Ecclesiastes 7 14 commentary

Ecclesiastes 7 14 commentary DEFAULT

Ecclesiastes Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Ecclesiastes , NIV: "When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, no one can discover anything about their future."

Ecclesiastes , ESV: "In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him."

Ecclesiastes , KJV: "In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him."

Ecclesiastes , NASB: "On the day of prosperity be happy, But on the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other So that a person will not discover anything that will come after him."

Ecclesiastes , NLT: "Enjoy prosperity while you can, but when hard times strike, realize that both come from God. Remember that nothing is certain in this life."

Ecclesiastes , CSB: "In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity, consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that no one can discover anything that will come after him."

Sours: https://www.bibleref.com/Ecclesiastes/7/Ecclesiasteshtml

In Eat this Book, Eugene Peterson teaches us to chew on a passage of scripture, digest it and then put it to use in practical ways. Our early Christian fathers and mothers called this process Lectio Divina. Ecclesiastes re- minds us that the life God breathed into us is replete with good and bad times and how to live through it all.

Ecclesiastes 7: (NIV)

13 Consider what God has done: 

Who can straightenwhat he has made crooked?
14 When times are good, be happy;
but when times are bad, consider this:
God has made the one as well as the other.
Therefore, no one can discover
anything about their future.

CHEWING

When I ran across Ecclesiastes recently, I was struck by the concept of straightening what God has made &#;crooked.&#;  First of all, what does it mean to say that God chose to make anything crooked rather than straight?  In my reading about this concept I found a variety of possibilities:

  • God makes our lives &#;crooked&#; at some point to prepare and train us for the role he has planned for us.  Think of Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David &#; the list goes on. (Rodelio Mallari, Sermon Central)
  • Crooked things are the events of life that thwart our inclinations, the difficulties which meet us in life that we cannot alter (Pulpit Commentary).
  • Crooked things are things that are uncomfortable or  painful or do not work out the way we want (Lonnie Atwood, Cazenovia Park Baptist Church, Buffalo, NY).
  • Our lives are made up of events which are &#;straight&#; &#; those that meet our expectations-and events which are &#;crooked&#; &#; which by their seeming inequality baffle our comprehension (Barnes Notes on the Bible).

And then there is the phrasing of Eugene Peterson in The Message:

Take good look at God’s work. Who could simplify and reduce Creation’s curves and angles to a plain straight line?

On a good day, enjoy yourself;
On a bad day, examine your conscience.
God arranges for both kinds of days
So that we won’t take anything for granted.

Peterson tells us that not only can we not understand God&#;s geometry, we can do nothing to change it. We can only take the good days and the bad days as they come. Perhaps God for some reason wants this crooked thing in my life to be crooked; who am I to bitterly complain about it? Trying to argue about how and when and why the good and bad days are apportioned in our lives (or in someone else&#;s) is not only foolhardy but also not our role. We are not privy to how God works; we can only accept what comes and believe that it will all work out for our good.  

DIGESTING

Try this experiment in soul training for at least two weeks &#; or a month if you can summon up the discipline:

  1.  Put your favorite translation of  Ecclesiastes 7: 13 &#; 14 on a card or in your phone.   Read it every morning.
  2. At the end of each day, use any of the definitions of &#;crooked&#; in the &#;Chewing&#; section  above to help you find and list the crooked things that have surfaced in your life that day. Also include memories of crooked things that surfaced today unbidden.
  3. Note how you handled the crooked things. Did you complain? (I do &#; endlessly.) Did you get depressed? Did you doubt your ability or wisdom to handle them? Did you get mad at someone &#; yourself, someone in your life, a person whom you contacted to fix the crookedness? Did you pray about them? Compare those responses with those recommended in Ecclesiastes 13
  4. At the end of each week, journal about your experience with  these verses.  Or talk to a friend or family member. At the end of the month intentionally choose better ways to respond to your crooked things and begin implementing them.
  5. Once you have practiced this soul training and are comfortable with it, introduce it to your family or small group. Share with each other your responses and attitudes  to crooked things in your life.

MORE FOOD FOR THOUGHT

&#;When we are crushed like grapes, we cannot think of the wine we will become. The sorrow overwhelms us, makes us throw ourselves on the ground, faced down, and sweat drops of blood. Then we need to be reminded that our cup of sorrow is also our cup of joy and that one day we will be able to taste the joy as fully as we now taste the sorrow&#; (Henri Nouwen, You are the Beloved).

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Sours: https://livingasapprentices.com//11/21/going-deeper-with-god-living-through-good-and-bad-ecclesiastes/
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Ecclesiastes

Translations

King James Version (KJV)

In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also has set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.

American King James Version (AKJV)

In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also has set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.

American Standard Version (ASV)

In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider; yea, God hath made the one side by side with the other, to the end that man should not find out anything that shall be after him.

Basic English Translation (BBE)

In the day of wealth have joy, but in the day of evil take thought: God has put the one against the other, so that man may not be certain what will be after him.

Webster&#;s Revision

In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.

World English Bible

In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider; yes, God has made the one side by side with the other, to the end that man should not find out anything after him.

English Revised Version (ERV)

In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God hath even made the one side by side with the other, to the end that man should not find out any thing that shall be after him.

Sours: https://www.godtube.com/bible/ecclesiastes/

Consider: God has made the one as well as the other - Ecclesiastes

by James Buchanan

"In the day of prosperity be happy, but in the day of adversity Consider: God has made the one as well as the other." - Ecclesiastes

There is a beautiful harmony between the Word and the Providence of God. When Providence smiles, the Word allows us to be joyful — when Providence frowns, the Word calls us to serious thoughtfulness. The scope and strain of God's revealed will, accord with the natural tendency and apparent design of His dispensations towards us. He neither requires us to rejoice in what is evil — nor to grieve for what is good. It is true, we are taught as Christians, to deny ourselves in the midst of outward prosperity — and to rejoice in the midst of tribulations. But it is only because self-denial in the one case, and joy in the other — are the proper fruits and manifestations of religious principle, and the means of promoting our highest ultimate good.

There is no such thing in the Bible as a disparagement of what is naturally good, or a recommendation of what is naturally evil — except in so far as these are, respectively, injurious or favorable to our true and lasting happiness. We are not required to take bitter for sweet — or sweet for bitter. But as prosperity, which is joyful in itself, may become ruinous to our spiritual interests — we are warned against its dangers. While we are taught that adversity, however bitter — is the wholesome medicine by which our spiritual health may be restored and preserved.

In a word, the Bible regards each of these states chiefly as it respects their moral influence on our hearts. And while it admits that the one is joyful, and the other painful in itself — it teaches us that each has its peculiar dangers, and proper uses — and that in both we are to have a supreme regard to those great religious principles which alone can render prosperity safe, and convert sorrow into joy.

We are not to conclude, then, from the antithetic expression of the preacher, either that we may not be joyful in the day of adversity — or considerate in the day of prosperity. On the contrary, we learn both from the lessons and examples of Scripture, that God's people have much reason to be wary and thoughtful while they walk in the sunshine of temporal prosperity — and that even in the darkest night of adversity, it is alike their privilege and duty to rejoice.

A long season of uninterrupted prosperity is accompanied with so many dangers; and productive, in many cases, of so much evil — that the disciple, who really regards the salvation of his soul as the one thing that is needful, will find that a holy seriousness of spirit, and a habit of thoughtful consideration, are essential to the right use and improvement of that condition, and to his preservation from the evils which are incidental to it. While, a season of uninterrupted adversity, if it is the blessed means either of commencing or of renewing his communion with God, of implanting, for the first time, in his soul, or of maturing and strengthening the graces of the Christian character — will be an occasion of joy, such as the world can neither give nor take away.

It is not prosperity and adversity, considered simply in themselves — but the presence or the absence of religion, in either case, that tells mainly on our present happiness, or on our eternal welfare. Without religion, prosperity becomes our ruin. While with religion, sorrow is turned into joy. But while this is the light in which these two states are for the most part presented to our view in the Word of God — we are nowhere taught to reverse the dictates of nature so as to regard prosperity in itself as evil; or adversity as in itself good. On the contrary, prosperity is declared to be a proper source of joy, and a strong motive for gratitude. While adversity is described as, for the present, not joyous but grievous. And accordingly, the duties which are peculiarly appropriate to each, and the exercises which they respectively require, are stated in express terms, and illustrated by beautiful examples. In prosperity, a cheerful gratitude, a bountiful charity, and self-denial, devoting all of God's gifts to his glory and the good of our fellow-men. In adversity, a resigned and submissive spirit, meek contentment, combined, not with an anxious care — but with a serious thoughtfulness, and a considerate regard of God's dealings towards us, such as may best qualify us for reaping the fruits of affliction, and enjoying religious comforts under its heaviest pressure.

In the day of ADVERSITY we are called to serious consideration on many accounts. Without this, we are in danger of allowing God's dispensations towards us to pass away unimproved, and of forfeiting the precious benefits which they are designed to confer. The whole advantage of affliction depends on a due Scriptural consideration of it. It does not operate as a charm, nor are its wholesome effects produced otherwise than through the medium of our own thoughtfulness. In all His dispensations God has a regard to our rational nature, and addresses himself to the thinking principle within us. And it is not until that principle has been awakened into lively exercise, and directed to Scriptural views of divine truth — that we can either expect to enjoy solid comfort under affliction — or to be sanctified by means of it. It is only to "those who are exercised thereby," that affliction becomes the means of producing "the peaceable fruits of righteousness." And as on these accounts we are called to serious consideration of the day of adversity, as it offers many important and impressive subjects to our thoughts, some of which we shall now enumerate, with the view of directing you in your private meditations.
 

1. In the day of adversity, you should consider your adversity itself, not turning your mind away from it, because it is distressing to you, nor allowing your thoughts to dwell on more pleasing topics, with the view of forgetting what has befallen you; but steadily and of deliberate purpose, looking at your afflictions in all their real magnitude and probable consequences.

This direction may at first sight appear to be unnecessary, as affliction, especially when it is severe, makes itself to be felt, and can hardly fail to command attention. To a certain extent this is true; yet we believe it will be found, that the mind is often unwilling to take a deliberate view of its afflictions; as a man on the eve of bankruptcy is too apt to shut his eyes to the fact of his danger — or as a man smitten with mortal disease is unwilling to be convinced that his recovery is hopeless — and the consequence of this is, that the mind is not suitably impressed by God's dispensations, nor qualified to derive from them the benefit which they might otherwise confer.

The reason why we ask you to consider your actual condition, and especially the nature and probable consequences of your affliction, is, that so long as you refuse to consider it, or take only a partial view of it — you do not read aright the lesson which God has placed before you — a lesson which you cannot understand if you turn your thoughts away from it. And thus it is that worldly men contrive to frustrate the beneficial design of affliction in their own case, and seek to obliterate from the hearts of their friends the impression which it is fitted to produce. They have recourse to business, to society, to change of scene, to frivolous amusements — with the avowed purpose of diverting their thoughts from afflictions which they cannot endure to think of with calm deliberation. And they are ever ready to prescribe to others the only remedy which they have tried for themselves.

But should this advice be offered to any one of Christ's disciples, we beg him to remember that he has a remedy provided for him, of which the worldly man knows nothing — a remedy, whose efficacy depends not on affliction being forgotten — but on its being duly considered; a remedy, which so far from requiring a diversion of thought as essential to our comfort — acts through the medium of thought, and makes affliction itself subservient to our good.

The Christian is not precluded, indeed, from availing himself of any benefit that might arise from change of air or scene, viewed simply as a means of relieving him, under God's blessing, from the physical weakness or disease under which he labors. This may even be his duty — a duty involved in the great law of self-preservation, and in attending to it, he may have a supreme view to the glory of God, his own spiritual improvement, and future usefulness in the world. But he is solemnly debarred from seeking relief to his soul by banishing the thought of affliction and death.

Oh! it is a dangerous error, it may be even a fatal error — to act on the supposition that we may lawfully seek relief by forgetting the calamities that have befallen us. These calamities are warnings addressed to us as rational beings, and, as such, they loudly claim our serious consideration. To have recourse to business, to society, to change of scene, or to frivolous amusement, in such circumstances, is to "despise the chastening of the Lord." It is to do violence to those feelings which affliction naturally produces, and which instinctively point to retirement and reflection as appropriate to our condition. And notwithstanding the favor with which this course is regarded by worldly men, it will be found to be opposed to the common sentiments of society, if it were pursued at those seasons when our sorrows are the most overwhelming.

If a husband were seen in the theater on the evening of that day which witnessed the death or burial of his beloved wife, or child; or if a man smitten with poverty were seen to join in the dance — would not the moral sense of the whole community be offended? And yet if the recipe is good for anything, it should stand us in stead in our greatest extremities. No! Adversity is a serious thing! It calls for solemn consideration. It never can be improved nor endured as it ought, unless we think of it, and learn the lesson which it affords.

View it in whatever light you please; consider it as a trial fitted to exercise your minds; or as a discipline designed to improve them; or as a chastisement for past transgression; or as a preparation for future duty — in every aspect in which it can be contemplated, it claims a thoughtful consideration. And, if this is refused, it will harden the heart, and all the more if it be superseded by the cares and pleasures of the world.

Were no better remedy provided for the afflicted, or were the mind to brood over its sorrows while the remedy is unknown or overlooked — then, indeed, it might be our wisest course to seek diversion in the world. But a remedy has been provided; and the Christian disciple can well afford to look on his affliction in all its magnitude, without incurring the least hazard of troubling the springs of his comfort. If he falls into melancholy or dejection, it is only because he omits someone thing from his consideration which the Bible presses on his attention.

 

2. In the day of adversity, you should consider from whose hand it has been sent to you. It comes direct from the hand of God.

Intermediate agencies may have been employed in inflicting it:
a cherished family member may have been the messenger of disease;
a treacherous friend may have been the cause of bankruptcy;
an avowed enemy may have been the author of reproach and shame;
Satan himself may have been allowed to smite you. But through whatever secondary agency it may have been conveyed, adversity comes from God's hand!

"I form the light — and create darkness; I make peace — and create evil. I the Lord, do all these things." Isaiah

"Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both calamities and good things come?" Lamentations

"Shall we receive good at the hand of God — and shall we not receive evil?" Job

"Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD?" Exodus

"See now that I myself am He! There is no god besides Me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of My hand!" Deuteronomy

"The LORD brings death and makes alive; He brings down to the grave and raises up. The LORD sends poverty and wealth; He humbles and he exalts." 1 Samuel

"This is what the LORD says: As I have brought all this great calamity on this people . . ." Jeremiah

"When disaster comes to a city, has not the LORD caused it?" Amos

"For He wounds, but He also binds up; He injures, but His hands also heal." Job

From these and many other passages it is plain that temporal affliction is ascribed to God in the Holy Scriptures, and no one who acknowledges God's Providence at all, can fail to believe that the numerous calamities of human life are permitted, appointed, and overruled by the Supreme Governor of the world.

