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He that fears God

ECCLESIASTES.

shall escape evil.

B. C. 977.

B. C. 977.

ness :

A. M. 3027. knoweth that thou thyself likewise | folly, even of foolishness and mad- A. M. 3027.

hast cursed others. 23 | All this have I proved by wisdom : 26 * And I find more bitter than death the " I said, I will be wise; but it was far from woman whose heart is snares and nets, and me.

her hands as bands : 11 whoso pleaseth God 24 That which is far off, and exceeding shall escape from her ; but the sinner shall be deep, who can find it out?

taken by her. 25 1 10 I u applied my heart to know, and to 27 Behold, this have I found, saith the search, and to seek out wisdom, and the rea- preacher, 12 counting one by one, to find out son of things, and to know the wickedness of the account;

* Rom. i. 22.-Job xxviii. 12, 20; 1 Tim. vi. 16. Rom. xi. 33.-1° Heb. I and my heart compassed. Chap. i. 17; ii. 12.

Prov. v. 3, 4; xxii. 14. Heb. he that is good before God. y Chap. i. 1, 2. -12 Or, weighing one thing after another, to find out the reason.

out of curiosity, are wont to do. Under this one Verse 25. I applied my heart to knowo— I was not kind of offences which are most frequent, namely, discouraged, but provoked, by the difficulty of the those of the tongue, he seems to comprehend all in- || work, to undertake it. To know, search, and seek juries which we suffer from others, and advises that out wisdom-He useth three words signifying the we should not too rigidly examine them, nor too same thing, to intimate his vehement desire, and deeply resent them, but rather neglect and forget vigorous and unwearied endeavours after it. And them. Lest thou hear thy servant curse thee- the reason of things-Both of God's various proviWhich would vex and grieve thee, and might, per- || dences, and of the counsels and courses of men. haps, provoke thee to treat him with severity, if not To know the wickedness, &c.—Clearly and fully to with vengeance and cruelty. For oftentimes also understand the great evil of sin. thine own heart—Thy mind or conscience, knoweth Verse 26. And I findBy my own sad experi-Bears thee witness; that thou thyself likewise-ence, which Solomon here records as a testimony of Either upon some great provocation, and sudden his true repentance for his foul miscarriages, for passion, or possibly upon a mere mistake, or false re-, whiclı he was willing to take shame to himself, not port, hast cursed others—Hast censured them un- only from the present, but from all succeeding gejustly, and spoken ill of them, if not wished ill to erations; more bitter than death is the woman, them. If therefore thy servant, or any other, act The strange woman, of whom

he speaks so much thus toward thee, thou art only paid in thy own in the Proverbs; more vexatious and pernicious, as coin. Observe, reader, when any affront or injury producing those horrors of conscience, those reis done us, it is seasonable to examine our con- proaches, diseases, and other plagues, both temporal sciences whether we have not done the same, or as and spiritual, from God, which are far worse than bad, to others: and if, upon reflection, we find we the mere death of the body, and, after all these, have, we must take that occasion to renew our re- everlasting destruction ; whose heart is snares and pentance for it, must justify God, and make use of it nets-Who is full of crafty devices to ensnare men; to qualify our own resentments. If we be truly dis-' and her hands-By gifts, or lascivious actions, as pleased and grieved at ourselves for censuring and bands-Wherewith she holds them in cruel bondbackbiting others, we shall be less angry at others for age, so that they have neither power nor will to forcensuring and backbiting us. We must show all sake her, notwithstanding all the dangers and mismeekness toward all men, because we ourselves chiefs which they know attend upon such practices. were formerly foolish, Titus iii. 2.

Whoso pleaseth GodHebrew, he that is good Verses 23, 24. All this have I provedAll these before God, who is sincerely, and in the judgment things, of which I have here discoursed, I have dili- of God, truly pious; shall escape her-Shall be pregently examined and found to be true; by wisdom-served from falling into her hands. Hereby he intiBy the help of that singular wisdom which God had mates, that neither a good temper of mind, nor great given me. I said, I will be wise—I determined that discretion, nor a good education, nor any other I would, by all possible means, seek to attain per- | thing, except God's grace, is a sufficient preservafection of wisdom, and I persuaded myself that I tive from the dominion of fleshy lusts ; but the sinshould attain it; but it was far from me- I found r_Who rests satisfied without the saving grace myself greatly disappointed, and the more I knew of God and true piety, and therefore lives in known the more I saw mine own folly. That which is far and wilsul sin; shall be taken by her-Shall be off, &c.—No human understanding can attain to per- entangled and held in her chains. fect wisdom, or to the exact knowledge of God's Verses 27, 28. Behold, saith the preacher-Or, counsels and works, and the reasons of them, be- the penitent, who speaks what he hath learned, both cause they are unsearchably deep, and far above out by deep study and costly experience; this have 1 of our sight; some of them being long since past, || found-And it is a strange thing, and worthy of and therefore utterly unknown to us, and others yet your serious observation; counting one by oneto come, which we cannot foreknow.

