Ecclesiastes 9

* Good and bad men fare alike as to this world. (1-3) All men

must die, Their portion as to this life. (4-10) Disappointments

common. (11,12) Benefits of wisdom. (13-18)

1-3 We are not to think our searching into the word or works of

God useless, because we cannot explain all difficulties. We may

learn many things good for ourselves and useful to others. But

man cannot always decide who are objects of God's special love,

or under his wrath; and God will certainly put a difference

between the precious and the vile, in the other world. The

difference as to present happiness, arises from the inward

supports and consolations the righteous enjoy, and the benefit

they derive from varied trials and mercies. As far as the sons

of men are left to themselves, their hearts are full of evil;

and prosperity in sin, causes them even to set God at defiance

by daring wickedness. Though, on this side death, the righteous

and the wicked may often seem to fare alike, on the other side

there will be a vast difference between them.
4-10 The most despicable living man's state, is preferable to

that of the most noble who have died impenitent. Solomon exhorts

the wise and pious to cheerful confidence in God, whatever their

condition in life. The meanest morsel, coming from their

Father's love, in answer to prayer, will have a peculiar relish.

Not that we may set our hearts upon the delights of sense, but

what God has given us we may use with wisdom. The joy here

described, is the gladness of heart that springs from a sense of

the Divine favour. This is the world of service, that to come is

the world of recompence. All in their stations, may find some

work to do. And above all, sinners have the salvation of their

souls to seek after, believers have to prove their faith, adorn

the gospel, glorify God, and serve their generation.
11,12 Men's success seldom equals their expectations. We must

use means, but not trust to them: if we succeed, we must give

God the praise; if crossed, we must submit to his will. Those

who put off the great concerns of their souls, are caught in

Satan's net, which he baits with some worldly object, for which

they reject or neglect the gospel, and go on in sin till they

suddenly fall into destruction.
13-18 A man may, by his wisdom, bring to pass that which he

could never do by his strength. If God be for us, who can be

against us, or stand before us? Solomon observes the power of

wisdom, though it may labour under outward disadvantages. How

forcible are right words! But wise and good men must often

content themselves with the satisfaction of having done good,

or, at least, endeavoured to do it, when they cannot do the good

they would, nor have the praise they should. How many of the

good gifts, both of nature and Providence, does one sinner

destroy and make waste! He who destroys his own soul destroys

much good. One sinner may draw many into his destroying ways.

See who are the friends and enemies of a kingdom or a family, if

one saint does much good, and one sinner destroys much good.
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