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they have a true sense with respect to all men quillity, by fixing our mind upon any one thing in this whatsoever, good and bad, I thought it best so to world, and how necessary it is, to let the study of expound then, with regard to the whole foregoing wisdom, for instance, and the enjoyment of pleasure, verse.
labour, and rest, take their turns, God himself hath
shewn us, by tying us to this order in the course of GHA P. III.
things; which, whether they be natural or depend
upon our will, will have their certain appointed seaTHE ARGUMENT.-Upon the mention of God's over sons and occasions, upon which all our designs, coun.
ruling providence, in the latter end of the forego- sels, and endeavours, have such a dependence, that if
well as our own bodies; there is a time when it is These were the things he had suggested in the con more proper to break down a building, than it is to
clusion of the former chapter, and the beginning raise it ; and when houses are built, there are seasons of this may have relation to every one of them, for repairs, and sometimes for pulling them down and And since he had spoken before also (ver. 9. 10. of erecting them anew, or else they will not stand.
See the second chapter) concerning the moderating of Annot. [b] pleasures by wisdom, and of the study of wisdom Ver. 4. A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time by seasonable pleasures, I do not know but he may to mourn, and a time to dance ;] Other alterations have respect unto that also, and therefore I have be- there are also in human life, which sometimes natugun with it in the paraphrase.
rally move our tears, and at another time our laughter ; Castalio goes still farther, and thinks the meaning of nay, there are times not only for tears, but for the
the first part of this chapter may be, that it is in bitterest lamentations, which the funerals of our dear-
gather stones together ; a time to embrace, and a time to In short, he still continues to enlarge himself upon refrain from embracing:] And in the plantations
the two first things, wherein men place their hap- which we make, there is a time when it is fit to pick ipiness, wisdom and pleasure ; and comes not to the up stones, and throw them out of our vineyards or third, till the middle of this chapter, where I shall fields of corn ; and there is another time, when it will observe it.
be as necessary to gather up the same stones again,
to make a fence about those vineyards or fields, or Ver. 1. T'O every thing there is a season, and a time to repair the highways; and as it is in these natural
to every purpose under the weaven.] How things, so it is in those that depend upon our own disrain an attempt it is, to obtain the fore-named tran- posal ; there are seasons proper for husband and wife
to enjoy the ends of marriage, but there are other as that is imperfect, (it being beyond our skill to know times when they ought to refrain, and deny them- when our industry will succeed, and when a change selves even these otherwise innocent pleasures. will come), so he is not able to find out what respect
Ver. 6. A time to get, and a time to lose ; a time to the present changes have to the times that are gone keep, and a time to cast away :] In like manner, before, and to those that are yet to come hereafter, in our traffic and commerce one with another, there and so cannot give an exact account of the governis a time of gaining much, but there are other times, ment of God, because he sees not the beginning, and when a man must be content to lose by his commo- the progress, and the conclusion of every thing that dities; sometimes also it is fit for him to lay up and comes to pass. See Annot. [d] keep what he hath gotten, but a: another time it will Ver. 12. I know that there is no good in them, be as fit for him to spend or give away to those that but for a man to rejuice, and to do good in his life.) need it.
Wherefore, long consideration and experience assure Ver. 7. A time to rent, and a time to sow; a time me, that, leaving these fruitless inquiries and vexato keep silence, and a time to speak ;] In dire ful disas tious cares about the future, the only happiness that ters also, as when God is blasphemed, it becomes us is in our power, is to make the best we can of our to rend our garments ; but after a certain time, it will present condition ; rejoicing that things are so well be as becoming to sew up the rent again ; and, as on with us, and being solicitous for nothing in this world, the other occasions, the proper times for holding one's but to obtain a good hope in God, by living piously peace, or for speaking, are to be observed, so, in great and virtuously, and doing good to others with what grief,' it is to no purpose to administer comfort, till we have, and this not remissly and by fits, but seriousthe passion be a little over, and then discourse will ly and constantly, as long as we live. See Annot. [e] be as seasonable as silence was before, Job, ii. 13. iv. Ver. 13. And also that every man should eat and
drink, and enjoy the good of all bis labour ; it is the gift Ver. 8. A time to love, and a time to hate ; a time of God.] And if a man have arrived at so much hapof war, and a time of peace.] To conclude, love itself piness, as not to deny himself the use of what he hath may turn into hatred, so that they who are now well at present, out of a vain fear of wanting in time to affected towards us, may prove our enemies, or those come, but can so freely and chearfully enjoy the fruit in whose company we now delight, there may be rea of his honest labours, as to be well satisfied in the son hereafter to avoid ; and the like turns there are in midst of all the inconveniences of this life, let him public, as well as in private affairs, there being just not ascribe it unto his own wisdom, but thankfully causes sometimes for making war, and then, such a acknowledge the great goodness of God herein ; for change in the state of things, that it is greater wis- it is a singular gift of his, to be able, with a quiet and dom to conclude a peace.