This is a consideration of great practical importance, and should be seriously weighed in the day of adversity.

For first of all, it assures us that our afflictions are neither imposed by a fatal necessity, nor produced by the uncertain vicissitudes of chance — but come forth from the hand of one who is infinitely wise and just and good.

Secondly, it is fitted to minister at least a certain degree of comfort, inasmuch as it demonstrates that we have the security of all his attributes against the infliction of greater or more protracted suffering than is required by the necessities of our case, and the rules of perfect justice and wisdom and love.

Thirdly, it teaches us in many of our afflictions, and those which it is indeed most difficult to bear, to look beyond, and to rise above, the consideration of the mere human agency by which they have been inflicted. I refer to such as are brought on us through the malice of our fellow-men, in regard to which we are too apt to alone consider the secondary agency through which they fall upon us — instead of steadily contemplating God as addressing to us, through that agency, the warnings and lessons which we need to learn and improve. Thus it is that this class of afflictions — comprising calumny and defamation, extortion, oppression, and such like — are too little improved, and, indeed, seldom fail to produce an exasperation of spirit, diametrically opposed to that submissive temper which other afflictions, recognized as coming more directly from the hand of God, are fitted to produce.

Whereas, did we consider all afflictions, of whatever kind, as emanating from the unerring heart of loving Father — we would find, that even those which the hand or the tongue of man inflicts — are a wholesome discipline, and means of spiritual improvement.

And, finally, did we habitually bear in mind the consideration which I am now pressing on your attention, we should be the more disposed, and the better prepared for inquiring, with becoming earnestness, into the reasons which may exist for such dispensations, and the grand ends and uses for which they are designed. Let us remember, then, that every affliction, through whatever channel it may flow, comes to us ultimately from God's hand.

 

3. In the day of adversity, you should consider the causes and occasions of suffering in general — and especially, inquire into the causes and occasions of your own affliction at the present time.

As to the general cause of all suffering, it is sin, and nothing else than sin. But for this accursed thing, there would be . . .
no affliction in the world,
no painful disease,
no abject poverty,
no hostile violence,
no death,
no damnation.

Sin is the root of bitterness — and no wonder that its fruits are bitter. Rest assured, that God has not allowed so much suffering to prevail in the world from mere indifference to its welfare, or from any disposition to cruelty. No! "God is love" — and your happiness is dearer to him than any other object — his own glory excepted. All suffering is designed to mark his holy displeasure against sin, and to vindicate the honor of that law which God, as the righteous governor of the world, has prescribed for the regulation of our hearts and lives.

When viewed in this light, the sufferings which prevail to such a melancholy extent in the world, are fitted to deepen our conviction of the odious nature of sin. For when we reflect, on the one hand, on the infinite love of God, and his delight in the happiness of his creatures — and consider, on the other hand, how that, notwithstanding this love, God has permitted, nay, appointed so many evils to befall us — Oh! are we not sensible that sin, which is the cause of all suffering, must be, in his estimation, a most offensive and loathsome thing!

When a warm-hearted and kind father, who finds his chief delight in the bosom of his family, lifts the rod, and smites his beloved child for no reason? Does not the very warmth of his love, when viewed in connection with the severity of his chastisements, demonstrate that he abhors the disobedience which imposed on him the necessity of doing violence to his own feelings, by inflicting pain on the object of his fondest regards? Just so it is with God.

And his severe but beneficial and needful discipline, is a signal proof and manifestation of the hatred with which he regards transgression, seeing that for a time that displeasure seems to overcome all his delight in human happiness, and his reluctance to the infliction of pain.

But, in the day of adversity, the Christian disciple should not content himself with this general view of the cause of all affliction. He should inquire into the special reasons that may exist, in his past life, or in the present condition of his own soul — for God's dispensations towards him. He should consider "why the Lord is thus contending with him" — what root of bitterness there is still in his heart, or what cause of offence in his life, which can have called for the providential warnings and chastisements with which he has been visited. And, in short, whether any, and what cause can be assigned for his own personal and peculiar trials.

I am aware that, while all suffering proceeds from one general cause, namely, our inherent and actual sinfulness in the sight of God — yet it does by no means follow, that the special afflictions with which any one of God's people may be visited, can in all cases be ascribed to any particular dereliction of duty, and decay of personal religion; or that we are warranted to regard those who are visited with the severest and most protracted sufferings, as being, on that account, marked out as the greatest sinners. Absolutely not! Affliction is not dealt out in this state of probation on the principles of strict retribution; nor in the case of God's people, although, in some sense, it is still the consequence, is it to be regarded as the penal desert of sin.

God has other ends in view than merely to recall to their remembrance the sins of their past lives. He often sends trials upon them with the view of preparing them for future duty — of fitting them for more extensive usefulness — and of promoting, in general, their more rapid progress in the path of sanctification, and their fitness for a speedy translation to glory. Still, even when affliction is viewed in this light, as a preparatory discipline of the soul, it implies and presupposes certain defects in our character, which ought to be supplied — certain remaining corruptions which should be subdued. And, in most cases, the Christian disciple will be at no loss to discover, in his own state and character, many sufficient reasons for God's dispensations towards him.

Now it is of great importance that he should consider these in the day of adversity — that he should ascertain what are the defects of his character, and what are the special reasons of his present affliction, in order that, knowing the plague of his own heart, he may apply himself vigorously, and in right earnest, to the work of his high calling. Let him, in such circumstances, consider whether he may not have been gradually, and almost insensibly, falling from his first love — whether he has not become less spiritual in the ordinary frame of his thoughts and affections — whether he has not become, more than he once was, a stranger at the throne of grace, or more of a formalist in the exercise of prayer — whether he has not been neglecting some duty, or addicted to some self-indulgence, or in one respect or other exhibiting the marks of a decaying piety, or walking as a backslider from the Lord.

And if, on making such an inquiry, he see cause to conclude that it is not now "with him as it was in months past, when the candle of the Lord shone upon him" — Oh! let him acknowledge the seasonableness of God's interposition — his faithfulness in fulfilling his promise of needful discipline — and his own sinfulness in provoking the Lord to anger, even though he is one of his own adopted and forgiven children.

Most assuredly he will feel, unless, indeed, he is one that "turns the grace of God into licentiousness," that the sins of God's people are in some respects more heinous than those of unregenerate men, who have never enjoyed the same privileges, nor made the same professions, nor offered up the same prayers. And feeling how much his sins are aggravated by the consideration of God's love, and his own ingratitude — he will regard God's chastisements as a reason for the deepest humiliation of heart, for unreserved confession of sin, and for earnest prayer — not so much that his affliction may be removed, as that the cause of it may be taken away.

4. In the day of adversity, you should consider the design and end of affliction, or the uses which it is intended to serve. As it proceeds neither from blind necessity, nor from casual accident — but from the hand of your Omniscient Governor and Judge — so nothing can be more certain than that it is designed for the accomplishment of some great and useful purpose. Now the design of affliction is expressly revealed in the Word of God. He has condescended to explain the reasons of his dealings with you — and it is alike your duty and your privilege to consider and to concur in his declared design.

The general end of affliction, as it is explained in God's Word, is the moral and spiritual improvement of believers — in other words, their progressive sanctification, and their preparation for glory. Oh! how important must the right use of affliction be, if it is intended to terminate in such a result. It stands connected with our everlasting welfare — with all that we can enjoy on earth, and all that we hope for in Heaven.

But more particularly, the day of adversity is intended for our INSTRUCTION. The Lord's rod has a voice which speaks to us lessons of heavenly wisdom; and, therefore, we are required "to hear the rod, and Him who has appointed it." (Micah ) "The rod and reproof give wisdom." (Proverbs ) It presents to our minds many of the same great truths which are declared in Scripture — but which we may have overlooked, or failed rightly to understand — until they were pressed on our attention, and made the matter of our personal experience, in the day of trouble.

Thus, it teaches most impressively, that great Scriptural truth of the vanity of the world, and its insufficiency as the portion of rational and immortal beings. This is a truth which might almost be regarded as self-evident; yet it is one which is very slowly and reluctantly admitted by the young disciple, and which can only be effectually impressed on his mind, and unfolded in all its extent, by the experience of disappointment and sorrow.

In the case of unrenewed men, the world is the only portion which is valued — the object of their supreme affections — the source of their highest enjoyments. When the day of adversity arrives, even they are made to feel that the world is a poor and empty thing — "a broken cistern which can hold no water." But so long as they know nothing of a better portion, they are glad to cling to it, notwithstanding all their experience of its worthlessness. If, however, at such a season, they have their attention directed to the better portion that is provided for them in the Gospel, their experience of the uncertain and unsatisfying nature of all earthly good is fitted to awaken their desires after that higher happiness, and those enduring riches, which belong to the people of God.

And thus many an individual has been brought, by the discipline of sickness, and many a family, by bankruptcy or bereavements — to relinquish the world, and to seek God as their chief good. No new truth has been revealed to them; for they had often read in the Scripture, and heard from the pulpit, of the vanity of the world — but that which was then addressed to their understandings, is now impressed with power on their hearts. Their own experience has confirmed and strengthened the testimony of God.

On the same subject — the day of adversity administers a wholesome lesson, even to God's own people, who, in some prosperous season, are too apt to attempt a compromise between God and the world, and to seek only a part, and that, perhaps, a small one, of their happiness in Him. They are ready, in such circumstances, to "settle on their lees;" and because "their mountain stands strong," or because "they have had no changes" — they have become more familiar with the world, less conversant with God, and more wedded to temporal enjoyments, than befits the candidates for heavenly glory.

But the day of adversity comes, and dispels at once the fond illusions by which they had been deceived. It reveals the world to their view in its true light, and they awaken as from a dream to the inbred and thorough conviction that all is meaningless and vanity! Poverty, disease, and death are employed, to teach them a lesson which they were slow to understand or believe when they read it in the Bible, or heard it declared from the pulpit, while as yet they had no experience of its truth. And as soon as they are thus thoroughly impressed with this practical conviction, they are prepared to rise above all worldly influences, and to seek with greater earnestness than ever, the enjoyment of God's favor, which is life, and his loving-kindness, which is better than life.

In like manner, the day of adversity teaches us the great lesson of our entire and constant dependence on God. But a little while before, we were rejoicing in the midst of prosperity — our health was sound, our business prosperous, our families entire. But the sudden stroke has come which has smitten . . .
our bodies with disease,
our business with bankruptcy,
or our families with death.

And that stroke has come from the Lord's hand!

Oh! in such circumstances, we are impressively taught . . .
that we are absolutely in God's power;
that all that we have is at His sovereign disposal;
that we depend on Him, day by day, continually for . . .
  our personal preservation,
  our worldly prosperity,
  our domestic comfort,
  for all, in short, that we desire or love on earth.

It befits us never for one moment to forget our obligations to him "in whom "we now feel more sensibly than we ever felt before, that "we live, and move, and have our being!"

And finally, our experience of present suffering exhibits to us in a most impressive and convincing light, some of the grand leading principles of God's moral government. It demonstrates his holy determination that sin shall not pass by unpunished; and makes it as certain as any other fact in human history, that as a sinner, man is exposed to the righteous judgments of God.

These are some of the lessons which adversity, when viewed as a means of moral instruction, is fitted to inculcate and to impress with great practical power on our hearts. And when these lessons are duly considered, and, above all, when they are submissively embraced and acted on — the disciple will learn from his own experience the value of affliction, and admire the wisdom with which God suits his lessons to the most urgent necessities of his soul.


The day of adversity is intended not only for our INSTRUCTION — but also for our REPROOF.

It is designed as a chastisement, to rebuke and humble us. The grand design of God both in his Word and Providence is to produce a genuine humility of heart. Many of his most solemn messages to us in the Bible are intended for this purpose — but the evil is, that pride is too apt to resist the application of these passages to ourselves. Nay, the more proud any man is, and the greater his need of being humbled — so much the more averse is he from this faithful application of God's revealed truth to his own soul.

But in the day of adversity, the Lord takes the rod in his hand, and by singling out an individual or a family for his fatherly chastisement, he makes a personal application, as it were, of the truth to that individual or family, so as to make them feel that they are under his reproof and correction. Then many sins that had been made light of at the time of their occurrence, and which had perhaps escaped altogether from their remembrance, are forcibly recalled and pressed upon their consciences. The threatened judgments which, when heard by the ear merely, had failed to awaken their apprehensions — are now realized and felt to be certain as well as solemn, when they are actually suffering under the rod.

God's holiness and justice are now known to be active attributes of his nature, as well as essential attributes of his nature. And his moral government is felt to be at work in reference to themselves. Thus pride is slain, repentance awakened, and humility produced. God has applied the truth by the agency of the rod! And while they smart under his chastisement, they feel that it reproves them for sin, and that they dare not utter one word of complaint, or offer one plea in their self-justification. Thus God "has humbled them, and proved them, and shown them what was in their hearts."

The day of adversity is designed for our probation and trial. It brings with it peculiar trials, which are fitted to test as well as to exercise the graces of God's people. Thus Abraham was tried, when he was commanded, apparently in direct opposition to God's covenant promise — to offer up his son Isaac. This was, in every point of view, a sore trial; it brought with it peculiar temptations to unbelief and disobedience, such as had never assailed the patriarch before. But he was strong in faith, giving glory to God — -and his faith and obedience were rendered only the better and more illustrious by means of his trial.

So is it with the people of God, who are the children of faithful Abraham. God visits them with adversity, not merely with the view of instructing or chastising them — but for the purpose of trying and exercising their Christian graces. By means of such trial and exercise, these graces are strengthened and matured. For just as the bodily frame is more fully developed, and grows in vigor by means of active exertion — so the principles of spiritual life in the soul are improved and perfected by means of discipline — that discipline calling these principles into exercise, and thereby increasing their strength and vigor.

Thus, when a man who has long been weak in faith is visited with adversity — he is laid under a necessity, as it were, of having recourse to God in his straits. He feels that he has no other being on whom he can depend for support or help; and as one consideration after another presents itself to his mind, as to the all-sufficiency and faithfulness and love of his Lord — his faith acquires increasing confidence, and when he is weak he feels that he is strong.

