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Before CHRIST

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14.

Vanities in divine service,

ECCLESIASTES. in murmuring, and riches. Before 14 For out of prison he cometh to 4 - When thou vowest a vow unto Before about 977. reign; whereas also he that is born in God, defer not to pay it; for he hath about 977. his kingdom becometh poor.

no pleasure in fools: d pay that which
15 I considered all the living which thou hast vowed.
walk under the sun, with the second 5 Better is it that thou shouldest
child that shall stand up in his stead. not vow, than that thou shouldest vow

16 There is no end of all the peo- and not pay.
ple, even of all that have been before 6 Suffer not thy mouth to cause
them: they also that come after shall thy flesh to sin; neither say thou be-
not rejoice in him. Surely this also fore the angel, that it was an error:
is vanity and vexation of spirit. wherefore should God be angry at

thy voice, and destroy the work of
CHAP. V.

thine hands?

7 For in the multitude of dreams
i Vanities in divine service, 8 in murmuring, and many words there are also divers

against oppression, 9 and in riches. 18 vanities: but fear thou God.
Joy in riches is the gift of God.

8 9 If thou seest the oppression of
K EEP thy foot when thou goest the poor, and violent perverting of

to the house of God, and be judgment and justice in a province, a. 1 Sam. 15. more ready to hear, a than to give the marvel not tat the matter: for he + Heb. at the Ps. 50. 8. sacrifice of fools: for they consider that is higher than the highest re- purpose: • not that they do evil.

gardeth; and there be higher than 2 Be not rash with thy mouth, and they

let not thine heart be hasty to utter 99 Moreover the profit of the | Or, word. any || thing before God: for God is earth is for all: the king himself is

in heaven, and thou upon earth : served by the field. b Matt. 6.7 therefore let thy words be few. 10 He that loveth silver shall not

3 For a dream cometh through the be satisfied with silver; nor he that multitude of business; and a fool's loveth abundance with increase: this voice is known by multitude of words. is also vanity.

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Prov. 15. 8. & 21. 27.

Prov. 10. 19.

14. For out of prison &c.] For it has been known that and be more ready to hear, &c.] The meaning is, he who was poor and abject as the vilest slave in a prison Be more ready to hear practically, that is, to obey the has come to reign by singular prudence, while he that is commandments of God: a similar expression to that of born of royal ancestors is sometimes through his folly | 1 Sam. xv. 22, “To obey is better than sacrifice.” Have deserted by his subjects, loses his kingdom, and “be-a care rather to approach the Divine Majesty with an cometh poor.” By the expression “out of prison," it offering of an obedient disposition, than with the bare is not improbable that Solomon has here respect to the rites of outward service. Jos. Mede. case of Joseph in Egypt. Dr. Wells.

- to give the sacrifice of fools :] That is, barely to 15. I considered all the living &c.] If what is men- offer outward sacrifice, without giving due care to lead tioned at ver. 13, 14, happen not to a king, I have seen, also a holy life. Dr. Wells. he adds, another great unhappiness which more usually 2. Be not rash with thy mouth,] That is, when thou befalls kings ; namely, their being left with only the art going to pray, recollect thyself, consider that thy bare title of royalty, while the hearts and affections of Creator is great, and wise, and good above all, and thou the kingdom incline to “the second son,” that is, to the a poor dependant mortal being; weigh thy expressions, child who was second to him, or heir of the kingdom. think before thou speakest, and take heed to use few Dr. Wells.

words, and to ask for nothing improper. Dr. Jortin. 16. There is no end of all the people,] There will be for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth :] God is no end of this disposition in all mankind, so deeply is it in heaven, a great, infinite, eternal, all-glorious, incomrooted in them; for, as it has always been the disposi- prehensible Being ; heaven is His throne, and earth tion “ of all that have been before them” to be weary of His footstool : thou art a poor silly worm, a creeping, what they have long enjoyed, and pleased with novelty, crawling, sinful dust and ashes : have therefore a care and therefore to slight an old king and court his suc- what thou sayest unto Him, and fear to speak anything cessor, so “they that come after shall not rejoice in him;" | amiss before Him. Bp. Beveridge. that is, shall in like manner slight the present heir when 3. For a dream cometh &c.] For, as in a multitude he comes to be old, and pay court to his son or heir, as of business, there will be troublesome and confused they now do to him. Dr. Wells.