contented mind, to take the comfort of those blessings Ver. 9. What profit bath be that worketh in that which God's bounty has bestowed upon us, chap. ii. wherein be laboureth ?] And therefore, why do we fan- 24. cy any thing to be settled, fixed, and constant, here in Ver. 14. I know that whatsoever God doeth, it shall this world, unless it be these opposite changes? Or be for ever ; nothing can be put to it, nor any thing ta . to what purpose is all our labour and travail for any ken from it ; and God bath done it, that men should fear thing out of the season proper for it? And what before bim.] And, on the other side, it is not only very great matter is it that we then get, since we must ex foolish and vain, but a great plague, to be discontented pect another season to part with it? See Annot. [c] that things go otherwise than we desire ; for certain it
Ver. 10. I bave seen the travail which God hath given is, God hath settled them by such an eternal and im. to the sons of men, to be exercised in it.] For that which mutable law, in that course and order before descri. I have observed from all this is, That God hath made bed, (ver. 1. 2. 3. &c. in which nothing is superfluous, it our business to mark the times and seasons that are nothing wanting), that it is not in the power of man fit for the doing all things, which hath great trouble to make the least alteration one way or other ; thereand anxiety in it; and there is a farther trouble, that fore we must alter ourselves, and not murmur that we after we have done what we desired, we must submit cannot change the course of things, which God hath to that time and season which will undo all again. thus immoveably fixed, not to make us miserable, by
Ver. 11. He hath made every thing beautiful in bis fretting at it, but happy, by reverent submission to time : also he hath set the world in their heart ; so that the divine government, and humble patience under no man can find out the work that God maketh from the those troubles which we cannot honestly avoid, and a beginning to the end. And though we are not wont to due care not to offend the divine majesty, whose will be satisfied with this vicissitude of things, yet God, shall be done one way or other, if not by us, yet no doubt, hath disposed them tbus most widely ; and opon us. See Annot. [f] there is such a beautiful order appears in several con Ver. 15. Tbat which hatt been, is niow; and that trarieties, (as, for example, of heat and cold, of day which is to be, bath already been , and God requireth. and night), that we may well conclude there is so in that wbich is past.] This alone is sufficient to silence all manner of events, though never so opposite, which all our unprofitable, as well as undutiful complaints, God also hath given us wisdom to discern in part, about that which hath always been, and ever will be. having endued man with the understanding of the For we, in this present age, are subject to no other present state of things, in the age wherein he lives ; yet laws, than those by which God hath governed the
world from the beginning ; nor will the next produce one dieth, so doth the other, yea, they have all one breath ; any other method, than that wherein he hath already so that a man bath no pre-eminence above a beast ; for proceeded; but, though that which succeeds thrusts all is vanity.] For as the beasts are subject to many out what went before, it brings the very same things accidents which they think not of, so are all manabout again, as constantly as spring and fall, summer kind, who can no more foresee several things that and winter, return in their seasons.
