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The divine providence is to be observed. CHAP. VIII, IX. Like things happen to good and bad.
done under the sun: there is a time that is done upon the earth: (for also about 977. wherein one man ruleth over another there is that neither day nor night about 977. to his own hurt.
seeth sleep with his eyes :)
out, yet he shall not find it ; yea far-
i Like things happen to good and bad. 4
There is a necessity of death unto men. 7 Ps. 37. 11, longed, yet surely I know that it Comfort is all their portion in this life.
shall be well with them that fear God, 11 God's providence ruleth over all. 13 • which fear before him :
Wisdom is better than strength. wicked, neither
db But it shall not be well with the FOR all this. I.considered in my overy days, which are as a shadow; because the righteous, and the wise, and their he feareth not before God.
works, are in the hand of God: no 14 There is a vanity which is done man knoweth either love or hatred by
upon the earth ; that there be just all that is before them. d Ps. 73. 14.] men, unto whom it d happeneth ac 2 a All things come alike to all : a Mal. 3. 15.
cording to the work of the wicked; there is one event to the righteous, 13.
sacrificeth not: as is the good, so is
evil, and madness is in their heart
Ps. 73. 3, 12,
e Chap. 3. 22.
10.-- who had come and gone from the place of the the wisest man in the world make it his constant busiholy,] Who had been honoured as gods while they were ness, he will still be forced to confess his ignorance; living, because they were God's ministers, and sat in and the height of his knowledge will be to know, that the judgment-seat, in that very place where He Himself God's ways are past finding out. Bp. Patrick. is present. Bp. Patrick.
11. Because sentence against an evil work &c.] Be Chap. IX. ver. 1. - no man knoweth either love or cause the punishment does not immediately follow the hatred] No man knows or can know the love or hatred offence.
of God towards particular individuals, “ by all that is therefore the heart—is fully set in them] In the before them;" that is, by all that befalls them visibly. original, “their heart has filled them,” they are pre- Dr. Wells. sumptuous, to do evil. Dr. S. Clarke.
2. All things come alike to all :) There is no certain 15. Then I commended mirth, &c.] Then I resolved and constant distinction made between one man and that it is good for man to be cheerful in his calling, another, in the distribution of things in this world; but and in the good and holy use of God's blessings. Bp. they all fare alike in public calamities especially. Bp. Hall. We must well remember, that when he in this Patrick. manner “commends mirth,” he speaks of reasonable - and he that sweareth,] The character of “him pleasures, which proceed from a moderate and lawful that sweareth” is here mentioned as blamable; but use of the good things which God has given us, which Solomon does not mean to disapprove the taking of an have nothing in them irregular and contrary to piety. oath on any occasion whatever; but only to commend Osterdald.
the fearing or avoiding of any oath, whenever it can 17. — that a man cannot find out &c.] For there is be avoided, consistently with other obligations. Abp. little or nothing that any man can know of the secrets Secker. of God's counsels, or any of his works; which are in 3. This is an evil &c.] There is this evil in all which scrutable to us, whatever pains we take : nay, though is done under the sun, that “there is one event” unto
A necessity of death unto men. ECCLESIASTES. God's providence ruleth over all.
4 4 For to him that is joined to all 10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to about 977. the living there is hope: for a living do, do it with thy might; for there is about 977.
dog is better than a dead lion. no work, nor device, nor knowledge,
Ś For the living know that they nor wisdom, in the grave, whither
nor the battle to the strong, neither
12 For man also knoweth not his
of men snared in an evil time, when & Prov. 29. 6.
under the sun, and it seemed great
thee under the sun, all the days of king against it, and besieged it, and 5 Chap. 2: 24. thy vanity: b for that is thy portion built great bulwarks against it:
in this life, and in thy labour which 15 Now there was found in it a
poor wise man, and he by his wisdom
+ Heb. See, or, enjoy life.
all men ; whence arise errours in their notions concern 8. Let thy garments be always white;] In opposition ing the living, and with respect to the dead hereafter. I to the habit of mourners. The meaning is, Live not Dr. Hodgson.