Considering things or persons, very exactly and dis

ner

The advantages of wisdom.

CHAPTER VIII.

Respect to rulers enjoined.

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28 Which yet my soul seeketh, but 29 Lo, this only have I found, A. M. 3027.

I find not : 2 one man among a thou- | a that God hath made man upright; sand have I found; but a woman among all but they have sought out many inventhose have I not found.

tions.

z Job xxxiii. 23 ; Psa. xii. 1.

a Gen. i. 27.-Gen. iii, 6, 7.

tinctly, one after another; to find out the account - | not willingly form one in such a group; and, if That I might make a true and just estimate in this any of them were previously well disposed, the matter; or, as it is in the margin, to find out the jealousies, party interests, contests, and artifices reason. Which yet my soul seekethIt seems so which take place in such situations, would tend wonderful to me, that I suspected that I had not exceedingly to corrupt them, and render them made a sufficient inquiry, and therefore I returned || all nearly of the same character. Solomon thereand searched again, with more earnestness; but I || fore here speaks the language of a penitent, warning find not—That it was so he found, but the reason others against the sins into which he had been beof the thing he could not find out. One man-A trayed; and not thatof a waspish satirist, lashingindiswise and virtuous man; among a thousand-With criminately one half of the human species.”-Scott. whom I have conversed; have I foundHe is sup- Verse 29. Lo, this only have I foundThough I posed to mention this number in allusion to his could not find out all the streams of wickedness, thousand wives and concubines, as they are num- and their infinite windings and turnings, yet I have bered, 1 Kings xi. 3; but a woman-One worthy of || discovered the fountain of it, original sin, and the that name, one who is not a dishonour to her sex; || corruption of nature, which is both in men and among all those, have I not foundIn that thousand | women; that God made our first parents, Adam whom I have taken into intimate society with my- and Eve, upright-Hebrew, right: without any self. It is justly observed by different commenta- | imperfection or corruption, conformable to his nature tors here, that “we are not hence to infer, that and will, after his own likeness: but they-Our first Solomon thought there were fewer good women parents, and after them their posterity; have sought than men: but that he knew he had not gone the out many inventions-Were not contented with right way to find the virtuous woman, when he || their present state, but studied new ways of making deviated so widely from the original law of marriage; || themselves more wise and happy than God had and instead of seeking one rational companion, the made them. And we, their wretched children, are sole object of his endeared affections, he had col- still prone to forsake the certain rule of God's word, lected a vast multitude for magnificence and indul- and the true way to happiness, and to seek new gence. The more valuable part of the sex would || methods of attaining it.

CHAPTER VIII. The benefit of wisdom, 1. Honour the king and obey God, 2–5. Prepare for sudden evils, and for death, 6–8. Marvel

not at oppression, or the present impunity of the wicked, 9–11. It shall be well with the good, and ill with the vicked,

though not immediately, 12–14. Therefore cheerfully use the gifts of God, and acquiesce in his will, 15–17. * 4:3027. WHO is as the wise man? and who|| 2 TI counsel thee to keep the A. M. 3627.

knoweth the interpretation of a king's commandment, and that in thing?? a man's wisdom maketh his face to shine, regard of the oath of God. and 'the boldness of his face shall be changed. 3 Be not hasty to go out of his sight : stand

* Prov. iv. 8,9; xvii. 24; see Acts vi. 15.—Heb. the strength.

i Deut. xxviii. 50.

ci Chronicles xxix. 24; Ezekiel xvij. 18; Romans xiii. 5.

a Chap. x. 4.

roughness or fierceness of it, shall be changedInto Verse 1. Who is wise?—There are few wise men gentleness and humility. in this world. Who knoweth, &c.—How few un- Verses 2-4. I counsel thee to keep the king's comderstand the reasons of things, and can rightly mandment-All his commands which are not conexpound the word and works of God! A man's | trary to the will of God, who must be obeyed rather visdom makes his face, &c.- Makes a man venera- | than any man, even rather than a king. In reble, cheerful, mild, and amiable. The face is put gard of the oath of GodBecause of that oath for the mind, because the mind discovers itself in which thou hast taken to keep all God's laws, the countenance. The boldness of his face-The whereof this of obedience to superiors is one. Be The misery of man.