So with the man who, while he lived in the sunshine of earthly prosperity, may have been easily annoyed by trifling inconveniences, and reluctant to submit to them. But when he is visited by a signal and sore affliction, he is compelled, as it were, to recognize God's hand in it, and thus a holy resignation to the Divine will, and a submissive temper, are exhibited by him in his severest trials, such as he was unable to preserve in former times. These graces of the Christian character being called into lively exercise, and thus strengthened and matured.

And oh! if this be the benevolent design, and this the happy effect of affliction, how much reason has he to rejoice that, while his outward man perishes, his inward man is renewed day by day! And who that knows the unspeakable value of those heavenly graces which are thus invigorated and strengthened by affliction — will murmur at the discipline by which God seeks to call them into exercise, and to carry them onward to perfection.

The day of adversity is designed as a means of preparation for the future which lies before us. This is an interesting aspect of our present trials. We are too prone to take a retrospective view of their causes and occasions — while we think little of their prospective design and results. But we ought not only to look back on the causes which may have rendered our afflictions necessary — we should also look forward to the events for which they are designed to prepare us.

I believe that affliction is often sent, not so much as a chastisement for past sins — but as a means of preparation for future duty. And for this end, it is most suitable and efficacious. It is a means of fitting us for future trials.

All the afflictions of life are not sent upon us at once, otherwise we should be in danger of being overwhelmed by them; but one is sent at a time, and this makes way for another, and prepares us for enduring it. The Lord, in his providence, follows the same rule as in his instructions: "He gives line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; according as the disciples are able to bear it." One affliction, duly improved, prepares us for enduring another, and deriving good from all.

There is great diversity, indeed, in God's methods of dealing with his different disciples.

Sometimes, by a sudden stroke, he visits a prosperous disciple with the heaviest calamity at first. And it is not astonishing if, thus unprepared by previous discipline, it should be felt to be almost overwhelming. But then, if such an affliction is at all improved as it should, it must serve, by its very magnitude, to suppress all repining, and to produce a meek and resigned spirit, under the smaller afflictions which may follow it.

In other cases, the smaller trials are sent first, and one follows after another, until the disciple is prepared for enduring the heaviest of all. The mind that is in any measure duly exercised by the former — becomes, as it were, familiar with the principles which administer support and comfort, and is ready to have instant recourse to them, when the latter arrives.

Oh! how mercifully does God deal with his people, in thus adapting the method of his discipline to their respective circumstances — sending on one, who might otherwise fail to be awakened to his highest interests, a stroke like a sudden thunderbolt — and on another, whom such a heavy stroke might overwhelm, such preparatory minor trials as initiate him gently in the school of affliction.

Some may wonder that we speak of so many successive trials, and of the wisdom of God in making one affliction prepare the way for another — but it is even so in the experience of God's people. Affliction is not one act of chastisement — but a course of beneficial discipline, a series of preparatory trials leading on to the glorious consummation — for it is "through much tribulation that we must enter into the kingdom of God."

Adversity is a means of fitting us for future temptations. God, whose knowledge extends to all future events, sees that a disciple is before long to be placed in circumstances which will throw strong temptation in his way. And He also, whose knowledge extends to the secrets of the heart, knows that, in the frame of mind which present prosperity has induced, that disciple would be ill qualified to resist these temptations — perhaps prone to yield to them. He must be called off from the world, and brought to his knees, and strengthened inwardly with strength in his soul. But so long as prosperity continues, this moral change, so essential to his future safety, is not to be expected.

Therefore, in the exercise of his unfailing love and faithfulness, the Lord takes him into his own hand, and visits him with affliction. The disciple is grieved, no doubt — but he is also humbled, and instructed and strengthened by this discipline — a new and more spiritual frame of feeling is produced — the truths of religion acquire a firmer footing in his mind, and a fuller ascendency over his heart. And these truths, thus applied to his soul, furnish him with new and stronger motives — so that, when the hour of temptation comes, he is prepared, through God's grace, to meet it, and his very sorrows are his preservative from sin!

Oh! little do we know from what temptations we have been preserved or delivered by means of such beneficial discipline. How little do we know what we might have been, had we had fewer trials!

The Christian disciple, who has been subject to protracted bodily indisposition, may be apt to wonder why he should be for so long a time kept in a condition which apparently hinders or impairs his active usefulness. But perhaps that very disciple had the seeds of vanity, worldliness, or intemperance in his heart, which the constant sunshine of prosperity would have caused to spring up and ripen — or he was likely to be placed in circumstances which would have tempted him to open sin. How thankful, then, should he be for God's restraining grace, even though that grace has operated through the discipline of sorrow — especially if he finds that, during his sickness, his spiritual health has been preserved and increased, while he sees many a prosperous professor, who has fallen before the power of that temptation from which he has been so graciously preserved!

Adversity is a means of preparation for extensive usefulness. That affliction, when it comes upon us either in the shape of bodily illness, or extreme poverty, or blighting calumny, unfits us for the active service of God — is the complaint which is usually made by those who are visited with it in the prime of life. While many an aged disciple, who is completely disabled by his infirmities, is apt to wonder why he is still preserved in life when his usefulness is apparently gone. But he, who considers that the greatest usefulness consists in glorifying God — will see at a single glance that there is no ground for such thoughts in either case.

In regard even to present usefulness, and without reference to the future service for which affliction may be preparing them, they may glorify God as much by patient suffering as by active service, and may thus be in the highest degree useful to those who are around them.

The mere consideration of their sufferings may impress many a beneficial lesson on the minds of others, especially of the young; while the active and consistent exercise of their Christian graces, in such circumstances, may afford an example of religion in its sustaining power — such as is admirably fitted to commend it to the acceptance of their friends. Thus, even the aged sufferer, disabled as he is from active duty, may be a powerful witness for Christ. And although he has no prospect of being restored to his former sphere of exertion — he is occupying with good and beneficial effect the post which the Lord has assigned to him.

If it is true, as unquestionably it is, that even an old blind beggar is not without his moral use in the world — then how much more certain is it, that the aged and apparently disabled believer is, even in his greatest infirmities, a blessing to his family and friends. For how can he be more useful to them, or how could he better glorify God — than by exhibiting, as he does in the hour of his greatest need, the worth and value of that divine religion which comforts him in all his tribulations, and smooths his path to the grave; nay, which enables him to rise above the love of life and the fear of death, and to rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glory, and to bear his testimony to the love and faithfulness of his Lord throughout the whole course of his protracted trials! Such a man is not useless. Oh no! Though his limbs are inactive, his memory faded, all his faculties impaired — yet . . .
his moral feelings are strong within him,
his faith is firm,
his hope is heavenly,
his heart is full of peace and joy.

And many others feel that the aged sufferer makes a deeper and more beneficial impression on it, than all the learning and eloquence of the schools.

As an aged believer was accustomed to say, when reduced to extreme poverty, and wholly disabled by a paralytic stroke, "I often seem to myself and others to be a useless burden on the world — but I know and believe that God must have something yet to do by me or in me, otherwise I would not be here." But while the believer, during the time of his affliction, is really occupying a post of usefulness, that season is, in many cases, designed to prepare him for more extensive and successful exertion in God's service hereafter.

While the aged believer looks forward to Heaven as his only remaining sphere of service, the younger brethren may anticipate a restoration to health, and a course of usefulness on earth. And their present afflictions are designed and fitted to prepare them for exerting a higher and more beneficial influence over their fellow-men. This they do by their influence in promoting our personal sanctification; by deepening our impressions of the vanity of the world, and the value of the soul, and the magnitude of eternity; by enlarging our experience of the power of religion, and teaching us its unspeakable importance.

In proportion as affliction serves to promote our personal growth in grace — in the same proportion it prepares us for future usefulness. Our capacity of glorifying God in all the ways of private or public duty depends on the condition of our own souls. If our souls have been improved by the discipline of adversity — our testimony to God and his truth, and our love and care for our fellow-men, will be proportionately more constant and more effectual than before. Thus the apostle refers to his own experience during his manifold afflictions, as having been a means of fitting him more fully for one important part of the Christian ministry. "Blessed be God," says he, "even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulations — that we may be able to comfort them that are in any trouble, by the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God." (2 Corinthians ) Everyone can feel the force of these words.

The word of comfort comes with unspeakably greater power from the lips of a suffering Savior, or a sorely tried disciple, than from the lips of one who has never known adversity. And this holds good, not only of the minister of religion — but of every private Christian, and that, in respect to all the departments of Christian usefulness. He is better prepared by means of his experience, as for comforting the afflicted, so also for exhibiting in his own life and conduct the sanctifying and supporting power of religion, for commending it to the consideration of his family and friends; and for making many exertions, and submitting to many sacrifices, to which others, living in uninterrupted prosperity, might be less inclined to submit. In a word, the deeper the impressions are which he has received on his own soul — the better is he prepared both in point of knowledge and zeal, and sympathy, to care for the welfare of others, and to promote it.

The day of adversity is a suitable preparation for the hour of death. That solemn hour must soon arrive. Much inward preparation of heart is needful if we would meet death with calmness, composure, and fortitude. In the day of prosperity, that preparation may be made, if we can succeed in maintaining the ascendency of divine truth in our minds: for it is the truth of God inwrought, as it were, into the frame and temper of our spirits — and not any external influence merely — which fits the believer for his last struggle.

But during prosperity the mind is too prone to yield to worldly influences, and is often reluctant to allow God's truth that full ascendency which its importance demands, and which is in fact essential to the believer's comfort in the prospect of death. It is by its beneficial influence in breaking the power of worldly enchantments, in disengaging the mind from delusive expectations, and in directing it more earnestly and simply to the truths of God's Word — that adversity serves to prepare it for meeting death with fortitude. The sorrows of life may thus, without exciting one feeling of discontent, or calling forth a single murmur — predispose the soul to leave without reluctance, a scene of so much trial — and to anticipate without alarm that solemn event which will terminate all our earthly cares, and introduce us into a nobler and happier state of being.

Prosperity is less suitable than adversity as a means of preparation for death, not because the latter possesses any "magical charm" by which the fear or the pain of death is allayed — but because affliction is in God's hand a powerful instrument in awakening our attention to the truths of religion, and impressing them on our hearts. It is not adversity in itself simply — but adversity duly considered and improved, that has this effect.

Many a sorely tried and afflicted man is as reluctant to die as the most prosperous worldling. But the reason is that, in his case, adversity has failed in leading him to open his mind to the full influence of Gospel truth; and his experience, while it shows that affliction, like other means of grace, may be frustrated of its beneficial tendency — affords no ground for concluding that it has no such tendency.

The genuine disciple is all the better prepared for his last hour by the many seasons of affliction through which he has passed — because, at every such season . . .
his mind has been powerfully impressed,
his contrition deepened,
his faith strengthened,
his communion with God restored,
his love for the Savior increased,
his experience of the Spirit's supporting grace enlarged,
and his hope of Heaven revived.

Thus enlightened, quickened, and comforted by the truths of God seasonably and powerfully applied to his heart by means of affliction — he is prepared to surrender himself into God's hands, and to trust in His unfailing love and faithfulness, at that last, that solemn hour, when leaving its earthly tenement, his soul must enter into the spiritual and eternal world!

The day of adversity is a means of preparation for eternal glory. "For our light and momentary afflictions are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians

So says the apostle in words which demonstrate the connection which exists between the believer's sufferings on earth — and his ultimate happiness in Heaven. That such a connection between these two things exists, a connection similar, in some respects, to that which existed between the humiliation and exaltation of the Savior himself; and that our present afflictions are working out for us a result so glorious — may well serve at once to reconcile us to them, and to impress us with a sense of the wisdom and love of God in imposing them.

But let us not imagine that afflictions have this efficacy in themselves, as if (ex opere operato) they automatically either secured or merited for us a future compensation or reward. Far from it! God does not visit us with afflictions beyond our desert — so as to make himself our debtor. Neither does any amount of affliction insure us of future glory, except in so far as it is made the means, in God's hand, of bringing the truth home to our hearts, and inducing us cordially to embrace and diligently to improve it.

And hence the apostle not only states the fact that affliction works out for God's people an exceeding weight of glory — but he points out the way in which it does so: "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." It is by its influence in weaning our thoughts and affections from the world, and directing them to spiritual and eternal things — that adversity tends to prepare us for glory.

We may suffer much and long — but not until the mind looks upward to God and forward to eternity — not until it cordially receives and embraces the truth of the Gospel, is it thereby better prepared for glory — any more than are the fallen spirits who are kept in chains of darkness unto the day of judgment. But as soon as it brings us to the knowledge and reception of the truth, it prepares us by the truth for glory. It then elevates our minds, and prepares and refines them, "so as to make them fit for the inheritance of the saints in light."

This it does . . .
partly by convincing us of the vanity of the world — so as to feel that God alone can be our satisfying and everlasting portion;
partly, by convincing us of the wretchedness of our condition as sinners — so as to feel that peace with God is essential to our happiness;
partly, by convincing us of the remaining corruptions that cleave to us — so as to feel that we must be made perfectly holy before we can expect exemption from trial;
and still more, by enabling us to experience the love of God, the pleasure of comfortable communion with Him, and the unspeakable blessedness of resting on Christ — so as to enjoy some foretaste of that higher and more perfect happiness which shall be enjoyed when we enter into his immediate presence.

Accordingly, we read in the Scriptures that even the redeemed in Heaven look back on their earthly trials with grateful ascription of praise to God for his wisdom and love in making them subservient to their present glory; and a venerable Christian emphatically observes, "I believe there are very few in Heaven — but owe their conversion or their continuance in that state, to some affliction or other."

Such is a brief account of God's benevolent design in the afflictive dispensations of his providence. Their general end is the progressive sanctification and ultimate perfection of our natures. And with this view, they are intended for our instruction, for our reproof, for our trial, and for our preparation for death and glory. That such is their declared purpose and use, may well serve to impress us with a sense of God's goodness, even when he chastens us. While their admirable fitness, as a means to so great an end, is illustrative of the Divine wisdom which presides over the management of our affairs. And the serious consideration of the grand design which they are so well fitted to accomplish, is not only useful in reconciling us to the patient endurance of our present discipline — but is also necessary to the right improvement of our present discipline — since, if we are either ignorant or forgetful of God's design in them, it is not to be expected that we shall either bear them with patience, or steadily pursue those grand moral results to which they tend.

 

5. In the day of adversity, you should consider your remaining comforts, your numerous and undeserved mercies, and your ample and efficient means of relief. Under the pressure of some sore trial, the mind is too apt to fall into a morbid state, and to brood over its peculiar misery — while it is forgetful alike of the mercies which might alleviate its bitterness, and of the means by which all that is really evil in it might be removed. In some cases there is a reckless desperation — in other cases there is a desponding melancholy, which prevents the enjoyment of any blessing after one favorite object has been withdrawn; and which indisposes, and in part disqualifies, the sufferer from having recourse to those means of relief and consolation which are yet within his reach. This is an ungrateful and rebellious, as well as wretched state of mind.