happen to them, than the beasts themselves; or, if Ver. 16. 1 And moreover, I saw under the sun the they herein differ from them, that they can better place of judgement, that wickedness was there ; and the defend themselves from some things that befal them, place of righteousness, -that iniquity was there.] But, yet there is one thing, which makes them all equal, beyond all this, it is lamentable to consider, how that and that is, death ; for both men and beasts not onwhich God hath provided as a remedy for a great ly grow old, but die alike, and while they live, one many evils, which we bring one upon another in this sucks in no other air than the other doth ; which when world, is quite perverted, and turned to be itself the they can no longer breathe, a man remains as much greatest evil of all other : The power and authority, an unprofitable lump and putrid carcase as a beast; I mean, which is committed unto men of great place, and therefore here in can pretend to no pre-eminence wisdom, and dignity ; who lean so much to their own above other inferior creatures, but they are both equal. affections, that I myself have observed nothing but cor- ly vain and perishing. ruption in the highest, as well as lowest courts of judica Ver. 20. All go unto one place, all are of the dust, ture; for, whether men's lives or their estates were con. and all turn to dust again.) And being dead, their cerned, such unjust sentences were pronounced, (to the bodies are dissolved into the same principles out of condemning the innocent, and acquitting the guilty, &c.), which they sprang, so that herein they are both alike that I could not but conclude, There is nothing more again ; for man, as proud as he is, derives his body dangerous, than for a man who hath not that fear of from no higher original than the dust, the very same God before his eyes (which I now mentioned, ver. 14.) dust of which the beasts are made, into which they to be advanced unto honour, and entrusted with power, both, men and beasts, must return again at the last. So vain are they that place their felicity in these. Ver. 21. W bo knoweth the spirit of man tbat goetb See Annot. [g]
upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward Ver. 17. I said in mine beart, God shall judge the to the eartb.?] As for the spirit, which makes all the righteous and wicked ; for there is a time there for every difference between the beasts and us, that is invisible: purpose, and for every work.] For, so rooted is this and where shall we find a man, especially among those impiety in the hearts of men, and such arts there are great persons, (spoken of before), who seriously conto defeat the best endeavours to redress it, I could siders it? and believes that the souls of all manbring my thoughts about this matter to no other is- kind go to God that gave them, (xii. 7.), to be judgsue but this, (in which we must all be satisfied), that ed by him, (ver. 17. of this chapter), whereas the there is a supreme Judge of all, who will in due time souls of beasts perish with them ? No; herein they make that difference between men and things, which differ not at all from beasts, that having buried their we cannot do now, absolving and rewarding the righ- minds in brutish pleasures, they have no more sense teous, and condemning and punishing the wicked; for of a future life than they, but imagine that their as there is a time, I observed before, for all other souls die together with their bodies. So senselessly things, so there is for this : they that govern the world stupid are they that trample upon the rest of manhave their time now, for contriving and acting what kind, and yet have such ignoble thoughts of themmischief they please, but he will take a time here- selves, that they imagine their very souls are no longerafter, of calling them to an account for the injustice lived than a beast. See Annot. [k] they designed, as well as did, in the courts of judge Ver. 22. Wherefore I perceive, that there is nothing ment. See Annot. [h]
better than that a man should rejoice in bis own works, Ver. 18. I said in my beart concerning the estate of the for that is his, portion ; for who shall bring him to see sons of men, that God might manifest ebem, and that they what shall be after bim?] And therefore, considering might see that they themselves are beasts.] But in the that our bodies have no privilege above the beasts, and mean time I could not but think the condition of man. that mankind are so liable to be abused by those who kind, especially of the poorer sort of them, to be very should protect them, (veri 16. 19. 20.), I was condeplorable, which made me fetch a deep sigh, and wishfirmed in my former opinion, (ii. 24.), that it is best to God, that he would be pleased to lay these great for a man herein also to imitate the beasts; by enjoymen open, and manifest to themselves, and make them ing freely the good things God hath blessed him withsensible, that they have no reason to look down with al, and taking all the comfort he can find in them at so much con tempt upon others, much less treat them present, without solicitous care about the future ; for like beasts, destined to the slaughter ; for, were they this is all he can be sure of, it being in no man's power stripped of their external pomp and power, they are to secure him, he shall not enjoy that hereafter which so far from excelling other men, that in many regards he makes no use of now; much less when he is dead, they do not excel the very beasts. See Annot. [i] can he be brought back again to take any pleasure
Ver. 19. For that which befalleth. the sons of men in the fruit of all his labours, or see what becomes of befalleth beasts, even one thing befalleth them; as the them.
constancy, as of all earthly things, so of human ac. ANNOTATIONS.