sordidly and sadly, but entertain thyself at all season4. For to him that is joined &c.] If we compare the able times. Bp. Patrick. state of the living and the dead, with respect to the pre 10. Whatsoever thy hand &c.] That is, the work that sent world, that of the living is the best; for, while we is before thee, which is most proper for thee to propose here live, we may still be in hope, either of amending or to thyself, as the great end and design of thy life, the of receiving further graces and blessings, both of which province and charge appointed to thee. “Do it with thy are cut off from the dead : and, according to a common might;" that is, set about it with great care, use all proverb, the most vile and contemptible animal, as a possible diligence and industry for effecting and accomdog, that is alive, is better than the most generous of all plishing it. He enforces his precept by the considerabeasts, the lion, when dead. Bp. Hall.
tion that this life is the proper season of activity and 5. — but the dead know not any thing,] When men are industry, of designing and doing those things which gone from this world, they become perfect strangers to tend to our future happiness; and, when this life is all things here, and can no longer enjoy any benefit of ended, there will be no further opportunity of working, their labour, the fruit of which falls into the hands and nothing will remain but to receive the recompense of other men, who think not what is become of them. of that which we have before done. Abp. Tillotson. Bp. Patrick.
11. I returned, and saw under the sun, &c.] I saw and - neither have they any more a reward :] It is not observed that here on earth all things do not fall out meant that there is no reward after death for the right- according to the probability of second causes, but by eous in heaven; but that, after death, there will be no the appointments of an over-ruling Providence: the enjoyment of any worldly felicity, as he himself explains swiftest does not always win the race, nor the strong in the next verse. Collyer.
prevail in battle, &c. but every one in his time hath a 7. Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy! Therefore, several issue, according to the determination of the shaking off all anxious cares and perplexing thoughts Almighty, beyond or contrary to his own hopes. Bp. about God's providence, excite thyself, by the remém- Hall. brance of death, to a cheerful enjoyment of those good neither yet bread to the wise,] Meaning, that the things present which thou possessest; believing, that if most learned and able men are not always secured thou hast approved thyself to God in the rest of thy against poverty and want. Abp. Tillotson. works, it is acceptable to Him that thou shouldest thus but time and chance happeneth to them all.] That rejoice in those gifts which his benevolence has afforded is, There is a secret providence of God, which somethee. Bp. Patrick. Solomon's design is, that we should times presents inen with unexpected opportunities, and improve the advantages of life, and make a wise use interposes accidents which no human wisdom can foreof what we have in possession; but we must beware of see; which grants success to very improbable means ; abusing this notion, and imagining ourselves to be at full and defeats the swift, the strong, the learned, the inliberty to indulge in worldly joys and pleasures, and to dustrious, and those who are best versed in men and say with the ungodly, “Let us eat and drink, for to business, of their several ends and designs. Abp. Tilmorrow we die. Ostervald,
Before CHRIST about 977.
d Prov. 21.
wisdom and folly. delivered the city; yet no man re- faileth him, and he saith to every one CHRIST about 977. membered that same poor man. that he is a fool. 16 Then said I, Wisdom is better 4 If the spirit of the ruler rise
up than strength : nevertheless the poor against thee, leave not thy place; for man's wisdom is despised, and his yielding pacifieth great offences. words are not heard.
5 There is an evil which I have 17 The words of wise men are heard seen under the sun, as an error which in quiet more than the cry of him that proceedeth + from the ruler :
| Heb. from
before. ruleth among fools.
6 Folly is set tin great dignity, 1 Heb. in
great heights. 18 Wisdom is better than weapons and the rich sit in low place. of war: but one sinner destroyeth 7 I have seen servants upon horses, a Prov. 30. much good.
and princes walking as servants upon
the earth. CHAP. X.
8. He that diggeth a pit shall fall b Ps. 7; 15. i Observations of wisdom and folly : 16 of into it; and whoso breaketh an hedge,
riot, 18 slothfulness, 19 and money; 20 a serpent shall bite him.
