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King LE MUEL's Leffon
PROVERBS, Chap. xxxi. Verse 1.
The Words of King Lemuel; the Prophecy that his Mother taught Him.
PARAPHRA S E.
HESE are the weighty Words and wife Sentences of King Lemuel; which his careful Mother Bathsheba taught him in his Youth, as the best Rules to walk by, and to lay the folideft Foundations of future Glory, Royalty, or Renown: Well understanding, that the Fear of the Lord is not only the Beginning, but alfo the End of all Wif dom; and that to train up a Child from his Infancy in the Ways of Virtue, which he should pursue in his riper Years, is the only Method can
be taken to prevent his departing from Goodnefs in his old Age, and wandering into the Wilderness of all Evil and Folly. It was the fole Defire of her Soul, it seems, to fee her Son do well in the World; and therefore the gives him
these falutary Inftructions following, that are fit for the greatest Monarch and the wifeft Prince, to the meanest Perfon or poorest Peafant upon Earth; either for rectifying his own Manners, ruling his Family, or governing his Kingdoms. Thefe Sacred Sayings carry along with them the Voice of divine Infpiration and Prophecy. They are of fo great moment, that they plainly appear to proceed from a prophetick Spirit of Heavenly Intelligence and Wisdom. And fhe afterwards inculcates them with fo much Authority, as well as pathetical Affection, as if fhe was a Prophetess indeed, with no lefs Character than that of having God Almighty's Commiffion and Credentials. For the teaches him in this Chapter, all Manner of defirable Graces and good Things, that Heart can wifh for in this tranfitory Life, and foretels him of his future Happiness by following her virtuous Advice, and adhering to her inftructive Council, against rafh Judgment, or taking ill Courses. In fhort, her Majesty's prudent Admonitions intitle him to a Crown at prefent upon Earth, as well as in Heaven hereafter; and give him a plentiful Foretaste of the Joys to come, both in this and the next World.
MONTROVERSY is none of my Bufinefs in this Place. But whofoever this Mother was, whether Queen Bathsheba, or fome other Jewish Princess; and whoever King Lemuel was,
whether Solomon, or some other Prince in Chaldea, it cannot be very material or proper to my prefent Purpose. For what would that Difpute fignifie to this practical Paraphrafe, or thefe Moral Remarks? However, without all doubt, fhe inftructed her Child as became a Queen, and a Parent of Piety as well as Love; by taking Care of his early Inftitution in the learned Counfels of the Ancients, and teaching him his exact Duty as a King: So that I fhall, with Submiffion, purfue the Parable here as it lies in Holy Scripture, for our good Example, without any Scruple concerning the Tradition, or Variation from the Sacred Text, or as little Deviation as poffible from the Scope of this remarkable Leffon.
PROVERBS then, in this Senfe, are not to be taken here for the Old Sayings or Saws of Mankind in common Converfation; but for the folid Sentences of Sacred Truth, and brief Oracles of Divine Wisdom, for the better Regulation of humane Life, according to the blessed Word of God. They are the wifeft Obfervations upon Men's Manners, couch'd in the feweft Words. They ought to be in every Body's Mouth, as the most eloquent Speeches and the best Inftructions of the Mind. They are undeniable Maxims of eternal Verity, Veracity, and Prudence. They are the most special and principal Rules, either of Thinking, Speaking, or Acting. In fine, they are indeed the most pithy and profitable Allufions to the Nature of Things, under the modestest Concealment of the Senfe, or the Satyr of them in Expreffion.
WHAT the Great St. Basil, and the late learned Dr. Patrick, have faid of the whole Book of Proverbs in general, I may be allow'd here to affirm in a great Measure of this fingle Chapter
in particular; by Way of Compendium to this Effect: "It is an Inftruction of Manners, a Corretion of the Paffions, and an entire Direction of the whole Life, containing Abundance of Precepts "about Well-Doing. It contains alfo the "Beft "Advices that can be given, either to Princes, ie Counsellors, Judges, Minifters, and other Publick
Magiftrates; or to all Sorts of Inferior Subjects, "in their several Relations and Conditions of "Life: to make them both Pious and Politick; . to help them in judging of Peoples Characters, and the Event of their Designs; to direct them in the Choice of their Conforts; to admonish them in the Education of their Children; and to "affist them in the Management of their domeftick Affairs, as well as in their worldly Tranfactions with other Men. I fhall only beg leave to add, after this, according to the Defign of my Undertaking, that it likewife eminently fets forth the great Duties of Continency and Sobriety, of Love and Charity, of Compaffion and Relief, of Juftice and Impartiality, of Virtue and Industry: All faithfully displayed in this Work, upon the Foyl of their oppofite Vices, for the Benefit of both Sexes, in their Choice of a Husband or Wife, as well as for the better Encomium of Wisdom, and Encouragement of Wedlock.
I. SUCH wife Sayings then as thefe enfuing Parables, or Proverbs; the excellent Precepts of a Moral and a good Life given to Solomon, defcended from King David, a Man after GOD's own Heart, and ordained of GOD to be King over Ifrael after his Father's Death and Demife; with the divine Doctrines, which his Mother Bathsheba prophetically taught him, of a prudent Deportment and virtuous Conduct in humane Affairs; Should in all Reafon