dreams, so in a multitude of words there will be futility

and errour. Bp. Hall. Chap. V. ver. 1. Keep thy foot when thou goest &c.] 6. Suffer not thy mouth &c.] Do not entangle thy Beware how thou treadest, be always on thy guard, in life with a rash vow, which the frailty of human nature the house of God. Let thy carriage be adjusted to the may impel thee afterwards to break. Abp. Tillotson. ideas of His presence whose courts thou enterest: let 1.- the angel,] “The messenger of the covenant,” thy whole deportment there be such as best suits the sa- Mal. ïïi. 1. Junius. credness of the place, and the majesty of Him to whom 8. - marvel not at the matter :) Be not dismayed and it is dedicated. Archdeacon Sharp.

| amazed at the matter. Bp. Hall.

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The vanity
CHAP. V, VI.

of riches. . 11 When goods increase, they are 19 Every man also to whom God s Before alsout 977. increased that eat them: and 'what hath given riches and wealth, and about 977.

good is there to the owners thereof, hath given him power to eat thereof,
saving the beholding of them with and to take his portion, and to rejoice
their eyes?

in his labour; this is the gift of God.
12 The sleep of a labouring man 20 || For he shall not much re- | 0r. Though
is sweet, whether he eat little or member the days of his life; because much, yet he
much : but the abundance of the rich God answereth him in the joy of his dead
will not suffer him to sleep.

heart.
13 There is a sore evil which I have

CHAP. VI.
seen under the sun, namely, riches
kept for the owners thereof to their i The vanity of riches without use. 3 Of
hurt.

children, 6 and old age without riches. 9
14 But those riches perish by evil

The vanity of sight and wandering desires.

11 The conclusion of vanities.
travail: and he begetteth a son, and
there is nothing in his hand.

THERE is an evil which I have
15 e As he came forth of his mo I seen under the sun, and it is
ther's womb, naked shall he return to common among men:
go as he came, and shall take nothing 2 A man to whom God hath given
of his labour, which he may carry riches, wealth, and honour, so that he
away in his hand.

wanteth nothing for his soul of all
16 And this also is a sore evil, that that he desireth, yet God giveth him

in all points as he came, so shall he not power to eat thereof, but a stran1 Chap. 1. 3. go: and what profit hath he that ger eateth it: this is vanity, and it is hath laboured for the wind?

an evil disease.
17 All his days also he eateth in 3 9 If a man beget an hundred
darkness, and he hath much sorrow children, and live many years, so that
and wrath with his sickness.

the days of his years be many, and 18 9 Behold that which I have his soul be not filled with good, and g Ch.2. 24. seen : 6+ it is good and comely for also that he have no burial; I say, 4 Heb. there is one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy that an untimely birth is better than is comely, &c.

sc. the good of all his labour that he he. + Heb. the taketh under the sun tall the days of 4 For he cometh in with vanity, Zeys. oy in his life, which God giveth him: for it and departeth in darkness, and his is his portion.

name shall be covered with darkness.

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member of the

11. they are increased that eat them :] He implies, cious gist, and use it with sobriety and gratitude. that it is but a small portion of his wealth that a rich | Ostervald. man can enjoy personally; since, as his riches increase, 20. For he shall not much remember &c.] For such he must maintain a greater family and retinue, who have an one will not think his life here tedious or irksome, a greater share than himself in the daily provision that because God gives him his very heart's desire, in enjoyis made by his expenses. Bp. Patrick.

ing comfortably the fruits of his honest labours. Dr. 14. But those riches perish &c. Besides, these riches Wells. Otherwise it may be rendered, “He will not often perish by some disaster, so that the son, whom he be anxious about the duration of his life, since God thought to have left possessed of abundance of wealth, blesseth him with cheerfulness of heart.” Dr. Hodghath nothing at all left to support him. Bp. Patrick. son.