And hence the apostle rebukes it when he speaks of the two contrasted negatives, "Despise not the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when you are rebuked of him." If we would avoid the latter of these extremes, and rise above our sorrow, or at least be able calmly to endure it — we must turn our thoughts to the consideration of our remaining mercies, and have recourse to the practical use of those means of relief which God has graciously given. Notwithstanding the severe stroke by which we have been deprived of health, or fortune, or friends — we are still surrounded with innumerable mercies, which are far, far beyond our deserts. Have we not still some earthly comforts — some small supply for our needs, however apparently casual — some sight and taste of the sweet beauties of nature, which are free to all — some few surviving friends who cling the more closely to us in proportion as their number is diminished, and who are still ready to weep with us when we weep, and to rejoice in our joy?

Yet suppose our condition to be the most desolate and forlorn, have we not still the almighty providence of God to trust in, and his precious promises to refresh and gladden us? Have we not still in Heaven a Great High Priest, a fellow-sufferer enthroned amidst the glories of the upper sanctuary, who has a fellow-feeling with us in our trials, and the power of supporting or relieving us in them all? Have we not still, as his disciples, the same grounds of everlasting hope, the same assurance of pardon and peace, the same interest in his great salvation? Have we not still the presence of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, whose very office connects him with the afflicted, and makes them the object of his peculiar care? Have we not the sweet fellowship of our fellow-disciples, who can speak a word of comfort to us from their own experience, and bear us on their hearts at the throne of grace? And have we not access for ourselves to the mercy-seat, where, in the confidence of believing prayer, we may utter the fullness of our hearts in the presence of the God of all comfort?

Oh! let not these precious, these unspeakably sweet and glorious privileges forgotten or despised — merely because some affliction has befallen us! We have still far more left to us, than has yet been taken from us. We have everything we really need to bless us in time, and prepare us for eternity.

But let us not merely think of these things, let us seek to enjoy them. It may be, that affliction has been sent chiefly to restore us to the fuller enjoyment of that happiness which such privileges may confer — to teach us their unspeakable value, and by means of them, to raise us to a higher plane of spiritual life than any we had formerly experienced.

Let us not only consider our remaining temporal mercies — but with a grateful heart partake of them, rejoicing in the light and heat, the air, the verdant earth and starry sky, exclaiming, "My Father made them all!" Let us not only consider God's providence — but with lowly reverence adore and trust in it! Let us feed upon his promises by faith, looking forward with heavenly hope to their glorious consummation. Let us have recourse to Christ as a sympathizing friend, receiving his salvation freely, as it is freely offered, rejoicing in his unchangeable love, glorifying his transcendent work of salvation, and exulting in his exaltation. Let us yield to the Spirit's grace, seeking his guidance, submitting to his power, and rejoicing in his consolations. Let us cleave to our Bible, which contains our glorious charter and security for time and eternity — nourishing our souls with divine truth, refreshing them with divine promises, invigorating and strengthening them with the faith and patience of the saints. Let us more frankly enter into Christian fellowship with our fellow-disciples, learning from their experience, and deriving from their communion new light, and love and joy. And with them, or by ourselves, let us repair often and freely to that throne of grace, before which all the sorrows of believers in all ages have been divulged, not doubting, that to us, as to them — relief and support will be sent in every hour of need. And finally, let us not confine our consideration to the circumstances of our present condition — but while we gratefully enjoy our remaining mercies, and dutifully improve our present privileges, let us also consider, and seek in the exercise of holy meditation to realize our future prospects and hopes. These might well support us, even though all earthly supports were removed.

We know that all our afflictions are soon to terminate, and, if we are Christ's disciples — the end of affliction will be the beginning of perfect joy. Heaven is before us. Thence let us draw, as it were by anticipation, some foretastes of its blessedness — motives to encourage, and strength to animate us in our earthly pilgrimage, and an undying energy of perseverance in our spiritual welfare. For why should any Christian faint by the way — if that way is leading him to Heaven?
 

6. In the day of adversity, you should consider Christ Jesus the Lord, as the forerunner and the pattern of his believing people. Thus writes the apostle: "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." Hebrews

Christ should be much in our thoughts in the time of suffering.Let us consider the number and intensity of Christ's sufferings, and how far they exceed whatever we can be called to endure. Consider . . .
the lowliness of his birth,
the labor of his youth,
the poverty of his whole life,
the persecutions to which he was exposed,
the calumnies which were invented against his character,
the hatred of his avowed enemies,
the treachery of some of his professed friends,
the public insults and mockery with which he was treated,
the pains which he endured of hunger and thirst,
the still deeper pains of crucifixion, and
the deepest pains of all — his "soul-sufferings" which made him exclaim, "My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death!" "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me!"

It is related of an eminent man that, while racked by severe suffering, he was accustomed to turn his thoughts to the scene of his Savior's agony, and that he thence derived at once a lesson of meek endurance and a motive to gratitude — he felt that his sufferings were as nothing, when compared with those of his Divine Master. This seems to be the idea that is suggested by the apostle when he reminds the disciples — that they had not yet, like their crucified Lord, "Resisted unto blood, striving against sin."

Let us consider the DESIGN and EFFECT of Christ's sufferings. They were different in these respects from our own. In his case they were strictly penal — intended as a satisfaction to divine justice for all the sins of his people; as a fulfillment of the curse of the law; and as such, their amount must have been inconceivably greater than our light afflictions, while their effect was and is to deprive all our afflictions of their bitterness, and death itself of its sting.

Our afflictions are chastisements, and as such, may be properly regarded as manifestations of God's fatherly displeasure — but they are not penal inflictions, such as can satisfy divine justice. No, all that was strictly penal in suffering, all that was required for the vindication of God's law and the fulfillment of the curse — Christ has already endured for us. This consideration is fitted at once to impress us with the conviction that our sufferings have been alleviated by the Savior's agony, and to cheer us with the hope that by the effect of his sufferings and death — we shall soon be delivered from their pressure and raised to perfect joy.

Let us consider the divine sympathy which Christ's personal sufferings secure for each of his suffering people. A suffering Savior, can sympathize with an afflicted people. "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." "Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted."

And let us consider the patience with which he endured his sufferings — his meek resignation to the divine will — his calmness in the midst of human enmity — his fortitude in the hour of death. "He suffered, leaving us an example that we should walk in his steps." "When they hurled their insults at him — he did not retaliate; when he suffered — he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly."

The apostle's expression, "fixing our eyes on Jesus," is a comprehensive description of what should be in all circumstances — the habit of the believer's soul. But never is "fixing our eyes on Jesus" more needful or more refreshing than when he is placed in circumstances of affliction. Then, if ever, he should be looking unto Jesus — never losing sight of his once crucified, but now exalted Master, nor turning his eye away from his glorious person — until, by the view of his patience and success in the hour of trial, his heart is at once subdued into tenderness and elevated by joyful hope.

One view of Christ, will avail more for our relief in such circumstances than all other considerations combined. A suffering Christ is at once the Savior, the friend, and the pattern of the suffering Christian. And, when He is thus contemplated by the eye of faith, virtue will come out of him for the support and comfort of his redeemed people.

In vain is our attention directed to all other subjects — if Christ is overlooked or misunderstood. We may and should consider . . .
the adversities which befall us,
the hand from which they proceed,
the causes which have occasioned,
the guilt which has incurred them,
the declared design and end of affliction, and
the serious and beneficial lessons which it is fitted to teach.
But all this will not avail for our comfort and support — unless we know and consider "Christ and him crucified." This is . . .
the grand subject of contemplation,
the only genuine spring of comfort,
the only safe ground of confidence and hope.

If afflictions do not lead us to consider Christ in his sufferings, and to know the end and object for which his sufferings were endured, and their intimate connection with our own welfare in time, and happiness in eternity — our afflictions, however numerous, or heavy, or protracted, have been sent in vain! For all the lessons which they teach, respecting the vanity of the world, and the demerit of sin, and the justice of God — are useful chiefly in a way of subserviency to our progress in the knowledge of Christ! It is by their influence in leading us to Christ, and fixing our regards on Him as our only help and hope — that they conduce at once to our personal comfort and our progressive sanctification.

Let the sufferer reflect on his trials, and his sins; let him ponder the proofs of God's judicial administration until he is impressed with a solemn sense of his justice; let him consider the vanity of the world, the certainty of death, and his own weakness to avert any one of the calamities to which he is exposed — all these considerations are beneficial ONLY in so far as they have a tendency to convince him of his need of Christ. But he must look to Christ himself, and especially to Christ in his agony, and on the cross — and that, too, with an intelligent and scriptural apprehension of the nature and extent of his sufferings, as an atonement for sin — before he can experience either the sanctifying influence of affliction, or the sweetness of Gospel consolation under it.

He who, either through ignorance or error, thinks little of Christ, or misunderstands the mysteries of his humiliation and death — is yet in a condition which prevents him from being either duly humbled, or duly supported in the day of trial.

Oh! why will the weak and stricken spirit turn its thoughts to other objects — while Christ, the Son of God, is plainly exhibited to his view, as a fellow-sufferer on earth. Surely such a Sufferer claims his regard, and exhibits to him an example such as may cheer, and animate, and direct him, in his most trying hour. Surely it is "the cross of Christ" alone, "by which the world can be crucified unto us, and we unto the world!" And we may well "count all things but loss, for the excellence of the knowledge of Jesus Christ our Lord."

 

7. In the day of adversity, you should consider the recorded examples of the saints and martyrs who have gone before you, and who, in similar trials, have been enabled to endure, as seeing God, who is invisible. "Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy!" James

A very large part of the historical Scriptures is occupied with the sufferings of God's people, and their experience and conduct under them. Our first parents, who suffered in their persons, and were driven forth from the beautiful garden, to a world that was laid under the curse; and who suffered severely in their domestic relations, especially when their first-born imbrued his hands in his brother's blood — Abel himself a sufferer and a martyr. Noah, the witness of that terrible deluge, which swept away all but his own immediate relatives. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Moses and David; Isaiah and Jeremiah; the martyred Baptist, and Stephen, the first Christian confessor; Paul, and all the apostles and primitive disciples — all these are exhibited as sufferers, whose experience verified the statement, that it is through great tribulation that we must enter the kingdom.

It is a proof of God's supreme wisdom, that the history of suffering is thus interwoven, as it were, with the whole texture of his Word — since thus it is adapted to whatever has been, and ever will be, the experience of his people in all ages of the Church. Did the Bible speak little of affliction — did it exhibit the believers of olden times as prosperous men, enjoying a happy life on earth, with few or insignificant trials — we might have envied their happy lot, without imitating their virtues, or aiming at their comforts. But when it presents them to our view as men compassed with the same infirmities, exposed to the same trials, enduring the like afflictions with ourselves — we feel that they are our brethren in sorrow — and that like as they were comforted and enabled to endure — so may we also be supported by the same grace, and endued with the same patience from on high.

This it is which imparts a charm to the simple narrative of their experience, such as renders these passages among the most precious portions of the Word of God — insomuch, that it may with truth be said, that the afflictions of David, which occasioned the composition of the Psalms, have been a signal benefit to the universal Church of God — every member of which, in all ages and lands, can enter with all the interest of a fellow-feeling into . . .
those mournful complaints,
those pathetic expressions of a stricken heart,
those deep and profound acknowledgments of man's sin and God's eternal justice,
those earnest breathings,
those longing aspirations towards Heaven
— with which these Psalms abound.

And more generally, the consideration of the sufferings of God's people in all ages, is of the highest use in discharging the mind of that fond misconception which is so apt to be entertained in the hour of sorrow, even that our sufferings are of a different kind, or more intense in their degree, than those of other men, "I am the man who has seen affliction by the rod of his wrath!" From which we are too apt to infer that God would not thus deal with us, if we belonged to the number of his people, or unless he had an unappeasable anger against us. Whereas, when we consider the Scripture narrative, we find that affliction has been the badge of God's people in all ages, and is to be regarded, not as a mark of reprobation, so much as a pledge of friendship. There we are taught that "fiery as our trial may be, no strange thing has happened unto us" — that "the same afflictions were and have been accomplished in our brethren in all ages of the world" — and that we are only the partakers of those trials, which, as being appropriate to our high and heavenly calling, are described as "the afflictions of the Gospel" — nay, as "Christ's sufferings."

The consideration of the sufferings of God's people is fitted farther to assure us, that the Gospel is adequate to sustain us under the severest trials, and in the prospect of death itself. For . . .
they passed "through a great fight of afflictions," and yet received no damage;
they were burned in the furnace, and were thereby not destroyed — but refined;
they submitted to violent death, and the Gospel was adequate to their support and triumph in that fearful hour.

Why then should we despond — we, to whom . . .
the same promises are addressed,
the same supports offered,
and the same hopes insured!

Will not Christ be with us in the furnace, even as he was with the Hebrew children who came forth from the furnace unhurt?

And finally, their example in suffering affliction with patience, is at once instructive and animating. When we consider Christ Jesus the Lord, we are too apt to think that his divine strength enabled him to endure in such a way as cannot be realized by his weak followers. But here are men, men with hearts as sensitive, with flesh as weak as our own — who have meekly suffered every form of natural evil, and who have been made more than conquerors over all! Let us consider them in the hour of our trial, and in the exercise of the same unshaken faith in God. Let us seek, like them, to "let patience have its perfect work, that we may be perfect and entire, lacking nothing."

 

8. In the day of adversity, you should consider the actual effect which your trials have yet produced on your own souls. We have seen what God's design in them is — let us inquire whether that design has been fulfilled in our own souls. Does our experience correspond with his declared purpose.

Are we more sanctified?
Are we more weaned from the world?
Are we more humbled under a sense of our unworthiness?
Are we more deeply impressed by Divine truth?
Are we induced to pray more frequently and more fervently?
Are we more thoroughly devoted in heart and life to God's service
 — by means of, and in consequence of, our afflictions?

If we cannot answer these questions in the affirmative, have we no reason to fear that we are fighting against God; that we are slighting his warnings, despising his rod, and frustrating his gracious intentions towards us? Oh! it is very needful thus to inquire as to the actual effect of affliction on ourselves — for it operates very differently, according as it is well or ill improved.

In the former case, affliction produces . . .
contrition of heart,
deadness to the world,
meek submission to God,
an earnest desire after communion with him,
a holy frame and heavenly temper, such as befits our condition as pilgrims and strangers on the earth!

