Bridges on Proverbs 6:1-5
 
Charles Bridges on Proverbs 6:1-5
 
 1-5 
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 20-24 
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 30-35 
 

1.  ¶ My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, if thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger, 2.  Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth. 3.  Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, when thou art come into the hand of thy friend; go, humble thyself, and make sure thy friend. {and make...: or, so shalt thou prevail with thy friend} 4.  Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids. 5.  Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand of the hunter, and as a bird from the hand of the fowler.
 
THE son has just been warned against the deadly wound of a stranger. He is now cautioned against a hurt from an imprudent friend. So graciously has our God made his book, not only our guide to heaven, but the directory of our common life. We must, however, often take its wise rules with some restriction. We are here earnestly warned against suretyship. Yet in some cases it is plainly allowed and approved.† “A man that hath friends must show himself friendly.” (Chapter 18:24.) And the passing of our word, or giving a bond, may be an act of prudent friendship, and of solid and permanent advantage. The caution is evidently directed against rash engagements (Compare also chapter 11:15; 17:18; 20:16; 22:26, 27), to which the young and inexperienced are especially exposed; striking with hands (the usual mode of plighting faith) (Chapter 17:18; 22:26; Job 17:3), in an unguarded moment. Often may they be snared and taken by the words of their mouth, by entering into virtual promises, without knowing how far they were pledged, or what might be the issue. Christian prudence will keep us clear from such engagements, which bring distress upon our families, dishonour upon our name, and reproach upon our religion. (Compare Ecclesiasticus 8:13.) While the “good man showeth favour, and lendeth, he must guide his affairs with discretion;”† however grating it may be to incur the suspicion of unkindness. If, however, by any inconsiderate bond, thou hast come into the hand of thy friend; the instant duty is, to humble thyself for thy imprudence, and make sure thy friend, if thou canst prevail with him to answer for himself; and give thyself no rest, till, like as the roe and the bird, thou be disentangled from the snare.
Our God, while he warns us against suretyship, has taken it upon himself. Praise be his name! He has given his word, his bond, yea — his blood — for sinners — a security, that no powers of hell can shake.