage within thyself, 
and comfort without thee ; for thou shalt find no 
friends to stand by thee, no, not in a righteous cause ; 
or at the least, thou shalt find no other than faint 
and cold friendship in the world. Wherefore ' de- 
liver them that are drawn to death : for shouldst 
thou withdraw thyself from them that are drawn to 
the slaughter?' That is to say, rescue by thy power 
if thou art a magistrate, or by aU lawful means who- 
soever thou art, such as, being innocent, are brought 
into danger of death. If any be justly troubled or 
condemned to die, he is not be delivered. But if 
might oppress right, or violence be offered to the 
poor and afflicted, every one is bound to defend his 
neighbour from wrong, as much as in liim lieth. 
'For shouldst thou withdraw thyself from them 
that go down to the slaughter V That is to say, Art 
thou to withhold thine help from preserving of the 
poor and innocent, who are laid down on the block to 
be slain, or drawn to the stake to be burned, from the 
stroke of the sword or flame of the fire ? Let there- 



[Chap. XXIV. 

fore judges and mighty men deliver the poor and the 
need}'- out of the hand of the ivicked, as it is in the 
psalm, Ps. xcii. 4. The states of Judea delivered 
Jonathan from Saul's cruelty by their power, 1 Sam. 
xiv. 46 ; Estlier saved the people of the Jews from 
destruction by the grace and favour which she had 
with the king, Esther viii. 4 ; and Daniel, by his wis- 
dom and eai-nest suit, obtained delay of the bloody 
execution upon the wise men of Chaldea, Dan. ii. 
15. . Let every one by all lawful means in like 
manner defend all righteous causes and persons. 
But because divers are wont to plead excuses when 
they are called to this duty, therefore, in the twelfth 
verse, these are prevented and answered. ' If thou 
say. Behold, we knew not of it ; shall not he who 
pondereth the hearts understand it, and doth not he 
know who preserveth thy soul ? doth not he also re- 
compense every man according to his works 1' As if 
it were said, Now if thou seekest excuses, or pleadest 
ignorance, as that thou knowest not whether they be 
in trouble or no, or whether their cause be good or 
bad, or how to help them, shall not the searcher of 
the hearts perceive whether thou dissemblest or no 1 
or shall not he who preserveth thee in safety and 
prosperity, to the end that thou mayest succour those 
that are in misery, consider thy deahng with thy 
poor brethren, and himself deal with thee according 
to thy desert ? 

Ver. 13. JWt/ san, eat honey, for it is good ; and the 
honeycomh, which will he siveet to the roof of thy 

Ver. 14. So sluzll the Icnowledge of wisdom he to thy 
soul, if thou shalt find it ; and thine hope shall not he 
cut off. 

In the former of these two verses the Spirit of 
God calleth us to eat honey, not for that the matter 
is great whether we do so or no, but by the taste of 
tliis sweet creature to allure us to the study of wis- 
dom, and to shew that this grace of God is as sweet 
to the soul as the honey or honeycomb is to the 
taste of the mouth. The doctrine of the word of 
God seemeth unto divers to be very bitter and un- 
pleasant, by reason that it eujoineth hard duties 
to flesh and blood, and cannot be perceived by the 
natural man ; but surely unto the spiritual man it 
is most sweet and comfortable, within whom it 
worketh knowledge and feeling of the joy of the 

Holy Ghost. For whatsoever was written, that was 
written for our learning, that we through patience 
and comfort of the Scriptures may have hope. This 
hope upholdeth us in this present life, and at the 
last in the world to come shall obtain the good 
things which it doth expect, as is taught in the 
latter end of the fourteenth verse. For when it is 
said, ' thine hope shall not be cat off,' hereby is 
meant, that although a -wise man do not presently 
enjoy or taste the tree of life so greatly desired and 
longed for ; yet seeing he trusteth and waiteth on 
the Lord, the time will come wherein lie shall be 
made partaker of most happy peace, plenty, immor- 
tality, and glory ; all which things are sweeter than 
the honey or the honeycomb. Thus wisdom in the 
effect is wholesome and delightsome, and in the end 
pleasant and full of comfort. 

Ver. 15. Lay not wait, ivickedmnn, at the house of 
the righteous ; and spoil not his resting-place. 

Ver. 16. For the jwt man falleth seven times, and 
riseth again : but the wicked rush into evil. 

A precept herein is given unto persecutors, or such 
as are enemies unto the godly, to stay themselves 
from annoying and pursuing of the innocent. As 
the prophet David testifieth in one of his psalms, 
Ps. xxxvii. 32, ' The wicked man watcheth for the 
just man, and seeketh to put him to death.' This 
being the custom of the wicked man, the Spirit of 
God here calleth to him as it were by name, and 
first wiUeth him not to practise any secret mischief 
against the righteous, nor to lurk in some corner, 
either to take him, or to get some advantage against 
him. Secondly, He chargeth him not to offer him 
any violence, nor to prey upon liis goods, and namely, 
not to spoil or destroy his resting-place. There is 
great cause why the wicked man should let the just 
man alone, and not go about to disturb him when 
he is asleep, or to spoil his possessions. For, first, 
' The just man falleth seven times, and riseth again ;' 
that is to say, the innocent person is afflicted with 
many troubles, but in the end is delivered out of 
them all. And as he that falleth and riseth receiv- 
eth no great hurt, so he that is troubled and escapeth 
out of trouble fareth well enough. ' But the wicked 
rush into evil ;' that is to say, the ungodly perish in 
adversity, being so overthrown therein that they 
never are able to recover themselves. They are 

Vee. 17-22.] 



altogether like unto those miserable persons who, 
tumbling down a steep hill or a pair of stairs, so 
break their backs or their necks by a woeful and 
fearful downfall, that they never rise again, but lie 
gTovelHug, not being able to stir hand or foot. 
There is then great difference between the slips and 
stumblings of the godly, and the downfalls and 
dashings of the wicked. 

Ver. 1 7. Be not glad tchen thine enemy falleth, and 
let not thine heart rejoice when he stumhleth. 

Ver. 18. Lest in the eyes of the Lord, beholding it, it 
seem evil, and he turn his wrath from him, upon thee. 

In the former sentences hath been taught that a 
just man may fall into many adversities, howbeit 
not so but that he may also rise again. In this is 
declared that when any man falleth into trouble, he 
that is his adversary is not to triumph in this re- 
spect. ' Be thou not glad when thine enemy falleth,' 
shew not any signs of mirth when thine adversary 
is afflicted, ' and let not thine heart rejoice when he 
stumbleth.' Yea, be far off from conceiving any 
inward or secret joy when any mishap befalleth him. 
This precept may be thought to be contrary to the 
practice of the godly ; for Moses and divers others 
of God's servants have rejoiced when their enemies 
have been destroyed. But indeed he and they did 
not so much triumph or delight in the misery of the 
wicked as in their own deliverance, neither were they 
glad of the destruction of their enemies, and ^ as God's 
glory did appear in the punishment of the ungodly. 
A man may with a pure intent to God's glory, and in 
a holy zeal, rejoice at the overthrow of the enemies 
of God and his church, but he may not simply rejoice 
a.t the fall of his adversary, nor uncharitably triumph 
over him with a gladness of heart arising from secret 
hatred. But why is this uncharitable and unholy 
joy to be taken heed of? ' Lest in the eyes of the 
Lord, beholding it, it seem evil, and he turn his 
wrath from him upon thee.' That is to say^ 
first. Lest the Lord be offended and angry with thee 
for having and nourishing such an unkind and filthy 
affection in thine heart ; for the Lord pondereth 
the spirits, and would have thee even to love thy 
very enemy, and therefore to pity him, and not 
rejoice at his misery. Secondly, Lest the Lord for 
this thy sin lay the same affliction on thee which he 
' Qu. ' save', or ' but ' ? — Ed. 

doth on thine adversary, which would be smally to 
thy comfort. Indeed it oftentimes so falleth out, 
that he that is glad 'for the misery of his neighbour 
falleth himself into the same adversity. These last 
words, ' and he turn his ■\vTath from him upon thee,' 
are not so to be understood as if that therefore a 
a man were not to rejoice at his enemy's fall, lest by 
so doing his good might be procured, to wit, the 
removing of the scourge that is upon him. But by 
this speech every one is warned to take heed of 
uncharitable rejoicing at the miseries of those that 
hate him, lest by this means he draw God's wrath 
and plague upon himself. This point therefore is 
well to be observed. 

Ver. 19. Fret not at those that are bent upon mis- 
chief, neither yet envy tJwse that are wicked ; 

Ver. 20. For there shall be no latter part to the mis- 
chievous man ; the candle of the wiched sliall be put out. 

First, We are wUled herein not to be angry or 
offended at the prosperity of those that set them- 
selves to hurt or oppress their neighbours ; or the 
Hebrew word which is translated fret not, doth 
signify and note out wrathfulness or furiousness. 
Secondly, We are again warned not to envy the 
wicked, touching which matter much hath been 
spoken before, chap, xxiii. 1 7, also xiii. 8. Thirdly, We 
are moved not to fret at the mischievous tyrants and 
oppressors of this world,forthis reason, to wit, because 
there shall be no latter part or end unto them. That 
is to say, no happiness nor salvation in the end ; for 
as it is in the psalm, the end of the mischievous shall 
be cut off, Ps. xxxvii. In the latter part of his life, 
or at his death, the ungodly person is plagued with 
great evUs and miseries. Last of all, we are taught 
that therefore the prosperity of the wicked is not to 
be envied, because their candle shall be put out ; 
that is to say, their health, wealth, glory, and 
flourishing estate shall decay and be turned into 
misery ; but this phrase hath also been spoken of 
before in this book. 

Ver. 21. My son, fear God and the king; and meddle 
not with them that make alterations : 

Ver. 22. Foi- their calamity shall suddenly arise; 
and who knowcth the destruction of them both ? 

These two sentences are very precious, and worthy 
to be written in letters of gold. First, every one 
herein is exliorted in heart to reverence, and in deed 



[Chap. XXIV. 

to obey, two great and mighty persons. The former 
person is God, -who is worthily named in the first 
place, for that he is chiefly, wholly, and then only to 
be obeyed, when princes' wills cannot be done unless 
his will be transgressed. Wherefore they ofiend 
against this precept, and against the Lord, who either 
put into practice those commandments of men 
which are quite contrarj^ to the laws of God, or, 
tliough they diligently observe the statutes of princes, 
yet neglect the duties which they owe unto the Lord, 
and reverence not nor worshij) his majesty. Bat 
the Lord is most mighty, and able to kill both body 
and soul, wherefore he especially is to be honoured. 
The king is also a mightj'' person, and the Lord's 
deputy on earth, for which cause, next unto God, in 
the Lord, and for the Lord, he is to be feared ; for 
as we are to give unto God those things that are 
God's, so we are to give to Csesar those things that 
are Csesar's, Mat. xxii. 2L And this fear which 
we are to carry towards the king should shew itself 
in giving honour unto him, as the apostle Peter 
declareth when he saith, ' Fear God and honour the 
king,' 1 Peter ii. 13. Wherefore they greatly 
offend, who, as concerning tlie exercises of rehgion, 
give unto God that which is God's ; but withal give 
not to princes that which is their due, and either 
refuse to pay tribute to them, or take up arms 
against them, or break their good laws, or will not 
submit themselves to their punishments, or seek to 
change or abolish their decrees and statutes. We 
are well warned in the latter part of the former of 
these two verses to take heed of such changers of God's 
laws and men's laws, whenas it is said, meddle not 
■\vith them that make alterations ; for by those that 
make such alterations are meant such as swerve from 
the holy laws of God concerning religion and Chris- 
tian obedience, or from the wholesome laws of 
princes, touching policy or civil peace. Of this 
number are they whom the apostle calleth lawless 
people, and such as will not be subject, 1 Tim. i. 9. 
They that reject the vain traditions of man, or that 
seek to have corruptions purged out of the church, 
or any disorder amended by God's word, so that they 
seek this lawfully, discreetly, and peaceably, are not 
makers of innovations or alterations ; but such as 
add to the word of God, or swerve therefrom, and 
such as rebel against princes, and seek to abolish 

their good and godly laws, are those dangerous per- 
sons who, as here is taught, are in no case to be 
liked or followed after, but rather to be shunned 
and avoided. Great cause there is, as is shewed in 
the beginning of the latter verse, why such makers 
of alterations should not be meddled with. ' For 
their calamity or desolation doth suddenly arise.' 
The calamity here spioken of is some horrible plague 
or vengeance, which spoileth the goods, tormenteth 
the body, and vexeth the soul. A long time to- 
gether the swervers from God's laws, and rebels 
against the Lord and their prince, are oftentimes 
spared. But in the end such a calamity as hath 
been mentioned riseth up against them, even when 
they say unto themselves. Peace, peace. It was long 
ere the flood came upon those that were disobedient 
in the days of Noah, but in the end it rose up on a 
sudden. The wicked cities were at last quickly 
subverted, though for a time they were with patience 
forborne ; but when once a way was made for Lot to 
escape, the fire fell on the rest suddenly and most 
fearful]}''. Wherefore the desolation of the breakers 
of holy laws, whether enacted by the Lord or by 
princes, doth suddenly arise. And, as is added in 
the end of the latter verse, who knoweth the de- 
struction of them both 1 to wit, of the Lord and 
of the king, for of them both mention was made 
before. As the wrath of them both is heavy, so it 
is speedy and secret. Their decrees are kept very 
close, the execution of them is sudden. The offender 
knoweth not the day of his apprehension or execution 
oftentimes, yea, this is concealed from all sorts of 
people. Jerusalem knew not the day of her visita- 
tion, and she was ignorant of the time of her destruc- 
tion. No man knoweth when Christ Jesus will 
come to judgment, and who knoweth the hour 
wherein the Lord purposeth to send death unto him 1 
Seeing, then, the power of the Lord and of the king 
is so great, seeing their wrath is so terrible, and see- 
ing their vengeance is so swift, let every one fear 
God and the king, and take heed he be not in the 
number of the disobedient or rebellious. 

Ver. 23. Also these are the sayings of the ivise. To 
have re.'2Ject of persons in judgment is not good. 

David made not all those spiritual songs which 
are contained in the book of the Psalms ; in like 
manner, neither did Solomon utter or vrrite all the 

Ver. 24-26.] 



parables which are set down in this book of the 
Proverbs. Thus much may be gathered out of the 
first part of this sentence, wherein is said, ' Also these 
are the sayings of the wise.' What wise men they 
were who spake the parables ensuing is not ex- 
pressed. We are not to doubt but that they were 
led by God's Spirit, and were holy men of God, 
seeing other\vise neither could they have been wise, 
neither would they who gathered these sayings 
together have jjut them into the book of canonical 
Scripture. But let us consider these sayings, which 
are all very precious and excellent. The first of 
them is, ' To have respect of persons in judgment is 
not good.' This instruction accordeth with that 
commandment of the Lord in the law, ' Thou shalt 
not deal corruptly in any judgment ; thou shalt not 
accept the person of the poor, nor honour the per- 
son of the rich,' Lev. xix. 15. But what is it to 
respect persons ? To respect persons is so to regard 
anything which is beside the cause, or out of the 
matter in question, as thereby to be led aside and 
to be drawn to pervert justice, or to decline from 
the law. For example, if any for the wealth, or 
power, or misery of the party accusing or accused, 
punish the innocent or acquit the guilty, or if any 
in the same cause deal otherw-ise with one than 
with another by reason of favour, or friendship, 
or hatred, or some such sinister respect, he is a 
respecter of persons. Thus to respect persons is not 
good, for God hath forbidden this sin, and will 
punish the same. 

Ver. 24. Him that saith to the wicked man, Thou 
art righteous; the people loill curse, the nation toill 
abhor : 

Ver. 25. But to them that rebuke him shall be 
pleasantness, and each good mans blessing shall fall 
upon them. 

Ver. 26. (The people) ivill kiss the lips of him that 
answereth upright words. 

The duty of judges hath in part been touched in 
the verses going before, and now in these is more 
fully declared. First, it is said, that 'him who 
saith to the wicked man. Thou art righteous ; the 
people will curse, the nations will abhor.' It is an 
abomination to the Lord, as before hath been taught 
in this book, to acquit the offender from blame, and 
to call evil good. It is also an odious thing unto 

men, as herein is declared ; for not one, but many, 
yea, all that love righteousness, will blame in 
speeches, and detest in their souls, that corrupt 
judge who pronounceth the guilty person innocent, 
and spareth the evil-doer. Indeeil, well-disposed 
2:ieople will not easily break out into rash curses, 
neither will they proudly reproach the magistrates, 
though they see them fail in their duty. But 
nevertheless, such is the zeal that they bear to jus- 
tice, that they cannot but find fault with them when 
they see them so grossly to offend, neither yet can 
they but call to the Lord for redress and revenge 
of such a wrong and injury as is done even to the 
whole commonwealth. On the contrary side, as is 
taught in the second place, ' To them that rebuke 
the wicked shall be pleasantness, and each good 
man's blessing shall be upon them.' In which words 
a reward is promised unto those who in speech 
reprove, or by punishment correct, the evil-doer. 
Unto them shall be pleasantness, that is, not a bitter 
curse, but sweet praise, not lowering looks, but 
favourable countenances ; to conclude, not some evil 
plague, but some good comfort. Moreover, upon 
them shall fall each good man's blessings, that is, 
the prayer of well-affected people, who will say, 
God's blessing be on such a judge's heart, for he 
saveth the innocent, and revengeth the wicked. 
This blessing fell upon Job's head full often, who 
saith in the book of Holy Scripture which beareth 
his name, ' When the ear heard me, it blessed me ; 
and when the eye saw me, it gave witness unto me : 
that I delivered the poor that cried, the fatherless, 
and him that had no help. The blessing of him 
that was ready to perish came upon me; and I 
caused the widow's heart to rejoice,' Job xxix. 
11, 12. To conclude, as is added in the last place, 
' The people will kiss the lips of him that answereth 
upright things.' The kissing of the lips is a sign of 
love amongst us, and in old time it was also a token 
of reverence, Ps. ii. 12; Gen. xli. 40. Whereas 
then here it is said that the people will kiss the lips 
of him that answereth upright things, the meaning 
is, that they will exceedingly affect and singularly 
honour such a person. It may be the wicked will 
despise or smite such a one, but the godly will rever- 
ence and embrace him. Now he is said to answer 
upright things, who uttereth true, wise, and pro- 




[Chap. XXIV. 

Stable speeches, or such sayings as are agreeable to 
equity and righteousness. 

Ver. 27. Prepare thy work without, and make ready 
thy things in the field; and afterward build thine 

This proverb teacheth us to proceed orderly in aU 
our affairs, looldng to things of great importance in 
the former place, and going about matters of less 
■weight in the latter. This wisdom the very little 
bees do practise and shew us, who first get honey 
and bring it into their hives, and afterward make 
their seats and honeycombs. Against the golden 
rule here set down divers sorts of people offend, yea, 
all that take a preposterous course, whether in the 
matters of this life, or in those things that are 
spiritual. Some enter into the state of marriage 
before either they have wit, or have provided and 
gotten by their labour sufficient food or wealth to 
maintain them. Others lay out much on banquets, 
building, pastimes, and apparel, before they have 
a good stock, or large coniings-in. Others meddle 
with hard points of controversy before they have 
learned the plain principles of religion. Others first, 
and especially, seek after the goods of this world, 
and in the second place, at their leisure, and very 
slowly, they foUow after the kingdom of God. All 
these, all such are like unto them that set the 
cart before the horses, and offend against this excel- 
lent rule, that we are first to prepare our work with- 
out, and afterward to trim and raise up or enlarge 
our houses. 

Ver. 28. Be not a tuitness rashly against thy neigh- 
hour ; and deceive not with thy lips. 

Ver. 29. Say not, I will do to them as he hath done 
to me : I will recompense this man according to his work. 

We are taught herein how to behave ourselves 
toward our neighbours, yea, and toward our very 
enemies. We are not by any means to be rash or 
false witnesses against our neighbours, for that were 
plain injury ; nor to deceive with our lips, for that 
were flattery. And as touching our enemies, we are 
not to say that we will do to them as they have done 
to us, for that were private revenge. We must not, 
therefore, hate them that hate us, as the pharisees 
taught, but we must do good even unto our adver- 
saries, as our Saviour teacheth in the Gospel, Mat. 
V. 38. We are not to follow that evil which another 

hath done, but simply and only to consider what 
we ought to do. 

Ver. 30. I passed hy the field of the sluggard, and by 
the vineyard of the man destitute of understanding. 

Ver. 31. And, lo, it toas all groion over with thistles, 
and nettles heed covered the face thereof, and the stone 
wall thereof was broken down. 

Ver. 32. , Then I beheld, and considered it .• / looked 
upon it, and received instruction. 

Ver. 33. By a few sleeps, a few slumbers, a little 
folding of the hands in lying down : 

Ver. 34. Both thy poverty cometh on thee as a speedy 
traveller, and thy necessity as an armed man. 

Whereas there is great slackness in our nature 
unto that which is good, the Spirit of the Lord 
laboureth in these verses to drive slothfulness out 
of us, and to stir us up to diligence. In the two 
first sentences a divine parable, shadowing out the 
effects of sluggishness, is propounded ; in the three 
last, the same opened and applied. Whereas the 
wise king saith that he ' passed by the field of the 
sluggard, and by the vineyard of the man destitute 
of understanding ; ' he meaneth that in the thoughts 
of his mind he considered the estate of slothful per- 
sons, who have some good gifts or portions, which 
are unto them, as it were, their fields or vineyards. 
Whereas he addeth that, as concerning the field of 
the sluggard, ' It was grown over with thistles, and 
nettles had covered the face thereof;' and that, as 
touching the vineyard of the fooKsh man, ' The stone 
wall thereof was broken down ; ' he insinuateth 
that, by reason of negligence and want of forecast, 
evil things increase and good things decay in church 
and commonwealth, and in private families, and in 
all places and matters. If the soil of a man's ground 
be never so good, yet if it be not tilled and hus- 
banded it bringeth forth no corn, but aboundeth 
with weeds ; so likewise, if a vineyard be set with 
never so noble plants, or if the vines begin to bring 
forth pleasant grapes, yet if the hedge or wall be 
broken down, uo good will come thereof, but either 
thieves will steal them, or wild beasts will devour 
them. In like manner, in all tilings there cometh 
no good, but much hurt, by idleness ; for the which 
cause it is by all men to be avoided, and namely by 
husbandmen, of whom Solomon speaketh expressly 
in this place. Yet some are good husbands to the 

Chap. XXV. 1.] 



world-ward, and even overtoil themselves witli bodily 
labour, so that you shall see their grounds well 
stored, and all these outward things belonging to 
them very neat and well ordered. But even these 
commonly are of all others most careless concerning 
their souls, which yet they should look unto after 
a special sort, as being the best ground and most 
pleasant vineyards which they possess. To come to 
the appUcation of the parable therein — first, Solomon 
sheweth that he gathered wisdom out of the folly of 
the sluggard ; and secondly, he declareth the parti- 
cular point of instruction which he learned, which was 
that slotlifulness and folly are the mothers of poverty 
and misery. In that the wise king by other men's 
follies received instruction, we may observe that 
it is our duty, by our neighbours' deeds and suffer- 
ings, to wax daily more and more wary. But 
although we have seen many whose estate and stock 
hath decayed through negligence, and who have 
perished in their other sins, yet not one of us among 
a hundred can say in truth that he hath received 
due instruction hereby. That point of wisdom 
which the prudent king learned by his observation 
is set down in the two last verses, which are these : 
' By a few sleeps, a few slumbers, a little folding of 
the hands together : both thy poverty cometh on 
thee as a speedy traveller, and thy necessity as an 
armed man.' In the former of which sentences the 
sluggard is very hvely painted out unto us ; for 
therein he is noted to be such a one whose eyes are 
not waking or open, but shut and sleeping ; and 
again, whose hands are not reached out to work, but 
folded together. And as this drowsiness is in the 
flesh of the sluggard, so there is a love of ease even 
in his very soul, which desireth rest and dehghteth 
therein above all measure. For although he hath 
played the lazy a great whUe, and slept much longer 
than was meet that he should, yet he desireth to 
enjoy his ease and sleep a little longer, and saith, 
' A little slumber, a little folding of the hands to- 
gether.' The temporal sluggard, who is negligent 
as touching the affairs of this life, is very loath to 
leave his bed and go to his work ; but the spiritual 
sluggard, who is careless about the service of God, 
and obedience unto his commandments, is much 
more drowsy and loath to leave his sin, and to do 
that which the Lord wiUeth. He counteth a little 

serving of God a great deal, but on the contrary 
side a great deal of wickedness but a little. Hence 
it cometh to pass that not only poverty cometh on 
both these sluggards suddenly, but that necessity 
beateth them down like an armed man most cruelly. 
Such temporal poverty and necessity overtaketh and 
oppresseth the one as pinched the prodigal son on 
earth, when he was driven to eat the husks with 
the swine, Luke xv. 16, and as pined the rich 
man in liell when he could not obtain a drop of 
water, Luke xvi. 24. Again, such spiritual penury 
and need seizeth upon and overwhelmeth the other, 
as the Gospel noteth to have perplexed the foolish 
virgins when they wanted oil in their lamps. Mat. 
XXV. 1 ; and as our Saviour in the Revelation of St 
John upbraideth the angel of the church of Laodicea 
withal, when he speaketh thus unto him : ' Thou 
sayest I am rich and increased with goods, and have 
need of notliing, and knowest not how thou art 
wretched, and poor, and blind, and naked,' Eev. iii. 
1 7. Indeed poverty laid on the elect for an exercise 
of their faith, or a trial of their obedience, is an estate 
not evil, nor altogether uncomfortable ; but penury 
incurred by carelessness or idleness is a sore scourge 
of sin, and a burden intolerable, but especially the 
poverty and nakedness of the soul. Wherefore, to 
the end we may never feel this famine nor the other, 
and to the end we may abound with God's blessings 
both inward and outward, let us be diligent in using 
of all the good means which appertain to the welfare 
of our bodies or souls. 


Ver. 1. These also are the parables of Solomon, 
which the men of Hezeldah Icing of Judah gathered 

Great was the care of the good king Hezeldah for 
the true worship of the Lord, who gave a notable 
charge to the people in his days that they should 
bring portions unto the priests and Levites, to the 
end they might strengthen themselves in the law of 
God. Wherefore it is not to be marvelled at that in 
the time of his reign, his men, that is, his servants 
and subjects, did collect out of the Chronicles of the 
kings of Judah, or some such book, the sentences 



[Chap. XXV. 

ensuing, wliich ■when tliey were culled out and 
gathered together, were by the priests or prophets 
authorised and inserted into the canonical Scrip- 

Ver. 2. The glory of God is to hide a matter : but 
the glory of kings is to search out a matter. 

Albeit the Lord knoweth and decreeth all things, 
yet he maketh not all his intents or decrees known, 
but concealeth many matters both from men and 
angels. ' It is a glory to the Lord to hide a matter,' 
in this sort. For, first, Herein he sheweth that 
there is none to whom he staudeth bound to reveal 
his mind. Secondly, He declareth that he is 
wonderful patient, inasmuch as though he under- 
standeth what great sins men commit, yet he carrieth 
himself as one that knew nothing thereof, nor were 
hasty to revenge the same. Last of all, He proveth 
himself to be infinitely wise, inasmuch as he hideth 
some points of his wisdom from all creatures, as 
being unable and unfit in themselves to conceive or 
comprehend the same. ' But the glory of kings is to 
search out the matter.' For although to inquire 
into a matter be a sign of ignorance, yet seeing 
princes are men, it is no shame unto them to search 
out that case they know not, as Job did, but rather 
a praise, inasmuch as they are rulers under God 
upon earth to ferret out the truth and to bring 
dark matters to light. Job xxix. 1 6. 

Ver. 3. The heavens in height, and the earth in 
deepness, and the Icing's heart cannot be searched out. 

Howsoever some there are who think that by 
their wisdom they have attained unto the just 
measure of the height of the heaven, and of the 
breadth, length, and depth of the earth, yet there is 
none that properly knoweth the same but God alone, 
for they are infinite. Now such unsearchable and 
infinite things as are the heaven and the earth in 
the forenamed respects, are also the hearts of princes, 
or at the least such they should be. For those 
governors whom the Lord lifteth up to the royal 
throne are by him commonly indued with an excel- 
lent spirit, and adorned with such gifts as for the 
most part are not to be found in private persons. 
If any princes, by reason that they have given them- 
selves rather unto vanity than unto the study of 
wisdom, be not such, yet such they ought to be. 
For seeing they have to deal in great and weighty 

matters, it is required of them that their wits, coun- 
sels, purposes, and determinations of matters be rare, 
profound, notable, and past the common reach. 

Ver. 4. Take away the dross from the silver, and 
there will proceed a vessel for the finer. 

Ver. 5. Take away the wicked from the king, and 
his throne shall he established in righteousness. 

The comparison of dross, whereunto here the 
wicked are resembled, is usual in the Scripture, and 
very fit ; for dross is a corrupt and unprofitable 
mixture, which is by fire to be consumed and separ- 
ated from the pure metal. In like manner also the 
ungodly are corrupt and hurtful people, who there- 
fore by a due severity are to be cut ofi' and severed 
from the righteous. Now as the goldsmith purging 
the dross from the pure metal hath by this means 
the matter of a fine and perfect vessel ready prepared, 
which he by his art may easUy frame and fashion 
into some excellent form ; so the king cutting off 
evil-doers with meet severity, and especially re- 
moving from him evil counsellors, causeth by this 
means his kingdom to be the purer and surer to 
him, and his throne to appear the more glorious in 
the eyes of all. For the very nest of the wicked 
being broken and pulled down, and no other sub- 
jects but only such as are godly remaining, he shall 
both be free from the dangers of treason, and by all 
most dutifully obeyed and honoured. 

Ver. 6. Take not honour unto thyself before a king, 
and stand not in the place of great personages : 

Ver. 7. Foi' it is better that it be said unto thee, 
Come hither ; than that thou be thrust down before a 
worthier person, which thing thine eyes do see. 

The admonition here given accordeth notably with 
that parable in the Gospel which our Saviour ut- 
tered upon occasion that he observed how some 
chose to themselves the chiefest rooms. The Holy 
Ghost in these sentences calleth every one from vain 
boasting and boldness, especially before princes, who 
by reason of their high places cannot abide pride, 
and by reason of the j)Ower wherewith they are 
armed, will not sufier it to go unpunished. ' Take 
not honour unto thyself before a king,' make not 
show of any bravery or excellency before a prince ; 
' and stand not in the place of great personages,' 
moreover, intrude not thyself into those rooms where- 
unto thou art not called, and which belong to men 

Ver. 8-13.] 



of great account. ' For it is better that it be said 
unto tliee, Come up hither, than that thou be thrust 
down before a worthier person, which thing, or 
whom thine eyes do see.' For it is a more comfort- 
able and commendable thing that when thou seatest 
thyself in a low place, thou be called up to a higher, 
than that when thou hast placed thyself in a high 
room, a man of better degree or account coming in, 
thou beest caused to sit down and to give place unto 
him, thine eyes beholdmg him and thine own dis- 

Ver. 8. Go not forth hastily to sue any : consider ichat 
thou shalt do at the last, when thine enemy shall have 
put thee to shame. 

Ver. 9. Debate thy matter with thy neighbour ; but re- 
veal not the secret of another. 

Ver. 10. Lest he that heareth blame thee, and thine 
infamy do not cease. 

As before the Spirit of God hath dissuaded us 
from pride, so now he willeth us to take heed of 
contention, which vice bringeth shame as well as the 
other. ' Go not forth hastily to sue any.' Proceed 
not rashly in the pride of thine heart unto the court 
of justice. ' Consider what thou wilt do at the last, 
when thy neighbour shall have put thee to shame.' 
Weigh beforehand that thou canst not easily end 
the suit, nor escape punishment, when thy neighbour 
shall have proved thy cause to be bad, and shall once 
have gotten the upper hand. For it is not so easy 
a matter to end a quarrel as it is to begin it, nor so 
pleasant a thing to endure the trouble of the law, as 
to enter thereinto. The law is costly, as we say ; it 
putteth men to great charges, yea, it costeth many a 
one his life. Wherefore, rather ' debate thy matter 
with thy neighbour,' dispute the case with thy 
brother who hath offended thee, admonishing him 
between him and thee ; ' but reveal not the secrets 
of another.' As for the private and privy offence 
committed by thy neighbour, which is only known 
unto thyself, declare it not unto any, but rather con- 
ceal it, 'lest he that heareth blame thee ; ' lest, instead 
of credit, which thou seekest after, thou procure unto 
thyself discredit from him unto whom thou tellest 
the tale, who hearing thee to blaze the infirmity of 
thy friend, will account thee to be a backbiter or 
talebearer; 'and thine infamy do not cease.' And le.st 
thy blot and stain be perpetual ; for nothing in 

the minds of men remaineth so long as those things 
wherein they see any to have done amiss. 

Ver. 11. As a golden apple with pictures of silver, 
so is a word spoken fitly. 

Gold of itself and by itself is precious and ex- 
cellent, but when it is brought into some pretty 
form, as for example into the fashion of an apple or 
a cherry, and wrought about with fair and curious 
picture works, as with leaves or branches of silver, 
then it is much more comely and glorious. In like 
manner a sage or pithy sentence is in itself com- 
mendable and acceptable, but when it is uttered 
with a grace and in due place it becometh much 
more pleasant and forcible. Thus a speech that is 
true or prudent is of itself, as it were, a golden apple, 
but being graced with eloquence or any like orna- 
ment it excelleth, and seemeth like to a work of gold 
embroidered with pictures or fruiteries of silver. 

Ver. 12. As a golden earring andjetvel of pearl, so 
is a wise reprover to an obedient ear. 

A golden earring is a comely ornament of itself, 
whereunto if a jewel or pearl which is most precious 
be set and annexed, it becometh, by this addition, 
exceeding gracious and glorious ; for the precious 
stone causeth the golden ring to appear very accept- 
able and admirable. The wise reprover or instructor 
who lovingly and seasonably telleth his neighbour 
of his fault or duty, may fitly be likened unto a 
jewel of pearl ; for he lighteneth and enricheth him 
that is instructed with knowledge and with the gifts 
of God's Holy Spirit. The attentive or obedient 
hearer, who desireth to increase in learning, and 
who receiveth the word of God with meekness and 
with a yielding thereunto, may also aptly be re- 
sembled to a golden earring ; for he is transformed 
from glory to glory, as the apostle speaketh, by the 
ministry and instruction of the prudent and learned 
teacher. Thus the wise tongue profiteth the obedi- 
ent ear, and the obedient ear well suiteth and will- 
ingly hearkeneth unto the prudent tongue. 

Ver. 12). As the cold of the snow in the time of har- 
vest, so is a faithful messenger unto those that send him ; 
for he restoveth his master s soul. 

The ancient people in the hot countries used to 
cool theu- drink in summer with snow water, which 
to that end they reserved. It should not then seem 
strange that here mention is made of snow in har- 



[Chap. XXV. 

vest, ■wliich if at that time it should fall on the 
ground it would be unseasonable and hurtful there- 
unto, but the water thereof, which is most cold, put 
into driuk to cool the same, is a great refreshing 
unto those that labour hotly in harvest work. Now 
unto snow water reserved and thus applied is a 
speedy and trusty messenger very fitly here re- 
sembled ; for by his good news he greatly reviveth 
the heavy and longing minds of those who sent 
him about their business. Wherefore let messengers 
labour with all care, and hasten with all speed, to 
despatch their business happily and quickly, to 
the end they may by so doing comfort those who 
sent them, and deliver them out of their desires 
and fears. 

Ver. 14. As clouds and icind without rain, so is the 
man who boasteth of a false gift. 

Such are now painted out who make a show of 
that which they have not, nor perform. Like ' as 
clouds and wind without rain' not only are barren 
and without water, but making show of showers 
which they have not nor pour down, deceive often- 
times the husbandman's expectation and grieve his 
heart; so hypocrites and vain promisers of liberality 
are not only without grace and good works, but by 
their shows of holiness aud promises of bounty 
offend and delude those who hoped for some good- 
ness or goods from them. 

Ver. 15. By meekness a prince is appeased, and a 
soft tongue hreaketh the bones. 

The wrath of a mighty man is fiercer and heavier 
than is the anger of a private person ; yet by meek- 
ness, that is, by silence and forbearing, a prince is 
appeased, a great ruler is pacified, who, when he 
seeth that his subject doth not rebel nor murmur 
against him, remitteth his fury. ' And a soft tongue 
breaketh the bones.' That is to say, a gentle and 
lowly speech overcometh stout and hard minds, 
which otherwise would not yield. We do think by 
stubbornness and roughness to prevail, and to cause 
those that set themselves against us to yield unto 
us ; but the wisdom of God teacheth us here a 
better course, and ^villeth us to labour by gentleness 
to win men's good-wUl, and especially by fair speech 
to pacify the minds of such as are in high places. 
Albeit the Epliraimites, of whom mention is made 
iu the book of Judges, did mightily contend with 

Gideon, for that he called them not when he went 
out against the Midianites, yet whenas they heard 
him give so soft an answer as that he therein pre- 
ferred their exploits far above his own, then after 
this word, as the Scripture sheweth, their wrathful 
spirit ceased and abated. Judges viii. 1, &c. Like- 
wise, although David had vowed to slay Nabal and 
all that belonged to him, yet when he considered the 
mUd disposition, and heard the humble oration of 
Abigail, he was entreated, and blessed both the Lord 
for her, and her for gi"ving him so wise counsel, 
1 Sam. XXV. 

Ver. 16. ?FIicn thou findest honey, eat that which is 
svf/icient foi- thee : lest being filled therewith, thou vomit 
it up. 

Ver. 17. JFithdraw thy foot from thy neighbour's 
house: lest being filled with thee, he hate thee. 

A measure is to be kept in all things, even in 
those that are sweetest. Too much of everything is 
bitter, yea, even too much of honey ; for though 
nothing is sweeter than honey, if it be moderately 
taken, yet if any eat too much thereof, it causeth 
loathing and casting. In like manner, if any shall, 
without measure or any stay, bathe himself in the 
sweet delights of this world whatsoever, he shall 
both lose his pleasure and procure pain to himself. 
To come more particularly to the case here set down, 
too often frequenting of a friend's house or table is 
not good. Wherefore, when thou hast found a table 
or house like in sweetness unto honey, haunt it not 
without all modesty, lest thy friend be weary of 
such a daily guest ; but rarely and sparingly resort 
thereunto, that so thou mayest always be welcome 
and acceptable. It is a great fault among many, 
that when they have found a kind and sweet friend, 
they care not how they overlay him or abuse his 
courtesy. But, as we say in our common proverbs, 
it is not good to take too much of a frank horse. 

Ver. 18. As a hammer, and a sword, and a sharp 
arrow: so is that man that beareth false witness against 
his neighbour. 

To express the greatness of the sin of false wit- 
ness-bea;ing, the Holy Ghost resembleth it to three 
instruments of death. The first is a hammer, or, as 
some take the word, a club, which breaketh hard 
things in pieces, and wherewith many a man's brains 
is knocked out. The second is a sword, which 

Ver. 19-22.] 



di\'ideth those tilings that cleave fast together, and 
wherewith the throat is sometimes cut in sunder. 
The third is a sharp arrow, which pierceth deeply, 
and wherewith the heart is oftentimes wounded. 
By these three instruments commonly man hurteth 
man, unto all which the false tongue is here com- 
pared, for that it worketh much hurt and is a deadly 
mischief. He that beareth false witness overthrow- 
eth the estate of his neighbour, who is wrongfully 
accused, taketh away his life, and pierceth his heart 
with inward grief. 

Ver. 19. As a broken tooth, or afoot out of Joint : 
so is trust in one that is unfaithful in the day of 

It is good for every man to try before he trust, 
lest, if he put confidence in a false friend, he' be 
deceived and disappointed ia the time of necessity. 
A broken tooth faileth and paineth him who 
goeth about to chew his meat. Again, afoot out of 
joint tormenteth and disappointeth him who setteth 
it on the ground to go. Neither can the broken 
tooth, nor the foot out of joint, do his office, but 
both of them are unprofitable. Such a thing is the 
hope that is reposed in a friend who starteth aside 
when a man hath need of him ; it cannot comfort or 
help hini in whom it is, but rather it grieveth him, 
and maketh him ashamed. When it cometh to the 
pinch, then this hope faileth, by reason that he fail- 
eth in whom it was placed. Job thought very well 
of his friends in the time of his prosperity, but lq 
his adversity his hope was as a broken tooth, or a 
foot out of joint ; for it departed from him, and was 
turned into indignation. Let us, then, not trust 
every man's promise, nor put confidence in vain per- 

Ver. 20. As he that putteth on a garment in the 
cold season, or vinegar on nitre: so is he that singeth 
songs to a sad heart. 

Great is the force of music, but especially of 
singing. It is here expressed, as it seemeth, by two 
comparisons — the one, of a garment put on in the 
cold season ; the other, of vinegar poured upon 
nitre. That a garment put upon the naked body in 
the cold season keepeth ofi" the sharpness of the 
weather and warmetli the loins, all men do know ; 
but what the force of vinegar poured on nitre is, 
or what nitre is, it is not so well by the most under- 

stood. To make this point, therefore, the plainer, 
nitre is a kind of earth in Judea and Egypt, as Bel- 
lonius -(VTiteth, made hard by the sun, white in 
colour, and bitter in taste. It is neither saltpetre, 
nor salt, nor chalk, as some have imagined, but such 
a kind of earth as hath been spoken of. Now this 
nitre is sometimes so by heat compacted together, 
as that it hath the hardness of a very stone ; but, as 
a learned philosopher writeth, if vinegar be put upon 
the driest and hardest nitre that may be, by reason 
of the coldness and piercing nature thereof, it looseth 
and dissolveth the same. Now, even as a garment 
warmeth the body, and vinegar dissolveth the hard 
nitre, so a sweet singer, by his delightsome ditty 
and pleasant voice, cheereth up the pensive soul, 
and driveth sorrow out of it. Hence it was that 
David played on his harp when the evil spirit came 
upon Saulj hence also it was that the prophets, 
who knew what were the best remedies against 
griefs, did set down so many spiritual songs and 
psalms in writing for the perpetual consolation of 
afflicted hearts. Indeed, some that are in bitter 
grief are rather vexed than eased by singing of 
songs or plaj-ing upon instruments of music; but 
music properly hath this force, and ordinarily this 
effect, even to assuage and pacify the passions of the 
pensive miad. 

Ver. 21. If thine enemy hunger, feed him with bread ; 
and if he thirst, give him water to drink. 

Ver. 22. For thou shalt heap as it were burning 
coals upon his head, and the Lord will recompense 

We are not to hate our enemies, as the pharisees 
taught, but to love them, as our Saviour in the Gos- 
pel willeth us to do. If this love be soundly and 
plentifully in us, then, according to the conunand- 
ment of the Lord given in the law, we wiU help our 
enemy's ass and ox if we see them in any danger or 
trouble. Then also, according to the counsel and 
charge here given, if our enemy hunger we will feed 
him, and if he thirst we -vwll give him drink ; that 
is to say, we will not suffer him to perish, but rather 
nourish him, yea, minister not one alone, but many 
benefits unto him according to his necessity. Great 
cause there is, saith the Spirit of God to every man, 
why thou shouldst be liberal in thy gifts and bene- 
fits unto thy very adversary. ' For thou shalt heap 



[Chap. XXV. 

as it were burning coals upon his head ; and the 
Lord will recompense thee.' Either certain punish- 
ments or benefits must here of necessity, and by the 
judgment of the learned, be meant by the borrowed 
speech of l)urning coals. Now it is not likely that 
the Holy Ghost would will us to do good to our 
enemies that the greater vengeance may fall upon 
them, or that matter of their destruction may be 
ministered unto them ; neither doth this sense agree 
with the latter part of this sentence, wherein it is 
said, ' and the Lord shall recompense thee.' Where- 
fore, on the contrary side, by heaping of coals of fire, 
the bestowing of the benefits in liberal manner is 
understood, which bounty the Lord T^dll reward. 
Now we know that if a coal or two of fire be laid 
on the hearth of the chimney below, he that is cold 
cannot be whoUy warmed, or receive much good 
thereby ; but if one basketful be poured on the fire 
after another, so that the coals are heaped up to the 
mantel-tree, or are as high as his head that fain 
would warm him, then he waxeth thoroughly hot 
and beginneth even to burn. It seemeth then that 
by this borrowed speech is meant, that if a man shall 
be very bountiful even unto his enemy, and heap 
upon him one good turn after another, this will cause 
his affection, which before was cold, to burn within 
him, and peradventure will turn him to become a 
friend instead of a foe. Thus dealt David with Saul, 
who spared his life when he might have slain him, 
and only cut off" a piece of his coat, when he might as 
easUy have cut off" his head ; which kindness of his 
so affected Saul, and inflamed him to mutual love 
when he knew of it, that he called him son, and 
prayed to the Lord to recompense unto him that 
goodness which he had shewed, 1 Sam. xxiv. 1 7. 
Let us then be ready to overcome evil with good, 
yea, and to bestow great benefits upon our very 
enemies if need shall require. So doing we shall be 
no losers ; but although our enemies remain obstinate, 
or be not able to requite us, yet, as is affirmed in the 
last words of this sentence, the Lord, who command- 
eth us to love our enemies, will repay back our cost 
and charges. 

Ver. 23. As the north-west wind engendereth rain, so 
doth the whisj^eriiiff tongue a lowering look. 

Oftentimes it falleth out that one friend or neigh- 
bour looketh very sourly on the other, though he 

speak never a word, nor say that he is offended. 
One cause of this frowning among the people of the 
world is here declared to be the whispering tongue, 
which privily telleth tales, and reporteth false slan- 
ders. This tongue is fitly resembled to the north- 
west wind, which in Judea, by reason of the situation 
of the great sea, (which there was northward,) en- 
gendered rain, and gathered the clouds together. 
For the sly or backbiting tongue causeth sadness in 
their countenances, and tears in their eyes, who 
therewith are bitten. Daily experience proveth this 
saying to be true. 

Ver. 24. Better if is to dwell in a corner of the 
house-top, than with a covetous woman in a wide house. 

This sentence having been before at large ex- 
pounded, is not here again to be handled. See chap, 
ii. 9. 

Ver. 2.5. As cold waters are to a iveary soul, so is a 
good hearing out of a far country. 

As fame is a great evil, so it is a great good thing. 
All men know that cool waters quench the thirst 
and restore the strength of the feeble and weary 
traveller, who being in a great heat, is ready to faint 
for want of drink ; in like manner all they that a 
long time wait to hear some good news out of those 
places where their affairs or friends are, do feel by 
experience, that by the glad tidings which are 
brought unto them they are exceedingly refreshed 
and revived. If good news be brought but from a 
place that is near, it is very comfortable ; but when 
a messenger bringeth a joyful report out of a far 
country he is most welcome and acceptable, for that 
he hath very long and very earnestly been looked 
for and desired. 

Ver. 26. Asa well troubled luith the foot, or a spring 
that is corrupted, so is a righteous man cast down he- 
fore the wicked. 