- there is nothing in his hand. He is a beggar, hath nothing in his possession. Jos. Mede.

Chap. VI. ver. 2. — God giveth him not power to eat 17. All his days also he eateth in darkness,] He de- thereof] God, in His just judgment, permits him to prives himself of all comfort, through the too eager be so far overruled by his covetous temper, that he has pursuit of wealth, and pinches his body, and tortures not power or heart to eat thereof for fear he should his mind with many vexations and discontentments. come to want; and so he leaves his wealth, and perBp. Hall.

haps a stranger becomes master of it, and “eateth'it," 18. — it is good and comely - to eat and to drink,] or lives plentifully upon it. Dr. Wells. When Solomon utters this expression, it is sufficiently 3. - and his soul be not filled with good,] And he obvious his meaning cannot be that we should give way will not allow himself what is fitting while he lives, Dr. to sensuality and pleasures. We cannot ascribe such a Wells. thought to him, if we consider what he has just said, of

also that he have no burial ;] In opposition to the reverence with which we ought to present ourselves the blessings of a numerous progeny and long life, are before God, of the judgments which God will pass on placed want of contentment in this life, and want of those who judge others, and of the joy which He sheds burial after death, which, Solomon says, are such abateabroad in the hearts of good men. His meaning is only ments of happiness, that abortion would have been prethis, that, when God gives us wealth, we ought to be ferable to life under such circumstances. Dr. Durell. content with it, to receive it and possess it as His gra- 4. For he cometh in with vanity, &c.] For the still

VOL. II.

Before CHRIST

CHRIST

& 15. 30.

The vanity of wandering desires. ECCLESIASTES. Of a good name, mortification,

5 Moreover he hath not seen the his vain life which he spendeth as a a Before about 977. sun, nor known any thing : this hath shadow ? for who can tell a man what about 977. more rest than the other.

shall be after him under the sun ?
6 9 Yea, though he live a thousand
years twice told, yet hath he seen no

CHAP. VII.
good: do not all go to one place ? 11 Remedies against vanity are, a good name,

7 All the labour of man is for his | 2 mortification, 7 patience, 11 wisdom. 23
+ Heb. soul. mouth, and yet the fappetite is not. The difficulty of wisdom.
filled.

a GOOD name is better than a Prov. 22. I. 8 For what hath the wise more than 0 precious ointment; and the day the fool? what hath the poor, that of death than the day of one's birth. knoweth to walk before the living? 2 q It is better to go to the house

9 9 Better is the sight of the eyes of mourning, than to go to the house Heb, than + than the wandering of the desire: of feasting: for that is the end of all of the soul. this is also vanity and vexation of men; and the living will lay it to his spirit.

heart. 10 That which hath been is named 3 || Sorrow is better than laughter: 10r, Anger. already, and it is known that it is for by the sadness of the countenance man : neither may he contend with the heart is made better. him that is mightier than he.

4 The heart of the wise is in the 11 | Seeing there be many things house of mourning; but the heart of

that increase vanity, what is man the fools is in the house of mirth. + Heb. the better?

1 5 It is better to hear the rebuke h Prov. 13. days of the 12 For who knoweth what is good of the wise, than for a man to hear 32. “

for man in this life, † all the days of the song of fools.

the walking of the soul.

number of the

18. & 15. 31.

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born child comes into the world without noise, and to part of the book, of the courses which men usually no use, and passes away obscurely without notice; and, take to make themselves happy; the Preacher now as he lived not to have a name, so the memory of him seems to proceed to prescribe the best remedies that vanishes into darkness and oblivion : still (ver. 5) “this can be found against that vanity to which we are subhath more rest than the other;" that is, he is freed by ject, by setting down many wise precepts for our direc80 early a death from those vexations which an old / tion, comfort, and support in a troublesome world. Of covetous man draws on himself. Bp. Hall.

this nature are the doctrines which begin this chapter, 7. All the labour of man &c.] All the labour of man quite opposite to the common opinions of the world ; that is necessary to be taken is only for his mouth, or but they are the maxims of true wisdom and policy, what is required to sustain him; and yet the appetite which must be learnt in order to the settlement of our of the covetous is never satisfied. Dr. Wells.

