Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V
Chapter VI
Chapter VII
Chapter VIII
Chapter IX
Chapter X
Chapter XI
Chapter XII

Three things are to be observed concerning this book.

  1. The author; who was Solomon, as is manifest both from the common consent of Jewish and Christian writers, and from the express words of the first verse. That he wrote it in his old age, is more than probable from divers passages in it, as, that he did it after his buildings, chap. 2:4, which yet took up twenty years of his life, 1Kings 9:10, and after some considerable enjoyment of them, and planting of gardens, and orchards, and reaping the fruit of them, chap. 2:5,6, and after long and much consideration and experience of all those methods in which men expect to find happiness, chap. 7:27, &c. So this book was written by him, as a publick testimony of his repentance and detestation of those wicked courses to which he had addicted himself: wherein he followed the example of his father David, who, after his sad fall, penned the fifty - first psalm. And the truth of this opinion may be confirmed by that expression, 2Chron 11:17. They walked in the way of David and Solomon; that is, wherein they walked, both before their falls, and after their repentance.
  2. The method of it. For whereas there are some passages in it which seem impious; it must be considered, that it is in part dramatical; that Solomon speaks most things in his own name, but some things in the names of ungodly men, as is undeniably manifest both front the scope and design of the book, as it is expressed both in the beginning and in the conclusion of it, and from his serious and large disputation against those wicked principles and courses. And this way of writing is not unusual among both sacred and profane writers.
  3. The design of it; which is, to describe man's true happiness, and the way leading to it. This he does both negatively, proving, that it is not to be found either in secular wisdom, or in sensual pleasures, or in worldly greatness and glory, or in abundance of riches, or in a vain profession of religion: and positively, shewing, that it is to be had only in the fear of God and obedience to his laws, which alone can give a man a chearful enjoyment of his present comforts, and an assurance of his everlasting happiness.

Chapter I

The title of the book, ver. 1. The general doctrine, All is vanity, ver. 2, 3. Proved from the shortness of life, and the perpetual changes of all the creatures, ver. 4 - 7. From the unsatisfying toil of men, and the return of the same things over again, ver. 8 - 11. The vanity of knowledge, ver. 12 - 18.

1 The preacher - Who was not only a king, but also a teacher of God's people: who having sinned grievously in the eyes of all the world, thought himself obliged to publish his repentance, and to give publick warning to all, to avoid those rocks upon which he had split.
2 Vanity - Not only vain, but vanity in the abstract, which denotes extreme vanity. Saith - Upon deep consideration and long experience, and by Divine inspiration. This verse contains the general proposition, which he intends particularly to demonstrate in the following book. All - All worldly things. Is vanity - Not in themselves for they are God's creatures and therefore good in their kinds, but in reference to that happiness, which men seek and expect to find in them. So they are unquestionably vain, because they are not what they seem to be, and perform not what they promise, but instead of that are the occasions of innumerable cares, and fears, and sorrows, and mischiefs. Nay, they are not only vanity but vanity of vanities, the vainest vanity, vanity in the highest degree. And this is redoubled, because the thing is certain, beyond all possibility of dispute.
3 What profit - What real and abiding benefit? None at all. All is unprofitable as to the attainment of that happiness which all men are enquiring after. His labour - Heb. his toilsome labour, both of body and mind in the pursuit of riches, or pleasures, or other earthly things. Under the sun - In all worldly matters, which are usually transacted in the day time, or by the light of the sun. By this restriction he implies that the happiness which in vain is sought for in this lower world, is really to be found in heavenly places and things.
4 Passeth - Men continue but for one, and that a short age, and then they leave all their possessions, and therefore they cannot be happy here, because happiness must needs be unchangeable and eternal; or else the certain knowledge of the approaching loss of all these things will rob a man of solid contentment in them. Abideth - Through all successive generations of men; and therefore man is more mutable than the very earth upon which he stands, and which, together with all the comforts which he enjoyed in it, he leaves behind to be possessed by others.
5 The sun - The sun is in perpetual motion, rising, setting, and rising again, and so constantly repeating its course in all succeeding days, and years, and ages; and the like he observes concerning the winds and rivers, ver.6,7, and the design of these similitudes seem to be; to shew the vanity of all worldly things, and that man's mind can never be satisfied with them, because there is nothing in the world but a constant repetition of the same things, which is so irksome, that the consideration thereof hath made some persons weary of their lives; and there is no new thing under the sun, as is added in the foot of the account, ver.9, which seems to be given us as a key to understand the meaning of the foregoing passages. And this is certain from experience that the things of this world are so narrow, and the mind of man so vast, that there must be something new to satisfy the mind; and even delightful things by too frequent repetition, are so far from yielding satisfaction, that they grow tedious and troublesome.
6 The wind - The wind also sometimes blows from one quarter of the world, and sometimes from another; successively returning to the same quarters in which it had formerly been.
7 Is not full - So as to overflow the earth. Whereby also he intimates the emptiness of mens minds, notwithstanding all the abundance of creature comforts. Rivers come - Unto the earth in general, from whence they come or flow into the sea, and to which they return by the reflux of the sea. For he seems to speak of the visible and constant motion of the waters, both to the sea and from it, and then to it again in a perpetual reciprocation.
8 All things - Not only the sun, and winds, and rivers, but all other creatures. Labour - They are in continual restlessness and change, never abiding in the same state. Is not satisfied - As there are many things in the world vexatious to men, so even those things which are comfortable, are not satisfactory, but men are constantly desiring some longer continuance or fuller enjoyment of them, or variety in them. The eye and ear are here put for all the senses, because these are most spiritual and refined, most curious and inquisitive, most capable of receiving satisfaction, and exercised with more ease and pleasure than the other senses.
9 There is - There is nothing in the world but a continued and tiresome repetition of the same things. The nature and course of the beings and affairs of the world, and the tempers of men, are the same that they ever were and shall ever be; and therefore, because no man ever yet received satisfaction from worldly things, it is vain for any person hereafter to expect it. No new thing - In the nature of things, which might give us hopes of attaining that satisfaction which hitherto things have not afforded.
11 No remembrance - This seems to be added to prevent the objection, There are many inventions and enjoyments unknown to former ages. To this he answers, This objection is grounded only upon our ignorance of ancient times which if we exactly knew or remembered, we should easily find parallels to all present occurrences. There are many thousands of remarkable speeches and actions done in this and the following ages which neither are, nor ever will be, put into the publick records or histories, and consequently must unavoidably be forgotten in succeeding ages; and therefore it is just and reasonable to believe the same concerning former ages.
12 I was king - Having asserted the vanity of all things in the general, he now comes to prove his assertion in those particulars wherein men commonly seek, and with greatest probability expect to find, true happiness. He begins with secular wisdom. And to shew how competent a judge he was of this matter, he lays down this character, That he was the preacher, which implies eminent knowledge; and a king, who therefore had all imaginable opportunities and advantages for the attainment of happiness, and particularly for the getting of wisdom, by consulting all sorts of books and men, by trying all manner of experiments; and no ordinary king, but king over Israel, God's own people, a wise and an happy people, whose king he was by God's special appointment and furnished by God, with singular wisdom for that great trust; and whose abode was in Jerusalem where were the house of God and the most wise and learned of the priests attending upon it, and the seats of justice, and colleges or assemblies of the wisest men of their nation. All these concurring in him, which rarely do in any other men, make the argument drawn from his experience more convincing.
13 I gave my heart - Which phrase denotes his serious and fixed purpose, and his great industry in it. To search - To seek diligently and accurately. By wisdom - By the help of that wisdom wherewith God had endowed me. Concerning - Concerning all the works of God and men in this lower world; the works of nature; the works of Divine providence; and the works and depths of human policy. This travel - This difficult and toilsome work of searching out these things, God hath inflicted as a just punishment upon man for his eating of the tree of knowledge. To be exercised - To employ themselves in the painful study of these things.
14 Seen - Diligently observed. Vanity - Not only unsatisfying, but also an affliction or breaking to a man's spirit.
15 Crooked - All our knowledge serves only to discover our miseries, but is utterly insufficient to remove them; it cannot rectify those disorders which are either in our own hearts and lives, or in the men and things of the world. Wanting - In our knowledge. Or, counted out to us from the treasures of human learning. But what is wanting, will still be so. And that which is wanting in our own knowledge, is so much that it cannot be numbered. The more we know, the more we see of our own ignorance.
16 Communed - I considered within myself. Great - In wisdom. Have gotten - As I had a large stock of wisdom infused into me by God, so I have greatly improved it by conversation, and study, and experience. Than all - Whether governors, or priests, or private persons. In Jerusalem - Which was then the most eminent place in the world for wisdom.
17 To know - That I might throughly understand the nature and difference of truth and error, of virtue and vice.
18 Grief - Or, displeasure within himself, and against his present condition. Sorrow - Which he does many ways, because he gets his knowledge with hard and wearisome labour, both of mind and body, with the consumption of his spirits, and shortening of his life; because he is often deceived with knowledge falsely so called, and often mistakes error for truth, and is perplexed with manifold doubts, from which ignorant men are wholly free; because he hath the clearer prospect into, and quicker sense of his own ignorance, and infirmities, and disorders, and withal how vain and ineffectual all his knowledge is for the prevention or removal of them; and because his knowledge is very imperfect and unsatisfying, yet increasing his thirst after more knowledge; lastly, because his knowledge quickly fades and dies with him, and then leaves him in no better, and possibly in a much worse condition than the meanest and most unlearned man in the world.

