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an answer in this verse. The Divine Being has allotted to every man his work, which he is to undertake in obedience to his command ; and he usually dispenses his blessings to us in the use of means, and by a blessing on our labours, Prov. X. 4, 22; John xxi. 3, 6; Acts xxvii. 22, 31 : and though our labour may not effect what we expected, and Providence should act contrary to our endeavours, yet there is this peculiar advantage in honest labour, and for this end it is required, that we may be preserved from idleness, and all the evil effects which flow from it: so that labour is not only a duty, but in this respect beneficial (even when it does not succeed as to its principal end), that the heart is by this means kept in that order and station in which it was originally placed, Gen. iii. 17, 18, 19,
11. He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.
“ He hath made every thing beautiful in his time,” or “ in the time and proper season thereof.” This is a further commendation of the wise providence of God in the government of the world, and in all the events which happen in it, to lead us to acquiesce with more quietness and contentment in his sovereign will. We are apt to stumble and be offended at the seeming confusions which pervade hu. man affairs ; but however events may appear to us, who are not able to unite all the pieces of God's providence, nor to foresee the frame and appearance into which he will form them at last; yet this is certain, that as in the work of creation all things were very good, Gen. i. 31; so in the work of providence and government all things will at last appear to be very beautiful; and even those events which seemed but confused heaps when they lay asunder, will appear, when the whole plan is accomplished, Is. x. 12. and all the parts are put together, to have been full of order and de. corum : as personal beauty arises out of an equal temperament of contraries, or as a cum rious piece of tapestry, composed of various colours and figures, forms an elegant whole ; as we see in the history of Joseph and his brethren, of David's troubles and exaltation, of Mordecai, Esther, and Haman, and of the crucifixion of Christ by the Jews. Again, God “hath made every thing beautiful in its time:" as cold and frost are as orderly, neces. sary, and useful in winter, their proper sea
son, as fruits and flowers, and other delights, in summer; so sorrow and affliction, in their season, are as useful and requisite, and as beau. tiful in their kind, as mirth and joy at another season, i Pet. i. 6,7; James i. 2, 3. and v. 7, 11; Eccles. vii. 13, 14; Ps. civ. 24.-“ Also he hath set the world in their heart." These words are, in this place, very difficult, and both variously rendered and understood. Some read them, quamdiu seculum est, as long as the world or worldly things continue, the Lord puts into the mind of man the work which he does from the beginning to the end, with the exception of that which man cannot find out or attain: and so the sense is, That God has, in the book of the world, and of his providential government of all things, so legibly represented to his intelligent creatures his righteous and beautiful ordering of the whole, that they may easily discover his wonderful wisdom in all his proceedings, Acts xiv. 17; Rom i. 19, 20. Some things, however, are unsearchable by human reason, which he is to admire and adore, waiting till the period of the revelation of God's righteous judgments for the full and distinct understanding of them, Rom. xi. 33, 34; Job ix. 10. and xi. 7, 8, 9. Others, by put. ting the world in men's hearts, understand, according to one of the usual acceptations of the word, oby, a desire implanted in mankind of eternity and perpetuity : and so the sense to be, That although God makes every thing beautiful and good, yet the heart is so set upon immortality, that it cannot discover, in any of God's works, which have a beginning and an end, or which are measured by time, any thing in which it may fully and finally rest. But what seems most agreeable to the scope of the passage, and to the grammatical construction, is this: God has, indeed, made every thing beautiful in his time; on which account men ought, with quiet and cheerful hearts, to observe his providence in all things, and therein to rest without anxiety or excruciating care : but man cannot find out the work of God, nor observe its beauty so exactly as he ought, which is the reason he does not patiently acquiesce in it. Of this defect he advances two proofs. First, that they have " the world in their hearts ;" they are so occupied with worldly thoughts and cares, and are exercised with so much sore travail, that they do not naturally look up to the wise and holy government of God so as to cast all their care upon him. This duty is the remedy of such cares, Mat. vi. 26, 30, 31. as such cares are impediments to this duty. Secondly, they cannot « find out the work which God doth from
the beginning to the end.” Man being of short continuance, does not always live to observe a full point in the divine operations : their beginning may be in one age, and their completion in another. That part which I see in my days may appear to me disordered and confused, like heaps of stone and lime, and other materials for a handsome edifice; but could I live to witness the end of God in such works, it would appear that their maturity would be highly beautiful; as that fruit is the sweetest and most delicate in its season, which, while it is green, is sour and unpleasant. It is the end or design of the work of God that demonstrates its beauty. Works of providence, as works of creation, may begin in a chaos, and seem without form and void, Gen i. 2; but they end in admirable order and congruity, ch. viii, 17; Ps. xxxvii. 37, 38; Jam. v. 11; Hab. ii. 3. The reason of discontent and impatience is man's natural impotence to observe this beauty and regularity, which arises both from his wordly-mindedness and his short continuance; yet, by faith, and by the evidence of God's dealings in former ages, he might rectify this defect, as well as, on this ground, cheerfully enjoy the blessings which he receives from the giver of all good, as recommended in the following verse.