When the wicked bear rule, and the just are pun- 
ished, then all things are turned up and down, and 
the fairest things in the world defaced. The virtu- 
ous and innocent should indeed always be praised 
and honoured, but so it cometh to pass many times 
in many places that the wicked bear the sway and 
oppress the righteous. The righteous man thus op- 
pressed or cast down before the wicked, that is, de- 
faced, imprisoned, or condemned by him, 'is as a 
well troubled vidth the foot, or a spring that is cor- 

Chap. XXVI. 1-3.] 



rupted.' For as the well troubled with the foot is 
muddy and unfit to be used, or as the spring that is 
corrupted by the casting of some filthy thing there- 
into by this means loseth his grace and clearness, so 
the innocent person oppressed cannot do that good 
which otherwise he would, and hath not that dig- 
nity which it is meet he should have. 

Ver. 27. To eat too much honey is not good : so the 
searching of glory is not glory. 

Honey is a representation of things that are sweet 
and excellent. If honey be sparingly tasted it de- 
Ughteth and much profiteth ; but if too much of 
it be eaten it engendereth choler, and worketh death. 
For thereby the life is wounded, whereby the mouth 
is delighted. In like manner the seeking after ex- 
cellent things whatsoever, meant here by glory or 
glories, in the plural number, is good ; but the 
searching after them above measure is dangerous 
and deadly. Too much seeking for praise, too 
greedy hunting for preferment, too continual studying 
for knowledge, is not good ; but especially too curious 
searching of the majesty of the Godhead is danger- 
ous ; for he that so searcheth his majesty shall be 
oppressed with his glory. This honey bursteth the 
sense of the searcher, as one saith very well, whilst 
it is not therein contained. 

Ver. 28. As a city broken down without a wall, so 
is every one that hath not power over his spirit. 

This holy proverb declareth that every one who is 
unstaid of his affections is as a city unfenced or 
battered down. ' A city broken down without a 
wall' is not able to resist any assault, but lieth open 
to the spoil ; even so the man that letteth the 
bridle loose to his affections, and is not fenced with 
the wall of the fear of God, lieth open to the tempta- 
tions of Satan and the wicked, in such sort as that 
they will easily overcome him. To come to parti- 
culars ; if any be angry or given to vvrrath, will he not 
quickly be led captive to revile and to commit 
murder? If the affection of covetousness possess 
any, wiU he not easily be drawn to deceive and steal ? 
The like is to be said of all the passions of the 
mind, which if a man cannot bridle or govern, 
they will carry him headlong with violence into 
all mischief and misery, as wild and fierce horses 
oftentimes run away with an unguided coach or 


Ver. 1. As snow agreeth not to summer, or rain to 
harvest, so neither doth honour (beseem) a fool. 

Honour, that is say, praise or preferment, is not 
to be given to a fool, that is to say, to an ignor- 
ant or a wicked person, because it is the reward 
of wisdom and virtue. It is as unfit for a fool as 
the snow is unfit for summer, or rain for harvest, 
that is to say, it is most unfit ; for snow is not 
agreeable unto summer, seeing through the extreme 
coldness thereof it hindereth the ripening of the 
corn ; likewise rain is not agreeable to harvest, 
forasmuch as through the moistness thereof it 
hindereth the inning of the fruits of the earth. 
Honour is unfit for a fool in two respects especi- 
ally : the one, for that punishment is properly 
due unto him ; the other, for that he abuseth his 
authority, be it civil or ecclesiastical, unto the hurt 
of those that are subject unto him. 

Ver. 2. As the sparrow that wandereth, (or bent 
to wander,) or the swallow that flieth, so the curse 
that is causeless will not come. 

The undeserved curses and rash raiHngs of the 
wicked neither can do any harm, neither are to be 
regarded. They are like the sparrows, that rove up 
and down without staying in any place, or Hke the 
swallows, who mthout resting their feet on the 
ground continually beat the air with weary wing ; 
for in like manner causeless curses and rash censures 
fall not upon the innocent person, nor take effect, but 
vanish and come to nothing. The consideration 
hereof may be a great comfort unto all those who 
for well-doing are ill spoken of or vtrrongfuUy cen- 
sured by those that are in authority. 

Ver. 3. Unto the horse helongelh a whip, to the ass 
a bridle, and a rod to the fool's back 

The witless and wicked must not only be in- 
structed by words, but corrected by stripes. ' Unto 
the horse belongeth a whip ;' for the horse that is 
in the cart will not draw swiftly enough, unless he 
be now and then remembered and quickened with 
smarting lashes. ' To the ass a bridle' appertaineth ; 
for this simple creature, when he carrieth a man on 
his back, would go out of the right way very often, 
unless he were by him guided and pulled back by a 



[Chap. XXVI. 

bit. ' A rod is meet for tlie fool's back,' for two 
causes : the one is to stir him on forward unto 
virtue ; the other, to restrain him from error and 

Ver. 4. Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest 
thou also become like unto him. 

Ver. 5. Ansioer a fool unto his folly, lest he he loise 
in his own eyes. 

Tiiese two sentences may seem at the first blush 
to be contrary ; for therein we are willed to answer 
a fool, and again not to answer a fool. But this laiot 
will easily be loosed if it be observed that there are 
two sorts of answers, the one in folly, the other 
unto folly. A fool is not to be answered in his 
folly, or according to his foUy, that is to say, in such 
vanity as he useth, or after such a raging manner as 
he speaketh. The reason is, ' lest thou become like 
unto him ;' that is to say, lest either by following 
his example, or by incurring the opinion or blame of 
folly, thou hurt thyself. A fool is to be answered unto 
his folly ; that is to say, a witless or wicked man 
is by reasons to be confuted, and by reproofs that are 
wise to be bridled. The reason is, ' lest he be wise 
in Ms own eyes ;' that is to say, lest conceiving error 
to be truth he remain ignorant, or imagining his 
speech to be very excellent, he wax proud. 

Ver. 6. As he that cutteth his feet, so he receiveth 
hurt that sendeth messages by a fool. 

This proverb warneth every one to take heed 
unto whom he committeth his affairs or errands. 
He that cutteth his feet cannot happily go on 
forward in his journey, nor be at rest in any 
place ; even so he that sendeth messages by a fool 
cannot be at quiet, nor have good success in his 
affairs. For committing his errands to one that 
cannot carry them without forgetfulness, or utter 
them without rashness, he shall have his matters 
either not done, or ill done. Moreover, the mes- 
senger's faults will be imputed to him that sent 
him, and many suspicions or inconveniences will 
hereby arise. 

Ver. 7. As the legs of the lame man are lifted iij} : 
so. is a parable in a fool's mouth. 

The person that speaketh a sentence greatly 
graceth or disgraceth the same. A fool is fitly in 
this verse resembled unto a lame man ; for every 
fool halteth in his understanding or behaviour. The 

words uttered by a fool are also aptly compared 
unto the lame man's legs ; for his legs are not only 
unequal or uncomely, but withered and feeble. Such 
are the speeches of the simple-witted and of the 
ungodly person ; for in his mouth they are effemi- 
nated, as one speaketh, losing their grace and force. 
By reason that he is a fool, he either misapplieth 
his parable, or staineth it with the blot of his un- 
godly life and dealing. 

Ver. 8. As he that bindeth a stone into a sling, so 
doth he that giveth honour to a fool. 

It is not only an unmeet, but a hurtful thing, to 
promote or help forward the unworthy unto any 
dignity or office ; for this is all one as if a man 
should put a sword into a madman's hand. For let 
the mcked have power joined to their will, and 
they 'Vfill greatly molest such as axe under them. 
He that bindeth a stone into a sling is a hand to 
help forward the hurt which may fall out by the 
rash casting of the same. Even so he that pre- 
ferreth an unfit person unto any office in the church 
or the commonwealth is an occasion of much harm, 
which, by the evil government of the fool, redoundeth 
to many ; for such as are foolish governors defend 
evU causes, receive bribes given to corrupt justice, 
discountenance the good, encourage the wicked, and 
do many other things which are very grievous and 
hurtful to the poor people. Wherefore neither are 
civil magistrates to be chosen by citizens, as com- 
monly they are, only by years and wealth, without 
regard of virtue or wisdom ; neither are unlearned 
or ungodly ministers to be presented by patrons to 
ecclesiastical livings, but only such as are worthy. 
A principal cause of many disorders in church and 
commonwealth is, that many are in dignity who 
either are void of such understanding as they ought 
to have, or else are given unto gross vices unbe- 
seeming their calling, and hurtful to those that are 
under them. 

Ver. 9. As a thorn is lifted up in the hand 
of a drunkard, so is a parable in the mouth of 

The ungodly abuse their places unto which they 
are advanced, and those graces wherewith they are 
indued. The fool may very fitly be compared unto 
the drunkard ; for as the drunkard wanteth the use 
of his reason, so a fool is void of discretion. A 

Ver. 10-12.] 



parable in a fool's moutli may also very well be 
likened to a thorn lifted up in the hand of a 
drunkard ; for a thorn in the hand of a diaiukard is 
either by him ridiculously tossed up and down, or 
dangerously apphed to the hurt of all that are near 
him, whom he useth to strike or prick with the same, 
not knowing nor caring what he doth. After the 
same manner, the vain and wicked person either 
uttereth some excellent sentence so absurdly that he 
maketh all that are present laugh, or niisapplieth 
certain true sayings so corruptly and mischievously 
that there^vith he vexeth all those that are in his 
company. Thus, as the drunken man doth much 
hurt with his thorn, or as the madman sorely 
woundeth those that come by him with the sword in 
his hand, so the foohsh man, instead of using his gifts 
aright, abuseth the same, and instead of doing good 
with his speeches, rather doth great hurt theremth. 
Wherefore also better is the ignorant fool, who for 
want of knowledge hath no parable in his mouth, 
than the maUcious fool, vvho having wit and utter- 
ance at will, abuseth the parable of his mouth ; for 
he being drunk with anger, or with pride, or with 
envy, or with some suchlike affection, abuseth good 
words, yea, sometimes God's word, God's church, 
and God's people, and shooteth his bolts against 
the truth and against upirightness, betraying the 
malice of his heart and the darkness of his mind. 
There can scant be greater grief or a more intoler- 
able burden than to hear the unsavoury and un- 
sanctified speeches or invectives of such a witless 
and wicked fool. 

Ver. 10. A mighty man molesteth all, and both 
hireth the fool, and hireth those that 2mss by. 

The potentates of this world, if they be not sanc- 
tified by God's grace, do by so much the greater 
hurt, by how much their wealth or power doth ex- 
ceed. ' A mighty man molesteth all ; ' that is to say, 
a great potentate doth much hurt unto all sorts of 
people by undermining or oppressing them. And 
to the end that he may the sooner accomplish his 
mischief, he both hireth the fool and hireth all that 
pass by, that is to say, he admitteth into his house, 
and setteth about his business, both the ungodly per- 
son, and every one without choice who he meeteth 
Arith ; that is, great ones of this world both annoy 
all about them, and hire into their service both tag 

and rag, the experience of the times wherein we live 
too plainly declareth. 

Ver. 11. As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool 
repeateth his folly. 

It is as foul and iilthy a matter for a man to return 
to wickedness left for a season, as it is for a dog to 
Uck up the vomit which once he hath cast out. Some 
sinners are like dogs in barking, some in biting, some 
in other properties ; but the backshder is like them 
in their most beastly quahty, even in taking up their 
vomit. To make this matter plainer, the backslider 
may be very fitly likened to a dog in his nature, in 
his vomiting, and in his taking up of his filthiuess. 
The dog is by nature of all creatures the vilest, so 
he that returneth to folly is of all men most abom- 
inable. The dog, feeling his stomach overcharged, 
goeth to the grass, and casteth up that which trou- 
bletli liim ; in hke manner the revolter, feelmg his 
conscience burdened with sin, tasteth the good word 
of God, and being moved therewith, layeth aside his 
iniquity for a season. Last of all, the dog, being 
hungry and delighted with filthy things, returneth 
to his vomit, and taking up that again as good, 
which before he cast out as evU, feedeth himself 
with his own fUthiness. Even so the backslider, being 
tempted afresh of his own concupiscence, and taking 
pleasure in most vile perverseness, falleth back to liis 
old evil course, and is again entangled in his first un- 
cleauness. Thus the true proverb befalleth the wicked 
revolter, as the apostle Peter speaketh, 'A dog return- 
eth to his vomit, and the sow that hath been washed 
to her wallowing in the mire,' 2 Peter ii. 12, 22. 

Ver. 12. Hast thou seen a man wise in his own eyes? 
there is more hope of a fool than of him. 

That person who is wise in his own conceit may 
worthily bear away the bell from all the fools in the 
world. ' Hast thou seen a man wise in his own 
eyes ? ' Hast thou marked any who, being simple 
or full of infirmities, yet imagineth himself to be 
prudent and very whole ? ' There is more hope of 
a fool than of him.' It is likely that he who is 
ignorant, or of a dissolute life, will sooner be brought 
to knowledge and repentance than such a one ; for 
the proud fool and the scorner, that esteemeth highly 
of his own wisdom, and justifieth himself, wUl not 
hearken to the counsel of the learned, neither yet 
will acknowledge or lay aside his sin. 



[Chap. XXVI. 

Yer. 1 3. The slothful man saitli, A young lion is in the 
way ; an huge lion is in the streets. 

This sentence hath been at large before expounded; 
only here it is to be observed that the sluggard 
pleadeth sundry and great dangers, unto the excus- 
ing of his idleness. Eead chap. xxii. 13. 

Ver. 14. As the door turneth upon the hinges, so 
duth the slothful man iipon his bed. 

The sluggard loveth to lie long soaking in his bed. 
Many a slothful body, whether he sleepeth or no, 
keepeth in his feathered nest until the morning be 
well spent. Such a one may be well compared unto 
the door that turneth upon the hinges ; for as the 
door is turned on the hinges in such sort as that 
sometimes it is moved to one side, sometimes to 
another, and yet always remaineth unremoved from 
the hinges, so the sluggard, even when he sleepeth 
not, nor needeth to lie a-bed any longer, roUeth in 
his bed sometimes to this side, sometimes to that, 
often purposing to rise, but yet stUl taking his ease. 

Ver. 15. The slothful man hideth his hand in his 
bosom; and it wearieth him to put it to his mouth again. 

This sentence having been before expounded, is 
not again to be handled in this place. Eead chap, 
xis. 24. 

Ver. 16. T/ie sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than 
seven men that return sage counsel. 

Of all slothful people, divers sorts whereof have 
been rehearsed, the conceited sluggard doth most 
dote. For though he be the veriest dolt in the 
world, yet he is wiser, not in deed, but in the eyes 
of his own imagination, not only than a few of 
those learned clerks or counsellors, but than seven 
of them, that is, than many of tliem, who return 
sage counsel, that is to say, give prudent answers to 
those that ask their advice, or are able to render a 
reason for all that they say. That sluggards have such 
a fond and proud conceit of their own wisdom, may 
appear both by their dealings and by their sayings. 
By their dealings, in that they come not to the 
learned to be instructed, belike imagining themselves 
to be as skilful as they, and in that they hide their 
talents, belike counting them fools which live not at 
ease as they do, but take great pains. By their say- 
ings, in that they either speak against all learning, 
as if that none were wise but unlearned fools, or 
sharply and tauntingly censure and dispraise the 

works of other men, as if they themselves could do 
things far more praiseworthy, when yet either they 
cannot for want of learning, or will not, by reason 
they love ease too well, perform any such matters. 

Ver. 17. He that, passing by, husieth himself in 
strife that concerneth him not, is as one that taheth a 
dog by the ears. 

Intermeddhng in other folk's matters, or taking 
part in any contentions, is not only a vice unbeseem- 
ing every true worshipper of God, but hurtful and 
dangerous. For as he which taketh a dog by the 
ears, who cannot abide to be touched in that part, 
causeth him to bark or to bite him, so he that 
meddleth in another man's quarrel provoketh him 
to rail on him, or to do him a mischief, and shall 
hereby receive some hurt unto himself. Never- 
theless, he who so far only meddleth in the quarrels 
of other men that he goeth about to set at peace 
those that are at discord, is not hke to one that taketh 
a dog by the ears, but like one that seeketh to still 
him by offering him a morsel of bread. Likewise 
the magistrate, who, being in authority, in the zeal 
of justice rebuketh or punisheth the party that offer- 
eth injury, is not like to him that taketh a dog by 
the ears, but to him that driveth him away with a 
staff, to the end he may do no hurt. 

Ver. 18. As he loho casting firebrands, arrows, and 
deadly things, hideth himself, 

Ver. 19. So dealeth he who deceiveih his neighbour, 
and saith. Am I not in jest. 

Hurtful jesting is not only unseemly, but a kind 
of secret persecution, Eph. v. 4, Gal iv. 29, or, as 
an ancient father speaketh, a sword anomted with 
honey. Such a one as deceiveth his neighbour and 
saith, Am I not in sport, is here very fitly resembled 
to a man who, doing much hurt by sword or fire, or 
any hke means, doth hide himself, that he may not 
seem to have done any such thing. For as this bad 
man, or madman, as some expound this sentence, 
practiseth great mischief, but so closely and under 
some such colour, that, if he be charged with any 
matter, he cannot easUy be convicted thereof, but 
wiU easUy deny it; so the deceitful jester doth 
those deeds, or uttereth those words, which hurt his 
friend, but covereth himself so under the excuse of 
sport and pastime, that if any complaint be made he 
will say, I did it but in jest. It is a property of the 

Ver. 20-23.] 



ungodly, as the prophet sheweth in the psalm, 
Ps. xi. 2, to bend his bow and to put the arrow into 
the string, to shoot at those in the dark that are of 
upright heart. Wherefore the hurting of any of the 
faithful in close and secret manner, and by way of 
jesting, should be far o£F from all that fear the Lord. 
No man, be he never so low in degree, can abide him- 
self to be scorned or derided, much less can any 
in dignity or pre-eminence, whose places and very 
faces are to be reverenced and honoured. Undoubt- 
edly Job was the patientest man that ever lived 
upon the earth, Job xxx. ; but although he bare with 
a quiet spirit the loss of his goods, his servants, and 
his cliildreu, yet this intolerable burden he could 
not bear, that those that were younger than he did 
jest at him. How is it possible then that any of less 
patience than Job, and in greater prosperity than he 
was at that time, should endure the hurt of piercing 
and fiery scoffs, or pass by the offence of most offen- 
sive jesting? Quipping and flouting is counted the 
flower and grace of men's speech, and especially of 
table talk ; but the hurt that cometh by this flower 
is as bitter as wormwood, and the disgrace which 
this grace casteth upon men is fouler than any dirt 
of the street. 

Ver. 20. Without wood the fire is quenched : and 
without a whisperer, strife ceaseih. 

Even as the fire is nourished by the wood, so 
commonly strife is nourished by evil tongues. 
Wherefore, if any would have contention to cease, 
he must take away backbiters, who are the causers 
and maintainers thereof ; for if the cause be 
removed, the eflFect will cease. Now strife is here 
fitly resembled unto fire ; for as fire consumeth all 
things, so doth contention. The whisperer is no 
less fitly resembled unto wood ; for as wood is the 
matter and maintenance of fire, so the words of the 
whisperer are the matter and the nourishment of 
strife. By reason that whisperers are suffered to 
remain in church and commonwealth, it cometh to 
pass that therein contentions are not quieted, but 
increased; for by reason that some or other go 
about with tales, reporting as well that which is 
untrue as that which is true, such as otherwise are 
of gentle natures, and would embrace peace, are 
incensed and drawn to continue strife and anger. 

Ver. 21. As the dead coal is to (kindle) the hiirmng 

coals, and wood the fire ; so a conteritious jierson is to 
kindle strife. 

The means whereby strife may be appeased is the 
removing of the whisperer, as hath been taught in 
the former sentence. The root from whence conten- 
tion ariseth, and the poison whereby it spreadeth 
further and further, is the contentious person, as 
here is declared. For' here is taught, that as the 
dead coals being put to the burning coals increase 
the heat and the flame thereof, and as wood being 
added to the fire keepeth it in, and causeth it to 
wax greater and greater, so the wrathful and 
quarrelsome person causeth a little quarrel to grow 
to a great broil, and maketh the variance begun 
even hotter and hotter. He is called a contentious 
person in this place, who is either very hasty or a 
busybody, and ready to strive about every trifling 
matter. Wherefore, according to the counsel of the 
apostle to the Hebrews, we are to take heed lest 
any root of bitterness, that is to say, any author of 
contention, springing up, many be infected and 
troubled, Heb. xii. 15. 

Ver. 22. The words of the whisperer are flatterings : 
they go down into the bowels of the belly. 

TMs verse hath been before expounded, for which 
cause it is not again to be handled. Read chap, 
xviii. 8. 

Ver. 23. As silver dross overlaid upon an earthen 
pot, so are fawning lips and an evil heart. 

All is not gold that ghtters, as we are wont to say 
in our common proverb. Fawning lips are here fitly 
likened unto silver dross; for as silver dross seemeth 
to be that which it is not, and to be more precious 
metal than indeed it is, so flattering lips seem friendly 
when they are not, and carry with them a show of 
that love whereof the heart is void. Wherefore, 
as before in this book, it hath been afiirmed most 
truly that the tongue of the righteous is as fine 
silver, so here the lips of the dissembler are most 
rightly resembled unto dross. The evil heart of 
the hypocrite is no less fitly compared to an earthen 
pot ; for as before hath been taught, the heart of 
the wicked is little worth. It is an earthen vessel, 
which containeth in it only earthly cogitations and 
affections, and which is very base and vile. And 
although the glozing and glorious speeches which 
are uttered by the flatterer do cover and hide from 



[Chap. XXVI. 

the simple for the time the corruption of the false 
and dissembling heart, yet they make it never a 
whit better or more precious, but rather prove it to 
be the more abominable and mischievous. For it is 
as a vessel fair without and foul within, or as a 
painted sepulchre, that outwardly appeareth glorious 
unto men, but inwardly is full of dead bones and 

Ver. 24. He that beareth hatred will counterfeit with 
his lips, but within him he layeth up deceit; 

Ver. 25. When he shall shew his voice favourable, 
trust him not, for there are seven abominations in his 

Ver. 26. He loill cover hatred by deceit, but his mali- 
ciousness shall be discovered in the congregation. 

In the first of these sentences, the property of 
him that hateth his brother is shewed to be, that he 
wiU utter fair words when he is devising of some 
mischief. This is a devilish quality, covertly to go 
about all things that may tend to the destruction of 
another ; nevertheless, it is a vice which is very 
common in these days, wherein we have great cause 
to cry out with the prophet, ' Help Lord ; for the 
good man faUeth, and the faithful are departed from 
among the sons of men. They speak vanity one 
unto another ; they speak with a lip of flattery, 
with a double heart,' Ps. xii. 1. But howsoever it 
is the custom of the greatest number thus to coun- 
terfeit with the lips, when in their hearts they lay 
up deceit, yet the godly are to take a quite con- 
trary course, following the exhortation of the apostle, 
' My little children, let us not love in word, neither 
in tongue only, but in deed and truth,' 1 Johniii. 18. 
In the second of these verses warning is given to 
every one, then especially to take heed of such as 
carry secret hatred within them when they shall 
make show of greatest love or kindness; for it is 
said, ' When he shall shew his voice favourable, trust 
him not, for there are seven abominations in his 
heart.' The meaning of this sentence cannot, as 
seemeth unto me, be better expressed by any means, 
than by setting down like admonitions unto that 
which here is given out of the book of the son of 
SLrach, wherein many notable and most profitable 
instructions are contained. 'Trust not,' saith he, 
'thine enemy at any time; for like as iron rusteth, so 
doth his wickedness. And though he make much 

crouching and kneeling, yet advise thyself and be- 
ware of him, and thou shalt be to him as one that 
wipeth a glass ; and thou shalt know that aU his 
rust hath not been well wiped away. Set him not 
by thee, lest he destroy thee, and stand in thy place. 
Neither set him at thy right hand, lest he seek thy 
room, and thou at the last remember my words and 
be pricked with my sayings,' Ecclus. xii. 10, 12, &c. 
And he added in the same chapter, a little while 
after, ver. 16, these most true and excellent sayings 
touching the same matter : ' An enemy is sweet in 
his hps : he can make many good words, and speak 
many good things ; yea, he can weep with his eyes, 
but in Ms heart he imagineth how to throw thee 
into the pit, and, if he may find opportunity, he will 
not be satisfied with blood. If adversity come upon 
thee, thou shalt find liim there first ; and though he 
pretend to help thee, yet vnll he undermine thee. 
He will shake his head and clap his hands, and 
will make many words, and disguise his countenance.' 
Wherefore, seeing such is the cunning and the 
treachery of the wicked, that they hide seven 
abominations, that is to say, many crafty and cruel 
mischiefs, under the cloak of fair and loving speech, 
let us be more wary than commonly we are to sus- 
pect and avoid their guiles ; and let us not be so 
simple as was Gedaliah, 'who though he was oft 
admonished to take heed of Ishmael, yet would 
not believe that he was such a one as he was, but 
thought him to be a kind friend, and one that ten- 
dered his good, when he was his deadly enemy, and 
one that sought his blood, yea, and as wily a dis- 
sembler as possibly could be in the world. Eead 
Jer. xl. 14, also xii. 6. In the last of these three 
sentences which have been set down the hypocrite 
is threatened with a punishment due to his ofl'ence, 
which is, that his maliciousness shall be discovered 
in the congregation. There is no feigned thing that 
can long continue, neither is there anythmg secret, 
as our Saviour teacheth in the Gospel, which shall not 
be revealed. In this world the conspiracy of the 
wicked is by some signs or other oftentimes de- 
tected. At assizes and sessions before the bench of 
the justices and seat of the judge, secret hatred is 
often manifested and convinced by the effects there- 
of, which are lying in wait or murder, there suffi- 
ciently witnessed and proved. If there be any 

Chap. XXVII. 1, 2.] 



secret malice, which is not in this world revealed or 
punished, yet at the day of judgment it shall be laid 
open, at which time the very secrets of all hearts 
shall be manifested before the tribunal seat of Jesus 
Christ in a most infinite assembly. Wherefore, 
neither can the rancours of the minds of dissemblers, 
neither yet the conspiracies of traitors, always lie 
hid, though they have a long time been smothered 
in men's bosoms, or hatched in secret or solitary 
places, but one day all these things shall come to 
judgment, and be revealed in the light. 

Ver. 27. He that diggeih a pit shall fall thereinto ; 
and on him who roUeth a stone it shall return. 

He that goeth about to prepare some cunning 
mischief for another, commonly falleth, through 
God's righteous judgment, into the same himself. 
The pit which a man diggeth below in the earth to 
catch his neighbour in, taketh his own foot often- 
times ; even so commonly he that lieth in wait to 
draw another into some danger or trouble, falleth 
thereinto himself at unawares, in such a sort as 
that thereby he receiveth some great harm. Again, 
the stone which a man casteth up into the air, to the 
end it may fall on his neighbour's head, and brain 
him if it may be, doth now and then light upon his 
own head, and break his slnill ; even so the bloody 
practice which the wicked person attempteth against 
the innocent, to the end he may take away of life, 
proveth oftentimes the means of his own destruc- 
tion. When we see this come to pass, which falleth 
out very often, let us acknowledge the judgments of 
the Lord to be most just and equal. 

Ver. 28. The false tongue hateth those that smite it; 
and the flattering mouth causeth ruin. 

It is to be pitied that so good a mother as truth 
hath so bad a daughter as hatred. Nevertheless, 
according to the common proverb, and the doctrine 
in this sentence delivered, so it is that truth getteth 
hatred. Hence it is that ' the false tongue hateth 
those that smite it ;' that is to say, the liar and false 
teacher speaketh ill of them, and odiously inveigheth 
against them that have reproved or confuted him. 
Of this number were those of whom the prophet 
complaining said, that they hated him that reproved 
in the gate. Now although, on the contrary side, 
the flattering mouth getteth friends, yet, as is added 
in the last words, it causeth ruin; for by sweet 

persuasions and gracious utterance it moveth and 
draweth men to do those tilings which are evil, or 
bring them in the end into destruction. 


Ver. 1. Boast not of to-mmrow, because thou know est 
not ivhat a day may bring forth. 

A man may boast of time to come after two sorts, 
to wit, either by vaunting of some future prosperity, 
or by bragging of some course that he will take, or 
action that he meaneth to do. So did the merchants 
whom the apostle James, alluding to this place, re- 
proveth, saying, ' Go to now, ye that say. To-day or 
to-morrow we vvdll go into that city, and abide there 
a year, and buy and sell, and make our gain, when 
you know not what shall be to-morrow,' James iv. 
13. This rejoicing or boasting of men that forget 
their infirmity and mortality, and set down things 
to come so certainly in their hearts, as if they could 
do what they would, is not good. The reason why 
thou shouldst not thus rejoice is, ' because thou 
knowest not what a day may bring forth;' to wit 
whether sickness or any hindrance of that which 
thou didst hope to obtain or purpose to do. The 
day is said to bring forth, because time travaileth 
with the Lord's decrees, and in their season bringeth 
them forth, even as a woman with cliild doth her 
little babes. Indeed, time properly worketh not, 
but, because God's works are done in time, it is 
said to do those things which are done therein. 

Ver. 2. Let a stranger's mouth praise thee, hut not 
thine own mouth : another man's lips, but not thine 

We must not boast of time to come, neither must 
we glory in ourselves. A man is not to praise him- 
self for divers reasons. First, Because the testimony 
which a man giveth of himself may be suspected of 
falsehood. Secondly, Because fools which desire 
vainglory use to commend themselves. Thirdly, 
Because it is needless for him that hath done well to 
extol his own gifts or virtues, inasmuch as his deeds 
will cause every one to commend him though he 
holdeth his peace. Last of all. Because it is a dis- 
credit to a man's neighbours when he shall be 
driven to commend himself because others do not. 



[Chap. XXVII. 

Nevertlieless in some cases it is requisite for a mau 
to rehearse his own good deeds, to wit, when the 
hiding or concealing thereof may turn to the hind- 
rance of the truth, to the hurt of the church, or to 
tlie impairing of God's glory. Otherwise, every one 
is to stay till others praise and honour him, doing 
always those things which are of good report, and 
deserve commendation. The testimony of another 
man, and especially of a stranger that is of no kin 
or acquaintance, is a proof of some certainty, and a 
crown of glory. 

Ver. 3. A stone is heavy, and sand is weighty ; but 
the wrath of a fool is heavier than them, both. 

This sentence notably accordeth with that of the 
son of Sirach : ' Sand and salt, and a lump of iron, is 
easier to bear than an unwise, foolish, and ungodly 
man,' Ecclus. xxiii. 15. The wrath of a fool is most 
heavy to be borne in two especial respects : the one 
is, for that it is extreme ; the other, for that it can- 
not be appeased. The burdens which tlie Israelites 
carried in Egypt were so heavy that they groaned 
under them ; but the rage of the Egyptians was far 
more grievous unto them, and so untolerable that 
even they fainted under it. The servant that hath a 
furious master, the poor man that hath an angry rich 
man his adversary, and the wife that hath a jealous 
husband, feeleth that which here is said to be most 

"Ver. 4. In hot displeasure is cruelty, and in wrath 
(as it were) a flood of waters; and who can stand be- 
fore envy ? 

Three vices with their effects are here compared 
together. Unto hot displeasure, which is the spark 
whereby a man is first kindled unto revenge, cruelty 
is attributed, and that very rightly ; for anger thirst- 
eth for blood, and is ready to revenge every word 
with the sword. To be short, it breatheth forth 
most terrible threatenings, and breedeth nothing but 
imprisonments and torments. Unto wrath, which 
is a stream flowing from hot displeasure, a flood of 
waters is ascribed, that is to say, a wasting or over- 
throwing of the welfare, good name, and life of 
many, like unto spring-tide, which overfloweth all 
the low grounds round about. Such a flood pro- 
ceeded from the wrath of Herod, who, for that he 
saw himself to be mocked by the wise men, caused 
all the infants in Bethlehem and the quarters round 

about to be slain. Mat. ii. 1 6. Finally, of envy it 
is said, which is the top of hot displeasure and 
wrath, that it is so tall and mighty a giant, as it 
were, that none can stand against it. Hot dis- 
pleasure and wrath endure but for a short time ; 
but envy or rancorous hatred continueth always. 
Hot displeasure and wrath are pacified by gifts and 
entreaty ; but envy or settled maUce will not be ap- 
peased. Hot displeasure and wrath are apparent, 
and manifest themselves ; but envy and malicious- 
ness lurketh closely and secretly in the heart. 
Hence it cometh to pass that hatred neither spareth 
nor misseth, as anger and wrath sometimes do, but 
revengeth at one time or other, and kUleth, as we 
say, dead sure. The Son of God himself could not 
stand before envy, much less then can any other. 
Thus anger is evil, and wrath is worse, but envy is 
worst of all. 

Ver. 5. 0pm rebuke is better than secret love. 

A report is unto flesh and blood a bitter pill, 
which it cannot well digest ; nevertheless it is a 
very wholesome thing, though it be not very plea- 
sant. It is good, and it is better, as here is taught, 
than secret love. It is better than secret love, be- 
cause it proveth him that is the reprover to be no 
flatterer, but a faithful friend, and because it is pro- 
fitable, or at least may be, unto the party reproved. 
As for secret love, which sufFereth a friend to go to 
the devil, or joineth with him in that which is evil, 
who seeth not that it is uncharitable and hurtful? 
Wherefore, according to the exhortation of our 
Saviour in the Gospel, if our brother off'end us, let 
us not wink at his sin, but reprove him between him 
and us. Mat. xviii. 15. Between him and us I say, 
because reproof before witnesses, when the offence is 
secret, is neither good, nor commended by Christ, 
neither yet here is meant. For although open re- 
buke is mentioned in this place, yet hereby is not 
meant that reproof which is uttered before many wit- 
nesses, but that which is given to the party ofi'end- 
ing alone before his face, and not behind his back ; 
for it is said to be open, because it is not secret or 
hidden from the offender, and because it is a fruit of 
love which is not covered, but made manifest. Yet 
again, if the offence be open, it may be lawful, and 
sometimes it is good and needful, by open rebuke to 
chastise the same. 

Vee. 6-8.] 



Ver 6. The wounds of a friend are faithful : hut the 
kisses of an enemy are to be detested. 

Two unlike things are now compared togetlier 
again, but both of these are manifest, and proceed- 
ing of secret contrary causes, to wit, wounds issuing 
from love lying hid in the heart, and kisses spring- 
ing from hatred lurking therein. By wounds, sharp 
and piercing chastisements are meant, whether by 
words or by punishment inflicted. These wounds 
are as unpleasant as kisses are delightsome; yet 
nevertheless they are good, yea, and to be much 
esteemed, when they proceed from a friend ; for 
they are the effects of love, and they are means of 
drawing a man that goeth astray unto true repent- 
ance. On the contrar}- side, the kisses of an enemy, 
that is to say, the flattering speeches and fa"wning 
courtesies of one that beareth hatred, which either 
are expressed by words or deeds, are evil and de- 
testable ; for they do both proceed from a deceitful 
mind, and deceive him toward whom they are 
shewed. WTierefore let us wish rather, with a godly 
father, to be reproved by any, than to be praised by a 
flatterer ; and let us pray vnth the holy prophet, 
both that the righteous may repirove us. and that we 
may not eat of the delicates of the wicked, Ps. cxh. 
5. To conclude, let us also not hate our brother in 
our heart, as the law of God commandeth, but rather 
thoroughly and roundly reprove him, if need shall 
require, Lev. xix. 17. 

Ver. 7. The soul that is full despiseth an honeycomb : 
but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet. 

Daily experience teacheth that this sentence is 
true according to the letter, which declareth that he 
who is full of meat or drink loatheth all dainties 
whatsoever, and that he who is hungry or thirsty 
taketh his sustenance with great delight, according 
to the common proverb, wherein it is said that hun- 
ger is the best sauce. But we are not to think but 
that more than thus much is meant by this divine 
sentence wliich here is set down. Too much recrea- 
tion, too much soaking in the bed, yea, too much 
studying of the book, is neither good nor pleasant. 
A moderation is to be kept in all things, which are 
to be used sparingly, that they may be the sweeter to 
us from time to time. The rich men, because they 
live in abundance, cannot rehsh their meats and 
drinks, and therefore seek for exquisite dainties, 

which, when they have obtained, yet can they not 
much delight therein ; but the poor, who seldom 
have their bellies full, and live in some want and 
scarcity, can feed heartily and savourily on a piece of 
bread and cheese, and can quench their thirst -ivith a 
little water. So likewise they that are full of many 
good things whatsoever feel no delight in possessing 
or using the same ; but they that feel the want or 
have the hunger of any blessings of God, corporal 
or spiritual, find great comfort and joy therein when 
they attain the same. 

Ver. 8. As a bird that wandereth from Ms nest, so 
is a man that wandereth from his place. 

As it is not good for a man without a calhng from 
God, or some just reason, to leave his standing place, 
so neither is it a safe thing, but very dangerous, for 
him to wander up and down. This wanderer may 
fitly be resembled unto the light-headed bird, that, 
leaving her nest, flieth up and down, in two respects 
— the one, her fickleness ; the other, her misery. 
What moveth the feathered fowl to remove from her 
nest,^and to rove abroad, but mere inconstancy? 
Again, what gaineth the foolish bird by flying up 
and clown, but weariness of vidng and hazard of Hfe, 
yea, oftentimes death itself? The wandering man is 
of no more staid mind, nor in any better case, but 
rather worse ; for he roUeth from place to place, or 
changeth his profession, not of any necessity, or for 
God's glory, but of lightness of mind, or for some 
vain respect, as to see foreign countries or to live 
more pleasantly. Again, in travel he meeteth with 
manifold losses and crosses, whereof the pilgrim's 
life of all others is fullest ; for as it is in the psalm, 
they wander in desert places hungry and thirsty, 
their soul fainting mtliin them, Ps. cvii. 4. And, as 
one speaketh very truly,'' it is a miserable thing from 
house and home to go abroad to beg food with fear- 
ful voice ; but especially to wander with wife and ' 
children, and with parents which are stricken in 
age, is a most wretched estate. The wandering 
person is hated and despised by all ; none honoureth 
his kindred, none regardeth his beauty, none careth 
for him, and none feareth to hurt him. Wherefore 
let every one settle liis soul on God, and his body 
in that place and calling wherein he is set by the 
divine providence, neither of inconstancy learag 
1 Tyrtffius. 



[Chap XXVII. 

the same, neither dra^v-ing upon himself, by his own 
negligence or mckedness, the necessity of flying or 
leading a wanderer's life. 

Ver. 9. An ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: 
and the sweet advice of a friend is better than the coun- 
sel of a man's oivn soul. 

The ancient people of the eastern countries used 
to anoint their heads with precious ointments, and 
to perfume their houses and garments with pleasant 
and sweet incense, to the end their spirits might be 
quickened and their hearts revived. By this means 
they became very joyful, and the more able with 
cheerfulness to follow their vocation; for those 
things that delight the senses, delight and refresh 
the heart, the foundation of all the senses. Both 
here and elsewhere in the Scripture is the loving 
fellowship and advice of a friend very fitly resembled 
unto such ointments and perfumes as were used in 
old times, and especially among the people of the 
Jews, Ps. cxxxiii. For the company and conference 
of a well-wilier is very sweet and gracious, both for 
that it testifieth his loving mind, and for that it 
bringeth with it and sheweth those things that are 
profitable and convenient. It is also rightly pre- 
ferred before a man's own counsel ; for a man's own 
counsel is blind in his own matters. Again, the 
thoughts of a man's own soul in tune of adversity 
do rather trouble him, be he never so wise, than 
comfort him or free him from his perplexity. 

Ver. 10. Thy friend and thy father's friend for salce 
thou not, and enter not into thy brother's house in the 
day of calamity. A neighbour near is better than a 
brother far off. 

The love of brethren is rare, and kinsfolk are 
oftentimes unkind, but alway lightly in the day of 
adversity most uncourteous. To declare this point, 
and to shew that kinsfolk are not too much to be 
trusted, brethren are here compared with friends 
and neighbours. ' Thy friend and thy father's friend 
forsake thou not.' Break not off famiharity with an 
old and tried acquaintance, but maintain friendship 
with him, and relieve him in his necessity. ' But 
enter not into thy brother's house in the day of thy 
calamity.' Go not to any of thy kinsmen in the 
time of thine affliction, to crave their help and suc- 
cour ; for, as before hath been taught, all the bre- 
thren of the poor man hate him. Again, nature may 

be without good-will, but friendship cannot. Never- 
theless, natural and kind brethren — the number of 
whom is small — mU reheve their own flesh, and 
shew what courtesy they may unto their brethren, 
rather than unto strangers ; but, ordinarily, a friend 
will sooner help his friend than a brother will his 
brother. In the last words of this sentence, a neigh- 
bour near and a brother far off are compared to- 
gether. A neighbour near is better than a brother 
far off in two respects : the one, for that he can help 
at a pinch, when necessity doth not suffer any delay ; 
the other, for that he can help oftener than a bro- 
ther far off, inasmuch as he is present with us very 
seldom, but a neighbour is near at hand always. 
Wherefore neighbouiliood is no less to be regarded 
or maintamed than brotherhood. 

Ver. 11. 3Iy son, be wise and rejoice mine heart, 
that I may be able to answer him that would fain 
blame me with some matter. 

The wise man, in the person of every father, ex- 
horteth every son unto the study of wisdom, and 
moveth him thereunto in this verse by two fruits 
which will arise from thence. The one is, that if he 
be so wise as to know and obey the will of God, he 
shall rejoice the heart of his father ; for a wise son, 
as before hath been affirmed, rejoiceth his father. 
The other is, that he shall drive away by this means 
reproach and shame from his father ; for a foolish 
son, as also is taught in this book, maketh his 
parents ashamed. When a child is idle or ill-man- 
nered, people will blame his father's government, 
and say he was ill brought up ; but by the godly life 
of a child the father is freed from sorrow and blush- 
ing, and hath wherewith to stop their mouths that go 
about to blame him. 

Ver. 12. Tlie prudent man foreseeing an evil hideth 
himself : hut fools going on still are punished. 

This sentence hath before been at large ex- 
pounded. Eead chap. xxii. 3. 

Ver. 1 3. Take his garment who hath been surety foi- 
a strange man ; and take a pledge . of him that hath 
become surety for a strange wOman. 

This sentence hath also been handled before. 
Read chap. xx. 16. 

Ver. 14. Unto him that blesseth his friend with a 
loud voice betimes in the morning, rising up early, a curse 
shall be imputed. 

Ver. 15-18.] 



This sentence pricketh shameless and importunate 
fawners and flatterers. He that speaketh fairly, or 
that saluteth his friend, is said m the Hebrew 
phrase to bless his friend. This is to be done in 
time and measure, but some neither observe due 
manner nor due season therem. He observeth not 
due manner, that saluteth or praiseth his friend with 
a loud voice, that is to say, with great crying out, 
or so as all may hear ; he observeth not due time, 
that doth tliis betimes in the morning, rising up 
early, that is to say, shewing himself the first or 
before all others, to the end he may seem the chiefest 
well-wilier. These may be called follentmes, or 
rather fools out of time, seeing they visit and salute 
their friends at unseasonable hours. Unto the bless- 
ing of such a fool a curse shall be imputed ; for such 
unseasonable dealing shall be counted and called 
nothing else but foUy and flattery. This is the 
reward of an importunate flatterer. 

Ver. 15. ^ continual dropping in the time of a most 
vehement shower, and a contentious woman, are alike. 

Ver. 1 6. He that hideth her may as well hide the wind; 
she hewrayeth herself as the ointment of the right haiid. 
Two properties of a contentious woman are herein 
set down. The one is that she brawleth continually 
in the house, even as the drops of rain in a great 
shower fall down continually upon the ground. 
Now, as it cometh to pass that they that are in a 
great shower are thoroughly wet and greatly hui-t, 
even so all that are in the family wherein a con- 
tentious woman continually brawleth are greatly 
troubled with her scoldings. The other property of 
such a woman is that she cannot be stopped or 
stayed from outrage or making loud outcries. To 
declare tliis point she is resembled first to the wind, 
the blowing or whistHng whereof none can stop or 
stay; and secondly to a box of fragrant ointment 
held in the right hand, which none can hinder from 
sending forth a strong odour, or from perfuming the 
place wherein it is round about. 

Ver. 17. As iron sharpeneth iron, so a man 
sharpeneth the face of hii friend. 

The affections of a man appear in his countenance, 
whereby it cometh to pass that the very face hath 
great force, and provoketh much either to good or 
evil. The countenances of men do weep with those 
that weep, and laugh vfith those that laugh ; an 

angry look stirreth up unto anger, and a loving look 
draweth love to it. The face then is a whetstone 
which sharpeneth those things wliich otherwise 
would be but dull and blunt. Even as iron 
sharpeneth iron, so the face and presence of a man 
sharpeneth his neighbour to comfort, to knowledge, 
to love, to diligence, and to all good works. A man 
by himself is no man, he is dull, he is very blunt j 
but if his fellow come and quicken him by his pre- 
sence, speech, and example, he is so whetted on by 
this means, that he is much more comfortable, skil- 
ful, and better than he was when he was alone. 
Hence it is that the Scripture elsewhere saith that 
two are better than one, and that a threefold cord 
is not easily broken, Eccles. iv. 12. Hence it is also 
that the apostle exhorteth the Hebrews not to leave 
their natural fellowship in assembling, but to exhort 
one another, and to sharpen one another to love and 
to good works, Heb. x. 24. A letter sent to a friend 
may do him no small good if it be wisely written ; 
but the lively voice and presence of a friend is more 
forcible and effectual than any writing. Hence it 
is that St John saith unto Gaius the elder, ' I 
vnW not by ink and pen write (more) unto thee : 
but I hope I shall shortly see thee, and then we 
will speak face to face,' 3 John 13, 14. Hence 
also it is that the ajjostle Paul saith he longed to 
see the Eomans, and that he had a great strife for 
those that had not seen his face in the flesh. Col. 
ii. 1. Now seeing fellowship between friends is so 
comfortable and profitable, solitariness and strange- 
ness is not good. No marvel if they be blunt or 
rusty iron who withdraw themselves from all society. 
Other creatures are by nature sociable, but none 
receive such profit by society as men do. 

Ver. 18. He that keepeth his fig-tree shall eat the 
fruit thereof; so he that is serviceable to his master 
shall come to honour. 