Chapter II

Solomon shews, that there is no true happiness to be had in mirth and the pleasures of sense, ver. 1 - 11. He considers wisdom again, and owns it to be an excellent thing, and yet insufficient to give happiness, ver. 12 - 16. He shews that business and wealth are only vanity and vexation of spirit, ver. 17 - 23. And that if there be any good therein, it is only to these who sit loose to them, ver. 24 - 26.

1 I said - Being disappointed of my hopes from knowledge, I resolved to try another course. Go to - O my soul! I will try whether I cannot make thee happy, by the enjoyment of sensual delights. Vanity - Is vain, and unable to make men happy.
2 It is mad - This is an act of madness, more fit for fools who know nothing, than for wise men in this sinful, and dangerous, and deplorable state of mankind. What doth it - What good doth it? Or how can it make men happy? I challenge all the Epicures in the world to give me a solid answer.
3 To wine - To gratify myself with delicious meats and drinks. Yet - Yet resolving to use my wisdom, that I might try whether I could not arrive at satisfaction, by mixing wine and wisdom together. To lay hold - To pursue sensual pleasures, which was my folly. 'Till - 'Till I might find out the true way to contentment and satisfaction, during this mortal life.
6 The wood - The nurseries of young trees, which for the multitude of them were like a wood or forest.
8 Peculiar treasure - The greatest jewels and rarities of other kings, which they gave to me, either as a tribute, or by way of present. Of provinces - Which were imposed upon or presented by all the provinces of my dominions.
9 Great - In riches, and power, and glory. My wisdom remained - As yet I was not wholly seduced from God.
10 And - Whatsoever was grateful to my senses. Rejoiced - I had the comfort of all my labours, and was not hindered from the full enjoyment of them by sickness or war, or any other calamity. My portion - This present enjoyment of them, was all the benefit which I could expect from all my labours. So that I made the best of them.
11 Vexation - I found myself wholly dissatisfied. No profit - The pleasure was past, and I was never the better for it, but as empty as before.
12 I turned - Being frustrated of my hopes in pleasure, I returned to a second consideration of my first choice, to see whether there was not more satisfaction to be gotten from wisdom, than I discovered at my first view. Done - As by others, so especially by myself. They can make no new discoveries as to this point. They can make no more of the pleasures of sense than I have done. Let me then try once more, whether wisdom can give happiness.
13 I saw - I allowed thus much. Although wisdom is not sufficient to make men happy, yet it is of a far greater use than vain pleasures, or any other follies.
14 Head - In their proper place. He hath the use of his eyes and reason, and foresees, and so avoids many dangers and mischiefs. Yet - Notwithstanding this excellency of wisdom above folly, at last they both come to one end. Both are subject to the same calamities, and to death itself, which takes away all difference between them.
15 Why - What benefit have I by my wisdom?
16 For - Their memory, though it may flourish for a season, yet will in a little time be worn out; as we see it, most of the wise men of former ages, whose very names, together with all their monuments, are utterly lost. As the fool - He must die as certainly as the fool.
17 Life - My life was a burden to me. Is grievous - All human designs and works are so far from yielding me satisfaction, that the consideration of them increases my discontent.
18 All my labour - All these riches and buildings, and other fruits of my labour, were aggravations of my misery. Because - Because I must, and that everlastingly, leave them all behind me.
19 Or a fool - Who will undo all that I have done, and turn the effects of my wisdom into instruments of his folly. Some think he had such an opinion of Rehoboam.
20 Despair - I gave myself up to despair of ever reaping that satisfaction which I promised to myself.
21 Wisdom - Who uses great industry, and prudence, and justice too, in the use and management of his affairs. To a man - Who has spent his days in sloth and folly. A great evil - A great disorder in itself, and a great torment to a considering mind.
22 For what - What comfort or benefit remains to any man after this short and frail life is once ended?
23 Sorrows - Full of sorrows. Tho' he took great and unwearied pains all his days, yet the toils of his body were accompanied with vexation of mind. His heart - Because his sleep was broken with perplexing cares.
24 Enjoy - That he should thankfully take, and freely and chearfully enjoy the comforts which God gives him. It was - A singular gift of God.
25 More than I - Therefore he could best tell whether they were able of themselves, without God's special gift, to yield a man content, in the enjoying of them. Who can pursue them with more diligence, obtain them with more readiness, or embrace them with more greediness?
26 Wisdom - To direct him how to use his comforts aright; that so they may be blessings, and not curses to him. Joy - A thankful contented mind. To heap up - He giveth him up to insatiable desires, and wearisome labours, that he may leave it to others, yea to such as he least desired, to good and virtuous men.

