Ecclesiastes

Ecclesiastes

The Book of Ecclesiastes is, up to a certain point, the converse of the Book of Proverbs.74 It is the experience of a man who— retaining wisdom, that he may judge of all—makes trial of everything under the sun that could be supposed capable of rendering men happy, through the enjoyment of everything that human capacity can entertain as a means of joy. The effect of this trial was the discovery that all is vanity and vexation of spirit; that every effort to be happy in possessing the eart...

Ecclesiastes

It is difficult to conceive a stronger contrast than this book affords to Canticles in aim, character, and handling. For the latter, of all the O.T., presents Messiah’s affection for the object of His choice with a fulness and particularity beyond what is found in any or all others of the Holy Writings; and the effect is produced on that object in drawing out a suited return, with experiences of the deepest interest in its course till the consummation. Here on the contrary it is the sorrowful converse of the utter incapacity of all that is under the sun to satisfy the heart-cravings of one who had personal capacity and unlimited means of finding happiness in the creature if it had been possible. It is the negative counterpart of Proverbs, with the sententious wisdom of which it has not a little in common. The difference of the design accounts for “God” in Ecclesiastes, and “the LORD” or Jehovah in Proverbs. For in the one it is simply a question of man as he is, and therefore of God as such; whereas the other looks at the scene of moral government and those set in relation to it. The Song on the other hand is so full of the Bridegroom and the bride, as to have neither; for one can hardly regard Ecclesiastes 8:6, admirably strong though the last word be, as an exception — it at any rate just proves the rule. The reserve of the Bridegroom’s person, elsewhere unveiled, preserves the divine glory intact; but the plain bearing of the Song gives the fullest scope for the reciprocal love that reigns throughout, and this is best expressed without introducing either of the divine names.

Ecclesiastes

 Introduction The Book of Ecclesiastes is, up to a certain point, the converse of the Book of Proverbs. 1 It is the experience of a man who- retaining wisdom, that he may judge of all-makes trial of everything under the sun that could be supposed capable of rendering men happy, through the enjoyment of everything that human capacity can entertain as a means of joy. The effect of this trial was the discovery that all is vanity and vexation of spirit; that every effort to be happy in p...

Lecture 6 - The Psalm-Books, Gospels, and Acts

The Psalm-Books We are now, beloved brethren, to examine that division of the Old Testament which stands last in all Hebrew Bibles, and last in our Lord's words in the last chapter of Luke, "the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms." He does not use indeed the Jewish term for this last division, which was called by the Jews (vaguely enough), "the writings," or "Scriptures," - Kethubim; and we have no certain proof that He meant to speak of more than the actual book of P...

Ecclesiastes Chapter 12

  CHAPTER XII. Our last chapter concluded with the words, "For childhood and youth are vanity": that is, childhood proves the emptiness of all "beneath the sun," as well as old age. The heart of the child has the same needs--the same capacity in kind--, as that of the aged. It needs God. Unless it knows Him, and His love is there, it is empty; and, in its fleeting character, childhood proves its vanity. But this makes us quite sure that if childhood can feel the need, t...

Ecclesiastes Chapter 11

  CHAPTER XI. We are drawing near the end, and to the highest conclusions of true human wisdom; and full of deepest interest it is to mark the character of these conclusions. Reason speaks; that faculty that is rightly termed divine, for its possession marks those who are "the offspring of God." He is the Father of spirits, and it is in the spirit that Reason has her seat; whilst in our Preacher she is enthroned, and now with authority utters forth her counsels. Here we...

Ecclesiastes Chapter 10

  CHAPTER X. The climax of Ecclesiastes' exercises seems to have been reached in the previous chapter. The passionate storm is over, and now his thoughts ripple quietly along in proverb and wise saying. It is as if he said "I was altogether beyond my depth. Now I will confine myself only to the present life, without touching on the things unseen, and here I can pronounce with assurance the conclusion of wisdom, and sum up both its advantages and yet inadequacy." The p...

Ecclesiastes Chapter 9

    CHAPTER IX. The last two verses of Chapter VIII. connect with the opening words of this chapter. The more Ecclesiastes applies every faculty he has to solve the riddle under the sun, robbing himself of sleep and laboring with strong energy and will, he becomes only the more aware that that solution is altogether impossible. The contradictions of nature baffle the wisdom of nature. There is no assured sequence, he reiterates, between righteousness and happin...

Ecclesiastes Chapter 8

    CHAPTER VIII. Still continues the praise of "wisdom." For if, as the last verses of the previous chapters have shown, there be but very few that walk in her paths, she necessarily lifts those few far above the thoughtless mass of men; placing her distinguishing touch even on the features of her disciples, lighting them up with intelligence, and taking away the rudeness and pride that may be natural to them. "Man's wisdom lighteth up his face--its aspect ...

Ecclesiastes Chapter 7

    CHAPTER VII. But whilst the King has not that most blessed light, yet there are some things in which he can discriminate;and here are seven comparisons in which his unaided wisdom can discern which is the better:--   1. A good name is better than precious ointment. 2. The day of death is better than the day of birth. 3. The house of mourning is better than the house of feasting. 4. Sorrow is better than laughter. 5. The rebuke of the wise is better...
Syndicate content