Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary
Ecclesiastes 11:4

He who watches the wind will not sow and he who looks at the clouds will not reap.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Economics;   Industry;   Sower;   Thompson Chain Reference - Agriculture;   Agriculture-Horticulture;   Clouds;   Mercy;   Meteorology;   Sowing;   The Topic Concordance - Bearing Fruit;   Knowledge;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Agriculture or Husbandry;   Seed;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Work;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Cloud, Cloud of the Lord;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Ecclesiastes, the Book of;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Ecclesiastes, Book of;   Poetry;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Ecclesiastes;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Sow (verb);   Wind;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Cloud;   Reaping;   Wind;  
Devotionals:
Every Day Light - Devotion for August 15;  

Clarke's Commentary

Verse Ecclesiastes 11:4. He that observeth the wind shall not sow — The man that is too scrupulous is never likely to succeed in any thing. If a man neither plough nor sow till the weather is entirely to his mind, the season will in all probability pass before he will have done any thing: so, if thou be too nice in endeavouring to find out who are the impostors among those who profess to be in want, the real object may perish, whom otherwise thou mightest have relieved, and whose life might have been thereby saved. Those very punctilious and scrupulous people, who will sift every thing to the bottom in every case, and, before they will act, must be fully satisfied on all points, seldom do any good, and are themselves generally good for nothing. While they are observing the clouds and the rain, others have joined hands with God, and made a poor man live.

Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 11:4". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/​commentaries/​acc/​ecclesiastes-11.html. 1832.

Bridgeway Bible Commentary


11:1-12:14 HAVE A POSITIVE ATTITUDE TO LIFE

Boldness in spite of uncertainty (11:1-8)

It is typical of the writer that he encourages a positive attitude to life. True, life may be uncertain, but that is no reason to refuse to act positively. Regardless of what people decide to do, they must work at it boldly in spite of the risks, expecting results in due time. However, they should not put all their goods or money into one project. Then, if they meet misfortune in one place, the rest of the investment will be safe (11:1-2).
The world of nature shows that there are many things in life that people can neither control nor alter. There is much they do not know. If they always wait till they are certain before putting their plans into action, they will never do anything (3-5). Rather their attitude should be positive and optimistic (6). Life is compared to the light of day, death to the darkness of night. People should therefore enjoy life to the full while the light of day lasts (7-8).

Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 11:4". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/​commentaries/​bbc/​ecclesiastes-11.html. 2005.

Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Spirit - The same Hebrew word (like πνεῦμα pneuma in Greek and “Spirit” in English) signifies both the wind Ecclesiastes 11:4 and the Spirit (compare marginal reference). The Old Testament in many places recognizes the special operation of God Job 10:8-12; Psalms 139:13-16; Jeremiah 1:5, and distinctly of the Spirit of God Job 31:15 in the origination of every child. Compare Genesis 2:7.

Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 11:4". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/​commentaries/​bnb/​ecclesiastes-11.html. 1870.

Smith's Bible Commentary

Chapter 11

Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days. Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for you don't know what evil shall be upon the eaRuth ( Ecclesiastes 11:1-2 ).

You don't know when you're going to be in trouble, so be generous. Give out a portion to seven or eight people, because there might be a time when you're going to be needing a handout yourself.

If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth: and if the tree falls toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falls, there it shall be. He that observes the wind shall not sow; and he that regards the clouds will not reap. As you know not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so you know not the works of God who makes all ( Ecclesiastes 11:3-5 ).

Things that we just don't understand--how the bones grow in the womb, the way of the spirit. Jesus said, "The wind bloweth where it listeth, thou hearest the sound thereof, but you cannot tell from whence it is coming, or where it is going. So is he that is born of the Spirit" ( John 3:8 ). So we don't know the works of God who makes all.

In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening withhold not your hand: for you know not whether it shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good. Truly the light is sweet, and the pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun: But if a man live many years, and rejoice in them all; yet let him remember the days of darkness; for they shall be many. All that cometh is emptiness ( Ecclesiastes 11:6-8 ).

You might live a lot of years, but remember, you're going to be dead longer than you're alive. So you live to be 105, but those that back in the year 547 lived up to 680 even. You know, they've been dead a long time. This is what he's saying. You might see the life for many years, but you're going to see the darkness longer. Again, that's life under the sun.

Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of your eyes ( Ecclesiastes 11:9 ):

Poor advice.

but know thou, that for all these things God will bring you into judgment ( Ecclesiastes 11:9 ).

Do what you want, but just remember, God's going to judge you.

Therefore remove sorrow from your heart, and put away evil from thy flesh: for childhood and youth are vanity ( Ecclesiastes 11:10 ).

