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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, Zeinan her ; now they are eager to get, and at another time
and Gneth, 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 not 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 seven opposite seasons, of cach
gests to us. sort, as a complete demonstration, by induction, [a] 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 Haolam, 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, 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 tinng 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 here. 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 beginsons for undertakings. Brutus, Cicero, Hertins, 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.
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
be world, understands the circular motion of things for said of the next part of the verse ;
" there being a
the service of man. Bat 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 Epbemeris, (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] Ver. 9. What 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
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
that which is unnecessary.
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
all the rest; and to understand the first word of it, Ver. 4. Again, I considered all travail, and every who, concerning those persons mentioned in the be- right work, that for this a man is envied of his neighbour. ginning of this discourse: “ Who among those un. This is also vanity and vexation of spirit.] For, berighteous judges,” &c.
sides what they suffer from mighty oppressors, they
give one another a great deal of trouble ; pride, amCHAP. IV.
bition, emulation, envy, and hatred, reigning so un
controulably every where among all orders and ranks, THE ARGUMENT.-Having considered the power, all trades and professions, that when a man hath taken
which many times falls into the hands of unjust a great deal of honest pains, in soine useful work, and cruel men, he now represents the miserable and brought it to perfection; instead of gaining credit estate of those that are subject to them, as a farther by it, and being honoured for it, his neighbours look argument of the vanity and vexation, unto which awry upon him ; nay, he is maligned, disparaged, and mankind are liable in this troublesome world. And traduced, by those, who either cannot or will not imi. having noted some of the principal mischiefs of this tate, (but only carp at) his ingenious labours. So vain sort, (of which I shall give a distinct account in the it is to endeavour to excel others in art or industry, paraphrase and annotations upon it), he concludes which procure a man ill. will, when he looks for thanks the chapter with some animadversions upon the and commendations; and such an affliction it is to a condition of the greatest, nay, and the best of man's spirit, to labour hard for an ungrateful world; princes, who are not so happy as the world is api who are tormented by that which should please them, to think them.
and cannot see any worth in another, but they are vex
ed within themselves. See Annot. [b] SO
I returned, and considered all the oppres- Ver. 5. The fool foldeth his bands together, and eat.
sions that are done under the sun ; and be- eth bis oun flesh.] But see now, (as a farther instance bold, the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no of the vanity of mankind), what use some make of comforter ; and on the side of ibe oppressors there was this; who are so absurdly foolish, as to be utterly dispower, but they had no comforter.] But I have not yet couraged, and to sit down in perfect idleness; because done with the consideration of the miseries which there are such oppressions on one hand, from those inankind suffer, by the abuse of that power which is above them, (ver. 1.), and such einulations on the necessarily placed in the hands of some persons for the other hand, from those that are equal with them, and good of others, (iii. 16.) For, reflecting again upon under them, (ver. 4.). A wise resolution this! to do it, I observed the innumerable ways that were prac. nothing, because others do ill; not to satisfy one's tised in this world, for the undoing of others ; both self, because others will be displeased ; not to satisfy, by violence and exactions, and by fraud and calum. did I say? nay, he is hunger- bitten, and eaten up with nies, (as well as by unjust decrees), whereby so many cares how to live ; he hath not a rag to his back to were crushed, that nothing was to be seen or heard, 'cover his nakedness, having reduced himself and fa. but the tears and cries, the sighs and groans, of such mily, by his laziness, to extreme penury. as lay in a desolate condition, and could find no re- Ver. 6. Better is an handful with quietness, than lief, not so much as one to comfort them; for such both the hands full with travail and vexation of spirit.] was the greatness of their oppressors, who had gotten And though he want not excuses for his folly, yet all power into their hands, that as they could not de- they are as idle as his sloth ; for he senselessly applies fend themselves against them, so nobody else durst that common saying to his purpose, “ One handful express their compassion towards them, much less with ease, is better than two without it." Which is plead for them, for fear of being served in the same very true, if rightly understood ; and may serve to rekind themselves. See Annot. [a]
prove both him, and those from whom he learns this Ver. 2. Wherefore I praised the dead which are al- folly ; for as idleness and emptiness always go toge. ready dead, more than the living which are yet alive.] ther, (and, therefore, he in vain expects to have so Which made me think it was better to be among the much as one handful without labour), so is a mode. dead, who have made an happy escape from all these rate estate gotten honestly with moderate diligence, calamities, than to remain still alive; either to suffer and enjoyed handsomely with perfect contentment, under this tyranny, or to live in perpetual fear of it; better than the greatest treasures gotten by oppression or to behold such great grief of heart
, (but without or with infinite toil, and enjoyed with anxious thoughts power to help them), what many miserable wretches and fretting cares, and exposing a man either to the endure.
hatred or the envy of others. See Annot. [d] Ver. 3. Yea, better is be, than both they, who hath Ver. 7. | Then I returned, and I saw vanity under pot yet been, who hath not seen the evil work that is done the sun.] Nor is this all the folly into which men under the sun.] Or rather, (for why should I compare fall
, by the fore-named tyranny and oppression, (ver. the living with those who, though they now lie at rest 1.); but reflecting again upon this subject, I observed in their graves, have been heretofore very sorely af- another extreme into which they run, no less void of flicted?), much more desirable than either of these, reason and of satisfaction than the former. is it not to have come into the world at all; and so to . Ver. 8. There is one alone, and there is not a seconds bave had no sense of the miseries which the dead gea, he hath neither child nor brother ; yet is there no end have formerly felt, and the living now undergo ? of all his labour, neither is bis eye satisfied with richess.
neither saith he, For whom do I labour, and bereave my broken, though a single one be soon snapped asumder soul of good? This is also vanity, yea, it is a sore travail.] so he that is surrounded by his children, friends, and For, as some grow idle, so others grow too scraping neighbours, will make a better defence, and hold out and penurious; it being no rare thing to find a man longer, against those that invade his right, than that that lives single and alone, without so much as a com- wretched man can do, (ver. 8.), who, by loving panion, and hath neither child nor brother, nor kins- money alone, hath deprived himself of all such sucman, to make his heir, and yet he sets no measures, cours. either to his labours, or to his desires, but toils and Ver. 13. Better is a poor and a wise child, iban an craves without end; and, which is still worse, as he old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished.] can scarce find in his heart to allow himself the neces. But it is not society alone will make a man happy, saries, much less the pleasures of this life, so it never without wisdom and virtue. For who are better atcomes into his mind to think, who shall be the better tended and guarded than kings ? and yet the poorest for all this when he dies; and what a madness it is, man that is, if he be wise and good, is far happier both to rack his mind with cares, and to pinch his than the wealthiest prince on earth, who foolishly belly, and deny himself the comfort of what he hath, abu seth his power ; nay, the towardly child of a poor for the sake of he knows not whom.