9 Whoso removeth stones shall be
hurt therewith ; and he that cleaveth
the to send forth a
fitable to direct.
master of the 3 Yea also, when he that is a fool is no better, walketh by the way, this wisdom 12 - The words of a wise man's 32. & 12. 13.
Prov. 26. 27
+ Heb. his heart.
15. — yet no man remembered that same poor man.] sense; much more do his words and actions betray This little parable sets forth the depraved and malig- him.
Bp. Hall. nant nature of mankind, who in extremities and straits 4. If the spirit of the ruler &c.] If thy prince be commonly fly to men of wisdom and courage, whom angry with thee, quit not the duty of a subject. Bp. they before slighted; but, as soon as the storm is over, Patrick. they become unthankful wretches to their preservers.
5. - an error which proceedeth from the ruler :] An Lord Bacon.
errour which proceeds from princes in the ill choice 17. The words of wise men &c.]. The words of a wise which they make of those whom they promote; for poor man, though spoken softly, out of a fearful and (ver. 6) "folly is set in great dignity, and the rich sit lowly kind of bashfulness, are worthy of more respect in low place;" that is, those who are truly able, both than the imperious loud clamours of him that ruleth for their parts and their estates, and are well worthy among fools. Bp. Hall.
of eminent places, are neglected and disregarded. Bp.
Hall. Chap. X. ver. 1. Dead flies cause &c.] This is a well 7. - servants upon horses,] In the East, to ride on a known fact, especially in hot climates, that dead insects horse is deemed an honourable circumstance, and ideas cause syrups, and other such preparations, to ferment of stateliness are always attached to it. The Turks at and putrefy, which makes it necessary to be careful in this day, when they ride on horseback, proceed in a very preventing flies from coming to them. Scheuchzer. stately
manner : it is contrary to their dignity to advance so doth a little folly] In the same manner, in beyond a footpace, and they are attended by a number however good reputation a man may be for wisdom and of servants. Harmer. honour, yet some one foolish humour and weak mis 8. — whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him.] carriage of his will mar and stain his reputation. Bp. By this men are warned, that the overthrowing of an Hall
. A little folly in a very wise man, a small sin in established government and settled laws is often fatal to an honest man, and a slight' indecency of manners in a those that attempt it, Other proverbs to the same effect man of courtly behaviour, often greatly derogate from are given at ver. 9. Dr. Wells. their fame and reputation. Lord Bacon.
10.- but wisdom is profitable to direct.] Wisdom will 2. A wise man's heart is at his right hand;] That is, still find out how to make it execute its office. Dr. ready to be employed with dexterity and effect. Park- Hodgson. Wisdom does, as it were, whet the edge of hurst. Herein a truly wise man's worth is discovered, the axe, and direct men to do that with ease, which that his judgment never fails him in the greatest diffi- otherwise cannot be achieved without much labour. Bp. culties, in which he not only resolves right, but takes Hall. things by the right handle; whereas a fool mistakes in 11. Surely the serpent &c.] Surely the serpent will his aim, and stumbles so much in the easiest business, bite, if it be not hindered by enchantments : and a babthat he commonly miscarries. Bp. Patrick.
bler, or one that secretly traduces his governours, and 3. Yea also, when he that is a fool &c.] Yea, let a irritates the people against them, is no better; for he fool but walk by the way, and his very motion and injures thereby his governours as much as the serpent gesture shew what he is, and proclaim his want of does one whom he bites. Dr. Wells.
+ Heb. his
f Isa. 3. 4, 5.
Observations of riot, slothfulness, &c. ECCLESIASTES.
Directions for charity. +
waCHRIST about 977. a fool will swallow up .
ters : for thou shalt find it after about 977. 13 The beginning of the words of many days. + Heb. grace.
+ Heb. upon his mouth is foolishness : and the end 2 Give a portion to seven, and also the face of the of this talk is mischievous madness. to eight; for thou knowest not what a Deut. 15.