NOTES ON CHAPTER VIII.

ECCLESIASTES.

The certainty of death.

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A. M. 3027. not in an evil thing; for he doeth 89 h There is no man that hath pow- A. M. 3027 B. C. 977. whatsoever pleaseth him.

er over the spirit to retain the spirit: nei4 Where the word of a king is, there is ther hath he power in the day of death: and there power: and who may say unto him, What is no 4 discharge in that war; neither shall wickdoest thou?

edness deliver those that are given to it. 5 Whoso keepeth the commandment 2 shall 9 All this have I seen, and applied my heart feel no evil thing: and a wise man's heart unto every work that is done under the sun: discerneth both time and judgment.

there is a time wherein one man ruleth over 6 Because fto every purpose there is time and another to his own hurt. judgment, therefore the misery of man is greater 10 And so I saw the wicked buried, who had

come and gone from the place of the holy, and 7 & For he knoweth not that which shall be: they were forgotten in the city where they had for who can tell him 'when it shall be ? so done: this is also vanity.

upon him.

i Job xiv. 5.

e Job xxxiv. 18. _Hebrew, shall know. - Chap. iii. 1.

& Prov. xxiv. 22 ; Chap. vi. 12; ix. 12; x. 14.

3 Or, how it shall be. Psalm xlix. 6, 7.

4 Or, casting off weapons.

not hasty to go out of his sightHebrew, to go from in the day of deathOr, against the day, that is, to his face or presence, namely, in dislike or discon- | avoid, or delay that day; and there is no discharge tent to withdraw thyself from the king's service, or -As there is in other wars; in that war--In that from obedience to him: stand not in an evil thing fatal conflict between life and death, when a man is -If thou hast offended him, persist not to do so, struggling with death, though to no purpose, for but humbly acknowledge thine offence, and beg his death will be always conqueror. Neither shall pardon ; for he doth whatsoever pleaseth him-His wickedness deliver, &c.-And although wicked power is uncontrollable. Where the word of a king men, who most fear death, use all possible means to is, there is power-Whatsoever he commands he free themselves from it, yet they shall not escape it. wants not power nor instruments to execute, and The most subtle wickedness cannot out-wit death, therefore can easily punish thee as he pleases. And nor the most daring wickedness out-brave it. who may say unto himHebrew, who shall say? Verses 9, 10. All this I have seen-All these things who will presume, or dare to say so ? He does not before mentioned; and applied my heart unto every affirm that it is unlawful to say so; for Samuel work-I have been a diligent observer of all actions spoke in that manner to Saul, and Nathan to David, and events. There is a time when one man ruleth, and several other prophets to the kings of Judah and &c.—There are some kings, who use their power Israel; but only that it is difficult and dangerous. tyrannically, whereby they not only oppress their

Verse 5. Whoso keepeth the commandment--So-|| people, but hurt themselves, bringing the vengeance lomon here passes to a new subject; shall feel no of God upon their own heads. And so I saw-In evil thing-Shall be delivered from those mischiefs like manner; the wicked-Wicked princes or rulers, which befall the disobedient. A wise man's heartburiedWith state or pomp; who had come and discerneth, &c.--Both when, and in what manner, I gone-Had administered public justice, which is frehe must keep the commands of God.

