Ecclesiastes 7

* The benefit of a good name; of death above life; of sorrow

above vain mirth. (1-6) Concerning oppression, anger, and

discontent. (7-10) Advantages of wisdom. (11-22) Experience of

the evil of sin. (23-29)

1-6 Reputation for piety and honesty is more desirable than all

the wealth and pleasure in this world. It will do more good to

go to a funeral than to a feast. We may lawfully go to both, as

there is occasion; our Saviour both feasted at the wedding of

his friend in Cana, and wept at the grave of his friend in

Bethany. But, considering how apt we are to be vain and indulge

the flesh, it is best to go to the house of mourning, to learn

the end of man as to this world. Seriousness is better than

mirth and jollity. That is best for us which is best for our

souls, though it be unpleasing to sense. It is better to have

our corruptions mortified by the rebuke of the wise, than to

have them gratified by the song of fools. The laughter of a fool

is soon gone, the end of his mirth is heaviness.
7-10 The event of our trials and difficulties is often better

than at first we thought. Surely it is better to be patient in

spirit, than to be proud and hasty. Be not soon angry, nor quick

in resenting an affront. Be not long angry; though anger may

come into the bosom of a wise man, it passes through it as a

way-faring man; it dwells only in the bosom of fools. It is

folly to cry out upon the badness of our times, when we have

more reason to cry out for the badness of our own hearts; and

even in these times we enjoy many mercies. It is folly to cry up

the goodness of former times; as if former ages had not the like

things 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. It

shelters from the storms and scorching heat of trouble. Wealth

will not lengthen out the natural life; but true wisdom will

give spiritual life, and strengthen men for services under their

sufferings. Let us look upon the disposal of our condition as

the work of God, and at last all will appear to have been for

the best. In acts of righteousness, be not carried into heats or

passions, no, not by a zeal for God. Be not conceited of thine

own abilities; nor find fault with every thing, nor busy thyself

in other men's matters. Many who will not be wrought upon by the

fear of God, and the dread of hell, will avoid sins which ruin

their health and estate, and expose to public justice. But those

that truly fear God, have but one end to serve, therefore act

steadily. If we say we have not sinned, we deceive ourselves.

Every true believer is ready to say, God be merciful to me a

sinner. Forget not at the same time, that personal

righteousness, walking in newness of life, is the only real

evidence of an interest by faith in the righteousness of the

Redeemer. Wisdom teaches us not to be quick in resenting

affronts. Be not desirous to know what people say; if they speak

well of thee, it will feed thy pride, if ill, it will stir up

thy passion. See that thou approve thyself to God and thine own

conscience, and then heed not what men say of thee; it is easier

to pass by twenty affronts than to avenge one. When any harm is

done to us, examine whether we have not done as bad to others.
23-29 Solomon, in his search into the nature and reason of

things, had been miserably deluded. But he here speaks with

godly sorrow. He alone who constantly aims to please God, can

expect to escape; the careless sinner probably will fall to rise

no more. He now discovered more than ever the evil of the great

sin of which he had been guilty, the loving many strange women,

#1Ki 11:1|. A woman thoroughly upright and godly, he had not

found. How was he likely to find such a one among those he had

collected? If any of them had been well disposed, their

situation would tend to render them all nearly of the same

character. He here warns others against the sins into which he

had been betrayed. Many a godly man can with thankfulness

acknowledge that he has found a prudent, virtuous woman in the

wife of his bosom; but those men who have gone in Solomon's

track, cannot expect to find one. He traces up all the streams

of actual transgression to the fountain. It is clear that man is

corrupted and revolted, and not as he was made. It is lamentable

that man, whom God made upright, has found out so many ways to

render himself wicked and miserable. Let us bless Him for Jesus

Christ, and seek his grace, that we may be numbered with his

chosen people.
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