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"and of provinces ; I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delight of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all
“ So I was great, and increased more than all “that were before me in Jerusalem : also my wisdom remained with me.
“And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not “from them, I withheld not my heart from any "joy.
" Then I looked on all the works that my “ hands had wrought, and on the labour that I “had laboured to do: and, behold, all was “vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no “profit under the sun.
“Therefore I hated life; because the work “ that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto “me; for all is vanity and vexation of spirit.”
What a sad confession for the wise king to make! All through life he had been seeking to satisfy the yearning of his soul, in watching the ways of men and learning how to govern them; then in science, in studying the flowers, from the hyssop on the wall to the cedar of Lebanon, he knew them all: then he
to mere pleasure. In one after the other there was
nothing but weariness, what his soul craved for was not found in any of these. He tried wine, and in his intoxication tried to forget how void was his heart. But that was also disappointment. So next he set actively to work farming and gardening; planting orchards, rearing cattle. But it was all to no purpose ; farming did not satisfy that hunger of his soul which distressed him. Then he tried what the accumulation of wealth would do. He laid in great stores of gold and silver. But, no, his heart was empty still. And then he tried art. But sweet music only deepened the sadness of his soul, and brought the tears to his eyes. And now he had tried everything the earth could give, and nothing contented him. Then, slowly, the conviction broke in on his soul that he had spent his life all wrong. He had started seeking rest in science and business, in labour, in pleasure, in art, instead of in God; and that if he had sought God from the first, all these things would have fallen into their relative positions, as subordinate pleasures and interests, not as leading purposes, and ultimate objects for his life's aim.
“ Remember now thy Creator in the days of “thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor
“ the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I “ have no pleasure in them.” Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter. · Fear God, " and keep his commandments; for this is the “ whole duty of man.”
That book of Ecclesiastes from which I have been quoting is a very wonderful one. In it the aged Solomon holds up to us the record of a wasted life, a life which started all wrong, and sought God after everything else had been tried, instead of seeking Him first. He shows it to us as a warning. He tells the piteous story of a life's disappointment as a lesson to the young.
“ Rejoice, O young man in thy youth; and “ let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy 6 youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and “ in the sight of thine eyes : but know thou, " that for all these things God will bring thee “into judgment.” “Better is a poor and wise “ child than an old and foolish king, who will no “ more be admonished.”
And now, my brethren, in' conclusion, what is the cry of our hearts,-or rather what ought to be the cry of our hearts also ? Is it not “ Show " us the Father, and it sufficeth us”?
We have a knowledge of God which the
heathen did not enjoy. We know what is the nature of God, what His will is, what He has destined us for, what are the conditions of men after death. We have means of serving God which the heathens had not. We have more knowledge of God, and His will than even David the inspired singer, and Solomon, the wisest of men. But all our knowledge of God should only lead us to desire the sight of Him more earnestly. We know how perfectly holy is God; how tender a Father He is; we know that in His presence is fulness of joy; that these craving hearts will never find satisfaction, till we wake up after Christ's likeness, and see the Father. We know that we were made to see God and dwell in His presence. It is sin which has drawn a cloud over His countenance, and has banished us from Him. Oh! what wasted lives, what broken hearts, what disappointments, what weariness of spirit are ours if we make any thing here our aim instead of God. Oh! what sweet peace and holy contentment, what happiness, if God be our object through life, and the keeping of His will our leading purpose!
But how shall we see God ?-Christ answers
us. “ Blessed are the pure in heart, for they 66 shall see God.”
That is your lesson to-day. Strive through life to cleanse the eye of your soul from every stain, and clearer and brighter will the light of God's countenance break on you, till the final veil is lifted, and for all eternity you see the Father as it suffices you.