ePub 版

It is good and sure, to walk in a mean betwixt both these extremes; so to beware of severity, and too much profession of wisdom, that thou neglect not the other charge of avoiding looseness and folly: he, that feareth God, shall by him be kept in a holy mean, betwixt both these sinful and dangerous excesses.

VII. 21 Also take no heed unto all the words that are spoken; lest thou hear thy servant curse thee.

He, that would live in peace, must put up many injuries, especially of the tongue: be not too eagerly inquisitive after the words that are spoken concerning thee, lest thou hear those of thine own family speak evil of thee.

VII. 23 All this have I proved by wisdom: I said, I will be wise; but it was far from me.

I thought to make all these observations and experiments, and made account to gain a great measure of wisdom; but the more I knew, the less I was satisfied, and the more I found that I wanted. VII. 24 That which is far off, and exceeding deep, who can find it out?

So deep is wisdom hid, and so far off from our reach, that it is not in the power of man to find it out;

VII. 25 And to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness and madness:

As also to note the wicked courses of foolish, yea, of mad sinners, both in their actions and in their evens.

VII. 26 And I find more bitter than death the woman, whose &c. And I have found, by woeful experience, the mischief and deadliness of an alluring beauty, &c.

VII, 27 Counting one by one, to make up the account:

Curiously searching and examining of both sexes, as it were, by the pole, one by one, to give a just account of the estate of them both.

VII. 28 Which yet my soul seeketh, but I find not one man among a thousand have I found; but a woman among all those have I not found.

Which yet still I do earnestly seek; but find no cause to alter my judgment herein: this I profess to be the issue of all my inquisition; that, though it be very rare and hard to find one good of either sex, yet more difficult and strange to find such a one in that weaker sex: a good man is rare, but a good woman more.

VII. 29 Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.

Now this pravity and corruption, which I find in both sexes, I do not cast upon their first creation: nò; rather I do herein justify God, as finding and professing that it pleased him to make man holy and upright: all our depravation is from ourselves; our first parents, created in perfect innocency, would needs follow the devices of their own hearts, and the suggestions of the common enemy, and we their sinful posterity do nothing but devise further means of our own ruin.

VIII. 1 Who is as the wise man? and who knoweth the interpretation of a thing? a man's wisdom maketh his face to shine, and the boldness of his face shall be changed.

What creature under heaven is so excellent as a wise man? He only can find out the riddles of nature, and the secrets of art: it is his wisdom, that makes him gracious, and reverently respected of all men it is that, which alters and changes both his disposition and carriage; and, of rude and harsh, makes him gentle and inge


VIII. 2 And that in regard of the oath of God..

For that thou hast, by the sacred name of God, sworn homage and allegiance to him.

VIII. 3 Be not hasty to go out of his sight: stand not in an evil thing; for he doeth whatsoever pleaseth him.

Do not offer to fling out from him, as in a fury or chafe; neither think thou to face out an evil action before him; for he hath power in his hand to revenge these insolencies at pleasure.

VIII. 5 The heart of the wise man discerneth both time and judgment.

The heart of the wise man discerneth, both the time when every thing should be done, and the best way how it should be done..

VIII. 6 Because to every purpose there is a time and judgment, therefore the misery of man is great upon him.

For certainly, there is both a proper time for all our actions, and a meet way for the doing of them; which because men ordinarily do neither understand nor observe, they run themselves into great inconvenience.

VIII. 8 There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given thereto.

No man hath power to keep his soul, when God calls for it; neither hath he power to protract the day of death any longer: there. is no possibility of avoiding that last conflict: the bold and presumptuous wickedness of men cannot deliver them from it; yea, rather shall bring the evil day upon them.

VIII. 9 There is a time wherein one man ruleth over another to his own hurt.

It falleth out sometime, that that sovereignty, which was ordained for the good of the people, turns unto their hurt; and withal to the no less harm of the unjust manager thereof.

VIII. 10 I saw the wicked buried, who had come and gone from the place of the holy, and they were forgotten in the city where they had so done.

Such a wicked ruler I have seen pompously buried, who had come and gone from the sacred seat of judicature, with great state; and with no less to his grave: yet I have known him utterly forgotten, if not odiously remembered, in the city, where he had exercised authority.

VIII. 14 Unto whom it happeneth according to the work of the wicked.

Which speed ill, and are outwardly punished, as the wicked deserve to be.

VIII. 15 Then I commended mirth, because &c.

I resolved that it was good for man to be cheerful in his calling, and the good and holy use of God's blessings.

IX. 1 No man knoweth either love or hatred by all that is before them.

No man can, by the success of these outward things, judge and know, whether he be in the love or hatred of God.

IX. 3 And madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead.

Their heart is resolved to go madly and desperately forward in their wickedness, while they live; and when they have done thus lewdly, they drop into the grave, if not into hell.

IX. 4 For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: but a living dog is better than a dead lion.

If we compare the estate of the living and the dead, whether in itself or in respect of the present world, no doubt that of the living is better; for while we live here we may be still in hope, either of amending, or of receiving further graces and blessings; both which are, in regard of this life, cut off from the dead; and, as our common proverb runs, the most vile and contemptible of all creatures, the dog, that is alive, is better than the most generous of all beasts, the lion, which is now dead.