tions, (sometimes, for instance, men are madly in
love with a woman, and in time they as much hate [a] Ver. 1. Season.] The Hebrew words, Zeman her ; now they are eager to get, and at another time
and Greth, signify either that point of time when they profusely spend ; sometimes they kill, and things, being ripe, come forth of themselves, by sometimes they are killed; sometimes do nothing the constitution of their several beings, as all but talk, and at another time have vot a word to natural things do ; or that occasion which serves say, &c.), and therefore all his labours are vain. our voluntary actions, and is fit for effecting what But I have extended it farther, with a respect to we design. The Hebrews observe, that Solo. other things, which the fore-named induction sugmon here reckons se ven opposite seasons, of each gests to us. sort, as a coinplete demonstration, by induction,  Ver. 11. World in their heart.] There is greater of the truth of this general proposition in the difficulty in this verse, if we connect it with the rest first verse,
Which holds good even in virtue of the discourse, as we ought to do. Which I have itself; which is not proper but in its own place. endeavoured to explain, by taking the word Haclam, For fortitude hath not always been successful, (as the world, for the present state of things in this age the Lord Herbert observes), nor temperance sate, wherein we live, (which is a genuine sense of it); nor justice opportune ; the fury and insolence of whereof God hath given us some understanding's the outrageous people having in some insurrections but not so perfect as to be able to give an account grown to that excess, that it has been greater wis. of the reason and scope of every thing that we see dom to pass by a while, than to punish them. And happen in this world, because we are ignorant of it is very apparent also in our counsels, when they what went before, and of what will follow after, are conducted merely by human wisdom, which is when we had or shall have no being liere. not able, without a divine direction, to chuse the It is commonly understood of the works of nature. most fortunate (as we call them) and happy sea And in this sense, the Lord Bacon (in the begins sons for undertakings. Brutus, Cicero, Hertius, ning of his book of the Advancement of Learning) Pansa, all thought to restore the ancient estate of the hath admirably expounded it in this manner; in Roman commonwealth, (as Melancthon notes), but these words : “ He haih placed the world in man's were deceived ; and after the same manner many heart,” &c. “ Solomon declares not obscurely, that are still, and will be deceived. Then businesses God hath framed the mind of man as a mirror, proceed, when we obey his divine directions, and or looking-glass, capable of the image of the whole He assists; and yet then sometimes more, and some. world ; and as desirous to receive it, as the eye is to times less difficultly.
entertain the light; and not only delighted in be. [b] Ver. 3. Kill.] In the third verse, I have taken holding the variety of things, and the vicissitude of
the liberty of following my own judgement in ex times, but ambitious to find out and discover the pounding the first part of it; which I have not re immoveable and settled laws and decrees of nature. ferred to punishing and sparing offenders, as inter And though he intimate, that this whole æconomy preters do ; but to the condition of diseases that are
of nature (which he calls, The work that God in our bodies. For though the other be an excel hath wrought, from the beginning to the end) canlent sense, yet this seems to be inore agreeable to not be found out by man, it doth not derogate from the wise man's meaning. Because he is hitherto the capacity of his mind, but is to be imputed to the speaking of things natural; and the word beal also impediments of learning," &c. directs rather to that sense which I have given of There is one interpreter, (Coranus), who by Olam, killing, than the common one.
be world, understands the circular motion of things for said of the next part of the verse ; “ there being a
the service of man. Bar I can find no such use of ciaziness in buildings, as well as in the body of the word any where else; the sense would be elegant man; and some weather so improper to raise a fa. enough, which arises from thence, viz. That this bric, that the parts will not hang together; but that revolution, being remote from our knowledge, and which cements them, moulders so fast away, that a secret to us, who cannot tell what day or hour it that time were better spent in pulling down an house, will be, we ought not to trouble ourselves about this, than in building it up.
but make use of the present, and refer the rest to As for the rest of the Calendar or Ephemeris, (as the God.
Lord Bacon calls it), which the wise man hath made Melancthon also hath an unusual interpretation, which of the diversities of times and occasions for all ac is, That God made things so, that we should sweettions, I need give no farther account of it here, ly enjoy them, (that he uaderstands by placing the than I have done in the paraphrase.
world in man's heart); but men make the use of [c] Vér. 9. Wbat profit.] Nor is it hard to expound them unpleasant, by their wandering desires, by
the inference he makes in this verse, from the fore. their vain solicitude, by their diffidence ; which going induction ; which I have expressed as fully makes them long after new things, and meddle with as I could in the paraphrase ; and more largely in that wbich is unnecessary.
Like M. Anthony, the argument of this chapter. Gregory Nazianzen who, when he had gotten the most flourishing part thinks, he only intends to reflect upon the great in of the empire, could not be content; but, out of an
The same may
unquiet nature, desired the whole, and so lost all. them who were appointed to be the guardians of This he makes the sense of the latter end of the men's lives, liberties, and enjoyments; which he, verse, which he thus translates, “ Man cannot find as a great king as he was, wanted ability wholly to out the work of God, neither the beginning nor the redress; but still they went on so contidenily in their end of it." Therefore,' as I said just now, it is wicked course of perversing judgement, that fre wisdom to satisfy ourselves with what we have ; was fain to leare them to be judged by the Supreme for the present only is that which is in our own Judge of all, God Almighty. And if it were so, in power.
