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In this Chapter under the representation of an harlot, the deception that is practised upon our fallen nature is strikingly set forth, and the departure from God in sin and uncleanness is in strong colours painted.
Proverbs 7:1-5 My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee. Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye. Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart. Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman: That they may keep thee from the strange woman, from the stranger which flattereth with her words.
The Chapter is opened in a general preface, by way of preparing the mind for the subject that is to follow. And there are several endearing titles made use of, by way yet more of enforcing the subject. But what I would particularly request the Reader to attend to in those appellations of sister and kinswoman, is the very interesting matter they contain considered with an eye to Christ. Jesus, in the song of loves calls his church his sister, as well as his spouse. For as he took upon him our common nature, so he hath declared that whosoever doeth the will of his Father which is in heaven, the same is his brother, and sister, and mother. See Song of Solomon 4:9 ; Matthew 12:50 . And as Christ hath condescended to put himself into all relations with his people, so he authorizeth his people to look up to him under all relations. But we must not stop here in contemplating the nature of the relationship, but go on and consider the cause for which the Lord hath put himself' into these condescending affinities, and is not ashamed to call his people brethren; namely, that they may come to him under these characters, in order to be kept by him from spiritual fornication and every species of apostacy. Blessed Jesus! it is delightful to see how thy people are kept by thee, and that in thee all their security is found.
For at the window of my house I looked through my casement, And beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding, Passing through the street near her corner; and he went the way to her house, In the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night: And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart. (She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house: Now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.) So she caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face said unto him, I have peace offerings with me; this day have I payed my vows. Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee. I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves with loves. For the goodman is not at home, he is gone a long journey: He hath taken a bag of money with him, and will come home at the day appointed. With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him. He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks; Till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life.
Who can read this account, and call to mind the numberless scenes of a like nature that are going on every day in every town, city, and perhaps even village of the whole world, in the different transactions of sin and uncleanness, but must feel affected. Who that knows in himself what fallen nature is, or beholds in others the dreadful instances of the deceitfulness of the human heart, but must tremble. And who that conceives what a mass of such perpetrations of wickedness is continually coming up before God, but must be humbled to the very dust of the earth in the consciousness of universal depravity. Alas! what is man in his highest attainments. But is there not beside the particular feature of sin in uncleanness here pointed out, is there not a spiritual subject opened to our meditation in relation to our whole nature departing from Christ our husband? Jesus has gone for a little space, and the good man will return at the time appointed. But while the bridegroom tarrieth we all slumber and sleep. Oh! Lord keep the souls of thy redeemed in the hour, and from the power of temptation. Let us not go forth as the daughter of Jacob did to see the daughters of the land, so as to seek danger and then fall by it; but make us chaste keepers at home, and living upon Jesus. (Genesis 34:1-2 ; Matthew 25:5 )
Hearken unto me now therefore, O ye children, and attend to the words of my mouth. Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths. For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her. Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.
The conclusion is very beautiful and striking. And if we behold Christ as speaking to his people in these words, there is somewhat truly affectionate and interesting to work upon the mind in due attention to them. The obedience to what is here said, in leading to Christ, is life. The disobedience is, and must be death. Romans 6:23 .
MY soul! pause over this chapter. Behold what a strong and affecting representation it holds forth of the carnal, graceless, and ungodly. In every state, and in every stage of life, they are the same. Young persons, from the heat of youth, and corruption of nature, are most exposed to the awful ruin here set forth; but all periods of life are open to the particular and special temptations of it. And is this human nature altogether! Are such portraits of it taken from life? Do all prefer the momentary enjoyment of the body, to the everlasting welfare of the soul! Can nothing but fleshly lusts which war against the soul satisfy them? And is it, my soul, a most certain and unquestionable truth, that they that are in the flesh cannot please God. Pause, my soul! and in contemplating such a picture of human life, see whether what Paul saith of the Corinthians doth not correspond, to thy case and circumstances. ..and such were some of you.
Lord! give me to hear and feel what the close of this sweet chapter utters, and from henceforth to attend to the words of my God. And oh! ye young men, see, from what is here set forth, the danger to which you are exposed, and flee youthful lusts which war against the soul. I have written unto you young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abideth in you. Oh! think how blessed it must be to re member the Creator in the days of youth. And what a blessedness in having Christ for a portion, that the age of life may be accompanied with grace, and the knowledge and enjoyment of Jesus become the portion forever.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Proverbs 7". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany