Ecclesiastes 7* The benefit of a good name; of death above life; of sorrowabove vain mirth. (1-6) Concerning oppression, anger, anddiscontent. (7-10) Advantages of wisdom. (11-22) Experience ofthe evil of sin. (23-29)1-6 Reputation for piety and honesty is more desirable than allthe wealth and pleasure in this world. It will do more good togo to a funeral than to a feast. We may lawfully go to both, asthere is occasion; our Saviour both feasted at the wedding ofhis friend in Cana, and wept at the grave of his friend inBethany. But, considering how apt we are to be vain and indulgethe flesh, it is best to go to the house of mourning, to learnthe end of man as to this world. Seriousness is better thanmirth and jollity. That is best for us which is best for oursouls, though it be unpleasing to sense. It is better to haveour corruptions mortified by the rebuke of the wise, than tohave them gratified by the song of fools. The laughter of a foolis soon gone, the end of his mirth is heaviness. 7-10 The event of our trials and difficulties is often betterthan at first we thought. Surely it is better to be patient inspirit, than to be proud and hasty. Be not soon angry, nor quickin resenting an affront. Be not long angry; though anger maycome into the bosom of a wise man, it passes through it as away-faring man; it dwells only in the bosom of fools. It isfolly to cry out upon the badness of our times, when we havemore reason to cry out for the badness of our own hearts; andeven in these times we enjoy many mercies. It is folly to cry upthe goodness of former times; as if former ages had not the likethings to complain of that we have: this arises from discontent,and aptness to quarrel with God himself. 11-22 Wisdom is as good as an inheritance, yea better. Itshelters from the storms and scorching heat of trouble. Wealthwill not lengthen out the natural life; but true wisdom willgive spiritual life, and strengthen men for services under theirsufferings. Let us look upon the disposal of our condition asthe work of God, and at last all will appear to have been forthe best. In acts of righteousness, be not carried into heats orpassions, no, not by a zeal for God. Be not conceited of thineown abilities; nor find fault with every thing, nor busy thyselfin other men's matters. Many who will not be wrought upon by thefear of God, and the dread of hell, will avoid sins which ruintheir health and estate, and expose to public justice. But thosethat truly fear God, have but one end to serve, therefore actsteadily. If we say we have not sinned, we deceive ourselves.Every true believer is ready to say, God be merciful to me asinner. Forget not at the same time, that personalrighteousness, walking in newness of life, is the only realevidence of an interest by faith in the righteousness of theRedeemer. Wisdom teaches us not to be quick in resentingaffronts. Be not desirous to know what people say; if they speakwell of thee, it will feed thy pride, if ill, it will stir upthy passion. See that thou approve thyself to God and thine ownconscience, and then heed not what men say of thee; it is easierto pass by twenty affronts than to avenge one. When any harm isdone to us, examine whether we have not done as bad to others. 23-29 Solomon, in his search into the nature and reason ofthings, had been miserably deluded. But he here speaks withgodly sorrow. He alone who constantly aims to please God, canexpect to escape; the careless sinner probably will fall to riseno more. He now discovered more than ever the evil of the greatsin of which he had been guilty, the loving many strange women,#1Ki 11:1|. A woman thoroughly upright and godly, he had notfound. How was he likely to find such a one among those he hadcollected? If any of them had been well disposed, theirsituation would tend to render them all nearly of the samecharacter. He here warns others against the sins into which hehad been betrayed. Many a godly man can with thankfulnessacknowledge that he has found a prudent, virtuous woman in thewife of his bosom; but those men who have gone in Solomon'strack, cannot expect to find one. He traces up all the streamsof actual transgression to the fountain. It is clear that man iscorrupted and revolted, and not as he was made. It is lamentablethat man, whom God made upright, has found out so many ways torender himself wicked and miserable. Let us bless Him for JesusChrist, and seek his grace, that we may be numbered with hischosen people.
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