Affliction prepares us . . .
for usefulness in life,
for peace in death, and
for glory in Heaven!

But in the other case, when it is despised, or misimproved, affliction leaves the soul as lifeless as it found it:
instead of contrition, it awakens discontent;
instead of Christian humility, it leaves us in unbelieving despondency;
instead of weaning us from the world, it rivets more firmly around us the remaining ties by which we cleave to it, and issues in dull insensibility, or reckless unconcern.

It has been beautifully said, that "the same fire which melts the gold — hardens the clay." Just so, the same afflictions which softened the heart of David — hardened the heart of Pharaoh into more obdurate impenitency. And is it not worth our while to consider which of these processes is now going on in our own experience — whether we are becoming better or worse by the discipline of God's providence; whether we are ripening for Heaven — or sinking towards Hell.

Oh! that is a solemn statement which declares, "that he who being often reproved, and hardens his neck — shall speedily be cut off, and that without remedy!"

If, on the other hand, we have good ground for believing that our minds have yielded to the beneficial influences of affliction, and have thereby become more dead to the world and more alive to God; if we feel a growing humility of heart, and experience a sweeter communion with Heaven; if our faith has been strengthened, and our hope confirmed in the hour of trial — then may we not only rest assured that it has been good for us that we were afflicted; but on a comparison of the spiritual benefit which we have acquired with the temporal prosperity which we have lost — we shall be able and willing to give our joyful and grateful testimony at once to the wisdom and goodness of God in all his dispensations towards us.

Having suggested various topics as suitable subjects for your consideration in the day of adversity — permit me again to remind you that all the benefits of affliction depend on your attention being awakened and directed to God's truth. It is by consideration alone that it can do you good. An inconsiderate sufferer — will be an unsanctified sufferer. He may suffer much and suffer long — but all to no purpose, unless he is brought to think, and to think seriously.

That affliction is fitted to induce thoughtfulness, is the reason why it is employed as a means in the discipline of God's providence. But its tendency may be frustrated, and then all its benefits must be forfeited and lost.

And finally, let me impress it on your hearts, that you should thus improve the first moments of affliction before yet it be too late. For while the season of adversity furnishes a fit opportunity, and addresses to you an impressive call to consider your case — it ought never to be forgotten, that when affliction reaches its extreme point, it does, in many cases, unfit the soul for all profitable thought. You may be subjected to a disease which will totally overpower your faculties, and give you over as a passive and unresisting prey to the power of death. Think not, then, of postponing consideration until a future hour; but laying to heart the trials which you have already experienced, seek so to improve them now, while reason is yet clear and strong — as that, whatever may befall you hereafter, you may have good ground to rejoice in the assurance that your soul is safe for eternity!

Sours: https://www.monergism.com/consider-god-has-made-one-well-other-ecclesiastes

7 commentary ecclesiastes 14

In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.

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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(14) Ecclus. , The first clause may be more closely rendered, “In the good day be of good cheer.” As a consolation in time of adversity the thought Job is offered. The last clause connects itself with the first, the idea being that of Ecclesiastes ; “take the present enjoyment which God gives, seeing that man cannot tell what shall be after him.”

Benson Commentary

Ecclesiastes In the day of prosperity be joyful — Enjoy God’s favours with thankfulness. In the day of adversity consider — Namely, God’s work, that it is his hand, and therefore submit to it: consider also why he sends it: for what sins, and with what design? God also hath set the one against the other — Hath wisely ordained, that prosperity and adversity should succeed one another; that man should find nothing after him — Or, rather, after it, as it may be rendered; that is, after his present condition, whether it be prosperous or afflictive: that no man might be able to foresee what shall befall him afterward; and therefore might live in a constant dependance upon God, and neither despair in trouble, nor be secure or presumptuous in prosperity.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

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.

Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Good and prosperous days are in God's design special times of comfort and rejoicing: the days of affliction and trouble, are in God's design the proper seasons of recollection and serious consideration. The Providence of God hath so contrived it, that our good and evil days should be intermingled each with the other. This mixture of good and evil days is by the Divine Providence so proportioned, that it sufficiently justifies the dealings of God toward the sons of men, and obviates all their discontent and complaints against Him.

Set the one over against the other - Rather, made this as well as that, i. e., the day of adversity, as well as the day of prosperity. The seeming imitation of this passage in Ecclesiasticus (Ecclesiasticus ) affords a strong presumption that this book was written before the days of the son of Sirach.

To the end - God hath constituted the vicissitude of prosperity and adversity in such a way that no man can forecast the events that shall follow when he is removed from his present state. Compare the Ecclesiastes note.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

consider&#;resumed from Ec "Consider," that is, regard it as "the work of God"; for "God has made (Hebrew, for 'set') this (adversity) also as well as the other (prosperity)." "Adversity" is one of the things which "God has made crooked," and which man cannot "make straight." He ought therefore to be "patient" (Ec ).

after him&#;equivalent to "that man may not find anything (to blame) after God" (that is, after "considering God's work," Ec ). Vulgate and Syriac, "against Him" (compare Ec ; Ro ).

Matthew Poole's Commentary

Be joyful; enjoy God’s favours with cheerfulness and thankfulness.

Consider, to wit, God’s work, which is easily understood out of the foregoing verse. Consider that it is God’s hand, and therefore submit to it; humble thyself under his hand, be sensible of it, and duly affected with it; consider also why God sends it, for what sins, and with what design. This is a proper season for serious consideration, whereas prosperity relaxeth the mind, and calls it forth to outward things. But this clause may be, and is by some, rendered thus, and look for a day of adversity. In prosperity rejoice with trembling, and so as to expect a change.

God also hath set the one over against the other; God hath wisely ordained these vicissitudes that prosperity and adversity should succeed one another in the course of men’s lives. After him; either,

1. After man himself, or, as it may be rendered, after it, i.e. after his present condition, whether it be prosperous or afflictive. So the sense is, that no man might be able to foresee or find out what shall certainly befall him afterwards, and therefore might live in a constant dependence upon God, and might nether despair in trouble, nor be secure or presumptuous in prosperity, because of the frequent and sudden changes from one to the other. Or,

2. After God, that no man might come after God, and review his works, and find any fault in them, or pretend that he could have managed things better, because this mixture of prosperity and adversity is most convenient both for the glory of God’s wisdom, and justice, and goodness and for the benefit of mankind, who have all absolute need of this vicissitude, lest they should be either corrupted and ruined by perpetual prosperity, as many have been, or overwhelmed with uninterrupted adversity.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

In the day of prosperity be joyful, Or, "in a good day" (q). When things go well in the commonwealth, in a man's family, and with himself, health, peace, and plenty, are enjoyed, a man's circumstances are thriving and flourishing; it becomes him to be thankful to God, freely and cheerfully to enjoy what is bestowed on him, and do good with it: or, "be in good" (r); in good heart, in good spirits, cheerful and lively; or, "enjoy good", as the Vulgate Latin version; for what God gives to men is given them richly to enjoy, to make use of themselves, and be beneficial unto others; so the Targum,

"in the day the Lord does well to thee be thou also in goodness, and do good to all the world;''

see Galatians ; Jarchi's paraphrase is,

"when it is in thine hand to do good, be among those that do good;''

but in the day of adversity consider; or, "in the day of evil" (s); consider from whence affliction comes; not out of the dust, nor by chance, but from God, and by his wise appointment; and for what it comes, that sin is the cause of it, and what that is; and also for what ends it is sent, to bring to a sense of sin, and confession of it, and humiliation for it; to take it away, and make good men more partakers of holiness: or, "look for the day of adversity" (t); even in the day of prosperity it should be expected; for there is no firmness and stability in any state; there are continual vicissitudes and changes. The Targum is,

"that the evil day may not come upon thee, see and behold;''

be careful and circumspect, and behave in a wise manner, that so it may be prevented. Jarchi's note is,

"when evil comes upon the wicked, be among those that see, and not among those that are seen;''

and compares it with Isaiah ; It may be observed, that there is a set time for each of these, prosperity and adversity; and that the time is short, and therefore called a day; and the one is good, and the other is evil; which characters they have according to the outward appearance, and according to the judgment and esteem of men; otherwise, prosperity is oftentimes hurtful, and destroys fools, and adversity is useful to the souls of good men;

God also hath set the one over against the other; they are both by his appointment, and are set in their proper place, and come in their proper time; succeed each other, and answer to one another, as day and night, summer and winter, and work, together for the good of men;

to the end that man should find nothing after him; should not be able to know what will be hereafter; what his case and circumstances will be, whether prosperous or adverse; since things are so uncertain, and so subject to change, and nothing permanent; and therefore can find nothing to trust in and depend upon, nothing that he can be sure of: and things are so wisely managed and disposed, that a man can find no fault with them, nor just reason to complain of them; so the Vulgate Latin version, "not find just complaints against him"; and to the same purpose the Syriac version, "that he may complain of him"; the Targum is,

"not find any evil in this world.''

(q) "in die bono", Pagninus, Montanus, Mercerus, Gejerus. (r) "esto in bono", Pagninus, Montanus, Mercerus, Cocceius, Gejerus, Rambachius. (s) "in die mala", Pagninus, Montanus, Mercerus. (t) "praecave", V. L. "praevide, aut provide ac prospice", Drusius; so Gussetius, p.

Geneva Study Bible

In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity {i} consider: God also hath appointed the one as well as the other, to the end that man should find {k} nothing after him.

(i) Consider why God sends it and what may comfort you.

(k) That man should be able to control nothing in his works.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)

Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

In the day of prosperity be joyful] Literally, In the day of good, be in good, i.e.use it as it should be used. True wisdom, the teacher urges, is found in a man’s enjoying whatever good actually comes to him. The warning is against the temper which “taking thought for the morrow,” is

“over exquisite

To cast the fashion of uncertain evils.”

And on the other hand he adds In the day of evil, look well,i.e.consider why it comes, and what may be gained from it.

God also hath set the one over against the other] The words assert what we should call the doctrine of averages in the distribution of outward good and evil. God has made one like(or parallel with) the other, balances this against that and this in order that man may find nothing at all after him.The last words may mean either (1) that man may have nothing more to learn or discover in his own hereafter; or (2) that man may fail to forecast what shall come to pass on earth after he has left it, as in ch. Ecclesiastes , and may look to the future calmly, free from the idle dreams of pessimism or optimism. The last meaning seems most in harmony with the dominant tone of the book, and has parallels in the teaching of moralists who have given counsel based on like data.

In the noble hymn of Cleanthes to Zeus (18) we have the Stoic view in language presenting a striking parallel to that of Ecclesiastes

ἀλλὰ σὺ καὶ τὰ περισσὰ ἐπίστασαι ἄρτια θεῖναι,

καὶ κοσμεῖν τὰ ἄκοσμα, καὶ οὐ φίλα, σοὶ φίλα ἐστιν•

ὧδε γὰρ εἰς ἒν ἅπαντα συνήρμοσας ἐσθλὰ κακοῖσιν,

ὥσθʼ ἕνα γίγνεσθαι πάντων λόγον αἰὲν ἐόντα.

“Thou alone knowest how to change the odd

To even, and to make the crooked straight,

And things discordant find accord in Thee.

Thus in one whole Thou blendest ill with good,

So that one law works on for evermore.”

The Epicurean poet writes:

“Prudens futuri temporis exitum

Caliginosa nocte premit Deus,

Ridetque, si mortalis ultra

Fas trepidat. Quod adest, memento

Componere aequus; cetera fluminis

Ritu feruntur, nunc medio alveo

Cum pace delabentis Etruscum

In mare, nunc lapides adesos,

Stirpesque raptas et pecus et domos

Volventis unâ.”

“God in His wisdom hides from sight,

Veiled in impenetrable night,

The future chance and change,

And smiles when mortals’ anxious fears,

Forecasting ills of coming years,

Beyond their limit range.

“Use then the present well, and deem

All else drifts onward, like a stream

Whose waters seaward flow,

Now gliding in its tranquil course,

Now rushing on with headlong force

O’er rocks that lie below.”

Od. iii. 29–

Pulpit Commentary

Verse In the day of prosperity be joyful; literally, in the day of good be in good i.e. when things go well with you, be cheerful (Ecclesiastes ; Esther ); accept the situation and enjoy it. The advice is the same as that which runs through the book, viz. to make the best of the present. So Ben-Sire says, "Defraud not thyself of the good day, and let not a share in a good desire pass thee by" (Ecclus. ). Septuagint Ἐν ἡμέρᾳ ἀγαθωσύνης ζῆθι ἐναγαθῷ, "In a day of good live in (an atmosphere of) good;" Vulgate, in die bona fruere bonis, "In a good day enjoy your good things." But in the day of adversity consider; in the evil day look well. The writer could not conclude this clause so as to make it parallel with the other, or he would have had to say, "In the ill day take it ill," which would be far from his meaning; so he introduces a thought which may help to make one resigned to adversity. The reflection follows. Septuagint, Καὶ ἴδε ἐνἡμέρᾳ κακίας ἴδε κ.τ.λ..; Vulgate, Et malam diem praecave, "Beware of the evil day." But, doubtless, the object of the verb is the following clause. God also hath set the one over against the other; or, God hath made the one corresponding to the other; i.e. he hath made the day of evil as well as the day of good. The light and shade in man's life are equally under God's ordering and permission. "What?" cries Job (Job ), "shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?" Corn. Lapide quotes a saying of Plutarch to this effect: the harp gives forth sounds acute and grave, and both combine to form the melody; so in man's life the mingling of prosperity and adversity yields a well-adjusted harmony. God strikes all the strings of our life's harp, and we ought, not only patiently, but cheerfully, to listen to the chords produced by this Divine Performer. To the end that man should find nothing after him.This clause gives Koheleth's view of God's object in the admixture of good and evil; but the reason has been variously interpreted, the explanation depending on the sense assigned to the term "after him" (אַתַרָיו). The Septuagint gives ὀπίσω αὐτοῦ, which is vague; the Vulgate, contra eum, meaning that man may have no occasion to complain against God. Cheyne ('Job and Solomon') considers that Koheleth here implies that death closes the scene, and that there is then nothing more to fear, rendering the clause, "On the ground that man is to experience nothing at all hereafter." They who believe that the writer held the doctrine of a future life cannot acquiesce in this view. The interpretation of Delitzsch is this - God lets man pass through the whole discipline of good and evil, that when lie dies there may be nothing which he has not experienced. Hitzig and Nowack explain the text to mean that, as God designs that man after his death shall have done with all things, he sends upon him evil as well as good, that he may not have to punish him hereafter - a doctrine opposed to the teaching of a future judgment. Wright deems the idea to be that man may be kept in ignorance of what shall happen to him beyond the grave, that the present life may afford no clue to the future. One does not see why this should be a comfort, nor how it is compatible with God's known counsel of making the condition of the future life dependent upon the conduct of this. Other explanations being more or less unsatisfactory, many modern commentators see in the passage an assertion that God intermingle8 good and evil in men's lives according to laws with which they are unacquainted, in order that they may not disquiet themselves by forecasting the future, whether in this life or after their death, but may be wholly dependent upon God, casting all their care upon him, knowing that he careth for them (1 Peter ). We may safely adopt this explanation (comp. Ecclesiastes ; Ecclesiastes ). The paragraph then con-rains the same teaching as Horace's oft-quoted ode-

"Prudens futuri temporis exitum,"etc.
(Carm.,' ) Theognis', -

Πρήγματος ἀπρήκτου χαλεπώτατόν ἐστι τελεντὴν
&#x;νῶναι ὅπως μέλλει τοῦτο &#x;εὸς τελέσαι
Ορφνη γὰρ τέταται πρὸ δὲ τοῦ μέλλοντος ἔσεσθαι
Οὐ ξυνετὰ θνητοῖς πείρατ ἀμηχανίης,

"The issue of an action incomplete,
Tis hard to forecast how God may dispose it;
For it is veiled in darkest night, and man
In present hour can never comprehend
His helpless efforts."Plumptre quotes the lines in Cleanthes's hymn to Zeus, vers. ('Poet. Gnom.,' p. 24) -

Ἀλλὰ σὺ καὶ τὰ περισσά κ.τ.λ.

