Ecclesiastes 5* What renders devotion vain. (1-3) Of vows, and oppression.(4-8) the vanity of riches shown. (9-7) The right use of riches.(18-20)1-3 Address thyself to the worship of God, and take time tocompose thyself for it. Keep thy thoughts from roving andwandering: keep thy affections from running out toward wrongobjects. We should avoid vain repetitions; copious prayers arenot here condemned, but those that are unmeaning. How often ourwandering thoughts render attendance on Divine ordinances littlebetter than the sacrifice of fools! Many words and hasty ones,used in prayer, show folly in the heart, low thoughts of God,and careless thoughts of our own souls. 4-8 When a person made engagements rashly, he suffered hismouth to cause his flesh to sin. The case supposes a man comingto the priest, and pretending that his vow was made rashly, andthat it would be wrong to fulfil it. Such mockery of God wouldbring the Divine displeasure, which might blast what was thusunduly kept. We are to keep down the fear of man. Set God beforethee; then, if thou seest the oppression of the poor, thou wiltnot find fault with Divine Providence; nor think the worse ofthe institution of magistracy, when thou seest the ends of itthus perverted; nor of religion, when thou seest it will notsecure men from suffering wrong. But though oppressors may besecure, God will reckon for all. 9-17 The goodness of Providence is more equally distributedthan appears to a careless observer. The king needs the commonthings of life, and the poor share them; they relish theirmorsel better than he does his luxuries. There are bodilydesires which silver itself will not satisfy, much less willworldly abundance satisfy spiritual desires. The more men have,the better house they must keep, the more servants they mustemploy, the more guests they must entertain, and the more theywill have hanging on them. The sleep of the labourer is sweet,not only because he is tired, but because he has little care tobreak his sleep. The sleep of the diligent Christian, and hislong sleep, are sweet; having spent himself and his time in theservice of God, he can cheerfully repose in God as his Rest. Butthose who have every thing else, often fail to secure a goodnight's sleep; their abundance breaks their rest. Riches dohurt, and draw away the heart from God and duty. Men do hurtwith their riches, not only gratifying their own lusts, butoppressing others, and dealing hardly with them. They will seethat they have laboured for the wind, when, at death, they findthe profit of their labour is all gone like the wind, they knownot whither. How ill the covetous worldling bears the calamitiesof human life! He does not sorrow to repentance, but is angry atthe providence of God, angry at all about him; which doubles hisaffliction. 18-20 Life is God's gift. We must not view our calling as adrudgery, but take pleasure in the calling where God puts us. Acheerful spirit is a great blessing; it makes employments easy,and afflictions light. Having made a proper use of riches, a manwill remember the days of his past life with pleasure. Themanner in which Solomon refers to God as the Giver, both of lifeand its enjoyments, shows they ought to be received and to beused, consistently with his will, and to his glory. Let thispassage recommend to all the kind words of the mercifulRedeemer, "Labour not for the meat that perisheth, but for thatmeat which endureth unto everlasting life." Christ is the Breadof life, the only food of the soul. All are invited to partakeof this heavenly provision.
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