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there must be many hands employed in the managing of it; so that, as his means are greater, so the mouths that spend it are more: and what gaineth the owner hereby, above the servant, more than this, that he sees his goods both brought in and wasted whereof himself can take no more part, than to feed and clothe him?
V. 13 Riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt. I have noted those riches, which men account blessings, to turn to the great harm and mischief of the owners; both of their bodies, and souls, and lives, and estates: for, besides their difficulty in getting, and care in keeping, how ordinarily are they the occasions of violence offered to their persons, of unjust suggestions of capital crimes against their lives, &c. ?
V. 14 But those riches perish by evil travail : and he begetteth a son, and there is nothing in his hand. And those very riches have I seen to vanish away under the owner's hand; in the inidst of all his toil and travail: so as, the son whom he begets shall have nothing at all left him of that wealth, wherewith his father seemed to abound; neither shall the father bave ought to leave him.
V. 17 All his days also he eateth in darkness, and be hath much sorrow and wrath in his sickness. He abridgeth himself of all comfort, through his too eager pursuit of wealth ; and both pincheth his body, and tortureth his mind with many vexations and discontentments.
V. 20 For he shall not much remember the days of his life; because God answereth him in the joy of his heart. His days go away merrily, and seem short, for that God gives him cheerfulness and contentment in the fruition of what he hath,
VI. 2 Yet God giveth him not power to eat thereof, but a stranger eateth it. Yet God hath not given him a free heart, to take comfort and benefit in the use of his riches; but rather hath given him up to such a besottedness therewith, that he cannot find in his heart to bestow any good thing upon himself, but saves it for a stranger that shall come after him.
VI. 3 If a man beget an hundred children, and live many years, &c. and his soul be not filled with good, and also that he have no burial; I say, that an untimely birth is better than he. Let a man live to never so fair and full an age, as long life is in. deed a blessing of God; and let him be as full of children as of years, as children also are the gift of God; yet, if that man scant and abridge himself of all his due comforts here through his own miserableness, and after his death be debarred of an honest and comely sepulture, I say that an untimely birth is in a condition Jess ill than he.
VI. 4 For he cometh in with vanity, and departeth in darkness, and his name shall be covered with darkness. For that abortive birth comes into the world without all noise or
use, and passes away obscurely without notice; and, as it lived not to have a name, so the name and memory of it vanisheth into darkness and oblivion.
VI. 5 This hath more rest than the other, He hath been freed by so early a death from those vexations, which the old covetous man puts himself unto.
VI. 6 Yea, though he have lived a thousand years twice told, yet hath he seen no good : do not all go to one place? Yea, though he have lived a thousand years twice told, yet, when it is past, what is he the better for that? Is he not now in the same state with the abortive? Do not both of them go alike unto dust?
VI. 7 All the labour of man is for his mouth, and yet the appetite is not filled. Indeed, all the labour of man should be, and ordinarily is, for the preservation of his life ; but the covetous man toils, he knows not for what; and though nature be content with a little, yet his appetite of having is never satisfied.
VI. 8 For what hath the wise man more than the fool? what hath the poor, that knoweth to walk before the living ? q. d. But the same with the rich? In respect of the outward maintenance of this life, what can the wise man have, which the fool may not? Both of them may and must live by meat: either of them may come to abound or want. What hath the rich, more than the poor man, that knows how to live? His superfluity is nothing to his life.
VI. 9 Beiter is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the desire. It is far better, for a man to enjoy that present good which is before his eyes, than to discruciate and rack his thoughts with an insatiable desire of what he hath not, or perhaps cannot have.
VI. 10 That which hath been is named already, and it is known to be man: neither may he contend with him that is mightier than he. There is a wise and infinite Providence of God, under which, eminently amongst the other creatures, man is; whom God hath noted and designed out with all his qualities and endowments, and hath determined to him all his conditions and events; neither can he think to struggle himself out, from the mighty and overruling power of his Creator. * VI. 11 Secing there be many things that increase vanity, what is a man the better? As man is vanity, so are those things which he affecteth; where there are many things therefore, there must needs be an increase of vanity; what is a man the better therefore, for having more vanities besides his own?
VI. 12 For who knoweth what is good for man in this life, all the days of his vain life which he spendeth as a shadow ? for who can tell a man what shall be after him under the sun ? We are commonly subject to mistakings in our opinions, concerning good things: we ofttimes take that for good and profit.
able, which is indeed harmful to us, either in the kind or quantity of it; and if in this fleeting and vanishing life we be thus ignorant, in present things, how much more in future? Who can tell á man what shall be after him?
VII. 1 And the day of death better than the day of one's birth. The day of a good and faithful man's death, is much better than the day of his birth; for his death puts an end to those miseries, which his birth begins, and begins those happinesses, which the present life is not capable of.
VII. 2 For that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart. For that death, which is the occasion of such mourning, is the end of all men ; and those, that are wise amongst the living, will carefully bethink themselves of it, and make due preparation for it.
VII. 6 As the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of fools. A fire of thorns under a pot makes a loud noise with the crackling thereof for a time, but the blaze is soon out; so doth the mirth and laughter of a fool: after some short semblance of joy, it vavisheth to nothing.
VII. 7 Surely oppression maketh a wise man mad; and a gife destroyeth the heart. Extreinity of oppression is enough to distemper a very wise man; and bribes are enough to corrupt and destroy the heart of him that receives them.
