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thine own understanding: in all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths. Put away from thee afroward mouth; and preverse lips put far from thee; that thou mayest walk in the way of good men, and keep the path of the righteous.
The way of the wicked is as darkness, they know not at what they stumble: but the path of the just is as the shining light,which shineth more and more unto the perfect day.
The curse of the LORD is in the house of the wicked; but He blesseth the habitation of the just: surely he scorneth the scorner; but giveth grace to the lowly.
Keep sound wisdom and discretion, so shall they be life unto thy soul: then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble. When thou liest down thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lay down and thy sleep shall be sweet: for the LORD shall be thy confidence.
Happy is the man that findeth WISDOM, and the man that getteth UNDERSTANDING. Length of days are in her right hand; and in her left hand, riches and honour, Her ways are ways of pleasantness; and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her; and happy is every one that retaineth her.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
This is a small portion of the book of Proverbs, which consists of a collection of wise maxims, written by king Solomon : the whole deserves the most attentive and diligent perusal: but it will be sufficient to point out at present, that by WISDOM and UNDERSTANDING Solomon evidently meant RELIGIOUS WISDOM ; a knowledge of the will of Gon, and of the various duties he requires us to perform. By the FEAR of the LORD, which is said to be the beginning of this WISDOM; we are to under*Bishop Sherlock's Sermons.
stand, a just and proper notion and conception of GOD, founded on reverence, admiration, honour, and love of GOD; which will incline us to seek his protection and favour, and induce us to put our whole trust and confidence in his infinite mercy and goodness. This TRUST in God will naturally be productive of peace and tranquillity of mind, and will certainly obtain the blessing of GOD, which will render the practice of RELIGIOUS DUTIES pleasant and delightful to us; and lead us at length to the attainment of EVERLASTING happiness: so that Solomon might truly say, RELIGION is a TREE of LIFE to all that lay hold upon her, and happy is every one who retaineth her !"
Such is the value of true wisdom; let us therefore earnestly endeavour to learn its precepts: they are scattered through the sacred writings, like stars in the firmament; each separately viewed affords only a gentle glimmering light; but if we can collect their rays, they will enlighten our minds so that we cannot mistake the path that leads to the regions of bliss. May that ALMIGHTY BEING, who is the fountain of all WISDOM, assist us in the important pursuit!
KING SOLOMON'S WISE JUDGMENT.
From 1 Kings, Chap. iii.
THEN came two women unto the king, and stood before him.
And one woman said, O my lord, this woman and I dwell in one house and we were together, and there was no stranger with us in the house.
And this woman's child died in the night; because she overlaid it.
And she arose at midnight, and took my son from beside me, while thine handmaid slept, and laid it in her bosom, and laid her dead child in my bosom.
And when I arose in the morning to give my child suck, behold it was dead: but when I had considered it in the morning, behold, it was not my son, which I did bear.
And the other woman said, Nay; but the living is my son, and the dead is thy son: and this said, No; but the dead is thy son, and the living is my son. Thus they spake before the king.
Then said the king, The one saith, This is my son that liveth, and thy son is the dead: and the other saith, Nay; but thy son is the dead, and my son is the living.
And the king said, Bring me a sword. And they brought a sword before the king.
And the king said, Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other.
Then spake the woman whose the living child was unto the king, (for her bowels yearned upon her son,) and she said, O my lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it: but the other said, Let it be neither mine nor thine, but divide it.
Then the king answered and said, Give her the living child, and in no wise slay it: she is the mother thereof.
And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king. had judged, and they feared the king: for they saw that the wisdom of GOD was in him to do judgment.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
The dispute between the two women was of such an intricate nature as to require uncommon penetration to unravel it; for each asserted her right to the living child with equal earnestness, and there were no witnesses to
strengthen the claim of either party. Solomon's expedient however effectually discovered the real parent. That careless wretch, who had overlaid her own child, and, to cover her fault, had stolen her neighbour's, readily consented to the proposal of dividing the infant; but parental love abhorred the shocking deed; and the tender mother, solicitous at all events to preserve the life of her little darling, submitted, though not without the severest pangs, to resign it to her adversary. From what a weight of woe was her afflicted mind relieved, when she heard the king's gracious commands to deliver the child to her; which she doubtless pressed to her bosom with raptures of delight, whilst her grateful tongue implored blessings on Solomon!
The young king gained great reputation by this wise decision, which procured him the reverence of his subjects, who were afraid of doing an unjust thing, when they saw that the wisdom with which God had promised to endue him was in him; and on this account they both loved and feared him.
SOLOMON'S WISDOM-HIS PRINCES-HIS DAILY PROVISIONS-THE EXTENT OF HIS KINGDOM.
From 1 Kings, Chap. iv.
AND Solomon was king over all Israel. And Gop gave Solomon wisdom and understanding, exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea-shore.
And Solomon's wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt.
For he was wiser than all men; than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, and Chalcol, and Darda, the sons
of Mahol: and his fame was in all the nations round about.
And he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five.
And he spake of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon, even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall: he spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes.
And there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, which had heard of his wisdom.
And these were the princes which he had. Azariah the son of Zadek the priest. Elihoreph and Ahiah the sons of Shisha, scribes. Jehoshaphat the son of Alihud the recorder.
And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the host: and Zadok was high priest. And Azariah the son of Nathan was over the officers: and Zabud the son of Nathan was principal officer, and the king's friend.
And Ahishur was over the houshold: and Adoniram the son of Abda was over the tribute.
And Solomon had twelve officers over all Israel, which provided victuals for the king's houshold, and for all that came to king Solomon's table; each man his month in a year. Barley and straw also for the horses and dromedaries, brought they unto the place where the officers were, each man according to his charge.
And Solomon's provision for one day, was thirty measures of fine flour, and threescore measures of meal.
Ten fat oxen, and twenty oxen out of the pastures, and an hundred sheep, besides harts and roebucks, fallow-deer, and fatted fowl.
Judah and Israel were many, as the sand which is by the sea in multitude, eating and drinking, and making merry.