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in them, and therefore no regard to be paid to them, Isai. viii. 20. These are the most excel." lent monitors thou canst have, from which thou mayest derive the best information and the most friendly warning, Ps. xix. 11.
“ Of making many books there is no end,” &c. An argument to enforce the exhortation, from the fruitlessness and vanity of other studies. First, there is no end of writing them; wbilst one refutes what a former person wrote, another vindicates what his adversary disliked. If happiness were to be sought in human productions, the volumes are so multiplied, and the opinions so various and endless, that it would be impossible to find it in them; when a man, with much curiosity and continual reading, has wearied himself, and pined his flesh away, he will experience it altogether an unprofitable and impertinent labour, full of fatigue to the body, without affording any satisfaction to the mind. Therefore let these words, so few, and yet so full, be thy counsellors : he that will not be admonished by these, will never be satisfied with any others; he that refuses the wheat, will be cboaked with the chaff. Justly may we address this one shepherd, as Peter did, “ Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life,” John vi. 68. These are the writings which make us wise unto
salvation, and thoroughly furnished unto all good works. Others are useful in their proper rank and order; these only are the rule of faith and practice.
13. Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter : Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
Or the whole end of the matter, or the sum and substance of the whole matter, is heard: the discourse of man's happiness, which I have undertaken in this book is at an end, no more need be said of it; the sum of all is comprised in these two words - Fear God. “Keep his commandments:" this is all that is requisite to secure a happy life. The verse begins with a great letter in the original, as Buxtorf suggests, to excite the more attention, the whole interest and obligation of mankind being comprehended in this short sentence, in which Solomon observes the right order: for, first, he represents the internal principle of all worsbip and obedience, which consists in a filial, reverend, awful, and affectionate fear of God, and his goodness implanted in the heart, Hos. iii. 5 ; Prov. i. 7. Secondly, he proceeds to the fruit which grows out of this root of filial fear and
love shed abroad in the heart ; namely, an equal, uniform, constant, universa! observance of his commandments; of all of them, without partiality; of all of them as his, in obedience to his authority, in acknowledgment of his holiness in them, and in subjection to his dominion and sovereignty over us. Keep his commandments, froin fear of displeasing him, from a conscientious desire to approve yourselves to him, and from a solicitude to glorify his name, as well as to testify your thankfulness for his mercies, and your conformity to his will. Thus to fear God, and to keep his command. ments, is the “ whole of man.” About this it becomes him to spend all the vigour of his thoughts and his cares. This is the whole happiness of man, or all the means which rational and immortal beings can use to attain final felicity. This is the basis and foundation of that perfection of which he is capable: it is therefore the “ whole duty of man,” and the obligation of all men that wish to be bappy, Job xxviii. 28. The doctrines of repentance towards God, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, are necessarily included in this directory; because without the former we cannot expect forgiveness, and without the latter we can do nothing of a spiritual nature; since it is by faith in Christ, the heart is purified to fear and love
God, and by that fear and love it is inclined to obey his commandments, 1 John v.3; John xiv. 21.
14. For God shall bring every work unto judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
This is a powerful motive to fear and obedience. As if the wise man had said, If the excellency of the doctrine cannot persuade thee, let the terror of God's judgment awaken thy sleepy soul, because he hath appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness, Acts xvii. 31 ; 2 Cor. v. 9, 10; Rom. ii. 16. and xiv. 10.—“ With every secret thing," &c. It is the day of the revelation of the righteous judgment of God; when hypocrisy shall be disclosed, and sincerity shall be rewarded, because nothing is concealed from his omniscience, Heb. iv. 13. All other things are vain ; but it is not vain to fear the Lord. The good works of the righteous shall follow them into heaven ; and the impieties of the wicked shall hunt and pursue them into hell.
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