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being astonished or dejected at the oppression, violence, or injustice that are in the earth. For we shall be sensible that God sees it all, and will reckon for it in the day of the revelation of his righteous judgment. May we then fanctify the Lord of hosts in our hearts, and make him our fear and our draad.
3. The frequent views which Solomon gives us of the vanity of riches, should engage us all to seek a better, even an enduring substance. We fee Solomon's observations on the vanity, uncertainty, and troubles attending wealth daily verified. But religion is a substantial good; it satisfies the foul; contributes to the usefulness of the day, and the repose of the night: it assuredly brings true profperity to those that possess it; and furnishes them with peace and comfort even in fickness and death. They do not regret to leave the world, as their treasure is laid up in heaven. On the whole, religion makes wealth a blessing, or turns poverty into an honourable and happy state; as it gives that joy of heart which the greatest abundance of the world can never give,
CH A P. VI. Solomon proceeds to show the vanity of wealth and the evil of
for did covetoufnefs. He had mentioned a heart to use what we have as a great blesing, he here observes, that it is not always to be found, and that without it a man is miserable
in his greatest abundance. i T HERE is an evil which I have seen under the ? 1 fun, and it [is] common among men: A man
to whom God hath given riches, wealth, and honour, - so that he wanteth nothing for his soul of all that he
defireth, yet God giveth him not power to eat thereof, but a stranger eateth it; he is a mere have to his money, and lays up for he knows not who: this [is] 3 vanity, and it is an evil disease. If a man beget
an hundred (children, ] and live many years, so that the days of his years be many, and his soul be not
filled with good, and also [that] he have no burial; if a man have many children of his own, which among the jews was reckoned a singular favour, yet grudges himself the comforts of life; or if he make no provision for his decent funeral, or his heir have such a contempt for him that he will not allow him such a funeral, I say, [that] an un.
timely, that is, an abortive birth [is] better than he. 4 For he, that is, the abortive child, cometh in with vanity,
and departeth in darkness, and his name shall be co. 5 vered with darkness. Moreover he hath not seen the
fun, nor known any thing:] this hath more rest than the other; as he hath never enjoyed the pleasures, he hath never felt the calamities of life, so that he who hath de
prived himself of its comforts, and plunged himself into its 6 forrows, is the greater sufferer. Yea, though he live a
thousand years twice (told,] yet hath he feen no good: do not all go to one place in a little time both of them
Mall be upon a level. : 7 All the labour of man [is] for his mouth, and yet
the appetite is not filled; the desires of the body are foon
satisfied, but the craving of a distempered heart never is. 8 For what hath the wise more than the fool?' what hath
the poor, that knoweth to walk before the living? The wise man who knoweth how to govern his fancy, and a poor man who knoweth how to behave suitable to his condition, and restrains unreasonable desires, is more honourable
and happy than wealthy mifers : or if it be taken as a 9 question, the answer follows; Better [is] the fight of
the eyes, than the wandering of the desire: this [is] also vanity and vexation of spirit; it is better that a man should take up with that which is before him, that is, what he can see and comfortably enjoy, than suffer his de- , fires to wander, and plunge himself into that vanity and forrow, which infatiable desires tend to produce : this is the
advantage of the wise man above the fool. . 10 That which hath been is named already, and it is
known that it (is) man; whatever his condition be, however honourable, he is but a man, (referring to the name of
Adam, which fignifies earth,) a lump of clay, subject to many accidents, and many painful events, which he cannot
prevent or remove : neither may he contend with him
life, though not equally in all. The conclusion of this part of jI my subječt therefore is, Seeing there be many things that
increase vanity, what [is] man the better for all his 12 wealth and honour, all his labours and anxieties? For who
knoweth what [is] good for man in [this] life, all the days of his vain life which he spendeth as a shadow ? for who can tell a man what shall be after him under the sun? Whatever his circumstances are, he must not dream of any enjoyment in mortal life that shall be free from a mixture of vanity, since it appears in so many shapes, that we hardly know what is best for us; especially considering the uncertainty of events that may arise during our lives and after our deaths.
M ONSIDERING how differently earthly things are
U diftributed by providence, we may be sure that they are not the best things. God often gives wealth, and honour, and children to the wicked; to those who have no wisdom or grace to improve them; which is a plain proof that he does not esteem them as his choicest favours: therefore let us not seek them inordinately; nor value ourselves too much upon them. Let us be content and thankful with. out them: especially if we have been taught to seek better blessings, and hope for substantial, everlasting good.
2. Whatever differences and distinctions there are among men, they all go to one place. The rich and the poor, the... aged and the young, the wise and the foolish, go alike to the grave, the land of silence and darkness. We are all but men of the earth, and must quickly return thither again; let this thought check the risings of pride, envy, and detraction; and promote candour, meekness, and love.
3. How kind is God in giving us the necessaries of life fo easily, and in punishing our inordinate passions with disappointment. To be contented with what nature requires, and
restrain inordinate desires, is a most important branch of wisdom. God has consulted our comfort in giving us necessary provisions for the body; but if we will suffer desire to wander, it will bring home nothing but vexation and torment. Let the poor be diligent, frugal, and contented; they will then be better esteemed, and live more comfortably, than those who are always covering and never satisfied.
4. Since man knoweth not what is good for himself, let us rejoice in the over-ruling providence of God. We can see but a little way before us; often choose and pursue what we cannot obtain; or, if we obtain it, what only increaseth vanity, and multiplies cares and sorrows. We are apt to think that good for us which we fee others eagerly pursuing, or what suits our senses, and therefore has the ap. pearance of good, but we are commonly deceived. We know not the events that are, before us; therefore this should prevent our being anxious about our projects, eager in our pursuits, or sanguine in our expectations. Let us bless God for the views which his word gives us of a particular providence, and its assurances that all his creatures are under his immediate government and direction. Tho' we know not what is good for us, he does, and will withhold no good thing from them who walk uprightly. Let us therefore take the surest, shortest course to be easy and happy; namely, to be anxious about nothing, but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, make known our requests unto God,
CH A P. VII. Solomon proceeds to give positive advices about happiness, and
how it is to be obtained; and recommends á care to get and keep a good name. I A GOOD name [is] better than precious ointment;
it gives a man greater comfort and refreshment while living, than the most agreeable perfumes, and preferves him when dead, better than the most precious em. and the day of death than the day of one's birth, as death is the end of his trouble and the commencea ment of his felicity, and seals up his good character. It is
better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the
death is more desirable and useful than any of the enjoyments ... of life; it may be expeEted that a£tive, lively persons should 3 in those circumstances be impressed. Sorrow, a composed,
Serious fpirit, [is] better than laughter: for by the fad-
from the world and quickened to embrace true happiness. 4. The heart of the wife [is] in the house of mourning,
and chooses to indulge serious thoughts; but the heart of . fools [is] in the house of mirth; loves merry meetings, the 5 assembly room, and the playhouse. [It is] better to hear
the rebuke of the wise, the sharpest reproof, than for a
man to hear the song of fools, than mufick or flattery. 6 For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, which makes
a great noise, looks cheerful, but is quickly gone, so [is] the laughter of the fool: this also [is] vanity. Another...
method to be happy is to command our passions when we have 7 received injury. Surely oppression maketh a wise man
mad; and a gift destroyeth the heart; it is very painful
man to unusual rage, and puts him upon fome irregular con8 duet: this is a reason for patience, for Better [is] the end
of a thing than the beginning thereof: [and] the pa-
mend as it goes on ; but he that is hasty and impatient often 9 undoes himself by his ungoverned temper. Be not hasty in
thy fpirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom