« AnteriorContinuar »
25 ; Job xlii. 12; John xxi. 18. It is also to be remembered here, that the Lord does not, by every one of these particulars, signify what is good or lawful to be done, but only teaches us, that not only men's good actions, but their sins-not only their serious, but their vain and ludicrous dispositions, are alike under the decrees and overruling counsels of Heaven, directing them and their seasons as it pleases the Almighty Ruler, Mat. x. 29, 30; Gen. xlv. 5. and 1. 20; Judges xxi. 21–23. .“ A time to be born, or to bear and bring fortb;" called the hour of a woman, John xvi. 21.--" And a time to die;" called the hour in which a man must depart, John xiii. 1 : for though the sentence of death has sometimes been revoked, Isai. xxxviii. 1-5. yet the predeterminate time fixed in the purpose of God was not altered.
3. A time to kill, and a time to heal; a. time to break down, and a time to build up.
“A time to kill.” There is a providence in the violent deaths of men, directing actions, either sinful or fortuitous, as it pleases him, 2 Kings x. 30. compared with Hos. i. 4; Esod. xxi. 13; 1 Kings xxii. 34 ; lios. vi. 1 ; 1 Sam. ži. 6; Job xxx, 26.-" To break down and to
build,” Jer. i. 10; xviii. 7; and xxxi. 28; Isai. v. 2-5.
4. A time to weep, and a time to laugh ; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.
“A time to weep,” from the Lord ; for he speaks all along of the providence of God, in whose hands are all our times, both of sorrow and joy, Ps. lxxx. 5; Ruth i. 20, 21.-" And a time to laugh, Ps. cxxvi. 1, 2 ; Gen. xxi. 6.
To mourn,” as in funerals and public calamities, ch. xii. 5.—" To dance;" greatly to rejoice, and express joy in the outward behaviour, 2 Sam. vi. 14; Acts iii. 8,
5. A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing.
“A time to cast away stones,” &c. Some, by this, understand the erecting of trophies over conquered enemies, as Josh. viii. 29; 2 Sam. xviii. 17, 18; Zech. ix. 16: others, the demolishing or erecting of buildings, all ordered by God's providence, Luke xiii. 4; Judg. ix. 52 ; Lam. ii. 2, 5, 7, 8, 9. and iv. 1; Zech. v. 4; Mic. i. 6; 2 Kings iii. 25 ; Mark xiii. 1, 2.-" To embrace," &c. 1 Cor. vii. 5.
6. A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away.
“ To get,” Prov. x. 6.-" To cast away;"> either out of necessity, as John i.5; Acts xxvii. 18, 38: or out of charity, Prov. xi. 24; Eccles. xi. 1 : or out of special duty to God, Heb. x. 34 ; Mat. x. 37, 38. and xix. 29.
7. A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak.
“ To rend,” as the custom was in mourning, Job i. 20; Joel ii. 13.-" To speak, and to keep silence,” according to difference in seasons, Prov. xxvi. 4, 5. and xxv. 11; Amos v. 13.
8. A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
“ A time of war,” 2 Sam. xi. 1. Thus So. lomon, in various particulars opposed to each other, comprehending natural, civil, domestic, vitious, virtuous, serious and solemn, light and ludicrous, wise and passionate actions, assures us, that there is a holy and wise work of God in pre-defining, ordering, limiting, tempering, and disposing all these and similar affairs; and so qualifying one contrary with
another, and balancing prosperity and adver. sity, that a good man may have cause to praise and to trust God in every condition, as well as to exercise tranquillity and contentment, even in opposite conditions, because the one is as much under the divine direction as the other, Job i. 21 ; Phil. iv. 11, 12.
9. What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth?
As ch. i. 3 ; Mat. vi. 27. It is vain for a man to expect, by any anxious toil, to effect any thing according to his own will, if the counsel and providence of God oppose it. When he builds, God may pull down, or allow some accident or casual event to divert him from his purpose, or entirely to set it aside: yet this is not intended to restrain people from the necessary labours of their calling, but only from trusting in them, and from murmuring if such successes do not follow as they intended and expected ; and to excite them to submit to the unerring will of God, to whom it belongs to dispose of our persons and liberties as it pleases him. Whence observe, that carking and caring is a striving with the irresistible providence of God, which no labour of ours can alter or bend to our wills, Is. xlv. 1, 5, 9; Jon. iv. 8, 9: as,
on the contrary, glorying in our own wisdom and strength, is robbing him of his honour, Deut. viii. 17, 18; Hab. i. 16. Labour is subordinate to providence, but must never contend with it. There is no profit to any man in his labour without the divine blessing, for which therefore he must pray, and in which we should rejoice, without fruitless anxiety for the future.
10. I have seen the travail which God has given to the sons of men, to be exercised in it.
Since there are so many turns and changes in the world, some might think that all things are impelled by a blind and rash disorder in a casual and uncertain course. To this, it is replied, that God has allotted this travail to mankind, to exercise themselves in various and opposite employments, passions, and events ; all which he directs, though we do not imme. diately observe it, to a beautiful issue, causing them to work together for good, Rom. viii. 28. Again, others might think, if man indeed has no profit of all his labour but when it is effect. ed, God alone orders the event: then to what end should he weary himself in so fruitless an employment? To this objection also there is