Chapter III

Solomon proves, that we ought to make use of what God has given us, by shewing the mutability of all human affairs, ver. 1 - 10. The immutability and unsearchableness of the Divine counsels, ver. 11 - 15. The vanity of honour and power, often an instrument of oppression, for which God will judge the oppressors, ver. 16, 17. Whose condition in this world is no better than that of brutes, ver. 18 - 21. Therefore live well, ver. 22.

1 A season - A certain time appointed by God for its being and continuance, which no human wit or providence can alter. And by virtue of this appointment of God, all vicissitudes which happen in the world, whether comforts or calamities, come to pass. Which is here added to prove the principal proposition, That all things below are vain, and happiness is not to be found in them, because of their great uncertainty, and mutability, and transitoriness, and because they are so much out of the reach and power of men, and wholly in the disposal of God. Purpose - Not only natural, but even the voluntary actions of men, are ordered and disposed by God. But it must be considered, that he does not here speak of a time allowed by God, wherein all the following things may lawfully be done, but only of a time fixed by God, in which they are actually done.
2 To die - And as there is a time to die, so there is a time to rise again, a set time when they that lie in the grave shall be remembered.
3 To kill - When men die a violent death. To heal - When he who seemed to be mortally wounded is healed.
4 To weep - When men have just occasion for weeping.
5 Stones - Which were brought together in order to the building of a wall or house. To embrace - When persons perform all friendly offices one to another.
6 To life - When men lose their estates, either by God's providence, or by their own choice. To cast away - When a man casts away his goods voluntarily, as in a storm, to save his life, or out of love and obedience to God.
7 To rent - When men rend their garments, as they did in great and sudden griefs.
8 To love - When God stirs up love, or gives occasion for the exercise of it.
9 What profit - Seeing then all events are out of man's power, and no man can do or enjoy any thing at his pleasure, but only when God pleaseth, as has been shewed in many particulars, and is as true and certain in all others, hence it follows, that all men's labours, without God's blessing, are unprofitable, and utterly insufficient to make them happy.
10 Seen - I have diligently observed mens various employments, and the different successes of them. Hath given - Which God hath imposed upon men as their duty; to which therefore men ought quickly to submit. Exercised - That hereby they might have constant matter of exercise for their diligence, and patience, and submission to God's will and providence.
11 He hath - This seems to be added as at apology for God's providence, notwithstanding all the contrary events and confusions which are in the world. He hath made (or doth make or do, by his providence in the government of the world) every thing (which he doth either immediately, or by the ministry of men, or other creatures) beautiful (convenient, so that, all things considered, it could not have been done better) in its time or station, (when it was most fit to be done). Many events seem to mens shallow judgments, to be very irregular and unbecoming, as when wicked men prosper, and good men are oppressed; but when men shall throughly understand God's works, and the whole frame and contexture of them, and see the end of them, they will say, all things were done wisely. He hath set - It is true, God hath put the world into mens hearts, or made them capable of observing all the dispensations of God in the world; but this is to be understood with a limitation, because there are some more mysterious works of God, which no man can fully, understand, because he cannot search them out from the beginning to the end.
12 Them - In creatures or worldly enjoyments. To do good - To employ them in acts of charity and liberality.
13 Should eat - Use what God hath given him.
14 For ever - All God's counsels or decrees are eternal and unchangeable. Nothing - Men can neither do any thing against God's counsel and providence, nor hinder any work or act of it. Fear - That by the consideration of his power in the disposal of all persons and things, men should learn to trust in him, to submit to him, to fear to offend him, and more carefully study to please him.
15 Hath been - Things past, present, and to come, are all ordered by one constant counsel, in all parts and ages of the world. There is a continual return of the same motions of the heavenly bodies, of the same seasons of the year, and a constant succession of new generations of men and beasts, but all of the same quality.
16 Moreover - This is another argument of the vanity of worldly things, and an hindrance of that comfort which men expect in this life, because they are oppressed by their rulers. Judgment - ln the thrones of princes, and tribunals of magistrates. Solomon is still shewing that every thing in this world without the fear of God is vanity. In these verses he shews, that power, of which men are so ambitious, and life itself, are worth nothing without it.
17 I said - I was sorely grieved at this, but I quieted myself with this consideration. Shall judge - Absolving the just, and condemning the wicked. A time - God will have his time to rectify all these disorders. There - At the judgment - seat of God. For - For examining not only all men's actions, but all their thoughts and purposes.
18 I said - And further I considered concerning their condition in this present world. That God - God suffers these disorders among men, that he might discover men to themselves, and shew what strange creatures they are, and what vile hearts they have. Beasts - That altho' God made them men, yet they have made themselves beasts by their brutish practices, and that, considered only with respect to the present life, they are as vain and miserable creatures as the beasts themselves.
19 For - They are subject to the same diseases, pains, and calamities. So dieth - As certainly, and no less, painfully. One breath - One breath of life, which is in their nostrils by which the beasts perform the same animal operations. No pre - eminence - In respect of the present life.
20 One place - To the earth, out of which they were taken. All turn - All their bodies.
21 Who knoweth? - True it is, there is a difference, which is known by good men; but the generality of mankind never mind it: their hearts are wholly set on present and sensible things, and take no thought for the things of the future and invisible world.
22 Better - For a man's present satisfaction. Should rejoice - That he comfortably enjoys what God hath given him. His portion - This is the benefit of his labours. For - When once he is dead he shall never return to see into whose hands his estate falls.

