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CONTRARILY there is perfect misery in wickedness. Look on all that might seem good in this estate, Wealth: The treasures of the wicked profit nothing; the Lord will not famish the soul of the rightcous, but he either casteth away the substance of the wicked, so that the belly of the wicked shall want, or else employeth it to the good of his for the wicked shall be a ransom for the just; and to the sinner God giveth pain to gather, and to heap, to give to him that is good before God. The wicked man may be rich: but how? The revenues of the wicked is trouble. Life: The years of the wicked shall be diminished: As the whirlwind passeth, so is the wicked no more; for God overthroweth the wicked, and they are not. Whatsoever therefore

their hope be, the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out: it shall not be well to the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days; he shall be like to a shadow, because he feared not God: yea, the very house of the wicked shall be destroyed. Fame: Whereas the memorial of the just shall be blessed, the name of the wicked shall rot: yea, look upon his best endeavours; his Prayers: The Lord is far off from the wicked, but heareth the prayer of the righteous: far off from accepting. For, He, that turneth away his ear from hearing the Law, even his prayer shall be abominable: His sacrifice (though well intended) as all the rest of his ways, is no better than abomination to the Lord; how much more when he brings it with a wicked mind? And as no good, so much evil, whether of loss: The way of the wicked will deceive them; their hope shall perish, especially when they die; their candle shall be put out, their works shall prove deceitful: Or of pain; for the Excellent, that formed all things, rewardeth the fool, and the transgressor; and he hath appointed, that Affliction shall fore sinners: Follow? yea overtake them: his ven iniquity shall take the wicked himself, and cover his mouth; and he shall be holden with the cords of his own sin: even in the transgression of the evil man is his snare; so the wicked shall full in his own wickedness; for of its own self, iniquity overthroweth the sinner: But, besides that, the curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished: behold, the righteous shall be paid upon earth, how much more the wicked and the

sinner? That then which the wicked man feareth, shall come upon him; both, Death: He shall die for the default of instruction, and that by his own hands: for, by following evil he seeks his own death; and, after that, Damnation: The wicked shall be cast away for his malice: Hell and destruction are before the Lord; and a man of wicked imaginations will he condemn: so both in life, in death, after it, nothing but Terror shall be for the workers of iniquity: where, contrarily, The fear of the Lord leadeth to life; and he, that is filled therewith, shall continue, and shall not be visited with evil. Pr. x. 2. x. 3. xiii. 25. xxi. 18. Ec. ii. 26. Pr. xv. 6. x. 27. x. 25. xii. 7. ii. 22. Ec. viii. 13. Pr. xiv. 11. x. 7. xv. 29. xxviii. 9. xv. 8. xv. 9. xxi. 27. xii. 26. x. 18. xiii. 9. xi. 18. xxvi. 10. xiii. 21. v. 22. x. 6. xxix. 6. xi. 5. xiii. 6. xxxiii. 3. xi. 31. x. 24. v. 23. xi. 19. xiv. 32. xv. 11. xii. 2. x. 29. xix. 29.





Of Virtue:

SECT. 1.

Wherein it consisteth.

Whereby it is ruled and directed.

IRTUE consists in the mean; vice in extremes. Let thy ways be ordered aright; Turn not to the right hand, nor to the left, but remove thy foot from evil; The rule whereof is God's Law: for the commandment is a lantern, and instruction a light; and every word of God is pure. My son, hearken to my words, incline thine ear to my sayings: let them not depart from thine eyes, but keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health unto all their flesh. Keep my commandments, and thou shalt live, and mine instruction as the apple of thine eye: Bind them upon thy fingers, and write them upon the table of thine heart. Pr. iv. 26. iv. 27. vi. 23. xxx. 5. iv. 20. iv. 21. iv. 22. vii. 2. vii. 3.