man is much better than such a king, though his This also, certainly, is not only a senseless and un- greatness be made more venerable by his grey hairs; profitable folly, but one of the greatest plagues and for, besides that, wisdom makes the poor youth contorments of human life. See Annot. [e]
tented with his condition, though never so mean, (a Ver. 9. Two are better than one ; because they blessing at which princes hardly arrive); it renders have a good reward for their labour.] | How much wholesome admonition also acceptable to him, when wiser is he, who not only enjoys what he hath himself, by his inexperience he falls into an error; but folly but takes others into the society, to partake of the makes the other impatient of all advice and counsel; good things that God hath given him? For nothing is and the older he is, the more obstinate ; because, as more comfortable than good company, as nothing is his kingly dignity, he fancies, authorises him to do more dull and melancholy than a solitary life ; and what he list, so his age gives him a privilege of knowbesides, when two or more are adjoined together in ing, better than any body can tell him, what to do. common counsel, and mutual help and assistance, they See Annot. [g] will not only act more chearfully, but more easily Ver. 14. For out of prison be cometh to reign, whereeffect their design, and take the greater pleasure in as, also, be that is born in his kingdom becometh poor.] the fruits of their labour. See Annot. [f]
By which means it comes to pass, that he who was Ver. 15. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fel. born a mere beggar, nay, was as poor and abject as low; but woe to him that is alone when be falleth, for the vilest slave, rises by his singular prudence, counbe hath not another to help him up.] Or if they have sel, and conduct, unto a throne ; when he whose apany ill success, or fall into danger, it will not only cestors were kings, and possessed his dominions by an make the singular benefit' of fellowship the more hereditary right, is deserted by his subjects, and, plainly appear, because they will relieve and rescue through his folly and wickedness, falls into such conone the other ; but lamentable is his condition, who tempt, that he not only loses his crown, bat is reduhath no friend, no companion, to reach out his chari- ced to the greatest poverty, in which he spends a mi. table hand to him when he falls, (suppose into a pit); serable life. none to comfort him when he is sick ; none to testify Ver. 15. I considered all the living which walk unhis innocence when he is defamed; or, which is worse, der the sun, with the second child that shall stand up in to restore him, when by his own imprudence or ne- bis stead.) Or, if this happen not, yet, (such is the gligence he falls into a sin.
infelicity of good princes), I have seen a great king Ver. 11. Again, if two lie together, then they bave left with nothing but the bare title, and the outward beat ; but bow can one be warm alone?] And, there. state of royalty; the hearts and affections of all nobles, fore, in the very beginning of the world, God did not gentry, and common people, from one end of the think fit to let man be alone, but gave him an help kingdom to the other, inclining to his son, (or to the meet for him; and as two that lie together in the same next heir), that is to succeed him; unto whom they bed, cherish one another by their mutual heat, but it do obeisance, as if he were already upon the throne, is hard to be warm alone ; so do they that are strong, but neglect his old father ; who sees himself robbed undaunted, vigorous, and chearful, infuse that courage of those honours, in which he placed his happiness.; and comfort, which silver and gold cannot give, into and that by his own son, who would have been more those that are of a weak, timorous, dejected, or me. dutiful, perhaps, if he had been a private man. See lancholy spirit.
Ver. 16. And if one prevail against him, two shall Ver. 16. There is no end of all the people, even of a'l withstand bim; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.] that have been before them ; they also that come after, To conclude, we are never more sensible of the bene- shall not rejoice in him. Surely ibis also is vanity and fit of society, than when we are assaulted by a power. vexation of spirit.] Nor is this a thing that will nave ful enemy; whom we cannot resist alone, but by the an end, but a humour so rooted in all mankind, that, help of a friend may be able to overcome ; for as a as in all preceding times, (before this king and his reat many threads twisted together are not quickly son were born), they have been weary of that which
they have long enjoyed ; so this young prince, who is man's flesh), are in danger to starve with him. 20w followed with such applause, must not think that There are other explications of this phrase, upon it will last alway; but they that come after will take which I have touched in the paraphrase, which adas little delight in him, as the present generation doth mirably express the folly of him that undoes himin his father ; and, when he grows old, court his son, self, to avoid being undone by others. after the same fashion as they now do him, óbeing [d] Ver. 6. Better is an kandful.] Which though it young.,
be a very absurd resolution, yet he wants not apoFrom all which it appears, that happiness is not to logies for it. Nay, as if he were the only wise be found in honour and dignity ; no, not in the very man, (sapientum octavus, “ wiser than seven men highest pitch of it, which is the kingly power ; for that can render a reason," as Bishop Sanderson there also is not only dissatisfaction, but many dangers, speaks.,, he utters sentences, (but it is " like a patroubles, and vexatious cares, which very much dis. rable in the mouth of a fool," a speech full of reaturb and perplex their spirits. See Annot. [i]
son in itself, but witlessly applied), and says, that
“ better is a handful with quietness," &c. WhereANNOTATIONS.