Chapter IV

The misery of the oppressed and the oppressor, ver. 1 - 3. Of being envied, which occasions sloth in others, ver. 4 - 6. The folly of hoarding up wealth, ver. 7, 8. The benefit of society, ver. 9 - 12. The mutability even of the royal dignity, thro' the foolishness of the prince, and the fickleness of the people ver. 13 - 16.

1 I returned - I considered again. Oppressions - Whether by princes, magistrates, or other potent persons. No comforter - None afforded them pity or succour. But they, &c. - No comfort therein.
2 I praised - I judged them less miserable. For this is certain, that setting aside the future life, which Solomon doth not meddle with in the present debate; and considering the uncertainty, and vanity, and manifold calamities of the present life, a wise man would not account it worth his while to live.
3 Better is he - Who was never born. Not seen - Not felt: for as seeing good is put for enjoying it, so seeing evil is put for suffering it.
4 Right work - All the worthy designs of virtuous men. Envied - Instead of honour, he meets with envy and obloquy.
5 The fool - Is careless and idle: perceiving that diligence is attended with envy, he runs into the other extreme. Eateth - Wastes his substance, and brings himself to poverty, whereby his very flesh pines away for want of bread.
6 Better - These are the words of the sluggard, making this apology for his idleness, That his little with ease, is better than great riches got with much trouble.
8 Alone - Who has none but himself to care for. Brother - To whom he may leave his vast estate. Yet - He lives in perpetual restlessness and toil. For whom - Having no kindred to enjoy it. And bereave - Deny myself those comforts and conveniences which God hath allowed me? A sore travel - A dreadful judgment, as well as a great sin.
9 Two - Who live together in any kind of society. Because - Both have great benefit by such conjunction, whereby they support, encourage, and strengthen one another.
10 They - One of them. Fall - Into any mistake, or sin, or danger.
12 Prevail - Against either of them.
13 Better - More happy. Now he proceeds to another vanity, That of honour and power. Than a king - Who hath neither wisdom to govern himself, nor to receive the counsels of wiser men.
14 For he - The poor and wise child is often advanced to the highest dignity. Whereas - That old king is deprived of his kingdom.
15 I considered - The general disposition of common people, in all kingdoms, that they are fickle and inconstant. With the second child - This may be understood of the king's child, or son and heir, called second, in respect of his father, whose successor he is. Stand up - Arise to reign.
16 No end - This humour of the common people hath no end, but passes from one generation to another. Before them - Before the present generation. And so here are three generations of people noted, the authors of the present change, and their parents, and their children; and all are observed to have the same inclinations. In him - They shall be as weary of the successor, though a wise and worthy prince, as their parents were of his foolish predecessor.

Chapter V

Solomon here discourses of the worship of God, as a remedy against all these vanities, but warns us of vanities therein, ver. 1 - 7. Directs us to eye God as our judge, ver. 8. Shews the vanity of riches, ver. 9 - 17. And recommends the chearful use of what God has given us, ver. 18 - 20.

1 Thy foot - Thy thoughts and affections, by which men go to God and walk with him. To hear - To hearken to and obey God's word. Of fools - Such as wicked men use to offer, who vainly think to please God with their sacrifices without obedience. For - They are not sensible of the great sinfulness of such thoughts.
2 Rash - Speak not without due consideration. To utter - Either in prayer, or vows. For God - Is a God of infinite majesty, holiness, and knowledge. Thy words - Either in prayer or in vowing.
3 A dream - When men are oppressed with business in the day, they dream of it in the night. Is known - It discovers the man to be a foolish, and rash, and inconsiderate man. Of words - Either in prayer, or in vowing, by making many rash vows, of which he speaks ver.4, 5, 6, and then returns to the mention of multitude of dreams and many words, ver.7, which verse may be a comment upon this, and which makes it probable that both that and this verse are to be understood of vows rather than of prayers.
4 In fools - In perfidious persons, who, when they are in distress, make liberal vows, and when the danger is past, break them.
6 Thy mouth - By any rash vow. Thy flesh - Thyself, the word flesh being often put for the whole man. The angel - The priest or ministers of holy things. Such persons are often called angels, or, as this Hebrew word is commonly rendered, messengers. And this title seems to be given to the priest here, because the vow made to God, was paid to the priest as one standing and acting in God's name and stead, and it belonged to him, as God's angel or ambassador, to discharge persons from their vows when there was just occasion. It was - I did unadvisedly in making such a vow. Angry - Why wilt thou provoke God to anger at these frivolous excuses? Destroy - Blast all thy labours, and particularly that work or enterprize for the success whereof thou didst make these vows.
7 For - There is a great deal of folly, as in multitude of dreams, which for the most part are vain and insignificant, so also in many words, in making many vows whereby a man is exposed to many snares and temptations. But - Fear the wrath of God, and therefore be sparing in making vows, and just in performing them.
8 If - Here is an account of another vanity, and a sovereign antidote against it. Marvel not - As if it were inconsistent with God's wisdom, and justice, to suffer such disorders. For - The most high God who is infinitely above the greatest of men. Regardeth - Not like an idle spectator, but a judge, who diligently observes, and will effectually punish them. Higher - God: it is an emphatical repetition of the same thing.
9 Profit - The fruits of the earth. For all - Necessary and beneficial to all men. The wise man, after some interruption, returns to his former subject, the vanity of riches, one evidence whereof he mentions in this verse, that the poor labourer enjoys the fruits of the earth as well as the greatest monarch. Is served - Is supported by the fruits of the field.
13 To their hurt - Because they frequently are the occasions both of their present and eternal destruction.
14 Perish - By some wicked practices, either his own, or of other men. Nothing - In the son's possession after his father's death.
15 To go - Into the womb of the earth, the common mother of all mankind. Take nothing - This is another vanity. If his estate be neither lost, nor kept to his hurt, yet when he dies he must leave it behind him, and cannot carry one handful of it into another world.
16 The wind - For riches, which are empty and unsatisfying, uncertain and transitory, which no man can hold or stay in its course, all which are the properties of the wind.
17 He eateth - He hath no comfort in his estate, but even when he eats, he doth it with anxiety and discontent. And wrath - When he falls sick, and presages his death, he is filled with rage, because he is cut off before he hath accomplished his designs, and because he must leave that wealth and world in which all his hopes and happiness lie.
18 Good - Good or comfortable to a man's self, and comely or amiable in the eye of other men. His portion - Of worldly goods; he hath a better portion in heaven. This liberty is given him by God, and this is the best advantage, as to this life, which he can make of them.
19 To take - To use what God hath given him.
20 Remember - So as to disquiet himself. The days - The troubles; days being put here for evil, or, sad days. Answereth - His desires, in giving him solid joy and comfort.