Good fruit springeth from good labour. As a 
husbandman, watching his trees with a vigilant eye, 
and pruning them with a diligent hand, tasteth at 
last of the sweet fruits thereof ; so the servant v/ho 
is ready to please, and tendant about his master, 
shall at last by him, or by the Lord in heaven, be 
rewarded and blessed. All sorts of inferiors then, 
as both servants and subjects, must make this 
reckoning and account of their superiors and rulers 



[Chap. XXVII. 

that tliey are unto them their peculiar charge, 
whereon they must attend, and the special hope of 
their honour and preferment. They must there- 
fore tliiak and say thus with themselves : Surely 
this is the fig-tree that I must watch and keep ; 
this is that same olive-tree that I must look unto. 
I must not suffer this to be spoiled or destroyed ; I 
must not suffer my ruler's goods to he wasted, nor 
his name to be discredited, nor the gifts of God in 
him to decay ; I must keep his favour, and I must 
seek his welfare, as much as in me lieth. Thus if 
every inferior would stand affected toward his 
superior, and deal \^'ith him as the husbandman doth 
with his fig-tree, he should receive from him love, 
praise, and preferment, even as the husbandman 
gathereth in convenient time many sweet figs of his 
fig-tree as a recompense of all his care and labour. 

Ver. 19. As water sheweth face to face, so doth the 
heart man unto man. 

No man knoweth or sheweth the things of a man, 
but the spirit of a man that is in him. The water, 
as a certain glass, somewhat dim indeed, but very 
true, representeth the countenance therein imprinted 
unto the countenance that beholdeth the same ; even 
so the heart sheweth man to man, that is to say, the 
mind and the conscience of every man telleth him 
justly, though not perfectly, what he is, as whether 
he be good or evil, in God's favour or out of the 
same ; for the conscience will not he, but accuse or 
excuse a man, being instead of a thousand vntnesses. 
The countenance wUl sometimes bewray the heart of 
one man to another, even as the water sheweth face to 
face, in which sense this parable is expounded by 
many, but it will oftentimes deceive ; for it will laugh 
when the heart is heavy, and declare love when the 
soul is possessed with hatred ; but the mind wUl not 
lightly shew a man otherwise to himself than he is 
indeed. As water that is troubled representeth the 
visage amiss, so a troubled or polluted mind may 
sometimes wrongly shew to a man the estate wherein 
he standeth. But if the soul be not wholly corrupt, 
and the conscience seared as with a hot iron, it 
■will declare to a man his condition rightly, though 
not peradventure fully in all respects. 

Ver. 20. The grave and destruction can never he 
full ; so the eyes of Tnan can never he satisfied. 

The two eyes of a covetous man are herein very 

fitly resembled unto two devouring things, to wit, to 
the grave and destruction. By the grave the place of 
burial is meant, which receiveth unto it mfinite car- 
cases, with open mouth continually craving more, and 
being ready and wide to receive as many as can be 
put into it. By destruction, sickness, death, rotten- 
ness, the worm, and whatsoever it is that consum- 
eth and devoureth the creatures that are in this world, 
is understood. The former of these is, as it were, a 
bottomless gulf ; the other is, as it were, a greedy 
wolf; neither can either of them both at anytime be 
filled. So likewise are the eyes of a man unsatiable ; 
for although they see that already they have re- 
ceived great blessings from the Lord, and that they 
have gotten much substance which they may call 
their own, yet, not being herewith content, they 
desire to see and to have more, and whatsoever they 
behold, that they greedily covet. Wherefore this 
concupiscence of the eyes ought to be as odious to 
every one as is hell or destruction. Now, as our 
Saviour reasoneth in the Gospel, if the eye, which is 
the candle of the body, be dark, that is, if it be 
corrupt, covetous, or envious, then the whole body 
will be dark, that is to say, corrupt and miserable, 
Mat. vi. 22. 

Ver. 21. As the fining-pot is for the silver, and the 
furnace for the gold; so a man is to try his oivn praise. 

This translation of this sentence which hath been 
set down agreeth notably unto the Hebrew words, 
and seemeth to a learned man very skilful in the 
Hebrew tongue, from whose hand I received it, to 
carry with it the natural sense of the parable, which 
by him is thus expounded. As, saith he, silver is 
tried by the fining-pot, and gold by the furnace, 
whether it be pure or no, even so a man is best 
judge of that praise which goeth of himself, whether 
it be true or no. Indeed, as before hath been 
taught in this book, chap. xii. 28, ' A man shall be 
praised for the understanding of his mouth ;' and so, 
consequently, a man's praise is by his mouth, which 
sense also the Hebrew text will bear. But when a 
man is praised for his words or works, he must yet 
try this praise by his own concupiscence, whether it 
be deserved or no. A like sentence to this here set 
down is in the book of the son of Sirach, where it 
is said the furnace trieth the vessels of the potter, 
and the trial of a man is in his thought or speech, 

Ver. 22-25.] 



Ecclus. xxvii. 5 ; for the Greek word tliere used, 
V iiciXoyiaixQ aiiro-j, signifieth both the thought and 
the speech, although most properly the thought. To 
conclude, praise may fitly be resembled to silver 
and gold, seeing it is a glorious and precious thing, 
yea, so precious a jewel, as that before in this book 
it hath been preferred before them both, chap, 
xxii. 1 . Again, a man may rightly be compared to 
a fining-pot, seeing, by the light of his reason, and 
the fire of God's word, he is able, in good measure, 
to prove and discern what is true and false, sound 
and counterfeit. Finally, there can none so well 
judge of a man as himself, seeing his spirit within 
him knoweth his estate best, and his thought in 
most actions accuse or excuse him. 

Ver. 22. Though thou, shouldst bray a fool in a 
mortar among barley with a pestle, yet will not his 
foolishness depart from him. 

The wickedness of the reprobate is so incurable, 
that although he be pressed never so much with the 
sharp reproofs or punishments of men, or with the 
severe judgments and plagues of the Lord, yet he 
layeth not his sin aside, nor amendeth his fault. 
'Though thou shouldst bray a fool in a mortar 
among barley with a pestle,' albeit thou shouldst 
take never so great pains in reproving or correcting 
a fool, yea, if thou shouldst put him into prison, or 
pound him in a mortar indeed, ' yet will not his 
foolishness depart from him.' Nevertheless the hard- 
ness of his heart and his wickedness will not be 
removed from him ; for the grains of corn would at 
the last be broken or ground to powder, but his 
obstinacy or stubbornness will never be overcome. 
One kind of grinding which people used in old time 
was to put their parched corn into a mortar, and to 
beat it into powder. Unto this custom the wise 
king alludeth in this place, insinuating that no beat- 
ing will amend an obstinate wicked man. 

Ver. 23. Be diligent to hnow the state of thy floch, 
and take heed to thine herds. 

Every one is to be dUigent in his calling, and 
namely shepherds, who have to deal with cattle, 
whereby much profit may be received. ' Be diligent 
to know the state of thy flock.' Consider daily 
the condition of thy sheep and oxen, and suchlike 
cattle ; look to the number of them, provide for 
them that which they want, and behold them even 

with thine own eye. If the shepherds of the crea- 
tures which are void of reason ought to have thus 
great care of their flocks, and such special regard to 
their herds, certainly the rulers of men, both those 
that are civil and those that are ecclesiastical shep- 
herds, should be much more careful and diligent in 
looking to and providing for the people committed 
to their charge ; for they are sheep indued with 
reason, whose souls are immortal, and for whom 
Christ hath shed his blood. 

Ver. 24. Surely hidden store endureth not for ever : 
and is the crown from generation to generation .? 

No cause there is why any should put afiiance in 
worldly treasures which he hath laid up, be they 
never so great, or else so precious as is a crown ; for 
they are all subject unto casualties, and in time they 
of themselves waste and consume. Yet seeing the 
liidden store endureth not for ever, every one, as 
before hath been taught, is to labour faithfully and 
painfully in his calling, and, as in the verse follow- 
ing is declared, providently to lay up for time to 
come that which shall be necessary. But as con- 
cerning the point which here is taught, what trea- 
sure is there in the world, be it never so royal 
or princely, which shall endure for ever, or which 
will not be drawn dry in the end, unless it be main- 
tained by care and dihgence, and unless, when any 
part of it is wasted, somewhat be supplied from 
time to time? Indeed if a man have great store 
of corn or other provision hoarded up, it may serve 
for many months, yea, and many years ; but it will 
not always continue ; and therefore it is no wisdom 
to spend continually on the stock, without labour- 
ing in some honest calling, and without getting in 
of new treasures from year to year. 

Ver. 25. The hay discovereth itself, and the tender 
blade appeareth, the grass of the mountains is to he 
gotten in. 

The earth of her own accord, as here is shewed, 
ministereth food for cattle, to serve them both in 
summer and winter. The meadows and the moun- 
tains bring forth grass and hay ; the green and 
tender pasture to feed the cattle in summer, and the 
hay to feed them in ivinter, which therefore is to 
be laid up in the barn against that time. It 
should not seem strange to any that the Holy Ghost 
speaketh of the springing of the grass or laying up 



[Chap. XXVIII. 

of hay in this place ; for the Scripture elsewhere 
entreateth of this matter, as, namely, in the psalm 
where it is said, 'The Lord causeth the earth to 
bring forth grass for the beast, and herbs for the 
use of man, that they may receive their food out of 
the earth,' Ps. civ. 14. In which place, as the 
prophet maketh mention of the fruitfukiess of the 
earth, to the end he may commend the goodness of 
God thereby, so here Solomon speaketh of grass and 
hay, to shew that men are to provide for their cattle 
in time convenient. 

Ver. 26. The lambs shall be for thy clothing, and 
the he goats for a price of afield. 

Ver. 27. Moreover, so much goats' milk as is sufficient 
shall be for thy meat, for meat for thy family, and 
food for thy maids. 

The intent of the Spirit of God in these last 
verses is not to prescribe a general rule of apparel 
or diet unto all men, but to shew that great com- 
modity ariseth by keeping of cattle, and looldng to 
them diligently ; for, as here is declared, cattle well 
looked unto minister clothing, money, and food. 
Clotliing, as is affirmed in these words, ' The lambs 
shall be for thy clothing ; ' that is to say, the wool of 
flocks will serve to make thee apparel both warm 
and comely ; for, as all know, both coats and hosen, 
and all sorts almost of upper garments, are made or 
woven of wool. Money, as is declared in these 
words, ' And the he goats for a price of a field ;' that 
is to say, the male goats and rams, and suchhke 
cattle as may well be spared, being sold, will bring 
thee money wherewith thou mayest buy corn or any 
other necessary thing, or some more gTOund; for 
money is a queen which, whosoever get, may easily 
therewith get all things. It is the measure, as the 
wise man teacheth, which answereth unto all, Eccles. 
X. 19. To conclude, food is obtained by the keep- 
ing of cattle dihgently, as is plainly set down in the 
last verse, wherein it is said, ' Moreover, so much 
goats' milk as is sufficient shall be for thy meat, for 
meat for thy family, and food for thy maids ; ' that 
is to say, the ewes and the kine will give such abun- 
dance of milk as wUl sustain thee, thy ^^^ife, and 
children, and thy servants, so that besides other 
provision which thou mayest make with thy money, 
thou and thy family mayest have butter and cheese 
enough of thine own flock. 


Ver. 1. Every wicked man flieth u'hen none piirsueth : 
but the just are like a young lion which is courageous. 
See the root hereof. Lev. xvi. 1 7. 

This holy proverb teacheth that wickedness mak- 
eth the wicked very fearful, and that righteousness 
maketh the innocent very secure and bold. In it, 
first, the wicked man is resembled to a bird, or some 
such timorous creature, which betaketh itself to 
flight when no cause thereof is ofiered. For the 
guilty person, after he hath committed some abomin- 
able act, (as, for example, theft or murder,) imagin- 
eth that some lie in wait for him, and doubteth he 
shall be taken ; the reason is, for that although none 
is near to pursue him, yet the sound of terror is in 
his ears, and the sting of conscience will not suffer 
him to be quiet in any place. But the just, as is 
affii'med in the second place, are like a young lion 
which is courageous ; for he goeth on his way 
boldly and swiftly, without returning back for fear 
of any. The reason is, for that being at peace with 
God, and having a good cause and a sound con- 
science, he dreadeth no objection nor danger. 

Ver. 2. For the rebellion of a land there are many 
princes thereof : but by a man of ivisdom and know- 
ledge the state likewise endureth long. 

The causes of the wealth and woe of kingdoms are 
herein declared. Every transgression causeth not 
the ruin of Idngdoms, but rebellion against God. 
Although the wickedness of some few private per- 
sons sometimes draweth down a plague upon a whole 
commonwealth, yet not any particular, but the gen- 
eral rebelhon of a land is that which causeth changes 
in the state thereof The changes which the com- 
mon rebellion of a land worketh, are the reignings 
of many princes in a short time succeeding one an- 
other, which are either all evU, or bad and good to- 
gether. Such alterations are most hurtful to com- 
monwealths, inasmuch as by this means new tumults 
continually arise, new laws are enacted, new officers 
placed, and new tributes imposed. ' But by a man 
of wisdom and loiowledge the state likewise endur- 
eth long.' For by the advice and prudent deaUng 
of one that feareth God, and is skilful in counselHng 
and governing, as Joseph was, both the prince's life 

Ver. 3-8.] 



and stock, and the people's peace and i^rosperity, 
shall be preserved. As before hath been taught in 
this book, by the blessmg of the righteous a city is 
exalted, but by the mouth of the wicked it is de- 

Ver. 3. A ^joor man 02}2^ressing the needy is as rain 
pouring down, so as that there is no food. 

A rich man oppressing the needy spoileth them 
utterly oftentimes ; but the poor man that is hard- 
hearted dealeth yet more roughly and cruellj^ with 
them. That unmerciful servant in the Gospel who 
took his fellow that owed him a hundred pence by 
the throat, saying. Pay me that thou owest, may be 
an example of the truth thereof. Therefore, even 
as a great tempest or flood of water, sweeping away 
and choking the corn, and oppressing, as it were, the 
ground, maketh it barren and causeth a dearth ; so 
a merciless poor man sj)oileth those that are needy, 
and even plucketh from them those things that are 
most necessary, yea, even their very food and rai- 

Ver. 4. They that forsake the law praise the wicked ; 
hut they that observe the law make war with them. 

Like will to like, as the common proverb is. 
Such as altogether neglect the Lord's command- 
ments not only commit divers gross sins, but com- 
mend those who in sinning are like themselves. 
For in their afiections they allow them, in their 
speeches they flatter and extol them, and in their 
deeds they join with them and maintain them. 
But they that walk in the Lord's commandments 
not only dispraise them, but strive with them. For 
they rebuke them by words, cross them by deeds, 
and correct them by their authority, if they be ma- 
gistrates. Nevertheless, neither are the evil to be 
dispraised for their good actions, nor the good to be 
allowed in their faults, but righteous judgment is 
always to be judged. 

Ver. 5. Men given to evil perceive not what is right ; 
but they which seek the Lord perceive all things. 

The natural man perceiveth not the things that 
belong to God, but the spiritual man discerneth all 
things. Albeit there is some light in the ivicked 
man which is sufiicient to make him inexcusable, 
yet he is always so bhnded by natural ignorance 
and malice that both Christ and the law to him is 
a mystery. Hence it cometh to pass that he neither 

fully seeth what is to be believed, nor yet what is to 
be done, either generally in all sorts of actions, or 
particularly in the course of his calling or oflice. 
But he that seeth the Lord in his word and by 
prayer shall know all things needful for salvation, 
and for the discharge of the duties of his calling. 

Ver. 6. Better is the fwor man that wcdketh uprightly, 
than he that perverteth his icays, though he be rich. 

This sentence hath been expounded before. Eead 
chap. xix. 1. 

Ver. 7. Ue that keepeth the law is a pi-udent son : 
but he that keejieth com2Mny vAth banq^ceters shameth 
his father. 

Among sundry vices v.'hich young men are to take 
heed of, riotousness is one of the chief. Both the 
Lord himself and every godly father chargeth every 
child to Uve soberly, and to take heed of prodigality. 
He therefore which keepeth this precept of God and 
of his godly father is a wise son, and so consequently 
one that rejoiceth his parents. Wise he is, both for 
that he doth good and avoideth God's judgment, 
which he should feel if he did evil. See Deut. xii. 
But, on the contrary side, he which, not regarding 
the law, spendeth his time and substance in feasting 
and rioting, is not only foolish, but a blemish unto 
his father ; for what will be said, but that such a 
man brought not up his children well. Again, if the 
father of the prodigal child see him come to ex- 
treme poverty or to punishment for his sin, how can 
he but blush and even hang down his head for shame? 

Ver. 8. He that heapeth up his substance by usury 
and increase, shall gather it for him who icill be liberal 
to the poor. 

Two especial means of unjust gain are specified in 
the former part of this sentence. See the root 
hereof, Deut. xxiii. 10. The one is biting usury, 
as the word doth signify, which is that gain 
by lending of money or any other thing whereby the 
borrower is oppressed, and by little consumed ; the 
other is increase, or multiplying, as the word 
importeth, which is that gain which is gotten either 
by false reckoning, as when more is set down or 
challenged to be owing than is owing indeed, or by 
receiving or extorting more than is due, or than the 
thing is worth indeed.^ Both biting usury, and 

1 So Cajetan taketh this word, which also may signify 
auy increase above the worth of a thing or equity. 



[Chap. XXVIII. 

increase above that wliich is right, is out of all 
doubt evil, and to be condemned. But all gain for 
the lending of money, or any like creature, is denied 
by Hemingius,! j^Qt without reason, to be unlawful. 
Yet in such commonwealths as ours is, wherein the 
positive laws of the land forbid all lending of money 
unto advantage, be it never so small, it is of 
conscience to be abstained from, and seemeth unto 
me unlawful ; for the magistrate's commandment, 
both in holy and civil matters, is not only for fear, 
but for conscience, to be regarded and obeyed. Now 
if the binding of the rich to pay ten in the hundred 
or less is unlawful, because the magistrate will have 
no such dealing, how much more is the biting of the 
poor, by taking ten or more in the hundred of them, 
evil and ungodly, because the Lord hath in his word 
forbidden and condemned such cut-throat dealing 1 
For the Lord saith in Exodus, ' If thou shalt lend 
thy money unto my people, unto the poor people 
which is with thee, thou shalt not be upon them as 
an usurer, ye shall not lay biting usury unto them,' 
Exod. xxii. 23. Indeed, to hurt the rich by any 
crafty and cruel dealing is a great sin, and there- 
fore the prophet David, speaking more generally in 
the psalm, Ps. xv., reckoneth this to be one of the 
properties of a citizen of heaven, that he putteth not 
his money to biting usirry. But to pinch and 
impoverish the poor, and that under the cloak of 
lending, is double iniquity and cruelty. For the 
case thus standeth, that, as Hemingius hath well 
observed, there are two sorts of lending. The one 
is a lending to which we stand so bound by God's 
law and the law of nature, that unless we do lend, 
we are guilty of sin before God. Here sometimes 
the very principal is not to be required, much less is 
the poor man to be bound by us to pay both the 
principal and the advantage. The other is a lend- 
ing to wliich we are not bound by the law of God 
or of nature, but it is left free unto us to lend or not 
to lend. Here we may not by lending bite any, 
nor offend the laws of the land, but otherwise, as 
Hemingius thinketh, we may by lending both profit 
others and ourselves. But, as is shewed in the latter 
part of this sentence, ' He that heapeth up his sub- 
stance by biting usury and increase, shall gather it 

' See Heming. iu PiS. xv. 

for him who vnll be liberal to the poor.' For his 
heir, through the just judgment of God, shall take a 
quite contrary course. The usurer did pluck from 
the poor, his heir shall give his goods to them. 
The usurer took much for the lending, his heir 
shaU lend for nothing. The crafty rich man took 
more of the poor than the things he sold were 
worth, his heir shall take less. Finally, the covet- 
ous rich man increased his wealth by misreckoning, 
his heir shall reckon and deal justly with all sorts 
of people. 

Ver. 9. Whosoever turneth away Ms ear from hear- 
ing the laio, even his prayer (is) abomination. 

Sinners may flatter themselves, and, namely, adul- 
terers, murderers, and such usurers, and stubborn 
children, as before have been spoken of; but if any 
willingly and wittingly turn away his ear from 
knowing or obejing the will of God, so that he will 
not lay aside his iniquities or impieties, not only his 
sins shall provoke God, but even his prayers ; and 
they shall not only be rejected, but be abominable, 
a matter of offending and incensing the Lord to 
wrath. As therefore such a one did refuse to hear 
God speaking in his law, so the Lord will in justice 
refuse him speaking to him by prayer. Therefore 
above all things be more ready to hear than to offer 
the sacrifice of fools. 

Ver. 10. Whosoever leadeth aside the upright into an 
evil way, shall himself fall into his own pit : hut the just 
shall possess that ivhich is good. 

Seducers are herein threatened with the Lord's 
judgment. They are fitly resembled unto thieves or 
robbers who lead true men out of the way oftentimes 
to spoU them of their goods, 2 Tim. iii. For even so 
the wicked are seduced and seduce others, drawing 
them into danger, unto the committing of sin, or unto 
heresies. Acts xiii. But they shall fall into their 
own snare, as did the accusers of Daniel, Elymas 
the sorcerer, Saul, Haman, Ahithophel; in the 
meantime, they who are upright, or sincerely and 
constantly serve the Lord, shall not only escape the 
evds which seducers labour to bring them into, but 
attain and enjoy riches, honour, glory, and salva- 

Ver. 11. A rich man seemeth wise in his oicn 
eyes : but the poor man who is p'udent findeth him 

Ver. 12-14.] 



Conceited arrogancy, usually accompanying abun- 
dance of Tvealth, is now reproved. It is the custom, 
not of godly rich men, but of wealthy worldlings, 
both to ascribe the getting of their goods to their 
own wisdom, and to like wonderful well of their 
own speeches, actions, and courses. Wherefore not 
without cause doth Paul -mil Timothy to put them 
in mind not to be high-minded. Now again it is 
the manner of foolish poor people, who measure all 
things by wealth, to flatter them, as the multitude 
did Herod, crj^ing out, ' It is the voice of God, and 
not of man.' But the godly poor man, whoknoweth 
the word, and is indued with the spirit of discretion, 
win so search and find the rich man out, that he wiU 
discern, and, if need require, declare him to be either 
an ignorant or wicked person, as may appear in blind 
Bartimeus's (?) conference with the pharisees, John ix. 
Nevertheless, as this ought to humble the rich, that 
the poor go sometimes beyond them in spiritual 
gifts ; so ought it not to breed any malapertness in 
the poor, who should always be far off from dealing 
saucUy with their betters. 

Ver. 12. JfJien the righteous triumph, there is great 
glory ; but when the loicked are lifted uj), (in the 
wicked men's rising up,) a man is sought for. 

TjTanny is spoken of in this sentence, a \'ice most 
contrary unto the mild and righteous government of 
the just ; for their reign bringeth forth glory as a 
most precious fruit, so that it causeth religion to 
flourish, peace to abound, plenty to be in every 
place, to conclude, temporal and spiritual blessings 
to spread far and near. What miracles were done 
in the wilderness whilst Moses ruled ! What con- 
quests had Joshua ! "What peace was under Solomon ! 
"VNTiat zeal under Daniel ! On the contrary side, 
wicked rulers make havoc of church and common- 
■wealth. They seek for the godly to slay them, the 
rich to spoil them, all to molest them. But of this 
point more hereafter in the exposition of the 2Sth 
verse of this chapter, as also in the interpretation of 
the second verse of the next chapter. 

Ver. 13. He which hideth his sins shall not prosper : 
hut he which confesseth and forsaketh them shall receive 

Hypocrites are threatened with a miserable judg- 
ment. ' He which hideth his sins,' either by deny- 
ing that evil which he hath done, or lessening it, or 

else continuing it, 'shall not prosper,' but shall be left 
and remain in grief of mind, poverty, sickness, or 
some other trouble, as David was, untU such time as 
he confessed his sin against himself, Ps. xxxii. But 
he wliich confesseth his sins to the Lord, as Job did. 
Job xxxi. 33, and not only acknowledgeth them in 
words, but in deed and affection forsaketh them, 
shall not only be forgiven, but obtain many graces 
and blessings, as did the prodigal son. It is not 
always necessary to publish secret sins to men, which 
may but breed offence and infamy and dishonour to 
the Lord ; nevertheless sometimes this is to be done, 
both publicly and privately. But both manifest and 
secret offences are always to be acknowledged unto ■ 
the Lord, and sin is always to be forsaken. It is no 
marvel if divers many years together are not taken 
from the rack of the Lord's visitation, seeing they 
will not confess their iniquities to him as they ought. 
See a like promise. Job viii. 1-7. 

Ver. 14. Blessed is the man -who greatly feareth 
always : but he vjhich hardeneth his heart shall run 
headlong into ecil. 

Security is a forerunner of God's judgments, but 
the man is happy which feareth always. Indeed, 
whosoever is possessed or tormented with a servile 
fear is most miserable ; but he which is indued \\-ith 
a son-like fear, so that he dreadeth to swear vainly, 
to profane the Sabbath, or to sin agaiast God ; he 
which worketh on his salvation with fear and trem- 
bling, so that he standeth in awe of the Lord, not 
only in the church, but out of the same ; finally, he 
which reverenceth the Lord continually, so that he 
feareth him, not for an hour, or day, or month, or 
by fits, — as some which have an angeHc fear now and 
then upon them, — but all the days of his life, is most 
happy. For such a one doth no evil; the Lord 
heareth his prayers, and maketh him at the last an 
inheritor of his kingdom. The secure people of the 
world, on the contrary side, harden their hearts, 
both by resisting the word, and by not profiting by 
the Lord's works, and by not yielding unto the 
motions of his Spirit. They do therefore but trea- 
sure up wrath against the day x>i wrath, and so fall 
at last into sin, into trouble, into the jaws of death ; 
to conclude, even into hell ; for when they say, 
Peace, peace, then sudden destruction cometh on 



[Chap. XXVIII . 

Ver. 15. A wicked ruler over the lyoor people is as a 
roaring lion and a roving bear. 

The rage of tja-ants is liere fitly compared to the 
cruelty and ravenmg of hears and lions, which prey 
on the lambs and on the sheep, 1 Sam. xvii. For 
as the lion frayeth the poor beasts with his roaring, 
and preyeth on them mth his teeth, and as the hear 
searcheth them out and teareth them with her paws, 
so ungodly superiors of all sorts threaten, oppress, 
and slay such as can make no resistance. They 
which are of the lowest degree are sometimes as 
fierce as bears or lions ; but rulers should be pastors, 
not wolves, and parents, not tyrants. Not only 
divers magistrates are tyrants, but many house- 
holders are beaxs and lions in their families. But 
Christian masters must remit their threatenings, and 
lay aside all bitterness, wrath, and outcries, Eph. iv. 
and vi. The inferiors which are oppressed are as 
the sheep of Christ, to bear injuries patiently, Ps. 
xxii. They are also to pray to be dehvered from 
such lions, and to assure themselves that they shall 
at last in some sort tread them under foot, Ps. xci. 

Ver. 16. A governor void of all understanding, 
(understandings,) and much in oppressions (shall 
shorten his days) : but he which hateth gain shall pro- 
long his days. 

As tyranny, so covetousness ought to be far, as 
from all men, so chiefly from rulers. Politic Pha- 
raohs imagine they deal wisely when they lay griev- 
ous burdens on the Israelites. Foolish Eehoboams 
thmk it the most prudent course to scourge the 
people with scorpions. But such rulers who are 
much in oppressions, encroaching the people's lands, 
getting their goods by hook and crook, and exacting 
extreme tribute, estrange their subjects' hearts, 
oflend God, fall into many foohsh and hurtful lusts, 
which plunge men into destruction, and therefore 
have indeed no understanding. But he that is so 
far from covetousness that he is a man, as Jethro 
would have rulers be, which even hateth gain — that 
gain, I say, which is unjust — shall wax old in the 
favour of the people, as Samuel did, and he beloved 
of all men, and blessed of the Lord, 1 Sam. xii. 
Then let the conversation of every one be without 
covetousness, as the apostle exhorteth, and let every 
one be content with the things that are present, 
Heb. xiii. Would any know a covetous man ? Look 

on his conversation, his bargains, his housekeeping, 
&c. Would a covetous man know whether this root 
of all evil be in himself or no 1 Let him look on his 
mind, his cares, his fears, his desires. But above all 
others, let magistrates say to the Lord, with David, 
'Incline mine heart to thy statutes, and not to 
covetousness,' Ps. cxix. 

Ver. 17. Let a man pursued for the blood of a per- 
son (soul or life) fly to the grave ; let none uphold 

Magistrates are not to pardon wilful murderers. 
By Moses' law, they who slew any at unawares might 
have cities of refuge, and be preserved from death 
by the rulers, but he which offered violence, and 
maliciously slew his neighbour, was to die without 
mercy. They which maimed their neighbours were 
to pay eye for eye, tooth for tooth, Exod. xxi. 22, 
but he which took away Ufe, by man was to be 
deprived of his life. Gen. ix. Magistrates may be 
moved by rewards to show such favour, but the 
Lord would have no reward taken for a man-slayer. 
Num. XXXV. Pity may sometimes incline them to 
mercy, but the Lord would not have their eye to 
spare them, Deut. xxix. Magistrates, then, being 
the deputies of the Lord, are to execute his law on 
wilful murderers, as Solomon did on Joab, 1 Kings ii. 
When men take no vengeance on him which shed- 
deth iunocent blood, God pursueth him, as he did 
Cain. The papists' impiety is here notably detected, 
who did set open sanctuaries and privileged places 
unto all sorts of notorious offenders. 

Ver. 18. He which walketh uprightly shall be saved: 
hut he who is perverse in his ways (his two ways) 
falleth therein (in one.) 

This is the course which magistrates are to observe 
in their judgments, imitating the Lord's example — 
namely, on the one side, to defend and spare the 
righteous, who, neither declining from the right 
hand nor the left, walk circumspectly in the straight 
way of the Lord's precepits ; and, on the other, to 
punish the transgressor, who either doth that which 
is wicked, or dealeth unlawfully in those actions 
which are lawful. Those, then, who either use 
deceit in their best actions, or commit gi-oss sins and 
walk therein, shall at one time or other be taken 
napping, as was Shimei, and be plagued in some of 
their iniquities, as were the Israelites. If magistrates 

Ver. 20-23.] 



ahvay punisli not the wicked and cherish the good, as 
they ought, yet surely the Lord ■will, 1 Cor. x. 

Ver. 19. He which tilleth his land shall he satisfied 
with food : hut he lohich follow eth vain (persons) shall 
be filled with poverty. 

Disorderly walkers, who do nothing but go up and 
down as busybodies, have been oft before reproved, 
chap. xii. 14, and xxiii. 21, and here are taxed 
again. Amongst other upright ways this is one, that 
a man diligently follow his vocation. When hus- 
bandry or any such trade is well put in use, it will, 
through the Lord's blessmg, yield unto a man suffi- 
cient to content him, and to maintain his family, as 
may appear in the rich estate whereunto Jacob came 
by the Lord's blessing on his industry. The provi- 
dent, then, and the diligent shall have food to kill 
hunger, garments wherewith to cover them, and 
money for good uses. But the good companions 
and youths of this world which follow hunting, 
hawking, carding, dicing, stage players, and such 
vanities, or are vagabonds roguing up and down the 
country, shall not only want necessaries, but be 
filled with poverty, bondage, grief, and misery, as 
was the prodigal son. 

Ver. 20. A faithful man (of faithfulness) is full of 
blessings : but lie which hasteth to loax rich shall not he 

As unthriftiness shall be punished by the Lord, so 
posting to be rich shall be revenged by him. ' A 
man of faithfulness,' to speak, as the Spirit doth in 
the original tongue, who dealeth plainly and truly not 
only in word but deed, both with God and man, not 
only in one matter but all, ' shall be much in bless- 
ings,' shall be made partaker, not of one good thing 
only, but of many. His credit shall be great, he shall 
have peace of heart ; his store shall increase, he shall 
have children ; unto him at last it shall be said, 
' Come, thou blessed of my Father.' Now, as touch- 
ing those wlio make haste to be rich, or who, as 
Paul speaketh, wiU be rich, as it were, whether God 
will or no, who get their goods by hook and crook, 
or by playing the parts of drudges and snudges, to 
conclude, who labour after wealth, but use not to 
call on the name of God, nor regard his word, these 
make commonly more haste than speed, seeing they 
are not unpunished, but fall into temptation and a 
snare, meeting with some loss or cross instead of 

gain and advantage, as bu-ds hasting to the prey are 
oft in their flight stricken and slayed with a pellet. 
Ahab made haste to Naboth's vineyard, but at last 
drank a cup of bloody grapes for his posting. 

Ver. 21. It is not good to accept persons (the face) : 
for (so) a man would transgress for a morsel of bread. 

Of the number of such as make haste to be rich 
are they who respect persons in judgment. He that 
is infected with this vice, albeit he be a man of high 
caUing in the commonwealth, and although there is 
no comparison between truth and justice and a 
morsel of bread, yet wiU he easily be hired and 
brought to hold his peace, or to give a false sentence, 
for a little paltry game, for a dinner, yea, for a 
morsel of bread. Not only magistrates are to take 
heed that they be far from this sin, but others also. 
If ministers are given to this vice, they will teach 
false doctrine, or smother the truth that they may 
still enjoy the rich men's trenchers. If people be 
carried away with it, you shall see them extol a 
papist for a little rehef at his door. 

Ver. 22. A man of an evil eye maketh haste (to get) 
riches : hut he Icnoweth not that poverty shall befall him. 

Of the crew before spoken of are, moreover, miser- 
able niggards, who are noted to be men of an evil 
eye, because with the eye they desire other men's 
goods, envy their neighbour's prosperity, and grudge 
those who come unto their tables the very meat 
which they eat. Such Labans spare, and care, and 
toil exceedingly, imagining through their industry 
and pinching both to attain to abundance and always 
to live in plenty. Yet at last, by some casualty, or 
by death, poverty, which they fly by all means, 
cometh unto them, as may appear in the rich glutton 
described in the Gospel, Luke xii. and xvi. See 
this parable exjiounded in Ps. xxxLx., xUx. Also oft 
before in this book. 

Ver. 23. He luhich reproveih a man, in the end shall 
rather find favour than he which fiattereth with his 

The vain and needy people of this world, seeking 
by all means to enrich themselves, use flattering 
speeches to this intent, knowing that fair words 
make fools fain. But yet, as here is shewed, they 
which reprove shall find more favour than they 
which flatter. Indeed, many find fault with others, 
and control themj but because they do this with 



[Chap. XXVIII. 

a harsh spirit and in an indiscreet manner, their 
speeches make them rather odious than gracious unto 
the parties rebuked. Biit he which rejDroveth his 
neighbours justly, wisely, charitably, and that to a 
good end, and, as Paul speaketh to Titus, that they 
may be sound in the faith, he shall reap a precious 
fruit after his labour. True it is, the wicked and 
sottish people of the world will hate them most 
which rebuke them most for sin ; for with such, 
flattery getteth friends, and truth hatred. Never- 
theless they which have any spark of grace or are 
wise will bear good-will to a reprover, and hate a 
flatterer. The consideration of the reprover's affec- 
tion and his reasons will win the party reproved to 
amendment, and raise up in him a great liking of 
that man or that woman who told him of his fault, 
as may appear in the example of David, Ps. cxli. 
Let us then rather by wholesome rebukes labour to 
profit our friends, than seek to please them by sooth- 
ing speeches. Oh, saith flesh and blood, I shall lose 
my friend and gain if so I do. But fie upon such 
loathness to displease, as betrayeth a friend even 
unto Satan himself Let rather the commandment 
of our Saviour move us to reprove our brother be- 
tween him and us ; let woe threatened by Ezeldel 
hold us back from sowing pillows under every elbow, 
Ezek. xiii. 

Ver. 24. He ivliich, spoiling his father or his mother, 
saith it is no sin in comparison to a man who is a mur- 

Robbing of parents, or spoiling of them by any 
means, is a great and grievous sin. To steal from 
a stranger is no small fault, which sin those who 
commit are justly punished with death ; it must 
needs then be a destestable kind of robbery and in- 
jury when not strangers, but parents shall be, not 
lightly endamaged, but spoiled by their children, 
and that -ivithout scruple of conscience and securely. 
A notable example hereof we have in Micah, of whom 
mention is rnade in the book of Judges, who, 
although he had stolen from his mother eleven 
hundred shekels of silver, yet made he no conscience 
to disclose his theft, or to restore it, until such time 
as he heard his mother wish a bitter curse unto the 
thief, and then he acknowledged his fault, not of any 
remorse of heart, but only to avoid the curse which 
his mother had pronounced, Judges xvii. Thus 

doth the heart of ungodly children seduce them 
oftentimes, who say, These goods belong unto me, 
they are mine own, I have my part in them, why 
should I not take them, use them, and spend them 1 
But howsoever such a wretch may delude himself, he 
is in the fault, and punishment to be joined, not with 
a common thief or robber, but with a destroyer and 
murderer.^ The Lord, in Deut. xxi., expressly com- 
mandeth that such children be stoned to death. Of 
this generation are all children who pilfer from their 
parents, spend their goods riotously, incur debt, and 
make their parents pay it; put their mothers by 
from their right after their fathers' decease, or, as 
lords over their parents' goods, do what they list 
with them. 

Ver. 25. He which is high-minded stirreth up strife : 
hut he lohich trusteth in tlie Lord shall he made fat. 

The high-minded are here beaten down ; for that 
such are meant by those who are of a large soul 
appeareth by that expectation 2 of Paul to Timothy, 
which may serve as a perfect exposition of this sen- 
tence : 1 Tini. vi. 1 7, ' Command the rich of this 
world not to be high-minded, nor to trust in the 
uncertainty of riches, but in the li\dng God, who 
giveth unto us all things richly unto fruition.' The 
which last words also declare what is meant here by 
being fat, which, being a borrowed speech taken 
from those who are in good plight of body, noteth 
out the abundance of God's blessings. He then 
which is high-minded, secure, and frolic in regard of 
his outward prosperity, as was the rich glutton, 
Luke xxii., saith that he shall never be re- 
moved, as David did, Ps. xxx., and despiseth his 
neighbours, oppresseth them, and raiseth up un- 
necessary wars and strifes, as did Jehoshaphat, 2 
Chron. xviii., when he provoked the Syrians, by the 
which jars and contentions he must needs be vexed 
and somewhat pulled down in his estate. But he 
which is humble in all estates, and trusteth in the 
Lord, as the prophet willeth Israel to do, Ps. cxxxi. 
shall prosper in body and in soul, and be satisfied 
with peace of heart and many good things, as it 
were, with marrow, Ps. Ixiii. and xcii. 

Ver. 26. He which trusteth in his own soul is a fool : 
hut he which walketh wisely shall deliver himself. 

^ That the word here used signifieth thus much may appear 
Isaiah Ixiv. ; Exod. xii. 23. ^ Qu. ' exhortation ' ? — Ed. 

Chap. XXIX. L] 



They that are wise in their own eyes fall into the 
sin before condemned, and are here fitly reproved. 
Such trust in their heart as imagine that they have 
no need of the help or advice of others, and refuse 
to follow the direction of the godly wise, giving them 
sound counsel out of the word ; for these devise 
new conceits, practise such forms of worshippiing God 
as are not found in his word, take evil courses, and 
yet persuade themselves that therein they do God 
good service, and that in them they shall find good 
success. David, numbering the people of Israel, 
imagined he did very wisely in so doing ; neither 
would he at the first hear Job advising him to the 
contrary ; but at the last he crieth out, ' I have 
done foohshly.' Then, howsoever conceited persons 
or devilish politics seem wise unto themselves, yet 
they have no understanding in very deed. 'Be 
not therefore wise in yourselves,' saith Paul. 'And 
woe be to those,' saith Isaiah, ' who are mse in their 
own eyes.' But he which not only heareth the good 
advice of others, (which many do who yet are thereby 
never a whit the better,) but putteth it into prac- 
tice, shall both be preserved from imminent dangers, 
and delivered out of present troubles or inconveni- 
ence, even as Moses found rest unto his soul by fol- 
lowing Jethro's counsel, and Naaman health in his 
body by obeying the advice of his captive handmaid 
and other servants. For indeed one man standeth 
in need of another, as do the members of the body. 
. Ver. 11 . To him which giveth to the poor (shall be) no 
want: hut he which Mdeth his eyes (shall ho) full of curses. 
Unmercifulness toward the poor draweth on men 
the Lord's curses and crosses. Albeit divers fear 
they shall beg if they give unto the poor, yet the 
cheerful and liberal giver of alms shall be so far 
from wanting, that he shall have abundance and gain 
by his spending. But that vile and miserable 
wretch, who is so far off from pulling the coat from 
his back, therewith to clothe the naked, or from stay- 
ing the meat from his mouth, with it to feed the 
hungry, — which yet every Christian ought rather to 
do than to see his poor brother perish, — that he will 
not so much as look on the lazar, or hear the 
voice of the beggar, shall by him be cried out 
against, and by the Lord cursed in his body, cursed 
in his goods, cursed in his soul, cursed in his 
children, and in all things. 

Ver. 28. When the wicked are lifted up, a man 
hideth himself : hut when they perish, the righteous are 

Tyranny yet once again is entreated of in this con- 
clusion of the chapter. When the wicked rule 
they raise up such a storm that the just, being 
sought for to be slain or molested, get them to 
some foreign countries, as did David ; or lurk in 
dens, as did the prophets in Ahab's time ; or pray 
in corners, as did the disciples when the sacrificers 
of the Jews raged ; or fly as birds unto some shelter 
or other. But when the ungodly perish, then the 
righteous swarm as a company of bees in a sunny 
day, returning from other countries, multiplying in 
towns and cities, filling whole churches, winning 
and converting many to the truth by their doctrine 
and example, shewing their faces boldly and openly. 
The chief use of this doctrine is to teach us not to be 
troubled at the changes of the world, or troubles of 
the times. ' In the time of good,' saith Ecclesiastes, 
chap, vii., 'enjoy that which is good, and use the 
time of evU.' Bees suck sweet honey out of the 
bitter thyme ; so the godly must draw comfort and 
joy even out of hard times and grievous afiiictions. 
A Christian without the cross is not worth a pin. 


Ver. 1. A man who oft having heen reproved har- 
denelh his nech, shall suddenly he so hroken as that he 
cannot he cured. 

The fearful estate of those here is shewed who 
by no means will be reclaimed from their wicked 
ways. In the former part of this sentence the sin 
of obstinate persons is described, in the latter their 
punishment is declared. This is their sin, that 
even as the stubborn horse and brute beast will 
not be ruled with bit or bridle, but when the 
yoke is to be put on, resist, and with a stiff neck 
reject it ; so obstinate people continue in their sins, 
and grow harder hearted daily, not enduring to hear 
the truth, persecuting their teachers, and fretting 
against the troubles which the Lord bringeth on 
them as bridles and yokes to subdue and tame their 
pride and fierceness. Yea, though such have been 
told of their faults not once, but a hundred times, 



[Chap. XXIX. 

and the Lord himself hatli schooled them for the 
same by sickness, infamy, poverty, and divers crosses, 
yet they do securely and boldly proceed in swearing, 
lying, adultery, murder, theft, and such other vices, 
persuading themselves either that no e\'il shall betide 
them, or that they shall go through it well enough. 
The punishment wheremth such obstinate wretches 
shall be revenged is remediless destruction. jST either 
will the Lord be a long time in bringing them to 
ruin ; as they by the space of many days, months, or 
years together refused correction, but he in an hour, 
or some short space, will quite overthrow them. Of 
all other sins, then, obstinacy is most to be avoided, 
seeing other transgressions of all sorts may find 
pardon when repentance followeth them, but hard- 
ness of heart doth nothing but treasure up wrath 
against the day of wrath. This was that sin which 
often the prophets upbraid the Jews withal. 
Isaiah saith that their neck was a sinew of iron, 
and their brow brazen, for which cause, as he also 
testifieth, they were smitten on the head and in the 
heart, Isa. xlviii. 4. Yea, saith he, ' There is no 
soundness from the sole of the foot unto the head,' 
Isa. i. 5, 6. Jeremiah also, complaining of and 
lamenting the unrecoverable plague of the Israelites, 
taketh up such speeches as these, ' Is there no gum 
or balm in Gilead ? Is there no physician thereof ? 
For why hath not the daughter of my people 
recovered V Jer. viii. 22. 

Ver. 2. When the just are increased, the people re- 
joice : but when the wicked man ruleth, the people sigh. 

This sentence sheweth that such is the estate of 
the people, as is the disposition of the governor. In 
the former part is afiBrmed that when good magis- 
trates bear office, howsoever some wicked rascals 
or rebels may be sorry therefor, yet godly people, 
and generally the multitude, will be glad, for they 
shall enjoy their Uves and goods quietly ; by the 
defence of such, and under their rule, religion shall 
flourish in their congregations, the Lord himself 
will bless their land with plenty and many good 
things ; finally, they shall be free from grievous 
taxes, plagues, seditions, and many miseries. The 
wise king who wrote tliis divine parable, saw in 
himself the particular experience of that general 
observation which here he setteth down ; for being 
anointed king over Israel by Zadok, the whole 

people went up after him playing on pipes, and re- 
joicing so greatly that the earth did ring and cleave, 
as it were, with their voice, 1 Kings i. 40. David 
his father also, being advanced by Saul, so carried 
himself in his wars against the PhiUstines, that the 
Israelitish women, moved by his worthy and valiant 
exploits unto rejoicing, sung in triumphing wise 
that Saul had slain his thousands and David his ten 
thousands. The latter part of the sentence de- 
clareth, on the contrary side, that the rule of the 
wicked ministereth matter of grief and misery unto 
the whole multitude. The estate of the poor people 
over which fooUsh persons or cruel persecutors 
have the rule or tyrannise, becometh lamentable 
sundjy ways. First, The Lord himself usually 
plagueth the land with judgments from heaven 
wherein an enemy of his holdeth the sceptre. 
Secondly, Wolves in such a kingdom having the 
place of shepherds, but the nature of devouring 
beasts, spoil, oppress, and eat up the silly lambs 
and sheep. Thirdly, The people, living without all 
good order or means of their prosperity, fall daily 
into all sorts of sins and pits of destruction. Sundry 
occasions then of grief being continually offered the 
people, through the carelessness or cruelty of evil 
governors, if peradventure they dare not openly 
complain for fear of further trouble, yet how can 
they but sigh secretly in corners 1 Certainly so did 
the Israelites oppressed in Egypt, and Elias per- 
secuted by Ahab and Jezebel. Even as then the 
welfare of the sheep dependeth on the shepherd, 
and even as such is the constitution of the body as 
is the disposition of the head ; so the condition of 
the people answereth in woe or wealth to the good- 
ness or badness of the magistrates. 

Ver. 3. A man that loveth wisdom rejoiceth Ids 
father : but he that keepeth company loith harlots 
wasteth his substance. 