Too soon old, too late smart. Someone said, "It's a shame that youth has to be wasted on the young." You think now, though, if you could only go back to your youth with the advantage of all of your experience and advantage of life now, man, what you could do. If you were just a teenager again back in high school with all of your knowledge and understanding at this point. I think of all of the wasted time that I had. I think of all of the opportunities that I had to learn and I didn't take full advantage of them. It was a crazy thing, but I really didn't decide to learn until I got into college. And then even at that point I look back to my high school years and I thought, "Oh, how ridiculous that I bragged that I never took a book home from school through high school. What a stupid boast!" Oh, of course, I've got my grades for college. But yet, I could have learned so much more. I wasted my youth in many ways. But what can you do? You can't go back. "





Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 11:4". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/​commentaries/​csc/​ecclesiastes-11.html. 2014.

Dr. Constable's Expository Notes

4. Wise behavior in view of the uncertain future 11:1-6

"At last the Teacher is approaching the climax of his book. We cannot see God’s whole plan, and there is nothing in this world that we can build on so as to find satisfaction or the key to the meaning of things. Yet we are to fulfill God’s purpose by accepting our daily lot in life as from him and by thus pleasing him make each day a good day. But how can we please him when there is so much we cannot understand? The Teacher has already shown that certain things stand out as right or wrong, and a sensible conscience will see these as an indication of what God desires. This section gives further wise advice in the light of an uncertain future. We must use common sense in sensible planning and in eliminating as many of the uncertainties as we can." [Note: J. S. Wright, "Ecclesiastes," pp. 1188-89.]

Ignorance of the future should lead to diligent work, not despair.

Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 11:4". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://www.studylight.org/​commentaries/​dcc/​ecclesiastes-11.html. 2012.

Dr. Constable's Expository Notes

Do not wait until conditions are perfect before you go to work, but labor diligently even though conditions may appear foreboding. [Note: Cf. Delitzsch, p. 396.] After all, God controls these conditions, and we cannot tell whether good or bad conditions will materialize.

Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 11:4". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://www.studylight.org/​commentaries/​dcc/​ecclesiastes-11.html. 2012.

Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

He that observeth the wind shall not sow,.... Who before he sows his seed is careful to observe where the wind is, from what corner it blows, and forbears sowing until it is down or changes, lest it should be troublesome unto him in sowing, or blow away his seed, and waits for a better season; such a man may lose his seedtime and never sow at all, and his grain in his barn may be devoured by vermin, or be destroyed by one accident or another, and so he may lose both his seed and his crop;

and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap; which are uncertain signs of weather; and if a man gives heed to them, and puts off his sowing from time to time, for the sake of better weather, as he may never sow, so it is impossible that he should reap; and if he sows, and when his grain is ripe and forbears to reap because of the clouds, lest his grain should be wet, may never reap at all: and so it is with respect to liberality; if a man will raise difficulties, and make objections, and attend unto them; if he puts off giving till such an affliction is removed from him and his family, or that is grown up; or such an estate is obtained, or he has got to such an amount of riches, or till more proper and deserving objects present, with twenty things more of the like kind; if he defers giving on such accounts, or through fear of want, which may possess his mind for various reasons, he may never give nor get, yea, never do any good work; for, if nothing is done till all difficulties are removed, no good thing will ever be done.

Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 11:4". "Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/​commentaries/​geb/​ecclesiastes-11.html. 1999.

Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

The Obligations to Be Liberal; Answers to Objections against Liberality.

      1 Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.   2 Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth.   3 If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth: and if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be.   4 He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.   5 As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.   6 In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.

      Solomon had often, in this book, pressed it upon rich people to take the comfort of their riches themselves; here he presses it upon them to do good to others with them and to abound in liberality to the poor, which will, another day, abound to their account. Observe,

      I. How the duty itself is recommended to us, Ecclesiastes 11:1; Ecclesiastes 11:1. 1. Cast thy bread upon the waters, thy bread-corn upon the low places (so some understand it), alluding to the husbandman, who goes forth, bearing precious seed, sparing bread-corn from his family for the seedness, knowing that without that he can have no harvest another year; thus the charitable man takes from his bread-corn for seed-corn, abridges himself to supply the poor, that he may sow beside all waters (Isaiah 32:20), because as he sows so he must reap,Galatians 6:7. We read of the harvest of the river,Isaiah 23:3. Waters, in scripture, are put for multitudes (Revelation 16:5), and there are multitudes of poor (we do not want objects of charity); waters are put also for mourners: the poor are men of sorrows. Thou must give bread, the necessary supports of life, not only give good words but good things,Isaiah 58:7. It must be thy bread, that which is honestly got; it is no charity, but injury, to give that which is none of our own to give; first do justly, and then love mercy. "Thy bread, which thou didst design for thyself, let the poor have a share with thee, as they had with Job, Job 31:17; Job 31:17. Give freely to the poor, as that which is cast upon the waters. Send it a voyage, send it as a venture, as merchants that trade by sea. Trust it upon the waters; it shall not sink."