| minds in peace and tranquillity, notwithstanding the 3. knoweth to walk before the living ] Knoweth vanity that is in all things. Bp. Patrick. to behave himself among men suitably to his condition, Ver. 1. - and the day of death than the day of one's and to be contented with it. Dr. Wells.

birth.] The day of a good and faithful man's death is 9. Better is the sight of the eyes &c.] The meaning better than the day of his birth; for his death puts an is, It is better to make a wise use of what lies before us, end to those miseries which his birth begins, and opens and to enjoy quietly and contentedly what we have, that more perfect happiness, of which the present life than to let our desires be continually running out after is not capable. Bp. Hall. fresh objects, and shifting from point to point; such As death to a good man is more advantageous than restless pursuits being not only vain and unprofitable, life, so to a wise man the contemplation of the former but creating abundance of needless trouble and per- is more desirable than all the enjoyments of the latter. plexity. Dr. J. Balguy.

Bp. Atterbury. 10. That which hath been &c.] The sense seems to 2. It is better to go &c.7 When the wise man bids be, What if a man be renowned ? It is known that he us go to the house of mourning, when he tells us that is but man, made out of dust, and therefore subject to sorrow is better than laughter, he is not to be undermuch evil which he cannot overcome. Bp. Patrick. stood as prohibiting all mirth, as requiring us to wear

12. all the days of his vain life &c.] The reflec- a perpetual cloud on our brow, and to sequester ourtions which Solomon here makes are very proper to selves from every cheerful entertainment of social life. moderate the heat of men's pursuit after earthly goods. His true meaning is, that there is a certain temper and The vanity of their labours appears not only in their state of mind which is of far greater consequence to not knowing how to enjoy the good things which they real happiness, than the habitual indulgence of giddy so eagerly pursue, but chiefly in this, that they often and thoughtless mirth; that, for the attainment and deprive themselves of the greatest blessing of life, which cultivation of this temper, frequent returns of grave reis ease and a contented mind, and cannot secure them- flection are necessary; that, upon this account, it is selves any thing for the future. The gospel gives us profitable to give admission to those views of human clearer directions on this head, when we are told that distress, which tend to awaken such reflections in the godliness with contentment is great gain,” i Tim. vi. mind; and that thus, from the vicissitudes of sorrow 6. Ostervald.

which we either experience in our own lot, or sympa

thize with in the lot of others, much wisdom and imChap. VII. Having discoursed, in the foregoing provement may be derived. Dr. Blair.

CHRIST

CHRIST

Heb. sound.

e Deut. 16.

19.

patience, and wisdom.

CHAP. VII. Beforer 6 For as the + crackling of thorns days of my vanity: there is a just Before about 977. under a pot, so is the laughter of the man that perisheth in his righteous- about 977. and fool : this also is vanity.

ness, and there is a wicked man that 7 | Surely oppression maketh a prolongeth his life in his wickedness. wise man mad; and a gift destroy- 16 Be not righteous over much; eth the heart.

neither make thyself over wise : why 8 Better is the end of a thing than shouldest thou + destroy thyself? Heb, be the beginning thereof: and the pa- 17 Be not over much wicked, nei-“ tient in spirit is better than the proud ther be thou foolish : why shouldest in spirit. thon die + before thy time?

Heb. not in d Prov. 14. 9 a Be not hasty in thy spirit to be 18 It is good that thou shouldest“

angry: for anger resteth in the bosom take hold of this; yea, also from this
of fools.

withdraw not thine hand: for he that

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not thing

that the former days were better than all.

these ? for thou dost not enquire 19 Wisdom strengtheneth the wise f Prov. 21. 22. + Heb. out of + wisely concerning this.

more than ten mighty men which are chap.9.16. yor, as good 11 I Wisdom || is good with an in- / in the city. herit- heritance : and by it there is profit to 20 % For there is not a just man g Prov. 20. 9.

i 1 kings 8. 46. them that see the sun.