Chapter VI

The vanity of riches without use, ver. 1 - 6. They are unsatisfactory, ver. 7 - 10. It is folly to think of happiness in the things of this world, ver. 11, 12.

2 Riches - All sorts of riches. To eat - Because God gives him up to a base and covetous mind.
3 With good - He hath not a contented mind and comfortable enjoyment of his estate. Is better - Which as it never enjoyed the comforts, so it never felt the calamities of life.
4 He - The abortive; of whom alone, that passage is true, hath not seen the sun, ver.5. Cometh - Into the world. In vain - To no purpose; without any comfort or benefit by it. Departeth - Without any observation or regard of men. His name - Shall be speedily and utterly forgotten.
5 More rest - Because he is free from all those encumbrances and vexations to which the covetuous man is long exposed.
6 Tho' he live - Wherein he seems to have a privilege above an untimely birth. Seen - He hath enjoyed no comfort in it, and therefore long life is rather a curse, than a blessing to him. All - Whether their lives be long or short. Go - To the grave.
7 Is - For meat. And yet - Men are insatiable in their desires, and restless in their endeavours after more, and never say, they have enough.
8 More - In these matters. Both are subject to the same calamities, and partakers of the same comforts of this life. The poor - More than the poor that doth not know this. He means such a poor man as is ingenious and industrious; fit for service and business.
9 The fight - The comfortable enjoyment of what a man hath. Than - Restless desires of what a man hath not. This - Wandering of the desire.
10 Is named - This is added as a further instance of the vanity of all things in this life. That which hath been (man, who is the chief of all visible beings) is named already, by God, who, presently after his creation, gave him the following name, to signify what his nature and condition was. Man - A mortal and miserable creature, as his very name signifies, which God gave him for this very end, that he might be always sensible of his vain and miserable estate in this world. With him - With almighty God, with whom men are apt to contend upon every slight occasion, and against whom they are ready to murmur for this vanity, and mortality, and misery.
11 Seeing - This seems to be added as a conclusion from all the foregoing chapters; seeing not only man is a vain creature in himself, but there are also many other things, which instead of diminishing, do but increase this vanity, as wisdom, pleasure, power, wealth; seeing even the good things of this life bring so much toil, and cares, and fears, with them. The better - By all that he can either desire or enjoy here?
12 Who knoweth - No man certainly knows what is better for him here, whether to be high or low, rich or poor. Vain life - Life itself is a vain and uncertain thing, and therefore all things which depend on it must be so too. While - While it abides, hath nothing solid, or substantial in it, and which speedily passes away, and leaves no sign behind it. For - And as no man can be happy with these things while he lives, so he can have no content in leaving them to others, because he knows not either who shall possess them, or how the future owners will use or abuse them.

Chapter VII

Solomon here recommends seriousness, ver. 1 - 6 Calmness of spirit, ver. 7 - 10. Wisdom, ver. 11, 12. Suiting ourselves to every condition, ver. 13, 14. The advice of an infidel answered, ver. 15 - 18. The praise of wisdom, ver. 19. All men are sinners, ver. 20. Mind not the censures of others, ver. 21, 22. Solomon's experience of men and women, ver. 23 - 29.

1 Of death - Seeing this life is so full of vanity, and vexation, and misery, it is more desirable for a man to go out of it, than to come into it.
2 The house - Where mourners meet to celebrate the funeral of a deceased friend. That - Death. The living - Will be seriously affected with it, whereas feasting is commonly attended with levity, and manifold temptations.
4 The wise - Are constantly meditating upon serious things.
6 Thorns - Which for a time make a great noise and blaze, but presently go out.
7 A gift - A bribe given to a wise man, deprives him of the use of his understanding. So this verse discovers two ways whereby a wise man may be made mad, by suffering oppression from others, or by receiving bribes to oppress others. And this also is an argument of the vanity of worldly wisdom that is so easily corrupted and lost.
8 The end - The good or evil of things is better known by their end, than by their beginning. The patient - Who quietly waits for the issue of things. The proud - Which he puts instead of hasty or impatient, because pride is the chief cause of impatience.
10 Better - More quiet and comfortable. For this is an argument of a mind unthankful for the many mercies, which men enjoy even in evil times. For - This question shews thy folly in contending with thy Lord and governor, in opposing thy shallow wit to his unsearchable wisdom.
11 Good - When wisdom and riches meet in one man, it is an happy conjunction. By it - By wisdom joined with riches there comes great benefit. To them - Not only to a man's self, but many others in this world.
12 Life - But herein knowledge of wisdom excels riches, that whereas riches frequently expose men to destruction, true wisdom doth often preserve a man from temporal, and always from eternal ruin.
13 Consider - His wise, and just, and powerful government of all events, which is proposed as the last and best remedy against all murmurings. For who - No man can correct or alter any of God's works; and therefore all frettings at the injuries of men, or calamities of times, are not only sinful, but also vain and fruitless. This implies that there is an hand of God in all mens actions, either effecting them, if they be good, or permitting them, if they be bad, and ordering and over - ruling them, whether they he good or bad.
14 Be joyful - Enjoy God's favours with thankfulness. Consider - Consider that it is God's hand, and therefore submit to it: consider also why God sends it, for what sins, and with what design. God also - Hath wisely ordained, that prosperity and adversity should succeed one another. That - No man might be able to foresee, what shall befal him afterwards; and therefore might live in a constant dependance upon God, and neither despair in trouble, nor be secure or presumptuous in prosperity.
15 All - All sorts of events. My vanity - Since I have come into this vain life. Perisheth - Yea, for his righteousness, which exposes him to the envy, anger, or hatred of wicked men. Wickedness - Notwithstanding all his wickedness.
16 Be not - This verse and the next have a manifest reference to ver.15, being two inferences drawn from the two clauses of the observation. Solomon here speaks in the person of an ungodly man, who takes occasion to dissuade men from righteousness, because of the danger which attends it. Therefore, saith he, take heed of strictness, zeal, and forwardness in religion. And the next verse contains an antidote to this suggestion; yea, rather saith he, be not wicked or foolish overmuch; for that will not preserve thee, as thou mayest imagine, but will occasion and hasten thy ruin.
18 Take hold of - Embrace and practise this counsel. Shall come - Shall be delivered from all extremes, and from all the evil consequences of them.
19 Strengthen - Supports him in, and secures him against troubles and dangers.
20 Sinneth not - Who is universally and perfectly good.
21 Also - Do not strictly search into them, nor listen to hear them.
23 Proved - I have found to be true, by the help of that singular wisdom which God had given me. I said - I determined that I would attain perfection of wisdom. But - I found myself greatly disappointed.
24 It - God's counsels and works, and the reasons of them.
25 And seek - He useth three words signifying the same thing, to intimate his vehement desire, and vigorous, and unwearied endeavours after it. The reason - Both of God's various providences, and of the counsels and courses of men. The wickedness - Clearly and fully to understand the great evil of sin.
26 I find - By my own sad experience. Shall escape - Shall be prevented from falling into her hands.
27 To find - That I might make a true and just estimate.
28 Yet seeketh - I returned to search again with more earnestness. I find not - That it was so, he found, but the reason of the thing he could not find out. One man - A wise and virtuous man. A woman - One worthy of that name; one who is not a dishonour to her sex. Among - In that thousand whom I have taken into intimate society with myself.
29 Lo, this - Though I could not find out all the streams of wickedness, and their infinite windings and turnings, yet I have discovered the fountain of it, Original sin, and the corruption of nature, which is both in men and women. That - God made our first parents, Adam and Eve. Upright - Heb. right: without any imperfection or corruption, conformable to his nature and will, after his own likeness. They - Our first parents, and after them their posterity. Sought out - Were not contented with their present state, but studied new ways of making themselves more wise and happy, than God had made them. And we, their wretched children, are still prone to forsake the certain rule of God's word, and the true way to happiness, and to seek new methods of attaining it.

