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darkness,” basely and wretchedly, as a slave to his riches; he storms, grieves, frets, and is even sick with anger and vexation, at the expences incurred in keeping but a mean and sordid table. The Greek, by a very easy mistake in the letters, which are much alike, renders it thus : “ All his days he is in darkness,” xàs iv werden, “and in mourning, and in sickness, and in wrath.”_" His sickness,” for he hath sickness: the affix is used for the separate and absolute pronoun, as Ps. cxv. 7; Ezek. xxix. 3. Our reading, • He hath sorrow and wrath with his sickness,” (where the conjunction copulative is rendered by the preposition with, as sometimes elsewhere, 1 Sam. xiv. 18.) seems to intimate such a sense as this: All his days, or whilst he lives, he eats in sorrow; and when he is overtaken with sickness, and is in danger of death, lie has much wrath and indignation in his sickness, for fear of parting with his wealth, for which he has so strenuously laboured, and which he so immoderately loves,
18. | Behold, that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun, all the days of his life, which God giveth him : for it is his portion.
A remedy of this vanity is here subjoined, representing the right use of riches, which may reinove this sinful anxiety about them; nainely, the pious and comfortable enjoyment of all the blessings of Providence, without afflicting qurselves with the apprehension of probable evils, but casting our whole care upon him who careth for us.--"Behold, that which I have seen :" he speaks from his own experience, and from an exact study and enquiry after truth, as 1 Johni. 1-3; John i. 14; ch. i. 13; ii. 24 ; and iii. 22.—“ It is good and comely," good and comfortable to himself; comely, decent,' honourable, and of good report to others : teaching us in our conversation, first, to have respect to that which is good in itself; and next, to that which is decorous towards the world, Phil. iv. 8.-" That a man eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour;" or, in all his labours to sweeten his labours with a comfortable enjoyment of the fruit of them. Of all his labours; so the preposition > is used, to signify as much as ex or de, Exod. xii, 43; Levit. xxii. 4.-“ All the days of his life which God giveth him:" when God bestows life, we should not deny the comforts of it to ourselves." For it is his portion:" all the good he can ever have from them. A metaphor from the division of inheritances, or from
the distribution of meat at a feast. It is that which God hath allotted him of all his labour: but he must at the same time remember, that God allows hiin but a part; the Supreme Being himself, and the poor, his family, country, and friends, claim a portion of those things with which he is blessed, Prov. iii. 9, 10; 1 Cor. ix. 13, 14; 1 Cor. xvi. 2; Gal. vi. 6, 10; 2 Cor. xii. 14; 1 Tim. v. 8; Isai. xxiii. 18.
19. Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God.
This is only an amplification of the former argument, as ch. ii. 24 ; iii. 13; and vi. 2. He shews, first, that God gives us our wealth, Deut. viii. 18. Secondly, that he gives us dominion over our wealth, that we may not be captivated to it: every man is a slave to his estate, unless God sets him free. Thirdly, wherein this power consists. First, in using it, so as to eat thereof. Secondly, in using it proportionably to his condition; or, as divines speak, secundum decentiam status, to take his portion. Thirdly, to use it with fruition and cheerfulness; to rejoice in it, 1 Tim. vi. 17. Fourthly, not to allow his joy to absorb his duty, nor his delight his labour; but to sweeten his labour with joy, and to moderate his joy with labour, Ephes. iv. 28. Fifthly, to use and partake of the fruit of his own labour, so as not to be burdensome and injurious to others, 2 Thess. iii. 12.
20. For he shall not much remember the days of his life; because God answereth him in the joy of his heart.
Some suppose the sense to be, Though he give not much, or it be not much that God has given (which interpretation the distinguishing accent rather favours), yet, he shall remember, that, all through life, God sweetens that little to him with the joy of his heart: and a little with joy, cheerfulness, and the divine blessing, is better than great riches of the ungodly, Ps. xxxvii. 16; Prov. xvii. 1; Luke xii. 15 ; Prov. xv. 17; Dan. i. 15. But our translation prefers another signification, which seems to be most consonant to the connection. He that, in the manner just commended, cheerfully enjoys the favours bestowed upon him, shall not with sorrow and weariness remember the troubles of his life; nor shall his labour be very irksome or grievous to him, be
cause the Lord answers him; or, proportionally to his exertions, returns comfort to him in the joy of his heart, and in their thankful and contented fruition. As money is said to answer all things, bearing a corresponding value to them all, so shall his joy bear a full value to all the labour taken to obtain it.