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Bible Commentaries
Ecclesiastes 11

Mylne's Commentary on EcclesiastesMylne on Ecclesiastes

Verses 1-10

"In the place where the tree falls, there it shall be." Ecclesiastes 11:8

Say, reader — it is a thought of deep solemnity — where shall you be in five hundred years? Have you ever looked it in the face? If not, you well may shudder. Five hundred years will pass away, and find you still in being — more keenly sensible than now, to joy — or sorrow. Not here, it is true; but in eternity.

Ah, reader, tell me where — in five thousand years — where shall you be?

Where shall you be in five million years?

Where shall you be in five hundred million years?

Where shall you be in five thousand million years?

Where shall you be in five hundred thousand million years? Where shall you be in five million times a million years — where, Reader, will you be?

Ah, tell me how you die — then I will tell you where you will be in eternity. One simple fact will fix the knotty point, and mark your state forever. One simple question I would ask you, "Do you believe in Jesus?" To fall asleep in Jesus, is to awake in eternal glory. This will be your portion, when millions of years shall pass away — yes, countless millions — and find you still amidst the throng of saints and angels; still find you gazing on the face of Jesus — your soul still bathed in glory!

To die in sin; in other words, to die without salvation in Jesus, is to awake in endless misery — in death unceasing, "the second death;" ranging, in woe unspeakable, through all eternity.

One moment fixes you forever — the hour of death. No change can happen after death. What change can happen then? Can the flames of Hell burn out your sins? Say, does the potter’s fire burn out the colors of the potter’s vase?’ Nay, but it burns them in, and fixes them indelibly. Thus acts the quenchless flames on sinners and their sins. Or, will the company of devils, and the wicked dead, renew your soul, and make it fit for Heaven? Oh, tell me, if you can, how many years of fire will purify your soul; how many years with Satan will restore you to God’s image? Have you not read: "He who is unjust — let him be unjust still; and he who is filthy — let him be filthy still." (Revelation 22:11.)

If, as a tree, you fall toward south, or north — there shall you lie forever. On the north side lies the eternal city, New Jerusalem, the City of the King. Fall there — and there shall you forever be. Fall south-ward, what hand can then remove you, or make you a vessel fit for the Master’s use?

"The days of darkness." Ecclesiastes 11:8

What a mysterious thing is darkness. Who can explain its power? I am still the same in darkness, as in light: in mind, and body, and estate, the same. All things around maintain their relative position, uninfluenced by night, or day. What makes the difference of feeling?

The horror of great darkness! (Genesis 15:12.) What is it? Whence does it proceed? The day was made for wakefulness; the night for sleep. Darkness was never made for waking eyes, or waking thoughts. Grace softens it, and robs it of its gloom; but even then, "truly the light is sweet, and it is a pleasant thing" to see "the sun." (Verse 7.) Darkness and sorrow are well-matched things — darkness and misery.

"The days of darkness! " What are they? Days of distress; days, in which it is felt that man is fallen; in which the sunshine of prosperity is gone, and man no longer dreams of unbroken happiness.

With some, how brief the day! How passing short the dream! How soon "the days of darkness" come! Their childhood is ushered in with clouds; sickness or sorrow tends them all their days; and soon they set in darkness.

With others, oh, how different! They hardly know what "darkness" means. They hear of sorrow, pain, and trouble; that is all. They little think that "days of darkness" will at last be theirs.

"The days of darkness!" Yes, they will come. "They shall be many." Oh, how many they will be! You know not what worlds of sorrow are compressed within the nutshell of a moment! When once the bubble bursts, and days of health are gone — when death and judgment stare you in the face — who can express the world of darkness that a few short months may prove? To think of talents wasted! Of God neglected! Of opportunities gone by! Conscience alarmed! The judgment now convinced! The mind unhinged by fear! The body tottering to its fall! Backwards, a dreary waste — forwards, a yawning void! Death, judgment, and eternity, harrowing the soul!

Say, are these not "days of darkness?" Will not a few suffice you. when they come? Not even a few you would ask — but God may give you many.

If such is life — life, and its darkness, the inner darkness — Oh, then what is death! Death and its darkness! The outer darkness! (Matthew 8:12.) Oh, for the light of life to cheer you now — to cheer you after death! Oh, for Jesus, the sinner’s Friend! Oh, for the Bright and Morning Star, to light you now and ever! (Revelation 22:16.)

"Be happy, young man, while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see — but know that for all these things God will bring you to judgment. So then, banish anxiety from your heart and cast off the troubles of your body, for youth and vigor are meaningless." Ecclesiastes 11:9-10

Mankind is a mystery — God overruling, ordering, directing; yet man as free to act, as though none overruled; as bold of heart, as though responsible to none. How clearly this is seen in youth! What lawless vanity! What free indulgence! What passionate excess! What thoughtless unconcern! What elasticity of body and mind! What vast exuberance of health and spirits! Restless in pleasure — eager to enjoy — no weariness in following out its ways.

In each succeeding generation, it is as if sin is renewed, to flow in younger veins; as though the pursuit of pleasure increased with each succeeding age!

Youth is a mystery! In a child’s early years — the mind is susceptible; prejudice is unconfirmed; habits are not yet matured; the feelings are tender; the judgment is pliable. You would think it would be easy to conduct the child to truth and godliness. And yet, with all this pliability, there is a force founded of human passion — a great desire for all that is vain — the wildest dream of all that is earthly.

Poor youth! I pity you. Launched on the billows of a treacherous sea — a traitor world without — a traitor heart within; pleasures to tempt your passions — snares made to catch your failings — and all smiles around invitingly. It seems almost a duty to enjoy yourself, and take your fill of all that pleases you.

Conscience, where do you dwell in youth? Can your voice be heard in the midst of rampant vanity? False manliness would choke your utterance. Yet are you felt at times. You may be dormant, yet you are not dead.

Listen, my youthful friend! What voice is it? Look not without — the voice is from within! It bids you to pause and think. It tells you of a God, a divine providence, a righteous Judge. It tells you that you are mortal. It tells you of an eternal world to come. It says, "You are a sinner — and you need a Savior! A Savior may be sought — a Savior may be found. Sin may be confessed — and sin may be forgiven! Beware!" Listen to the voice, my friend!

Bibliographical Information
Mylne, George. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 11". Mylne's Commentary on Ecclesiastes. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/mce/ecclesiastes-11.html. 1858.
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