Ecclesiastes 1

** The name of this book signifies "The Preacher." The wisdom of

God here preaches to us, speaking by Solomon, who it is evident

was the author. At the close of his life, being made sensible of

his sin and folly, he recorded here his experience for the

benefit of others, as the book of his repentance; and he

pronounced all earthly good to be "vanity and vexation of

spirit." It convinces us of the vanity of the world, and that it

cannot make us happy; of the vileness of sin, and its certain

tendency to make us miserable. It shows that no created good can

satisfy the soul, and that happiness is to be found in God

alone; and this doctrine must, under the blessed Spirit's

teaching, lead the heart to Christ Jesus.

* Solomon shows that all human things are vain. (1-3) Man's toil

and want of satisfaction. (4-8) There is nothing new. (9-11) The

vexation in pursuit of knowledge. (12-18)

1-3 Much is to be learned by comparing one part of Scripture

with another. We here behold Solomon returning from the broken

and empty cisterns of the world, to the Fountain of living

water; recording his own folly and shame, the bitterness of his

disappointment, and the lessons he had learned. Those that have

taken warning to turn and live, should warn others not to go on

and die. He does not merely say all things are vain, but that

they are vanity. VANITY OF VANITIES, ALL IS VANITY. This is the

text of the preacher's sermon, of which in this book he never

loses sight. If this world, in its present state, were all, it

would not be worth living for; and the wealth and pleasure of

this world, if we had ever so much, are not enough to make us

happy. What profit has a man of all his labour? All he gets by

it will not supply the wants of the soul, nor satisfy its

desires; will not atone for the sins of the soul, nor hinder the

loss of it: what profit will the wealth of the world be to the

soul in death, in judgment, or in the everlasting state?
4-8 All things change, and never rest. Man, after all his

labour, is no nearer finding rest than the sun, the wind, or the

current of the river. His soul will find no rest, if he has it

not from God. The senses are soon tired, yet still craving what

is untried.
9-11 Men's hearts and their corruptions are the same now as in

former times; their desires, and pursuits, and complaints, still

the same. This should take us from expecting happiness in the

creature, and quicken us to seek eternal blessings. How many

things and persons in Solomon's day were thought very great, yet

there is no remembrance of them now!
12-18 Solomon tried all things, and found them vanity. He found

his searches after knowledge weariness, not only to the flesh,

but to the mind. The more he saw of the works done under the

sun, the more he saw their vanity; and the sight often vexed his

spirit. He could neither gain that satisfaction to himself, nor

do that good to others, which he expected. Even the pursuit of

knowledge and wisdom discovered man's wickedness and misery; so

that the more he knew, the more he saw cause to lament and

mourn. Let us learn to hate and fear sin, the cause of all this

vanity and misery; to value Christ; to seek rest in the

knowledge, love, and service of the Saviour.
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