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for that is the end of all men; and the live ing will lay it to his heart.
" It is better to go to the house of mourn. ing,” &c. As the day of his death is better to a good man than the day of his birth, because it ends all the vanities and afflictions of his pilgrimage state; so for those that remain alive, it is better to go to a funeral, the house of mourning, than to a feast or birth-day solemnity, the house of mirth and rejoicing“ For that is the end of all men ;” or, in which is the end of all men. In which house of sorrow, a man is reminded of the common end of all men. lle sees his own end in that of another, and is adnionished of his own frailty and mortality, for it is the way of the whole earth, Josh. xxiii. 14; Heb. ix. 27.-" And the living will lay it to his heart:" or, will put it up, and fasten it to his heart; will be seriously and sadly affected with it, and will be deeply impressed with the greatness and power of God, who withdraws our breath and we perish, Ps. civ. 29; and of his own vanity and baseness, even in his best estate, Ps. xxxix. 5. Laying to heart is expressive of diligent attention, où & svi opło. Cáansoonair, Deut. xi. 18; Isai. xlii. 25; Luke xxi. 14: whereas feasting and excessive mirth are very likely to draw off the heart from the remembrance of God, Job i. 5; Deut. viii. 12-14; Amos vi. 3-6; Deut. xxxii. 15; Isai. v. 11, 12.
3. Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.
“ Sorrow is better than laughter:” that sorrow which arises from the meditation of death, a sad, sober, composed temper of mind, by which a man is rendered capable of instruction, and sensible of serious concerns, is better, and more salutary in its effects, than laughter, and all the intemperate conviviality of sumptuous feasts. The word signifies anger, and so che sense may be, That charitable and wholesome anger, which reproves men for their faults, and renders them sorrowful, is better than the flattery of parasites, which inflames their foolish lusts with laughter and vain mirth, and thus tends to their utter ruin.- For by the sadness,” Heb. “ by the illness,” or “ badness of the countenance," Nehem. ii.2;“ badness of the heart," i Sam. xvii. 58;-" the heart is made better.” Vain lusts, and foolish, exorbitant, light affections, are checked and suppressed : as the outward man is grieved, the inward man is amended, Prov. XX.30; 2 Cor. iv. 16. and vii.
9, 10: as, on the contrary, empty mirth disa solves the heart, and lets it out to more vanity, ch. ii. 2, 3; Hos. iv. 11; Esth. i. 10; 1 Sam. XXV. 36.
4. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
Solomon proves sorrow to be more wholesome for the soul than laughter, from the contrary judgment and choice of wise men, and of fools. That which wise men prefer, must be better than what fools make choice of: but wise men prefer spectacles, places, and occasions of sorrow;fools make choice of the contrary: wise men consider the end of things, and choose the most proper means to secure the best ends; whereas fools look only on things present, and before their eyes. By “the house of mourning," we understand any place or object which occasions mourning; so the grave is called domus seculi, the house of ages, or man's long home, ch. xii. 6; as a trench is called a house of measures, i Kings xviii. 32.-" The heart of the wise :"> when his body is elsewhere, yet his thoughts and heart are employed in considering the evil day, which wicked men thrust far from them, Amos vi. 3. Thus Job in prosperity, with a
religious fear, anticipated evil, Job ii. 25; Nehem. ii. 2–5; Ps. cxxxvii. 6." But the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.” Though such a person may by poverty, business, or by many other diversions, be absent in his body, yet there is his inclination and good will; he would have his share in every convivial meet. ing, his heart is set upon pleasures, and his love runs entirely in that channel, so that he is amazed and overwhelmed when any sudden evil overtakes him, 1 Pet. iv. 3, 4; 2 Pet. ii. 13, 14. We read of houses of joy, Isai. xxxii. 13. Here then we are taught moderation respecting outward pleasures, because the love of them is the character of a fool, and of a heart estranged from God, Job xxi. 12, 13; Prov. xxi. 17; 1 Cor. vii. 30; 1 John ii. 15, 16.
5. It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools.
The rebukes of wise and good men, though for the present they may occasion sadness, are much more salutary and beneficial than the songs and flatteries of ungodly parasites, which sooth men in their sins, and feed the flame of their lusts and corruptions.--" It is better to hear,” i. e. patiently and obediently to listen
to the counsel and reproof of a prudent friend, who seasonably and faithfully discovers our errors, than to hear the song of fools, Prov. xiii. 18; xv. 31, 32; and xxvii. 6; Ps. cxli. 5. It is an evidence of a wise and teachable disposi. tion, to receive with meekness the words of reproof, as David did, not only from Nathan, a prophet, 2 Sam. xii. 7–13. but from Abigail, a woman, 1 Sam. xxv. 32, 33 ; Heb. xiii. 22; Prov. ix. 9. and xvii. 10. By " the song of fools” are to be understood any Aattering speeches, or jocular and pleasant discourses; it being a synecdoche, significant of all kinds of jests and bewitching pleasures, Isai. xxiv. 8, 9; Gen. xxxi. 27.
6. For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool: this also is vanity.
“ The voice of thorns :" so the noise of chariots is called the voice of chariots ; and the noise that fire makes in stubble, is called the voice of a flame, Joel ji. 5; Ezek. i. 24. Fools are elegantly compared to thorns, as being burdens to the places where they live, Gen. iii. 17, 18; untractable, so that he needs be fenced that toucheth them, 2 Sam. xxiii. 6. 7; and unprofitable, good for nothing but for the fire,