תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

From that austere search of knowledge, I thought to divert my thoughts unto mirth and pleasure. - II. 2. I said of laughter, It is mad : and of mirth, What doeth it? · When I had taken a full trial of the free jollities and wild delights of men, I cast them off with scorn ; and said of laughter, that it is both an effect and argument of a mad distemper of the mind; and of mirth, that it is a vain and unprofitable passion, not fit for a wise man's entertainment.

II. 3. I thought in my heart to give myself unto wine, yet acquainting my heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was that good, &c. · I did yet further resolve, to give myself over to the pleasures of the palate and of the belly; to take my fill of wine and delicates, for the cheering up of my dull and wearied spirits : yet so, as that I made account not to cast off the study of wisdom ; but there withal to mix an experimental knowledge of folly and debauchedness, till I might see whether any true contentment might be found therein.

II. 7. I got me servants and maidens, and had servants born in my house.

I bought and procured servants and maids ; and had, besides, à numerous issue of those bond-servants, which were born and bred within my own family.

II. 12. For what can the man do that cometh after the king ? even that which hath been already done.

If ever any man could have found out full contentment, either in wisdom or folly, certainly I should have done it; for who can have the like means that I have had, for these ends ? Surely, he, that will come after me, for a further disquisition of this mata ter, shall find, that he can neither do nor know ought, but that, which I have done and known before him.

II. 14. The wise man's eyes are in his head; but the fool walketh in darkness : and I myself perceived also that one event happeneth to them all.

Wisdom is light, and folly is darkness ; the wise man therefore walketh in this light, having the eyes of his understanding clear, whereas the fool walketh in darkness; yet, for all this difference, I perceived that events, whether good or evil, fall alike unto them both

II. 15. Then said I in my heart, As it happeneth to the fool, so it happeneth to me; and why was I then more wise? Then I said in my heart, that this also is vanity.

To what purpose then, should I weary myself in the pursuit of wisdom, if, in respect of the events of things, I shall speed no better than a fool? And, at last I concluded, that both this indifferency of events, and this use, that I was apt to make of it, is vanity.

II. 16. And how dieth the wise man? as the fool.

Doth not the wise man die as well as the fool ? Doth he not die with as much pain, as the fool? Is there not the same act, and manner of dissolution of both ?

II. 17. Therefore I hated life ; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me.

I was therefore utterly distasted with the present life; since it yielded nothing but anguish and vexation, even from the best works that I could perform.

II. 18, 19, Yea, I hated all my labour which I had taken under the sun ; because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me. And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool?

It doth not a little aggravate the vanity of these earthly contentments, and my hatred of all my laborious and magnificent works, that, when I have done, I must leave them to a successor ; at all uncertainties : for who knows whether he shall be a wise man or a fool ?

II. 20. Therefore I went about to cause my heart to despair of all the labour which I took under the sun.

Therefore I did bend my thoughts, what I might, to put my heart out of conceit and hope of any good issue of all my earthly labours and endeavours.

II. 24. There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour.

Yet of all vanities this is the best, since the life of man is attended with so much sorrow and care ; what he may to put off all grief and anxiety, to enjoy the good blessings of God, to eat and to drink, and to take all lawful pleasure and delight in the use of those good things he hath.

II. 25. For who can eat, or who else can hasten hereunto, more than I?

For, is there any man living that can procure more excellent varieties of delicates, than I? Is there any, whose means will afford him opportunity of providing them with more speed or ease, than myself?

III. 1. To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.

Both God hath predetermined, in his most wise counsel, a time and season, wherein all events shall come to pass; and hath put this wisdom into man, to make choice of the times and opportunities for all his actions.

III. 3. A time to kill.

There is a time, whether in a just war or in a peaceable execution of justice, wherein it is seasonable and warrantable to kill.

III. 7. A time to rend, and a time to sew.

[ocr errors]

A time to rend our garments, in main occasions of sorrow; and a time to make them up again.

III. 9.What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth?

What stability or during profit therefore, can a man expect from that which he doth; since there is such a changeable vicissitude in all actions and events ?

III. 11. He hath made every thing beautiful in his time : also he hath set the world in their heart, so that none can find the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.

He, that made all his creatures in excellent order and proportion, and to singular use in their proper seasons, though man is not able to look into them; for God hath, in his justice, so given up men to the cares and studies of these worldly affairs, that they, being taken up therewithal, cannot find out the wonderful works which God hath wrought from the beginning, and shall continue to work until the end. '

III. 13. And also that, &c. See chap. ii. 24.

III. 14. I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever : nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it : and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.

I know, that whatsoever God doth, it is and shall be for ever, no otherwise than he intended it to be: there is no altering of it, by ought which our power can add to it or detract from it; and this God doth, that men may learn to adore and reverence his infinite justice and wisdom and power.