      2. "Give a portion to seven and also to eight, that is, be free and liberal in works of charity." (1.) "Give much if thou hast much to give, not a pittance, but a portion, not a bit or two, but a mess, a meal; give a large dole, not a paltry one; give good measure (Luke 6:38); be generous in giving, as those were when, on festival days, they sent portions to those for whom nothing was prepared (Nehemiah 8:10), worthy portions." (2.) "Give to many, to seven, and also to eight; if thou meet with seven objects of charity, give to them all, and then, if thou meet with an eighth, give to that, and if with eight more, give to them all too. Excuse not thyself with the good thou hast done from the good thou hast further to do, but hold on, and mend. In hard times, when the number of the poor increases, let thy charity be proportionably enlarged." God is rich in mercy to all, to us, though unworthy; he gives liberally, and upbraids not with former gifts, and we must be merciful as our heavenly Father is.

      II. The reasons with which it is pressed upon us. Consider,

      1. Our reward for well-doing is very certain. "Though thou cast it upon the waters, and it seem lost, thou thinkest thou hast given thy good word with it and art likely never to hear of it again, yet thou shalt find it after many days, as the husbandman finds his seed again in a plentiful harvest and the merchant his venture in a rich return. It is not lost, but well laid out, and well laid up; it brings in full interest in the present gifts of God's providence, and graces and comforts of his Spirit; and the principal is sure, laid up in heaven, for it is lent to the Lord." Seneca, a heathen, could say, Nihil magis possidere me credam, quam bene donata--I possess nothing so completely as that which I have given away. Hochabeo quodcunque dedi; hæ sunt divitiæ certæ in quacunque sortis humanæ levitate--Whatever I have imparted I still possess; these riches remain with me through all the vicissitudes of life. "Thou shalt find it, perhaps not quickly, but after many days; the return may be slow, but it is sure and will be so much the more plentiful." Wheat, the most valuable grain, lies longest in the ground. Long voyages make the best returns.

      2. Our opportunity for well-doing is very uncertain: "Thou knowest not what evil may be upon the earth, which may deprive thee of thy estate, and put thee out of a capacity to do good, and therefore, while thou hast wherewithal, be liberal with it, improve the present season, as the husbandman in sowing his ground, before the frost comes." We have reason to expect evil upon the earth, for we are born to trouble; what the evil may be we know not, but that we may be ready for it, whatever it is, it is our wisdom, in the day of prosperity, to be in good, to be doing good. Many make use of this as an argument against giving to the poor, because they know not what hard times may come when they may want themselves; whereas we should therefore the rather be charitable, that, when evil days come, we may have the comfort of having done good while we were able; we would then hope to find mercy both with God and man, and therefore should now show mercy. If by charity we trust God with what we have, we put it into good hands against bad times.

      III. How he obviates the objections which might be made against this duty and the excuses of the uncharitable.

      1. Some will say that what they have is their own and they have it for their own use, and will ask, Why should we cast it thus upon the waters? Why should I take my bread, and my flesh, and give it to I know not whom? So Nabal pleaded, 1 Samuel 25:11. "Look up, man, and consider how soon thou wouldest be starved in a barren ground, if the clouds over thy head should plead thus, that they have their waters for themselves; but thou seest, when they are full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth, to make it fruitful, till they are wearied and spent with watering it, Job 37:11. Are the heavens thus bountiful to the poor earth, that is so far below them, and wilt thou grudge thy bounty to thy poor brother, who is bone of thy bone? Or thus: some will say, Though we give but little to the poor, yet, thank God, we have as charitable a heart as any." Nay, says Solomon, if the clouds be full of rain, they will empty themselves; if there be charity in the heart, it will show itself, James 2:15; James 2:16. He that draws out his soul to the hungry will reach forth his hand to them, as he has ability.

      2. Some will say that their sphere of usefulness is low and narrow; they cannot do the good that they see others can, who are in more public stations, and therefore they will sit still and do nothing. Nay, says he, in the place where the tree falls, or happens to be, there it shall be, for the benefit of those to whom it belongs; every man must labour to be a blessing to that place, whatever it is, where the providence of God casts him; wherever we are we may find good work to do if we have but hearts to do it. Or thus: some will say, "Many present themselves as objects of charity who are unworthy, and I do not know whom it is fit to give it to." "Trouble not thyself about that" (says Solomon); "give as discreetly as thou canst, and then be satisfied that, though the person should prove undeserving of thy charity, yet, if thou give it with an honest heart, thou shalt not lose thy reward; which way soever the charity is directed, north or south, thine shall be the benefit of it." This is commonly applied to death; therefore let us do good, and, as good trees, bring forth the fruits of righteousness, because death will shortly come and cut us down, and we shall then be determined to an unchangeable state of happiness or misery according to what was done in the body. As the tree falls at death, so it is likely to lie to all eternity.

