Ecclesiastes 2* The vanity and vexation of mirth, sensual pleasure, riches,and pomp. (1-11) Human wisdom insufficient. (12-17) This worldto be used according to the will of God. (18-26)1-11 Solomon soon found mirth and pleasure to be vanity. Whatdoes noisy, flashy mirth towards making a man happy? Themanifold devices of men's hearts, to get satisfaction from theworld, and their changing from one thing to another, are likethe restlessness of a man in a fever. Perceiving it was folly togive himself to wine, he next tried the costly amusements ofprinces. The poor, when they read such a description, are readyto feel discontent. But the remedy against all such feelings isin the estimate of it all by the owner himself. All was vanityand vexation of spirit: and the same things would yield the sameresult to us, as to Solomon. Having food and raiment, let ustherewith be content. His wisdom remained with him; a strongunderstanding, with great human knowledge. But every earthlypleasure, when unconnected with better blessings, leaves themind as eager and unsatisfied as before. Happiness arises notfrom the situation in which we are placed. It is only throughJesus Christ that final blessedness can be attained. 12-17 Solomon found that knowledge and prudence were preferableto ignorance and folly, though human wisdom and knowledge willnot make a man happy. The most learned of men, who dies astranger to Christ Jesus, will perish equally with the mostignorant; and what good can commendations on earth do to thebody in the grave, or the soul in hell? And the spirits of justmen made perfect cannot want them. So that if this were all, wemight be led to hate our life, as it is all vanity and vexationof spirit. 18-26 Our hearts are very loth to quit their expectations ofgreat things from the creature; but Solomon came to this atlength. The world is a vale of tears, even to those that havemuch of it. See what fools they are, who make themselves drudgesto the world, which affords a man nothing better thansubsistence for the body. And the utmost he can attain in thisrespect is to allow himself a sober, cheerful use thereof,according to his rank and condition. But we must enjoy good inour labour; we must use those things to make us diligent andcheerful in worldly business. And this is the gift of God.Riches are a blessing or a curse to a man, according as he has,or has not, a heart to make a good use of them. To those thatare accepted of the Lord, he gives joy and satisfaction in theknowledge and love of him. But to the sinner he allots labour,sorrow, vanity, and vexation, in seeking a worldly portion,which yet afterwards comes into better hands. Let the sinnerseriously consider his latter end. To seek a lasting portion inthe love of Christ and the blessings it bestows, is the only wayto true and satisfying enjoyment even of this present world.
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