This drift of the Spirit in tliis instruction is to de- 
clare that whoredom bringeth beggary at the last. 
Two sorts of love herein are spoken of, one spiritual, 
another carnal. The spiritual love is commended, 
which is a wonderful hking of and following after 
wisdom. Such as are enamoured with this virgin of 
heavenly wisdom, (which is holy, peaceable, mode- 
rate, full of mercy and good works, as James speaketh, 
James iii. 1 7,) shall not only by this means please 

Ver. 4-6.] 



the Lord, or be profitable unto themselves, but com- 
fortable unto their parents. Sundry waj's doth the 
wise son cheer up his father's heart : first. By the 
virtues which are in him ; secondly, By the fame 
■which is spread of him; thirdly, By the hope 
wliich his father conceiveth that he will be thrifty ; 
last of all. By his liberality and kindness towards 
his parents, if peradventure, by reason of his gifts, 
he be at any time exalted to honour, as Joseph was, 
who also in this respect rejoiced his father. As 
concerning the carnal love spoken of in the latter 
part of the sentence, that is condemned, and threa- 
tened with poverty. The vain youths of tliis world, 
having shaken off the yoke of obedience, and des- 
pised wisdom, fall in love with naughty women, with 
whom they are daily conversant, making them good 
cheer, bestowing gifts on them, and maintaining 
them in brave apparel. Hereby not only they 
defile themselves with wandering lusts, but spend 
their patrimony, and consume their parents' goods, 
so bringing sorrow upon them, instead of the joy 
wherewith they ought to labour to comfort them. 
Such a lewd course took the prodigal son, who, 
having wasted his substance, was put to feed with 
the swine. Among other reasons then dissuading 
from whoredom, this is not the less to be regarded, 
that strumpets are dangerous rocks and unsatiable 

Ver. 4. A king hy judgment eslablisheth his realm : 
but a man which is a slave to gifts that are offered, 
destroyeih it. 

Herein again the Holy Ghost admonisheth rulers 
of their duty. He entreateth in this verse of two 
matters — one the executing of judgment ; another 
the avoiding of bribes. In the former place is 
shewed that judgment is the prop or pillar of king- 
doms. When justice is ministered without par- 
tiality, in such sort that the godly are rewarded, and 
the wicked punished, and every man hath right 
done to him, the Lord will bless the land, the good 
■will love their prince, the bad shall be cut off, and 
not be able to do any hurt. This may be observed 
throughout the stories of the kings of Judah, that 
aU the while they gave themselves to set up true 
religion, or to punish sin, their kingdoms were in 
peace, and they got the -victory over their enemies. 
In the latter part of this sentence is declared, that 

the recei-ving of bribes is the overthrow and bane of 
a commonwealth. The reasons hereof are manifest 
and sundry : first, To respect persons, which bribe- 
takers do, is an abomination to the Lord, and there- 
fore such a traugression as pulleth down his ven- 
geance on the place wherein it is committed ; second- 
ly. By this means no place being left for right but for 
gifts, there must needs grow factions and mutinies ; 
last of all, A window being set open through such 
partiality to hope of impunity, aU sorts of sins (the 
plagues of commonwealths,) must needs daily mul- 
tiply and increase. 

Ver. 5. A man which jiatterelh his friends, spreadeth 
a net against his feet. 

In this sentence is declared that flatterers are 
a very hurtful and pernicious kind of people. They 
are fitly here compared mito hunters ; for even as 
the hunter spreadeth the hay or net to entangle the 
poor beast which cometh by it, Eom. x-vi., even 
so flatterers, by sweet speeches or salutations, seduce 
the hearts of the simple, and by their shows of 
friendship and righteousness go about to get some 
advantage at their hands, thereby to draw them 
into trouble, Luke xx. 29. Of this -wicked dealing 
Micah complaineth, saying, ' The good man is 
perished out of the earth, and there is none upright 
among men ; as many as are lie in wait to slay : 
every one hunteth his brother -with nets,' Micah 
-vii. 2. Flattery then is no better than a secret or 
subtle kind of murder, inasmuch as thereby divers 
are drawn either to receive errors, or to commit sin, 
and so to fall into the snare of endless damnation, or 
into danger of law or hazard of life. 

Ver. 6. In the transgression of the wicked man there 
is a snare ; but the Just man singeth and is merry. 

Here is shewed what a hurtful thing sin is in 
general, as before was declared how dangerous an 
evil flattery is. Howsoever the act of iniquity is 
joined -with pleasure, yet the end and wages thereof 
is pain and death. The snare here spoken of is some 
loss or cross, as poverty, sickness, grief of mind, pun- 
ishment of law, and the -wrath of God, all which 
pursue and follow the off"ender ; hence it cometh 
to pass, that inasmuch as the plagues of this world, 
or of the world to come, commonly molest the •wicked, 
that are in fear, sorrow, silence, shame, and confusion ; 
' But the just man singeth and is merry.' There is 



[Chap. XXIX. 

none so righteous as lie that is without sia ; but such 
are called just here who are justified by faith in 
Christ, and sanctified in some accepitable measure 
by the Spu'it. Inasmuch as the faithful walk in 
their calUngs with an upright conscience, and are 
blessed by the Lord many ways exceedingly, they 
both outwardly magnify him with psalms and hymns, 
and spiritual songs, and inwardly are cheerful, being 
filled with joy of the Holy Ghost. Indeed none 
are more in afflictions than they, but they are so far 
ofi" from mourning in this respect, that they count 
it exceeding joy when they fall into manifold trials. 
When the apostles were beaten for pubUshing the 
gospel, they went from the face of the council, re- 
joicing that they were counted worthy to be disgraced 
for the name of Christ, Acts v. 41. Paul and Silas 
being cast into prison, prayed and sang even at mid- 
night, Acts xvi. 25. 

Ver. 7. The righteous man Icnoweth the cause of the 
poor : the wicked man applieth not his mind to know it. 

Negligence in judging or determining cases in 
controversies herein is condemned. By knowing of 
a person or cause, oftentimes in the Scripture the 
protecting, favouring, and furthering thereof is meant. 
Thus the Lord is said to know the way of the right- 
eous, and to know those who are his, that is, to 
favour them, and to take care of them. Here then 
is meant, that although the poor man hath no money 
to give bribes, or wealthy friends to take his part, 
yet the godly man, discerning his case to be right, 
by all means and with all pains defendeth it against 
the rage of the mighty adversary. Such an upright 
judge was Job, who protesteth that in the days of his 
prosperity and authority he was a father of the 
poor, and searched out the cause which he did not 
understand. Job xix. So David prophesying of 
Christ in the psalm, aflSrmeth that he would defend 
the poor people, and save the sons of the needy, Ps. 
bdi. 4. But the wicked man, as the same prophet 
complaineth in another place, and here Solomon tes- 
tifieth, hath no regard, or applieth not his mind 
to know it, Ps. Ixxxii., either because he giveth 
himself to pleasure, or because the poor is not able 
to give bribes. 

Ver. 8. Scornful men set a city on fire : but the loise 
turn away wrath. 

Here is shewed that deriders of God and god- 

liness, such as either jest at other, or in rage contemn 
other, do much hurt to the society of mankind. 
The hurt which they do is Hke the hurt of fire, yea, 
much greater than it ; for they overthrow religion, 
peace, concord of neighbours, and love of friends. 
This do they either by their false doctrines, malicious 
speeches, evil examples, or wicked practices. How 
true this is may appear in Demetrius, who set 
Ephesus in an uproar. Indeed, sometimes this crime 
is laid to their charge, who are of all others the 
furthest from it, as it was by Ahab to Ehas, and 
by TertuUus to Paul. The reason hereof is, because 
the wicked cannot or will not put a difference be- 
tween the fire and sword which our Saviour came to 
put into the world, and that flame which Satan and 
his instruments kindle. As for those who are in- 
dued with the wisdom whereof James speaketh, 
which is peaceable, and lowly, and heavenly, they 
are so far off from kindling of dissensions, or raising 
up tumults, that either by their authority, or coun- 
sel, or gravity, or long-suffering, they appease all the 
strifes, and quench, as it were, the fires which arise 
and begin to kindle. When Sheba the son of Bichri, 
through liis sedition and pride, had subdued the 
city Abela, and by reason of his conspiracy it was 
now in danger of overthrowing, a certain wise woman 
deUvered and freed it from siege by appeasing the 
wrath of Joab, who went about to destroy it, 
2 Sam. XX. 

Ver. 9. 7/ a wise man debate a matter with a fool, 
ivhether he be moved to lorath, or whether he smile, yet is 
there no quietness. 

They are noted with infamy in this sentence who 
are unreconcilable and past amendment. Albeit 
the wise pacify some unruly people, as in the 
sentence before set down hath been affirmed, yet 
others there are who never can or will be per- 
suaded to cease from their tumults or wicked course 
which they have entered into. Two means com- 
monly are used by the godly and prudent servants 
of God unto the reclaiming of fools, — by whom proud, 
wi-athful, stubborn, ignorant, and wicked persons here 
are meant, — from their foUy and madness. The 
former of these is to be moved, as here Solomon 
speaketh, that is to say, to be in good sadness, to 
deal earnestly, to look with a stern and austere 
countenance, to allege weighty reasons, or to use 

Vee. 10-12.] 



forcible speeches of pp'-'iuasiGn and round repre- 
hension. The apostle Paul caUeth this manner of 
deahng a coming unto offenders with the rod. The 
other means is smiling, or, as the same apostle speak- 
eth, the spirit of mildness, that is to say, humble 
entreaty, fair speeches, and friendly looks, tokens of 
good-will, common or special courtesies, and such- 
hke gentle means of winning men's hearts. Let 
now a godly or peaceable person come to instruct or 
pacify a froward or wilful fool, he laboureth in vain ; 
for either because he is proud he contemneth fair 
entreaties and gentle courtesies, or because he is 
sottish and furious, or maUcious, he no more re- 
gardeth reasons or rough dealing than feathers or 
the wind. Such fools the pharisees were, whom 
whether our Saviour confuted by reasons at any 
time, or allured by soft speeches, and a meek con_ 
versation, he prevailed with them never a whit. 
The other Jews were, for the most part, of the same 
disposition, who, hke froward children, would neither 
mourn after the doleful pipe of John the Baptist, nor 
dance when Christ Jesus went about to stir them up 
to gladness by a more cheerful pipe and tune than 
his forerunner sounded. 

Ver. 10. Bloody men hate the upright person : hut 
the just seek after him. 

Here is shewed that this is the proper note, and a 
certain sign of wicked, hurtful, and merciless men, 
to be at deadly enmity with every one who hath 
any goodness in him. The principal reasons of this 
hatred are, that the light of the one reproveth the 
darkness of the other, and the course of both their 
conversations is quite contrary. Cain being a bloody 
man at the beginning of the world, in a manner 
hated Abel to the death. Esau's wickedness is in 
the Scripture offered to our view in the hatred he 
bare to Jacob ; Saul's in his deahng with David ; the 
pharisees' in their raging against our Sa^dour. This 
must needs be a great sin, seeing the enmities which 
are exercised against the godly indued vidth heavenly 
graces, redound unto God, the author of every good 
thing, Ps. cxlii. But they who fear God seek the 
soul of the righteous, that is, love him, and labour 
to preserve his life ; for so this phrase is used in the 
Scripture, and is here to be taken, as the opposing of 
the latter part of the sentence unto the former 
manifesteth. The bloody hate the upright to the 

death, but the just love his life most dearly. Every 
one, then, is to take heed that he be not among the 
number of those who love not good men, as Paul 
admonisheth, 2 Tim. iii. Always the godly have 
shewed themselves careful of practising love towards 
the saints, as may appear in Obadiah's feeding of the 
prophets in a cave, Ebedmelech's dra\ving of Jeremiah 
out of the dungeon, the disciples' compassing of Paul, 
and letting him down in a basket. 

Ver. 11. A fool utter eth his whole mind: but a wise 
man holdeth it back. 

As before often in this book the sin of blabbing 
and babbhng hath been reproved, chap. xiv. 33, 15, 
2, 28, so here again it is checked. The root of it is 
folly, for when men have no discretion, nor power 
of themselves, either they blaze abroad their own 
secrets, or prattle of their friends' intents, sayings, 
and doings, or object unto their adversaries the 
faults which they know by them, or oppress and 
bewray the trouble and misery of their own hearts 
and estates. But he who hath a state of himself, 
and is indued with discretion, will resei-ve his speech 
until the fittest seasons, that therein it may be most 
forcible, and thereby do most good, yea, sometimes 
he will pass things over with perpetual silence. 
This wisdom was in Jacob, who kept in his mind 
when his daughter was ravished, and in David, who 
answered not when Shimei railed on him, and in 
Gamahel, who commanded the apostles first to be 
put out, and then spake his mind. 

Ver. 12. All the servants of the ruler which hcarlccneth 
unto lies (are) wicked. 

Another vice is here condemned, to wit, the re- 
ceiving of false tales, or opening the ear willingly 
to hear evil reports against any. This sin is to be 
avoided by all, according to the commandment of 
the Lord : ' Thou shalt not receive a false report, 
nor put thy hand with the wicked to be a false 
witness.' It is contrary to the law of God and to 
charity. He that carrieth Satan in his ear is no 
less blame-worthy than he which carrieth him in 
his tongue. Untruths are cherished and fostered, 
as it were, by those who are too Hght of behef. 
But this creduhty in admitting of every vain and 
false rumour is especially to be shvmned by rulers 
in church, commonwealth, or private famihes ; for 
all the inferiors commonly follov/ the example of the 




[Chap. XXIX. 

superiors. Again, ■vrhen servants see tlieir masters 
deliglitecl in hearing their complaints and tales, to 
please them, or to win favour, or to discredit the 
good, they ■will bring many lies into their ears. 
Moreover, the governors which are given to this 
vice ■will not dehght in any under them ■who ■will 
deal plainly and truly, but -will put such out of their 
service. Thus it cometh to pass that all the ser- 
vants of such a ruler are -wicked, being either here- 
tics or flatterers, or -whisperers, or given to some 
such ■vice. Indeed sometimes it may fall out that an 
Obadiah may lurk in Ahab's court ; but this is rare, 
and commonly the s-way goeth another ■way. Who 
■were Saul's courtiers, but Doeg and such backbiters? 
Such then as are the superiors, usually such are 
those who are under their power and government. 
If the master and mistress in a family be zealous, 
zeal wdl be found oftentimes in the lowest servant 
■which goeth to the door, as may appear in Rhoda. 
If they be lukewarm, it may be observed that their 
children, and those who attend on them, be neither 
hot nor cold. Finally, if the heads of the family be 
profane, amongst those who are in the household 
nothing is to be perceived but irreligiousness, worldli- 
ness, brawling, pride, and wantonness. 

Ver. 13. He that is rude and he that is witty meet 
together : the Lord lighteneth loth their eyes. 

This instruction tendeth to dissuade us from par- 
tiaUty. To this end is shewed, first. That there 
are two sorts of people in the world of a diverse 
disposition ; the one poor in wealth, or gifts of the 
mind, the other rich, and indued with abundance 
of outward blessings, or spiritual graces ; in one 
word, some are baser, and some more excellent. 
Secondly, These people of contrary estates or dispo- 
sitions, by the course of the divine pro^vidence, are 
said to meet together, either in the church or street, 
or some private house or place upon occasion. The 
learner cometh to the teacher to hear, the poor to 
the rich to receive alms ; one for one intent, another 
for another. Thirdly, ' The Lord lighteneth both 
their eyes.' There is no respect of persons ■with 
that heavenly Sun, who lighteneth every one, who 
cometh into the world, John i. 9. In the Lord 
both of them live, move, and have their being. Acts 
xvii. The father of mercies causeth his sun to shine 
as well on the one as on the other, Mat. vi. He 

created and redeemed. Jc.°Tn. both. None therefore 
is to be despised by such as fear God for his ■wants 
or low degreee, chap. xxii. 2. ' Brethren,' saith 
James, chap, ii., 'have not the faith of Christ in 
respect of persons.' 

Ver. 14. The throne of that Icing who faithfully 
judgeth the poor shall he established for ever. 

Magistrates are advised in this instruction to fol- 
low the example of the Lord, who regardeth both 
the poor and the rich. In like sort then rulers are 
to defend not only the wealthy in their right, but 
the needy ; yea, inasmuch as the poor, the fatherless, 
and the widow are weak, subject to many dangers, 
and not able to resist the ■violence of the mighty, 
good rulers are especially to protect them, and de- 
liver them from the hand of the oppressor. So 
doing, they shall be established for ever, that is, a 
long time, as this word is often taken in the Scrip- 
ture. A fuUer exposition of this sentence is to be 
fetched from ver. 7 of this chapter, xiv. 20, and 
xxviii. 5. 

Ver. 15. The rod and reproof give wisdom: hut a 
child left to himself shameth his mother. 

After that Solomon hath given an admonition to 
magistrates, whereby they might be directed in well 
governing the commonwealth, he giveth now certain 
precepts concerning the right ordering of youth in a 
private family. This admonition tendeth to stir up 
parents to train up their children in the fear and 
nurture of the Lord. In the former part of it a 
blessing is promised unto discreet and moderate 
correction. The rod, that is to say, stripes, when 
occasion shall require, bestowed on a child, and a 
reproof, that is, a rebuke by words, give wisdom, 
that is to say, make him modest, dutiful, rehgious, 
and a practiser of God's commandments ; for indeed 
true ■wisdona consisteth not in learning, or knowledge 
of worldly or spiritual matters, but in practising the 
\eiw of God with a conscience. This fruit of correc- 
tion, as it is precious in itself, so it must needs be 
comfortable to the parents of that child in whom it 
is ; for, as before hath been afl&rmed, ' A "wise son 
maketh a glad father.' But, as it followeth in the 
latter end of this sentence, ' A child, or boy, left to 
himself, shameth his mother.' Then a boy is left to 
himself, when he is neither chastened "with the rod 
nor controlled by words, but cockered, as Adonijah 

7ee. 16, 17.] 



was by David. This fault is often to be found in 
fathers, but yet commonly it most of all reigneth in 
mothers, who, if they have sons esjoeciallj', cannot 
abide that in theii* tender age they should be spoken 
to or sharply dealt withal ; for this cause here the 
Holy Ghost especially dii-ecteth his speech to 
mothers, and threateneth them. It is then a fault 
in parents only to use admonitions, and not there- 
withal corrections which are necessaiy, or to neglect 
both the one and the other means of bringing their 
children to amendment. ' What child is it,' saith 
the apostle, ' whom the father correcteth not 1 ' 
Cockering parents will say, if so they do they shall 
make their children foolish j but here a promise is 
made of the contrary, namely, that they shall make 
them wise. But this point hath been entreated of 
before in chap. xxii. 15, xiii. 14, and xxiii. 13, 14. 
Only thus much may here be observed, that such as 
at God's commandment will not correct their chil- 
dren with the rod, would hardly with Abraham take 
the knife to slay them if the Lord should enjoin this 
for their trial. 

Ver. 16. PFhen the wicked increase, sin increaseth: 
hut the just see their fall. 

As in the former verse the precious fruit of the 
use of correction hath been declared, so here the 
fearful hurt and inconvenience which falleth out by 
the neglect thereof is insinuated. Hereby it 
cometh to pass that the wicked persons, increasing 
in age, in number, in power, increase in sin also, 
being not babes in maliciousness, but growing to the 
top of all impiiety and iniquity. Even as a man pro- 
ceedeth to his just stature by degrees, and the body, 
which is little at the beginning, waxeth great in 
process of time, so is it with sin. Every man, saith 
James, is drawn aside and deluded by his own 
concupiscence, and concupiscence having conceived, 
bringeth forth sin, and sin being perfected, bringeth 
forth death. Now then sin and the wicked man 
are, as it were, twins, even born together, and both 
loving, living, and growing together in like sort. 
And even as the thorn or brier, whilst it is in the 
bud or green, may be handled and hurteth not, as 
afterward it doth, but the longer it continueth and 
groweth, the sharper and more harmful it waxeth ; 
so the older the wicked man is, the more sinful he 
becometh, and the more the ungodly increase, either 

in number or strength, the more wickedness spread- 
eth, till at the last, by a general backsUding, all flesh 
corrupt theii- ways. At the beginning of the doc- 
trine of the gospel the Jews were somewhat pliable, 
and the most obstinate of them raged not so much 
as at the last they did against our Saviour. The 
Egyptians oppressed not the IsraeUtes at the first, 
but at the last they came even to drown their 
infants, and to make most vile bondslaves of them. 
But, as here is added, that the righteous shall see the 
fall of the wicked, so the Israelites at length beheld 
the Egyptians drowned in the sea. David notably 
pointeth out this matter in the psalm, saying, 'Whilst 
as yet your prickles shall not be felt, the prickles of 
eglantine, he wiU destroy both that which is quick, 
and that which is dried up. The just shall rejoice 
when he shall see vengeance ; he shall wash his feet 
in the blood of the wicked,' Ps. Iviii. 10. As this 
teacheth parents in time to apply correction, so 
also it serveth to encourage the godly, who are not 
to be troubled, but rather to lift up their heads 
when they see the ungodly to increase every way. 

Ver. 1 7. Chastise thy son, and he ivill bring thee rest ; 
he will aho give pleasure unto thy soul. 

Other excellent fruits, beside that wisdom which 
was mentioned in the 16th verse, are shewed here 
to spring from nurturing and correcting of children. 
It is a grief to parents to deal sharply with their 
children, which when they do, lightly their bowels 
yearn within them. But first here quietness and 
rest is promised unto them for their pains. Their 
well-nurtured children shall, as it were, bring the 
chaii' unto them of ease and refreshing. They will 
so dutifully behave themselves in all respects, that 
then- parents shall need to take no thought for them; 
they may quietly lie on their beds, or securely sleep 
therein. Again, they will so diligently despatch 
their parents' affairs, that they may sit at home and 
take their rest. This is one excellent fruit indeed, 
but another is also added in the last words, 'He will 
also give pleasure unto thy soul.' Even as ground 
well tilled and dressed, or trees well pruned and 
looked unto, bring forth to the husbandman sweet 
flowers and dainty fruits and food; so the well 
nurtured child will utter such gracious speeches, do 
such righteous deeds, have such comely gestures, and 
practise such obedience and thankfulness toward his 



[Chap. XXIX. 

parents, as that his father's soul shall much more 
delight in such virtues of his, than Isaac's soul 
delighted in venison, or the savoury meat which 
Jacob brought unto him. See examples of the 
truth hereof in Isaac, Jacob, Joseph. 

Ver. 18. When there is no vision, the people are 
made naked : but blessed is he that keepeth the law. 

Both the ignorance of ministers and the disobe- 
dience of people herein are taxed. By the vision is 
meant the doctrine of the word of God, which the 
prophets, who were called in old time seers, received 
by visions and by revelations, 1 Sam. iii. 2 ; 2 Sam. 
ix. ; Isa. i. ; Amos -^dii. The vision is said then not 
to be, when sound doctrine is not taught at all, but 
there is a miserable famine of the word; again, 
whenas the word is sometimes expounded, but not 
sincerely, diligently, and soundly, so that the people 
may be as sheep without shepherds in the midst of 
great plenty of such as take on them to be teachers. 
Mat. ix. ; moreover, when of the preacliing of the 
word is made light account, so that the prophecy is 
despised as a thing not necessary, 1 Thes. v. ; last 
of all, when God hath in vengeance shut up the eyes 
both of teachers and hearers, so that the word of 
God, or the vision, is to the learned as letters sealed, 
which he cannot open, and to the unlearned as 
letters, which he cannot read, Isa. xxix. 9. Alas ! 
how can it be but that the people must needs be 
made naked, when by reason of the want of the 
vision they must needs lie open to God's wrath, 
which hangeth over all unbelievers, and, as a 
company of naked souls, and like to the Israelites, 
whom Aaron is said to have made naked, want 
Jesus Christ the robe of righteousness and happiness, 
want faith, want mortification and sanctification, 
want the whole armour of God, and the wedding 
garment ? How is it possible but that their souls 
must needs be pined away and starved for want of 
spiritual food and comfort in the midst of tempta- 
tions and afflictions 1 Eph. vi. ; Mat. xx^^ And vdW 
it not come to pass that such poor people, walking 
as heathen in the darkness and vanity of their minds, 
will rush into errors, fall into idolatries, break out 
into blasphemies, run into all sorts of sin, follow 
after witches, finally, degenerate into the nature of 
brute beasts, and wax worse than they ? Amos viii. 
But, on the other side, ' Blessed is he that keepeth 

the law.' Divers hear the word, but it is to their 
condemnation, and therefore the outward enjoying of 
the exercises of religion maketh not any happy, but 
rather those it maketh most miserable, who only are 
partakers of them, and are not with them partakers 
of God's Spirit, or transformed thereby into the 
image of Christ, but remain unreformed, prattling 
hypocrites, such as only have an outward show of 
godliness, but deny the power thereof in their deeds. 
But the happiness of that man, on the contrary side, 
is unspeakable, who is not a forgetful hearer, but a 
doer of the word, who believeth in Christ Jesus, 
James i., who bringeth forth good fruits as a tree 
planted by the river's side, and that in due season 
and without withering ; finally, who groweth daily 
in all sorts of gifts of the Holy Ghost. For the 
sound and true Christian shall by the means of the 
word, which he firmly keepeth, be directed in all his 
particular actions, perserved from sinning against 
the majesty of God, comforted in the midst of all his 
afiiictions, and after that God hath poured upon 
him many blessings in this world, be made an heir 
of the kingdom of glory, which is in heaven. 
Although profane Esau shall seek his blessing with 
tears, they shall not find it ; biit as our Saviour 
testifieth in the Gospel, ' blessed is he,' and surely 
he only, ' who heareth the word of God and keepeth 

Ver. 19. J. servant is not to be chastened with words 
alone, whenas understanding, yet he answereth not. 

Stubborn and disobedient servants are here 
shewed to be of so vile disposition, as that rebukes 
by words alone will not make them do their duty, 
and therefore they must be beaten -with stripes. 
Some servants are so stout, that when they either 
are called to come to their masters they will not 
come, making show that they hear them not, or 
when a question is asked of them they will hold 
their peace of a cursed stomach. These are of the 
number of those who, when they hear, do not an- 
swer ; and such birds as can speak, and will not speak, 
must be made to speak. But such again are of this 
sort, who, though they say they will do all wliich 
their masters enjoin them, yet answer not their 
commandments by putting them into practice ; in 
which sense the word of answering is oft used in the 
Scripture, as where the Lord is said to answer those 

Ver. 20-23.] 



his suitors ■whose pi'a)"ers he granteth. It seemeth 
that our Saviour had relation to this proverb when 
he saith in the Gospel, that ' the servant which 
knoweth his master's will and doth it not, shall be 
beaten with more stripes than he which knoweth it 
not. Let servants in families, according to the ex- 
hortation of the apostle, ' be subject unto their mas- 
ters, serviceable in all things, not gainsa3ang them,' 
Titus ii. Let those who profess themselves to be the 
servants of God, when they know their duty out of 
the word, not neglect to practise it, lest the Lord lay 
on them his scourges of poverty, sickness, and other 

Ver. 20. Hast thou seen a man hasty in his words ? 
There is (better) hope of a fool than of him. 

As disobedience and suUenness is a bad property 
in servants, so likewise is a quick and talkative 
tongue here condemned, both in them after a special 
manner, and in all generally, as a great fault. The 
fool which is slow of speech, and speaketh sparingly, 
sinneth and offendeth for want of matter or of wit ; 
but the prattler which is quick and busy of his 
tongue, so that he giveth his neighbour or master a 
cross answer and quip, without any study, offendeth 
by reason of an ill habit and an arrogant spirit. 
This vice of babbling is at all times to be taken 
heed of, but especially in prayer, as the wise king 
exhorteth in the book of the preacher, saying, 
' Make no haste with thy mouth, and let not thy 
mind be swift to utter anything before God,' Eccles. 
v. 2, 10. For a fuller exposition of this sentence, 
turn to review the notes set down in the 26th chap- 
ter of this book, arid the 12th verse. 

Ver. 21. He that bringeth up his servant daintily 
from his youth, shall at the last be bereaved of his chil- 

As all are the worse for liberty, so here is shewed 
that such who be of a servile estate or condition, 
thereby of all others are most spoiled and corrupted. 
Servants are then brought up daintily, when they 
are hfted up to great offices, whereof they are not 
worthy, or clothed with fine apparel, or fed with 
cheer, or suffered to have too much ease, or fami- 
liarly spoken unto and entertained. When they are 
tried to be faithful, they may be trusted lawfully 
with great matters, and put in high places, as was 
Joseph ; but to advance or let loose the bridle unto 

some natures is to spoil them, according as this wise 
king found by experience, who placing Jeroboam 
his servant over the family of Joseph and his 
works or munitions, felt him at last a heavy adversary 
and rebel, 1 Kings xi. 28. And, indeed, the in- 
solency of such beggars set on horseback is intoler- 
able, as is insinuated in the latter part of this sen- 
tence. They will not only beat their fellow-servants, 
as is shewed in the parable of the Gospel, but slay 
or put by and hurt their master's children. Zimri, 
the servant of Elah, king of Israel, was by him so ad- 
vanced and esteemed, as that he was placed captain 
and overseer over the half part of his chariots ; but 
within a while Zimri affecting to be a lord, not only 
slew Elah, his good master, but the whole stock of 
Baasha, Elah's father, 1 Kings xvi. 11. 

Ver. 22. A wrathful man siirreth up strife, and a 
furious man is full of transgressiotis. 

As too much remissness, so wrath is to be taken 
heed of. Let anger be kindled never so little in 
any, the wrathful person will provoke such as he 
dealeth withal unto brawling or fighting, either by 
his ireful looks or cross speeches, or hasty strokes 
and blows. But if anger increase in any great mea- 
sure, so that it, burning into a flame, maketh the 
person therewith inflamed furious, it not only breed- 
eth contention, but bringeth forth a great number 
of sins of sundry sorts ; for the furious person curs- 
eth, sweareth, slandereth, envieth, murmureth, and 
is ready to commit murder. See a very like sen- 
tence, James iii. 16. 

Ver. 23. The hauffhfiness of a man casteth him 
down : but honour lifteth him up who is cast down in 

This point hath oft been handled; as, namely, 
in the 22d chapter of this book, and the 15th verse, 
also in the ISth chapter, and the 1 7th verse. Briefly, 
the meaning of this sentence is thus much — to wit, 
that the pride of heart, lifted up either in regard of 
some gifts, whether outward or inward, or by reason 
of some secret rebellion and contempt of God, shall 
be an occasion of bringing that haughty person to 
low degree and wants, who before was of high estate, 
and indued with many blessings. Again that, on 
the contrary side, the humility and lowhness of the 
spirit, cast down under the almighty hand of God, 
and giving honour to men, shall be, as it were, a 



[Chap. XXIX. 

pillar to uphold all those graces and blessings where- 
of the party there-with indued is already made par- 
taker, and furthermore, as a step to greater honour, 
shall increase his dignity and prosperity in every 
respect. For he that Hfteth up himself shall be 
brought low, and he that humbleth himself shall be 
exalted. Adam, Pharaoh, and Nebuchadnezzax may 
be witnesses on the one side, and David, the virgin 
Mary, and Elisabeth on the other, of the truth of 
this sentence. 

Ver. 24. He that is partner with a thief hateth him- 
self: and he which, hearing cursing, declareth it not. 

We are herein taught to be far off from com- 
municating with sinners, as to rebuke and reprove 
those offences whereunto we are privy. All men 
generally count it a wicked thing to steal, and many, 
who are even without all fear of God, will not rob 
or pilfer themselves ; but a great number make no 
bones to be accessory unto evil-doers, and are glad 
when they may have any share in a rich booty man- 
fully gotten. Howsoever such may think themselves 
to be better than thieves, yet the prophet Isaiah 
maketh them all one with them when he saith, ' Thy 
princes are the fellows of thieves,' Isa. i. Now here is 
shewed, that not only these partakers with evil-doers 
are in fault as well as they, but that they shall not 
escape punishment ; for thus much is meant when it 
is said that they hate their own soul, or themselves 
— that is to say, they make themselves subject to 
danger of law, to infamy, and to the wrath of God, 
inasmuch as thieves and robbers shall not inherit 
the kingdom of God, 1 Cor. vi. The Lord, by his 
prophet, threateneth such, affirming that, inasmuch 
as they saw a thief, they consented to him, and were 
partakers with the adulterer ; therefore he would 
reprove them, and set their sins in order before them, 
Ps. 1. But as he draweth on himself the Lord's 
judgments, who communicateth with thieves in their 
spoils and evil deeds, so he also offendeth, and cast- 
eth himself into his wrath, which hearing cursing, 
declareth it not — that is to say, who hearing any to 
blaspheme, to swear, or otherwise abuse his tongue, 
telleth him not of his fault, if he be such a one whom 
it is wisdom to reprove. This to be the natural 
sense of these words may appear by that mother 
sentence unto which this verse is referred, which is 
set down in Lev. v. 1, 'Also when one hath sinned, 

and he hath heard the sin of blasphemy, whereof he 
is ivitness, whether he hath seen it, or whether he 
hath heard it ; if he tell it not, surely he shall bear 
Ills iniquity.' In which place, as appeareth by the 
suit of the whole chapter, the Lord speaketh not of 
public but of private offences, and not of accusations 
brought unto magistrates, but of private admoni- 
tions. ^ Many a one who heareth his neighbour use 
most execrable speeches, herein thinketh him highly 
to offend, and is ready in heart to condemn him ; 
but although he let him proceed, or open not his 
mouth at all to declare his fault unto him, yet he 
blameth not himself; because he knoweth not, or 
doth not consider, that his suffering of his neigh- 
bour's sins to pass without any controlment used by 
him, maketh him subject to the punishment due 
thereunto. Well, then, to stir up every one to pull 
his neighbour out of the fire, here is shewed that 
silence kept in such cases causeth us to incur the 
recompense due to other men's offences. Let us 
then, as the apostle exhorteth, follow the nature of 
light, which not only hath no fellowship with dark- 
ness, but reproveth and declareth the works thereof. 
Let us practise the commandment of our Saviour, if 
our brother offendeth us, to teU him between us and 
him. If our brother, I say; for as for scorners, 
another course is to be taken with them. 

Ver. 25. The fearful man layeth a snare before him- 
self : but he which trusteth in the Lord is placed on 

As in the verse going before the effects of com- 
municating in sin, or winking thereat, have been 
shewed, so in this the contrary working of infidelity 
and faith are declared. The spiritual fear and son- 
like reverence of God is a fountain of life, as before 
in this book hath been affirmed. Again, the natural 
fear of danger, of troubles, and of death is not to be 
reproved, so long as it keepeth in compass, or is 
sanctified by the Spirit of God ; but here a slavish 
and hellish fear is spoken of, springing from infi- 
delity, and troubling the mind above measure with 
the dangers or e\'ils of this life, or the world to come. 
This fear worketh a snare, even death and destruc- 
tion, even as the apostle saith the sorrow of this 
world doth. For, first, He which feareth the faces of 
men or troubles, runneth by this means into many 
' Thua Tremellius and Junius also take it. 

Chap. XXX. 1, 2.] 



sins, and to lea^dng his calling to trust in carnal 
helps, and to deny the truth of God. Secondly, He 
giveth the adversaries great advantage over him, 
whom by reason of his fear he is not able to resist, 
and who on this occasion are emboldened. Thii'dly, 
By extreme passions his senses are bound, his spirits 
dulled, his body cast into diseases, and his mind 
faileth and fainteth. Last of all, Inasmuch as he 
doubteth of the favour of God, by this means he 
doth incur eternal damnation, seeing the fearful shall 
have their portion in the lake which burnetii with 
fire and brimstone. As, then, the fearful beasts and 
birds fall into pits and enwrap themselves in snares, 
in hke sort the timorous persons draw the judgments 
of the Lord upon themselves. There are a great 
number in the world which are far from this fear, 
and yet no nearer to happiness, if not further off 
from it, than the timorous ; for they fear neither God 
nor man, but presumption embraceth their necks as 
a chain. Their destiny hath before been set down, 
that they shall fall into evil. ' But he which trust- 
eth in the Lord is placed on high.' The person 
wliich is secure of the good-will of God, wliich con- 
stantly suffereth afflictions, and vahantly as a soldier 
of Christ proceedeth in well-doing, shaU be safe and 
sure under the Lord's defence, inasmuch as he will 
be as a rock, as a tower, and as a castle unto him. 
For, first. Nothing shall touch such a one to do him 
hurt. Secondly, The Lord, even in this world, will 
oftentimes preserve him, as may appear in the 11th 
chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews. Last 
of all. His soul after death shall mount up to the 
heaven as to a fenced city. David, Daniel, and 
Paul may be witnesses of the truth of this doc- 

Ver. 26. Many do seelc the face of the ruler ; hut 
every man s judgment is from the Lord. 

Preposterous suing for favour is here condemned, 
as before inordinate fear was reproved. To seek 
for redress unto rulers, or to sue for favour at their 
hands, is not unlawful. But first we must put up 
our suppHcations unto the court of heaven. So did 
Esther, and prospered ; but the rulers of Israel, 
taking a contrary course, and going first to Pharaoh, 
had ill success. Let us then take heed that we put 
not our trust in princes, for they are deceitful ; 
again, their hearts are in God's hand ; finally, they 

have no power but that which is given them from 

Ver. 27. The wicked man is an abomination to the 
just : and who is upright in way is an abomination to 
the wicked man. 

The efiects of ^\^ckedness and of righteousness, on 
the contrary side, are herein noted. ' The wicked 
man is an abomination to the just;' that is, the just 
abhor the ungodly, justly and according to their de- 
serts. For, indeed, what fellowship is there between 
righteousness and unrighteousness, or the seed of 
the woman and the seed of the serpent 1 The godly 
then must needs hate the wicked, yea, they cannot 
but abhor them, even as the dung of the earth, 
which men remove far from their senses and habita- 
tions. Now, ' he who is upright in way is an 
abomination to the wicked man ;' also, on the con- 
trary side ; that is, the godly or righteous person is 
unjustly hated by reason of the evil disposition of 
the ungodly. For otherwise, even the most wicked 
have cause enough given them by the righteous to 
love them. But they hate the just, first, Because 
their works are good ; secondly. Because they ivill 
not run to the same excess of riot with them ; 
thirdly. Because they reprove their sins ; and, last 
of all, Because they are not of this world. Indeed, 
the godly love the wicked, as they are God's crea- 
tures ; but in regard of their sins, they hate them, 
yet in such sort as the physician doth hate the 
disease, and not the sick person. When the wicked 
man is converted there wiU be an agreement be- 
tween him and the righteous ; but until that time, 
inasmuch as they are of contrary dispositions and 
courses, there can be no true love between them. 
Of the truth of this doctrine, Cain and Abel, Isaac 
and Ishmael, David and Saul, Christ and the Jews, 
may be witnesses. 


A gathering together of the words of Agur, 
the son of Jakeh. 
Ver. L Let the excellent man say. Let God be with 
me, let God be with me, and L shall prevail. 

Ver. 2. Surely / have been brutish since I have been 



[Chap. XXX. 

a man, neither is there in me the understanding that 
was in Adam. 

Ver. 3. Neither have I learned wisdom., nor Tcnoion 
the knowledge of holy things. 

The sentences which are contained in this chapter 
were uttered, not by Solomon, but by one Agiir, as 
the title thereof sheweth. This Agur was a holy 
man of God, and being indued with excellent wis- 
dom, he uttered sundry parables, as Solomon did. 
As concerning these verses, the purpose of Agur 
therein is to exliort every one, not to glory in him- 
self, but in the Lord. The exliortation herein set 
down agreeth notably with that admonition which 
the Lord himself giveth in the prophecy of Jeremiah, 
where he saith, ' Let not the wise man glory in his 
wisdom, nor the strong man in his strength, nor the 
rich man in his riches ; but let him that glorieth 
glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth 
me,' Jer. ix. 23, 24. Whereas it is said in the first 
of these verses, ' Let the excellent man say, Let God 
be with me, let God be with me, and I shall prevail ; ' 
thus much hereby is meant, that none, be he never 
so wise, or rich, or strong, is to think that he can do 
anything by himself, and that evei y one is to assure 
himself that he can do much if the Lord be with 
him, to whom all glory is to be ascribed. The pro- 
phet David speaketh to the same effect, whereas he 
saith, ' By the Lord I have broken through an host, 
and by my God I have leaped over a wall,' Ps. xviii. 
29. The people of Israel sing the same song in a 
certain psalm, where they say, ' If the Lord had not 
been on our side when men rose up against us, they 
had swallowed us up quick, when their viTath was 
kindled against us,' Ps. cxxiii. 2, 3. A hke voice 
is uttered by the apostle Paul, in name of all the 
elect, whereas he saith, ' If God be with us, who can 
be against us 1 ' Pom. viii. 3L The same apostle 
speaketh thus in the Epistle to the Corinthians, ' I 
laboured more than they all ; yet not I, but the 
grace of God that is with me,' 1 Cor. xv. 16. To 
conclude, the self-same apostle in another place 
uttereth words very hke to these of Agur, when- 
as he saith, ' I am able to do all things through the 
help of Christ, who strengthen eth me,' Phil. iv. 13. 
I am not ignorant that other interpretations are 
given of this verse ; but the signification of the 
Hebrew words, the comparing of these places of 

Scripture, and the suit of the matter following, con- 
firm this sense, besides many other proofs which for 
briefness I let pass. Now, furthermore, as is de- 
clared in the second and third verses, every excellent 
man, though he be even born again by God's Spirit, 
is to acknowledge, not only his natural weakness, 
but blindness and ignorance. For he is to say, 
' Surely I have been brutish since I have been a man, 
neither is there in me the understanding that was 
in Adam. Neither have I learned wisdom, nor known 
the knowledge of holy things.' That is to say, first, 
He is to confess the rudeness that is in him, even as 
Jeremiah doth when he saith, ' Every man is a beast 
by his o'svn knowledge,' Jer. x. 14 ; secondly. He is 
to confess the loss of the image of God which was in 
Adam at the beginning ; thirdly. He is to confess 
that he hath not learned heavenly wisdom from any 
of the wise or prudent men of this world, from whom 
it is hidden ; and, last of all. That he hath not by his 
own wit, or by the light of reason, pierced into the 
deep mystery of saving knowledge. For indeed flesh 
and blood revealeth not Christ to any man, but the 
Spirit of God only working by the word. 

Ver. 4. Who can ascend up to heaven or descend ? 
who can gather the wind in his fists ? who can hind the 
waters in his cloak ? who can establish any hounds of 
the earth ? what is his name, and what is 'his son's 
name, if thou canst tell ? 

To convince every man, be he never so excellent, 
of his natural ignorance, a riddle, as it were, or a 
very dark question, is propounded unto him in this 
verse. The question is, whether by nature he 
knoweth his name, and his son's name who ascendeth 
up to heaven and descendeth, and so forth ; that is 
to say, whether he knoweth God the Father and his 
Son Jesus Christ. For it is the high God that ruleth 
both the heavens, and the winds, and the waters, 
and the earth, as is shewed in divers places of Scrip- 
ture, Amos ii. 9 ; Ps. xiv. 5 ; Job xxxviii. There 
are no members of a body in the Lord, but feet and 
hands are ascribed to liim, to shew that there is 
somewhat hke in regard of his effects. To know 
the mystery here set down is not only a hard but a 
happy thing, as the evangelist declareth when he 
saith, ' This is eternal life, to know thee to be the 
only true God, and him whom thou hast sent, Jesus 
Christ.' This Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who is 

Ver. 5-9.] 



the graven image of his Father, and in whom his 
name is written, so that no man can know the 
Father's name unless he know the Son's name, whose 
name, as Isaiah sheweth, is wonderful, the coun- 
sellor, and tlie prince of peace, and so forth. 

Ver. 5. Thtwliole word of God is most perfectly puri- 
fied : he is a buckler to those that betake themselves to him. 

Ver. 6. Add not to his words, that he reprove ihee 
not, and thou become a liar. 

In these two verses the word of God is commended 
unto us as the glass wherein we may behold the face 
of God the Father and of his Son, whom by the 
light of nature we cannot perceive. Whereas it is 
said that the word of God is most perfectly purified, 
the meaning of this speech is, that the whole Scrip- 
ture is both most true and most excellent, as the 
silver that hath many times been refined in the fire. 
The doctrines of men are false and corrupt, but 
tlie word of God contaiueth no error, neither is it 
unperfect in any respect. The word of God is of 
the same nature that God himself is of, who is a 
buckler to those that betake themselves unto him ; 
for the Lord preserveth the faithful from dangers, 
yea, and from sin and Satan. Wherefore we must 
put a lively trust in God, and we must also believe 
his holy word. This word of God is not only to be 
believed, but also to be obeyed, as is declared in the 
beginning of the sixth verse, where it is said, ' Add 
not to his words ;' that is to say, neither utter nor 
practise anything contrary to the will of God re- 
vealed to thee. For he doth not add to God's word 
that delivereth truly the sense of the Scripture, 
but he that transgresseth God's law, or addeth his 
own carnal reason to the Lord's commandment. 
For these two causes thou art not to add to God's 
word, the one, ' that he reprove thee not,' the other, 
'lest thou become a liar;' that is to say, lest the 
Lord pour on thee those most fearful plagues and 
punishments which he hath threatened unto those 
that shall add to his word ; and again lest thou 
commit a most heinous sin, even to be a false wit- 
ness concerning God. It is treason to corrupt or 
falsify the prince's coin ; what high treason must 
it needs be then to counterfeit or corrupt the pure 
word of God? Let us then learn to be content 
with the simplicity of God's word in all things, 
neither adding thereunto our o-\to inventions or 

customs, nor pursuing or joining together with it 
our own vanities or wickedness. Let the Lord's 
reproving of Saul for sparing of Agag, and his 
destroying of Nadab and Abihu for offering of 
strange fire, make us afraid. It were a folly to 
add anything to the Scripture, seeing it is of 
itself altogether perfect and sufficient. It were 
great impiety and a manifest lie to publish that 
in the name of God which God never spake, which 
they do that teach false doctrines, and so by deliver- 
ing that which they never received from God, add 
to the Scriptures. Wherefore the papists do in vain 
serve God, when they do add unto his most holy 
word, and teach for doctrines the traditions of men, 
yea, and falsify not only the writings of the ancient 
fathers, but the very Scriptures. 

Ver. 7. Two things I request of thee ; forbid them 
not from me so long as I live : 

Ver. 8. Remove far from me vanity and lying 
speech .- gioe me neither poverty nor riches, (but) feed 
me with food convenient for me : 

Ver. 9. Zest being filled, I lie, and say, Who is the 
Lord ? or lest becoming poor, I steal, and abuse the 
name of my God. 

These verses contain a prayer which Agur made 
unto the Lord, wherein we are to observe the pre- 
face which he useth unto the Lord before that he 
poureth out his mind before him, and the petitions 
which he maketh to him. In the preface this holy 
man of God first sheweth unto him that he earnestly 
desired at his hands two things especially, as most 
needful for the salvation of his soul and the dis- 
charge of his duty. For although he begged many 
other things at God's hand, yet he did usually and 
most fervently put up two suits of great importance 
into the court of the Lord. Secondly, He declareth 
that he desireth to enjoy the two things for which 
he prayeth, not for a day or a year, but for ever. 
This he doth, for that he well knew and con- 
sidered, that if God should withdraw his grace from 
him but for a moment, his estate would be very 
miserable. The petitions or suits which Agur maketh 
unto the Lord are two : theone, that the Lord would 
preserve him from sin ; and the other, that he would 
give him convenient food. ' Eemove far from me 
vanity, ' saith he, ' and a lying speech ;' that is to 
say, keep me by thine Holy Spirit from all ungodli- 



[Chap. XXX. 

ness and iinrigliteonsness, which is vanity, and e.speci- 
ally from hypocrisy and telhng of untruths, wliich is 
a double iniquity. He doth not in this petition 
simply request that he may be free from all sin, but 
that he may not be led into temptation in such sort 
as that sin or Satan should have dominion over him, 
and cause him to walk after the flesh. The second 
request which Agur maketh unto God is contained 
in these words, ' Give me neither poverty nor riches, 
but feed me ■^vith food convenient for me ;' that is 
to say, bestow on me, O Lord, that portion which 
thou, as mine heavenly Father, hast cut out for me, 
and appointed in thy decree to be my daily bread, 
in such sort as that it shall be convenient for my 
body and for my soul, and no hindrance, but a fur- 
therance, unto me in thy service. Give me this my 
daily bread and convenient food, Lord, and give 
me not riches, that is, unconvenient or hurtful 
wealth, neither yet poverty, that is, unconvenient and 
hurtful want. After this sort every one of us is to 
pray both against poverty and riches, and also for 
convenient food, even as our Saviour himself 
teacheth us, when he willeth us to say, ' Give us this 
day our daily bread.' In the ninth verse Agur ex- 
presseth unto the Lord the reason and the end why 
he desired him neither to give him poverty nor 
riches. The reason is, saith he, ' Lest being filled I 
lie, and say. Who is the Lord ? or lest becoming poor 
I steal, and abuse the name of my God ;' that is to 
say, Lord, I beseech thee withhold such abun- 
dance from me as, being more than food convenient 
for me, would through my corruption bring me 
first to trangress thy laws without any conscience, 
which is nothing else but lying or walking in 
error, and secondly, to blaspheme and not acknow- 
ledge thy majesty. And again, Lord, withhold 
such extreme want from me as, being less than 
food convenient for me, would di-aw me first into 
theft, and afterward into perjury or dishonouring 
of thee by mine evil conversation ; for as exceed- 
ing wealth causeth rebellion and blasphemy, so 
extreme want causeth stealing and perjury. To 
pray after this sort against poverty and riches, for 
the dangers of sinning and ofiending God, is a 
thing not only lawful but very needful. 

Ver. 10. Accuse not a servant unto his master, lest 
he curse thee, and thou he charged with some crime. 

A profitable precejst is given in the former part of 
this sentence, and a reason thereof is rendered in 
the latter. ' Accuse not a servant unto his master.' 
Complain not rashly nor falsely of the words or 
deeds of one of low degree unto one that is his 
governor or lord. Great offences are not to be con- 
cealed, but hght offences are not to be revealed. It 
is not wisdom to provoke or offend the least or 
poorest in the world, and it were great cruelty to 
cause him to be beaten or sorely handled whose 
estate is a grief and affliction of itself. Tlfe reason 
why thou art not to accuse a servant to his master 
is, ' Lest he curse thee, and thou be charged mth 
some crime ;' that is, lest he complain to God or 
to some man against thee, and so cause the Lord to 
punish thee, who is a revenger of all wrong ; or the 
court of justice to correct thee for thine offence'. 
For he that is accused is wont to pour forth all the 
evil that he knoweth of his accuser ; yea, and some- 
times to lay that to his charge which he never did. 

Ver. 11. There is a generation which even curse their 
father, and do not bless their mother. 

Ver. 12. There is a generation clean in their men eyes, 
although they have not been washed from their filthiness. 

Ver. 13. There is a generation whose eyes are very 
haughty, and whose eyelids lift up themselves. 

Ver. 14. Tliere is a generation whose teeth are sioords, 
and their cheek-teeth knives, to consume the poor out of 
the earth, and the needy from amongst men. 

Four crooked and wicked generations and kin- 
dreds of sinners, as it were, are in these four verses 
rehearsed and described. The first stock is of those 
that are notable rebels, who even curse their father, 
and bless not their mother. Of this sort are all 
that rise up against such as be in authority ; and 
namely ungracious children, who not only in heart 
wish evil to their parents, but in words revile them. 
It is a great sin to reproach any, be he never so 
base or never so small a friend ; but to defame and 
deface those who bear the Lord's person, and who 
are the authors and preservers of their lives that 
rail upon them, this must needs be a horrible im- 
piety and iniquity. The second generation is of 
those who are clean in their own eyes, although 
they have not been washed from their filthiness. 
These are such hollow-hearted hypocrites, who, re- 
maining in the dung of error and filthiness of this 

Ver. 15, 16.] 



life, tliiuk yet that they hold the truth and are re- 
generated by God's Spii-it ; for being blinded, either 
by natural ignorance or wilful malice, they see not 
their errors, neither yet lay aside then- wickedness. 
Of this sort are the heathen, the jxapists, and all 
cai-nal protestants. The elect have in them divers 
frailties and infinnities, but they are so washed by 
the blood of Cluist, and by the Spuit of God, from 
the filthy dung of natural corruption and wilful re- 
belhon, that the pollutions thereof have no dominion 
over them. Of the third kindred are those proud 
peacocks, ' whose eyes are very haughty, and whose 
eyelids lift up themselves.' Such affections as are 
in the hearts of men, such motions will also be in 
their eyes, which are the glasses or windows of the 
mind. Now the motions of the eye ia arrogancy 
are, to look upward and to behold high and lofty 
things ; hence it is that all who are high-minded 
have haughty eyes, and by disdainful looks bewray 
the arrogancy of their spirits. Look upon them who 
are puffed up, either in regard of their beauty, or 
wealth, or knowledge, and you shall see that their 
eyes are not lowly and gentle, but very lofty and 
scornful. The last company or generation of 
wicked people are they ' whose teeth are swords, 
and whose cheek-teeth are knives, to consume the 
poor out of the earth, and the needy from among 
men.' These are those cruel and bloody oppressors, 
who by their accusations or tyranny destroy and 
devour poor men, even as lions and wolves, with 
their long and strong teeth, eat up and consume the 
silly sheep and lambs. Of these the prophet com- 
plaineth in the psalm whenas he saith, ' I am among 
the huge lions ; I lie among the firebrands, even 
among men whose teeth are spears and arrows, and 
whose tongue is a sharp sword,' Ps. Ivii. 5. Unto 
these huge lions, whose teeth are so sharp and so 
mighty, St John in the Revelation, chap. ix. 8, resem- 
bleth the persecutors of the church. The Lord de- 
liver his church, both now and ever, in all places, from 
the rage and cruelty of such ugly and bloody beasts ! 
Ver. 15. The horse-leech 4iath hvo daughters, Give, 
give. There are three things which are unsatiable ; yea, 
four, which do not say, There is enough : 

Ver. 1 6. The grave, and the wumb shut m^:> ; tlie earth 
which is not satisfied with luaters ; and tliefirc, doth not 
say, Enough. 

The natural properties of sundiy creatures are 
herein set down, not only to make the works of God 
kno\vn unto us, but to picture out before our eyes 
the nature of concupiscence. The first of the 
creatures here described is the horse-leech, which 
is said to have two daughters, ' Give, give.' The 
horse-leech is a worm which useth to keep in ponds 
or puddles, and is such a greedy bloodsucker, that 
wlien once she hath begun to draw blood from man or 
beast, she leaveth not the skin, whereunto she cleav- 
eth fast, until that her belly be full of blood. The 
daughters of the horse-leech are the two forks in 
her tongue whereby she sucketh, or rather, give, give, 
that is, unsatiable desire and continual craving ; for 
the Hebrews by a borrowed speech call the effects, 
affections, and properties of things, the sons and 
daughters thereof, as may appear by these and such- 
like phrases as are usual among them : the son of 
death, the son of the night, the son of the bow, the 
son of the quiver ; and again, the daughter of Zion, 
the daughter of the eye, the daughter of the voice, 
the daughter of the song. The second creature here 
noted to be unsatiable is the grave, which hath his 
very name of craving, the greediness whereof hath 
before been declared in this book, chap, xxvii. 20. 
The third is the womb which is shut up, that is to 
say, the barren v-^oman, who by reason that she hath 
no children, doth exceeding covet so great a blessing, 
but yet never conceiveth, by reason that her womb 
is closed up. The fourth is the dry and sandy earth, 
which being by nature like a sponge, and being 
scorched with the heat of the sun, drinketh up great 
showers of rain, in such sort as that within a short 
time no remembrance of them are to be seen, and it 
gapeth for more. The last unsatiable thing here 
mentioned is the fire, which saith not. There is 
enough. Every one knoweth that a little fire is 
able to consume whole houses, yea, whole woods, 
yea, whole kingdoms. We use to say in our common 
speech that fixe and water have no mercy. These 
properties and operations of the creatures here men- 
tioned are well-knovvn, and are also natural. Let us 
take heed that our desires and lusts be not inordinate 
and unsatiable. God hath called us to live soberly 
and moderately in this present world, and hath 
willed us to be content with food and raiment. 
Let us then take heed that we be not Uke the horse- 



[Chap. XXX. 

leech in thirsting aftei- blood, nor like the grave in 
seeking other men's goods, nor Kke the barren womb 
in unconveniency, nor like the earth in earthHness of 
mind, nor, finally, hke the fire in hot consuming rage 
and indignation. 

Ver. 1 7. The eye that mocketh his father, or despiseih 
the wrinkles of his mother, the ravens of the valley shall 
]}ick out, and the young eagles shall eat up. 

The destiny of wicked children is herein revealed. 
In the former part of this sentence their fault is 
shewed, in the latter their punisliment is set doivn. 
One property of the lewd child is, that with his very 
eye he mocketh Ids father, and that he despiseth the 
wrinkles of his mother. For seeing some frailty by 
his father, he scorneth him therefor, as Ham did 
Noah ; or perceiving the weakness or crookedness of 
his mother, he contemneth her as an old dotijig fool. 
Such a scornful eye ' the ravens of the valley shall 
pick out, and the young eagles shall eat up.' For 
as it was a seat and instrument of an abominable 
sin, so it shall principally be revenged and most 
horribly plagued. This threatening is executed 
upon ungracious children, when they, being con- 
demned for some wicked fact, or slain in the wars 
through God's just judgment, are not buried in the 
earth, but lying thereon, or hanging in the air, the 
greedy fowls seize on their carcases, and the young 
ravenous birds, which are most hungry and lusty, 
devour their eyes. It is also fulfilled when troubles 
of this life betide ungracious youths, or tyrants op- 
press them, who are the Lord's ravenous and de- 
vouring eagles. But when the fiends of hell shall 
have leave to pick at their souls, and the torments 
of hell shall take hold on their bodies, then shall 
this threatening be fully accomplished, and then shall 
their disobedience be thoroughlyrevenged. Oh fearful 
punishment prepared for wicked children ! Oh ungra- 
cious children, worthy of so horrible punishment ! 

Ver. 18. These three things are hidden from me, 
yea, these four I know not : 

Ver. 19. The luay of an eagle in the air; the icay of 
a serpent on a stone ; the way of a ship in the deep sea ; 
and the way of a man with a virgin. 

There are divers things in the world very hard to 
be attained or found out, but these four here set 
down are hardest of all others. After that an eagle 
is once flown away, no eye can see her, neither can 

any foot overtake her, by reason that she flieth so 
high and so s-\viftly. After that a serpent hath 
rolled down from a high hUl, or glided u^jon a stone, 
'her way cannot be found out, for that neither any 
print of her body doth remain, neither doth she 
go on forward directly, but crookedly Avindeth and 
turneth hither and thither, neither doth she shew 
herself in some open place, but creeps into some deep 
hole of the ground. After that a ship hath sailed in 
the sea the passage thereof cannot be found out, by 
reason that the waters wherein it floateth come to- 
gether, and it is cbiven by the winds, sometimes this 
way, and sometimes that way. The way of a man 
with a virgin which is kept close under the govern- 
ment of keepers is as secret and as hard to be found 
out as any of these ; for after that he hath once 
taken charge of her, or purposeth to keep her safe 
as a pecuhar treasure, he keepeth her within-doors, 
and locketh her fast, in such sort as that strangers 
cannot have access to her when they will, nor a 
sight of her at their pleasure. Now, if that at any 
time he carrieth her abroad upon occasion, then he 
doth this so closely that none knoweth almost when 
or whither he goeth. To conclude, by might and 
main he holdeth her so fast that an eagle which 
flieth may as soon be gotten as she may be by those 
obtained whom he thinketh unworthy to match with 
her. Thus is this sentence expounded by some of 
the learned ; and that it must be understood to this 
efi'ect the Hebrew word Gnalma plainly declareth, 
which neither here nor anywhere in the Scriptures 
signifieth either a married wife or one that goeth 
only for a maid, but a close and chaste virgin. 

Ver. 20. Thus is the way of an adulteress : she eateth, 
and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no evil. 

The way of the virgin, as in the verse going before 
hath been shewed, is not to be found out. The way 
of the adulteress, as here now is declared, is full of 
cloaldng and colouring of wickedness ; for she eateth, 
that is to say, she committeth folly ; she is like 
those that eat stolen bread in dark corners; but 
when she hath thus eaten, she wipeth her mouth — 
that is to say, she so dealeth that no sign of her 
wantonness doth appear. Conceiving great bold- 
ness in this respect, that no sign of her unchastity 
cloth appear, she saith, 'I have done no evil;' that 
is to say, I have not committed any wantonness. 

Ver. 21-28.] 



The adulteress doth colour her wantonness the more 
carefully because she is married, and may cover it 
from the eyes of men the more easily because 
she may father her misbegotten children upon her 
husband ; but certainly the Lord, who seeth those 
things that are done in secret, and especially hateth 
them who defile their bodies, will in the end lay 
open her folly, and revenge her lewdness most 

Ver. 2 1 . Under three, things the earth is moved, yea, 
under four which it cannot hear : 

Ver. 22. Under a servant when he reigneth; and a 
vile person when he is filled with meat ; 

Ver. 23. Under an (hated) woman, lohen she is 
married ; and under an handmaid when she is made 
heir to her mistress. 

As there are four secret things in the world, so 
there arc four firebrands thereof, and untolerable 
burdens of the earth. Two sorts of men there are 
by whom great troubles arise, and again two sorts 
of women. First, A servant when he reigneth 
causeth great mischiefs and inconveniences in a land ; 
for he that, being of a low condition and slavish dis- 
position, playeth the tyrant when he is advanced 
into a high place, neither spareth the people under 
him, nor by them ordinarily can be liked or well 
brooked. Secondly, The vile person, who fareth 
deliciously and hath abundance of all things, de- 
spiseth the poor, neigheth after other men's wives, 
and behaveth himself most beastly and devilishly, 
whereby great offence and hurly-burly ariseth in the 
commonwealth. Thirdly, When a married woman 
is hated by her husband, whether it be for her iU- 
couditions or for any other causes, and because she 
is hated, is either unkindly dealt with or put away, 
then thereupon springeth much envy, sorrow, and 
strife, especially if another be loved by her husband 
besides her, or more than her. Last of all. When 
the handmaid is made heir to her mistress, great 
variance and iniquities hereby is caused ; for if the 
mistress, being cast out of doors, the maid succeedeth 
in her place, she behaveth herself so proudly and 
stoutly that neither servants, nor cliildren, nor the 
husband himself can oftentimes abide her If she 
remain in the house together with her mistress, and 
be in better favour with her master than she, then 
these two damus can never but be at variance. 

Ver. 24. There be four small tilings of the earth, 
yet they are tvise, yea, very wise ; 

Ver. 25. The pismires a 2oeo2:)le not strong, which yet 
prepare their meat in suvimer ; 

Ver. 26. The hill mice a 2:>eople not mighty, which 
yet malce their houses in a rock ; 

Ver. 27. The locusts have no hing, which yet all 
march on in a flock ; 

Ver. 28. The spider, which catcheth hold uiith her 
hands, and is in princely palaces. 

The natural jM-operties of certain creatures are 
herein described, to the end that thereby we should 
receive moral instructions. First, The ants, which 
are poor silly worms, by the instinct of nature fore- 
casting times to come, in summer, when the weather 
is fair, and corn is on the ground, provide for winter, 
when storms arise and the fields are bare. These little 
creatures may teach and admonish men to gather the 
food of theirbodies and souls with care and labour, when 
the opportunities shall best serve thereunto. Secondly, 
The hill mice, wliich are certain little beasts whereof 
was great store in Syria, like partly to a mouse and 
partly to a bear, have indeed neither strength of 
Hmbs nor weapons to defend themselves, but this 
wit they have, that they dig holes in mountains and 
stony places, thereunto to fly in time of danger, and 
therein to lay their young ones safely. If the weak 
and contemptible mice have such wisdom to provide 
so well for their own safety and their young ones, and 
to choose so fit a place for their purpose, and so strong 
a castle for their refuge, much more should men have 
this reason to make their estate by all good means 
as secure and strong as is possible, but especially to 
choose almighty God to be their rock and refuge. 
Thirdly, The locusts, which are not grasshoppers, 
but certain flies with long legs, whereof there was 
great store in the east countries ; albeit they have 
no captain to lead them, yet have such reason not 
to single themselves asunder, which would be dan- 
gerous, and such love of concord, which is most 
comfortable, that they march all in a company, as it 
were in battle array, and strengthem themselves by 
flocking in infinite heaps. These may teach warriors 
to go forth against the enemy in orderly troops, 
and brethren to live and dwell together at unity. 
Last of all, The spider is a poor creature, which 
niaketh cobwebs very painfully and very curioush', 



[Chap. XXX. 

yea, she spinneth and frametli her threads and webs 
so finely and cnnuingly, as that men wonder at them, 
and they seem to be hke to the tents of emperors. 
This base creature may teach us this ■wisdom, not to 
be bunglers or slubberers in our works, but to be 
exact in our trades, and labour so as to excel therein, 
that we may do those works which may be com- 
mendable and admirable. 

Ver. 29. These three things order well (heir going, 
yea, these four tilings are comely in their pace : 

Ver. 30. Aji aged lion most valiant among the beasts, 
which returneth not hack for fear of any ; 

Ver. 31. An horse which hath his loins girt up ; and 
a goat; and a king, against whom none riseth up. 

As in the former verses four schoolmasters of 
wisdom have been commended to us, so now as 
many patterns of comeliness are presented to our 
view. The first of these is the lion, which going to 
any place trembleth not by the way, nor flicth back 
though he see the elephant, or any like beast, but 
proceedeth on forward with a valiant courage. The 
second is the horse, which, having his loins girt up, 
not only pranceth it gallantly, but courageously, and 
swiftly rushing into the battle, as the Lord himself 
testifieth in the book of Job, chap, xxxix. 22, goeth 
not back at the sight of the sword, nor is troubled 
at the shrill sound of the trumpet. The third is the 
goat, who, being the ringleader of the flock, not 
only walketh before the same with a certain state- 
liness, but with cheerfulness in the sight of the rest 
first climbeth up the craggy rocks and mountains. 
The last is a king, against whom none riseth up, or 
on whom a most honourable guard of his ofiicers 
attcndeth ; before whom the enemies quake, for 
whom the subjects pray, and unto whom all that 
are under his jurisdiction yield obedience. Now, 
inasmuch as these patterns of comeliness are pro- 
pounded to this intent, even to teach both magis- 
trates and ministers, and all sorts of people, to deal 
orderly in matters, and to walk seemly in their call- 
ings, let us in our several standing-places carry 
ourselves in all gravity, maintain our dignity, and 
shew our magnanimity. 

Ver. 32. If thou hast been foolish in lifting up thy- 
self, or if thou hast thovght some evil, put thine hand 
to thy mouth. 

Ver. 33. Fur as the pressing of milk drawnth out 

butter, and as the wringing of the nose draweth out 
blood, : so the pressing of anger hringeth forth strife. 

It is not good, as herein is shewed, either for 
princes or private persons, to proceed in any evil 
action, or to provoke any unto wrath. There are 
two sorts of sins, whereof the one is outward, the 
other inward transgression. ' If thou hast been 
foolish in hfting up thyself,' if thou hast out- 
wardly sinned through pride, in deed, or in word, 
' or if thou hast thought evil,' yea, if thou hast 
only conceived some mischief in thy mind, ' put thine 
hand to thy mouth,' be silent, and repent from the 
bottom of thine heart. Proceed not in evil doings, 
but turn over a new leaf Truly there is no man 
but he offendeth sometimes both God and his 
neighbour. It is indeed great folly so to do, because 
sin draweth heavy judgments upon him that com- 
mitteth it, and because a woe belongeth to him that 
giveth ofience ; but repentance always findeth mercy, 
and salveth up the wounds which sin maketh. 
Wherefore the counsel here given by the wise man 
is very good, to wit, that he which falleth through 
pride, should rise again to repentance. To move 
every one to cease from evil, and to abstain from 
urging Ills neighbour too much by injury unto impa- 
tiency, Agur setteth down in the last verse the 
great hurt which will arise by so doing. ' For as the 
pressing of milk draweth out butter, and the wring- 
ing of the nose draweth out blood, so the pressmg 
of anger bringeth forth strife.' Every country man 
knoweth that the continual beating of the churn 
so severeth the thinner milk from the thicker cream, 
that of this cream it causeth butter to arise ; again, 
every child laioweth that the hard and vehement 
rubbing of the nostrils, causeth blood to fall down 
and to issue out of them ; but few or none consider 
that too much stirring in an off'ensive matter causeth 
in like manner brawling and fighting. Yet never- 
theless, as the wise man here teacheth, so it is, that 
lawing and warring will as certainly arise by pro- 
voking, as butter will by churning, or blood by 
wringing of the nose. For there is none so mild or 
patient, but if he be too much provoked, he will re- 
venge himself. And as we see that iron is long in 
heating, but when it is once hot it burnetii extremely ; 
so a patient nature is full of long-suffering, but being 
too much incensed, it is fierce in revenging. Where- 

:hap. XXXI. 1-4.] 



ore, to conclude this point and this chapter, let us not 
)rovoke one another to wrath by bitter speeches or 
jffensive actions, but rather, if we have offended any, 
let us seek to pacify them, and by kindness to di-aw 
goodwill and favour. See an example in Asahel, 
2 Sam. ii. 21. 


Ver. 1. A gathering together of the icords of king 
Lemuel, ivherevnth his mother instructed him. 

This chapter consisteth of two parts — the one 
the title, the other the discourse itself In the 
title, which is contained in this entrance thereof, 
two persons are specified, the one Lemuel ; the 
other, the mother of this Lemuel. Solomon is called 
Lemuel, by taking away the first letter of his name in 
Hebrew, to ■vwt, Sldn, and by adding to the latter 
thereof the word El, which signifieth God. This 
name was given unto Solomon by his mother, that 
thereby he might be put in mind that as his parents 
had dedicated him to the Lord, so the Lord had 
promised to be his father. The sentences set down in 
this chapter are called the words of king Lemuel, 
not for that they were uttered by liim, but for that 
they were committed by him to writing, whenas 
now he was a king. They are, then, not the words of 
Solomon, but of Solomon's mother ; but who she was 
it remaineth now to be inquired. It is manifest that 
the mother of Lemuel was Bathsheba, who, indeed, 
once fell most grievously, but afterward unfeignedly 
repenting, she walked in the fear of the Lord — a testi- 
mony whereof we have in that care which she had of 
informing her son therein, which how notably she did 
may ajipear in the precepts following in this chapter. 

Ver. 2. IFhat, mij son ? and ivhat, son of my womb ? 
and what, son of my voios ? 

The title of this chapter being ended, the discourse 
itself followeth, which containeth jiartly a preface, 
partly sundry precepts. The jjreface, comprehended 
in this verse, declaretli how Bathsheba used three 
reasons to persuade or allure Solomon unto the receiv- 
ing of her instructions. The first reason is taken from 
the bond of nature : ' What, my son f This argument 
may thus be concluded : A son ought to obey his 
parents ; thou art my son, thou oughtest therefore 
to obey me. The second is drawn from the right of 

desert : ' "Wliat, son of my womb?' Thus it may 
be framed : He which hath been bought most dearly 
ought to obey most dutifully; thou hast cost me 
much pain, thou oughtest then, with all reverence, 
to hearken to my voice. The third is derived from 
the rule of piety or religion : ' And what, son of my 
vowsf It may thus be made plain : He for whose 
welfare sacrifices have been offered and promises 
made unto the Lord from time to time, is tied in 
conscience to obey that person in lawful things who 
hath made and performed such solemn vows in his be- 
half; thou art he for whom sacrifices have been offered, 
and I am she who hath made such vows; conscience, 
then, bindeth thee to hear and regard my precepts. 

Ver. 3. Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy 
icays to them who cause kings to be destroyed. 

The preface being finished, certain precepts now 
follow, wherein Bathsheba partly informeth Solomon 
how to carry himself in the government of the com- 
monwealth, and p)artly directeth him as concerning 
the estate of a private family. The former land of in- 
struction is of two sorts, the one shewing what -^dces 
Solomon is especially to shun ; the other declaring 
what duties he is to practise. The former vice from 
which Bathsheba dissuadeth her son, is fornication. 
' Give not thy strength imto women, nor thy ways 
to them who cause kings to be destroyed. '^ In that 
she willeth not to yield his strength unto women, 
she sheweth that fornication will not only dull his 
wits, but weaken the constitution of his body. In 
that she calleth strange women those who cause 
kings to be destroyed, she dcclarcth that they do 
much hurt, not only to the persons of the princes, but 
to their states and crowns also. 

Ver. 4. Far be it from Icings (Lemuel), far be it from 
Icings to bib in wine ; and from jirinces to desire strong 

Ver. 5. Lest they drink, and forget the decree, and 
change the judgment of any that are afjiicted. 

Ver. 6. Give ye strong drink unto Mm that is ready 
to perish, and wine unto them tliat are bitter in heart. 

Ver. 7. Let him drink that he may forget his affliction 
(or poverty), and remember his misery no more. 

The second vice from which Bathsheba dissuadeth 

' See the root of tliis precept, Deut. xvii. 6. The same kind 
of speech, 1 Cor. vi. 18. See examples of the truth hereof in 
Hamor, and Shechem, and in David. 



[Chap. XXXI. 

Solomon is druukenness, whereof slie speaketli in 
these words, ' Far be it from kings, Lemuel,' &c. 
The use of wiue is not forbidden princes in 
these words, but the abuse or immoderate use thereof 
from which, as private persons should be far off, 
so especially magistrates. ' Great cause there is why 
rulers, above all other people, should take heed of 
bibbing in wine, 'lest they drink and forget the 
decree,' &c. ; seeing, otherwise, they being overshot, 
may so for the time lose their wits, as that they 
neither can remember the written law nor discern 
the truth. Eather, then, ' give ye strong drink unto 
liim that is ready to perish, and wine unto them that 
are bitter in heart.' In this verse is declared that 
strong drink, which is poison to princes, is a medicine 
to the afflicted. The sense of it is this, reach out a 
large cup of comfortable drink to that party who, 
by reason of famine, or weakness, or weariness, is at 
death's door. Bestow, also, a good cup of wine, 
which creature maketh glad the heart of man, on 
him who, in consideration of his losses or crosses, is 
swallowed up with extreme sorrow. ' Let him drink, 
that he may forget his affliction, and remember his 
misery no more.' Let him who, by reason of some 
outward adversity, is ready to perish, take a plentiful 
draught of strong drink, that being therewith re- 
freshed he may not think of the matter of his afflic- 
tion. Moreover, afford a large cup of wine to him 
who is inwardly troubled in mind, that by this means 
the thorn of grief which pricketh his heart may 
wholly, or in some part, be pulled out. It is far 
from the intent of the Spirit of God to allow excess 
or carousing in any, neither doth the doctrine con- 
firm or warrant the corrupt custom of offering 
strong drink either to malefactors drawn to execu- 
tion, or to sick persons labouring on their death-beds 
for life, at which time they ought to be most sober 
and watchful. Only these instructions tend to de- 
clare that some, as, namely, those who are in extreme 
adversity, cannot only bear a large quantity of strong 
drink without hurt, but receive much good thereby, 
which, being taken in the same measure by some in 
prosperity or authority, would utterly overthrow 
them, or make them unfit to follow their calling. 

Ver. 8. Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause 
of all the children of destruction. 

' See a precept o£ this kind, Lev. s. 9 ; 1 Tim. iii. 

Ver. 9. Open thy mouth, jxidge righteously, an 
plead the cause of the afflicted and the poor. 

The virtue which Bathsheba would have her soi 
especially to remember, in the course of his govern- 
ment, is here specified and commended by her unto 
him. See Exod. xxii. 23. ' Open thy mouth for th- 
dumb.' Speak boldly in the behalf of the oppressef 
who because they cannot or dare not plead for then 
selves, may well be called dumb, Jer. xxiii. 6 ; Prov. 
xxiv. 10, 11. 'In the cause of all the children ol 
destruction.' Maintain the cause of all who art. 
■wronged, neither only of those who are unjustly 
pursued, but of those who, deserving no such matter 
are condemned or near to be executed. ' Open thj 
mouth, judge righteously,' &c. Minister justice cour- 
ageously and indifferently to every one, but espe- 
cially maintain the cause of the fatherless, widow, 
stranger, and poor person. 

Ver. 10. Who shall find a virtuous looman ? for her 
price is far above tlie pearl. 

Bathsheba cometh now to describe and commend 
a good housewife. Her most rare excellency is 
shewed in this verse. By demanding the question 
she declareth that many find beautiful and rich 
women, but few a good or godly wife, who is a 
special gift of God. By comparing a virtuous 
woman with pearls, she insinuateth that she is not 
only a rare, but an excellent blessing of the Lord ; 
for it is well known that precious stones or pearls 
are in great account among all people. Moses 
praiseth the rivers of paradise by the precious stones 
which therein are found. John resembleth the 
pillars of heaven unto precious stones, and the gates 
thereof unto pearls. In the garments of Aaron the 
Lord would have divers precious stones placed, to 
the end they might be most precious and glorious. 
Thus much then here is shewed, that an honest matron 
is a singular jewel, and the glory of a family. 

Ver. 11. The heart of her husband trusteth in her, 
and he shall have no need of spoil. 

Ver. 12. She will do him good and not evil all the 
days of her life. 

Herein is shewed how the virtuous woman be- 
haveth herself toward her husband, who is the chief 
in the family, or among those with whom she is 
conversant. ' The heart of her husband trusteth in 
her.' Her husband, whether he be absent or pre- 

Ver. 12-17.] 



sent, never doubteth eitlier of her chastity, or of her 
secrecy, or of her care in looldng to her family. 
' And he shall have no need of spoil.' Moreover, he 
shall not want any necessaries, or through poverty 
be compelled to rob or spoil abroad, because this 
good matron -will fill his house with plenty of all 
things needful or delightsome. ' She will do him 
good and not evil all the days of her life.' The 
virtuous wife is constant in her love toward her 
husband. In youth, in age, in prosperity, in adver- 
sity, in sickness, in health, she doth what good she 
can unto him in his body, his soul, and his estate. 
She provideth such food as may nourish him, she 
stii-reth him up to serve God, she saveth his goods 
as much as is possible ; she lowereth not on him 
with her looks, she crosseth him not in her words, 
she vexeth him not by her deeds. If she know 
anything which will please or profit him, about that 
she goeth mth all speed; if she perceiveth aught 
that will off"end or hurt him, that she avoideth and 
shunneth with all care. 

Ver. 13. She seeJceih wool, and flax, and loorlceth it 
clieerfully with her hands. 

The labour wherein this good housemfe exer- 
ciseth herself is specified in this sentence. ' She 
seeketh wool and flax.' She doth occupy herself in 
those works which, as they are proper to her sex, 
so are they profitable for her family, inasmuch as 
wool and flax being trimmed and perfected, serve to 
make coverings and clothings. 'And worketh it 
cheerfully with her hands.' She not only prepareth 
the matter of work, but laboureth herself with a 
delight and courage. 

Ver. 14. She is like the ships of merchants; she 
hringeth her food from afar. 

Herein the painfulness and providence of the 
virtuous woman is painted out by a very fit simi- 
litude. As then merchant ships carrying forth 
some one commodity to foreign countries return 
thence bringing home sundry others for it, so she 
sending out or selling her cloth, therewith buyeth 
corn, oil, and spices, and by her wisdom bringeth 
into her house the things which, growing in other 
shires or counties, came from afar. Thus she is 
fraught as full of necessary provision as any vessel 
on the sea is with wares. 

Ver. 15. And she riseth ichilst it is yet night, and 

giveth the portion to her household, and the ordinary 
to her maids. 

First, Here the watchfulness of the good matron 
is commended.! i gj-^g j-issth whilst it is yet night.' 
She is stirring betimes in the morning, even before 
the Hght, being unlike to the nice dames of these days, 
who soak in theii- beds till noon oftentimes. Secondly, 
Her humanity or equity towards her servants is 
praised. ' She giveth the portion to her household, 
and the ordinary to her maids. ' Albeit she raiseth up 
her servants betimes to work, yet she is not cruel to- 
wards them, but giveth them their food in due season. 
Householders and rulers in old time did not give their 
servants so much food as they would devour, but they 
gave to every one a certain portion of bread and meat. 

Ver. 16. She consider eth afield, and getteth it ; and 
with the fruit of her hands she planleth a vineyard. 

Now Bathsheba declareth how a good housewife 
increaseth her substance by all good means. ' She 
cousidereth a field, and getteth it.' She by her dili- 
gent labour having gotten money or money worth, 
after due consideration of everything bargaineth for 
a parcel of ground, whereby great commodity may 
redound unto her, inasmuch as land being well 
tilled bringeth forth com and much good fruit. 
' And with the fruit of her hand she planteth a 
vineyard.' Moreover, by the gain of her labour 
she purchaseth a vineyard, which, being a precious 
possession, she setteth it with most choice plants. 
She is then unldve to those Jezebels, who by -wicked 
means draw unto themselves or their husbands poor 
men's fields rind vineyards, 1 Kings xxi. 

Ver. 17. She girdeth her loins with strength, and 
strcngthcneth her arms. 

Herein is shewed after what sort the painful wife 
followeth her business. ' She girdeth her loins with 
strength,' &c. As one ready to run a race, or 
to wrestle with a champion, she flieth about her 
work, and setteth on it with a courage. Her gar- 
ments hang not loose about her, but she tucketh 
them up that she may be the more nimble. She is 
then unlike to many nice dames, who -will set their 
finger to no work, nor scant stir about the house. 

1 This vigilancy is often commended in the saints, as in 
Abraham, Gen. xsii., and in Joshua, chap. iii. To this duty 
householders are exhorted, 1 Tim. v.. Col. iv. 1. See Gen. xvi. 
1, 1 Chron. xvi., for proof hereof. 

2 A 



[Chap. XXXI 

Ver. 18. She tasteih that her merchandise is good: 
her candle is not put out in the night season. 

As before tlie virtuous woman liatli been com- 
mended for her earl)' rising, so now she is praised 
for lier late sitting up about her work. ' She 
tasteth that her merchandise is good;' she findeth by 
experience that her selling of cloth is profitable. 
' Her candle is not put out in the night season;' for 
this cause she sitteth up late at her work, being loath 
to lose any time. 

Ver. 19. She putteth her hands to the icheel, and her 
hands handle the spindle. 

As before this painful matron was brought in 
dressing and carding her wool and flax, so now she is 
presented to our view sj> inning and perfecting the same. 
This work is most agreeable to that sex, most need- 
ful for the family, and may be followed at all times, 
for wliich causes it is not by women to be neglected. 

Ver. 20. She openeth the palm of her hand to the 
poor, and stretcheth out her hands to the needy. 

The virtuous matron is commended now for her 
liberahty. ' She openeth the palm of her hand to 
the poor,' she givetli plentifully to those who want, 
'and stretcheth out her hands to the needy.' More- 
over, she frankly reacheth out her alms to those 
who are in necessity.^ She is then unlike to those 
saving cribs among us now-a-days, who will 
rather see the poor members of Christ perish than 
bestow a penny on them. 

Ver. 21. She feareth no hurt to her family through 
the snow ; for all her family is clothed with double. 

The wise matron is here praised for her forecast. 
' She feareth no hurt to her family,' &c. She pro- 
videth aforehand shift of warm and thick clothes for 
aU under her roof or government, that they may be 
harnessed against the extreme cold of winter. 

Ver. 22. She maketh herself carpets (or coverlets) ; 
fine linen and purple is her array. 

Now the good housewife is commended for her 
furnishing of herself with ornaments meet for her 
degree. ' She maketh herself carpets,' &c. Of the 
wool and flax which she got at the beginning, she 
worketh and prepareth store of comely coverings for 
board and bed, and garments for her body. Fine 
linen and purple were the richest attire in ancient 

' So should all do, Eph. iv. ; so did Abigail, 1 Sam. sxv. ; 
and Dorcas, Acts is. 

times, as may appear in that it is said of the rich 
man in the Gospel that he was clothed in purple and 
fine linen. God disalloweth not in women decent 
apparel, no, nor rich attire, so that they keep them- 
selves within their degrees, and be of a lowly mind. 
But if they be proud, or love gay garments, God wiU 
give them a sackcloth instead of a silk gown, and 
rags instead of their starched and painted ruffs, Isa. iii. 
Ver. 23. ITer husband is known in the gates, when 
he sitteth with the elders of the land. 

The praise of the virtuous matron is herein 
enlarged, by the care which she hath of providing 
comely apparel and rich ornaments for her husband. 
' Her husband is known in the gates,' &c. Her 
husband also shineth as a star in those costly and 
curious robes which she by her cunning hath made 
for him, in regard whereof also he is the more noted, 
spoken of, and reverenced in the place of judgment, 
where he sitteth on the bench with the other rulers 
of the country. For in old time women especially 
were exercised in making and working of garments, 
who have a gift given them by the Lord that way, 
so that oftentimes they excel men in needlework. 
In old times also judgments and contracts were 
exercised and kept, not in the market-place, as 
among us, but in the gates of towns or cities, as 
appeareth in divers places of the Scripture, Euth iv. 
8 ; Gen. xxiii. 8 ; 2 Kings vii. 1 7. 

Ver. 24. She maketh sheets (or lawn, or cambric) 
and selleth them, and giveth girdles to the merchants. 

Bathsheba now reporteth that the good housewife 
contenteth not herself only with preparing of gar- 
ments for the use of her servants, for her own use, 
and for her husband's use, but that she maketh 
comely ornaments to sell, to the end she may enrich 
her estate. The Hebrew word translated sheets, 
doth not only signify any such fine linen as lieth on 
the bed, but any linen vesture which men wear, or 
fine cloth wherein the body is enwrapped when the 
life is departed out of it, Judges xiv. 1 3. This is 
then a thing praiseworthy in householders, and 
namely in the mistresses of families, when they will 
not only have a care to save, but set to their hand 
to get a penny, as we say. 

Ver. 25. Strength and honour is her clothing, and 
she laugheth at times to come. 

The virtuous woman is herein affirmed to be 

Ver. 25-27.] 



inwardly decked with sundry gifts of the Holy 
Ghost, as with garments.^ ' Strength and honour 
is her clothing.' Courage or concupiscence, together 
with comely beha^dour, consisting in sobriety, 
chastity, and suchlike virtues, are, as it were, her 
spiritual apparel. She endureth all labours and 
adversities constantly, and without shrinking. 
Again, she carrieth herself in all meekness, modesty, 
and, as it were, with a grace in all her actions. ' And 
she laugheth at times to come.' She is secure as con- 
cerning the losses or crosses which in time to come 
may befall her. She feareth not the danger of cliild- 
bearing, or death, or the day of judgment. Yea, on 
the contrary side, she rejoiceth to think what rewards 
of her pains she shall receive in the end. Even as 
then a vahant soldier, putting on him strong and 
bright harness, marcheth boldly in the field, not 
fearing the spear nor sword of the adversary ; so 
she, albeit a woman, yet taking to her the courage of 
a man, yea, being armed with the whole armour of 
God, is patient in enduring present afflictions, and 
secure as touching troubles to come. Let then 
Christian women deck themselves with modesty and 
sobriety, rather than with frizzled hair, or gold, or 
pearls, or costly attire. Let them be afraid of no 
terror, considering that as, if they continue in the 
faith and in sobriety, they shall be saved even in 
the state of bearing of children ; so it is a thing 
praiseworthy in them who, by constitution of body, 
are weak, and by disposition of mind timorous, to 
be so sanctified by grace, and fortified by God's 
Spirit, as to endure all things to the glory of God, and 
to fear nothing which God hath forbidden to fear. 

Ver. 26. Sh& opendh her mouth in wisdom, and the 
law of grace is in her tongue. 

The virtue whereby in this verse the holy matron 
is praised, is the right guiding of her speech. ' She 
openeth her mouth in wisdom.' She talketh not rashly, 
indiscreetly, or unseasonably of matters, but pru- 
dently and soberly.^ ' And the law of grace is in 
her tongue.' Moreover, she speaketh not of toys or 
of trifles, but of faith, of repentance, of the fear of 
God, and such other duties and points of religion. 

^ See like sayings, 1 Tim. xxix. ; 1 Pet. xxxiii. See the 
same phrase in the same sense, Ps. xciii. 1. 

° See examples in Abigail, Sarah, Esther, the Queen of 
Sheba, Mary, Elisabeth, and Priscilla. 

This is that whereof the apostle Paul speaketh, 
when in his epistle to Titus he requireth of Christian 
matrons that they instruct the younger unto so- 
briety, to be lovers of their husbands, and lovers of 
their childi-en, Titus ii. 3. There are many of this 
sex who are so far off from uttering gi-acious 
speeches, that, as if that Satan reigned in their 
tongues, they continually pour out blasphemies, lies, 
and evil words of all sorts. But some again there are 
who abstain from such corrupt communication, yea, 
who take delight in talking of matters of religion, 
but yet howsoever the law of grace is in their tongues, 
yet they open not their mouths m wisdom ; for they 
talk of good things without a grace, or otherwise than 
becometh them, yea, they do nothing almost but talk, 
not being able to keep silence when they should. 

Ver. 27. She overseeth the loays of her household, and 
eatetli not the bread of idleness. 

The virtuous matron is in these words further 
commended for her faithful discharging of her duty 
in her calling and house. See a precept to this in- 
tent, 1 Tim. V. 14:. ' She overseeth the ways of her 
household.' As her mouth is seasoned with grace, 
so her eyes are watchful to see what every one doth, 
and to look that nothing be lost which ought to be 
saved. She is resembled here unto one who, stand- 
ing in his hatch, moveth his eyes hither and thither 
to see who is coming and who is going. But here 
also this is to be observed, that she goeth not about 
to spy what is done in other men's houses, but that 
she overseeth her own. Moreover, as is added, ' She 
eateth not the bread of idleness.' She is not an idle 
beholder of the ways of her family, but she setteth 
her hand to labour herself among the rest. Thus 
she eateth not the bread for which she never took 
pains, but the food of labour or travail, as the pro- 
phet speaketh in the psalm, Ps. cxxvii. And surely 
he that will not labour ought not to eat, 2 Thes. iii. 
Ver. 28. Her children rise up, and call her blessed : 
her husband also praiseth her, saying, 

Ver. 29. Mamj women have done virtuously, hut thou 
surmountest them all. 

Ver. 30. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain : a 
icoman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. 

Ver. 31. Give her of the fruits of her hands, and let 
her ivories praise her in the gates. 

In this conclusion of the chapter, Bathsheba de- 



[Chap. XXXI. 

claretli that the virtuous matron of whom she hath 
spoken all this while getteth exceeding praise unto 
herself by her wise governing of her house. ' Her 
children rise up, and call her blessed.' Her sons and 
daughters come up to preferment and honour, by- 
reason that they have- been well brought up by hei-. 
Moreover, they testify in word and deed that their 
mother hath not neglected them, nor let them do 
what they list in their youth, but brought them up 
in the fear of God and good qualities, for which 
cause they extol her. On the contrary side, many 
children now-a-days curse their mothers, because 
they cockered and spoiled them when they were 
young ; and indeed well may they, seeing, for want 
of good education in tender years, they come in elder 
age to misery and shame. ' Her husband also prais- 
eth her, saying.' Neither only do the children of the 
godly matron commend her, but her husband also 
praiseth her, concluding her in thought and speech 
to be the only paragon of the world. ' Many women 
have done virtuously, but thou surmountest them 
all.' To the end that the husband of this virtuous 
wife may highly extol her according to her desert, 
herein he compareth her with other women who 
have very well discharged their duties, but not so 
worthily as she. ' Many women,' &c. Thou surpas- 
sest even the most excellent matrons that ever lived. 
' Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain : a woman 
that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.' Now 
the lo-ving husband, to the end that he may shew 
that a virtuous woman is only and truly worthy to 
be praised, compareth her with those whom the 
multitude is wont most to esteem and commend. 
' Favour is deceitful ; ' comeliness of personage or any 
outward grace is as a shadow which hath no sub- 
stance ; moreover, it causeth men oftentimes to go 
astray ; finally, under it many -vices are hid. For 
divers that have well-favoured countenances have 
ill-favoured conditions. ' Beauty is also vain.' A 
good colour or a good complexion is but a fading 
flower, which by sickness, sorrow, age, and death, 
•withereth and decayeth. Indeed these two things 
are of themselves good things, for the which sundry 
women in the Scripture are praised, but they are but 
frail good things, and inferior to the fear of God. 
For this cause it is furthermore said, that ' a woman 
that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.' The 

garland of praise is only to be set on her head who 
believeth in God, repenteth of her sins, practiseth 
good works, and walketh faithfully in her calling.^ 
' Give her of the fruits of her hands, and let her 
works praise her in the gates.' 

In the last verse husbands are provoked to re- 
compense the pains of a wtuous wife -^vith due re- 
wards. ' Give her of the fruits of her hands.' Even 
as in games and conflicts the conquerors are both 
rewarded with some prize, and praised openly in 
some public assembly by a solemn proclamation ; so 
let the virtuous matron hitherto spoken of enjoy 
and receive necessaries and worldly goods which she 
hath gotten with her own hands, and let her be 
commended, not in corners aloiie, but in public 
places. Divers husbands are so -wicked and dogged 
to their wives, that although they be not only well 
given, but so painful and gainful in their callings, 
that they even by their industry maintain all, yet 
they keep them oftentimes without a penny in their 
purse, neither wUl they afford them a good word. 
But howsoever such miserable -wretches deal thus 
hardly with their faithful and painful yoke-fellows, 
yet such -virtuous women as dutifully walk in their 
callings shall be commended always by the good, 
and rewarded by God himself. But to conclude 
this point, and therewith this treatise, the praise of 
a -virtuous woman is here so largely set down, and 
so exactly handled, not only to the end that Solomon 
might be directed in the choice of his wife, but the 
price of such a jewel being made known to all, the 
goodness of the Lord in giving such a helper to 
man may appear the more cheerily ; such a helper I 
say as may not only greatly further him in the 
affairs of this life, but as a fellow-heir of glory, go 
hand in hand -with him into heaven, there to remain 
for ever -with Christ, in whom is neither male nor 
female, who is the head of man, as man is the head 
of the woman, but the head of Christ is God, even 
the Father ; to whom, "with the Son and the Spirit, 
three incomprehensible persons in one infinite 
essence, be all praise and glory, both now and for 
evermore. Amen. Amen. 