      3. Some will object the many discouragements they have met with in their charity. They have been reproached for it as proud and pharisaical; they have but little to give, and they shall be despised if they do not give as others do; they know not but their children may come to want it, and they had better lay it up for them; they have taxes to pay and purchases to make; they know not what use will be made of their charity, nor what construction will be put upon it; these, and a hundred such objections, he answers, in one word (Ecclesiastes 11:4; Ecclesiastes 11:4): He that observes the wind shall not sow, which signifies doing good; and he that regards the clouds shall not reap, which signifies getting good. If we stand thus magnifying every little difficulty and making the worst of it, starting objections and fancying hardship and danger where there is none, we shall never go on, much less go through with our work, nor make any thing of it. If the husbandman should decline, or leave off, sowing for the sake of every flying cloud, and reaping for the sake of every blast of wind, he would make but an ill account of his husbandry at the year's end. The duties of religion are as necessary as sowing and reaping, and will turn as much to our own advantage. The discouragements we meet with in these duties are but as winds and clouds, which will do us no harm, and which those that put on a little courage and resolution will despise and easily break through. Note, Those that will be deterred and driven off by small and seeming difficulties from great and real duties will never bring any thing to pass in religion, for there will always arise some wind, some cloud or other, at least in our imagination, to discourage us. Winds and clouds are in God's hands, are designed to try us, and our Christianity obliges us to endure hardness.

      4. Some will say, "We do not see in which way what we expend in charity should ever be made up to us; we do not find ourselves ever the richer; why should we depend upon the general promise of a blessing on the charitable, unless we saw which way to expect the operation of it?" To this he answers, "Thou knowest not the work of God, nor is it fit thou shouldst. Thou mayest be sure he will make good his word of promise, though he does not tell thee how, or which way, and though he works in a way by himself, according to the counsels of his unsearchable wisdom. He will work, and none shall hinder; but then he will work and none shall direct or prescribe to him. The blessing shall work insensibly but irresistibly. God's work shall certainly agree with his word, whether we see it or no." Our ignorance of the work of God he shows, in two instances:-- (1.) We know not what is the way of the Spirit, of the wind (so some), we know not whence it comes, or whither it goes, or when it will turn; yet the seamen lie ready waiting for it, till it turns about in favour of them; so we must do our duty, in expectation of the time appointed for the blessing. Or it may be understood of the human soul; we know that God made us, and gave us these souls, but how they entered into these bodies, are united to them, animate them, and operate upon them, we know not; the soul is a mystery to itself, no marvel then that the work of God is so to us. (2.) We know not how the bones are fashioned in the womb of her that is with child. We cannot describe the manner either of the formation of the body or of its information with a soul; both, we know, are the work of God, and we acquiesce in his work, but cannot, in either, trace the process of the operation. We doubt not of the birth of the child that is conceived, though we know not how it is formed; nor need we doubt of the performance of the promise, though we perceive not how things work towards it. And we may well trust God to provide for us that which is convenient, without our anxious disquieting cares, and therein to recompense us for our charity, since it was without any knowledge or forecast of ours that our bodies were curiously wrought in secret and our souls found the way into them; and so the argument is the same, and urged to the same intent, with that of our Saviour (Matthew 6:25), The life, the living soul that God has given us, is more than meat; the body, that God has made us, is more than raiment; let him therefore that has done the greater for us be cheerfully depended upon to do the less.

      5. Some say, "We have been charitable, have given a great deal to the poor, and never yet saw any return for it; many days are past, and we have not found it again," to which he answers (Ecclesiastes 11:6; Ecclesiastes 11:6), "Yet go on, proceed and persevere in well-doing; let slip no opportunity. In the morning sow thy seed upon the objects of charity that offer themselves early, and in the evening do not withhold thy hand, under pretence that thou art weary; as thou hast opportunity, be doing good, some way or other, all the day long, as the husbandman follows his seedness from morning till night. In the morning of youth lay out thyself to do good; give out of the little thou hast to begin the world with; and in the evening of old age yield not to the common temptation old people are in to be penurious; even then withhold not thy hand, and think not to excuse thyself from charitable works by purposing to make a charitable will, but do good to the last, for thou knowest not which work of charity and piety shall prosper, both as to others and as to thyself, this or that, but hast reason to hope that both shall be alike good. Be not weary of well-doing, for in due season, in God's time and that is the best time, you shall reap," Galatians 6:9. This is applicable to spiritual charity, our pious endeavours for the good of the souls of others; let us continue them, for, though we have long laboured in vain, we may at length see the success of them. Let ministers, in the days of their seedness, sow both morning and evening; for who can tell which shall prosper?

Bibliographical Information
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Ecclesiastes 11:4". "Henry's Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/​commentaries/​mhm/​ecclesiastes-11.html. 1706.

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible

Sowing in the Wind, Reaping under Clouds

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A Sermon

(No. 2264)

Intended for Reading on Lord's-Day, July 10th, 1892,

Delivered by

C. H. SPURGEON,

At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington

On Thursday Evening, July 3rd, 1890.

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"He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap." Ecclesiastes 11:4 .

SOW when the time comes, whatever wind blows. Reap when the times comes, whatever clouds are in the sky. There are, however, qualifying proverbs, which must influence our actions. We are not to discard prudence in the choice of the time for our work. "To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven." It is well to sow when the weather is propitious. It is wise to "make hay while the sun shines." Cut your corn when there is the probability of getting it dry.

