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all creatures cannot fill the human heart. It moves in every direction, backward and forward, to the south and to the north, from one object to another, to obtain full satisfaction ; but all in vain, Ps. xxxix. 6; Prov. xix. 21; Luke x. 41.
8. All things are full of labour; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.
Having shewn the unquiet motion of the sun, winds, and rivers, he here concludes his induction of particulars with a general assertion, that what is true of them is equally true of all other things, and that beyond the power of enumeration : they are full of labour or weariness, because they fatigue man in his studies and endeavours respecting them, Gen. iii. 17, 19; Ps. cxxvii. 2. This is an additional argument, proving the principal proposition, that whatever is attended witb toilsome labour and wea. riness cannot render a man happy, but is altogether vain. This toil and weariness not only appear in grievous and unpleasant labour, to which men are unwillingly compelled, Job v. 7; Lament. v. 5; Jer. xx. 18; and in those pursuits which God is pleased to blast and frustrate when they labour as it were in the tire, and reap no fruit, Hag. i. 6; Levit, xxvi. 20; Isaj. xvii. 11; Eccles. v, 16; Luke v. 5: but it is also true of.those labours in which a man engages with the greatest delight and willingness ; they also have weariness and satiety attendant upon them: the very honeycomb bringing a loathing with it, Prov. xxvii. 7. And this he proves by a double instance: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear with hearing: a man may cloy and tire out these faculties be. fore he can satisfy them. He seems to fix upon these rather than others, first, because the ex. ercise of them is very easy, and the least lạbour is employed in their use, there being no force called into exercise in seeing an amiable and beautiful object, or in hearing excellent music. Secondly, because they are the most curious and inquisitive senses. Thirdly, because their delights are sweetest, as they are senses the nearest allied to reason, and are principal instruments to the soul in its noblest operations. If therefore the most spiritual, unwearied, rational senses cannot be so fully satisfied, but that they are either excited with constant desires after new objects of delight, Acts xvii. 21; or satiated with the excess of what delighted them before; how much more must this be the case of all those other faculties, which require a greater degree of labour in pursuing their ob
jects, and which produce more loathing in their enjoyments, Pros. xxvii. 20. And this is suclı labour as “no man can utter it;" that is, no one can express in how many ways any one faculty may be completely wearied, nor recount all those objects, which, though they may impart some delight, leave no satisfaction behind. As the happiness we expect in God is unutterable, 1 Cor. ij. 9; 2 Cor xii. 4; so likewise is the labour and weariness which the mind contracts by its excessive search into the various objects of creation.
9. The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done, is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
The substance of this and the two following verses is this: If no man has hitherto been able to find out happiness in the creature, let none think now or ever after to do it, since there is no new thing from which it can be extracted. All natural causes and effects continue as at the beginning, Gen. viii. 22; Jer. xxxi. 35, 36; and all buman and voluntary actions, counsels, and studies, having the same principles of reason to produce them, and the same objects to excite them, are in effect the same as
they were of old : and though some discoveries have been made, as the mariner's compass, the art of printing, gunpowder, &c. yet from defective and insufficient principles of happiness, such as are all natural things, nothing, however new, can secure real felicity, since a part cannot afford that which is not comprised within the whole. As in water face answereth to face, so the courses of natural causes and effects, and the heart's desires and counsels, of one generation correspond to those of another, Mat. xxiv, 38, 39; Prov. xxvii. 19.
10. Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.
This is a challenge to any man to produce, if he can, any new thing, accompanied with a peremptory repetition of the former assertion, and a denial of the success of every attempt of this nature. He speaks of such inventions as may so far surpass those which had formerly been discovered, as to be capable of satisfying the heart, and making it truly bļessed. Men may perhaps flatter themselves in their discoveries as if they had invented wbat is new, and better adapted to yield contentment and satisfaction than the researches of former ages :
but this is a mistake, for “ it hath been already of old time, which was before us.” The discoveries of former generations have contributed as much towards the satisfaction of the heart, as oan ever be expected from generations to come.
11. There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after.
If new things be found out, as many old things are forgotten, so that the stock of nature is still as defective towards happiness in our age as in any other.
other. The shortness of our life, and the narrowness of our experience, cause us to forget former things, which, were they all present to our view, nothing would occur without its pattern and parallel (at least something as excellent) in former ages; and as things past are forgotten by us, so things present will be forgotten by those who come after us.
Here then we see, first, the aptness which is in man to nauseate and grow weary of the things which are familiar to him, though they are otherwise ever so excellent, Num. xi. 6. Secondly, the wantonness of our hearts in having an itching after new things, with which former ages were unacquainted, Acts xvii. 21.