"Thou alone knowest how to change the odd
To even, and to make the crooked straight;
And things discordant find accent in thee.
Thus in one whole thou blendest ill with good,
So that one law works on for evermore."Ben-Sira has evidently borrowed the idea in Ecclus. () from our passage; after speaking of man being like clay under the potter's hand, he proceeds, "Good is set over against evil, and life over against death; so is the godly against the sinner, and the sinner against the godly. So look upon all the works of the Mast High: there are two and two, one against the ether." Ecclesiastes

Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

There now follows a proverb of devout submission to the providence of God, connecting itself with the contents of Ecclesiastes "Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight which He hath made crooked! In the good day be of good cheer, and in the day of misfortune observe: God hath also made this equal to that, to the end that man need not experience anything (further) after his death." While &#;&#;&#;, Ecclesiastes ; Ecclesiastes , Ecclesiastes , is not different from &#;&#;&#;&#;, and in Ecclesiastes has the meaning of "enjoy," here the meaning of contemplative observation, mental seeing, connects itself both times with it. &#;&#;&#; before &#;&#; can as little mean quod, as asher, Ecclesiastes , before mi can mean quoniam. "Consider God's work" means: recognise in all that is done the government of God, which has its motive in this, that, as the question leads us to suppose, no creature is able (cf. Ecclesiastes and Ecclesiastes ) to put right God's work in cases where it seems to contradict that which is right (Job ; Job ), or to make straight that which He has made crooked (Psalm ).

14a. The call here expressed is parallel to Sir. (Fritz.): "Withdraw not thyself from a good day, and let not thyself lose participation in a right enjoyment." The &#; of &#;&#;&#;&#;&#;is, as little as that of &#;&#;&#;&#;, the beth essentiae - it is not a designation of quality, but of condition: in good, i.e., cheerful mood. He who is, Jeremiah , personally tov, cheerful ( equals tov lev), is betov (cf. Psalm , also Job ). The reverse side of the call, 14ab, is of course not to be translated: and suffer or bear the bad day (Ewald, Heiligst.), for in this sense we use the expression &#;&#;&#; &#;&#;&#;, Jeremiah , but not &#;&#;&#;&#; &#;&#;&#;, which much rather, Obadiah , means a malicious contemplation of the misfortune of a stranger, although once, Genesis , &#; &#;&#;&#; also occurs in the sense of a compassionate, sympathizing look, and, moreover, the parall. shows that &#;&#;&#; &#;&#;&#;&#; is not the obj., but the adv. designation of time. Also not: look to equals be attentive to (Salomon), or bear it patiently (Burger), for &#;&#;&#; cannot of itself have that meaning.

(Note: Similarly also Sohar (Par. (&#;&#;&#;&#;): &#;&#;&#; &#;&#;&#;, i.e., cave et circumspice, viz., that thou mayest not incur the judgment which is pronounced.)

But: in the day of misfortune observe, i.e., perceive and reflect: God has also made (cf. Job ) the latter &#;&#;&#;&#;&#; corresponding, parallel, like to (cf. under Ecclesiastes ) the former.

So much the more difficult is the statement of the object of this mingling by God of good and evil in the life of man. It is translated: that man may find nothing behind him; this is literal, but it is meaningless. The meaning, according to most interpreters, is this: that man may investigate nothing that lies behind his present time, - thus, that belongs to the future; in other words: that man may never know what is before him. But aharav is never (not at Ecclesiastes ) equals in the future, lying out from the present of a man; but always equals after his present life. Accordingly, Ewald explains, and Heiligst. with him: that he may find nothing which, dying, he could take with him. But this rendering (cf. Ecclesiastes ) is here unsuitable. Better, Hitzig: because God wills it that man shall be rid of all things after his death, He puts evil into the period of his life, and lets it alternate with good, instead of visiting him therewith after his death. This explanation proceeds from a right interpretation of the words: idcirco ut (cf. Ecclesiastes ) non inveniat homo post se quidquam, scil. quod non expertus sit, but gives a meaning to the expression which the author would reject as unworthy of his conception of God. What is meant is much more this, that God causes man to experience good and evil that he may pass through the whole school of life, and when he departs hence that nothing may be outstanding (in arrears) which he has not experienced.

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Ecclesiastes 7:1-14 - Some Wisdom For A Better Life

Ecclesiastes

Ecclesiastes

In the day of prosperity be joyful
Or, "in a good day" {q}. When things go well in the commonwealth, in a man's family, and with himself, health, peace, and plenty, are enjoyed, a man's circumstances are thriving and flourishing; it becomes him to be thankful to God, freely and cheerfully to enjoy what is bestowed on him, and do good with it: or, "be in good" F18; in good heart, in good spirits, cheerful and lively; or, "enjoy good", as the Vulgate Latin version; for what God gives to men is given them richly to enjoy, to make use of themselves, and be beneficial unto others; so the Targum,

``in the day the Lord does well to thee be thou also in goodness, and do good to all the world;''
see ( Galatians ) ; Jarchi's paraphrase is,
``when it is in thine hand to do good, be among those that do good;''
but in the day of adversity consider;
or, "in the day of evil" F19; consider from whence affliction comes; not out of the dust, nor by chance, but from God, and by his wise appointment; and for what it comes, that sin is the cause of it, and what that is; and also for what ends it is sent, to bring to a sense of sin, and confession of it, and humiliation for it; to take it away, and make good men more partakers of holiness: or, "look for the day of adversity" F20; even in the day of prosperity it should be expected; for there is no firmness and stability in any state; there are continual vicissitudes and changes. The Targum is,
``that the evil day may not come upon thee, see and behold;''
be careful and circumspect, and behave in a wise manner, that so it may be prevented. Jarchi's note is,
``when evil comes upon the wicked, be among those that see, and not among those that are seen;''
and compares it with ( Isaiah ) ; It may be observed, that there is a set time for each of these, prosperity and adversity; and that the time is short, and therefore called a day; and the one is good, and the other is evil; which characters they have according to the outward appearance, and according to the judgment and esteem of men; otherwise, prosperity is oftentimes hurtful, and destroys fools, and adversity is useful to the souls of good men; God also hath set the one over against the other;
they are both by his appointment, and are set in their proper place, and come in their proper time; succeed each other, and answer to one another, as day and night, summer and winter, and work, together for the good of men; to the end that man should find nothing after him;
should not be able to know what will be hereafter; what his case and circumstances will be, whether prosperous or adverse; since things are so uncertain, and so subject to change, and nothing permanent; and therefore can find nothing to trust in and depend upon, nothing that he can be sure of: and things are so wisely managed and disposed, that a man can find no fault with them, nor just reason to complain of them; so the Vulgate Latin version, "not find just complaints against him"; and to the same purpose the Syriac version, "that he may complain of him"; the Targum is,
``not find any evil in this world.''

Sours: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/gills-exposition-of-the-bible/ecclesiasteshtml

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Ecclesiastes 7

In the day of prosperity be happy, But in the day of adversity consider&#; God has made the one as well as the other So that man will not discover anything that will be after him.
New American Standard Version

Jump to: Adam Clarke CommentaryBridgeway Bible CommentaryAlbert Barnes' Notes on the Whole BibleChuck Smith Bible CommentaryExpository Notes of Dr. Thomas ConstableExpository Notes of Dr. Thomas ConstableJohn Gill's Exposition of the Whole BibleMatthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

Adam Clarke Commentary

Verse In the day of prosperity be joyful — When ye receive these temporal gifts from God, enjoy them, and be thankful to the Giver: but remember, this sunshine will not always last. God has balanced prosperity and adversity against each other; and were it not so, how many would put the former in the place of God himself!

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes ". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/ecclesiasteshtml.

Bridgeway Bible Commentary


Proverbs about life and death ()

The writer now faces up to the fact that people have to make their way through life in spite of its various misfortunes. Through a collection of proverbs he points out that whatever circumstances they find themselves in, they should use them to the best advantage.
To begin with, people should desire a good reputation. If they live worthwhile lives, the day of their death will be more important than the day of their birth. It will be the climax that confirms their good reputation for ever (). In view of this, they should always bear in mind the certainty of death, and not waste their lives on empty pleasures ().
People who understand life will prefer the sincere rebuke of a wise person to the empty praise of a fool (). They will avoid the temptation to get rich through oppression and bribery, knowing that these ruin a person&#;s character (7). They will not be impatient or hot-tempered, and will not try to escape present troubles by wishing to be back in the past (). They will recognize that wisdom and money, when used together, can improve the quality of life, but they will also accept the various circumstances they meet as being God&#;s will for them. They cannot change what God has determined, but they can enjoy whatever good they meet ().

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Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes ". "Brideway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bbc/ecclesiasteshtml.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Good and prosperous days are in God&#;s design special times of comfort and rejoicing: the days of affliction and trouble, are in God&#;s design the proper seasons of recollection and serious consideration. The Providence of God hath so contrived it, that our good and evil days should be intermingled each with the other. This mixture of good and evil days is by the Divine Providence so proportioned, that it sufficiently justifies the dealings of God toward the sons of men, and obviates all their discontent and complaints against Him.

Set the one over against the other - Rather, made this as well as that, i. e., the day of adversity, as well as the day of prosperity. The seeming imitation of this passage in Ecclesiasticus (Ecclesiasticus ) affords a strong presumption that this book was written before the days of the son of Sirach.

To the end - God hath constituted the vicissitude of prosperity and adversity in such a way that no man can forecast the events that shall follow when he is removed from his present state. Compare the Ecclesiastes note.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes ". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/ecclesiasteshtml.

Chuck Smith Bible Commentary

Tonight we want to return again to the book of Ecclesiastes beginning with chapter 7. And as we return to the book of Ecclesiastes, again, it is important that we make note of the fact that the book of Ecclesiastes was written by Solomon in his later years. After he had assiduously pursued to find the purpose and meaning of life in so many different things: in wisdom, in wealth, in fame, in building, in pleasures. And after his pursuit, which carried him into every area and experience of life, he came up with the conclusion that life is empty and frustrating. Solomon made the mistake of searching for purpose in life under the sun. And if your purpose is limited to under the sun, chances are you will come up, as Solomon, with the conclusion that life is a mistake. That it is not worthwhile. That everything is only filled with emptiness and frustration.

But God did not intend for you to live a life under the sun. God intended that you should experience real life in the Son. In First John we read, "And this is the record, that God has given unto us, even eternal life, and this life is in the Son. And he who has the Son has life" ( 1 John ). There is real life. There is real meaning and purpose to life. When you find the life in Jesus Christ.

The life apart from Him, apart from the spiritual dimension, living a life on the animal plane of a body-conscious experience and a body-conscious level will lead a person to despair even as the philosophies of today have concluded. That man will be led by reason to despair. Life is hopeless. Thus, man must take a leap into the upper story of experience and man must have some kind of a non-reasoned religious experience to save him from the despair of reality. And so the philosophy led man to the point of despair by reason. And then his only suggestion for man is jump out of reason. Become unreasonable. Take a leap of faith into a non-reasoned religious experience in order that you might not despair because life is hopeless. This is the conclusion that Solomon drew after trying everything.

Now as we read the book of Ecclesiastes, it is a book of despair. "Vanity, vanity, all is vanity and vexation of spirit" ( Ecclesiastes ). The conclusions that Solomon came to are conclusions of natural, human reasoning apart from God. Therefore, they are not to be taken as doctrinal truths. You are dealing with a man searching for life apart from God and his conclusions are not doctrinal truths. Except that they do bring to you the end result of natural reasoning, but not divine wisdom. So they show you man apart from God and the despair and hopelessness of man apart from God. And the conclusions that are drawn are in that kind of a background. They're not doctrinal truths, because if you take the step into the spiritual level, you'll come to a far different conclusion of life.

Back in the book of Deuteronomy when God was giving the law to Moses, and because God could foresee down through time to that particular time in the history of the nation of Israel when they would demand a king, and because God knew that one day they would no longer be satisfied with Him being king over them and would want a king, God incorporated even into the law of Moses years before they ever had a king, God incorporated laws for the kings. Because God knew that years down the line the people were going to come to Samuel and say, "We want a king like the other nations around us. And because God knew they were going to say that, He incorporated into the law in the book of Deuteronomy laws for kings.

Now it is interesting as we look at the seventeenth chapter of Deuteronomy, as God is setting up the laws for the king, beginning with verse Ecclesiastes of the seventeenth chapter of the book of Deuteronomy, the Lord said, "When thou art come unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, 'I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me.'" And that's exactly what they said to Samuel, "Set us up a king over us that we might be like the other nations."

Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the Lord thy God shall choose. One from among your brothers shalt thou set king over thee. Thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother. But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses. Forasmuch as the Lord hath said unto you, ye shall henceforth return no more that way. Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away. Neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold. And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites. And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life, that he may learn the fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them. That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left. To the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel ( Deuteronomy ).

But verse Ecclesiastes , "Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away."

It seems prosaic to declare God understands human nature. And God's laws are written for our admonition, and they weren't written in vain. "When you set up a king, one thing a king isn't to do, he's not to multiply wives lest they turn his heart away."