But Solomon here is pushing the other side of the matter. He had seen prudence turn to idleness; he had noticed some people wait for a more convenient season, which never came. He had observed sluggards making excuses, which did not hold water. So he, with a blunt word, generalizes, in order to make the truth more forcible. Not troubling about the exceptions to the rule, he states it broadly thus: "Take no notice of winds or clouds. Go one with your work whatever happens. 'He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.'"

I. The first thought that is suggested by these words is this: NATURAL DIFFICULTIES MAY BE UNDULY CONSIDERED. A man may observe the wind, and regard the clouds a great deal too much, and so neither sow nor reap.

Note here, first, that in any work this would hinder a man. In any labour to which we set our hand, if we take too much notice of the difficulties, we shall be hindered in it. It is very wise to know the difficulty of your calling, the sorrow which comes with it, the trial which arises out of it, the temptation connected therewith; but if you think too much of these things, there is no calling that will be carried on with any success. Poor farmers, they have a crop of hay and cannot get it in; they may fret themselves to death if they like, and never earn a penny for a seven years' fretting! We say of their calling that it is surrounded with constant trouble. They may lose everything just at the moment when they are about to gather it in. The seed may perish under the clods when it is first sown. It is subject to blight and mildew, and bird, and worm, and I know not what beside; and then, at the last, when the farmer is about to reap the harvest, it may disappear before the sickle can cut it. Take the case of the sailor. If he regards winds and clouds, will he ever be put to sea? Can you give him a promise that the wind will be favourable in any of his voyages, or that he will reach his desired haven without a tempest? He that observeth the winds and clouds, will not sail; and he that regardeth the clouds will never cross the mighty deep. If you turn from the farmer and the sailor, and come to the trader, what tradesman will do anything if he is always worrying about the competition, and about the difficulties of his trade, which is so cut up that there is no making a living by it? I have heard this, I think, about every trade, and yet our friends keep on living, and some of them get rich, when they are supposed to be losing money every year! He that regardeth the rise and fall of prices, and is timid, and will do no trading because of the changes on the market, will not reap. If you come to the working-man, it is the same as with those I have mentioned; for there is no calling or occupation that is not surrounded with difficulties. In fact, I have formed this judgment from what friends have told me, that every trade is the worst trade out; for I have found somebody in that particular line who has proved this to a demonstration. I cannot say that I am an implicit believer in all I hear about this matter. Still, if I were, this would be the conclusion that I should come to, that he that observed the circumstances of any trade or calling, would never engage in it at all; he would never sow; and he would never reap. I suppose he would go to bed, and sleep all the four-and-twenty hours of the day; and after a while, I am afraid he would find it become impossible even to do that, and he would learn that to turn, with the sluggard, like a door on its hinges, is not unalloyed pleasure after all.

Well now, dear friends, if there be these difficulties in connection with earthly callings and trades, do you expect there will be nothing of the kind with regard to heavenly things? Do you imagine that, in sowing the good seed of the kingdom, and gathering the sheaves into the garner, you will have no difficulties and disappointments? Do you dream that, when you are bound for heaven, you are to have smooth sailing and propitious winds all the voyage? Do you think that, in your heavenly trading, you will have less trials than the merchant who has only to do with earthly business? If you do, you make a great mistake. You will not be likely to enter upon the heavenly calling, if you do nothing else but unduly consider the difficulties surrounding it.

But, next, in the work of liberality this would stay us. This is Solomon's theme here. "Cast thy bread upon the waters:" "Give a portion to seven, and also to eight;" and so on. He means, by my text, that if anybody occupies his mind unduly with the difficulties connected with liberality, he will do nothing in that line. "He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.." "How am I to know," says one, " that the person to whom I give my money is really deserving? How do I know what he will do with it? How do I know but what I may be encouraging idleness or begging? By giving to the man, I may be doing him real injury." Perhaps you are not asked to give to an individual, but to some great work. Then, if you regard the clouds, you will begin to say, "How do I know that this work will be successful, the sending of missionaries to a cultivated people like the Hindoos? Is it likely that they will be converted?" You will not sow, and you will not reap, if you talk like that; yet there are many who do speak in that fashion. There was never an enterprise started yet but somebody objected to it; and I do not believe that the best work that Christ himself ever did was beyond criticism; there were some people who were sure to find some fault with it. "But," says another, "I have heard that the management at headquarters is not all it ought to be; I think that there is too much money spent on the secretary, and that there is a great deal lost in this direction and in that." Well, dear friend, it goes without saying that if you managed things, they would be managed perfectly; but, you see, you cannot do everything, and therefore you must trust somebody. I can only say, with regard to societies, agencies, works, and missions of all kinds, "He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap." If that is what you are doing, finding out imperfections and difficulties, it will end in this, you will do nothing at all.