Chapter VIII

The benefit of wisdom, ver. 1. Honour the king and obey God, ver. 2 - 5. Prepare for sudden evils, and for death, ver. 6 - 8. Marvel not at oppression, or the present impunity of the wicked, ver. 9 - 11. It shall be well with the good, and ill with the wicked, though not immediately, ver. 12 - 14. Therefore chearfully use the gifts of God, and acquiesce in his will, ver. 15 - 17

1 Who is wise - There are few wise men in this world. Who knoweth - How few understand the reasons of things and can rightly expound the word and works of God. Wisdom - Makes a man venerable, chearful, mild, and amiable. The face is put for the mind, because the mind discovers itself in the countenance. Boldness - The roughness or fierceness. Changed - Into gentleness and humility.
2 The oath - Because of that oath which thou hast taken to keep all God's laws, whereof this of obedience to superiors is one.
3 To go - In discontent, withdrawing thyself from the king's service or obedience. Stand not - if thou hast offended him, persist not in it. For - His power is uncontrollable.
5 The commandment - Solomon passes to a new subject. Shall feel - Shall be delivered from those mischiefs which befal the disobedient. Discerneth - Both when, and in what manner he must keep the commands of God.
6 Because - There is a fit way and season for the accomplishment of every business, which is known to God, but for the most part hidden from man. Therefore - Because there are few who have wisdom to discern this, most men expose themselves to manifold miseries.
7 For - Men are generally ignorant of future events, and therefore their minds are disquieted.
8 To retain - To keep it in the body. This is added as another evidence of man's misery. No discharge - In that fatal conflict between life and death, when a man is struggling with death, though to no purpose, for death will be always conqueror. Neither - And although wicked men, who most fear death, use all possible means, to free themselves from it, yet they shall not escape it. The most subtle wickedness cannot outwit death, nor the most daring wickedness out - brave it.
9 To his hurt - There are some kings, who use their power tyrannically, whereby they not only oppress their people, but hurt themselves, bringing the vengeance of God upon their own heads.
10 And so - In like manner. The wicked - Wicked princes or rulers. Buried - With state and pomp. Who - Had administered publick justice, which is frequently signified by the phrase of coming in and going out before the people. The holy - The throne or tribunal seems to be so called here, to aggravate their wickedness, who being advanced by God into so high and sacred a place, betrayed so great a trust. Where - They lived in great splendor, and were buried with great magnificence. This - That men should so earnestly thirst after glory, which is so soon extinct.
11 Therefore - God's forbearance makes them presumptuous and secure.
13 A shadow - His life, though it may seem long, yet in truth is but a shadow, which will quickly vanish and disappear.
14 Done - Either by wicked potentates, who do commonly advance unworthy men, and oppress persons of greatest virtue and merit: or, by God's providence, who sees it fit for many weighty reasons so to manage the affairs of the present world. To whom - Who meet with such usage as the worst of men deserve. It happeneth - Who, instead of those punishments which they deserve, receive those rewards which are due to virtuous men.
15 To be merry - This he speaks of sensual delights.
16 To see - To observe mens various designs and employments, and their unwearied labours about worldly things. For there is - Having now mentioned the business which is done, or which man doth, upon earth, he further adds, as an evidence of man's eagerness in pursuing his business, for even by day and by night he (the busy man) seeth not sleep with his eyes. He grudges himself necessary refreshments, and disquiets himself with endless cares and labours.
17 I beheld - I considered the counsels and ways of God, and the various methods of his providence, and the reasons of them. Find out - No man, though ever so wise, is able fully and perfectly to understand these things. And therefore it is best for man not to perplex himself with endless enquiries, but quietly to submit to God's will and providence, and to live in the fear of God, and the comfortable enjoyment of his blessing.

Chapter IX

Outward things come to good and bad men alike, ver. 1 - 3. Death puts an end to all, ver. 4 - 6. Therefore enjoy the comforts and mind the business of life while it lasts, ver. 7 - 10. God's providence dispenses all things, ver. 11, 12. Wisdom often makes men very useful, and yet gains them little respect, ver. 13 - 18.