VII. 8 Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof : and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. There is much doubt and uncertainty in the beginning of things, wbereas there is full assurance in the end ; the end therefore of a thing is better than the beginning: for indeed, both the beginning and proceeding of all affairs do but drive at a good end; and a meek and patient-spirited man, that can quietly wait for the end and event of things, is better than he that is proud and impetuous, who violently rusheth upon all enterprizes, and will needs force bis own terms.
VII. 9 Be not hasty in the spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools. Do not give way to a rash and sudden anger; for this techy and choleric disposition argues much folly and misgovernment in the man that is swayed with it.
VII. 10 Say not thou, What is the cause why the former days were better than these ? for thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this. Be not thou discontentedly querulous at the present condition; as, to complain how bad these times are, in respect of the former and to murmur at the Providence of God, as if there were some slackness or neglect therein; for this is a foolish thought of thine, and an unjust: rather do thou, in an humble thankfulness and sub mission, make use of the present,
VII. 11 Wisdom is good with an inheritance. If a man have a great estate, and wisdom to use it, he may do great matters, and is very happy therein.
VII. 12 For wisdom is a defence, and money is a defence : but the excellency of wisdom giveth life to them that have it. Many a one hath been preserved by his wisdom, and many have been preserved by their money, so as both together must needs be an excellent defence; but, if they must be severed, wisdom and knowledge must needs be the better, as that which both can safeguard the present life, and give a better unto the owner of it.
VII. 13 Consider the work of God: for who can make straight that, which he hath made crooked ? Do not complain of times and events, but consider well the wise and just and powerful proceedings of God; for when he hath thought good, for the punishment of men's sins, to give them up to disorder and perverseness, it is not in the power of human means to rectify them.
VII. 14 But in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him. In the day of adversity, bethink thyself of the author of thine affiction, and of the manifold grounds of patience which God hath laid before thee; for God hath given interchanges of welfare and adversity, that inan might find no just cause to complain of his proceedings.
VII. 15° There is a just man that perisheth in his righteousness. There is a just and innocent man that miscarrieth, notwithstanding his righteousness, through the cruelty and injustice of oppressors.
VII. 16 Be not righteous over much; neither make thyself over wise : why shouldest thou destroy thyself? Be not thou too rigid and rigorous, in exacting the extremity of justice upon every occasion; neither do thou affect too much semblance and ostentation of more justice and perfection, than thou hast, or canst attain : neither do thou arrogate more wisdom to thyself, than is in thee; nor curiously seek and search into those mysteries, which God would not have revealed : for why shouldest thou bring upon thee the displeasure and judgments of God, by this proud and sinful affectation?
VII. 17 Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish : why shouldest thou die before thy time? As I would not have thee too just and too wise, so I would not have thee run into the other extreme: every degree of wickedness is too much: do not let thyself loose to any evil; neither yield thy. self over to a willing ignorance and foolish neglect of wisdom : for why shouldst thou provoke God to hasten his just judgments upon thee, to thine untimely destruction?
VII. 18 It is good that thou shouldest take hold of this; yea, also from this withdraw not thine hand: for he that feareth God shall come forth of them all.
It is good and sure, to walk in a mean betwixt both these extremes; so to beware of severity, and too much profession of wisdom, that thou neglect not the other charge of avoiding looseness and folly : he, that feareth God, shall by him be kept in a holy mean, betwixt both these sinful and dangerous excesses.
VII. 21 Also take no heed unto all the words that are spoken ; lest thou hear thy servant curse thee. He, that would live in peace, must put up many injuries, especially of the tongue: be not too eagerly inquisitive after the words that are spoken concerning thee, lest thou hear those of thine own family speak evil of thee.
VII. 23 All this have I proved by wisdom : I said, I will be wise ; but it was far from me.
I thought to make all these observations and experiments, and made account to gain a great measure of wisdom; but the more I knew, the less I was satisfied, and the more I found that I wanted.
VII. 24 That which is far off', and exceeding deep, who can find it out? So deep is wisdom hid, and so far off from our reach, that it is not in the power of man to find it out;
VII. 25 And to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness and madness : As also to note the wicked courses of foolish, yea, of mad sinners, both in their actions and in their evens.
VII. 26 And I find more bitter than death the woman, whose &c. And I have found, by woeful experience, the mischief and deadliness of an alluring beauty, &c.
VII. 27 Counting one by one, to make up the account: Curiously searching and examining of both sexes, as it were, by the pole, one by one, to give a just account of the estate of them both.
VII. 28 Which yet my soul seeketh, but I find not : one man among a thousand have I found; but a woman among all those have I not found. Which yet still I do earnestly seek ; but find no cause to alter my judgment herein : this I profess to be the issue of all my inquisition ; that, though it be very rare and hard to find one good of either sex, yet more difficult and strange to find such a one in that weaker sex : a good man is rare, but a good woman more,
VII. 29 Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions. Now this pravity and corruption, which I find in both sexes, I do not cast upon their first creation : no; rather I do herein justify God, as finding and professing that it pleased him to make man holy and upright: all our depravation is from ourselves; our first parents, created in perfect innocency, would needs follow the devices of their own hearts, and the suggestions of the common enemy, and we their sinful posterity do nothing but devise further means of our own ruin.