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my accounts, and viewed exactly the fruit and sum of all my labours in acquiring knowledge; I seriously deliberated and reviewed my own heart, Ps. iv. 4. True wisdom makes a man thoughtful and discursive within himself.“I am come to great estate, and have gotten, or added, “ more wisdom ;” or, I have gained a great estate, and wisdom, and added to it, that is, I have exceeded and increased in wisdom: so the word seems elsew here to import, 1 Sam. XX. 41 ; Isa. ix. 3; Amos vii. 5: or, I have become a great man, Joel ii. 20; to do great things, bueyzauv na "than all they that have been before nie,” i Kings iv. 30; x. 27: yea, and all that came after him, Christ only excepted, 1 Kings iii. 12" in Jerusalem," where the study of wisdom was pursued more than in other places.—“My beart had great experience,” had seen much wisdom and knowledge: wisdom seems to denote the general knowledge of things, divine and human ; knowledge, the experimental: or wisdom, the habit and instruments ; knowledge, the perfection acquired by the help of that habitual wisdom. Here, first, he appears to have magnified wisdom in his choice. Secondly, to have increased it. Thirdly, to have applied it to his heart ; it was inward and experimental knowledge. Fourthly, to bave delighted and engaged in it seriously, and with full purpose to attain the largest measures of it." I gave my heart," see v. 13: the wiser any man is, the more he labours to advance in wisdom" to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly," ch. vii. 25; that is, moral, political, and practical knowledge, to regulate his government, and to observe the difference between wise and virtuous, and foolish and wicked actions. The word rendered folly is in this place only written with the letter schin, in all others with the letter samech, and so may be rendered either folly or prudence. And this he found to be “ vexation of spirit,” or feeding on wind, observing how short men attained of the one, and how much the other abounded : so that neither the perfection of moral wisdom, as far as it can be acquired by human diligence, nor yet the pleasures and delights of vitious and foolish courses, could quiet and settle the heart of man, 1 Cor. i. 20; Eccles. xi. 8, 9. A bare speculative knowledge of good, and an experimental presumptuous knowledge of evil (such as was Adam's in eating the forbidden fruit), are so far from making us happy, that they increase our misery.
But here Solomon may seem to have committed an error against the moral wisdom concerning which he professed to enquire, in speaking so much of his own eminency in gifts beyond other men, John viii. 13. But he does it not falsely, arrogantly, or vain-gloriously, to magnify himself; only with humility, to acknowledge God's favours, and necessarily to manifest the truth of that doctrine he was now teaching the church by his own experience: and to this extent it is lawful to mention divine gifts and graces bestowed upon us, as the apostle does, 1 Cor. xiv. 18; xv. 10; 2 Cor. xi. 5, 6.
18. For in much wisdom is much grief; and he that increaseth knowledge, increaseth sorrow.
" In much wisdom,” or in the abundance of wisdom, as Ps. Ixxii. 7; li. 1; Prov. xx. 15; Hos. viji. 12; or in the man who is much in wisdom, or who has much wisdom, Job ix. 2: the sense is either way the same-"is much grief,” or anger, indignation : whence the Chaldee paraphrase, The more knowledge any man has without repentance, the more wrath is upon him from the Lord, Luke xii. 47: but the meaning, according to the scope of the context, is, that abundance of wisdom is always accompanied with a proportion of trouble and perturbation of mind; producing indignation to see how little fruit, but how great disappointment, arises from it, and how low it is esteemed in the world ; as Eccles. ix. 15, 16; and occasioning grief and discontent, since the more wisdom a man has acquired, the more ignorance he discovers in himself, and the more pains he must take to reach after higher attainments in knowledge: and yet, after all, he still finds his crookedness of mind and numerous defects uncorrected, as well as his fear of losing and forgetting what he had gained with so much labour not removed.Some begin the next chapter with these words, and so make them a transition to the next endeavour of Solomon to find out happiness in some other object; and so the meaning is, As in much wisdom there is much grief, &c.; and as this cannot be the way to attain true happines, to toil and weary myself with pain of body and sorrow of mind in the pursuit of wisdom ; therefore I said in my heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, &c. Yet the purpose of the wise man is not to deter us from so noble an employment as the acquisition of learning, but to excite us to the superior study of heavenly wisdom, and the fear of the Lord, by which our other knowledge will be sanctified, sweetened, and made productive of excellent use and abiding comfort.
Being disappointed in his expectation from the knowledge of the creature, Solomon now resolves to search what good may be found in the use and fruition of it, and sets himself to try what content either sensual or rational pleasures could impart; which he does from ver. 1–12: and finding he had changed for the worse, he returns to the consideration of wisdom and madness: and experiencing as much dissatisfaction the second time as he had done the first, ver. 12–23. he concludes, that there is no comfort or tranquillity to be found in the use of creatures, till sanctified to us by the favour of God, ver. 24-26.
1. I said in my heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and behold, this also is vanity.
“ I said in my heart," I purposed within myself, and resolved, with intimate affection, to try what pleasures would do; ch. i. 16; Luke