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I. 1 All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place whence the rivers come, thither they return again. So do the waters also keep the same course of motion; for all rivers run into the sea, which again empties itself, by secret conveyances, through the channels of the earth, into those springs whereof the rivers arise; so as there is a continued circle in the movings and interchanges of these creatures; but man passeth away at once, and appeareth no more.
I. 8 All things are full of labour; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. All these creatures do, as it were, toil themselves in their motion; and all the world, wherein they are, is full of trouble and vexation: it is not in the power of man to express the particulars; no, the very eye of man can never have seen enough, the ear of man can never have heard enough, of the miserable vanities and irk? some conditions of this earthly life of ours.
I. 9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
The eye and the ear can never come to an end of their work; for there is still an interchangeable succession of their objects: that, which hath formerly been, shall be again; and that, which now is done, shall, in the revolution of times, come about again; and there is neither an end of old occurrences, nor a beginning of new.
I. 11 There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after them.
We easily mistake the condition of all things; for those things, which have been, leave no remembrance behind them; and those things, which are now present, and those, which shall be hereafter, shall be so forgotten of our succeeding posterity, as if they had never been.
I. 15 That which is crooked cannot be made straight: and that which is wanting cannot be numbered.
That, which is crooked and perverse, cannot by any human means be rectified and reformed: only the power of God, who made all things, can change the natural misdisposition of them; and there are such store of defects and enormities, both in nature and practice, that they cannot be numbered.
I n J gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and
I addicted myself moreover to the disquisition and study of morality; and, therein, I did not only labour to know what pertained to wisdom, but also, on the contrary, to understand what belongs to folly and madness, that I might perfectly comprehend all the fashions and courses of men; and I found this to be no better than vexation of spirit.
I. 18 For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increasetn knowledge increaseth sorrow.
For whosoever gets much wisdom, shall be sure to have much sorrow to boot; since, the more he knows, the more cause of grief shall he find; for both he shall still see more that he cannot know, and in that which he doth know he shall perceive so much vanity that shall pierce and humble his soul.
II. 1 / said in my heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth.
From that austere search of knowledge, I thought to divert my thoughts unto mirth and pleasure.
II. 2 / said of laughter, It is mad: andof mirth, What doethitf 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 / 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 S(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 therewithal to mix an experimental knowledge of folly and debauchedness, till I might see whether any true contentment might be found therein.
II. "t I got me servants and maidens, and had servants born, in
I bought and procured servants and maids; and had, besides, a 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 matter, shall find, that he can neither do nor know ought, but that, which I haue done and known before him.
II. 14 The wise maris eyes are in his head; but the fool nalketh 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 f 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 indif
ierency 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 I'ca, 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 afool? 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. 1 A time to rend, and a time to sew. 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 no one canfind 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 He. See chap. ii. 24.
III. 14 / 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 shouldfear 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. I7 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 preeminence 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 assuretli, yea convin-ceth 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 shal l 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 arc alreadj/ 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 case, 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, Mc. 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.