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THE prudent man is he, whose eyes are in his head to see all things, and to foresee: and whose heart is at his right hand to do all dexte

rously, and with judgment. Wisdom dwells with Prudence, and findeth forth knowledge; and counsels. And to describe it: The wisdom of the Prudent is to understand his way; his own: If thou be wise thou shalt be wise for thyself: An excellent virtue, for Blessed is the man that findeth wisdom, and geiteth understanding: The merchandise thereof is better than silver, and the gain thereof is better than gold: it is more precious than pearls, and all the things that thou canst desire are not to be compared to her. Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and glory: Her ways are ways of pleasure, and all her paths prosperity: She is a tree of life to them that lay hold on her, and blessed is he that receiveth her. The fruits of it are singular: for, First, A wise heart doth not only seek, but get knowledge, without which the mind is not good: and the ear of the wise, learning: And not get it only, but lay it up; and not so only, but works by it: and yet more, is crowned with it. Besides knowledge, Secondly, here is safety. When wisdom entereth into thy heart, and knowledge delighteth thy soul, then shall counsel preserve thee, and understanding shall keep thee; and deliver thee from the evil way, and from the man that speaketh froward things, and from them that leave the ways of righteousness, to walk in the ways of darkness: and, as from sin, so from judgment. The way of life is on high, the prudent to avoid from hell bencath. Thirdly, good direction, 1. For actions: Wisdom causeth to walk in the way of righteousness, and in the midst of the paths of judgment. 2. For words, The heart of the reise guideth his mouth wisely, and addeth doc. ne to his lips: So that the words of the mouth of a wise man have grace: yea, he receives grace from others. Either instruct or reprove the prudent, and he will understand knowledge. Not to speak of wealth: she causeth them that love her to inherit substance, and filleth their treasures: she giveth not only honour: for the wisdom of a man doth make his face to shine, and the wise man shall inherit glory; but life: Understanding is a well-spring of life, to him that hath it: and he that findeth me (saith Wisdom) findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the Lord. Wherefore get wisdom: get understanding: forget not, neither decline from the words of my mouth. Forsake her not, and she shall keep thee: love her, and she shall preserve thee. Wisdom is the beginning: get wisdom therefore, and above all possessions get understanding: Exalt her, and she shall exalt thee: She shall bring thee unto honour, if thou embrace her: she shall give a goodly ornament to thine head: yea, she shall give thee a crown of glory. Ec. ii. 14. x. 2. Pr. viii. 12. xiv. 8. ix, 12. iii. 13. iii. 14. xvi. 16. iii. 15. iii. 16. iii. 17. iii. 8. xv. 14. xviii. 15. ix. 2. x. 14. xiii. 16. xiv. 18. ii. 10. ii. 11. ii. 12. ii. 13. xv. 24. viii. 20. xvi. 23. x. 12. xix. 25. viii. 21. Ec. viji. 11. Pr. iii. 35. xvi. 22. viii. 34. iv. 5. iv. 6. iv. 7. iv. 8. iv. 9.

SECT. 3.

What she is,

Of Providence: What her objects,
What her effects.

PROVIDENCE is that whereby the heart of the wise fore-knoweth the time, and judgment; the time when it will be; the judgment how it will be done: both which are appointed to every purpose under heaven: Not that man can fore-see all future things: No, he knoweth not that, that shall be; For who can tell him when it shall be? not so much as concerning himself. Neither doth man know his time, but as the fishes are taken with an evil net, and as the birds which are caught in the snare; so are the children of men snared in the evil time, when it falleth on them suddenly; yea, the steps of a man are ruled by the Lord; how should a man then understand his own way? But sometimes he may: The prudent man seeth the plague afar off, and fleeth: and, as for good things, With the pismire he provideth his meat in summer; working still according to fore-knowledge; yet not too strictly, and fearfully: for he, that observeth the wind, shall not sow; and he, that regardeth the clouds, shall not reap. Ec. viii. 5. viii. 6. viii. 7. ix. 12. Pr, xx. 24. xxii. 3. xxx. 2, 5. Ec. xi. 4.

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DISCRETION is that whereby a man is wise in his businesses, and whereby the heart of the wise guideth his mouth wisely, and addeth doctrine to his lips. For actions: The prudent will consider his steps, and make choice of his times: for To all things there is an appointed time; and a time for every purpose under heaven; a time to plant, and a time too pluck up that which is planted; a time to slay, and a time to heal, &c. a time of war, and a time of peace: from hence it is that the wise man is strong, and rich: for by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with precious things, which he knows how to employ well: The crown of the wise is their riches; from hence that his good understanding maketh him acceptable to others. For speeches; The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright, and in the lips of him that hath understanding, wisdom is found; and his words have grace, both 1. for the seasonableness, A word spoken in his place, is like apples of gold with pictures of silver: and how good is a word in due season! 2. For the worth of them: The lips of knowledge are a precious jewel :

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