Going a little further, as this is true of common occupations and of liberality, so it is especially true in the work of serving God. Now, if I were to consider in my mind nothing but the natural depravity of man, I should never preach again. To preach the gospel to sinners, is as foolish a thing as to bid dead men rise out of their graves. For that reason I do it, because it has pleased God, "by the foolishness of preaching, to save them that believe." When I look upon the alienation from God, the hardness of the human heart, I see that old Adam is too strong for me; and if I regarded that one cloud of the fall, and original sin, and the natural depravity of man, I, for one, should neither sow nor reap. I am afraid that there has been a good deal of this, however. Many preachers have contemplated the ruin of man, and they have had so clear a view of it that they dare not say, "Thus saith the Lord, Ye dry bones, live." They are unable to cry, "Dear Master, speak through us, and say, 'Lazarus, come forth!' " Some seem to say, "Go and see if Lazarus has any kind of feeling of his condition in the grave. If so, I will call him out, because I believe he can come;" thus putting all the burden on Lazarus, and depending upon Lazarus for it. But we say, "Though he has been dead four days, and is already becoming corrupt, that has nothing to do with us. If our Master bids us call him out from his grave, we can call him out, and he will come; not because he can come by his own power, but because God can make him come, for the time now is when they that are in their graves shall hear the voice of God, and they that shall hear shall live.

But, dear friends, there are persons to whom we should never go to seek their salvation if we regarded the winds and the clouds, for they are peculiarly bad people. You know, from observation, that there are some persons who are much worse than others, some who are not amenable to kindness, or any other human treatment. They do not seem to be terrified by law, or affected by love. We know people who go into a horrible temper every now and then, and all the hope we had of them is blown away, like sere leaves in the autumn wind. You know such, and you "fight shy" with them. There are such boys, and there are such girls, full of mischief, and levity, or full of malice and bitterness; and you say to yourself, "I cannot do anything with them. It is of no use." Just so. You are observing the winds, and regarding the clouds. You will not be one of those to whom Isaiah says, "Blessed be ye that sow beside all waters."

Some one may say, "I would not mind the moral condition of the people, but it is their surroundings that are the trouble. What is the use of trying to save a man while he lives, as he does, in such a horrible street, in one room? What is the use of seeking to raise such and such a woman while she is surrounded, as she is, with such examples? The very atmosphere seems tainted." Just so, dear friend; while you observe the winds, and regard the clouds, you will now sow, and you will not reap. You will not attempt the work, and of course you will not complete what you do not commence.

So, you know, you can go on making all kinds of excuses for doing nothing with certain people, because you feel or think that they are not those whom God is likely to bless. I know this to be a common case, even with very serious and earnest workers for Christ. Let it not be so with you, dear friends; but be you one of those who obey the poet's words,

"Beside all waters sow;

The highway furrows stock;

Drop it where thorns and thistles grow;

Scatter it on the rock."

Let me carry this principle, however, a little further. You may unduly consider circumstances in reference to the business of your own eternal life. You may, in that matter, observe the winds, and never sow; you may regard the clouds, and never reap. "I feel," says one, "as if I never can be saved. There never was such a sinner as I am. My sins are peculiarly black." Yes, and if you keep on regarding them, and do not remember the Saviour, and his infinite power to save, you will not sow in prayer and faith. "Ah, sir; but you do not know the horrible thoughts I have, the dark forebodings that cross my mind!" I know that, dear friend; I do not know them. I know what I feel myself, and I expect that your feelings are very like my own; but, be what they may, if, instead of looking to Christ, you are always studying your own condition, your own withered hopes, your own broken resolutions, then you will still keep where you are, and you will neither sow nor reap.

Beloved Christians, you who have been believers for years, if you begin to live by your frames and feelings, you will get into the same condition. "I do not feel like praying," says one. Then is the time when you ought to pray most, for you are evidently most in need; but if you keep observing whether or not you are in the proper frame of mind for prayer, you will not pray. "I cannot grasp the promises," says another; "I should like to joy in God, and firmly believe in his Word; but I do not see anything in myself that can minister to my comfort." Suppose you do not. Are you, after all, going to build upon yourself? Are you trying to find your ground of consolation in your own heart? If so, you are on the wrong tack. Our hope is not in self, but in Christ; let us go and sow it. Our hope is in the finished work of Christ; let us go and reap it; for, if we keep on regarding the winds and the clouds, we shall neither sow nor reap. I think it is a great lesson to learn in spiritual things, to believe in Christ, and his finished salvation, quite as much as when you are down as when you are up; for Christ is not more Christ on the top of the mountain than he is in the bottom of the valley, and he is no less Christ in the storm by midnight than he is in the sunshine by day. Do not begin to measure your safety by your comfort; but measure it by the eternal Word of God, which you have believed, and which you know to be true, and on which you rest; for still here, within the little world of our bosom, "he that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap." We want to get out of that idea altogether.

I have said enough to prove the truth of my first observation, namely, that natural difficulties may be unduly considered.