12 For wisdom is a defence, and sinneth not. money is a defence : but the excel- 21 Also + take no heed unto all Web, give lency of knowledge is, that wisdom words that are spoken; lest thou hear heart. giveth life to them that have it. thy servant curse thee:

13 Consider the work of God : for 22 For oftentimes also thine own e Chap. 1, 15. e who can make that straight, which heart knoweth that thou thyself likehe hath made crooked?

wise hast cursed others.
14 In the day of prosperity be 23 | All this have I proved by

joyful, but in the day of adversity wisdom: I said, I will be wise; but + Heb. nade. consider: God also hath + set the one it was far from me.

over against the other, to the end 24 That which is far off, and ex-
that man should find nothing after ceeding deep, who can find it out?
him.

25 + I applied mine heart to know, + Heb. I and 15 All things have I seen in the and to search, and to seek out wis- compassed.

mine heart

6.- as the crackling of thorns under a pot,] Like a other, “ that man should find nothing after him," that is, blaze, noisy but soon spent. In the East they com- that he should be uncertain what next may befall him. monly use the dung of animals for fuel, which burns Dr. Hodgson. very slow: the burning of thorns and furze affords al 15.- there is a just man that perisheth] There is an striking contrast to this, and it is probably this contrast innocent and just man that miscarries, notwithstanding which gives energy to the comparison. Harmer. | his righteousness, through the cruelty and injustice of

7.- a gift destroyeth the heart.) A bribe destroys, others. Bp. Hall. or tends to corrupt the heart. Dr. Wells.

16. Be not righteous over much ; &c.] Perhaps the 8. Better is the end of a thing] Better is it, toward meaning may be, Do not exercise justice with too much the right conduct of life, to consider what will be the rigour. Dr. Waterland. These expressions must by end of a thing, than what is the beginning of it; for no means be understood as a caution against being too what promises fair at first may prove ill, and what seems wise or too good, since no man can possibly be wise or at first a disadvantage, may prove very advantageous. good enough, or can use sufficient endeavours to beDr. Wells.

come so, But Solomon speaks these words against 10. Say not thou, What is the cause &c.] Be not those, who, when insisting on their own right, or passdiscontented and complaining at the present condition ing judgment on others, proceed with the utmost rigour of things, so as to murmur at the providence of God; and severity, not observing the rules of moderation for this would be foolish and unjust : rather, in a and equity, and are so presumptuous as busily to humble thankfulness and submission, make use of the intermeddle with what does not concern them. Osterpresent. Bp. Hall.

vald. 13. Consider the work of God : &c.) Complain not 17. Be not over much wicked,] Let not impunity of times and events; but consider well the wise, just, tempt any man to grow enormously wicked, and foolish and powerful proceedings of God: for when He has in following the lewdest opinions; for this may awaken thought good, for the punishment of men's sins, to publick justice, or the Divine vengeance, so as to cut give them up to disorder, it is not in the power of hu- him off before he come to the natural term of life. Bp. man means to rectify them. Bp. Hall.

Patrick. 14. In the day of prosperity &c.] In the day of pros- 18. he that feareth God shall come forth of them perity rejoice : yet have an eye towards the day of ad-all.] The Greek translators render it, “To him that versity; for the Lord hath placed the one near unto the I feareth God, all things shall succeed.” Dr. Wall.

Before CHRIST

Before CHRIST

Heb. the

14.

that is good

1 Or, weighing one

another, to find out the reason.

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Before dom, and the reason of things, and to maketh his face to shine, and + the Before about 977. know the wickedness of folly, even of boldness of his face shall be changed. about 977. foolishness and madness:

2 I counsel thee to keep the king's h Prov. 22. 26 h And I find more bitter than commandment, and that in regard of strength.

death the woman, whose heart is the oath of God.

snares and nets, and her hands as 3 Be not hasty to go out of his Heb. lie bands: + whoso pleaseth God shall sight: stand not in an evil thing; for before God. escape from her; but the sinner shall he doeth whatsoever pleaseth him. be taken by her.