1 As Sarah, Gen. xii. ; Eebeoca, chap. xxiv. ; Rachel, chap, 
xxix. ; Abigail, 1 Sam. xxy. ; Esther, chap. ii. See the same 
judgment of the Spirit of God, 1 Pet. iii. 3 ; 1 Tim. ii. 9. Such 
women -were Hanua, Deborah, Mary, and Elisabeth. 








TERE I master,' says Cotton Matlier, ' of the pen wherewith Palladius embalmed his Chry- 
- sostom, the Greek patriarch, or Posidonius eternised his Austin, the Latin oracle, among 
the ancients ; or were I owner of the quill wherewith among the moderns Beza celebrated 
his immortal Calvin, or Fabius immortalised his venerable Beza ; the merits of John Cotton would 
oblige me to employ it in the preserving his famous memory.' As we are neither possessed of one or 
other of these famous biographical pens, nor have space at our disposal for aught like a worthy memoir 
of this good divine, we shall content ourselves with extracting the record of the principal events of 
his life from the memoir by his grandson, of which we have just quoted the opening sentence. 

John Cotton was born in the town of Derby on the 4th of December 1585. His father was 
Mr Eoland Cotton, a lawyer, whose practice is stated to have been to urge his clients to endeavour 
to effect reconciliation or compromise, rather than have recourse to litigation. Both he and his wife 
were notably pious. Their son John shewed such precocity as a boy, that at the age of thirteen he 
was admitted into Trinity College, Cambridge. Circumstances having prevented his obtaining a 
fellowship in Trinity, he was transferred to Emmanuel College, and in that college was successively 
fellow, tutor, head-lecturer, dean, and catechist. Here he became famous for learning and eloquence ; 
but for a time these were unsanctified. The account of the change that passed upon his soul we 
give at length in the words of his grandson. 

' Hitherto we have seen the life of Mr John Cotton, while he was not yet alive. Though the restraining 
and preventing grace of God had kept him from such outbreakings of sin as defile the lives of most in the 
world, yet like the old man, who for such a cause ordered this epitaph to be Avritten on his grave, Here 
lies an old man, who lived but seven years ; he reckoned himself to have been but a dead man, as being 
alienated from the life of God, until he had experienced that regeneration in his own soul, which was thus 
accomphshed. The Holy Spirit of God had been at work upon his young heart, by the ministry of that 
reverend and renowned preacher of righteousness, Mr Perkins ; but he resisted and smothered those con- 
victions, through a vain persuasion, that if he being a godly man, it would spoil him for being a learned 
one. Yea, such was the secret enmity and prejudice of an unregenerate soul against real holiness, and such 
the torment which our Lord's mtnesses give to the consciences of the earthly-minded, that when he heard 
the bell toll for the funeral of Mr Perkins, his mind secretly rejoiced in his deliverance from that powerful 
ministry, by which his conscience had been so often beleaguered ; the remembrance of which thing after- 
wards did break his heart exceedingly. But he was at length more effectually awakened, by a sermon of 
Dr Sibs, wherein was discoursed the misery of those who had only a negative righteousness, or a civil, 
sober, honest blamelessness before men. Mr Cotton became now very sensible of his own miserable con- 
dition before God ; and the arrows of these con\dctions did stick so fast upon him, that after no less than 
three years disconsolate apprehensions under them, the grace of God made him a thoroughly renewed 


Christian, and filled him with a sacred joy, which accompanied him unto the fulness of joy for ever. For 
this cause, as persons truly converted unto God have a mighty and lasting affection for the instruments of 
theh' conversion ; thus Mr Cotton's veneration for Dr Sibs was after tliis very particular, and perpetual ; 
and it caused him to have the pictiu-e of that great man in that part of his house where he might oftenest 
look upon it. But so the yoke of sore temptations and affiictions, and long spiritual trials, fitted him to be 
an eminently useful servant of God in his generation.' 

It is worthy of very special note that the first sermon that he preached after his conversion 
was the means of the conversion of Dr Preston, who in his turn became one of the great lights of the 
university, and contributed more perhaps than any one else to the revival of vital religion, and the 
study of theology, wliich made the seventeenth century so notable an era in the history of religion 
and the Church in England. 

Shortly after, Mr Cotton was elected minister of Boston, and despite of difficulties thrown in 
his way by a ' corrupt ' mayor and an anti-puritan bishop, he was quietly settled in that town. 
Shortly after this he took the degree of Batchelor of Divinity, and on the recommendation of ' holy 
Mr Buyncs,' he married Elizabeth Horrocks, who was a very great help unto him in the service of 

For twenty years Mr Cotton lived in Boston, and laboriously and faithfully discharged the 
duties of an evangelist and a pastor ; and with, sucli a blessing that there was a great reformation in 
the town, ' profaneness was extinguished, superstition was abandoned, religion was embraced and 
practised among the body of the people ; yea, the mayor, with most of the magistrates, were now 
called puritans, and the ' Satanical party ' was become insignificant. 

During a great portion of the time that he spent in Boston, he was amongst those who scrupled 
at the ' vestments ' and the ' ceremonies,' and absolutely declined their use. For this he was for a 
short time silenced, but the storm blew over ; and probably on account of the high esteem in which 
he was held by all classes in the place, he was long left unmolested. It seems to have beeu not 
without reason that the Bostonians esteemed him, for his renown as a preacher and a pastor contri- 
buted even to the worldly prosperity of the town. ' The inhabitants of Boston observed that God 
blessed them in their secular concernments remarkably the more through his dwelling among them ; 
for many strangers, and some, too, that were gentlemen of good quality, resorted unto Boston, and 
some removed their habitations thither on his account ; whereby the prosperity of the place was very 
much promoted.' 

His indefatigable labours in the Lincolnshire fens at last began to tell on his health. A tertian 
ague lay upon him for a whole year. This led to his leaving Boston for a change of air. He 
recovered, but his wife died. Shortly after, ' Mrs Sarah Story, a virtuous widow, very dear to his 
former wife, became his consort, and by her he had both sons and daughters.' 

It would seem to have been while he was still absent from Boston that he was accused to the High 
Commission Court. Powerful intercession was made on his behalf by the Earl of Dorset, but to no 
purpose. That nobleman intimated to him that ' if he had been guilty of drunkenness, or unclean- 
ness, or any such lesser fault, he could have obtained his pardon ; but inasmuch as he had been guilty 
of nonconformity and puritanism, the crime was unpardonable ; and therefore, said he, you must fly 
for your safety.' This advice, after much prayerful consideration and consultation with friends, he 


resolved to follow. Accordiagiy he was proceeding in disguise to a seaport, with the view of pro- 
ceeding to Holland ; but, meeting a friend, he was advised to go to London, and there, iu conference 
with many pious ministers, the resolution was formed that he should rather go to New England. 
The paragraph containing the account of his voyage we must give without abridgment : 

' The God that had carried liim through the fire of persecution, was now graciously with him in his 
passage through the water of the Atlantic Ocean, and he enjoyed a comfortable voyage over the great and 
wide sea. There were then three eminent ministers of God in the ship, namely, Mr Cotton, Mr Hooker, 
and Mr Stone, which glorious triumvirate coming together, made the poor people in the wilderness, at 
their coming, to say. That the God of heaven had supplied them with what would in some sort answer their 
three great necessities : Cotton for their clothing, Hooker for their fishing, and Stone for their building. 
But by one or other of these three divines in the ship, there was a sermon preached every day, all the 
while they were aboard, yea, they had three sermons or expositions, for the most part every day : of Mr 
Cotton in the morning, Mr Hooker in the afternoon, Mr Stone after supper, in the evening. And 
after they had been a month upon the seas, Mr Cotton received a mercy, which God had now for 
twenty years denied unto him, in the birth of his eldest son, whom he called Seaborn, in the remembrance 
of the never-to-be-forgotten blessings which he thus enjoyed upon the seas. But at the end of seven weeks 
they arrived at New England, September 3, in the year 1633, where he put ashore at New Boston, which in a 
few years, by the smile of God, especially upon the holy wisdom, conduct, and credit of our Mr Cotton, 
upon some accounts of growth, came to exceed Old Boston in everything that renders a town considerable. 
And it is remarkable, that his arrival at New England was just after the people there had been by solemn 
fasting and prayer seeking unto God, that inasmuch as they had been engaging to walk with him in his 
ordinances according to his word, he would mercifully send over to them such as might be eyes unto them 
in the wilderness, and strengthen them in discerning and following of that word.' 

Dr Cotton's share in the legislation of the colony is matter of history. He probably overstrained 
the application of the Jewish law ; but undoubtedly for a time virtue abounded and good order 
reigned, and the blessing of God rested upon the colony. For a time, too, the churches flourished, 
and there were daily added unto the church such as should be saved. But tares were sown amongst 
the wheat. An antinomian party sprang up ; and Dr Cotton, through the greatness of his charity 
thinking no evil, was supposed to favour them, and had no little difficulty in vindicating himself from 
the foul reproach. It seems pei'fectly clear that there was no foundation for it ; but it was propa- 
gated in various books and pamphlets, and the echo of it may be occasionally heard till this day. 

In 1641, Cotton received an invitation from many distinguished men to return to England. It 
was even contemplated to send over a ship on purpose to bring him back : but the design was aban- 
doned ; and as he had spent twenty years in the old English Boston, so he spent twenty in the New 
England Boston. 

At length he caught a cold, which became inflammation of the lungs and asthma, and he had a 
presentiment that his course was done. He feared not death, for the rod and the staff of the Lord 
the Shepherd comforted him. 

' While he thus lay sick, the magistrates, the ministers of the country, and Christians of all sorts re- 
sorted unto him, as unto a public father, full of sad apprehensions at the withdrawal of such a pubhc bless- 
ing ; and the gracious words that proceeded out of his mouth, whUe he had strength to utter the profitable 
conceptions of his mind, caused them to reckon these then- visits the gainfullest that ever they had made. 
Among others, the then President of the College, ^nth many tears, desired of Mr Cotton, before liis de- 


part.ure, to bestoTv his blessing on him, saying, I know in my heart they whom you bless shall be blessed. 
And not long before his death, he sent for the elders of the church, wliereof he himself was also an elder ; 
who ha^'ing, according to the apostohcal direction, prayed over him, he exhorted them to feed the flock over 
which they were overseers, and increase their watch against those declensions which he saw the professors 
of religion faUing into ; adding, I have now, through grace, been more than forty years a servant unto the 
Lord Jesus Christ, and have ever found him a good master. "WTien his colleague, Mr "Wilson, took his 
leave of him -uath a wish that God would lift up the light of liis countenance upon liini, he instantly re- 
plied, God hath done it already, brother. He then called for his children, with whom he left the gracious 
covenant of God, as their never-failing portion ; and now desired that he might be left private the rest of 
his minutes, for the more freedom of his apiplications unto the Lord. So lying speechless a few hours, he 
breathed his blessed soul into the hands of his heavenly Lord, on the twenty -third of December 1652, 
entering on the sixty-eighth year of his own age ; and on the day, yea, at the hour of his constant weekly 
labours in the lecture, wherein he had been so long serviceable, even to all the churches of New England. 
Upon Tuesday the twenty-eighth of December he was most honourably interred, with a most numerous 
concourse of people, and the most grievous and solemn funeral that was ever known perhaps upon the 
American strand ; and the lectures in his church the whole winter following, performed by the neighbour- 
ing ministers, were but so many funeral sermons upon the death and worth of this extraordinary person, 
among which the first, I think, was preached by Mr Eichard Mather, who gave unto the bereaved church 
of Boston this great character of their incomparable Cotton, Let us pray that God would raise up some 
Eleazar to succeed this Aaron ; but you can hardly expect that so large a portion of the Spirit of God 
should dwell in any one, as dwelt in this blessed man ! And generally in the other churches through the 
country, the expiration of this general blessing to them all did produce funeral sermons full of honour and 
sorrow ; even as many miles above an hundred as Newhaven was distant from the Massachusett Bay, when 
the tidings of Mr Cotton's decease arrived there, Mr Davenport with many tears bewailed it, in a public -dis- 
course on that in 2 Sam. i. 26, "I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan, very pleasant hast thou 
been unto me." Yea, they speak of Mr Cotton in their lamentations to this day.' 

In a time when there were giants upon the earth, the mental and spiritual stature of John Cotton 
was notable. His piety, his learning, his ministerial laboriousness, were all gigantic. Two centuries 
and a half have not obscured his fame : by his published writings he still speaketh ; and his name is 
held in veneration in that city and state whose character he so materially contributed to mould, and 
to which he gave a distinctness which all the attritions of a quarter of a millennium have not 





DEAELY BELOVED,— The large interest wliicli 
I have long enjoyed in your favour, and which 
you must ever have in my heart, hath emboldened 
me to prefix your names to this piece ; and with the 
more confidence of your acceptance, because in it an 
address is made to you at once by two, who some- 
times were together your ministers in the gospel of 
Christ : by the ever-to-be-honoured Mr Cotton in 
the book, and by my unworthy self in the review 
and dedication of it ; both now removed from you. 
The one, first to a remote part of the world, there 
to plant churches, and thence (after that happy 
work done) to heaven ; the other, to some more 
public service nearer hand, in which I humbly crave 
the best help of your prayers, as you are constantly 
remembered in mine ; and that with more strength 
of affection, whilst I oft call to mind those most 
comfortable days, in which I enjoyed the happiness 
of joint-ministry with so able and faithful a guide, 
and both of us so much satisfaction and encourage- 
ment from a people so united in the love both of 
the truth and of one another. I cannot read what 
Paul writeth of liis Thessalonians, (the first chapters 
of both his epistles to them,) but I think I read over 
what we then found in Boston. They were then 
very happy days with you, when your faith did grow 
exceedingly, and your love to Christ's ordinances, 
ministers, servants, and to one another abounded. 
Although your town be situ.ate in a low country, yet 

God then raised your esteem very high, and your 
eminency in piety overtopped the height of your 
steeple ; your ' name was as an ointment poured 
out,' Cant. i. 3 ; and your ' renown went forth, for 
that beauty and comeliness which God had put upon 
you,' Ezek. xvi. 14. How it is now with you, at 
this distance I cannot so weU judge ; only I desire 
you would please seriously to consider whether the 
new wine or the old be better, and ever tliink that 
best which doth not intoxicate us into staggering 
from the truth, and falling off from one another ; 
but so cheereth the heart, as yet maketh us humble 
and meek, and keepeth us close to God, his truth, 
ordinances, the power of his grace, and aU those 
duties in which the faithful among you formerly 
walked vnth God, met with peace, and at last 
reached heaven. Such a frame of spirit and way, I 
can remember, was sometimes among you ; and as 
oft as I remember it, I desire not to forget to praise 
God for it. ' What was then your blessedness 1 ' 
Gal. iv. 15. And what then was, I humbly beseech 
God may so revive and continue, that you may 
prove a little model and foretaste of that blessed 
church, which God will ' make an eternal e.xcellency, 
and a joy of many generations,' Isa. be. 15. This 
you and I have the more cause to desire and en- 
deavour, because, 

1. Miserum est fuisse, it is a great misery to have 
it said of us, that Ave have been happy. Fuimvs 


Troes, fuit Ilium, was but a sad word ; and it is a 
sadder thing for the Sun of righteousness, which 
had sometimes shone gloriously upon any particular 
church or people, at last to set in a cloud. If such 
a light come to be darkened, 'how great is that 
darkness ! ' After the light is put out, the room 
proveth darker than if it had never been set up ; 
and the remembrance of those former pleasant things, 
once enjoyed, but afterwards lost, added to, and 
aggravated the church's lamentation. Lam \. 7. 

2. And yet such a lamentable condition hath been 
and may be the lot of such places and people, which 
God sometimes hath highly honoured, when they 
have grown fat and wanton together. Bethel hath 
proved Beth-aven, Hos. x. 5 ; in after times we find 
young profane mockers in Bethel, 2 Kings ii. ; and 
scornful neuters in Penuel, Judges viii. 8. Go to 
Shiloh, Jer. vii. 12 ; think of the sometimes glorious 
churches of Asia. As empires and kingdoms, so 
particular churches have had their periods. I have 
sometimes on purpose visited some places where God 
had before planted his church and a faithful ministry, 
to see if I could discern any footsteps and remem- 
brances of such a mercy; and 'lo, they were all 
grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the 
face thereof, and the stone wall thereof is broken 
down,' Prov. xxiv. 31. 

3. And wliich is more sad, in some of them never, 
in others very hardly built up again ; God proving 
severe when we grow wanton. And so, as he removetli 
the candlestick, Eev. ii. 5, when we play or fight by 
the hght of the candle set up in it, so he is very 
hardly induced to light it again in that place where 
it hath once been wantonly or frowardly put out. 

. There are more hopes of recovering a particular 
person fallen, by virtue of an everlasting covenant 
made with him, although he may go halting to his 
grave, and never here again rise up to his former 
comforts and enlargements ; but a particular church 
or people (unless it be that of the Jews, who in the 
great jubilee after their rejection shall again return 
to their former possessions, Jer. iii. 1, 12-14, and viii. 
4) cannot claim the like privilege of such a covenant. 
The ark never returned to the same place from 
whence it was in a way of judgment removed ; and 
the glory of the Lord, when, after its gradual re- 
moves, was at last quite gone from the first temple, 

was not fully restored in the second, till Christ's first 
coming ; nor will it be in this their rejection, tiU his 
second. I think there will be found very few in- 
stances of God's presence and ordinances, long en- 
joyed by a people, and after abused and rejected, if 
thereupon lost, easily, if at all, restored. The 
'faith once delivered to the saints,' Jude 3, is not 
wont to be received or lost the second time. The 
reason is, because a jealous God can least endure, 
upon trial made of him, to be slighted in that 
wherein he would most commend to us his special 
love, and ever accounts the rejecting of such special 
tokens of it as a renouncing of liimself : ' They have 
not rejected thee, but me,' 1 Sam. viii. 7. And as 
the husband in the law pleac'ed some uncleanness in 
his wife, when he put her away, Deut. xxiv. 1, so 
God makes account that we tell the world, that we 
have found iniquity in him, when we go far from 
him, and walk after vanity, and that he hath been 
a wilderness and land of darkness, when we prove 
lords, and wiU come no more at him, Jer. ii. 5, 
31. Dear friends, he hath not been so to you, even 
your enemies being judges ; and your own experience 
will bear witness for him, that his gospel, even in 
point of outward advantage, hath paid for its enter- 
tainment. These thick cords of love therefore, I 
hope, ■wall bind you close to him, and strongly draw 
you off from whatever may be a means of drawing 
you away from him ; and so, by your continuing to 
be planted in the house of the Lord, and by your 
still flourishing in the courts of our God, you wiU 
proclaim to all that he is upright, and that there is 
no unrighteousness in him, Ps. xcii. 13-15. These, 
dearly beloved, are my affectionate desires and hopes 
of you ; and yet, in regard of the unsettledness of 
these times, and the wildness of many men's spirits 
in them, you will pardon me if I be 'jealous over 
you with a godly jealousy ; ' and that having this 
fit opportunity, I take the boldness, by ' putting you 
in remembrance ' of what sometimes you were, 2 
Pet. i. 13, to stir you up to keep warm your first 
love. Rev. ii. 4, 5, and to do your first works ; to be 
watchful, and to strengthen the things that remain, 
especially if any be ready to die, Eev. iii. 2 ; to hold 
fast the form of sound words, 2 Tim. i. 13, whereto 
you have been formerly delivered, Rom. vi. 1 7, and 
to hold up the power of godliness : — 


In yourselves, by the constant exercise of faith., 
repentance, self-examination and humiliation, self- 
denial and mortification, &c. 

In your public government, by reviving your ancient 
care and zeal for the sanctifying of God's Sabbaths, 
countenancing his ministers and ordinances, and dis- 
countenancing whatever doctrines or practices are 
contrary to the truth as it is in Jesus, and the 
power of godliness. 

In your families, by private prayer, singing of 
psalms, catechising your children and servants, 
training them up in God's fear, and restraining them 
from that pride, wantonness, and stubbornness 
which your faithful pastor (now with God) was wont 
much to complain of, and which in these looser 
times I wish you had not cause much more now to 

Now the good Lord help you to stand up for God 
in your several places, and so serve your generation. 
Acts xiii. 36 ; that peace and truth may be in your 
days, 2 Kings xx. 19 ; that in them your sun may 
not go down, but when you are gathered to your 
fathers, in your hopeful and happy posterity it may 
rise with greater strength and glory, as drawing 
nearer to a more glorious day now approaching ; 
that then another generation may not arise after 

you, which shall not know the God of their fathers, 
Judges ii. 30, and so the ages to come may be to 
seek for Samnium in Samnio, old Boston in new. 
But on the contrary. 

That your seed may be so kno'tvn among the 
Gentiles, and your offspring among the people, that 
all that see them may aclcnowledge them to be the 
seed which the Lord hath blessed, Isa. Ixi. 9. 

That this may be the everlasting covenant which 
God shall make with you and them, that his Spirit 
and word shall not depart out of your mouth, nor 
out of the mouth of your seed, nor out of the mouth 
of your seed's seed, from henceforth and for ever, 
Isa. Ux. 21. 

But that your congregation may be a Zion, which 
God hath chosen, and desired for liis habitation ; of 
which he may say. This is my rest for ever ; here 
will I dwell, for I have desired it, — is, and, God 
enabhng me, shall be, the most hearty desire and 
prayer of him 

Who desireth to have no dominion over your faith. 

But to be a helper of your joy, 


From St John's College in Camhridge, 
July 7, 1654. 


rpHIS whole book is a cliscoui'se not unseasonable 
J- for this country, wherein men, that have left 
all to enjoy the gospel, now, as if they had for- 
gotten the end for which they came hither, are 
ready to leave the gospel for outward things ; which 
are here lively and clearly demonstrated to be vanity, 
yea, vanity of vanities. 

Ohj. But were not sometliing of Christ more pro- 
per for a minister of the gospel to handle 1 

Ans. The way to stir us up to seek after Christ, 
is to behold and be convinced of the vanity of all 
things here below. 

When Eve brought forth Cain, she hoped she had 
got the promised seed. Gen. iv. 1, wdth iii. 15. 

But when she saw, by his spirit and carriage, that 
she was deceived in him, she called her next son 
Ahel, Gen. iv. 2, which signifieth vanity. 

And so she must see all things to be, before she 
bring forth Seth, the father of the promised seed. 
Now Abel, or vanity, expresseth the state of all the 
creatures by the fall ; and Solomon taketh up 
Eve's word, and amplifieth it, ' vanity, yea, vanity 
of vanities.' So this whole book is a commentary 
upon the state of corruption, Eorn. viii. 20. A fit 
introduction to Christ in the Canticles. 


Ver. 1. The words of the Preacher, the son of David, 
king in Jerusalem. 

. Ver. 2. Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity 
of vanities ; cdl is vanity. 

The chief good of the sons of men, which the 
moral philosophers among the heathen sought after 
but found not, Solomon in this book truly and fully 
openeth to us. The pliilosophers being vain and 
wicked theniselves, how could they find or teach the 
true chief good ? But this wise and good king, upon 
his own experience, both found it himself, and 
taught us to find it after him. 

The sum of his discourse standeth upon these two 
points : 1 . That the chief good of the sons of men 
is not to be found in all the creatures under the sun, 
nor in men's labours and ways about them ; for 
they are all vanity and vexation of spirit. 2. That 
it is to be found in the fear of God and keeping his 
commandments, chap. xii. 13. 

These- two verses contain, first, The title of the 
book ; wherein the book is set forth, 1. By the 
author ; 2. And he by (1.) His condition, Coheleth. 
(2.) His lineage, the son of David. (3.) By his office, 
a king. (4.) The place of liis government, in Jerii- 
salem, ver. 1. 

Secondly, The argument, or sum of his discourse, 
or at least of the former part of it, ver. 2. Wherein is 
set forth, 1. The condition of all things, by the 
adjunct of wm%, 'All is vanity.' And this vanity 
is amplified by many ornaments of rhetoric : — 

1. A hyperbole, vanity itself for vain. 

2. Polyptoton, vanity of vanities. 

3. Epizeuxis, (the like sound continued in the same 
sentence,) vanity of vanities. 

4. Anadiplosis, (the same sound repeated in the 
end of one sentence, and the beginning of the other,) 
vanity of vanities, vanity, &c. 


[Chap. I. 

5. Epanalepsis, (the same sound repeated in the 
beginning of the sentence, and in the end,) vanity, 
&c., all is vanity. 

6. Anaphora, (the same sound repeated in the be- 
ginning of the sentences,) vanity, &c., vanity, &c. 

7. Epistrophe, (the same sound repeated in the end 
of the sentences,) of vanities, &c., of vanities. 

8. Epanodos, (the same sound repeated in the be- 
ginning and midst, in the midst and end,) vanity, 
vanity, vanity. 

9. Numerus oratorius, (the same number of syl- 
lables repeated in both sentences,) vanity of vanities, 
vanity of vanities. 

10. Climax, (the same sound continued and in- 
creased by degrees,) vaiitty of vanities, vanity of vanities, 

11. Paranornasia, (the repeating of like sounds, 
yet somewhat differing.) 

2. This confirmed by the testimony of Coheleih, 
' saith the Preacher,' ver. 2. 

Ver. 1. The words of Coheleth. Solomon had four 
names — Solomon, Jedidiah, Lemuel, Coheleth, 2 
Sam. xii. 24, 25 ; Prov. xxxi. 1, 4, and the text. 
This name, Coheleth, is only given him in this book, 
when, after long experience of all earthly vanities, 
he in his old age speaketh to wean his people from 
them, and teacheth them the fear of the Lord for 
their chief good. 

It is a participle of a verb out of use in the active 
voice, yet in the passive used to signify, to be 
gatliered, or assembled; whence 7np, a congregation; 
nbnp, then, being a noun or participle of the fe- 
minine gender, may imply to us these three things : 

First, Solomon's gathering himself to the church 
and assembling therewith, when yet his wives, and 
many other idolaters with them, assembled to the 
conventicles and synagogues of false gods. 

Secondly, That in this true church assembled he 
was anima concionans, in hcec verba ; he spake these 
words, or delivered them in the congregation, by 
word or writing, as a testimony of his repentance ; 
which may also further appear if we consider, 

1. What he saith by his experience of the danger- 
ousness of enticing women, even his own, and of his 
deliverance out of their hands, as being beloved of 
God, Eccles. vii. 26-28. 

2. The frame of the whole book, which speaketh 
sadly of the bitterness of all earthly vanities after 
his long experience of all of them in his old age. 

Thirdly, That he delivered these things from his 
heart and soul, not out of any poUcy of state, to 
satisfy the people, Ps. Ixviii. 11; Isa. xl. 9. 

So the feminine gender is expounded, Ps. xvi. 2. 

Use 1. To persuade us of Solomon's repentance 
after his fall. Such as think he fell finally and 
totally are not only hereby refuted, but by all those 
arguments which prove the perseverance of the 
saints, which axe many and impregnable ; and be- 
sides, by such other arguments as more pecuharly 
concern Solomon himself ; as, 

1. Our Saviour's testimony that all the prophets 
are in heaven, Luke xiii. 28. 

Now Solomon was a prophet, seeing the whole 
Scripture was penned by no other but prophets and 
apostles, 2 Pet. i. 19-21 ; Eph. ii. 20. 

Balaam, though he prophesied, as did also Saul, 
yet neither of them were prophets — a spirit of pro- 
phecy rested not upon them, Joshua xiii. 22. 

2. He is said to be loved of Clod, and therefore by 
God's own appointment to be named Jedidiah, 2 
Sam. xii. 25. 

Now God's love is the pledge, as of Jacob's elec- 
tion, Rom. ix. 13, so of Solomon's. God is not wont 
to give names to things but according as he findeth 
them, or purposeth to make them : ' Whom he loveth, 
he loveth to the end,' John xiii. L To say that was 
only meant in regard of not taking the kingdom from 
him and his posterity, as he did from Saul, is to 
wrest the text, which promiseth, 

1. That he will be a father to him. 

2. For his person, that he will not take his mercy 
from hijn. 

3. For his kingdom, that it shall not be taken 

Use 2. To teach us to accept this book with greater 
respect. The sun never shineth more gloriously than 
when it breaketh forth out of some dark cloud, nor 
the graces of God's Spirit than when they have over- 
wrestled some cloud of temptations and sins, and 
break forth into repentance. So was it with David 
also in Ps. li. 

The son of David , which he mentioncth in sundry 

Ver. 2.] 


First, It is honourable to be the son of a prince, 
Eccles. X. 17. 

Secondly, It procureth the more reverence to a 
prophet to be the son of a prophet. 

Thirdly, It is comfortable to be the son of a man 
after God's own heart, for the covenant's sake, Gen. 
xvii. 7 ; and especially of David, for the promise 
sake made to him and to his seed after him, 2 Sam. 
vii. 12-16. 

Use 1. To procure reverent acceptance of the 
doctrine of this book for the penman's sake ; for 
though it little skilleth what the pen be, of a goose 
or swan's quill, or raven's, yet when God delighteth to 
use such an instrument, so richly adorned with many 
privileges, it challengeth from us the more due respect. 
It is a book written by the eldest son of -ivisdom. 

Use 2. To teach parents that send their children 
to the university, to seek to excel in eminency of 
grace, and love amongst men. It will add some 
lustre and credit to their children's ministry, as 
Zacharias and Elisabeth's godliness, Luke i. 6, did 
to John Baptist's, and David's to Solomon's. 

King in Jerusalem. King, as having sovereign 
power of life and death ; to whom it belonged to 
be as a head to counsel, and direct, and rule the 
people ; to be also as a shepherd to feed the people 
with wholesome laws and institutions, and examples 
of good life, and to drive them from feeding in un- 
wholesome pastures, upon unsavoury vanities. 

In Jerusalem. The city of God, the mother church 
of Israel, then a faithful city, fuU of faithful and 
good people, though afterwards a harlot. 

He doth not say, 'king of Israel,' as Prov. i. 1, 
but ' in Jerusalem,' intimating that liis conversing in 
this faithful city, amongst so many good people, 
was some means the sooner to bring him to a sight 
of his sin, and to inditing and penning these words, 
which shew his repentance. 

It could not be but that Solomon must needs 
read in the countenances of his people, when he 
came abroad to church and judgment-seat, and hear 
likewise by intelligence of his wise counsellors, how 
much the citizens of Jerusalem were grieved with 
his building idolatrous temples, and tolerating false 
worship in them ; the which might well provoke him 
to a more serious sight of his sin, and to make men- 
tion of the city in the words that shew his repent- 

ance. Besides, in a penitential discourse, the fuU 
latitude of titles is unseasonable. 

Use 1. To shew us that God useth instruments of 
all sorts in penning the Scriptures, as well some 
kings, as David and Solomon ; as some fishermen, 
as amongst the apostles ; and herdsmen, as Amos ; 
and priests, as Jeremiah ; that all sorts might meet 
with style and phrase of speech meet for them. 

Use 2. That it is no disgrace to any man, or to 
any man's children, to be preachers. Solomon and 
David, both kings and both prophets ; yea, Solo- 
mon studying to teach the people knowledge, Eccles. 
xii. 9, 10. The angels, higher than the highest 
men, are 'all ministering spirits,' &c., Heb. i. 14. 

Use 3. It is no unbeseeming office for kings to 
write good books, or to publish their repentance 
after their public sins, Ps. U. 

Use 4. To let us see what a benefit it is for a 
minister or magistrate to live amongst good people. 
They naturally help one another to avoid sin, and to 
come out of it. 

Uxeo. To add still the more due respect to this book, 
penned by a king, and a king of the church of God. 

Use 6. To teach penitents, not to affect the ex- 
pression of titles or styles of honour at large. 

Ver. 2. Vanity of vanities, sailh the Preadier, vanity 
of vanities ; all is vanity. 

Vanity of vanities, &c. The logical and rhetorical 
resolution of these words is delivered above in open- 
ing the first verse. 

Dod. 1. All things under the sun, whether crea- 
tures of God or labours of men, are altogether vain 
to the attaining of true happiness ; or thus, are ex- 
cessively, diversely, wonderfully vain. The chief 
things which men seek for in this life are vain in a 
tlireefold respect : 

1. To find the cliief good in them. 

2. To satisfy the soul, Isa. Iv. 2. 

3. To make that good they are made for of them- 
selves, Ps. xxxiii. 17. 

For the gathering of this point from the true 
meaning of the text, compare this place with ver. 3, 
1 4, and chap. ii. 3. In this sense Paul calleth all 
things loss, (dross, dung,) Phil. iii. 7, 8, to wit, not 
only without Christ, or in comparison of him, but 
for the attainment of Christ or true happiness. 


[Chap. I. 

The ground of this point may be most fitly shewed 
in opening the several acceptions of vanity in the 
Scripture, and observing how they all agree in all 
things in the world in this respect. Vanity is put for, 

1. Unprofitableness, as here, ver. 2, 3; Mai. iii. 
14 ; which agreeth to worldly things. Mat. xvi. 
26, a man may have the whole world, and lose his 
soul ; and then what profit did they yield him 1 
Prov. xi. 4. 

2. Emptiness, Ps. ii. 1 ; 1 Cor. iii. 20. Vain, that 
is, void of substance and worth and sufficiency. So 
Isa. xxxvi. 5, to which also agreeth Isa. xxLx. 8, 
and Iv. 2. 

3. Lightness, Ps. Ixii. 9 ; which is also true, Deut. 
xxxii. 47. The like may be said of all earthly 
things in this case. 

4. Falsehood and lying, Ps. xii. 2, and iv. 2 ; 
wliich also holdeth here, Ps. xxxi. 6 ; Jonah ii. 8. 

5. Frustration or disappointment of the end, Ps. 
cxxvii. 1, 2. Unless the Lord build and keep the 
house and city, the builder's and watchman's care 
will fall short of the end they aim at, and so the 
work is in vain, James i. 26 ; 1 Cor. xv. 14. 

6. Frailty or inconstancy, vanishing away as 
smoke, Eom. iii. 20, 21 ; Ps. cxliv. i; Isa. xl. 6-8. 

7. Iniquity, 2 Chron. xiii. 7; Prov. xii. 11. 

8. Folly, Job xi. 12 ; Prov. xdi. 11. 
Reasons of the vanity to those former ends : 

1. From the end for wliich God made them — to 
wit, for us, not us for them, 1 Cor. iii. 22. 

2. From their condition ; they are corporal, tem- 
poral, and therefore cannot feed, much less satisfy 
an eternal spirit, Luke xii. 19, 20. 

3. From the curse lying upon them since the fall, 
Gen. iii. 17. 

Reasons of the repetition of this vanity, and the 
Holy Ghost's manner of speech in expressing this 
vanity : 

1. To shew the excessiveness of the vanity of 
these earthly things. 

Vanity impUeth they are not only vain, but ex- 
ceedingly vain ; as vain as vanity itself. 

Vanity of vanities is in the Hebrew a superlative 
form of speech, to set forth the highest vanity ; as 
the song of songs, the most excellent song ; the king 
of kings, the servant of sen'ants, the chiefest king, 
the most servile servant. 

2. To shew the multitude and variety of vanities 
lieaped up in earthly things. There is a nest, as it 
were, of vanity in them ; or, as Samson speaks in 
another case. Judges xv. 16, ' Leaps upon heaps.' 

3. For admiration. To shew the wonderful and 
strange vanity of these things, he breaketh forth 
into this exclamation, ' vanity of vanities,' &c. 

Use 1. To shew us what a great change sin 
maketh in the world : it doth, as it were, blast the 
virtue and beauty of the creature. 

Time was, before sin entered, when God saw all the 
creatures to be very good. Gen. i. 31. Now, after 
sin had blown upon them, he looked upon them 
again, and all is vanity. Such a change vidll " sin 
make in us, and in our counsels and courses. 

Use 2. To shew us what a woeful change they 
make that sell their souls to commit sin for any 
earthly benefits, which are but vanity, Jonah ii. 8 ; 
Isa. V. 18. Temptations from earthly things may 
draw on sin hke cart ropes, but they are the cart 
ropes of vanity. And so do they that change the or- 
dinances of God for accommodations which are under 
the sun. 

Use 3. To shew us the vanity of men beyond all 
creatures, Ps. cxix. 89. He for whose sake all the 
rest became vain, is much more vain himself, Ps. 
Ixii. He is lighter than vanity, Isa. xl. 1 7. 

Use 4. To teach us not to set our hearts on earthly 
tilings, Ps. Ixii. 10, neither by, 

1. Coveting them before we have them, Prov. 
xxiii. 4, 5. 

2. Confidently trusting in them, or proudly re- 
joicing in them, when we have them. Job xxxi. 24, 25. 

3. Grieving when we part from them. Job i. 21. 
Use 5. To exhort us to lay up better treasure 

than these eartlily vanities. Mat. vi. 19, 20. 

Use 6. For a sign of trial of our repentance. Such 
as see nothing but glory and goodliness in these out- 
ward things, Satan hath bevritched them. Mat. iv. 
8. But such as see the extreme vanity of them 
have repented with Solomon here. 

Use 7. To teach us it is no vanity to teach the 
vanity of the creatures in rhetorical elegancies. Here 
are many tropes of rhetoric used, so Rom. xii. 5, 
with these cautions : 

1. That the rhetoric be suitable to the matter, 
grave and holy ; else it is bastard rhetoric. 

Ver. 2-5.] 


2. That it set forward the end of the discourse, to 
wit, to affect the heart with tlie sense of the matter 
in hand. 

Ver. 2. Vanity of vanities, suith the Preacher, vcmitij 
of vanities; all is vanity. 

In that Solomon sets the seal of his testimony 
to the vanity of all these earthly things, after 
the long trial of them, observe this : 

Doct. They that have had most trial of all 
earthly comforts are most ready and best able to 
avouch the vanity of them. 

Who could haste more to outward tilings than 
Solomon, and yet be more confident in avouching 
the vanity of them ? 

Reason 1. Experience is a di\'ine testimony, as 
being taken from the work of God, in the event of 
things coming to pass by providence. 

Reason 2. Experience is of great authority with 
men, as being an argument more sensible, and less 
subject to ignorance or error. 

Use. To shew us a broad difference of earthly 
thmgs from spiritual and heavenly. Earthly things 
seem goodly and glorious, till we have them and 
good trial of them, and afterwards we find them 
altogether vanity ; but heavenly things seem vanity 
till we have them, and good trial of them, then 
seem they excellent and divine : no gain, no glory, 
no comfort like to that which they yield. 

Before we leave this verse, let us remove ^ a 
false collection which one maketh from this word — 
that reading is preaching, because Solomon calleth 
his book (though read) the Preacher. 

But for answer, consider, 1. Solomon doth not 
call his book, but himself, the Preacher. 

2. He might from hence collect that the preacher 
may deliver his sermon by writing, and so that writ- 
ing may be preaching ; but that reading therefore is 
preaching followeth not. For in writing, a minister 
may and doth make use of spiritual gifts requisite 
in a prophet or preacher, to the exercise of his 
ministry, 1 Cor. xiv. 1 ; but not so in reading, 
which even a school-boy may perform, that never 
attained any spiritual gift at all. 

Ver. 3. What profit hath a man of all the labovr 
which he hath under the sun ? 

Labour under the sun is labour taken about the 
creatures or things under the sun; for the labour 
a man taketh for the favour of God, the fellow- 
ship of the blood and Spirit of Christ, &c., is labour 
for things above the sun. Whence such are said to 
converse in heaven, Phil. iii. 20, and fo walk with 
God, Gen. v. 24. 

What profit. To wit, towards the attaining of 
true happiness ; otherwise, in all labour there is 
some profit towards the helping of our earthly 
estates, Prov. xiv. 23. 

This verse is an i-i,u.oiiri, or dwelling upon the 
former conclusion, of the vanity of all things, de- 
livered in the former verse, and here repeated in 
other words more plainly. 

Doct. All the labour a man taketli, whether of 
mind or body, about the creatures under the sun, is 
altogether unprofitable towards the attainment of 
true happiness, chap. ii. 22, and iii. 9. 

Eeasons from the disproportion of these creatures 
to our happiness : — 

Reason 1. All these creatures are under the sun, 
but our happiness is above it. Now, as water can 
never ascend higher, nor carry any other thing 
higher, than the fountain from whence it came, so 
neither can things below the sun carry us up to a 
condition above the sun. 

2. These creatures are temporal, our happiness 
eternal, 2 Cor. iv. 18. 

3. These things are changeable and unsettled, but 
our happiness unchangeable. 

Use 1. To wean us from immoderate labour after 
these things which cannot profit. It many times 
falleth out that those things which we labour most 
to avoid are the most behoveful to attainment of 
happiness, as afflictions, Ps. cxix. 67, 71. 

Use 2. To stir up to labour principally for heavenly 
blessings, things above the sun, Isa. Iv. 1-3 ; 1 Cor. 
XV. 58. 

Ver. 4. One generation passelh away, and another 
generation amuth ; hut the earth ahidethfor ever. 

Ver. 5. The sun also ariseth, and the sun gocth 
down, and hasteneth to the place wliere he arose. 

That which Solomon taught us in the former 
verse, the unprofitableness of all labour about worldly 
things towards the attainment of happiness, he con- 



. [Chap. I. 

finnetli in the rest of this chapter, and the rest which 
follow, by induction of sundry sorts of labours, 
wherein men usually weaiy themselves, but in vain. 
And first he beginneth wth the vanity of the labour 
of the mind about the study of natural things, which 
in this whole chapter he sheweth to be unprofit- 
able to the attainment of happiness, by two reasons. 

1. The first taken from the want of such things as 
accompany true happiness — to wit, stability, satiety, 
newness, in natural things. The reason standeth thus : 

The knowledge and study of such things as want 
stability, satiety, newness, is unprofitable to the at- 
tainment of true happiness ; but the knowledge and 
study of such things, is of such things as want sta- 
bility, satiety, novelty. 

This want of stability he proves by the state, 

1. Of bodies mLxed of the four elements, which 
are generable and corruptible, come and go, ver. 4. 

2. Of the four elements. 

(1.) Of the sun, the chariot of fire, ver. 5. 

(2.) Of the wind or aLr, ver. 6. 

(3.) Of the water, ver. 7. 

(4.) Only the earth standeth still in the midst of 
all these restless motions. 

[1.] Partly as a centre about which these move. 

[2.] Partly as a theatre upon which every gener- 
ation Cometh and goes, ver. 4. 

Whence, though it be stable, yet we want stabihty 
in it, which is all one to us as if it were not stable. 

Their want of satiety he sheweth, ver. 8. 

Their want of novelty, ver. 9-1 1 . 

2. The second reason is taken from his own ex- 
perience, ver. 12, to the end of the chapter. 

Dod. 1. Such things as come by generation stand 
not at a stay, but pass away, (pass away by corrup- 
tion,) Job xiv. 1 ; Ps. xlix. 7-9 ; Joshua xxiii. 1 4 ; 
1 Kings ii. 2. 

Reason 1. From the causes in nature whereof they 
are generated, which are the four elements, and they 
contrary one to another. Now, contrary things, 
being divided one against another, make the whole 
body of short continuance, one wasting another till 
all fail. Mat. xii. 25. Heat against cold, and 
moisture against dryness, work continually one 
against another, till all be consumed. 

Besides, in living creatures the disproportion be- 
tween Calor naturalis and Humidum radicale, causeth 

dissolution ; the food received breedeth not such 
kindly heat and moisture as is daily spent, but a 
more mild heat and more raw moisture. 

Ohj. How, then, could Adam's life be maintained 
for ever, if he had stood in innocency 1 

Ans. By the almighty power of God subduing and 
keeping these contrary qualities in a sweet temper 
and harmony, even by the same hand whereby he 
kept the wild beasts from preying upon the tame, 
allowing them to eat nothing but grass. Gen. i. 30. 

Reason 2. From the curse which sin brought with 
it, even the bondage of corruption upon the creature, 
Rom. vi. 23, and viii. 20, 21. It is commonly said of 
the oak that it liveth three hundred years — growing 
one hundred, standing at a stay another hundred, 
and decaying the next hundred. The Holy Ghost 
recordeth of the patriarchs that they lived many 
hundreds. Gen. v. 

Pliny out of Hesiod describeth nine ages to the 
crow, sometimes as much more to the hart, and yet 
three times as much more to the raven, Nat. Hist., 
lib. vii. c. 48. 

But yet all these, being compounded and generated 
of the four elements, do in the end return into them 
again by dissolution and corruption. 

Use 1. To teach us (that which is Solomon's scope) 
that the study of these natural things is not avail- 
able to the attainment of true happiness ; for how 
should that which is restless (and, as Solomon's word 
is, full of labour) procure us settled rest and tran- 
quillity, which accompanieth true happiness ? The 
mind of man, as philosophers have observed, is some- 
what assimilated into the nature of the object which 
it studieth and is conversant about : as mariners, 
who are conversant about winds, and seas, and 
storms, are more boisterous ; shepherds and herds- 
men more brutish ; foresters more wild ; butchers 
more bloody, &c. So the study of these restless 
creatures leaveth the mind more restless. 

In particular, the study and knowledge of the 
passing away of one generation after another 
sheweth us our mortality and misery, and thereby 
yieldeth us grief and vexation, but no relief if we 
rest there. 

Use 2. To exhort us to Uft up our hearts to true 
wisdom, by the consideration of this unsettledness 
of our estates, Ps. xc. 10, 12; Deut. xxxii. 29. 

Ver. 5-11.] 



Prepare for a change ; it is a-comiug, Heb. xiii. 14 ; 
Micali ii. 10. 

Use, 3. To exhort to weanedness in our present 
condition, and contentment in all estates, 1 Cor. 
vii. 29-31. 

Use 4. To exhort to fruitfulness in good things 
whilst we here abide, 2 Pet. i. 13-15. 

Boot. 2. As one generation passeth away, so an- 
other Cometh. 

The sun setteth, and ariseth the same again ; trees 
may be cut down, and yet spring again ; not so we, 
but others come in our place, Job xiv. 7-10. 

Beason 1. God will always have his church to call 
upon him in this world wliilst the world standeth. 

Reason 2. God wiU have the elder generations to 
instruct and govern the younger, and the younger 
to yield reverence and obedience to the elder, which 
cannot be unless one generation be coming on as 
another passeth away. 

Use 1. To refute the Pythagorean dotage of re- 
turning of the same persons again many years after 
their death. 

Use 2. To stir up the generations passing away 
to be helpful to the generation coming on, in good 
counsels, instructions, examples, &c., Ps. Ixxi. 18, 
and bcxviii. 3, 4; Isa. xxxviii. 13, 19. 

Use 3. To teach the younger sort, as they come 
after, so to make some benefit of their ancestors' 
going before, observing whatsoever was commend- 
able ill them and imitating it ; and eschewing what- 
soever was evil and dangerous, Zech. i. 5, 6. 

Doct. 3. Though one generation passeth away, and 
another cometh on, yet the earth abideth for ever. 

As one harvest is gathered another cometh, yet 
the earth or soil still remaineth, standeth. 

Reason 1. God's word establishing it, and that 
even upon nothing, Ps. xxxiii. 9 ; Job xxvi. 7. 

