Bridges on Proverbs 5:1-14
 
Charles Bridges on Proverbs 5:1-14
 
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1.  ¶ My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding: 2.  That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge. 3.  For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil: {mouth: Heb. palate} 4.  But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a twoedged sword. 5.  Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell. 6.  Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them. 7.  Hear me now therefore, O ye children, and depart not from the words of my mouth. 8.  Remove thy way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house: 9.  Lest thou give thine honour unto others, and thy years unto the cruel: 10.  Lest strangers be filled with thy wealth; and thy labours be in the house of a stranger; {thy wealth: Heb. thy strength} 11.  And thou mourn at the last, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed, 12.  And say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof; 13.  And have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me! 14.  I was almost in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly.
 
PONDER this chapter — ye that know not the poison and corruption of fleshly lusts. Perhaps painful experience (1 Kings 11:1-8. Ecclesiastes 7:26) had given the wise man wisdom and understanding. Therefore attend to it with fear and trembling. Man’s own strength, the restraint of education or self-discipline, is powerless, as the green withs to bind the giant. (Judges 16:9.) Engrafted wisdom is the only effectual safeguard. This heavenly influence teaches us, both to regard discretion for the covering of our souls, and to keep knowledge for the warning of our fellow-sinners. (Chapter 2:10-11, 16; 6:20, 24; 7:1-5. Psalm 17:4; 119:9, 11.)
The extreme plausibility of the temptation calls our attention. The deluded victim only tastes, or expects to taste, the honeycomb: only hears the wily smoothness of the charmer’s voice. (Chapter 2:16; 6:24; 7:21.) But never is the beginning so sweet as the end is bitter. God shows the wormwood — the two-edged sword (Compare Psalm 55:21) — her path of death — every step taking hold of hell, as if invading it with a high hand; grasping it as her home. One feature of the tempter’s wiliness is most remarkable.† She winds herself in a thousand moveable ways, to meet the varying humours and circumstances (Chapter 7:21); she works upon every weakness; seizes every unguarded moment — all with one deeply-hidden object — lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life. The checks of conscience must be diverted. No time must be given for reflection. The intrusion of one serious thought might break the spell, and open the way of escape. (See Psalm 119:59. Ezekiel 18:28. Luke 15:17.)
Can we wonder then at parental earnestness, forcing back the children playing on the brink of a precipice? Hear now, O ye children! We mean no austere restraint upon youthful pleasures. Only avoid the tempter’s touch, her word, even her look. Remove thy way far from her. Not only go not in to her; but — such is the contagion — come not near the door. (Compare chapter 4:14, 15; 6:27, 28.) To thrust ourselves into temptation, is to throw ourselves out of God’s protection. The snare as it approaches becomes more enticing. The voice of wisdom therefore is — “Flee youthful lusts.” (2 Tim. 2:22.)
The loss of honour (Chapter 6:32, 33. Genesis 38:23-26), taking the crown from the victim’s head (2 Samuel 12:11; 15:30. Nehemiah 13:26); years given to the cruel mockers of his misery (Chapter 6:26, 35; 29:3. Job 31:12. Hosea 7:9. Luke 15:13, 30. Compare Ecclus. 5:6); servitude in a stranger’s house (Luke 15:15, 16): consumption, slowly bringing the body to the grave (1 Corinthians 6:18) — such is the bitter fruit of the neglected warning. Add to this the voice of conscience at the last; telling of slighted privileges, stifled convictions, abused knowledge. And will not this be the sting of thousands instructed in our schools, or the children of godly parents, now despising the reproofs of God, and the voice of their teachers; proclaiming their shame openly; perhaps making Christian assemblies the scenes of almost all evil? (Numbers 25:6, 7. Ezekiel 8:5-16.)
Such is the picture of sin. Its “pleasure is but for a season;” “its wages death eternal.” (Hebrews 11:25. Romans 6:23.) Every sin unrepented here will bring its perpetual torment in eternity. Impenitence does not put away its sorrow. It only delays it to mourn at the last, when mercy shall have fled away for ever (Chapter 1:24-31), and nothing will remain, but the piercing cry of the accusing conscience — “Son! remember.” (Luke 16:25.) There are no infidels in eternity, and but few on a death-bed. Sinner! the path of life is now open to thee. Ponder it anxiously, prayerfully. The light of the word, and the teaching of the Spirit, guide thee to it.