quently signified by the phrase of coming in and Verses 6, 7. Because to every purpose there is a going out before the people; from the place of the time, &c.—There is a fit way and season for the holyThe seat of majesty and judgment, which accomplishment of every business, which is known may well be termed, the place, or seat, of the holyto God, but for the most part hidden from man. See That is, of God, often called the holy one; who is notes on chap. iii. 1. Therefore the misery of man in a special manner present in, and presides over is great--Because there are few who have wisdom those places where justice is administered: and for to discern this, most men expose themselves to whom, and in whose name and stead, magistrates manifold miseries. For he knoweth not that which act, who, therefore, are called gods. And the tribushall be--Men are generally ignorant of future nal seems to be so called here, to aggravate their events, and of the success of their endeavours, and sin, who, being advanced by God into so high and therefore their minds are disquieted, and their sacred a place, betrayed so great a trust, and both expectations frequently are disappointed, and they || practised and encouraged that wickedness which, by fall into many mistakes and miscarriages, which their office, they were obliged to suppress and punthey might prevent if they foresaw the issues of || ish. And they were forgotten-Although they dethings; who can tell when it shall be ?—No wise signed to perpetuate their names and memories to man, no astrologer, no soothsayer can discover this. succeeding ages; in the city where they had so done

Verse 8. No man hath power over the spirit-||-Where they had lived in great splendour, and That is, over the soul of man; to retain the spirit were buried with great magnificence, which one --To keep it in the body beyond the time which might have thought would have kept up their God hath allotted to it. This is added as another remembrance, at least, in that place. This is also evidence of man's misery. Neither hath he power || ranity-That men should so earnestly thirst after, The works of God

CHAPTER VIII.

cannot be found out.

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and please themselves with worldly glory, which is usage as the worst of men deserve. There be wicked
so soon extinct, and the very memory of which is men to whom it happeneth--Who, instead of those
so quickly worn out of the minds of men.

punishments which they deserve, receive those
Verse 11. Because sentence against an evil work | rewards which are due to virtuous men. This
-God's determinate counsel for the punishment of also is vanity--This is a very unreasonable thing,
all evil doers; is not executed speedily-But is often- || if it be considered without respect unto another
times delayed for some time, to give them space for life, as it is here, where Solomon is discoursing
repentance; therefore the heart of the sons of men of the vanity of the present life, and of the impossi-
is fully set in them—Hebrew, 35x5a, their heart | bility of finding satisfaction and happiness in it.
is filled, or, as the LXX, render it eranpooopnun kapdia | Then I comemnded mirthHebrew, 7777777, joy or
is carried on with full sail, like a ship with a gladness. Upon these considerations I concluded,
strong and violent wind; or, is bold, or presumptu- | that it was most advisable for a man not to perplex
ous, as the same phrase is used elsewhere.

and torment himself with the thoughts of the seem-
Verses 12, 13. Though a sinner do evil a hun- ||ing inequality of the dispensations of Divine Provi-
dred times— Frequently, and innumerably; and his dence, and of the great disorders which are in the
days be prolonged–The time of his life and prospe- || world, or with cares and fears about future temporal
rity; yet it shall be well with them that fear God events, or with insatiable desires of worldly things,

- This implies both that good men might for a time but quietly, cheerfully, and thankfully to enjoy the
suffer grievous things from tyrants, oppressors, and comforts which God gives him. See notes on chap.
persecutors, and that it should be very ill with the ii. 24, and iii. 12, 13; for that shall abide with him of
wicked, which, indeed, is expressed in the following his labour, &c.—This is the best advantage which he
verse: which fear before himWho stand in awe can make of this world's goods, as to the present life.
of God, and fear and forbear to sin, out of a sincere Verse 16. When I applied my heart to know
regard and reverence for him. But it shall not be wisdomHe seems to be here assigning the reason
well with the wickedThat is, it shall go very ill of that judgment which he had now passed, (verse
with him; great miseries are prepared for him ; || 15,) which reason is, that he had diligently studied
neither shall he prolong his daysNamely, very wherein man's wisdom consists, and had observed
long, as he desires; which are as a shadow–His the restlessness of men's minds and bodies in other
life, though it may seem long, yet in truth is but a courses; and to see the business-To observe men's
shadow, which will quickly vanish and disappear. / various designs and employments, and their unwea-
Because he feareth not God-He is cut off, and this ried labours about worldly things. For there is that
misery is prepared for him as the punishment of his neither day nor night seeth sleepHaving now
casting off the fear and service of God.

mentioned the business which is done, or which
Verses 14, 15. There is a vanity which is done man doth, upon earth, he further adds, as an evi-
upon the earth-Either by wicked potentates, who dence of man's eagerness in pursuing his business,
do commonly advance unworthy men, and oppress | For even by day and by night heThe busy man;
persons of the greatest virtue and merit: or, by seeth not sleep with his eyesHe grudges himself
God's providence, who sees it fit for many weighty necessary refreshments, and disquiets himself with
reasons so to manage the affairs of the present world. || endless cares and labours.
To whom it happeneth, &c.--Who meet with such Verse 17. Then-Hebrew, and, or, moreover, I

