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Iit this chapter are further experiments, how far happiness is to

be found in earthly things.
SÄID in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove

thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure; come on, indulge all lawful delights, and try every agreeable scene : 2 and, behold, this also [is] vanity. I said of laughter,

[It is] mad; it transports men beyond the bounds of reason,

prudence, and sobriety: and of mirth, What doethit? 3 it is foon over, and leaves a man unsatisfied. I sought in

miné heart to give myself unto wine, yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom; and, to lay hold on folly, till I might see what (was] that good for the sons of men, which they should do under the heaven all the days of their life; I fought for happiness in entertainments and banquets, yet kept

myself within the bounds of sobriety; but here I met with so much disappointment, that I hate to dwell 4 any longer upon the mention of it. I made me great

works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards: 5 I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees 6 in them of all [kind of ] fruits: I made me pools of

water, to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth 7 trees: I got (me] servants and maidens, and had fer

vants born in my house, whom I could educate as I

pleased; also I had great possessions of great and small 8 cattle above all that were in Jerusalem before me: I

gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treafure of kings and of the provinces : I gat me men fingers and women fingers, and the delights of the sons of men, [as] musical instruments, and that of all

forts; I in a manner drained the kingdoms and provinces 9 subječi to me of all their curiosities So I was great, and

increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me; my genius enabled me to carry these things to greater perfection, than a person

of equal substance but not equal abilities could have done. 10 And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for


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for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour ; it is true I found entertainment in these things; the forming of plans, and seeing their rising beauties, gave me some pleasure; but this was all my por

tion, the pleasure ceased with the novelty, and I quickly 11 wanted some fresh object. 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. 12 And I turned myself to behoid wisdoin, and mad

ness, and folly; I returned to the examination of wisdom and its opposites, particularly as applied to worldly business ; and no man can try the experiment more fully-than I have done; for what (can] the man [do] that cometh after

the king ? [even) that which hath been already done. 13 Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light

excelleth darkness: the result was, that a discreet, pru

dent, regular conduet for this world has greatly the advan14 tage of its contrary. The wise man's eyes [are) in his

head, where they best serve him to look about him, to see his danger, and guide his way; but the fool walketh in darkness; rash, imprudent men blunder on into mischief and

vexation: and I myself perceived also, that one event 15 happeneth to them all. Then said I in my heart, As

it happeneth unto the fool, so it happeneth even to me; we are subječt to the same painful events; and why was I

then [more] wise? Then I said in my heart, that this 16 allo (is) vanity. For (there is) no remembrance of the

wise more than of the fool for ever ; feeing that which now [is] in the days to come shall all be forgotten. And how dieth the wife [man?] as the fool. The wise die as well as fools, and each are quickly forgotten: he must

be a person of extraordinary character that is talked of for 17 ages. Therefore so far from finding satisfaction, I hated **life; because the work that is wrought under the sun

[is] grievous unto me: for all (is) vanity and vexation

of spirit. 18

Yea, I hated all my labour which I had taken under the fun: because I should leave it unto the man that


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19 shall be after me. And who knoweth whether he shall

be a wise (man] or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all my

labour wherein I have laboured, and wherein I have showed myself wise under the sun. This [is] also vanity. Rehoboam, who was forty years old when his father

died, so that he must have seen his weakness and folly, is 20 doubtless here referred to. Therefore I went about to

cause my heart to despair of all the labour which I took under the sun; instead of pursuing former schemes, I gave

them up, as one utterly tired with them ; nor is this pecu21 liar to me, it is often seen in lower circumstances. For

there is a man whose labour [is] in wisdom, and in knowledge, and in equity; yet to a man that hath not laboured therein, to a man whose chara&ter is just the re

verse of his own, shall he leave it (for] his portion. This 22 also [is] vanity and a great evil. For what hath man,

such a man as above described, of all his labour, and of

the vexation of his heart, wherein he hath laboured 23 under the sun ? For all his days, or, altho' all his days,

(are] sorrows, and his travail grief; yea, his heart taketh not rest in the night; tho' he hath obtained what he has with so much care, labour, and fatigue, yet it must be

left to he knows not who. This is also vanity. 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. This also I saw, that it (was] from the hand of God: the best way therefore is not to engage in many schemes, and perplex himself with much business; but contentedly to sit down and enjoy the good

things God has given him with pleasure and thankfulness: 25 but this is not in a man's own power; For who can eat,

or who else can haften (hereunto,] more than I ? or, as it may be better rendered, who can eat or hasten' thereunto without him? This depends on the divine blessing, and

the turn he gives to the mind, thothe materials may be in a 26 man's own posesion. For (God) giveth to a man that [is]

good in his fight, that is, to a pious man, wisdom and knowledge to make a good use of his substance, and joy in the using of it: but to the finner he giveth travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give to [him that is]


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good before God; he gives up the wicked to an insatiable,
discontented spirit, fo that they affli&t themselves with many
cares and sorrows, to heap up what in the course of his pro-
vidence he often gives to the righteous. This also [is]
vanity and vexation of spirit.


W , .


E here see the vanity of expecting happinefs in

mirth In spite of all Solomon's reasoning and experience, the prefent age is trying the experiment over again ; but they will at lait join in his conclusion. It is a dangerous experiment; for few can make it and yet their wisdom remain with them. Therefore it is better to defift and take Solomon's word. Remember that these things cannot quiet a guilty conscience, comfort a drooping spírit, eafe a dying body, or save an immortal foul,

2. There are many things which are excellent in themfelves, and of great use in life, that will not make a man happy. Prudence, diligence, and regularity in business, are things highly commendable, and favourable to men's worldly interest, therefore many place all their religion in them, but they are not the one thing needful. Let us be careful that we are not mistaken ; and while we study the arts of prudence and economy, forget the weightier matters of the law, and continue deftitute of the love of God.

3. We are here taught the importance and necessity of true religion to make a man comfortable even in this world. Men may slave and toil ever so much, gain ever fuch abundance by fagacity, diligenee, and frugality, it will not prolong their lives or their memories; it will not insure them a worthy heir ; 'nor even a comfortable use of their own substance. The cheerful enjoyment of what we have must come from God. It is therefore to be fought by fervent prayer; and is generally given to good men; and this they may have with a little. So that upon the whole; Godliness hath the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.



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CHA P. III. Solomon here proceeds to describe the vanity of human wisdom; it

is confined to a certain time of ačting, which if we miss, eur contrivances are vain, and the opportunity over.

O every [thing there is] a season, and a time to

every purpose under the heaven, out of which no

human wisdom can produce the events God hath affixed to 2 them: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to

plant, and a time to pluck up (that which is) planted; 3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break 4 down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a

time to laugh, a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather

stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to re6 frain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to 7 lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time

to rend, and as time to few; a time to keep filence, and 8 a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate,

that is, to break off friendship; a time of war, and a 9 time of peace. What profit hath he that worketh in

that wherein he laboureth out of the proper season, or 10 even in it, fince there are so many changes? I have seen

the travail which God hath given to the fons of men to Ke exercised in it; minding the business of life, obferving the proper seasons, and submitting when disappointed.

He hath made every [thing) beautiful in his time; there is beauty in this variety: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end; there is a vast variety of things, as obječts of their pursuits and

ftudies: and God hath set it in their hearts to examine all his 12 works, except what is above their understanding. I know

that [there is] no good in them, that is, in worldly things, but for [a man) to rejoice, and to good in his

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Some understand the passage as referring to the influence the world has upon men to make them negle& prudent considera. tion; others refer it to their continuance in the world; as if he had said, A man that lives so fort a time cannot judge of the whole of God's works.

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