1 Their works - All events which befal them are governed by his providence, and therefore although we cannot fully understand the reasons of all, yet we may be assured they are done righteously. No man - No man can judge by their present outward condition, whether God loves or hates them; for whom he loves he chastens, and permits those whom he hates to prosper in the world.
2 All things - The good and evil things of the world equally happen to good and bad men.
3 An evil - A great trouble to a good man. Is full - Of wickedness. Madness - They go on madly and desperately in evil courses. They go - After all, they die in the same manner as the best men do.
4 Joined - That continues with living men. Hope - He hath not only some comfort for the present, but also hopes of further happiness in this world. Better - Much happier as to the comforts of this world.
5 Die - Whereby they are taught to improve life. Any thing - Of the actions and events of this world. Reward - The fruit of their labours in this world, are utterly lost as to them. Forgotten - Even in those places where they had lived in great power and glory.
6 Also - They neither love, nor hate, nor envy any thing in this world, but are unconcerned in what is done under the sun.
7 Go - Make this use of what I have said. Eat - Chearfully and thankfully enjoy thy comforts. Accepteth - Allows thee a comfortable enjoyment of his blessings.
8 White - The eastern people of the best sort, used white garments, especially in times of rejoicing. Ointment - Which upon joyful occasions was poured upon mens heads.
9 Vanity - Of this vain and frail life.
10 Whatsoever - Whatever thou hast opportunity and ability to do, do it with unwearied diligence, and vigour and expedition. For - Thou canst neither design nor act any thing there tending to thy own comfort or advantage.
11 But time - There are times or seasons, casual to men, but known by God, in which alone he will give men success.
12 His time - The time of his death, or other distress which God is bringing upon him. Are taken - While they are sporting and feeding themselves. When - When they are most careless and secure.
13 This wisdom - I have observed this among many other instances of wisdom. Which he adds for the commendation of wisdom, notwithstanding its insufficiency for man's happiness without God's blessing.
15 Yet - He was soon neglected and his great service forgotten.
17 Of wise men - Though poor. In quiet - Uttered with a modest and low voice. The cry - The clamorous discourses of a rich and potent, but foolish man.

Chapter X

Observations on wisdom and folly, ver. 1 - 3. On rulers, ver. 4 - 7. Miscellany observations, ver. 8 - 11. On governing the tongue, ver. 12 - 14. More miscellany observations, ver. 15 - 20.

2 Heart - His understanding is always present with him and ready to direct him. He mentions the right hand, because that is the common instrument of action. A fool's - His understanding is not effectual to govern his affections and actions.
3 Walketh - In his daily conversation. He saith - He discovers his folly to all that meet him.
4 The spirit - The passion. Leave not - In anger or discontent. Continue in a diligent and faithful discharge of thy duty, and modestly and humbly submit to him. Yielding - A gentle and submissive carriage.
6 The rich - Wise and worthy men, rich in endowments of mind.
8 An hedge - Whereby another man's fields or vineyards are distinguished, that he may either take away their fruits, or enlarge his own fields.
9 Whoso removeth - Stones too heavy for them: who rashly attempts things too high and hard for them.
10 Wisdom - As wisdom instructs a man in the smallest matters, so it is useful for a man's direction in all weighty affairs.
11 Without - If not prevented by the art and care of the charmer; which practice he does not justify, but only mentions by way of resemblance.
12 Gracious - Procure him favour with those who hear him.
14 Full of words - Forward to promise and boast what he will do, whereas none can be sure of future events, even during his own life, much more after his death.
15 Wearieth - Fools discover their folly by their wearisome and fruitless endeavours after things which are too high for them. Because - He is ignorant of those things which are most easy, as of the way to the great city whither he is going.
16 A child - Either in age, or childish qualities. Eat - Give up themselves to eating and drinking. Morning - The fittest time for God's service, for the dispatch of weighty affairs, and for sitting in judgment.
17 Nobles - Not so much by birth, as by their noble dispositions.
20 Thy thought - In the most secret manner. The rich - Princes or governors. A bird - The king will hear of it by unknown and unsuspected hands, as if a bird had heard and carried the report of it.

Chapter XI

An exhortation to works of charity, ver. 1 - 6. An admonition to prepare betimes for death and judgment, ver. 7 - 10.

1 The waters - Freely and liberally bestow it upon the waters; upon those poor creatures, on whom it may seem to be as utterly lost, as the seed which a man casts into the sea or river. Find it - It shall certainly be restored to thee, either by God or men. This is added to prevent an objection, and to quicken us to the duty enjoyned. After - The return may be slow, but it is sure, and will be so much the more plentiful.
2 Give - A part of thy estate or provisions. He alludes to the ancient custom, whereby the master of the feast distributed several parts to each guest, and withal sent portions to the poor. To eight - To as many as thou art able. For - Great calamities may come whereby thou mayest be brought to poverty, and so disabled from doing good.
3 The clouds - Learn, O man, the practice of liberality from the very lifeless creatures, from the clouds; which when they are filled with water, do not hoard it up, but plentifully pour it forth for the refreshment both of the fruitful field and the barren wilderness. Therefore, let us just not bring forth the fruits of righteousness, because death will shortly cut us down, and we shall then be determined to unchangeable happiness or misery, according as our works have been.
4 He - He who neglects the necessary works of sowing and reaping, because the weather is not exactly suitable to his desires will lose his harvest. Whereby he intimates, that men will never do good here, which is expressed by sowing, and consequently not receive good hereafter, which is called reaping, if they be discouraged from it by every doubt and difficulty.
5 The spirit - Of the soul of man, how it comes into the child in the womb; or how it is united with the body; or how and whether it goes out of the body. The works - What God is doing and will do with thee or others; the counsels and methods of God's providence. Therefore use the present opportunity.
6 In the morning - Early and late, in all seasons and occasions; do it speedily and continually, be not weary of it. Sow - Do all good works. With - hold not - From working or giving.
7 Truly - It cannot be denied that life is in itself desirable.
8 Rejoice - Enjoy all the comforts, and escape all the embitterments of human life, all his days. Darkness - Of death, or of the state of the dead. Many - Far more than the days of this short life. All - All things which befall any man belonging only to this life, are but vain, because they are short and transitory.
9 Rejoice - Indulge thy humour, and take thy fill of delights. And walk - Whatsoever thine eye or heart lusteth after, deny it not to them. But know - But in the midst of thy jollity consider thy reckoning.
10 Sorrow - Sensual and disorderly lusts, which he elegantly calls sorrow, to intimate, that although such practices at present gratify mens senses, yet they will shortly bring them to intolerable sorrows. Evil - All evil desires, tho' now they seem good to thee. Vanity - Most vain. The time of youth is vanishing and transitory, and old age and death will speedily come, against which every wise man will take care to lay in solid provisions and comforts.

Chapter XII

An exhortation to remember God in youth, enforced from the calamities of old age, and the change which death will make, ver. 1 - 7. The conclusion, All is vanity, ver. 8. The preacher's end in this book, ver. 9 - 12. The sum of all, to fear God and keep his commandments, in consideration of the judgment to come, ver. 13, 14.