Outward things come to

ECCLESIASTES.

good and bad men alike.

beheld all the work of GodI considered the coun- | things. And therefore, it is best for man not to sels and ways of God, and the various methods | perplex himself with endless and fruitless inquiries of his providence toward good and bad men, and about those matters, but quietly to submit to God's the reasons of them. That a man cannot find will and providence, and live in the fear of out the work, &c.—No man, though ever so wise, || God, and the comfortable enjoyment of his blessis able fully and perfectly to understand these ings.

CHAPTER IX. Outward things come to good and bad men alike, 1-3. Death puts an end to all, 4–6. Therefore enjoy the comforts and

mind the business of life while it lasts, 7–10. God's providence disposes all things, 11, 12. Wisdom often makes men

very useful, and yet gains them liltle respect, 13-18. 13. M: 3927. FOR all this ' I considered in my || done under the sun, that there is one 8. M. 3927.

heart even to declare all this, || event unto all: yea, also the heart of a that the righteous, and the wise, and their the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is works, are in the hand of God: no man in their heart while they live, and after that knoweth either love or hatred by all that is be- they go to the dead. fore them.

4 1 For to him that is joined to all the living 2 b All things come alike to all: there is one there is hope: for a living dog is better than a event to the righteous and to the wicked; to dead lion. the good, and to the clean, and to the unclean ; 5 For the living know that they shall die: but to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacri- || the dead know not any thing, neither have ficeth not: as is the good, so is the sinner; they any more a reward; for d the memory of and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an them is forgotten. oath.

|| 6 Also their love, and their hatred, and their 3 This is an evil among all things that are envy, is now perished; neither have they any

1 Heb. I gave, or, set to my heart.- Chap. viii. 14.- Job

xxi. 7; Psa. Ixxiii. 3, 12, 13; Mal. iii. 15.

c Job xiv. 21; Isa. Ixiii. 16. d Job vii. 8, 9, 10; Isaiah

xxvi. 14.

NOTES ON CHAPTER IX.

Of wicked men, such as the generality of mankind Verse 1. For, or therefore, as the LXX. render it, are; is full of evil-Of wickedness; and madness all this I considered in my heart-All that I have is in their heart-Upon this account they go on said concerning the methods of divine providence, | madly and desperately in evil courses, without

any toward good and bad men; to declare all this—To fear of an after reckoning; and after that they go make this evident, first to myself, and then to others; to the dead-And after all they appear to die in the that the righteous-Whom he mentions, not exclu- same manner as the best men do. So hitherto there sively, as if wicked men were not also in God's hand, is no difference. For Solomon here forbears to take for the next clause relates both to the good and bad; | into consideration the future lise: he intimates, howbut eminently, because, by the course of God's | ever, that as the madness, so the happiness of the providence toward them, they might seem to be wicked, is ended by death : which is more fully exquite neglected by God; and their works are in the pressed in the following words. hand of God-All their actions and employments; Verses 4-6. For to him that is joined to all the all events which befall them are governed by his living—That continues with living men; there is providence, and therefore, although we cannot fully | hope-He hath not only some comfort for the preunderstand the reasons of all, yet we may be assured sent, but also hopes of further and greater happiness they are done righteously. No man knoweth either in this world, which men are very prone to enter love or hatredNo man can judge by their present tain and cherish in themselves. Yea, he may have outward condition, whether God loves or hates the hopes of a better life, if he improve his opportuthem; for whom he loves he chastens, and permits nities. For a living dog is better than a dead lion those whom he hates to prosper in the world. - Much happier as to the comforts of this world.

Verses 2, 3. All things come alike to allThe “The meanest and most contemptible person here, good and evil things of this world equally happen to in this world, hath the advantage of the greatest good and bad men; as is the good, so is the sinner- | king, when he is gone out of it." For the living As to all outward things. This is an evil, &c.-A | know that they shall die-Whereby they are taught great trouble and temptation to a considerate and to improve lise while they have it. But the dead good man; yea, also the heart of the sons of men- know not any thing-Of the actions and events of

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