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Bible Commentaries

Mylne's Commentary on Ecclesiastes

Ecclesiastes 6

Verses 1-12

"Better what the eye sees [the enjoyment of what is available to one] than the cravings of wandering desire. This is also vanity (emptiness, meaninglessness, and futility) and a striving after the wind and a feeding on it!" Ecclesiastes 6:9

It is a bitter disappointment for a man to long for what he has not — for what he cannot have. That is,
to sigh for plenty — in the midst of poverty;
to aspire for luxury — and have nothing but simple fare;
to have dreams of grandeur and ambition — and yet to walk in humble life;
to aspire to eminence — and then return to our mundane occupations.

All this is indeed lamentable to the heart!

Oh, how "desire" wanders, refusing to be satisfied with present comforts! Memory revels in the past; and hope dwells upon the future. The soul thus feeds on shadows — and leaves reality behind. There is bitterness in this, more than the tongue can tell.

Philosophy says, "Do not repine at your lot, but make the best of it." This is cold comfort, after all.

Blind fate says, "Hush! it is your destiny." Neither is this a cure for wandering desire.

The Christian has a remedy which never fails, when properly applied — the Savior’s presence. This . . .
turns poverty to riches;
invests the humblest meal with luxury;

makes crowded cities as pleasant as the mountain top;
imparts refreshment in the midst of labor;
fills voids with Christ’s fullness; and

gives us the presence of the best of friends.

"Surely, I am with you all the days (perpetually, uniformly, and on every occasion) — to the very close and consummation of the age!" Matthew 28:20

Children of God! your heavenly Father says, "All things are yours!" (1 Corinthians 3:21) — and so they are, in the degree and manner that is good for me. All the gold in the world is Christ’s, and as His child, He gives me just as much as suits my best interest. If more were good for me — would not my loving Savior give me more — money, or material things, or health, or friendship?

Come back, then, wandering desire! Do not roam abroad over that which is not yours — that is forbidden ground.

What is your present lot? Scan it well; look at it through the lens of faith — and you will see a blessing in it. You will find a Father’s love, a Savior’s presence, and the Spirit’s comforts — wrapped in the garb of present things, and rays of glory coming from them all.

Is not what I now have, better than the cravings of wandering desire — with such realities, better, far better, than the shadows of wandering desire!

"Be content with what you have. For God has said — I will never fail you. I will never abandon you!" Hebrews 13:5

"That which has been is named, for it is known that it is MAN." Ecclesiastes 6:10

Oh, what a name is MAN!

What worlds of meaning are shut up in its brief space of letters!

What floods of evil!

What depths of woe!

What mighty histories!

What a ceaseless round of change!

The name of MAN! Once it meant all that is lovely, glorious, and happy — all that is steadfast, solid, and enduring. Backward, man pointed to his Maker, God; forward, man looked to glory.

Alas, how all has changed! Now it means . . .
all that is fallen, and corrupt;
all that is far from God, estranged from glory,
all that is changeful, and changeable.

Such, such is man; such I am now.

Nothing is changeable, but man. God knows no changes. The angels, fallen and unfallen, yes live and act on changeless principles, of good or evil. Sun, moon, and stars revolve in orbits fixed and unvarying. Plants, minerals, and animals are ruled by laws and instincts, regular and sure. Even the uncertain weather, and the fickle wind, changeful in order of succession, change not in nature and effect. Man, fallen man, is the one exception to the rule.

Thus changed and changeful, man has himself to thank for it. As he is the cause, so is he the effect, of change. The first seed of sin, lodged in the heart of man, contained the germ of all change; root, stem, and branch — the flower, and fruit, of all that happened since. Hence came the change of empires, dynasties, and powers; of customs, languages, and laws. Hence, the excess of cold and heat, moisture or drought. And hence, the endless changes of events, so hard to calculate, so difficult to meet.

Look where you will, and when you will, there is change — The Preacher says, "That which has been is named." He means that he had named the history of the past, the order of the present, in all its changefulness — and now, in a word, he gives the sum and substance, the root and essence of it all — it is "Man!"

But, wondrous to relate, within the precincts of that very name is found again, all that man was at first; yes, infinitely more. It is holiness in man; wisdom in man; stability in man; glory and happiness in man; eternal life in man; yes, God in man; the second Adam — the man Christ Jesus! Oh! my soul, mourn not your changes, your changefulness, your changeability! It is overruled for good. You have found your all in Him who knows no change.

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Bibliographical Information
Mylne, George. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 6". Mylne's Commentary on Ecclesiastes. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/mce/ecclesiastes-6.html. 1858.