the reign of a good and wise king ; what could be' [e] Ver. 12. 13.) And so it follows in these two hoped for, in the reign of those who were impious
verses ; the sense of which, Gregory Nazianzen and injudicious, as most of the kings of Israel and (Orat. liii.) hath thus briefly expressed: “The great Judah were? For such pervert all things by their est good of man, I persuade myself to be ex@vuicy, cove tousness, ambition, or folly ; so that their subj luxoi*ar, chearfulness of mind, and beneficence, or jects can have no justice, nor enjoy any tranquillity. doing good to others ;” and this short pleasure And besides, they permit (as he shews afterwards, alone, the divine indulgence bestows upon us, if chap..v.) many corruptions to creep into the divine righteousness conduct all our affairs.
worship, and ridiculous rather than religious ce[f] Ver. 14. 15.] And with this we must rest con, remonies to be introduced, &c. whereupon follows
tented, for with all our toilsome thoughts we cannot a great decay of all moral virtue. alter the course of things; which God, he here In short, this is a great part of the vanity and misery shows, hath immutably settled, on purpose that we to which we are here subject; that, as Melancthon should be sensible of a power above ourselves. well notes, “ there are many things done unjustly, Which it is our wisdom to stand in such awe of, as çven under just governors ; because they are not not to contend with it, but submit unto it ; that so able to look unto all things themselves, but must we may obtain all the favour from him, which in
manage them by oiher men; many of which are such a state of things as his wisdom hath appointed, negligent, others wicked, and swayed by depraved can be indulged to us. And here, I think, Melanc affections, and yet crafty enough to cover their own thon hath very pertinently observed, that Solomon guilt.” Here is the only comfort, That God note doth not merely recite the vain complaints and en withstanding preserves government, and political order; deavours of mankind, after the manner of philoso and in his time will judge even kings and judges of phers and poets, but lays down a rule of life, as the earth. the best remedy that can be found for our disease. [h] Ver. 17.] The last words of this verse may, Which is, “ Not to trust to ourselves, nor to in. my judgement, be thus most literally translated out dulge our own curiosity and appetites; but to be of the Hebrew : “ There is a time for (judging) sensible of our own infirmities, to fear God, to obey every purpose and every work there,” viz. in ihosa his commandments, to keep within the bounds of corrupt courts of judgement; every thing that hath our vocations, and to beg and expect the help of been transacted in the judicatures he had been God, and to acquiesce in his holy will and plea speaking of. sure."
[i] Ver. 18.] These words which follow the former,  Ver. 16.] Unto these things it is better for us to are variously interpreted ; but they have a perspi
apply ourselves, than it is to endeavour to be great cuous sense, if they be taken in the coherence with and mighty, (which is another vain desire of man, the foregoing, (as in reason they ought to be), fancying he can thereby keep off many evils), for without fancying, as some have done, that they are few can be at the top of all ; and so there must be spoken in the person of an epicure. And so I have still greater than we, by whom we may be oppress considered them; as intended to take down the vain ed; and our vexation will be so much the greater, opinion those great men have of themselves, (which when with all our power we cannot hinder it. As makes them tyrannize over their inferiors), by refor those that are in the very highest places, (if they presenting to them, (or rather, desiring God would have not the fear of God, before spoken, ver, 14.), effectually represent to their minds), how little they their power doth but betray them to do the more differ from beasts ; save only in that which they do mischief unto themselves and others, and thereby not at all value, or regard, viz. their immortal spirits. increase the misery of mankind. This seems to be The word Lebaram, to manifest tbem, is commonly the dependence between the foregoing verses and expounded of God's manifesting them unto others; this. Wherein the wise man passes to the con. but I have taken it for his showing them to themsideration of the third thing, (mentioned upon chap. selves; agreeable to the word that follows, Lirei. 12.), unto which some aspire as the highest hap oth, “ that they might see," &c. The whole may piness, viz. greatness, power, and honour. Which, be thus translated" that God would clear their if a man be bad, make him so much the worse him minds, that they may see," &c. For it comes from self, and the world by his means; and if he be good, a root which signifies, such an accurate separation will trouble him very much, to find there are many of one thing from another, that the difference may abuses, which by all his power he cannot remedy.. be perspicuously discerned. For Solomon himself saw several gross impieties [k] Ver. 21.] And thus it seems also most reasoncommitted, (as he tells us in this verse), even by able to expound this last' verse, in connection with