14 d A fool also + is full of words : evil shall be upon the earth. multiplieth
a man cannot tell what shall be ; and 3 If the clouds be full of rain, they Prov. 19. 17.
if the tree fall toward the south, or
16 f'Woe to thee, O land, when not sow; and he that regardeth the
5 As thou knowest not what is the
the works of God who maketh all. 18 By much slothfulness the 6 In the morning sow thy seed, building decayeth; and through idle- and in the evening withhold not thine ness of the hands the house droppeth hand: for thou knowest not whether through. + shall prosper, either this or that, or + Heb. shall
be right. 19 A feast is made for laughter, whether they both shall be alike good. & Ps. 104. 15. and & wine + maketh merry : but 7 q Truly the light is sweet, and a maketh glad money answereth all things.
pleasant thing it is for the eyes to be20°qh Curse not the king, no not hold the sun :
in thy || thought; and curse not the 8 But if a man live many years, Or,
rich in thy bedchamber: for a bird of and rejoice in them all; yet let him
9 Rejoice, O young man, in thy 1 Directions for charity. 7 Death in life, oyouth ; and let thy heart cheer thee and the day of judgment in the days of
in the days of thy youth, and walk in
of thine heart, and in the
the life. h Exod. 22. 28.
12. -- the lips of a fool will swallow up himself.] The 2. Give a portion to seven, &c.] Be not narrow and words of a fool will be the occasion of his own undoing. confined in thine alms, but bestow them liberally on all Bp. Hall.
that have need. Bp. Hall. See the note on Job v. 19. 15.— because he knoweth not how to go to the city.] 3. If the clouds be full of rain, &c.] In this verse, Because out of simplicity he wanders about over un- Solomon illustrates the duty of charity, and the reason tracked ways, and does not so much as know the beaten for the timely exercise of it: the former by the clouds, road to the city. Bp. Hall.
which are a fit emblem of charity, in pouring down 16.— thy princes eat in the morning!! That is, spend general plenty on the earth; the latter by the trees, in riot and revelling that portion of their time which which can bring forth fruit no longer than they continue ought to be set apart for the administration of justice. joined to the earth by their roots, as man can no more Bp. Hall.
be fruitful in good works, when he has ceased to live. 18. By much slothfulness the building decayeth ;] In Bp. Patrick. like manner a whole kingdom is ruined by the sloth 4. He that observeth the wind shall not sow;] Let not and inattention of those who have the government of it. every circumstance of vain fear discourage thee from Dr. Wells.
doing good and distributing ; he that is too curious in 19. A feast is made &c.] There are proper times for observing every wind that blows, will never find an the feasting and mirth of kings, and those who have the opportunity of sowing. Bp. Hall. care of the government; but then care must be taken 6. In the morning sow thy seed, &c.] That is, take all that too much money be not spent on such occasions, proper occasions of exercising thy charity, as long as so as not to leave enough for the publick supplies of the thou livest ; for thou knowest not what occasion may kingdom. Dr. Wells.
suit to do the greatest good to others, and to bring the
greatest blessing on thyself; and whether all occasions Chap. XI. ver. 1. Cast thy bread &c.] Bestow thy may prove equally beneficial. Dr. Wells. beneficence on those from whom there is no probability 9. Rejoice, O young man, &c.] When thou art inof a return of kindness; for He that seeth in secret will, clined, O young man, to rejoice in thy youth, &c. know, when thou hast forgotten it, restore it unto thee with a that is, remember, that for every sin committed “God happy increase. Bp. Hall.
will bring thee into judgment.'
Before CHRIST about 977.
| Or, anger.
The Creator is
to be remembered. sight of thine eyes: but know thou, and those that look out of the windows about 977, that for all these things God will bring be darkened, thee into judgment.
4 And the doors shall be shut in 10 Therefore remove || sorrow from the streets, when the sound of the thy heart, and put away evil from thy grinding is low, and he shall rise up flesh: for childhood and youth are at the voice of the bird, and all the vanity.
daughters of musick shall be brought CHAP. XII.