IX. 5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward.

However, in respect of a better life and the glorious estate of the soul, the case is quite contrary; yet, in reference to our present and sensible condition, the living know something; if no more but this, that they must die: but the dead know nothing at all, of these earthly occurrences; neither have they any more part or interest in these affairs, or any sense of their increase or diminution. IX. 6 Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion in any thing that is done under the sun.

Also, together with their senses, their affections are ceased: their love and their hatred of their wonted objects are now perished; their envy and their desires are gone; neither have they ought to do with any thing, that is done here below.

IX. 8 Let thy garments be always white; and let thy head lack

no ointment.

Testify the joy of thy heart, by the neatness and brightness of thy garments; and let thy head lack no store of sweet and precious oils, to cheer thy spirits and perfume thy skin.

IX. 10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might, for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

[ocr errors]

Whatever occasion of honest delight offer itself unto thee, take it; and whatever opportunity is offered thee of doing good, embrace it gladly and do it accordingly, with all thy heart; for thou hast but a while to do it or to enjoy it, since that in the grave, whither - thou goest, there is no work to be done, no device to be contrived, no use of knowledge or wisdom.

IX. 11 I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

I saw and observed, that, here on earth, all things do not fall out according to the probability of second causes, but by an overruling of Providence: the swiftest man doth not always win the race, nor the strong prevail in battle; the wise man doth not always get maintenance, nor the prudent wealth, nor the skilful approbation and favour; but every one, in his time, hath a several issue and event, according to the predetermination of the Almighty, beyond or contrary to his own hopes.

IX. 12 For man also knoweth not his time! as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them.

For inan cannot foreknow the time of his death or danger; but, even as the heedless fish runs unawares into the net, and the silly bird into the snare, so are we wretched men caught in the net and snare of evil occurrents, in the time which God hath secretly set, and surprized suddenly with unavoidable calamities.

IX. 14 There was a little city, and few men within it; and there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great bul warks against it.

There were many men in it, yet but one wise man: the number of the other was helpless, if not burdenous: that wise man was poor; and that poor man, by a stratagem, unthought of by the rest, found means to rescue and deliver that city; yet when he had done, no man regarded that man, because he was poor in estate, though rich in wisdom.

IX. 17 The words of the wise are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools.

The words of a wise poor man, though spoken softly out of a fearful and lowly kind of bashfulness, are worthy of more respect, than the imperious loud clamours of him that rules among fools.

X. 1 Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little foliy him that is in reputation for

reisdom and honour.

Let the ointment be never so fragrant, yet if dead flies be suffered to corrupt in it, the sweet smell thereof will be turned to a loathsome stench; so let a man be in never so good reputation for wis dom and honour, yet some one foolish humour and weak miscarriage of his mars and stains his estimation.

X. 2 A wise man's heart is at his right hand; but a fool's heart

at his left.

A wise man's heart is apt to give meet counsels, and to suggest dextrous and ready ways for the performance of any enterprize; whereas the fool's heart, and hand, goes sinisterly to work, and is utterly unapt to all good uses.

X. 3 Yea also, when he that is a fool walketh by the way, his wisdom faileth him, and he saith to every one that he is a fool. Yea, let the fool but walk by the way, and his very motion, and gesture, shews what he is, and proclaims his want of wit: much more do his words and actions bewray him.

X. 4 If the spirit of the ruler rise up against thee, leave not thy place; for yielding pacifieth great offences.

If the prince be angry with thee, do not, in a stomach or froward pettishness, give up thine office; but yield way humbly to that displeasure, and seek by submission to satisfy his indignation. X. 5 As an error which proceedeth from the ruler.

As an error, that proceeds from princes, in the ill choice which they make of those whom they promote.

X. 6 Folly is set in great dignity, and the rich sit in low place. That foolish and unfit men are advanced to places of dignity and employments in public affairs, while those that are truly abie, both for their parts and estate, and are well worthy of eminent places, are neglected and disregarded ;

X. I have seen servants upon horses, and princes walking as servants upon the earth.

Which, what is it other, than as if servants should ride on horseback, while princes walk by their stirrups, as their grooms on foot in a servile attendance?

X. 8 He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him.

It is a dangerous matter, to attempt any thing against authority and established government: whosoever doth so, doth but dig a pit whereinto himself shall fall; and, while he is breaking up an old hedge, is unawares stung with an adder that lay under those bushes.

X. 9 Whoso removeth stones shall be hurt therewith; and he that cleaveth wood shall be endangered thereby.

Such a one doth as the man, who, while he labours to remove an old heap of stones, bruiseth his feet; or, as he, who, cleaving of wood, cuts himself with the axe, or receives some of the splinters into his eye.

X. 10 If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength: but wisdom is profitable to direct. Strength without wit prevails not: if the axe be blunt and want an edge, there needs much force to be put to it in vain: wisdom doth, as it were, whet the edge of the axe, and directs to do that, with ease, which otherwise cannot be atchieved with much labour.

X. 11 Surely the serpent will bite without enchantment; and a babbler is no better.

As the serpent which is not charmed will bite or sting the passenger,

« 上一頁繼續 »