ASPECT 6, PART I: OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH OURSELVES ECCLESIASTES 10:1-3
Wisdom is a great benefit to ourselves, personally. It causes us to be careful of our conduct and our reputation. It also protects us in our wider dealings in the world.
1 Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour. 2 A wise man’s heart is at his right hand; but a fool’s heart at his left. 3 Yea also, when he that is a fool walketh by the way, his wisdom faileth him, and he saith to every one that he is a fool.
Towards ourselves in our more private conversations wherein wisdom affords us a double benefit:
First, of circumspection and wariness in our carriage, to maintain our good name and reputation by heedful avoiding [of] all things that might stain: all indiscreet and sinful behavior, though but in some small matter. This expressed behavior, though but in some small matter. This expressed in an excellent similitude, comparing a good name to a good ointment of the apothecary, a curious confection well made by art: folly, error, and slips in our conversation, to dead flies in a pot of sweet ordors: Disgrace and shame that comes by sin, to the stink and putrefaction of a costly ointment, which is very loathsome: Lastly, in the degree, dead flies, small and little creatures, yet even a few of them are enough to mar a whole box, so a little folly is sufficient to stain the reputation of him that is in honor for his wisdom; as one sinner destroys much good, verse 2.
Second, of dexterity and expedition in the dispatch of all affairs, The heart of the wise is at his right hand, i.e., in all business he hath counsel and wisdom present with him for ready and safe ordering of his proceedings. He puts none but his right hand to his work, the most fit and commodious instrument to work well and speedily, and this hand he so sets to his business, that it is guided by his heart, wisdom and good advice direct him to his doings, verse 2. This is illustrated by the contrary in fools, but a fool’s heart is at his left hand, i.e., he doth his business rashly, unadvisedly, untowardly, v. 2., which folly is further discovered in an unwise man’s ordinary conversation, ye also when he that is a fool walketh by the way, by his ordinary behavior, gait, gesture, coutenance, speech, his wisdom faileth him, he wants wit to carry himself well; yea, he hath not wit enough to conceal his folly, but proclaims it openly to all, and he saith to every that he is a fool, verse 3.