5 Also when they shall be afraid of 1 The Creator is to be remembered in due that which is high, and fears shall be time. 8 The preacher's care to edify: 13 in the way, and the almond tree shall The fear of God is the chief antidote of flourish, and the grasshopper shall be
a burden, and desire shall fail : be
tor in the days of thy youth, and the mourners go about the
2 While the sun, or the light, or pitcher be broken at the fountain, or
the earth as it was: and the spirit 3 In the day when the keepers of shall return unto God who gave it.
the house shall tremble, and the strong 8 Vanity of vanities, saith the Chap. 1. 2. grinders fail, men shall bow themselves, and || the preacher; all is vanity. grind little grinders cease because they are few,
9 And || moreover, because the &c.
I Or, the more roise the preacher was,
10. Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart,] Sorrow put upon thee, as now retired to thine own home, withis here put for the cause of sorrow. Live not so in out care of others' visits or business; when thy slow youth as to bring sorrow in old age.
feeding shall make thee unfit for other men's tables :
when every little noise, even that of a bird, shall wake Chap. XII. Solomon, to prove that a future state of thee out of thy sleep ; and when thy spirits shall be so retribution was the object which he held out through dull and dejected, that thou shalt take no pleasure in the whole of his exhortation, as the only adequate sanc- hearing the most melodious musick : when thy decrepit tion of virtue, the only sure prop of religion, closes age shall make thee so unfit to move, that thou shalt be this admirable work with the solemn admonition, “ Re- afraid of every rub or clod that lies in thy way; when member now thy Creator,” &c. Then, after describing, the white blossoms of age shall cover thy head, and with singular beauty and philosophick precision, the every light thing (though it be but the weight of a grasssymptoms of decay preceding that awful hour, when hopper) shall seem burdensome to thee; and all those “the dust shall return to the earth as it was,” &c. he lusts and desires, which haunted thy stronger times, imprints upon the heart, in the two last verses, that are now gone and past; for there is no way but this great truth which it was his chief object to promulgate one; man goeth to his long home the grave, and the and enforce. Dr. Graves.
mourners in hired formality go about the streets : beVer. 1. Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy fore all thy natural and vital spirits be utterly exhausted, youth,] “Remember thy Creator ;” that is, honour, and all the functions and offices of life be quite disfear, love, obey, and serve Him; in a word, act as be charged, which shall be in the last act of death; for, as comes one who is mindful of God, and bears Him con- when the cord is loosed and the bucket broken, and tinually in his thoughts. Abp. Tillotson.
the pitcher broken at the well, or the wheel at the cisthy Creator] The Hebrew is, “thy Creators,” in tern, no water can any more be drawn; so, when these the plural. The plural is employed to shew the plurality vital parts fail, there can be no further prolongation of of Persons in the unity of essence, namely, the Father, life: when this frame of man's body shall thus be disSon, and Holy Ghost. For these three Divine Persons solved; then shall the dust, of which it was formed, consulted together concerning the creation of man, return to the earth, and the soul or spirit shall return to Gen. i. 26. Jones of Nayland, Parkhurst.
the God who gave it. Bp. Hall. 2—7. While the sun, &c.] The striking description of Hence let us learn to bestow on each part of our comold age which here follows may thus be paraphrased. position that portion of our time and attention, which, Before thine eyes grow dim with age, so that thou dost on a just consideration of their relative value, they may not clearly discern the sun, moon, and stars; and before be found to deserve. Bp. Horne. the evils and miseries of age succeed one another in a 6. Or ever the silver cord &c.] The expressions of woeful vicissitude : before the time that thine arms, which this verse are by many understood in a sense differing are the guard of this thy house of clay, shall tremble with from that of Bp. Hall, just given) to bear allusion to palsies; and thy legs, which are thy strong supporters, different parts of the human body. The “silver cord” shall bow
themselves; and thy teeth grind slowly and is thought to mean the thread of life, the spinal marrow; with difficulty, because they are few; and thine eyes, the golden bowl” to express the heart; and “the wheel which are as glasses in the windows of the head, are at the cistern”, the tubes and arteries about it. Bp. dusky and darkened: when the street doors shall be Horne, Dr. Hodgson.