Ecclesiastes 6:2. But a stranger eateth it. The richer families in Israel had often foreign servants, who rose to influence in their master’s house. But greater was the affliction from invading armies, who devoured the houses of the rich, and scattered their bones in the open fields.
The moral philosopher continues his subject. He is appalled to see a wealthy man unable to enjoy his mansion, his pleasure grounds and superabundant riches. No man seems satisfied with his present condition. His mansion becomes melancholy: he wants a change. The visions of happiness sport at a distance, and shun his breast. The court has pleasures, the city has bustle and life, the sea-coast has extensive views and refreshing breezes. So he changes his residence, but retains his heart. The man is diseased, and not conscious that the seat of the malady is within. The godlike mind of man cannot be localized to clods of earth. It walks through the heavens, and grasps at the infinite. If such a man should have, like an oriental monarch, a hundred children, or if he should live to the great age of a patriarch; alas! some political storm overtakes him, his children are slain by his rival, and himself perhaps deprived of any funeral, except that which is conferred by foxes and vultures. In like cases he concludes that the sorrows of life overbalance its joys, and an untimely birth is better than the life of one so pursued with unceasing wars of passion and events.
He notes also, that the labours of man are chiefly for his mouth. Food and raiment are nearly all that he can have on earth, yet his desires are not satisfied. He wants a God for his centre, for his rest, and for his hope; for as to his worldly portion, how is the wise man’s hope better than that of a fool! Who then knoweth what is good for man on earth. When the question was once asked in the Grecian schools, and with the promise of reward, what is the chief good of man? Two hundred and eighty four opinions were sent in; so many proofs that the schools did not know the chief good of man. This science is taught by revelation, and by revelation only. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and all thy soul, and all thy mind, and all thy strength.”
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Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 6". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/
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