III. 15. And God requireth that which is past.

God calls for, back again, both an account and a renewing, of that which is already past.

III. 17. For there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.

For, howsoever here all things are carried partially and corruptly; yet there, before the just tribunal of the Almighty, there shall be a time, wherein every purpose and every work of man shall appear as it is.

III. 18. I said in my heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.

I thought in my heart concerning the outward condition and wicked dispositions of the sons of men, that if God would but let them see themselves, they would easily perceive that they are no better than beasts.

III. 19. For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts ; even one thing befalleth them : as the one dieth, so dieth the other ; yea, they have all one breath ; so that a man hath no pre-eminence above a beast : for all is vanity.

All outward events befal alike to men and beasts : they breathe alike; they part with their breath alike; they both die by the same means, with the same pain, and reluctation ; neither is there any outward or apparent thing in man above the beast, that can shelter him from that common vanity, to which both of them are subject, or distinguish his condition from theirs. · III. 20. All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.

Both, in respect of their bodily substance, go to one place: out of the earth were they taken, and to the earth they return.

III. 21. Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?

And howsoever they are fully differenced by the soul or spirit, which informeth the man, whereof the beast is not capable ; yet, in the very issue and face of death, who can by his sense discern this difference? No man can see, either the spirit of the man ascending to heaven, or the spirit of the beast that vanisheth together with the body: only this is discerned by rectified reason, and by the illumination of God's spirit; which assureth, yea, convinceth us of the several, yea contrary condition of both.

III. 22. Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works ; for that is his portion : for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?

Since such is the vanity of man, and his condition in all outward things so like to that of brute creatures, I know no better way for a man, than to make a cheerful use of God's good blessings here; for this is all the fruit and alleviation of all his painful labours, which the earth can afford him ; without all anxious cares of those things, which shall be after him ; for when he hath all done, who shall bring him to see how his heirs will spend or save the estate, which he hath carked to leave unto them?

IV. 2. Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead more than the living which are yet alive.

I did in this prefer the state of the dead before the living; for that they are out of the reach of this cruelty and oppression, which the living groan under.

IV. 5. The fool foldeth his hands together, and eateth his own flesh.

The foolish, slothful man folds his hands together, and will not work; and affamisheth himself with wilful idleness ; rather choosing to starve than labour;

IV. 6. Better is an handful with quietness, than both the hands full with travail and vexation of spirit.

And is ready to say for himself; A little with ease, is better than a great deal with toil and trouble.

IV. 8. There is one alone, and there is not a second ; yea, he hath neither child nor brother : yet is there no end of his labour, &c.

I have noted a man, that is single and solitary; that hath neither wife, nor child, nor brother to whom he might leave his estate; and yet this man toils and drudges incessantly ; &c.

IV. 9. Two are better than one ; because they have a good reward for their labour.

Society is a thing of much comfort and benefit: upon every occasion, two are better than one; two are able to undertake and perform that which one cannot, and therefore may well expect a good issue of their labours.

IV. 12. And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him : and a threefold cord is not easily broken.

And, if an adversary be too strong for a man alone, yet if the weaker be assisted by the strength of a second, he shall be able to withstand and overcome: and as it is thus in the society of two, so it holds in a proportion of more; a cord of two twists is strong, but if it be treble twisted it is not easily broken.

IV. 13. Better is a poor and wise child than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished.

There is a great difference, betwixt a child and an old man, betwixt a king and a beggar; yet a poor child, if he be wise, is better than an old king, if he be foolish and perversely settled in wickedness.

IV. 14. For out of prison he cometh to reign; whereas also he that is born in his kingdom becometh poor.

For that poor wise man may, from a base and miserable condition, be advanced to highest dignity; whereas the foolish commander, that was born great, may become needy and wretched.

IV. 15. I considered all the living which walk under the sun, with the second child that shall stand up in his stead.

I have noted it to be the common practice of the world, even generally of all living men, that they are apt still to regard the successor, and to neglect the father, though of great desert, in comparison of the son, that shall inherit the crown after him.

IV. 16. There is no end of all the people, even of all that have been before them ; they also that come after shall not rejoice in him.

The world hath ever been and ever will be thus inconstant, and disaffected to the present Government, how wise and just soever: still they, as impatient of the yoke, will be complaining of that command under which they are, and not yield to cheerful and thankful obedience as they ought.

V. 1. Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools : &c.

When thou goest up to the temple of God, look carefully with what affections thou presentest thyself there : see that thou have a mind free from worldly cares and distractions; and think not that the very outward work of a sacrifice, formally offered, can serve thy turn : this imagination is for a foolish and ignorant

« הקודםהמשך »