Use 1. Against Copernicus's opinion of the re- 
volution of the earth, and the standing still of the 
sun, Ps. xix. 5, and cxix. 90. If the earth moved 
swiftly, when a man throweth a stone the same way 
the earth moveth he might easily overtake the stone 
before it fell ; or, it may be, standing still, the earth 
speedily moving would carry him so far as to be 
under the stone when it should fall. 

Use 2. To moderate our desires after the earth 
and earthly tiling.^ which we must leave behind us, 

and cannot carry away with us, 1 Tim. vi. 7, 8 ; 
Ps. xlix. 17. 

Use 3. To reprove our unstaidness to stand in 
good ways, though the word of God have been as 
well spoken to us as to the earth, which yet stand- 
eth according to his word, Jer. v. 22, 23. 

Use 4. To exhort to the building of our hopes of 
salvation upon God's word, which will establish 
them for ever when other grounds will fail us. 

Ver. 5. The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, 
and hasteth to his place where he arose. 

Ver. 6. The wind goeth toward the south, arid turneth 
about unto the north ; it whirleth about continualli/, and 
the wind returneth again according to his circuits. 

Ver. 7. All the rivers run into the sea ; yet the sea is 
not full ; unto the 'place from whence the rivers come, 
thitlier they return again. 

Ver. 8. All thirigs are full of labour; man cannot 
utter it : the eye is not satisfied icith seeing, nw the ear 
filled with hearing. 

Ver. 9. The thing that hath been, it is that which 
shall be ; and that which is done is that which shall be 
done : and there is no new thing under the sun. 

Ver. 10. Is there anything whereof it may be said. 
See, this is new ? it hath been already of old time, which 
was before us. 

Ver. 11. There is no remembrance of foriner things; 
neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are 
to come ivith those that shall come after. 

Doct. 1. The knowledge of such things as are full 
of labour, and empty of yielding satisfaction to the 
mind, and of variety or newness, is unprofitable to 
the attainment of true happiness. 

This is the ground upon which Solomon buildeth 
the unprofitableness of the labour of the mind about 
the knowledge of natural things. 

1. They are full of labour or restle.ss motion, ver. 8. 

2. They yield no satisfying to the eye and ear, 
which are the senses of discipline. 

(1.) The one by observation. 
(2.) The other by instruction. 

3. There is no newness or variety in them, which 
arguing would not hold unless this doctrine be pre- 
supposed as a ground. 

Reason of it from the nature of such things where- 
in true blessedness standeth. 



[Chap. I. 

They are such as — 

1. Are at rest; he maketh it our safety to rest 
in peace and tranquillity, Isa. xxx. 7, 15 ; the favour 
of God, the blood of Christ, the fellowship of 
God's Spirit, the word of promise, the covenant of 
grace and peace. But natural things, which are 
themselves in perpetual motion, they leave our 
minds restless. 

2. Do satisfy the mind and heart of a Christian. 
His eye would ever see the favour of God and the 
light of his countenance shining upon him, his ear 
would ever hear the things belonging to his peace. 

The eye or ear not to be satisfied with such or 
such things, implieth either, 

1. That a man careth not to see or hear any more 
of them, as having enough of them, and yet would 
have something besides them, as being not contented 
with them. So it is meant here, Isa. Iv. 1, 3. 

But, on the contrary, in heavenly things, a man 
having true and full contentment in them yet desii-eth 
to partake more and more of them, John iv. 14; 
Mat. v. 6 ; Ps. xlii. 1, 2. For such things do yield 
true satisfaction to the eye and ear and taste, 
whenas a man is desirous always to see and hear 
and taste the same. And so is it in heavenly things 
— the more we taste of them, the more we desire 
them, and yet are fully satisfied and contented with 

2. Secondly, That a man not having enough of that 
he seeth and heareth, would have more of it, and 
yet cannot attain it, and thereupon is vexed ; as 
Aristotle, not fully comprehending the course of 
Euripus, is said to have cast himself into it : and so 
is it also meant here in sundry difficulties of natural 

3. Thirdly, Are new, full of fresh and'sweet variety 
of newness. To a new creature, behold all things 
become new, 2 Cor. v. 1 7 — not only within hin^, new 
mind, new judgment, new conscience, new heart, new 
affections, (new joys, fears, griefs, cares, desires, &c.,) 
new speeches, new life ; but also without him, new 
company, &c. 

Yea, those things he busieth hhnself about they 
yield him continually new matter to be refreshed 
withal. The favour of God, the blood of Christ, the 
fellowship of the Spirit, the more they are heard or 
seen, the more novelty they are to us ; the word, the 

oftener read, still yieldeth us more knowledge, new 
comfort, &c. Paul speaketh not of the estate of 
glory, but of grace, when he saith, ' Eye hath not 
seen, nor eai' heard, such things,' 1 Cor. ii. 9. The 
natural man never perceived them, (and therefore, as 
Paul reasoneth, the princes of this world could not 
devise such things to keep people in awe.) They 
are new when they are first perceived of the godly, 
and they feel a new, fresh, sweet savour in them as 
oft as the seeing or hearing of them is renewed, 
Lam. iii. 23. 

Use 1. To wean us from placing our happiness in 
the study of the creatures. There is no rest in them, 
no satisfaction to the mind, no such newness as in 
those things wherein true happiness standeth. Some 
of the philosophers placed happiness in contempla- 
tion, (meaning of the creatures,) but sheweth they 
were deceived. Many a man thinketh that if he 
could attain to the knowledge and mystery of this 
or that trade, he should need no more good ; but it 
is even with trades as with the creatures : they are 
full of labour, and yet empty of satisfying the mind 
— empty of newness. 

Use 2. To exhort to the study and searching out 
of the favour of God, the blood of Christ, the grace 
of his Spirit, the word of God, &c. These will 
answer our hearts with rest, and fulness, and new- 
ness of comfort and contentment. 

Use 3. For trial of our happiness, whether we have 
made right choice of it. If we bend our studies and 
labours upon things that axe full of labour, and yet 
empty of satisfying the mind with contentment and 
newness, we have misplaced our happiness. 

But if we find rest and satisfaction and newness 
in the things we are conversant about, it is a sign we 
have chosen heavenly things to place our happiness 
in — a right choice. 

From the sun's motion, ver. 5, observe. 

First, (against Copernicus,) That the sun standeth 
not still, but the earth, Ps. xix. 5. 

Secondly, Against the opinion of such that do 
think the heavens and planets are moved by intel- 
ligences. The same is here said to arise and go 
down, to hasten, not to be carried or moved pass- 
ively, Ps. xix. 6. The sun is said freely to run his 
course, or which is all one, to rejoice to run it. 

Thirdly, The smi is endued with life, for whatso- 

Ver. 9-n.] 



ever stirreth and moveth itself in his own place is 
quick and liveth. 

There is a double life in things yet coming short 
of sense. 1 . Vegetative, as the plants and herbs ; 
2. Locomotive, as in the stars. 

Tliis also is implied in the order of the works of 
the creation. Where, proceeding from things less 
perfect to things more perfect, he mentioneth stars 
made the fourth day, and herbs and trees the third. 
The stars therefore, mentioned to be created after 
some living things, have in themselves a more per- 
fect life. 

From the wind's motions, ver. 6, observe. 
The freedom of the motion of God's Spirit, blow- 
ing where it listeth, John iii. 8. 

From the motion of the rivers, ver. 7, observe. 
First, The original of fountains to spring from 
the sea. 

Aristotle's reason to the contrary, that water 
coveteth to run to the lowest place — and if the 
water should have this vicissitude of course, from 
the fountains to the sea, from the sea to the foun- 
tains, then the same place should be higher and 
lower than itself — will not hold. For some parts of 
the sea are lower than the fountains, and into them 
the fountains send forth their streams to run ; other 
parts of the sea are as high, or higher, than the 
fountains, especially in great storms, when the waves 
seem to ascend up to heaven, Ps. cvii. 26. And 
they by secret channels another way send forth 
springs of water to feed the fountains. 

Plato's Barathrum, in the hollow caverns of the 
earth, which he maketh to be the original of foun- 
tains, is hence also refuted, unless he derive the 
supplying of that Barathrum from the sea. 

Secondly, That the earth, through which the sea- 
waters pass to the fountains, doth percolate and 
strain the salt out of them ; else, as the sea-waters 
are salt, so would also the fountain-waters be. 

That some fountains of water are salt as the sea 
ariseth from the openness of the pores of the earth 
between the sea and them, which is also the cause 
of the ebbing and flofldng of some of them. 

Tliirdly, A pattern of thankful returning what 
we receive to the fountain that supplieth us ; as 
we receive all blessings from God, so let us return 
all to him. 

From the motion of all these together, observe, 
First, That all the elements abhor idleness ; the 
sun, (the chariot of fire,) the wind, the waters, are 
all in continual motion. And though the earth 
abide and stand, yet it is continually fruitful in 
breeding and nursing such things as abide upon it, 
and in it. An idle person, though made and fed of 
all these, is like none of these — he lazily sitting or 
lying still, whilst they continually move ; diHgence 
in our calling liindereth not the happiness of the 
resting of our hearts in God. 

Ver. 9. The thing that hath been, it is that lohich 
shall be ; and that which is done is tliat which shall be 
done : and there is nothing new under the sun. 

Ver. 10. Is there anything whereof it may be said. 
See, this is new ? it hath been already of old time, which 
was befoi'e us. 

Ver. 1 1 . There is no remembrance of former things ; 
neither shall there be any remembrance of things that ' 
are to come with those that shall come after. 

In these words Solomon sheweth us the want of 
newness in these things under the sun, and from 
thence argueth the unprofitableness of the study or 
knowledge of them to the attaining of true happiness. 

This want of newness, first, Is expressed iu the 
end of the ninth verse, ' There is no new thing under 
the sun;' secondly. Is amplified, 1. By particular 
induction of that which hath been, and that which 
is done ; they both shall be hereafter, ver. 9. 

Secondly, By an 'faiiLotri, dwelling upon the same 
point, affirming everything that now seems new to 
have been in old time, ver. 10. 

Thirdly, By removing an objection which is 
secretly implied : If these things that seem new to us 
have been in old time, how cometh it we never heard 
of them before ? ver. 1 1 ; which is amplified by the 
like forgetfulness of things now in after ages, ver. 11. 

The doctrine of the ninth and tenth verses may 
be opened in handling this point. 

There is no new thing under the sun. 

It may seem a paradox at first sight ; for it may 
be said, What is that which aU men, like the 
Athenians, inquire after ; news 1 If there be no 
new thing. Acts xvii. 21, why are men taxed for 
hunting after new fashions in apparel 1 (especially 
Englishmen, as unfit to be suited as the changeable 



[Chap. I. 

moon.) If there be no new thing, vrill God again 
destroy the world with water? Geu. ix. 11. Was it 
a new thing for God to deHver the law with lively 
voice from heaven? Deut. iv. 32, 33. Was it not a 
new thing, or shall it be again repeated, the sun to 
stand still, or to go back ten degrees? Joshua x. 13, 
14 ; 2 Kings xx. 11 ; a virgin to bear a son? Jer. 
xxxi. 22; Christ to be born, to die, to rise again, to 
ascend? the Holy Ghost to descend? the apostles 
to preach and write the New Testament 1 Are there 
not sundry inventions of art new ? as guns, printing, 
and the use of the loadstone. Was not the gun- 
powder treason new, without precedent of former 
example ? 

To answer these, and such-like doubts, many in- 
terpretations and limitations of these words have 
been given, which are not worth the rehearsing ; as 
that of Cajetan, concei\'ing Solomon to reason from 
the eternity of time, to argue the circular motion of 
natural bodies ; and that alleged of Origen, touching 
Plato's great year, of 49,000 years, wherein he 
would have all the stars to come to the same 
position, and so all things to return again in the 
same course. But to touch only those which come 
nearer to the truth. Some have thought (amongst 
whom Jerome) that all things now done, were first 
in God's predestination ; but though that be a 
truth, yet not pertinent here; for God's predes- 
tination is above the sun; and things done here 
according to it, are new still under the sun, as 
having never been done under the sun before ; be- 
sides, God's predestination was not in old time 
before us, but before aU time. 

Others understand the words as denying new 
arts ; but what will they say of the art of printing? 

Others, as Pineda, understand it of no new happi- 
ness, nor any new way to attain it. 

But Solomon seemeth to speak of the want of new 
objects to eye and ear, whence it cometh to pass 
that they are not satisfied, ver. 8. 

Others, and that rightly, conceive him to speak 
of natural things, and their natural actions, Avicen. 
sup. Q. 91, A. 1. 

Por of these Solomon here discourseth, to prove 
that happiness cannot be found in the knowledge of 
these, because they are wanting in newness and 
variety. As if he should say, Natura nihil moliiur 

not-l. Though upon this particular occasion he 
seemeth to reach further, in denying newness to the 
common affairs of men in the world. 

For, ver. 11, he deiueth remembrance of former 
things, which is not wont to be taken up about 
natural bodies, or the actions of them, but especially 
about men and their affairs. 

And indeed in civil matters there be the like 
manners of men now as of old ; the like causes and 
successes of war and peace, &c., whence the know- 
ledge of history of former times is so much behove- 
ful. So in church matters, like disposition of hypo- 
crites. Mat. XV. 8, 9. 

Like opposition to the truth by false teachers, 2 
Tim. iii. 8; 2 Pet. ii. 1 ; like security, forerunning 
general judgments, Luke xvii. 26-30. 

Ans. 1. For answer therefore to the former 
doubts, Solomon speaketh not of God's miraculous 
and extraordinary actions, whether of judgment or 
grace ; such as the drowning of the world, the 
standing of the sun, the birth and death of Christ, 
the writing of the Scriptures, &c., 2 Pet. iii. 4-6. 

Ans. 2. He speaketh of natural bodies, and the 
whole course of nature. Nature worketh now as 
from the beginning, Natura nihil molitur novi, but 
upon some accidental defect, or superfluity in the 

Ans. 3. The artificial inventions of men, though 
they be new sometimes at first, yet for the kind 
many of them have been before ; and generally 
none of them continue new long, but wax stale and 
old hke other things, Ps. cii. 26 ; Heb. viii. 13. 

Only God our happiness is always the same, Ps. 
cii. 27 ; Heb. xiii. 8, and ever is new. Abraham's 
covenant is stUl the new covenant. 

Use 1. To shew us the emptiness of the know- 
ledge of the creature to bring us to happiness. 

Where newness is wanting, sweetness and full 
contentment is wanting. 

Use 2. To exhort to seek after the favour of God, 
the blood of Christ, the fellowship of his Spirit, the 
knowledge of the word, &c. These things yield a 
daily new freshness, 2 Cor. v. 17 ; Lam. iii. 23. 

Bod. 2. Matters of former times are buried in 

Season 1. Men's negligence to recount them, or to 
search after them. 

Ver. 12-15.] 



Reason 2. Men's untliankfulness, not rehearsing 
them to posterity. 

Reason 3. Emulation, envying the propagation of 
others' good name. 

Reason 4. God's just judgment cutting off the 
memory of some persons and things from oif the 

Use 1. Not to wonder though so many things 
seem new to us, which yet have been before, seeing 
fonner things are forgotten. 

Use 2. Not to seek our own glory in this or that 
good work, to be talked of when we are gone ; for 
we and our works shall be forgotten. 

Use 3. To exhort to godliness, which bringeth an 
everlasting good name, Prov. x. 7 ; Ps. cxii. 6. 

Ver. 12. I the Preacher was king over Israel in 

Ver. 13. And I gave my heart to seek and search 
out by u'isdom concerning all things which are done 
under heaven : this sore travail hath God given to the 
sons of men to be exercised therewith. 

Ver. 14. / have seen all the worlis thai are done 
under tJie sun : and, behold, all is vanity and vexation 
of spirit. 

Ver. 15. That which is crooked cannot be made 
straight : and that zohich is wanting cannot be nunv- 

Now followeth, in these verses, the second argu- 
ment whereby Solomon proveth the vanity and 
unprofitableness of the study and knowledge of 
God's works in nature, to the attainment of hapf)i- 
ness thereby, taken from his own experience. 
Where observe, 

First, His study of the creatures; and that set 

1 . By the opportunity he had thereto ; he was 
then king over Israel in Jerusalem, ver. 12. 

It was not when he was a child, but when a 
king, and endued with extraordinary vnsdom ; yea, 
a king of a wise people, Deut. iv. 6 ; and in Jeru- 
salem, the oracle of wisdom. 

2. By the diligence he used therein ; seen, 

(1.) In the subject he employed in the study, his 
heart ; / gave my heart to it. 

(2.) In the act, seeking, searching. 

(3.) In the instrument or guide he used, by wisdom. 

(4.) In the object he was conversant about in 
those studies ; I gave my heart to seek and search 
out by wisdom concerning all things that are done 
under heaven, to wit, aU the works of God in 

3. By the calling he had thereto, ver. 13. 

Secondly, His verdict or sentence of all upon 
his study and search, ' All is vanity,' ver. 14. 

ThLrdly, The reason of such liis sentence ; the in- 
sufficiency of such knowledge to straighten things 
crooked, or to supply defects. 

Boct. 1. To study the nature and course and 
use of all God's works, is a duty imposed by God 
upon all sorts of men, from the king that sitteth 
upon the throne to the artificer. 

This sore travail hath God given to the sons of 
men, even to kings also, ver. 12, 13 ; Prov. xxv. 2. 

Reason I. God's glory, which is seen in the crea- 
tures, Ps. xix. 1, and cxlv. 10 ; Rom. i. 20. It is 
a disgrace to a good workman not to look at his 
work, but to shght it. 

Reason 2. Our own benefit ; both of body for 
health, as in the knowledge of many medicinal 
things ; and of soul for instruction, which may be 
learned from the creatures ; and of the estate for 
gain, when we know the worth and use of each 

Use I. To reprove the strait-heartedness of 
most, who study no further the creatures than for 
. necessity or pastime. The gentleman only ob- 
serveth so much of the nature of dogs, and hawks, 
and pheasants, and partridges, &c., as serveth for 
his game. The tradesman looketh only at the 
nature and use of such things, as whereby he get- 
teth his living, whether sheep, beasts, skins, wool, 
spices, fishes, fowl, &c. 

But studying the nature of all things, whicli, by 
observation and conference, men might learn one of 
another, would enlarge our hearts to God, and our 
skill to usefulness to ourselves and others. 

Rich men have more means, and poor men more 
vacancy, to seek and get this knowledge ; how justly, 
then, are both reproved for wanting heart to it ! 
Prov. xvii. 16. Yea, scholars here are not to be 
excused who study only some general causes and 
properties of the creatures, as the principles of 
natural bodies, their motion, time, place, measure. 



[Chap. I. 

&c., but neglect to apply their studies to the nature 
and use of all things under heaven. 

Dod. 2. Those businesses which God setteth us 
about, we are to set our hearts and best endeavours 
upon them. God laid this sore travail upon men ; 
and Solomon gave his heart to seek and search, &c. 

Reason 1. God's wholly we are, and therefore to 
employ our whole selves at his appointment. 

Reason 2. His blessing is upon the industrious, 
his curse upon the negligent, Prov. x. 4- ; Jer. xlviii. 

Reason 3. All the opportunity we have of taking 
pains to any profitable use, is in this life, Eccles. 
ix. 10. Time spendeth fast, and should be re- 
deemed, Eph. V. 15, 16. 

Use. To reprove slackness and idleness in any 
calling, whether the study of nature or other. It 
is not for men to say they have nothing to do, or 
to stand idle, because no man hath hired them, 
Mat. XX. 6, 7. Behold a world of creatures for 
thee to study upon. If God lay a sore travail 
upon the sons of men, it is not for kings to neglect 
it, but even they to give their hearts this way. 

Dcct. 3. Such as speak by experience, speak with 
authority, as Solomon here, ver. 14; Acts iv. 20. 

Three things give authority to speech : — 

1. Experience. 

2. A good calling from God, Amos vii. 10-17. 

3. The Spirit of God, and we speaking in the 
evidence of it, 1 Cor. ii. 4; Acts viii. 13; Mat. 
vii. 29. 

Use 1. To teach young men who want experience 
to be the more modest in speech. Job xxxii. 6, 7. 

Use 2. To teach ministers especially to know by 
experience the power of the gospel and grace of 
God in themselves, and then teach it to others. 

Dod. 4. They that have best experience of the 
knowled'^e of the creature, find both the creatures 
and the knowledge of them vain and unprofitable 
to the attainment of happiness, yea, tending rather 
to the vexation of the spirit, ver. 14. 

For the philosophers, by the wisdom gathered 
from the creatures, knew not God in the vrisdom 
of God — that is, in Christ, in whom alone our happi- 
ness is, 1 Cor. i. 20, 21. 

Unprofitable to happiness, but rather yielding 

1. Because they lead us not to happiness. 

2. There lieth a curse upon the creature ever 
since the fall. Gen. iii. 17 ; Rom. viii. 20. 

3. Because of the difficulty of the searching out 
of many secrets in nature, as the cause of the sea's 
flowing, the motion of the moon, the loadstone's 
drawing of iron, and looking towards the north pole, 
sundry sympathies and antipathies of the creatures. 
It is said by some to be the death of Aristotle, that 
he could not comprehend the cause of Euripus seven 
times ebbing and flowing in a day : Because I can- 
not comprehend thee, saith he, thou shalt compre- 
hend me ; and so is said to have thrown himself 
into it. 

4. Because the study of nature healeth not the 
sinful defects of nature in our own spirits, which is 
the reason Solomon rendereth, ver. 15. 

Use 1. To teach scholars and other students of 
nature so to study it, as not to place felicity in the 
creatures, or in the knowledge of them ; they are 
vain and vexing if used to that end. Solomon doth 
not bring a causeless evil report upon the world, as 
the spies did upon Canaan. 

Ohj. But do not many scholars acknowledge 
they find great contentment, yea, sweetness in the 
study and knowledge of the creatures ? 

Alls. 1. True, they may, if they use the creatures 
and the knowledge of them not to find happiness in 
them, but to those other ends for wliich God made 
them, mentioned in Doct. 1, p. 15. 

2. Though many think themselves happy by such 
speculations, it is because they cast not up their 
accounts, as Solomon here doth, to see what true 
reformation of their own perverseness, or supply of 
their defects, they have found thereby. 

Use 2. To teach all men neither to satisfy them- 
selves in such things as reach, not to the healing the 
crookedness of their natures, nor to the supplying 
of the defects thereof How vain, then, are they 
that see not the vanity of wealth, honour, pleasure, 
all earthly things, which are all of them short herein ! 

Dod. 5. The crooked perverseness and sinful 
defects of our nature are not healed by the know- 
ledge of God's works in nature. 

A threefold crookedness is in our nature. 

1. We act not from a right principle, from God in 
Christ, but from ourselves. 

Vee. 16-18.] 



2. We act not by a right rule, God's -svill and 

3. For a right end, God's honour, but our own 

Defects also innumerable: first, In gifts; secondly. 
In acts, as in thoughts, words, and works. 

Hence the philosophers themselves, as vicious as 
others in pride and vainglory, in wantonness, in 
covetousness, in flattery, &c. 

Yea, they are more averse and backward to em- 
brace the gospel than the common sort, Acts xvii. 
18, 32. 

1. Natural bodies cannot reach to the healing of 
our souls. 

2. The virtue of the creatures is finite, as them- 
selves be ; but it requireth an infinite power, even a 
new creation, to heal our crookedness, and to supply 
our defects, Ps. li. 10. 

Use 1. To shew us the depth of our corruption ; 
no creature is able to make our crooked spirits 
straight, or to supply our defects, which are innu- 

Use, 2. To stir us up to the knowledge of Christ, 
whom to know is eternal life, John xvii. 3. He 
rectifies our crookedness, and supplies all our 
defects, John i. 16. 

Ver. 16. / communed with my men heart, saying, 
Lo, I am come to great estate, and have gotten more 
wisdom than all they that Jiave been before me in Jerusa- 
lem ; yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and 

Ver. 17. And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and 
to knov' madness and folly : I perceived that this also is 
vexation of spirit. 

Ver. 1 8. For in much wisdom is much grief : and he 
that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow. 

Solomon having taught us, partly by the nature 
of the creatures themselves, and partly by his own 
experience, that happiness is not to be found in the 

He now proceedeth to inquire after happiness, in 
making trial and use of those blessings which God 
hath given him : 

1. Great estate ; 2. Great wisdom. 

Which point he delivereth by declaring, 

First, His communing with himself, what gifts he 

had received, which were two; 1. Great wisdom; 
2. Great estate ; 

Amplified, 1. a minore, 'Greater than any before 
him in Jerusalem.' 

2. By the confii-mation of it by his experience, 
ver. 16. 

Secondly, His making use of the benefit of both 
these gifts, and that by a phrase frequent in Scrip- 
ture, ' I gave my heart to know wisdom," to wit, to 
know the worth of it by experience and search. 

'And to know madness and folly,' to wit, by ex- 
perience ; thus making use of his great estate to 
know the worth and benefit of- sensual blessings, 
mentioned chap. ii. ver. 1-10, which to do, in way 
of seeking happiness therein, he calleth madness and 
foUy, ver. 1 7, and chap. ii. 3. 

Thirdly, His observation of the worth of wisdom ; 
ver. 1 7, ' 1 perceived that this also is vexation of 

Fourthly, His reason of such his judgment upon 
observation taken, from the sorrow accompanying 
and following wisdom, ver. 18. 

Doct. 1. Solomon, in his time, attained to great ex- 
cellency, both of outward estate and inward wisdom. 

His estate was great, 

1. In wise princes and counsellors, 1 Kings iv. 
1-6, and ii. 6. 

2. In pirovision for his household, 1 Kings iv. 7-19. 

3. In multitude and peace of his subjects, and in 
largeness of dominion, 1 Kings iv. 20, 21, 24, 25. 

4. In beautiful i keeping, 1 Kings iv. 22, 23 ; 
compare this with that of Neh. v. 18. 

5. In horses and chariots, 1 Kings iv. 26, and 
X. 26. 

6. In magnificent buildings, 1 Kings v\., vii. 1, 2, 
&c., and ix. 17-19. 

7. In abundance of wealth, 1 Kings x. 14-21 ; 
which he got, 

(1.) By sea voyages, 1 Kings ix. 26-28. 

(2.) By merchandise in Egypt, 1 Kings x. 28, 29. 

(3.) By presents, 1 Kings x. 2-5. 

(4.) By husbandry; for those officers that 
served his household every month were overseers of 
his herd and flocks and \'ineyards. This care he ad- 
viseth his son, Prov. xx-\di. 23-27. 

His \visdom was great. 

' Query, ' bountiful ' ?— Ed. 



[Chap. I. 

First, By the means of it. 

1. From liis youth up, by God's blessing in nature, 
1 Kings ii. 9. 

2. Prayer, choosing it above all blessings, 1 Kings 
iii. 9-12. 

3. Experience, Eccles. i. 1 6. 

Secondly, In the effects of it, 1 Kings iv. 32, 

Thirdly, In comparison of all others, 1 Kings iv. 

Fourthly, In the fame of it, and the use made of 
it, 1 Kings iv. 34, and x. 1-17. 

Reasons of these so great blessings given him of 

1. The upright-heartedness of his father, 1 Sam. 
xiii. 14. 

2. Because he was to be a type of Christ, who 
aboundeth in all riches and treasures of wisdom and 
blessedness, that of his fulness we might all receive 
supply of all our wants, John i. 16. 

Use 1. To teach us the right and ready way to 
attain wealth and wisdom, and to procure it to our 
children ; which are, 

1. Upright-heartedness ; giving up our wills to be 
guided by God's will ; for that is a heart after God's 

2. Prayer for wisdom, above wealth or any other 
outward blessing, 1 Kings iii. 11-13. 

3. Just and honest dealing, vrithout bribery or 
partiality. Solomon's throne was established by 
justice ; he never wronged any. 

4. A wise care reaching to the outmost corner of 
all our affairs. 

5. Bountiful dispensing the talents we receive to 
the public good of others. 

Use 2. To teach us not to rest in inward gifts or 
outward blessings, to preserve us from falhng, but 
in humbleness of heart to depend upon Christ. 
Solomon vsdth aU these blessings fell fearfully. 

Dod. 2. It is the part of a wise Christian to con- 
sider within himself what inward and outward bless- 
ings he hath received. 

Solomon communed with his own heart : Lo, I 
am come to great estate, and have gotten more wis- 
dom, &c., Ps. cxxvi. 3. 

Reason 1. How shall we else be thankful to the 
Lord for the blessings we enjoy 1 

Reason 2. How shall we else employ the talents 
we have received to God's best advantage ? 

Use. To teach all men, especially great men, to 
follow Solomon's example herein. A steward that 
never setteth down his accounts, what he hath re- 
ceived of his lord's moneys, wdll never make a good 
account of the expense of it. 

We must not be so brutish as the swine or other 
beasts, that eat what is given them, but never com- 
mune with their hearts what they have received. 

Ver. 17. And I gave my heart to Icnow wisdom, and 
to Tcnow madness and folly: T perceived tJiat this also 
is vexation of spirit. 

Ver. 18. J''or in much wisdom is much grief : and 
he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow. 

Doct. 1. To give a man's heart to knowledge is 
the way to obtain. 

' I gave my heart to know,' &c., and ' I perceived,' 

Reason 1. From the heart's dominion or com- 
manding power over the whole man. It setteth the 
senses a-work, to look about and listen ; the mind to 
understand ; the judgment to consider and observe ; 
the memory to keep up whatsoever might make for 
the gaining of knowledge. 

Reason 2. The heart set upon a thing will also 
deal with God about it, and neglect no other means. 

Use 1. To teach students to give their hearts to 
knowledge ; which is done — 1. By esteeming it a 
singular thing ; 2. By cleaving to it with earnest 

Use 2. To stir us up to seek the knowledge of that 
wisdom much more, the beginning whereof is the 
fear of the Lord. For if Solomon gave his heart 
here to the knowledge of that wisdom which is 
gotten by the knowledge of the creatures and 
human affairs, how much more should we give our 
hearts to the knowledge of the Creator and our Re- 
deemer, whom to know is eternal life, John xvii. 3. 
Giving our hearts to this, we shall obtain even this 
also, Prov. xxiii. 26, and ii. 2-5. 

Doct. 2. It is a wise man's part seriously to ob- 
serve and consider what good he getteth by his own 
wisdom : ver. 17, 'To know ■wisdom,' — he meaneth, 
to know it experimentally, to know the worth and 
benefit of it. 

Ver. 17, IS.] 



Reason 1. It is the part of -wisdom to observe the 
goodness of everything — as knowledge observeth 
truth — and therefore it should not be wanting to 
observe the goodness of itself The eye can see each 
thing but itself; but it is the glory of -vvisdom (the eye 
of the soul) to see itself with reflecting upon itself. 

Reason 2. Else we shall take tliis talent in vain, if 
we do not consider what it is good for ; otherwise 
we shall either undervalue it, or overvalue it. 

Use. To reprove a common fault in scholars, who 
seek to gather more and more knowledge, but never 
consider what to do with it, or what use to put it 
to, or what themselves are the better for it. All 
things but the last end, are no further good than as 
they lead to him ; he only is good in himself and 
for himself. We need not consider what further 
good we get by Irim ; to get him is abundantly good 
enough. To look at anything as good in itself, 
without looking further what it is good for, is to put 
it in the i^lace of God, which is flat atheism. 

Dod. 3. To give ourselves to make use of our 
great estate according to the nature of it, -will give 
us to know by experience madness and folly. 

Solomon had observed (in ver. 1 6) that God had 
given him a great estate and great wisdom. In this 
ITth verse he giveth his heart to know the use and 
benefit and worth of both ; of wisdom first, and then 
of his great estate. Now instead of knowing the 
use and benefit of his great estate, he putteth it to 
know madness and folly; as if the giving of his 
heart to make use of it, were to lay hold on madness 
and folly. Thus he interpreteth himself, chap. ii. 

Reason. To make use of our great estate, accord- 
ing to the nature of it, is to use it to erect great 
buildings ; to plant \dneyards, orchards, gardens ; to 
provide a man's self of store of servants, costly ap- 
parel, rich furniture, gold and silver, musical instru- 
ments, as is she-wai ver. 3-10 of chap. ii. 

Now the benefit he had by the use of his great 
estate was madness and folly. 

Madness is a privation of natural reason and 
natural affection. 

Madness, in the original, implieth two things. 

1. A fond delight in rejoicing and exalting a man's 
self ; self-applauding. 

2. A vainirlorious boastina; to others, cAxn some- 

time with loud clamours and cracking ; celebrating a 
man's self, and affecting to be celebrated of others. 

Both these are found to arise in a man's spirit, 
upon his fair buildings, sumptuous provision, and 
furniture, and attendance, goodly and pleasant 
gardens, orchards, &c., Dan. iv. 30. 

Folly is a dulness, and fondness or weakness 
{Stupor semis in judkando, Aquin. ii. 2, Q. 46, Art. 2) 
the dulness of the understanding to judge and dis- 
cern of tilings. So is it vniXi every man employing 
his great estate in these rich and glorious matters ; 
he shall find discerning and savouring of heavenly 
things much dulled. 

Use 1. To call upon men of great estates to con- 
sider what good they get by their great estates, and 
their employment of them. If they employ them 
about great buildings, rich furniture, &c., as Solomon 
did, chap. ii. 3-8, then consider if madness and 
folly be not their portion. 

Use 2. If men's callings require the emplojTuent 
of their estates in sundry of these things, then it 
behoveth them especially to watch over themselves, 
lest madness and folly grow upon them. 

Use 3. To exhort men of great estates to employ 
them not so much according to nature, which breed- 
eth in the owners madness and folly, as in liberality 
to the poor, hospitality to strangers, maintenance of 
church and commonwealth, &c. So may we wisely 
lay up a good foundation for time to come, Luke 
xvi. 9 ; 1 Tim. \'i. 18, 19. 

Dod. 4. Much wisdom bringeth -with it much 
grief, sorrow, and vexation of spirit ; and the more 
wisdom, the more grief 

The wisdom he here speaketh of, is an acquisite 
wisdom — to wit, natural or civil wisdom, gotten 
from the observation of the creatures, or of human 

Reason 1. From the means used for the getting of 
this wisdom, reading and meditation, which are 
weariness to the flesh, Eccles. xii. 12. Study heat- 
eth the brain, intendeth and stretcheth the mind, as 
if the body were stretched on the rack ; yea, some- 
times to the breaking of a man's wits. As in 
wrestling there is striving, then weariness, then de- 
spair of overcoming, then giving over, then taking 
it up again ; so in study, again and again. 

Reason 2. The curse of God upon the body of the 



[Chap. II. 

creatures causetli that no use can be made of tliem, 
but with some sweat to the body, some grief and 
vexation to the spirit. 

Reason 3. Envy and emulation in others, which 
breedeth a learned man disturbance, indignation, and 
vexation, and discontentment ; in ourselves, that we 
are so much neglected, nor better respected than 
others of less eminency, as we conceive. 

Reason 4. The more knowledge we attain, the more 
we see our own igiiorance, which addeth much grief. 

Reason 5. Much study drietli up the sweetest 
moisture in the body, whether blood or marrow ; 
consumeth the cheerful spirits, and so breedeth 
morosity and harshness, which is a vexation to a 
man's self and others.^ 

Reason 6. ' The vanity of this wisdom falling short 
of Christ ■ and his grace, which is true wisdom, 1 
Cor. i. 21. 

Use 1. To reprove a foolish conceit of ignorant 
people, that think ministers and scholars eat the 
bread of idleness, come easily by their living, &c. 
No calling more wasteth and grieveth him that is 
occupied therein than theirs doth. The plough- 
man's employment is a pastime to theirs ; his labour 
strengtheneth his body, but theirs wasteth body and 
spirit ; whence it is the one so long a time outliveth 
the other. 

Use 2. To teach men to bear the more with 
scholars and wise men's weakness and morosity, 
they are incident to their callings. 

Use 3. To teach wise men to see if this be not 
the fruit of their wisdom. If yea, then to seek after 
that wisdom which maketh blessed, and addeth no 
sorrow with it, Prov. iii. 1 7. 


Ver. 1. I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will 
2Jrove thee -with mirth, therefore enjoy thy pleasure : 
and, behold, this also is vanity. 

Ver. 2. I said of laughter, Itismad: and of mirth, 
What doth it ? 

From verse sixteen of the former chapter, Solomon 
hath tried what happiness might be found in his great 

' Calvin desired the senate of Geneva to pardon hia 

wisdom ; now he proceedeth to try what happiness 
might be found in his great estate, in the pleasures 
and profits which it yieldeth. 
Parts, 5 : 

1. Solomon encom-ageth himself, in this solUoquj', 
to enjoy pleasure, ver. 1, since he cannot find happi- 
ness in wisdom : ' Go to now, I will prove thee,' &c. 

2. He delivereth his judgment of it, ver. 1,2; it is 
vanity, madness, good for nothing. What doth it 1 

3. He hath declared by particular induction the 
special delights he gave himself to take pleasure in. 

(1.) In his diet, wine, ver. 3. 
(2.) In his buildings, ver. 4. 
(3.) In husbandry. 

[1.] Planting of vineyards, and making gardens, 
orchards, pools of water, ver. 6. 
[2.] Storing of cattle, ver. 7. 
(4.) Housekeeping. 
[1.] Retinue, ver. 7. 
[2.] Wealth, ver. 8. 
(.5.) Music, ver. 8. 

4. He amplifieth his enjoying of these, 

(1.) By his joint laying hold of (diverse) wisdom, 
ver. 3. 

(2.) By the end he aimed at, in all his pleasure, 
ver. 3. 

(3.) j4 minori, he increased in these above all 
others, ver. 9. 

(4.) By adding all other things like these, ver. 10. 

(5.) By his solacing himself in them all, as being 
his portion, ver. 10. 

5. He relateth the issue hereof or event, which 
was that upon survey he found out all to be vanity, 
vexation, unprofitableness, ver. 11. 

Dod. 1. Conference with ourselves in way of en- 
couragement addeth strength and freedom to our 
resolutions and purposes, Luke xii. 19 ; Ps. xUii. 5. 

Reason 1. Words are as bellows, to blow up fer- 
vency and strength of spirit, as well in ourselves as 
in others. 

Reason 2. They presuppose a judgment satisfied in 
the lawfulness and expediency of that we go about, 
out of the abundance whereof the mouth speaketh 
words of encouragement. 

Use 1. To teach us to use this heli^ to stir up our 
dull hearts, and to strengthen our feeble knees to any 
1 any good duty, Ps. xxvii. 6, 7, &c. 

Ver. 3-11.] 



Use 2. To teach us to use the like conference with 
ourselves in way of discouragement from sins. The 
same breath that bloweth up fire cooleth hot water, 
Jer. viii. 6 ; Gen. xsxix. 9 ; Neh. vi. 1 1 ; Ps. iv. 4. 

Bod. 2. To give up ourselves to pleasure and 
laughter, to find happiness therein, is vanity, mad- 
ness, unprofitableness. 

Reason 1. There is emptiness in such mirth. In 
the midst of it the heart is sad ; the end of it is 
heaviness, Prov. xiv. 13; Isa. Ill; Eccles. vii. 6. 

Reason 2. To frolic it in the midst of so many sins 
and dangers is not the part of a wise man, but of a 
madman rather, Dan. v. 7 ; James iv. 9. 

Use 1. To reprove the vanity and madness of 
epicurean gallants, voluptuous livers. 

Use 2. To exhort us to beUeve Solomon's experi- 
ence, who hath proved it to our hands, and not to 
place and seek happiness in mirth and jolUty, Ps. 
iv. 6, 7. 

Ver. 3. I sought in mine heart to give myself unto 
wine, yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom ; and to 
lay hold on folly, till I might see what was that good for 
the sons of men, which they should do under the lieaven 
all the days of their life. 

Ver. 4. / TTMde me great works; I htdlded me houses; 
I planted me vineyards : 

Ver. 5. / made me gardens and orchards, and I 
planted trees in them of all kind of fruits : 

Ver. 6. / made me pools of water, to water thereioith 
the wood that hringeth forth trees : 

Ver. 7. / got me servants and maidens, and had ser- 
vants horn in my house ; also I had great possessions of 
great and small cattle above all that were in Jerusalem 
before me : 

Ver. 8. I gathered me also silver and gold, and the 
peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces : I gat me 
men singers and women singers, and the delights of the 
sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all 

Ver. 9. So was I great, and increased more than all 
tJiat were befoi'e me in Jeruscdem : also my wisdom re- 
mained with me. 

Ver. 10. Arid whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not 
from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy ; for 
my heart rejoiced in all mij labour : and this icas my 
p)ortion of all my labour. 

Ver. 11. Then I looked on all the wcn-lcs that my 
hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured 
to do : and, behold, cdl was vanity and vexation of spirit, 
and there was no profit under the sun. 

Doct. 1. To give up a man's self to seek his chief 
joys and happiness in outward comforts and delights, 
is to take hold of foUy. 

Solomon, here seeking to give himself to wine, 
and great buddings and plantings, and gathering of 
wealth and cattle, as also to great retinue and music, 
to see what was the chief good thing of the sons of 
men, saith here of himself, he laid hold on folly, ver. 3. 

Reason. These outward delights deeply tasted of 
do duU and stupefy our minds to the discerning and 
relishing heavenly and spiritual comforts. And what 
is folly else but stupor sensus in judicando ? Prov. xx. 
1, and xxvii. 7 ; Hos. iv. 11 ; Gen. xxvii. 4. Isaac's 
aflFecting venison perverted his mind and will to 
divert the blessings of God and his own love from 
his better son to profane Esau. 

Feeding of sweetmeats does take away the taste 
of our drink ; so do these outward dehghts fed upon 
infatuate the soul to the disrelishing of the water of 

Use 1 . To shew us how much more folly it is to 
give a man's self to seek pleasure in unlawful de- 
lights, as in drunkenness, whoredom, cards, dice, 
interludes, &c. 

If all lawful fruits tasted on do not satisfy, how 
much less will it satisfy us, or bless us, to taste of 
the forbidden fruit ? 

Use 2. To wean us from placing our chiefest con- 
tentment even in these lawful profits and pleasures. 
It is bat folly to set our hearts upon transitory, sen- 
sual blessings, which are but trifles in comparison 
of spiritual and eternal blessings. 

Use 3. To stir us up to lay hold of eternal life ; 
the favour of God ; the pardon of sin ; the grace of 
God's Spirit ; the ways of obedience to God's com- 
mandments. This is as true wisdom as the contrary 
is folly. 

Use 4. To watch over our spirits, lest they grow 
unsavoury, the more we enjoy outward sensual con- 
tentments and dehghts. 

JDoct. 2. Wisdom may be held with the large seek- 
ing after deUght in these outward things, but with 
much hazard. 



[Chap. II. 

Solomon in the end almost lost himself in these 
sensual dehghts. 

Reason 1. Qui vadit per prcecipitium, vergit in 
ruinam. He that walketh in the uttermost extent 
of the borders of his Christian liberty wUl soon de- 
generate, and fall into some licentiousness. 

Reason 2. The body, pampered with all content- 
ments, kicketh against the spirit, Deut. xxxii. 15 ; 
1 Cor. ix. 27. 

Use 1. To discourage us from making like trial, 
as Solomon here did, whether man's chief good 
might be found in outward pleasures and profits. 
His wisdom was much hazarded in so doing — yea, 
blemished and eclipsed. How much less shall our 
less wisdom hold out in such trials. 

Better is it for us to trust and believe Solomon's 
experience, than to try to our cost and danger as he 

Solomon himself led himself into temptation by 
this course. If we will not be warned by his fall, our 
danger will be the more desperate. 

Doct. 3. God aUoweth us to rejoice in these out- 
ward things, (pleasures or profits,) though not to 
seek or place our happiness in them. 

Reason 1. It is the portion which God giveth a 
man of all his labour, ver. 1, 10, 24, 26. 

Reason 2. It is a just ground, and good help and 
means, to stir up ourselves to the cheerful and 
thankful service of God, Deut. xxviii. 47. 

Reason 3. It doth good like a medicine, healing 
some bodily infirmities, and strengthening to each 
good duty, and to freedom in it, Prov. xvii. 22 ; 
Neh. viii. 10. 

Reason 4. Hilaritas in Domino est indicium animi 
bene sihi conscii : Godly cheerfulness is a token of a 
good conscience, Prov. xv. 15. 

Use 1. To teach us not to defraud ourselves of 
such lawful delights as the Lord alloweth us, in the 
good things we enjoy ; we shall do him and our- 
selves also injury in so doing. 

Doct. 4. He that shall take a just account and 
survey of all the happiness he getteth by his worldly 
profits and pleasures, shall find for his fehcity, vanity; 
for tranquillity of mind, vexation of spirit ; for ad- 
vantage, no profit. 
Reason 1. Of vanity. 
1. God never sowed man's happiness in those 

outward things ; how, then, shall we there reap 

2. God's curse hath brought vanity upon the 
whole creature, and all the fruits of it, by reason of 
our sin, Rom. viii. 20. 

Reason 2. Of vexation of spirit. 

1. The delusion of our hopes, which we promised 
to ourselves by these outward things, must needs 
vex us. 

2. The distempering of our bodies, but especially 
of our spirits, by these sensual dehghts, must needs 
grieve a good spirit. 

Reason 3. Of no profit. 

1. For in them we save not our souls, but rather 
lose them, Mat. vi. 26. 

Use 1. To teach men destitute of these things not 
to think themselves miserable for want of them ; for , 
they that have them axe not thereby happy. 

Use 2. To teach men that enjoy these things not 
to presume of more good to be found in them than 
there is in them. No happiness can be in them ; 
seek that in better things. He that looketh not for 
much from the creature shall never be much deceived. 

If happiness could be found in outward worldly 
things, how could God be happy without the world, 
and before the world was made 1 

Ver. 12. And I turned myself to huhold wisdom, 
and madness, and folly : for ivJiat can the man do 
that Cometh after the king ? even that which hath 
been already done. 

Ver. 13. Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, 
as far as light excelleth darkness. 

Ver. 14. The wise m,an's eyes are in his head ; 
but the fool walketh in darkness : and I myself per- 
ceived also that one event happeneth to them all. 

Ver. 15. TJien said I in my heart, As it happen- 
eth to the fool, so it happeneth even to me ; and why 
was I then more wise ? Then I said in my heaH, that 
this also is vanity. 

Ver. 16. For there is no remembrance of the wise 
more than of the fool for ever, seeing that which now 
is in the days to come shall all be forgotten : and how 
dieth the wise man ?- as the fool. 

Ver. 17. TJierefore I hated life, because the tvork 
that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me : 
for all is vanity and vexation of spirit 

Ver. 12-17.] 



Solomon, having considered the vanity of wisdom 
and folly severally and apart, now cometh to con- 
sider of them jointly, in comparison one with an- 
other, whereof he rendereth the reason, ver. 12, 
because no man had better experience of both of 
them than himself His singular experience, though 
but of one man, may stand for a general observation, 
as if it had been proved by the experience of all men. 
He that should try these things after him should 
find no more in them than he had done. 

