Ecclesiastes 2

* The vanity and vexation of mirth, sensual pleasure, riches,

and pomp. (1-11) Human wisdom insufficient. (12-17) This world

to be used according to the will of God. (18-26)

1-11 Solomon soon found mirth and pleasure to be vanity. What

does noisy, flashy mirth towards making a man happy? The

manifold devices of men's hearts, to get satisfaction from the

world, and their changing from one thing to another, are like

the restlessness of a man in a fever. Perceiving it was folly to

give himself to wine, he next tried the costly amusements of

princes. The poor, when they read such a description, are ready

to feel discontent. But the remedy against all such feelings is

in the estimate of it all by the owner himself. All was vanity

and vexation of spirit: and the same things would yield the same

result to us, as to Solomon. Having food and raiment, let us

therewith be content. His wisdom remained with him; a strong

understanding, with great human knowledge. But every earthly

pleasure, when unconnected with better blessings, leaves the

mind as eager and unsatisfied as before. Happiness arises not

from the situation in which we are placed. It is only through

Jesus Christ that final blessedness can be attained.
12-17 Solomon found that knowledge and prudence were preferable

to ignorance and folly, though human wisdom and knowledge will

not make a man happy. The most learned of men, who dies a

stranger to Christ Jesus, will perish equally with the most

ignorant; and what good can commendations on earth do to the

body in the grave, or the soul in hell? And the spirits of just

men made perfect cannot want them. So that if this were all, we

might be led to hate our life, as it is all vanity and vexation

of spirit.
18-26 Our hearts are very loth to quit their expectations of

great things from the creature; but Solomon came to this at

length. The world is a vale of tears, even to those that have

much of it. See what fools they are, who make themselves drudges

to the world, which affords a man nothing better than

subsistence for the body. And the utmost he can attain in this

respect is to allow himself a sober, cheerful use thereof,

according to his rank and condition. But we must enjoy good in

our labour; we must use those things to make us diligent and

cheerful 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 that

are accepted of the Lord, he gives joy and satisfaction in the

knowledge 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 sinner

seriously consider his latter end. To seek a lasting portion in

the love of Christ and the blessings it bestows, is the only way

to true and satisfying enjoyment even of this present world.
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