1 Now - For now thou art most able to do it; and it will be most acceptable to God, and most comfortable to thyself, as the best evidence of thy sincerity, and the best provision for old age and death. Evil days - The time of old age, which is evil; burdensome in itself, and far more grievous when it is loaded with the sad remembrance of youthful follies, and with the dreadful prospect of approaching death and judgment. No pleasure - My life Is now bitter and burdensome to me: which is frequently the condition of old age.
2 Which - Heb. While the sun, and the light, and the moon, &c. That clause, and the light, seems to be added to signify that he speaks of the darkening of the sun, and moon, and stars; not in themselves, but only in respect of that light which they afford to men. And therefore the same clause which is expressed after the sun, is to be understood after the moon and stars. And those expressions may be understood of the outward parts of the body, and especially of the face, the beauty of the countenance, the pleasant complexion of the cheeks, the liveliness of the eyes, which are compared to the sun, and moon, and stars, and which are obscured in old age, as the Chaldee paraphrast understands it. Or of external things, of the change of their joy, which they had in their youth, into sorrow, and manifold calamities, which are usually the companions of old age. This interpretation agrees both with the foregoing verse, in which he describes the miseries of old age, and with the following clause, which is added to explain those otherwise ambiguous expressions; and with the scripture use of this phrase; for a state of comfort and happiness is often described by the light of the sun, and a state of trouble is set forth, by the darkening of the light of the sun. Nor the clouds - This phrase denotes a perpetual succession of rain, and clouds bringing rain, and then rain and clouds again. Whereby he expresses either the rheums or destructions which incessantly flow in old men; or the continual vicissitude of infirmities, diseases, and griefs; one deep calling upon another.
3 The house - Of the body: whose keepers are the hands and arms, which are man's best instruments to defend his body; and which in a special manner are subject to his trembling. The strong men - The thighs and legs, in which the main strength of the body consists. Grinders - The teeth, those especially which are commonly so called, because they grind the meat. Cease - To perform their office. And those, &c. - The eyes. By windows he understands either the eye - lids, which like windows, are either opened or shut: or, those humours and coats of the eyes, which are the chief instruments by which we see.
4 In - Or, towards the streets: which lead into the streets. This may be understood either of the outward senses, which, as doors, let in outward objects to the soul: or rather the mouth, the two lips, here expressed by a word of the dual number, which like a door, open or shut the way that leads into the streets or common passages of the body; which also are principal instruments both of speaking and eating. And these are said to be shut, not absolutely, but comparatively, because men in old age grow dull and listless, having little appetite to eat, and are very frequently indisposed for discourse. When the sound - When the teeth are loose and few, whereby both his speech is low, and the noise which he makes in eating is but small. Shall rise - From his bed, being weary with lying, and unable to get sleep. The bird - As soon as the birds begin to chirp, which is early in the morning, whereas young men, can lie and sleep long. The daughters - All those senses which are employed in music. Brought low - Shall be cast down from their former excellency, and become incapable either of making musick, or of delighting in it.
5 Afraid - The passion of fear is observed to be most incident to old men. High - When they walk abroad they dread to go up high or steep places. Fears - Lest as they are walking, they should stumble, or fall. The almond - tree - Their heads shall be as full of grey hairs, as the almond - tree is of white flowers. The grasshopper - They cannot endure the least burden, being indeed a burden to themselves. Desire - Of meats, and drinks, and music, and other delights, which are vehemently desired by men in their youth. Goeth - is travelling towards it, and every day nearer to it. Long home - From this place of his pilgrimage into the grave, from whence he must never return into this world, and into the state of the future life, which is unchangeable and everlasting. Mourners - Accompany the corpse thro' the streets to the grave.
6 The silver cord - By the silver cord he seems to understand the marrow of the back - bone, which comes from the brain, and goes down to the lowest end of it. And this is aptly compared to a cord, both for its figure, which is long and round, and for its use, which is to draw and move the parts of the body; and to silver, both for its excellency and colour, which is white and bright, in a dead, much more in a living body. This may properly be said to be loosed, or dissolved, because it is relaxed, or otherwise disabled for its proper service. And answerably hereto by the golden bowl we may understand, the membranes of the brain, and especially that inmost membrane which insinuates itself into all the parts of it, following it in its various windings, keeping each parcel of it in its proper place, and dividing one from another, to prevent disorder. This is not unfitly called a bowl, because It is round, and contains in it all the substance of the brain; and a golden bowl, partly for its great preciousness, partly for its ductility, being drawn out into a great thinness or fineness; and partly for its colour, which is some - what yellow, and comes nearer to that of gold than any other part of the body does. And this, upon the approach of death, is commonly shrivelled up, and many times broken. and as these clauses concern the brain, and the animal powers, so the two following respect the spring of the vital powers, and of the blood, the great instrument thereof is the heart. And so Solomon here describes the chief organs appointed for the production, distribution, and circulation of the blood. For tho' the circulation of the blood has been hid for many generations, yet it was well known to Solomon. According to this notion, the fountain is the right ventricle of the heart, which is now acknowledged to be the spring of life; and the pitcher is the veins which convey the blood from it to other parts, and especially that arterious vein by which it is transmitted to the lungs, and thence to the left ventricle, where it is better elaborated, and then thrust out into the great artery, called the Aorta, and by its branches dispersed into all the parts of the body. And the cistern is the left ventricle of the heart, and the wheel seems to be the great artery, which is fitly so called, because it is the great instrument of this circulation. The pitcher may be said to be broken at the fountain, when the veins do not return the blood to the heart, but suffer it to stand still and cool, whence comes that coldness of the outward parts, which is a near fore - runner of death. And the wheel may be said to be broken at the cistern, when the great arteries do not perform their office of conveying the blood into the left ventricle of the heart, and of thrusting it out thence into the lesser arteries, whence comes that ceasing of the pulse, which is a certain sign of approaching death.
8 Vanity - This sentence, wherewith he began this book, he here repeats in the end of it, as that which he had proved in all the foregoing discourse, and that which naturally followed from both the branches of the assertion laid down, ver.7.
9 Taught - As God gave him this wisdom, that he might be a teacher of others. So he used it to that end. Gave heed - He did not utter whatever came into his mind, but seriously pondered both his matter and words.
10 Acceptable - Such as would comfort and profit the readers.
11 Nails - Piercing into men's dull minds, which make powerful and abiding impressions in them. Masters - By the teachers of God's church, appointed of God for that work. Shepherd - From Christ, the great Shepherd of the church in all ages.
12 By these - By these wise men, and their writings.
13 The conclusion - The sum of all that hath been said or written by wise men. Fear God - Which is put here, for all the inward worship of God, reverence, and love, and trust, and a devotedness of heart to serve and please him. The whole - It is his whole work and business, his whole perfection and happiness; it is the sum of what he need either know, or do, or enjoy.
14 For - All men must give an account to God of all their works, and this alone will enable them to do that with joy. Every secret - Not only outward and visible actions, but even inward and secret thoughts.

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