4 Where the word of a king is, 27 Behold, this have I found, saith there is power: and who may say cone the preacher, || counting one by one, unto him, What doest thou ? thing after to find out the account:

15 Whoso keepeth the command28 Which yet my soul seeketh, but ment t shall feel no evil thing: and a + Heb.shall I find not: one man among a thou-wise man's heart discerneth both time ** sand have I found; but a woman and judgment. , among all those have I not found. 6 Because to every purpose there

29 Lo, this only have I found, is time and judgment, therefore the i Gen. 1. 27. i that God hath made man upright; misery of man is great upon him.

but they have sought out many in- 7 For he knoweth not that which
ventions.

shall be: for who can tell him || when I 01, how it CHAP. VIII.

it shall be ?

8 There is no man that hath power
1 Kings are greatly to be respected. 6 The
divine providence is to be observed.

12 If
12 It

over the spirit to retain the spirit; b Job 14. 5.

over the spirit to retain the spirit; is better with the godly in adversity, than neither hath he power in the day of with the wicked in prosperity. 16 The death : and there is no || discharge in 1 Or, casting work of God is unsearchable.

that war; neither shall wickedness VHO is as the wise man? and deliver those that are given to it.

who knoweth the interpreta- 9 All this have I seen, and applied odprov. . tion of a thing? a a man's wisdom my heart unto every work that is

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26. - the woman, whose heart is snares and nets,] The created in perfect innocency, having followed the defollowing method of ensnaring travellers, sometimes vices of their own hearts, and the suggestions of their practised by robbers in Eastern countries, affords a common enemy, we their sinful posterity do nothing lively comment on these words of Solomon. They but devise further means of our own ruin. Bp. Hall. send out a handsome woman upon the road, with her hair dishevelled, and in tears, who seems to be in the Chap. VIII. ver. 1. Who is as the wise man? &c.] deepest distress, complaining of some misfortune which What creature under heaven is so excellent as a wise she pretends had befallen her. She easily draws the man? He only can find out the secrets of nature and traveller into conversation with her, and engages him of art: his wisdom makes him gracious, and respected to assist her; but he has no sooner taken her up on of all men ; it alters and improves his disposition and

his neck, and strangles him; or, at least, stuns him, and ingenuous. Bp. Hall. till the robbers, who are lying in wait, come running to | maketh his face to shine,] Gives him fair repuher aid, and complete what she has begun. Thevenot. tation and honour.

28. but a woman among all those &c.] That which 3. Be not hasty &c.] Let not thy passion transport Solomon here says should be well understood. As the thee to shew the least disrespect to him ; if thou hast Scriptures often speak of women illustrious for their offended him, let thy care be, not to persist obstinately virtues, and Solomon himself praises such, (Prov. xii. in the errour, but to humble thyself, and beg his par4 ; xviii. 22 ; xxxi. 10,) he could not mean that a virtu- don; for his power is so great, that it will one time or ous woman was no where to be found. There is, in other lay hold on thee and punish thee. Bp. Patrick. this respect, no difference between the two sexes. But 5. — a wise man's heart &c.] The heart of the Solomon's meaning is, that, having searched out the wise man discerneth both the time when every thing reason of all the wickedness that passes in the world, should be done, and the best method of doing it. Bp. ver. 25, he had found that there was nothing more Hall. dangerous and wicked than a disorderly woman, such 6. Because to every purpose] Because God has so as he describes at ver. 26, whose malice and artifice are ordered things, that to every purpose there is a proper scarcely to be conceived ; nor can they, who have suf- time, and judgment or proper manner of doing what is fered themselves to be surprised by her, without great intended, and therefore the misery of man is often great difficulty escape her snares. Solomon therefore does upon him, because he does not duly observe the said not here speak of women in general, but of such as he time and manner. Dr. Wells. had been describing. One reason, no doubt, which 8. There is no man that hath power &c.] No man induced him to speak thus, was the fact of his having hath power to keep his soul when God calls for it, neibeen himself seduced by evil women; see i Kings xi. ther hath he power to protract the day of death; there Ostervald.

is no possibility of avoiding that last conflict; the bold 29. Lo, this only have I found, &c.] The sense is, and presumptuous wickedness of men cannot deliver Our depravation is from ourselves; our first parents, I them from it. Bp. Hall.

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