II. My second observation is this: SUCH CONSIDERATION INVOLVES US IN SEVERAL SINS.

If we keep on observing circumstances, instead of trusting God, we shall be guilty of disobedience. God bids me sow: I do not sow, because the wind would blow some of my seed away. God bids me reap: I do not reap, because there is a black cloud there, and before I can house the harvest, some of it may be spoiled. I may say what I like; but I am guilty of disobedience. I have not done what I was bidden to do. I have made an excuse of the weather; but I have been disobedient. Dear friends, it is yours to do what God bids you do, whether the heavens fall down or not; and, if you knew they would fall, and you could prop them up by disobedience, you have no right to do it. What may happen from our doing right, we have nothing to do with; we are to do right, and take the consequences cheerfully. Do you want obedience to be always rewarded by a spoonful of sugar? Are you such a baby that you will do nothing unless there shall be some little toy for you directly after? A man in Christ Jesus will do right, though it shall involve him in losses and crosses, slanders and rebukes; yea, even martyrdom itself. May God help you so to do! He that observeth the wind, and does not sow when he is bidden to cast his seed upon the waters, is guilty of disobedience.

Next, we are guilty also of unbelief, if we cannot sow because of the wind. Who manages the wind? You distrust him who is Lord of the north, and south, and east, and west. If you cannot reap because of a cloud, you doubt him who makes the clouds, to whom the clouds are the dust of his feet. Where is your faith? Where is your faith? "Ah!" says one, "I can serve God when I am helped, when I am moved, when I can see a hope of success." That is poor service, service devoid of faith. May I not say of it, "Without faith it is impossible to please God"? Just in proportion to the quantity of faith, that there is in what we do, in that proportion will it be acceptable with God. Observing of winds and clouds is unbelief. We may call it prudence; but unbelief is its true name.

The next sin is really rebellion. So you will not sow unless God chooses to make the wind blow your way; and you will not reap unless God pleases to drive the clouds away? I call that revolt, rebellion. An honest subject loves the king in all weathers. The true servant serves his master, let his master do what he wills. Oh, dear friends, we are too often aiming at God's throne! We want to get up there, and manage things,

"Snatch from his hand the balance and the rod,

Rejudge his judgments, be the god of God."

Oh, if he would but alter my circumstances! What is this but tempting God, as they did in the wilderness, wishing him to do other than he does? It is wishing him to do wrong; for what he does is always right; but we must not so rebel, and vex his Holy Spirit, by complaining of what he does. Do you not see that this is trying to throw the blame of our shortcomings upon the Lord? "If we do not sow, do not blame us; God did not send the right wind. If we did not reap, pray not to censure us; how could we be expected to reap, while there were clouds in the skies?" What is this but a wicked endeavour to blame God for our own neglect and wrong-doing, and to make Divine Providence the pack-horse upon which we pile our sins? God save us from such rebellion as that!

Another sin of which we are guilty, when we are always looking at our circumstances, is this, foolish fear. Though we may think that there is no sin in it, there is great sin in foolish fear. God has commanded his people not to fear; then we should obey him. There is a cloud; why do you fear it? It will be gone directly; not a drop of rain may fall out of it. You are afraid of the wind; why fear it? It may never come. Even if it were some deadly wind that was approaching, it might shift about, and not come near you. We are often fearing what never happens. We feel a thousand deaths in fearing one. Many a person has been afraid of what never would occur. It is a great pity to whip yourselves with imaginary rods. Wait till the trouble comes; else I shall have to tell you the story I have often repeated of the mother whose child would cry. She told it not to cry, but it would cry. "Well," she said, "if you will cry, I will give you something to cry for." If you get fearing about nothing, the probability is that you will get something really to fear, for God does not love his people to be fools.

There are some who fall into the sin of penuriousness. Observe, that Solomon was here speaking of liberality. He that observeth the clouds and the winds thinks "That is not a good object to help," and that he will do harm if he gives here, or if he gives there. It amounts to this, poor miser, you want to save your money! Oh, the ways we have of making buttons with which to secure the safety of our pockets! Some persons have a button manufactory always ready. They have always a reason for not giving to anything that is proposed to them, or to any poor person who asks their help. I pray that every child of God here may avoid that sin. "Freely ye have received, freely give." And since you are stewards of a generous Master, let it never be said that the most liberal of Lords has the stingiest of stewards.

Another sin is often called idleness. The man who does not sow because of the wind, is usually too lazy to sow; and the man who does not reap because of the clouds is the man who wants a little more sleep, and a little more slumber, and a little more folding of the hands to sleep. If we do not want to serve God, it is wonderful how many reasons we can find. According to Solomon, the sluggard said there was a lion in the streets. "There is a lion in the way," said he, " a lion is in the streets." What a lie it was, for lions are as much afraid of streets as men are of deserts! Lions do not come into streets. It was idleness that said the lion was there. You were asked to preach the other night, and you could preach, but you said, no, you could not preach. However, you attended a political meeting, did you not, and talked twice as long as you would have done if you had preached? Another friend, asked to teach in Sunday-school, said, "I have no gifts of teaching." Somebody afterwards remarked of you that you had no gifts of teaching, and you felt very vexed, and asked what right had anyone to say that of you? I have heard persons run themselves down, when they have been invited to any Christian work, as being altogether disqualified; and when somebody has afterwards said, "That is true, you cannot do anything, I know," they have looked as if they would knock the speaker down. Oh, yes, yes, yes, we are always making these excuses about winds and clouds, and there is nothing in either of them. It is all meant to save our corn-seed, and to save us the trouble of sowing it.

