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Bible Commentaries

Expositor's Dictionary of Texts

Ecclesiastes 8

Verses 1-17

Ecclesiastes 8:8

Compare Ruskin's Time and Tide (Letter xxiv.) for an application of the words, There is no discharge in that war; also Kipling's The Five Nations, pp. 185 f.

References. VIII. 8. S. H. Tying, American Pulpit of Today, vol. i. p. 623. VIII. 10. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. iv. No. 200.

Ecclesiastes 8:11 . Cf. Ecclesiastes 7:7 , etc.

Swift once asked Delany whether the 'corruptions and villanies of men in power did not eat his flesh and exhaust his spirits?' 'No,' said Delany. 'Why, how can you help it?' said Swift. 'Because,' replied Delany, 'I am commanded to the contrary fret not thyself because of the ungodly.' That, like other wise maxims, is capable of an ambiguous application. As Delany took it, Swift might perhaps have replied that it was a very comfortable maxim for the ungodly. His own application of Scripture is different. It tells us, he says, in his proposal for using Irish manufactures, that 'oppression makes a wise man mad'. If, therefore, some men are not mad, it must be because they are not wise. In truth, it is characteristic of Swift that he could never learn the great lesson of submission even to the inevitable. His rage, which could find no better outlet, burnt inwardly and drove him mad.

Leslie Stephen's Swift, pp. 165, 166.

Compare Sterne's Sermons (No. XXXIII.).

References. VIII. 11. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture Ecclesiastes, p. 367. VIII. 12. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. iii. No. 1487. VIII. 16. A. W. Momerie, Agnosticism, p. 252.

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Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 8". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. 1910.