Now, upon comparing of them together, he first 
preferreth wisdom above folly by a comparison, 

1. Of light excelling darkness, ver. 1.3. 

2. Of sight excelling blindness ; or of him whose 
eyes are in his head above him who walketh in dark- 
ness, ver. 14. 

Secondly, He equalleth wisdom and folly by 
the events happening to the fool and wise alike ; 
whence he falleth, 

1. Into an expostulation with himself, why he 
should then be more wise. 

2. Into a resolution or acknowledgment of this 
vanity, befalling wisdom and wise men, which is to 
find the like event befalling themselves as fools, ver. 

3. He expresseth in particular what these events 
be which fall equally upon both ; to wit, 

1. Both to be forgotten alike. 

2. Both to die alike, ver. 16. 

The effect of which in himself he sheweth to be 
hatred of his life, arising from the sense of the 
grievousness of tliis passage of God's work, to- 
gether with the vanity and vexation of spirit which 
each thing yieldeth to him, ver. 17. 

Dod. 1. He that will judge wisely and fully of 
things must consider of them, not only in them- 
selves apart, but jointly also, in comparison one with 

Thus wise Solomon, to give the more right sen- 
tence of wisdom and folly, doth not only consider 
them in their own worth and use apart, (which, in 
case of placing happiness in either of them, he find- 
eth to be vanity,) but also he turneth his heart to 
consider them jointly, in comparison one with an- 

Reason 1. It is the nature of a comparison to 
yield much illustration and light to the things com- 

pared, which much helpeth the judgment to discern 
of both of them aright. 

Reason 2. In comparing our good things with 
our betters, it helpeth to abate our pride. 

Reason 3. In comparing the evils Ijdng upon us with 
the greater evils lying upon others, it helpeth our 

Use 1. To teach us to do the like in all such things 
whereof we would take a just estimate ; as in conceiv- 
ing aright of our wisdom, wealth, poverty. Liberty, re- 
straint, credit, discredit, husbands, wives, children, 
friends, neighbours, &c. ; comparing them with the 
estates of others worse than our own, it will make us 
the better contented with our own portion ; compar- 
ing them with the estates of others better than our 
own, will abate our pride. 

Dod. 2. It is for men of Solomon's worth to make 
Solomon's comparisons. 

He knew, by God's own voice to him, that none 
should succeed him in wisdom and wealth, 1 Kings 
iii. 12, 13; and therefore he might safely compare his 
own singular experience of the worth of wisdom 
and wealth, honour and pleasure, with the experi- 
ence of all that should come after hun. 

Reason 1. Unless a man do know his own eminency 
above all others' in the things whereof he maketh 
comparisons, he will aj^pear no better than vain- 
glorious, if not ridiculous. Campian challenging 
both the universities, though his cause had been 
as good as he presumed it to be, yet coming 
short of sundry learned men in the knowledge 
of the Greek tongue, exposed himself to just dis- 

Goliath defying the whole host of Israel, and yet 
not knowing the eminency of the strength of faith 
above that of spear and shield, made himself a scorn 
and a prey. 

Use 1. To reprove the insolency of boasting spirits, 
comparing and challenging many times their equals, 
if not betters, to their own shame in the end. Peter 
preferring himself before all men, fell worse than any 
of his fellows ; Solomon excelling all, yet maketh 
comparisons but of equals here, ver. 12, 25. 

Dod. 3. It is not for any to hope to find more 
benefit by the use of wisdom, wealth, honour, plea- 
sure, than Solomon did, ver. 12. 

By folly, Solomon means the enjoying of all sensual 



[Chap. II. 

comforts, (whereof lie sjDake, ver. 1-11,) sucli as 
wealth, honour, pleasure. 

Reason, a majore. If he excelled all others in all 
these tilings, so far as any of them might be em- 
ployed to any comfortable, or profitable, or honour- 
able use, it is not for his inferiors in all or any 
of these, to find more good by them than he had 

Use 1. To teach all men to content themselves with 
Solomon's experience, and not to look for more bene- 
fit in these things than he found. If he, seeking the 
chief good in them, found them aU vanity and bitter- 
ness, we, in following his example, shall find no better 

But the world will not herein believe Solomon, 
though he should arise from the dead, and report no 
less to them. 

Bod. 4. There is as much difi'erence in wisdom 
above wealth, and such other sensual deHghts, as is 
in Ught above darkness, or in sight above blindness, 
ver. 13, 14. 

Light exceUeth darkness in sundry points. 

Light is comfortable, stirring up to clieerfuLness 
and boldness, Eccles.- xi. 7 ; but darkness breedeth 
sadness and timorousness. 

So wisdom maketh the face of a man to shine, 
Eccles. viii. 1 ; but sensual delights leave a man sad 
and timorous. 

L Light manifesteth things as they be, Eph. v. 13 ; 
darkness hidetli them. 

2. Light distinguLsheth one thing from another ; 
darkness confoundeth all alike. 

So wisdom discovereth clearly to us the true dis- 
cernment of things ; but voluptuousness overwhelm etli 
men with stupidity. 

3. Light directeth a man in his way ; but darkness 
misleadeth. So is it with wisdom, — it sheweth a man 
his way ; voluptuousness leadeth aside. 

4. Light awakeneth us ; but darkness luUeth 

So doth wisdom stir up a man to his business ; but 
voluptuousness lulleth a man asleep in laziness and 

Sight excelleth blindness, as in all the tilings 
wherein light exceUeth darkness, (for the light of the 
body is the eye ;) so in these things. Besides, 

1. Sight is an ornament to the body ; blindness a 

deformity. By it the body is, as it w-ere, a living 
dungeon to the soul, without windows. 

So is wisdom an ornament to the soul ; but the 
voluptuous person burieth himself quick in obscurity 
and deformity, 1 Tim. ii. 5, 6. 

2. Sight can discern hght if it be shewed to a, man ; 
but blindness maketh a man incapable of seeing hght 

So wisdom apprehendeth counsel and instruction ; 
but the voluptuous person is incapable of either, 
Hosea iv. 11. 

By the voluptuous person, I mean a man seeking 
happiness in sensual pleasure, whether arising from 
profit, honour, ease, or pastime, &c. 

So Solomon himself understandeth himself, for he 
saitli to himself, I will try thee with pleasure, chap. 
ii. 1 j he thereupon sheweth what trial he took of 
pleasure in -great and honourable works, profitable 
treasures, musical pastimes, &c. 

Use 1. To teach us that men do not straightway 
condemn all such things, wherein yet they do not 
place happiness. Solomon will not admit happiness 
to be found in wisdom, (he meaneth natural or civil 
wisdom,) and yet he acknowledgeth much excellency, 
and worth, and use of it. 

Use 2. To stir up men to be studious of getting 
wisdom above wealth, profit, pleasure. 

Use 3. To teach wise men and learned more con- 
tentment in knowledge, than other men take in 

Boot. 5. The same events, to die, and to be for- 
gotten after death, befall both to the wise man and 
to the voluptuous epicure alike, Eccles. ix. 15. 

Reason 1. The curse of God upon mankind is 
more powerful to kill and blast men, than wisdom, 
much less sensuahty, can be to preserve their lives 
and memories. 

Use 1. To stir up both wise men and voluptuous 
to prepare for death, and another life after this. 
Neither wealth nor wisdom can secure from death. 

Bod. 6. Such as employ themselves in getting 
wisdom and wealth, and other sensual comforts, 
to the intent to find happiness therein, shall in the 
end be weary of their wisdom and wealth, yea, even 
of their lives. Solomon here ha\'ing so employed 
his life, in the end cometh to this. Why am I more 
wise? ver. 15. And therefore I hated life, ver. 17. 

Ver. 18-23. 



Eea.son 1. These things' not yielding happiness, 
sheweth us their vanity, and our vanity in seeking 
it in them. 

Again, hope disappointed vexeth the spu-it, Prov. 
xiii. 12, (a minmi.) 

Reason 2. God infiicteth a more special curse upon 
earthly blessings, when they are set up as sumnium 
honuin in his stead. God never more powerfully 
and disdainfully overthroweth Dagon, than when he 
is exalted with the spoils of his ark, 1 Sam. v. 2-4. 
So doth God then especially blast worldly comforts, 
when our heart is carried captive unto them. 

Quest. But whether did Solomon well to be weary 
of his Hfe for this cause ? 

Ans. No ; he should rather have been weary of 
his sin in seeking happiness in these things. 

Life we are not to hate, but for Clnist, Luke xiv. 

Use 1. To wean men from placing theii' happiness, 
as the world generally doth, in these outward 
blessings. Certamly as it was with Solomon, so 
shall it be with all such. They shall in the end be 
weary of all these things, and of themselves also. 

Ver. 18. Yea, I hated all my labour ivhich I luid 
taken tinder the sun ; because I should leave it v.nto 
the man that shall be after me. 

Ver. 19. And who hnoweth whether he shall he a 
wise man or a fool ? yet sliall he have rule over all my 
labour wlierein I have laboured, and wherein I have 
shelved myself wise under the sun. This is also vanity. 

Ver. 20. Therefore I went about to cause my heart 
to despair of all the labour which I took under the sun. 

Ver. 21. For there is a man whose labour is in 
wisdom, and in knowledge, and in equity ; yet to a 
man tliat hath not laboured therein shall he leave it for 
a portion. This also is vanity, and a great evil. 

Ver. 22. For what hath m,an of all his labour, and 
of the vexation of his heart, wherein he hath laboured 
under the s^m ? 

Ver. 23. For all his days are sorrows, and his 
travail grief; yea, his heart taketh not rest in the 
night. This is also vanity. 

Solomon, in ver. 17, told us one effect which the 
consideration of the like event in death to the mse 
and fool wrought in him, which was his hatred of 

In this verse he addeth another effect of the 
same consideration, which was his hatred also of 
all his labour, ver. 18 ; which he further ampUfieth, 
first by two causes thereof, which shew the Hke event 
befalling to the wise man in death as to the fool. 

The first is. That he shall leave behind him all his 
labour, to wit, the great works he hath laboured in, 
to another that shall come after him, ver. 18. 

The second is. His uncertainty of his son's disposi- 
tion, whether he will prove a wise man or a fool, 
ver. 19. 

Secondly, By the effect of the hatred of his labour : 
ver. 20, ' Therefore,' saith he, ' I went about to cause 
my heart to despair of all the labour,' &c. ; which 
effect he further ampUfieth by a double cause. 

1. For that he having laboured in wisdom and 
knowledge and equity must leave the estate he 
hath so gotten to a man that hath taken no pains 
for wisdom, or knowledge, or equity, ver. 21. 

2. For that his labour hath yielded to himself 
nothing but sorrows, grief, restlessness, even in the 
night, ver. 22, 23. 

Boct. 1. WTien we labour for worldly comforts 
and blessings (such as wisdom, wealth, honour, and 
pleasure be) to the intent to seek happiness in them, 
we shall in the end come to see our labour lost, yea, 
become odious and wearisome to us. 

For no man may expect to find more good by liis 
labour after these things than Solomon did, yet 
this was the issue of all his labour so bestowed. 

Eeason. As of the former hatred of life, ver. 1 7. 

Quest. But whether did Solomon well, thus to 
hate liis labour for not yielding him that fruit he 
expected ? 

Ans. No ; for, 1. His labour was commanded 
of God, and was therefore good, Eccles. i. 13 ; Gen. 
iii. 19. 

2. His labour had not been in vain if he had used 
it as God commanded : sundry blessings follow dili- 
gent labour, Prov. x. 4, xiv. 23, and xxii. 29. 

3. God never gave labour about earthly things 
that blessing as to yield felicity. It was Solomon's 
fault to look to reap that fruit from his labour which 
God never gave it. He should rather have hated 
the vanity of his own mind, which abused his labour 
to a wrong end. But Solomon doth well to tell us 



[Chap. II. 

plainly how it fell out with him upon his labour so 
bestowed, that we may also see what we may expect 
in the like case. 

Use 1. To teach scholars that labour for natural 
or civil wisdom, and other men that labour for 
wealth, or honour, or pleasure, not to expect or seek 
greater happiness in them than they are able to 
yield. If we do, we shall find our labour lost, yea, 
wearisome to us in the end. 

These things we may labour for, but not as our 
chiefest good, but to some further higher end. If 
these things be the top of our hopes and desires, and 
the last end of our labour, we shall lose our labour 
and happiness both. 

Ohj. But do not many scholars that seek for'no 
further happiness than learning and wisdom find 
good contentment therein, free from such hatred of 
their labours ? And so do not many worldlings find 
the lilce in their wealth, &c., and never think their 
labour lost ? 

Ans. True ; but such men never cast up their 
accounts, as Solomon here did, to see whether they 
have indeed found true cause of contentment, true 
happiness indeed, in these things. If they had or 
did, doubtless they will find no better issue than 
Solomon had done, ver. 1 2. 

Dod. 2. It is a wearisome and odious thing to 
seek happiness in those things which we must leave 
behind us ; as Solomon was to leave all those great 
works behind him, which he had wrought by his 
great wisdom and wealth, together with all the com- 
forts which they afi"orded him, 1 Tim. vi. 7, 8. 

Reason 1. From the great need we stand in of 
happiness when we depart hence ; yea, then have 
we most need of it ; if otherwise then we fail of it, 
we become eternally miserable. 

Use 1. To shew the excellency of godly men 
above others ; they carry the happiness with them 
which others leave behind them, Prov. xii. 26. 
When a worldly wealthy man hath made his will, 
and left all his estate to such and such, what hath 
he left himself to carry away with him but the 
anguish and misery of a guilty conscience, and the 
expectation of worse ? 

Use 2. To exhort therefore to labour more for 
godliness than all earthly blessings. It is, indeed, 
great gain which will go current in this world and 

that which is to come, 1 Tim. vi. 6, and iv. 8. It is 
a great gain that bringeth God's blessing and no 
sorrow -with it, Prov. x. 22. 

Doct. 3. A wise man may have a son grown up to 
man's estate, and yet be uncertain what he will 
prove when he cometb to enjoy his father's living. 

Solomon old was before h« fell into idolatry, 
1 Kings xi. 4, and some years he must needs spend 
in building those temples to his wives' idols, after 
which time he wrote this book, so that now he was 
become very old. And therefore Eehoboam could 
not be young when he wrote it, for he wrote it not 
long before his death, and at his death Eehoboam 
was forty-one years old, 1 Kings xiv. 21. And yet 
Solomon, notwithstanding all his wisdom and deep 
insight into the nature of aU the creatures, and into 
the manners of men, he was not able to say whether 
his son would become a wise man or a fool. 

Reason 1. From the government of wise parents 
over their children, which keepeth them in from 
shewing forth their own spirits : Donee liherius 
Vivendi sit copia adolescentvlis, qui vitam scires aut in- 
genium nosceres; dum cetas, meius, magister p-ohihebant ? 

Reason 2. From the change of outward estate, 
which often changeth inward conditions ; Honores 
mutant mores. Sixtus, a humble, crouching car- 
dinal, but none so resolute and stout a pope ; a 
cardinal of the Spanish faction, a pope against 

Reason 3. From the various dispositions of some 
young men especially. Eehoboam himself some- 
time doth foolishly after his coming to the kingdom, 
1 Kings xii. 14 ; sometimes wisely, 2 Chron. xi. 5, 
to xii. 1 3. If he were thus various after he came to 
the crown, how much more before ! 

Use 1. To teach youth to take notice of their own 
uncertainty of spirit, that they may more seek to 
be established with grace. 

Use. 2. To teach parents, as much as may be, to 
season their children with grace, and to teach them 
in the trade of the best ways especially ; and then 
are they most likely to foresee their constancy, Prov. 
xxii. 6. 

Use. 3. To exhort parents to train up their 
children, above all graces, to humility ; for pride is 
the only sin for which God is wont to strike with 
madness, Dan. iv. 30-32. That other cause of dis- 

Ver. 18-23.] 



traction, to wit, spiritual anguish through brokenness 
of si^irit, Ps. Ixxxviii. 15, which Heman fell into, 
will not blemish reputation of wisdom, 1 Kings iv. 
31. God is wont to heal it. 

Dod. 4. It is a wearisome vanity, tending to make 
a man to despair of aU his labours, a wise man and 
an honest man to leave his estate, either to an heir 
of whose wisdom he is uncertain, or to any who 
hath not laboured after wisdom and honesty, ver. 
19-21. This double vexation befell Solomon ; first. 
He was uncertain what his son would prove — wise or 

2. He saw for the present he took pains neither 
for wisdom, nor equity, or honesty, as himself had 
done ; yea, it may be he also foresaw what loss of 
his estate might befall his son — ten parts of it to faU 
to Jeroboam, a man that made Israel to sin. And 
yet in Libanus, and other parts of Israel, Solomon 
had built much, 1 Kings ix. 19. 

Reason 1. For so a wise man is likely to be a 
drudge to a fool, an honest man to a wretch, a pain- 
ful man to an idle. 

Use 1. To wean wise men, and so all men, from 
voluptuousness, that is, from placing their happiness 
in earthly comforts. Otherwise it would never have 
thus vexed Solomon to have been uncertain of his 

For it would have contented him, and ought so to 
have done, 

1. To have enjoyed the comfort of his own labour 
himself whOst he lived, Ps. cxxviii. 2. 

2. To have employed them in liis lifetime to the 
good of others. 

3. To have trained up his heir with as much good 
education as he could. 

4. To have disposed his estate at his death as 
wisely as he could. 

5. To leave doubtful events to God, who di.=:poseth 
of all things wisely and justly. 

Use 2. To moderate men's eager pursuits after 
wealth. Little know we what manner of men we 
labour for. 

Use 3. To reprove our carnal confidence, who 
thmk to make sure to leave our estates in a good 
hand, and there to abide from one time to another — 
a thing more than Solomon could foresee or provide 

Use 4. To moderate our judgments when we see 
men's estates fall into the hands of foolish and pro- 
digal heirs ; not straight to think they were iU gotten. 
Solomon had laboured in equity as well as in wis- 
dom, and got all his estate honestly ; yet it was 
scattered (ten parts of it) in his son's days in the 
hands of a stranger. 

Doct. 5. To seek feHcity in wealth and pleasure, 
&c., -nill put a man to continual grief and restless- 
ness day and night, ver. 22, 23 j 1 Tim. vi. 10. 

Eiches and pleasures are as thorns, not only to 
choke good seed in us, Luke viii. 14, but also to 
prick and pierce ourselves with many sorrows. 

Reason 1. Their multitudes are a burden, Eccles. 
V. 12. As many clothes on a man's bed will put 
him into a sweat, and not suff'er him to sleep ; so 
multitudes and abundance of wealth. For they 
carry with them many cares, fears, and uncertainties. 

Use 1. To wean us from seeking such troublesome 
comforts. Labour we for riches, so as we may have 
them with God's blessing, which addeth no sorrow, 
Prov. X. 22. 

Use 2. To exhort to labour for spiritual treasure, 
which makes our sleeps sweet, and our days comfort- 
able. Job XXXV. 10 ; Ps. Ixxvii. 6 ; Prov. xv. 1.5. 

Ver. 18. Yea, I Jutted all my labour which I had 
taken vnder the stm ; because I should leave it unto 
the man that shall be after me. 

Ver. 19. And who Jcnoweth whether he shall be a 
wise man or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all 
my labour wherein I !uive laboured, and ivherein I 
have shewed myself u'ise under the sun. This is also 

Ver. 20. Therefore I went about to cause my heart 
to desjjair of all the labour which I took under the sun. 

Ver. 21. For there is a man whose labour is in 
wisdom, and in laiowledge, and in equity ; yet to a 
man t/iat hath not laboured therein shall he leave it for 
his portion. This also is vanity and a great evil. 

Ver. 22. For wJiat hath man of all his labour, and 
of tlie vexation of his heart, tvherein he hath laboured 
under the sun ? 

Ver. 23. For all his days are sorrows, and his 
travail grief; yea, his heart takelh not rest in the 
idffht. This is also vanity. 

'When Solomon saw that the exercise of his Avis- 



[Chap. II. 

dom about the creatures, and his emploj-ment of all 
the creatures unto delight, which he calleth mad- 
ness and folly, did neither of them satisfy his heart, 
but both of them alike jield him vanity and vexa^ 
tion of spirit; it gave him occasion to consider 
whether they were not both of them in comparison 
equal, or what excellency there was in the one above 
the other. And this he could as well as any under- 
take, because he excelled all men in wisdom, 1 Kings 
iv. 30, and iii. 12. 

Dod. 1. A wise man that shall compare together 
ivisdom and folly — that is, the exercise of wisdom 
about the knowledge of the creatures, and the em- 
ployment of a great estate to try what chief good 
there may be found in creature comforts — shall find 
as much excellency in wisdom above folly, as in 
light above darkness, in sight above blindness, ver. 
13, 14. 

See this opened and applied in the notes on 
pp. 25, 26. 

Dod. 2. Though the excellency of wisdom above 
folly be as great as the excellency of light above 
darkness, and of sight above blindness, yet one 
event happeneth both to the wise and foolish ; which 
•Solomon proveth by instances ; both, 1. Die ahke ; 
2. Are forgotten alike, ver. 14-16. 

Reason. From the condition of the creatures, they 
are temporal, and serve to support a temporal and 
mortal Ufe; but when this life is ended, we leave 
them and they leave us. 

Use 1. To teach wise men, ajid fools too, to pre- 
pare and provide for another life, and honourable 
remembrance after it by another course, than either 
wisdom or wealth. 

Faith is the only way — 1. To eternal life, John xi. 
25, 26 ; 2. To honour, Heb. xi. 2. 

Dod. 3. To consider the hke event befalling to 
the wise and to the foolish, it may breed in a wise 
man that exerciseth all his wisdom and labour about 
creatures and creature comforts deep discontent- 
ment, sadly to be weary both of his wisdom and of 
his hfe, and of all his labour, wherein he hath exer- 
cised his wisdom under the sun. Ver. 15, 'Why 
was I then more wise.' Ver. 17, ' Therefore I hated 
life.' Ver. 18, ' Yea, I hated all my labour.' Ver. 
20, ' And I went about to cause my heart to despair 
of all my labour.' 

Reason 1. From discerning the equality of the 
Hke event to himself as to the foolish, — to ivit, 
1 . To die ; 2. To be forgotten ; 3. From the neces- 
sity of leaving all, ver. 18 ; 4. From the uncertainty 
of the wisdom or foUy of such to whom he shall 
leave it, ver. 19, in hkelihood to leave all to such 
as have not laboured in wisdom, knowledge, and 
equity, as Solomon left all to Rehoboam, who was 
foolish and weak, 1 Kings xii. 8 ; 2 Chron. xiii. 7. 
Jeroboam, who, though industrious, 1 Kings xi. 28, 
yet laboured not in equity ; 5. From the portion 
which a wise man reapeth of all his labours, to wit, 
sorrow, grief, restlessness by night, ver. 22. 

Quest. But was it well done of Solomon thus to 
be discontented and weary of these good gifts of 
God — 1. His wisdom ; 2. His life, as well as of his 
labour ? 

Ans. No;-but Solomon did well thus to confess 
his own distemper before the church, to let them 
and us all see what we shall get by employment of 
our wisdom and great estates to seek happiness in 
creature comforts. 

To exercise our wisdom in the knowledge and 
study of the creatures. To employ them, or to 
teach others to employ them, in physic and chiriir- 
gery, it would never have made a man weary of it 
in that course. And in like sort to employ our 
great estate in due supportance and refreshment of 
ourselves, education of our families, maintenance of 
church and commonwealth, succour of poor widows 
and fatherless, as Job did, would never have made 
a man weary of his labour. But to try to seek what 
happiness might be found in all creature comforts, 
that is it which is vanity and vexation, and maketh 
a man weary of wisdom, life, labour, as if man 
should employ his wisdom (art and skill) in the 
secrets of nature, and lay out a great estate to find 
the philosopher's stone, what shall he find at length 
but cause to be weary of his wisdom, life, and labour 
so bestowed in vain ? 

Reason 2. From the curse of God upon wisdom, 
wealth, and labour, bestowed upon an end which 
God never ordained them unto. 

Use 1. For a warning to scholars not to bless 
themselves in all the msdom they get by the study 
of the creatures, nor in all the labour they take 
about that knowledge so as to make it their end to 

Ver. 24-26.] 



excel herein ; but so to subordinate all to some of 
God's ends, that he may accept them and their 
labours, lest otherwdse he make them weary of all 
tlirough discontentment. 

Use 2. To teach men of estates not to bless them- 
selves in their great estates, nor in all the creature 
comforts they can get by them ; it will at length 
leave them in deep discontentment. 

Use 3. To teach us so to use our wisdom and 
estates, as the employment ^ thereof, the fruit thereof, 
may not die with us, but may be carried along with 
us, Rev. xiv. 13. Then it will not grieve us, as it 
did Solomon, ver. IS, to leave our labours behind us. 

Use 4. To endeavour faithfully the good education 
of our children, that whether they prove wise or 
foolish, we may have comfort in our conscionable 
care of their good ; and we, faithfully endeavouring 
their good, shall find God ordinarily blessing our 
endeavours so far to them, as we shall leave all 
behind us to them with comfort. 

Ver. 24. T/iere is nothing better for a num, than 
that he should eat and drink, and that he should make 
his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, 
thai it was from the hand of God. 

Ver. 25. For who can eat, or who else can liasten 
hereunto, more tlian I ? 

Ver. 26. For God giveth to a m,an that is good in 
his sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy : but to the 
sinner he giveth travail, to gather and to heap up, that 
he may give to him that is good before God. This also 
is vanity and vexation of spirit. 

There is no good in man that he should eat and 
drink, &c., even this I saw that it was from the 
hand of God, &c. Solomon having said that man 
hath no portion out of his labours, but grief for his 
travail, vers. 22, 23, he here rendereth a reason of it, 
taken from the contment or efficient cause of good- 
ness, which he saith is, 

1. Not man; it is not in his power to reach it or 
give it. 

2. But God ; whatsoever good we receive, ver. 24. 
Whereof he rendereth a double reason : 1. From his 
own experience, ver. 25 ; himself was as able and 
ready to seek good in the creatures as any, and yet 
he could get no other good out of them, than as it 

' Query, ' enjoyment,' — Ed. 

is said, vers. 22, 23. 2. From God's manner of dis- 
pensing these good tilings of this Hfe, to wit, the 
wise and joyful use and benefit of them to the good 
man, the travail about them to heap them up to the 
sinner, and that also for the good man's use, ver. 26, 
which arg-ueth, that the finding of good by all oui" 
labours and travail is not in man's hand, but God's. 
Whereupon he addeth this usual epiphonema, that 
this also is vanity and vexation of spirit, ver. 26. 
There is no good in man, or in- the power of man ; 
so I translate the words in the same sense as the 
same words are translated, chap. iii. 12. 

Doct. 1. To enjoy any good by our labour, yea, 
so much as to eat or cbink with comfort, is not in 
man's hand, but it is the gift of God, James iv. 
13-15 ; Eccles. iii. 12, 13. 

There is a threefold good which our souls might 
enjoy by our labours : 1. The having of the creature ; 

2. The use of it ; 3. The benefit of that use. 

None of these is in the power of our labours to 
attain unto : 1. Not the having of the creature it- 
self, Eccles. ix. 11 ; Lev. xxvi. 19, 20; Deut. viii. 
17, 18. 2. Nor the use of it either to ourselves, 
which may be intercepted, as the use of meat and 
drink, (1.) By sickness, Ps. c™. 18 ; Job xxxiii. 20 ; 
(2.) By sadness, Ps. xhi. 3, cii. 9, and Ixxx. 5 ; 
(3.) By sudden fears and dangers, 1 Sam. xxx. 16, 
27; 1 Kings vii. 19, 20; Ps. Ixxviii. 30, 31; (4.) 
By covetousness, Eccles. iv. 8, and vi. 2 ; (5.) By 
scruple of conscience, Acts x. 13, 14; or to otliers. 

3. Nor the benefit of the use, which is cheerfulness 
and joy in it ; the refreshing and nourishing wliich 
the creature might yield. Hag. i. 6 ; Acts xiv. 1 7. 
The benefit of doing good to others is acceptance ; 
but that is of God too, Rom. xv. 31. 

Reason 1. Since the fall, the good which God put 
into the creature, Gen. i. 31, is accursed to us for 
our sin, so that now labour and sorrow is all our 
portion from the creature. Gen. xvii. 19. 2. Good- 
ness residing chiefly in God, is to be found in the 
creature only by participation, and that at his plea- 
sure. Mat. xix. 17. By Adam's fall goodness is 
devoted to the second Adam ; to wit, the goodn&ss 
of the creature, Heb. ii. 6-8 ; hence from him it 
is derived to us. 

Use 1. To reprove, first. Confidence in ourselves 
for the getting of this or that good by any means 



[Chap. III. 

we can use, James iv. 13-15; secondly, Acknow- 
ledging the good we have to come from our ovm 
means, Hab. i. 16; Amos vi. 13; thirdly, The 
abusing of meats and drinks and other creatures to 
vanity, riot, and mischief, &c. The gifts of God are 
to be used to his service and praise, Hos. ii. 8, 9. 

Use 2. To exhort to look up unto God for the 
finding of good in all the means we use, and to 
acknowledge him in the attaining of it. The 
heathens did so to their false gods, how much more 
we to the true 1 Dan. v. 4. We thank our host for 
our good cheer, how much more should we thank 
God for it "i 3. To teach us to look up to God, that we 
may find good in his ordinances especially; for 
spiritual and eternal good things are least of all in 
the power of the creature to give or to receive. 

Dod. 2. It is not for any man to look to find more 
benefit by his labours, or by the creatures gotten and 
used by him, than Solomon did. 

Reason. No man knew the creatures better than 
he, nor how to use them to better purpose ; neither 
can any man go about to get benefit by them more 
■wisely or more seriously. 

Use. To teach us to content ourselves with Iiis ex- 
perience. If he found no happiness by all his labours 
about the creature, if he found nothing by the crea- 
ture but his labour for his travail, no more shall we, 
if we depend upon our labour, or upon the creature, 
or seek happiness in either. 

Dod. 3. God giveth to the godly wisdom, know- 
ledge, and a cheerful use of the fraits of his labour, 
but to the wicked labour and drudgery for the benefit 
of the godly, ver. 26. A man good in God's sight is 
here meant the godly, as opposed here to the sinner. 
Job xxvii 13, 16, 17 ; Prov. xxviii. 8. 

Reason 1. It is the end of God's predestination 
that all things befalling the wicked should redound 
to the glory of God's mercy towards the elect, Eom. 
ix. 22. 2. The godly, having Christ, have the world 
as theirs, and all the comforts of it, 1 Cor. iii. 21-23. 
3. The godly, using the creatures and their own 
labours about them, in their right place and kind, 
reap that benefit from them which any way they can 
yield. Mat. vi. 33. They in that way find the bless- 
ing of God, which exempts from sorrow, Prov. x. 22. 
But the wicked, taking the creatures for their chief 
good, fall short of God, and of that good also from 

the creatures, and their labours about them, which 
otherwise they might attain. 

Ohj. But doth it not oft fall out contrary, that 
the wicked have the world at will, and not so the 
godly? Job xxi. 7-13 ; Ps. Ixxiii. 3-5, and xvii. 14. 

Atis. 1. It is so as Solomon speaketh here with 
many godly — they enjoy a wise and cheerful use of 
their labours and of the creatures ; and, contrari-\vise, 
many wicked labour and toil, and that uncomfort- 
ably, for the good of the godly. 2. A little the 
righteous hath is better than great treasures of many 
wicked, Ps. xxxvii. 16 ; for (1.) The joy of hypo- 
crites and worldlings is but for a moment. Job xx. 
5 ; Isa. 1. 11. (2.) Their prosperity is pernicious to 
them, Prov. i. 32. (3.) The great estate of mcked 
men never resteth tiU it be devolved into the hands 
of the godly, but is meanwhile tossed as a tennis- 
ball from one hand to another, from one family to 

Use. To exliort to godliness. The godly are good 
in God's sight ; they have comfort of their labours. 
The wicked men's labours is also for their benefit 
and comfort. 

Doct. 4. The disappointment of a man's labour is 
a vanity and vexation of spirit, especially to such as 
seek for happiness in their labours about the crea- 
tures, ver. 26. 

Reason. It is a curse of God, Lev. xxvi. 1 6. 

Use. To stir us up the more to godliness. Thereby 
we shall find good in our labours ; or if we be dis- 
appointed, that also will work our further drawing 
near to God, Hosea ii. G, 7. 


Ver. 1. To every Ihing there is a season, and a time 
to every purpose under the fisaven : 

Ver. 2. A time to be born, and a time to die ; a time 
to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; 

Ver. 3. A time to kill, and a time to heal ; a time 
to break down, and a time to build up ; 

Ver. 4. A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time 
to mourn, and a time to dance ; 

Ver. 5. A time to cast away stones, and a time to 
gather stones together ; a time to embrace, and a time 
to refrain from embracing ; 

Ver. 1-9.] 



Ver. 6. A time to get, and a time to lose ; a time to 
keep, and a time to cast away ; 

Ver. 7. A time to rend, and a time to seiv ; a time 
to Jceep silence, and a time to speak ; 

Ver. 8. A time to love, and. a time to hate ; a time 
of war, and a time of peace. 

Ver. 9. What profit hath he that luorketh in that 
wherein he lahoiireth ? 

To everything there is a limited term, (or period,) 
and a time to every will (or purpose) under the 
heaven, &c. Solomon having shewed the vanity of all 
the creatures towards the attainment of felicity ; and 
that, first, Partly by their own nature, chap. i. 1-11; 
secondly, Partly by the great experience and trial 
which himself had taken of them — both in, first. 
The knowledge and study of them, chap. i. 12-18; 
2. The emplojTnent and improvement of them to 
sensual delights, chap. ii. — he in this chapter 
(the former part of it) and these words sheweth 
the vanity that heth upon the estate and actions of 
men, by tlie vicissitude and variety of them, and 
that by the determined appointment and limitation 
of God's purpose and providence. 

Parts of the words — first. An assertion that all 
things under heaven are subject to variety and 
vicissitude of changes, and that by the determinate 
appointment and limitation of God, ver. 1-8 ; 
2. A collection or inference of the unprofitable- 
ness of men's labours in regard thereof. The asser- 
tion he first delivereth in a general proposition, ver. 
1 ; secondly, He declareth and proveth it by an 
induction of twenty-eight particulars, ver. 2-8. In 
the assertion, the word translated season, is a set or 
limited time or a determinate period ; as the word 
is used for an appointed set time, Ezra x. 14 ; Neh. 
X. 34. And the meaning is not to shew there is a 
fit season allowed us of God for all things done 
under heaven : for, first. That is not true ; if it 
were, what is that to demonstrate the vanity or un- 
profitableness of men's labour about the creature, 
which is here the scope of Solomon 1 And when he 
saith, to every purpose, or, as it is in Hebrew, to 
every will, he meaneth, by a metonymy, to every- 
thing which a man "vrilleth, or purposeth, or per- 
formeth. In the induction, the twenty-eight par- 
ticulars consist of fourteen pair of contraries, 
wherein a man changeth from one contrary estate 

or course unto another : whereof the first pair is 
natural, to be bom to die ; secondly, The rest 
voluntary, and they are either, first, Private and 
domestical, as a time, 1. Of planting and puUing 
up ; 2. Of breaking down and building ; 3. Of weep- 
ing and laughing ; 4. Of mourning and dancing ; 5. 
Of casting away and gathering stones ; 6. Of em- 
bracing and refraining; 7. Of getting and losing; 
8. Of keeping and casting away ; 9. Of rending and 
sewing; 10. Of silence and speech; 11. Of love and 
hatred. Secondly, Politic, as, 1. Of killing and heal- 
ing ; 2. Of war and peace. 

Dod. 1. The times that pass over us bring upon 
us many changes, yea, often from one contrai-y to 

Doct. 2. To every change that befalleth us, even 
to every state and business of men under heaven, 
there is a time limited and detei-mined by God. 

Doct. 3. This change of men's estates, and the 
hmitation of the times thereof, leaveth a man no 
profit by all his labour towards the attainment of 
happiness. But, for bre-\aty sake, all these may be 
handled together. 

Doct. 1. As the main proposition of the text. 

Doct. 2. As the principal reason of it. 

Doct. 3. As the chief use of both. 

For proof of the first doctrine, Ps. xxx. 5-7 ; 
Lam. i. 1, 2, and iv. 1, 2, 7, 8 ; Isa. i. 21, 22; 
John xxi. 18. The people sometimes cry Hosanna, 
sometimes Crucify ; Peter sometimes maketh a 
glorious confession of Christ, sometimes a gross 
denial ; Paul sometimes as an angel of God, Gal. 
iv. 14, sometimes an enemy. Gal. iv. 16. Nebu- 
chadnezzar sometimes flourishing in his palace, 
sometimes grazing among the beasts, restored again. 

Reason 1. From the determinate purpose of God 
to hmit men's times and changes. Job xiv. 5, and 
\'ii. 1 ; John vii. 30, and viii. 20 ; Luke xiii. 32, 33, 
and xxii. 53 ; Acts xiii. 25, 26 ; Ps. xxxi. 15 ; Acts 
xvii. 26; Dan. v. 26. Grounds whereof; first, 
God's sovereignty over us, and so his dominion over 
our times. Acts i. 7. The heir, while under age, 
hath his time limited, Gal. iv. 1. Secondly, God's 
faithfulness to us, Ps. cxix. 75. If our times were 
in our hands, we would never see ill times ; if in 
Satan's hands, he would never suffer us to see good 
days. Thirdly, Our aptness to settle upon the 



Chap. III. 

lees, and to coiTU2:it if not clianged, Zeph. i. 12; 
Jer. xlviii. 11; Ps. Iv. 19. 2. From the con- 
trary principles dwelling in us ; whence variety, 
yea, contrariety of changes of carriage, Gal. v. 17. 
3. From the instahility of all the creatures, and 
their outward estates, by reason of the curse. Gen. 
iii. 1 7 ; which though to the godly it be changed to a 
cross, yet the cross abideth to them, the curse to the 
wicked, 1 Kings xiv. 15. 

Use 1. To wean us from fastening our hopes and 
desires after happiness in any estate here below, 
Mat. vi. 19, 20; Prov. xxiii. 5 ; 1 John ii. 15, 17. 
The unsettledness of all things here below demon- 
strateth their unprofitableness unto happiness. 
2. To keep us from presuming of our OM'n 
undertaking, and from possession of absolute pur- 
poses and promises, without subjection to the will 
of God, James iv. 13-15 ; Luke xii. 19, 23 ; Prov. 
xxvii. 1. 3. To moderate our mourning in hard 
times, and our rejoicings and confidences in good 
hours, Ps. xxxix. 9, and cxv. 3 ; Micah vii. 7, 8 ; 
Ps. XXX. 6, 7. 4. To stir us up to seek and wait 
for a settled mansion in heaven, Heb. xiii. 14. 
5. To take off the plea for dancing hence ; for it is 
not said there is a lawful time to dance, but a limited 
time. Herodias' daughter, Salome, had a time to 
dance, as to earn half a kindgom for a dance, and to 
get John Baptist's head. So another time, of a con- 
trary dance, when falling through the ice (if we may 
beUeve Nicephorus, lib. i. cap. 20) her feet capered 
under water, and her head being cut ofi" by the ice, 
it danced above the ice. - 

We read, first. Of a religious dance, Exod. xv. 20 ; 
secondly, Of a civil dance to entertain conquerors, 
Judges xi. 44 ; 1 Sam. xviii. 6 ; Luke xv. 25 ; when 
the eyes are set upon joy. But not in marriages, 
where is more temptation to lust. Tully pro 
Mureena ! Nemo saliat sobrius nisi forte insaniat, 
neque soliticdine neque in convivio honesto et moderate ; 
especially it is unmeet in New England, and that 
now when the churches of England are in such dis- 
tress, Ezek. xxi. 10. 

Ver. 10. J have seen the travail which God hath 
given to the sons of men to be esc-ercised in it. 

Ver. 11. He hath made evei-ythiny beautiful in his 
time : also he hath set the vmid in their heart ; so that 

no man can find, out the iir/rk that God maketh from the 
bee/inning to the end. 

Solomon in the former verses of this chapter 
argueth the vanity that Ueth upon the estate and 
actions of men by reason of the vicissitude and 
variety of them, and that limited and determined 
by the appointment of God ; and from thence he 
inferreth the vanity and unprofitableness of men's 
labours to seek for happiness in creature comforts, 
ver. 1-9. Now, therefore, lest men should shghtly 
pass over these varieties of changes that pass over 
them, and make no profitable use of them, as if they 
came by fortune or change, or God's neglect of 
the government of the world, Solomon here preacheth 
to us a fourfold profitable use and observation of 

1. That God hath given this travail to the sons of 
men to exercise themselves in observing and finding 
out God's work in them all, ver. 10 ; as, 1. Having 
made everything beautiful in his season ; 2. Having 
put the world in the hearts of men, ver. 11. 

2. That whatsoever our estate be, we should not 
look to find the chief good in them, but be doing 
good with them, vers. 12, 13; and take such good 
from them as they afford, vers. 12, 13. 

3. That these changes are wholly and unchange- 
ably in God's hands, and aim at a gracious end, that 
men should fear before him, ver. 14. 

4. That there is to be observed a settled order in 
this variety of changes, as in the motions of the 
heavens, ver. 15. 

Doct. To consider and find out the work of God 
in all the variety of changes that by his appointment 
do pass over us, it is a travail given of God to exer- 
cise the sons of men. As in searching out the crea- 
tures, it was a travail given of God, Eccles. i. 13 ; 
so here to search out the work of God in all changes 
that befalls us, Ps. cxi. 2-4. 

Season I. From the beauty to be observed in 
every work of God — that is, in every change befall- 
ing us — in its season. To the beauty of the body 
there concur three things : 1. 6?.oxX>)5/'a, when no 
member is defective or superfluous, good constitu- 
tion ; every maim is a blemish, every superfluity is a 
deformity. 2. au/j,fiiTo!a partium, when one part is 
proportionable to another, and all suitable to their 
end and to their head, good proportion. 3. iu- 

Ver. 12-13.] 

yjo/a, well-colouredness, or well-favouredness, good 
complexion. So in God's works about us there is, 

1. A perfection, as in the creatm-es, Isa. xl. 2G, so 
in his government of us, Deut. ii. 4 ; Isa. v. 4. 

2. A symmetry or proportion, first, Between the 
Lord and his work, 2 Tim. ii. 13; Ezek. xx. 9, 
14, 22. Secondly, Between Ins former and latter 
works. Judges vi. 13, 14. Thirdly, Between the 
instrument and the work God doth by it, niultum 
refert Daviisne loquaUir an herus. Arrogant cruelty 
becometh Pharaoh ; profane blasphemy, Rabshakeh ; 
cursing, Shimei ; treason, Judas, Isa. xxxii. 6, 8. 
Fourtlily, Between God's deaUngs with us, and ours 
with him, Ps. xviii. 24-26. The wild-fire of lust in 
Sodom was punished with wild-fire and brimstone. 
So in destroying the Egyptians' first-born, Exod. 
iv. 22, 23; so in Nadab and Abihu ; so in Adoni- 
bezek. Judges i. 6, 7. 3. Iv/jola, well-favouredness. 
It is a beauty in the countenance : first, Cheerfulness ; 
secondly, Lightsomeness. First, There is a cheerful- 
ness in God's work at last. Gen. xlv. 7, 8 ; James v. 1 1 ; 
Heb. xii. 11. They have a pleasant countenance, Ps. 
xcii. 4, and Iviii. 1 0. Secondly, There is a lightsome- 
ness in them, giving hght and instruction, Ps. cvii. 43. 

Eeason 2. From God's putting the world into our 
hearts, ver. 1 1 ; where by the world is meant, first. 
Not only the creatures, the world of them ; secondly. 
But chiefly the world of changes of the creatures, of 
which Solomon here speaketh— ' hath put the world 
into their hearts' — impheth that God hath put into 
our hearts, first, Some desire and delight to search 
and find out the work of God in all the changes 
that pass over us. So putting into the heart im- 
pheth desire and delight in a thing, Ps. xl. 8. 
Secondly, Ability to do it, Jer. xxxi. 33. Both to- 
gether are expressed by that phrase, Rev. xvii. 17. 
The ground of which is our impotency and impossi- 
bility, without this putting the world into our hearts, 
ihat ever we should find out the work of God from 
beginning to the end, ver. 1 1 . 

Use 1. To stir us up to observe and find out the 
work of God in every change of estate that passeth 
• over us. It is else a brutishness in ourselves, Ps. 
xcii. 5, 6 ; it is a dishonour to God and to his 
works, Isa. v. 12 ; it is an enlargement of know- 
ledge and favour from God to consider his 
works, Ps. cvii. 43. As when a good workman 



seeth a man taken with his work, he is willing to 
shew him all his art in it. 2. To teach us not to 
disparage, or slight, or dishke any of God's works, 
but to magnify them. They are every one beautiful 
in his season. Job. xxxvi. 24 ; Isa. xlv. 9 ; Ps. Lxiv. 9- 
This magnifying of every work of God, as beautiful 
in his season, will keep us from discontentment and 
murmuring at God's providence, whatsoever it be 
that befalleth us or ours. Job i. 20 ; Ps. xxxix. 9 ; 
2 Kings XX. 19. It may seem an uncomely thing 
to take fair and full clusters of sweet grapes, and to 
tread them and press them in a wine-press, to leave 
nothing in them but husks, till in the end you see 
what sweet wine is pressed out of them, which 
keepeth lively and sweet, when else the grapes left 
alone would be rotten. 

Use 3. To teach us to improve and employ that 
knowledge of the world — that is, of all the changes 
that befall us in the world— which God hath put 
into our hearts, to find out the counsel and work of 
God therein. It was happiness to Esther in her 
advancement, Esther iv. 14; to David in crosses, 
Ps. cxix. 67, 71, 75. 

Obj. Yea, saith one, if I could spell out God's 
meaning in his works and dealings with myself and 
mine, it would give me great contentment. 

Aps. 1. In evils observe, first, What thou wast 
doing when a cross befell thee, Dan. iv. 30, 31 ; 
secondly. What conscience suggesteth to thee. Gen. 
xlii. 22 ; thirdly. The proportion of the affliction to 
thy sin. Judges i. 7 ; fourthly. Cast all idols out of 
thy heart, and inquire of the Lord his meaning, that 
thou mightest know it and do it, Ps. xxv. 9, 12. 
God was long in answering Johanan and his com- 
pany, even long after a Sabbath, because they sought 
in hypocrisy, Jer. xlii. 20. 

2. In good things observe, first, The opportun- 
ities and advantages God putteth into our hands, 
according to his word, Esther iv. 14 ; secondly. The 
great works God hath in hand; and derive your 
brooks to run into that stream, Jer. xlv. 4, f>. Now 
God is advancing a reformation, purs^-.e we that. 

Ver. 12. I know that there is no good in them, hut 
for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life. 

Ver. 13. And also tlmt everyman should eat anddrink, 
and enjoy the good of all his labour: it is the gift of God.