in he makes a shew of being the most contented
soul that lives; but is far from it, desiring and [a] Ver. 1. Oppressions.] There are more evils than coveting as much as the most toiling and moiling
one that arise from the ill administration of pub. wretch in the world, if he might but have it, and lic affairs. For they are either external or inter- never sweat for it. ral. And the external are two, either from supe. Thus some, understand this 6th verse ; which others riors, or from equals and inferiors. Those from take to be Solomon's advice to the envious spoken superiors he speaks of in this verse, and calls by of before, or to the covetous spoken of afterward, the general name of oppressions, which comes from that they would be contented with their condition ; a root in the Hebrew, that signifies indifferently to moderate riches having fewer cares, which a great oppress, (or rather to squeeze others, and utterly estate brings along with it in abundance. crush them), whether it be by forcible violence, or all which I have had respect in the paraphrase upon by extortion in the traffic, or by fraud, circumven
this verse. tion, and false accusation. If it refer to any one [e] Ver. 8. One alone.] And as this is the fault on of these more than to another, it is to the last. one side, so, on the other, there are those who And therefore the LXX. though they translate it turn their thoughts altogether to save what they by several words, importing bearing down others can ; pinching themselves, by a penurious way of by main strength, yet by none so frequent, as by living, that they may seem poor and not worth the rukopavles, to undo others by calumny.
squeezing, and likewise have secret reserve of un. [b] Ver. 4. Envied.] Those evils which come from known treasures in case they are oppressed. This
equals or inferiors, he speaks of in this verse, he describes here, by the example of a man, who and calls by the general name of envy, which is hath neither wife, nor child, nor friend, nor coma word in the Hebrew, that signifies, when it is panion, but lives solitary in a house by himself, taken in an ill sense, all those vicious affections, where he spends little, and yet thinks of nothing which are the causes or the effects of envious but getting riches; which he enjoys not at all, only emulation at the good qualities or prosperity of looks upon them, and wishes still to see more. another person.
Which St James calls Fixeos Song, One, not a second.] Is properly a man without an heir, bitter zeal or envying, iii. 14. and St Paul is wont to or a successor, as ver. 15. express by two words, ügis and Girou, strife, (or [f] Ver. 9. &c.] Upon the occasion of the foregcmaking bate), and envying, Rom. xiii. 13. ; strife ing observation, ver. 8. (the better to represent the and envying, i. e. contentious or factious emula- folly of that sottish hunour be there describes), tion, Philip. i. 15. envy and strife, i, e. invidious he sets forth the benefit of society, which Greg. contention.
Thaumaturgus here calls Korwvíær Bix, living in fel. [c] Ver. 5. Foldeth his hands.] Here he passes to lowship and communion together. This he shews
those evils which I called internal, which come is profitable, First, to procure us greater happiness, not from others, but from ourselves. For some wbich is the subject of this gth verse. Secondly, (seeing the forenamed oppressions, or the envy that to preserve us in the enjoyment of that happiness, attends upon men's industry and good successes) when we have attained it; as he shews by three grow idle, and leave off all business, (expressed instances. First, To deliver us out of dangers, here by folding the hands, see Prov. vi. 10.), be- ver. 10. Secondly, To fortify us against them, ver. cause it is to no purpose to get what another II. Thirdly, To repel them, when they actually may presently take away, or if he keep, it raises assault us, ver. 12. Where is a proverbial saying him other enemies, who grudge to see him so of a triple cord or thread, like to which there are happy.
many in other authors; but I forbear to fill the paBy this means such a man brings himself to extreme per with them, and leave those also who have a poverty; so that phrase, “ eateth his own flesh,” mind to allegorical application of these three things signifies, one that is ready to die with hunger ; and to seek for them in other books. For my busiwhose wife and children, (called in scripture a ness is only to give a brief account of the literal