Now let's turn to First Kings, chapter As we are reading of Solomon, remember he wasn't to multiply gold unto himself or silver or horses, but as we read in verse Ecclesiastes ,

Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred and sixty-six talents. He had traffic of spice merchants, and of all the kings of Arabia. He made two hundred targets of beaten gold; six hundred shekels of gold went to one target. And he made three hundred shields of beaten gold; three pounds of gold went into one shield. And the king put them in the house of the forest of Lebanon. Moreover, he made a great throne of ivory, who overlaid it with the best gold. [Down in verse Ecclesiastes ,] All of the drinking vessels were of gold, the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold. None were of silver, for silver was counted as nothing in the days of Solomon. [Verse Ecclesiastes ,] And the king made silver to be in Jerusalem as stones, and cedars to be as the sycamore trees in the valley, for the abundance. And Solomon had brought horses out of Egypt ( 1 Kings , 1 Kings , 1 Kings , 1 Kings ).

He's not to multiply horses, not to go back to Egypt. Solomon's so far getting an F for the course.

And as we get into chapter 11,

But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites, and of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love. And he had seven hundred wives, [He's not to multiply wives, oh. Flunk him.] three hundred concubines: [And what does it say?] and his wives turned away his heart ( 1 Kings ).

Four hundred years earlier God had warned about this very thing. God had forbidden this very thing with the warning, lest they turn his heart away. Solomon thought he could beat God. He thought he knew better than God. He thought he knew better than the law of God. But you don't.

God knows your human nature better than you know it yourself. And God has given laws to protect you. For God knows what the consequence of the violation of these laws will be.

For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after [the pagan gods of] Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, the Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father. Then did Solomon build a high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem ( 1 Kings ).

Actually it's on the, if you've been over to Jerusalem that hill that goes on up to the Mount of Olives down at the area of Gihon Springs. That is the hill where he built all of these and it's in the sight of all Jerusalem. It's right across the valley. It's in the sight of all Jerusalem. He began to build these pagan temples, a place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. "And also likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods" ( 1 Kings ).

So every time he married a wife from some different area, he'd build a temple for her so she could go over and burn incense to her god right across the hill where all of Israel could see.

So Solomon had turned his heart away from God, and in turning his heart away from God, he lost the meaning of life and the purpose of life. And now he is an old man and he is writing of his experience. The consciousness of the greatness of Jehovah, God of Israel, has passed from his mind. And he's trying to find life apart from God. And he finds that life apart from God is nothing but emptiness. Therefore, you cannot take as scriptural doctrine the conclusions that Solomon came to in regards to life and death, because he is reasoning, this is the reasoning of man apart from God and you need to look at the book of Ecclesiastes as that.

Human wisdom, perhaps in its highest expression, yet apart from God is foolish. As God said in Romans, chapter 1, "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools" ( Romans ). And any time you in your human wisdom seek to find a purpose of life apart from God, it's foolish. Your wisdom has led you to foolishness.

Now chapter 7 of Ecclesiastes is a series of proverbs and, of course, Solomon was filled with proverbs. We just have completed the book of Proverbs of which the majority were written by Solomon, and in chapter 7 he does go into another series of proverbs, sort of unrelated again to each other, but just little sayings of human wisdom.

A good name is better than precious ointment ( Ecclesiastes );

Better to have a good name than to have good perfume.

and the day of death than the day of one's biRuth ( Ecclesiastes ).

Now that sounds pretty much in despair, doesn't it? "Oh, the day of a person's death is better than the day of his birth." That's one who has become cynical because he has sought to find life apart from Jesus Christ. And in that case, it may be true. But living with Christ is a glorious life.

It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart. Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of merriment ( Ecclesiastes ).

So he has taken a very jaundice view of life, a very jaundice view of pleasure, of joy, because apart from the Lord it is all emptiness. It is all a sham. And because he was seeking it apart from God, he experienced the emptiness of it, and thus, he became a bitter old man. Bitter with life.

It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools. For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool: it's just emptiness. Surely oppression makes a wise man mad; and a gift destroys the heart. Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger rests in the bosom of fools. Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not inquire wisely concerning this ( Ecclesiastes ).

You always hear them talk about the good old days. They say that's not always so true. The good old days when we didn't, when you women didn't have automatic dishwashers and vacuum cleaners, and wall-to-wall carpeting in your house, supermarkets down the block. You all grew your own gardens. Ground your own flour. Used the scrub board. Oh, the good old days. No, we have it pretty nice. We always look back, though, and we think about the days of our youth when Orange County wasn't crowded, when it was full of orange trees instead of subdivisions. But there are advantages both ways.

Wisdom is good with an inheritance: and by it there is profit to them that see the sun. For wisdom is a defense, and money is a defense: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom gives life to those that have it ( Ecclesiastes ).

Money's good, but wisdom will give life to those that have wisdom.

Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which he hath made crooked? ( Ecclesiastes )

Who can actually do anything against the work of God? We're powerless and helpless against the work of God.

In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that a man should find nothing after him. All things have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a just man that perishes in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongs his life in his wickedness ( Ecclesiastes ).

I've observed this. There have been good men who perished, died young in their righteousness. There were wicked men who lived many years. Therefore, his conclusion. Now it's not scriptural, it's not biblical. I mean, it's not in the sense, it's not godly. Human looking at life. Seeing that righteous man died young and a sinner lived to be a D.O.M., became a dirty old man, he came to this conclusion. Truly just pure human wisdom.

Don't be overly righteous ( Ecclesiastes );

Don't get too involved in righteousness.

neither make thyself over wise: why should you destroy yourself? ( Ecclesiastes )

Now it's a wrong conclusion. The righteous don't always die young. There are some beautiful old saints of God. But don't be overly righteous. Why should you kick off soon? Also,

Don't be overly wicked ( Ecclesiastes ),

Be moderately wicked.

neither be thou foolish: why should you die before your time? ( Ecclesiastes )

So purely human type of reasoning of life.

It is good that you should take hold of this; yes, also from this withdraw not thine hand: for he that feareth God shall come forth of them all. Wisdom strengthens the wise more than ten mighty men which are in the city. For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not ( Ecclesiastes ).

Now, in this he was correct. The Bible said, "There is none righteous, no, not one" ( Romans ). The Bible says, "All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" ( Romans ). A human observation that is correct.

Also take no heed unto all words that are spoken; lest thou hear your servant curse thee ( Ecclesiastes ):

They say that an eavesdropper rarely hears anything good about himself. You know, you're that kind of person that's always trying to eavesdrop on other's conversations. And so he's sort of warning you against that. Don't take heed; don't try to listen to what they say. You're going to find out they're cursing you.

For [you know how that] oftentimes in your own heart that you have likewise cursed others. All this have I proved by wisdom ( Ecclesiastes , Ecclesiastes ):

Not by God, I proved it by wisdom. But the wisdom of man, the scriptures said, is "foolishness with God" ( 1 Corinthians ).

I said, I will be wise; but it was far from me. That which is afar off, and exceeding deep, who can find it out? I applied my heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly, even the foolishness and madness: And I find more bitter than death the woman, whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands: whoso pleases God shall escape from her; but the sinner will be caught by her. Behold, this have I found, saith the Preacher ( Ecclesiastes ).

Or the debater, or the word it was translated into the Septuagint ecclesia, the assembler.

one by one, to find out the account; Which yet my soul seeketh, but I find not: one man among a thousand have I found; but a woman among all those have I not found ( Ecclesiastes ).

So in all his thousand wives he did not find a decent one. Now, he did find one man out of a thousand. So men have a little better record as far as Solomon is concerned. But you might, of course, also observe he didn't marry any men and you don't really know a person till you marry them. But if he was, you know people, it's interesting people seem to repeat mistakes, and you find a person who has been married five, six, seven times. It really can't be that the other person was wrong all the time. You say, "Well, it might be. It might be the person is just a, who has been married that many times is just a poor judge of character." And they're following a pattern because we often do. We married the same kind of person. And always you think, "Oh, the second time around, you know, I'll be wiser, make better choices and all." But we are bound by certain patterns and if, of course, you get a godly, righteous woman, her price is "far above rubies" ( Proverbs ). And you'll find one in a thousand every time. You find one who loves the Lord. How glorious it is, how beautiful it is to have a wife who loves God, who calls upon the Lord. What a blessing, what an asset they are to our lives.

Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions ( Ecclesiastes ).

God made us straight, but boy, how we have searched otherwise. "





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Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes ". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/csc/ecclesiasteshtml.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

1. Adversity and prosperity

He began by exposing our ignorance of the significance of adversity and prosperity (Ecclesiastes ; cf. Job). Both of these conditions, he noted, can have good and bad effects-depending on how a person responds to them. Prosperity is not always or necessarily good (cf. Ecclesiastes ), and adversity, or affliction, is not always or necessarily evil (cf. Ecclesiastes ). Actually, adversity is often a greater good than prosperity. [Note: Kaiser, Ecclesiastes . . ., pp. 80, ]

"With his sure touch the author now brings in a stimulating change of style and approach. Instead of reflecting and arguing, he will bombard us with proverbs, with their strong impact and varied angles of attack." [Note: Kidner, p. ]

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes ". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/ecclesiasteshtml.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

We cannot understand why God uses adversity and prosperity as He does. A man or woman of faith trusts God nonetheless (Romans ). Therefore, we should enjoy the times of prosperity, and remember in the times of adversity that God is in control.

"God balances our lives by giving us enough blessings to keep us happy and enough burdens to keep us humble." [Note: Ibid., p. ]

The phrase "man cannot discover" or the equivalent is another structural marker in Ecclesiastes that indicates the end of a subsection in chapters 7 and 8 (cf. Ecclesiastes ; Ecclesiastes ; Ecclesiastes twice; Ecclesiastes thrice). Other key structural markers are the phrases "vanity and striving after wind" (Ecclesiastes ; et al.) and "man does not know" (Ecclesiastes ; et al.). [Note: See A. G. Wright, pp. ]

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These files are public domain.
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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes ". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/ecclesiasteshtml.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

In the day of prosperity be joyful, Or, "in a good day" q. When things go well in the commonwealth, in a man's family, and with himself, health, peace, and plenty, are enjoyed, a man's circumstances are thriving and flourishing; it becomes him to be thankful to God, freely and cheerfully to enjoy what is bestowed on him, and do good with it: or, "be in good" r; in good heart, in good spirits, cheerful and lively; or, "enjoy good", as the Vulgate Latin version; for what God gives to men is given them richly to enjoy, to make use of themselves, and be beneficial unto others; so the Targum,

"in the day the Lord does well to thee be thou also in goodness, and do good to all the world;''

see Galatians ; Jarchi's paraphrase is,

"when it is in thine hand to do good, be among those that do good;''

but in the day of adversity consider; or, "in the day of evil" s; consider from whence affliction comes; not out of the dust, nor by chance, but from God, and by his wise appointment; and for what it comes, that sin is the cause of it, and what that is; and also for what ends it is sent, to bring to a sense of sin, and confession of it, and humiliation for it; to take it away, and make good men more partakers of holiness: or, "look for the day of adversity" t; even in the day of prosperity it should be expected; for there is no firmness and stability in any state; there are continual vicissitudes and changes. The Targum is,

"that the evil day may not come upon thee, see and behold;''

be careful and circumspect, and behave in a wise manner, that so it may be prevented. Jarchi's note is,

"when evil comes upon the wicked, be among those that see, and not among those that are seen;''

and compares it with Isaiah ; It may be observed, that there is a set time for each of these, prosperity and adversity; and that the time is short, and therefore called a day; and the one is good, and the other is evil; which characters they have according to the outward appearance, and according to the judgment and esteem of men; otherwise, prosperity is oftentimes hurtful, and destroys fools, and adversity is useful to the souls of good men;

God also hath set the one over against the other; they are both by his appointment, and are set in their proper place, and come in their proper time; succeed each other, and answer to one another, as day and night, summer and winter, and work, together for the good of men;

to the end that man should find nothing after him; should not be able to know what will be hereafter; what his case and circumstances will be, whether prosperous or adverse; since things are so uncertain, and so subject to change, and nothing permanent; and therefore can find nothing to trust in and depend upon, nothing that he can be sure of: and things are so wisely managed and disposed, that a man can find no fault with them, nor just reason to complain of them; so the Vulgate Latin version, "not find just complaints against him"; and to the same purpose the Syriac version, "that he may complain of him"; the Targum is,

"not find any evil in this world.''

q &#;&#;&#;&#; &#;&#;&#;&#; "in die bono", Pagninus, Montanus, Mercerus, Gejerus. r &#;&#;&#; &#;&#;&#;&#; "esto in bono", Pagninus, Montanus, Mercerus, Cocceius, Gejerus, Rambachius. s &#;&#;&#;&#; &#;&#;&#; "in die mala", Pagninus, Montanus, Mercerus. t &#;&#;&#; "praecave", V. L. "praevide, aut provide ac prospice", Drusius; so Gussetius, p.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR,

Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes ". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/ecclesiasteshtml.

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

The Advantages of Wisdom.

      11 Wisdom is good with an inheritance: and by it there is profit to them that see the sun.   12 For wisdom is a defence, and money is a defence: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it.   13 Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which he hath made crooked?   14 In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.   15 All things have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a just man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in his wickedness.   16 Be not righteous over much; neither make thyself over wise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself?   17 Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time?   18 It is good that thou shouldest take hold of this; yea, also from this withdraw not thine hand: for he that feareth God shall come forth of them all.   19 Wisdom strengtheneth the wise more than ten mighty men which are in the city.   20 For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.   21 Also take no heed unto all words that are spoken; lest thou hear thy servant curse thee:   22 For oftentimes also thine own heart knoweth that thou thyself likewise hast cursed others.

      Solomon, in these verses, recommends wisdom to us as the best antidote against those distempers of mind which we are liable to, by reason of the vanity and vexation of spirit that there are in the things of this world. Here are some of the praises and the precepts of wisdom.

