Ecclesiastes 4* Miseries from oppression. (1-3) troubles from envy. (4-6) Thefolly of covetousness. (7,8) The advantages of mutualassistance. (9-12) the changes of royalty. (13-16)1-3 It grieved Solomon to see might prevail against right.Wherever we turn, we see melancholy proofs of the wickedness andmisery of mankind, who try to create trouble to themselves andto each other. Being thus hardly used, men are tempted to hateand despise life. But a good man, though badly off while in thisworld, cannot have cause to wish he had never been born, sincehe is glorifying the Lord, even in the fires, and will be happyat last, for ever happy. Ungodly men have most cause to wish thecontinuance of life with all its vexations, as a far moremiserable condition awaits them if they die in their sins. Ifhuman and worldly things were our chief good, not to exist wouldbe preferable to life, considering the various oppressions herebelow. 4-6 Solomon notices the sources of trouble peculiar towell-doers, and includes all who labour with diligence, andwhose efforts are crowned with success. They often become greatand prosperous, but this excites envy and opposition. Others,seeing the vexations of an active course, foolishly expect moresatisfaction in sloth and idleness. But idleness is a sin thatis its own punishment. Let us by honest industry lay hold on thehandful, that we may not want necessaries, but not grasp at bothhands full, which would only create vexation of spirit. Moderatepains and gains do best. 7,8 Frequently, the more men have, the more they would have;and on this they are so intent, that they get no enjoyment fromwhat they have. Selfishness is the cause of this evil. A selfishman cares for nobody; there is none to take care of but himself,yet he will scarcely allow necessary rest to himself, and thepeople he employs. He never thinks he has enough. He has enoughfor his calling, for his family, but he has not enough for hiseyes. Many are so set upon the world, that in pursuit of it theybereave themselves, not only of the favour of God and eternallife, but of the pleasures of this life. The distant relationsor strangers who inherit such a man's wealth, never thank him.Covetousness gathers strength by time and habit; men totteringon the brink of the grave, grow more grasping and griping. Alas,and how often do we see men professing to be followers of Him,who, "though he was rich, for our sakes became poor," anxiouslyscraping money together and holding it fast, excusing themselvesby common-place talking about the necessity of care, and thedanger of extravagance! 9-12 Surely he has more satisfaction in life, who labours hardto maintain those he loves, than the miser has in his toil. Inall things union tends to success and safety, but above all, theunion of Christians. They assist each other by encouragement, orfriendly reproof. They warm each other's hearts while theyconverse together of the love of Christ, or join in singing hispraises. Then let us improve our opportunities of Christianfellowship. In these things all is not vanity, though there willbe some alloy as long as we are under the sun. Where two areclosely joined in holy love and fellowship, Christ will by hisSpirit come to them; then there is a threefold cord. 13-16 People are never long easy and satisfied; they are fondof changes. This is no new thing. Princes see themselvesslighted by those they have studied to oblige; this is vanityand vexation of spirit. But the willing servants of the LordJesus, our King, rejoice in him alone, and they will love Himmore and more to all eternity.
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