      I. The praises of wisdom. Many things are here said in its commendation, to engage us to get and retain wisdom. 1. Wisdom is necessary to the right managing and improving of our worldly possessions: Wisdom is good with an inheritance, that is, an inheritance is good for little without wisdom. Though a man have a great estate, though it come easily to him, by descent from his ancestors, if he have not wisdom to use it for the end for which he has it, he had better have been without it. Wisdom is not only good for the poor, to make them content and easy, but it is good for the rich too, good with riches to keep a man from getting hurt by them, and to enable a man to do good with them. Wisdom is good of itself, and makes a man useful; but, if he have a good estate with it, that will put him into a greater capacity of being useful, and with his wealth he may be more serviceable to his generation than he could have been without it; he will also make friends to himself,Luke Wisdom is as good as an inheritance, yea, better too (so the margin reads it); it is more our own, more our honour, will make us greater blessings, will remain longer with us, and turn to a better account. 2. It is of great advantage to us throughout the whole course of our passage through this world: By it there is real profit to those that see the sun, both to those that have it and to their contemporaries. It is pleasant to see the sun (Ecclesiastes ; Ecclesiastes ), but that pleasure is not comparable to the pleasure of wisdom. The light of this world is an advantage to us in doing the business of this world (John ); but to those that have that advantage, unless withal they have wisdom wherewith to manage their business, that advantage is worth little to them. The clearness of the eye of the understanding is of greater use to us than bodily eye-sight. 3. It contributes much more to our safety, and is a shelter to us from the storms of trouble and its scorching heat; it is a shadow (so the word is), as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. Wisdom is a defence, and money (that is, as money) is a defence. As a rich man makes his wealth, so a wise man makes his wisdom, a strong city. In the shadow of wisdom (so the words run) and in the shadow of money there is safety. He puts wisdom and money together, to confirm what he had said before, that wisdom is good with an inheritance. Wisdom is as a wall, and money may serve as a thorn hedge, which protects the field. 4. It is joy and true happiness to a man. This is the excellency of knowledge, divine knowledge, not only above money, but above wisdom too, human wisdom, the wisdom of this world, that it gives life to those that have it. The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and that is life; it prolongs life. Men's wealth exposes their lives, but their wisdom protects them. Nay, whereas wealth will not lengthen out the natural life, true wisdom will give spiritual life, the earnest of eternal life; so much better is it to get wisdom than gold. 5. It will put strength into a man, and be his stay and support (Ecclesiastes ; Ecclesiastes ): Wisdom strengthens the wise, strengthens their spirits, and makes them bold and resolute, by keeping them always on sure grounds. It strengthens their interest, and gains them friends and reputation. It strengthens them for their services under their sufferings, and against the attacks that are made upon them, more than ten mighty men, great commanders, strengthen the city. Those that are truly wise and good are taken under God's protection, and are safer there than if ten of the mightiest men in the city, men of the greatest power and interest, should undertake to secure them, and become their patrons.

      II. Some of the precepts of wisdom, that wisdom which will be of so much advantage to us.

      1. We must have an eye to God and to his hand in every thing that befals us (Ecclesiastes ; Ecclesiastes ): Consider the work of God. To silence our complaints concerning cross events, let us consider the hand of God in them and not open our mouths against that which is his doing; let us look upon the disposal of our condition and all the circumstances of it as the work of God, and consider it as the product of his eternal counsel, which is fulfilled in every thing that befals us. Consider that every work of God is wise, just, and good, and there is an admirable beauty and harmony in his works, and all will appear at last to have been for the best. Let us therefore give him the glory of all his works concerning us, and study to answer his designs in them. Consider the work of God as that which we cannot make any alteration of. Who can make that straight which he has made crooked? Who can change the nature of things from what is settled by the God of nature? If he speak trouble, who can make peace? And, if he hedge up the way with thorns, who can get forward? If desolating judgments go forth with commission, who can put a stop to them? Since therefore we cannot mend God's work, we ought to make the best of it.

      2. We must accommodate ourselves to the various dispensations of Providence that respect us, and do the work and duty of the day in its day, Ecclesiastes ; Ecclesiastes Observe, (1.) How the appointments and events of Providence are counterchanged. In this world, at the same time, some are in prosperity, others are in adversity; the same persons at one time are in great prosperity, at another time in great adversity; nay, one event prosperous, and another grievous, may occur to the same person at the same time. Both come from the hand of God; out of his mouth both evil and good proceed (Isaiah ), and he has set the one over against the other, so that there is a very short and easy passage between them, and they are a foil to each other. Day and night, summer and winter, are set the one over against the other, that in prosperity we may rejoice as though we rejoiced not, and in adversity may weep as though we wept not, for we may plainly see the one from the other and quickly exchange the one for the other; and it is to the end that man may find nothing after him, that he may not be at any certainty concerning future events or the continuance of the present scene, but may live in a dependence upon Providence and be ready for whatever happens. Or that man may find nothing in the work of God which he can pretend to amend. (2.) How we must comply with the will of God in events of both kinds. Our religion, in general, must be the same in all conditions, but the particular instances and exercises of it must vary, as our outward condition does, that we may walk after the Lord. [1.] In a day of prosperity (and it is but a day), we must be joyful, be in good, be doing good, and getting good, maintain a holy cheerfulness, and serve the Lord with gladness of heart in the abundance of all things. "When the world smiles, rejoice in God, and praise him, and let the joy of the Lord be thy strength." [2.] In a day of adversity (and that is but a day too) consider. Times of affliction are proper times for consideration, then God calls to consider (Haggai ), then, if ever, we are disposed to it, and no good will be gotten by the affliction without it. We cannot answer God's end in afflicting us unless we consider why and wherefore he contends with us. And consideration is necessary also to our comfort and support under our afflictions.

      3. We must not be offended at the greatest prosperity of wicked people, nor at the saddest calamities that may befal the godly in this life, Ecclesiastes ; Ecclesiastes Wisdom will teach us how to construe those dark chapters of Providence so as to reconcile them with the wisdom, holiness, goodness, and faithfulness of God. We must not think it strange; Solomon tells us there were instances of this kind in his time: "All things have I seen in the days of my vanity; I have taken notice of all that passed, and this has been as surprising and perplexing to me as any thing." Observe, Though Solomon was so wise and great a man, yet he calls the days of his life the days of his vanity, for the best days on earth are so, in comparison with the days of eternity. Or perhaps he refers to the days of his apostasy from God (those were indeed the days of his vanity) and reflects upon this as one thing that tempted him to infidelity, or at least to indifferency in religion, that he saw just men perishing in their righteousness, that the greatest piety would not secure men from the greatest afflictions by the hand of God, nay, and sometimes did expose men to the greatest injuries from the hands of wicked and unreasonable men. Naboth perished in his righteousness, and Abel long before. He had also seen wicked men prolonging their lives in their wickedness; they live, become old, yea, are mighty in power (Job ), yea, and by their fraud and violence they screen themselves from the sword of justice. "Now, in this, consider the work of God, and let it not be a stumbling-block to thee." The calamities of the righteous are preparing them for their future blessedness, and the wicked, while their days are prolonged, are but ripening for ruin. There is a judgment to come, which will rectify this seeming irregularity, to the glory of God and the full satisfaction of all his people, and we must wait with patience till then.

      4. Wisdom will be of use both for caution to saints in their way, and for a check to sinners in their way. (1.) As to saints, it will engage them to proceed and persevere in their righteousness, and yet will be an admonition to them to take heed of running into extremes: A just man may perish in his righteousness, but let him not, by his own imprudence and rash zeal, pull trouble upon his own head, and then reflect upon Providence as dealing hardly with him. "Be not righteous overmuch,Ecclesiastes ; Ecclesiastes . In the acts of righteousness govern thyself by the rules of prudence, and be not transported, no, not by a zeal for God, into any intemperate heats or passions, or any practices unbecoming thy character or dangerous to thy interests." Note, There may be over-doing in well-doing. Self-denial and mortification of the flesh are good; but if we prejudice our health by them, and unfit ourselves for the service of God, we are righteous overmuch. To reprove those that offend is good, but to cast that pearl before swine, who will turn again and rend us, is to be righteous overmuch. "Make not thyself over-wise. Be not opinionative, and conceited of thy own abilities. Set not up for a dictator, nor pretend to give law to, and give judgment upon, all about thee. Set not up for a critic, to find fault with every thing that is said and done, nor busy thyself in other men's matters, as if thou knewest every thing and couldst do any thing. Why shouldst thou destroy thyself, as fools often do by meddling with strife that belongs not to them? Why shouldst thou provoke authority, and run thyself into the briers, by needless contradictions, and by going out of thy sphere to correct what is amiss? Be wise as serpents; beware of men." (2.) As to sinners, if it cannot prevail with them to forsake their sins, yet it may restrain them from growing very exorbitant. It is true there is a wicked man that prolongs his life in his wickedness (Ecclesiastes ; Ecclesiastes ); but let none say that therefore they may safely be as wicked as they will; no, be not overmuch wicked (Ecclesiastes ; Ecclesiastes ); do not run to an excess of riot. Many that will not be wrought upon by the fear of God, and a dread of the torments of hell, to avoid all sin, will yet, if they have ever so little consideration, avoid those sins that ruin their health and estate, and expose them to public justice. And Solomon here makes use of these considerations. "The magistrate bears not the sword in vain, has a quick eye and a heavy hand, and is a terror to evil-doers; therefore be afraid of coming within his reach, be not so foolish as to lay thyself open to the law, why shouldst thou die before thy time?" Solomon, in these two cautions, had probably a special regard to some of his own subjects that were disaffected to his government and were meditating the revolt which they made immediately after his death. Some, it may be, quarrelled with the sins of their governor, and made them their pretence; to them he says, Be not righteous overmuch. Others were weary of the strictness of the government, and the temple-service, and that made them desirous to set up another king; but he frightens both from their seditious practices with the sword of justice, and others likewise from meddling with those that were given to change.

      5. Wisdom will direct us in the mean between two extremes, and keep us always in the way of our duty, which we shall find a plain and safe way (Ecclesiastes ; Ecclesiastes ): "It is good that thou shouldst take hold of this, this wisdom, this care, not to run thyself into snares. Yea, also from this withdraw not thy hand; never slacken thy diligence, nor abate thy resolution to maintain a due decorum, and a good government of thyself. Take hold of the bridle by which thy head-strong passions must be held in from hurrying thee into one mischief or other, as the horse and mule that have no understanding; and, having taken hold of it, keep thy hold, and withdraw not thy hand from it, for, it thou do, the liberty that they will take will be as the letting forth of water, and thou wilt not easily recover thy hold again. Be conscientious, and yet be cautious, and to this exercise thyself. Govern thyself steadily by the principles of religion, and thou shalt find that he that fears God shall come forth out of all those straits and difficulties which those run themselves into that cast off that fear." The fear of the Lord is that wisdom which will serve as a clue to extricate us out of the most intricate labyrinths. Honesty is the best policy. Those that truly fear God have but one end to serve, and therefore act steadily. God has likewise promised to direct those that fear him, and to order their steps not only in the right way, but out of every dangerous way, Psalms ; Psalms

      6. Wisdom will teach us how to conduct ourselves in reference to the sins and offences of others, which commonly contribute more than any thing else to the disturbance of our repose, which contract both guilt and grief.

      (1.) Wisdom teaches us not to expect that those we deal with should be faultless; we ourselves are not so, none are so, no, not the best. This wisdom strengthens the wise as much as any thing, and arms them against the danger that arises from provocation (Ecclesiastes ; Ecclesiastes ), so that they are not put into any disorder by it. They consider that those they have dealings and conversation with are not incarnate angels, but sinful sons and daughters of Adam: even the best are so, insomuch that there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good and sinneth not,Ecclesiastes ; Ecclesiastes . Solomon had this in his prayer (1 Kings ), in his proverbs (Proverbs ), and here in his preaching. Note, [1.] It is the character of just men that they do good; for the tree is known by its fruits. [2.] The best men, and those that do most good, yet cannot say that they are perfectly free from sin; even those that are sanctified are not sinless. None that live on this side of heaven live without sin. If we say, We have not sinned, we deceive ourselves. [3.] We sin even in our doing good; there is something defective, nay, something offensive, in our best performances. That which, for the substance of it, is good, and pleasing to God, is not so well done as it should be, and omissions in duty are sins, as well as omissions of duty. [4.] It is only just men upon earth that are subject thus to sin and infirmity; the spirits of just men, when they have got clear of the body, are made perfect in holiness (Hebrews ), and in heaven they do good and sin not.

      (2.) Wisdom teaches us not to be quicksighted, or quickscented, in apprehending and resenting affronts, but to wink at many of the injuries that are done us, and act as if we did not see them (Ecclesiastes ; Ecclesiastes ): "Take no heed to all words that are spoken; set not thy heart to them. Vex not thyself at men's peevish reflections upon thee, or suspicions of thee, but be as a deaf man that hears not,Psalms ; Psalms Be not solicitous or inquisitive to know what people say of thee; if they speak well of thee, it will feed thy pride, if ill, it will stir up thy passion. See therefore that thou approve thyself to God and thy own conscience, and then heed not what men say of thee. Hearkeners, we say, seldom hear good of themselves; if thou heed every word that is spoken, perhaps thou wilt hear thy own servant curse thee when he thinks thou dost not hear him; thou wilt be told that he does, and perhaps told falsely, if thou have thy ear open to tale-bearers, Proverbs Nay, perhaps it is true, and thou mayest stand behind the curtain and hear it thyself, mayest hear thyself not only blamed and despised, but cursed, the worst evil said of thee and wished to thee, and that by a servant, one of the meanest rank, of the abjects, nay, by thy own servant, who should be an advocate for thee, and protect thy good name as well as thy other interests. Perhaps it is a servant thou hast been kind to, and yet he requites thee thus ill, and this will vex thee; thou hadst better not have heard it. Perhaps it is a servant thou hast wronged and dealt unjustly with, and, though he dares not tell thee so, he tells others so, and tells God so, and then thy own conscience will join with him in the reproach, which will make it much more uneasy." The good names of the greatest lie much at the mercy even of the meanest. And perhaps there is a great deal more evil said of us than we think there is, and by those from whom we little expected it. But we do not consult our own repose, no, nor our credit, though we pretend to be jealous of it, if we take notice of every word that is spoken diminishingly of us; it is easier to pass by twenty such affronts than to avenge one.

      (3.) Wisdom puts us in mind of our own faults (Ecclesiastes ; Ecclesiastes ): "Be not enraged at those that speak ill of thee, or wish ill to thee, for oftentimes, in that case, if thou retire into thyself, thy own conscience will tell thee that thou thyself hast cursed others, spoken ill of them and wished ill to them, and thou art paid in thy own coin." Note, When any affront or injury is done us it is seasonable to examine our consciences whether we have not done the same, or as bad, to others; and if, upon reflection, we find we have, we must take that occasion to renew our repentance for it, must justify God, and make use of it to qualify our own resentments. If we be truly angry with ourselves, as we ought to be, for backbiting and censuring others, we shall be the less angry with others for backbiting and censuring us. We must show all meekness towards all men, for we ourselves were sometimes foolish,Titus ; Titus ; Matthew ; Matthew ; James ; James

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Bibliographical Information
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Ecclesiastes ". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhm/ecclesiasteshtml.

Sours: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/ecclesiastes/html


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