Do you not see, I have made out a long list of sins wrapped up in this observing of winds and clouds? If you have been guilty of any of them, repent of your wrong-doing, and do not repeat it.

III. I will not keep you longer over this part of the subject. I will now make a third remark very briefly: LET US PROVE THAT WE HAVE NOT FALLEN INTO THIS EVIL. How can we prove it?

Let us prove it, firstly by sowing in the most unlikely places. What says Solomon? "Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days." Go, my brothers and sisters, and find out the most unlikely people, and begin to work for God with them. Now, try, if you can, to pick out the worst street in your neighbourhood, and visit from house to house, and if there is a man or woman more given up than another, make that person the object of your prayers and of your holy endeavours. Cast your bread upon the waters; then it will be seen that you are trusting God, not trusting the soil, nor trusting the seed.

Next, prove it by doing good to a great many. "Give a portion to seven, and also to eight." Talk of Christ to everybody you meet with. If God has not blessed you to one, try another; and if he has blessed you with one, try two others; and if he has blessed you to two others, try four others; and always keep on enlarging your seed-plot as your harvest comes in. If you are doing much, it will be shown that you are not regarding the winds and the clouds.

Further, prove that you are not regarding winds and clouds by wisely learning from the clouds another lesson than the one they seem made to teach. Learn this lesson: "If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth;" and say to yourself, "If God has made me full of grace, I will go and pour it out to others. I know the joy of being saved, if I have had fellowship with him, I will make a point of being more industrious than ever, because God has been unusually gracious to me. My fulness shall be helpful to others. I will empty myself for the good of others, even as the clouds pour down the rain upon the earth."

Then, beloved, prove it still by not wanting to know how God will work. There is a great mystery of birth, how the human soul comes to inhabit the body of the child, and how the child is fashioned. Thou knowest nothing about it, and thou canst not know. Therefore do not look about thee to see what thou canst not understand, and pry into what is concealed from thee. Go out and work; go out and preach; go out and instruct others. Go out to seek to win souls. Thus shalt thou prove, in very truth, that thou art not dependent upon surroundings and circumstances.

Again, dear friend, prove this by consistent diligence. "In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand." "Be instant in season, out of season." I had a friend, who had learned the way to put a peculiar meaning upon that passage of Scripture, "Let not thy right hand know what thy left hand doeth." He thought that the best way was to have money in both pockets; put one hand into each pocket, and then put both hands on the collection plate. I never objected to this interpretation of the passage. Now, the way to serve Christ is to do all you possibly can, and then as much more. "No," says you, "that cannot be." I do not know that it cannot be. I found that the best thing I ever did was a thing I could not do. What I could do well, that was my own; but what I could not do, but still did, in the name and strength of the Eternal Jehovah, was the best thing I had done. Beloved, sow in the morning, sow in the evening, sow at night, sow all day long, for you can never tell what God will bless; but by this constant sowing, you will prove to demonstration that you are not observing the winds, nor regarding the clouds.

IV. I now come to my concluding observation: LET US KEEP THIS EVIL OUT OF OUR HEARTS AS WELL AS OUT OF OUR WORK.

And, first, let us give no heed to the winds and clouds of doctrine that are everywhere about us now. Blow, blow, ye stormy winds; but you shall not move me. Clouds of hypotheses and inventions, come up with you, as many as you please, till you darken all the sky; but I will not fear you. Such clouds have come before, and have disappeared, and these will disappear, too. If you sit down, and think of man's inventions of error, and their novel doctrines, and how the churches have been bewitched by them, you will get into such a state of mind that you will neither sow nor reap. Just forget them. Give yourself to your holy service as if there were no winds and no clouds; and God will give you such comfort in your soul that you will rejoice before him, and be confident in his truth.

And then, next, let us not lose hope because of doubts and temptations. When the clouds and the winds get into your heart, when you do not feel as you used to feel, when you have not that joy and elasticity of spirit you once had, when your ardour seems a little damped, and even your faith begins to hesitate a little, go you to God all the same. Trust him still.

"And when thine eye of faith grows dim,

Still hold to Jesus, sink or swim;

Still at his footstool bow the knee,

And Israel's God thy strength shall be."

Do not go up and down like the mercury in the weather-glass; but know what you know, and believe what you believe. Hold to it, and God keep you in one mind, so that none can turn you; for, if not, if you begin to notice these things, you will neither sow nor reap.

Lastly, let us follow the Lord's mind, and come what will. In a word, set your face, like a flint, to serve God, by the maintenance of his truth, by your holy life, by the savour of your Christian character; and, that being done, defy earth and hell. If there were a crowd of devils between you and Christ, kick a lane through them by holy faith. They will fly before you. If you have but the courage to make an advance, they cannot stop you. You shall make a clear gangway through legions of them. Only be strong, and of good courage, and do not regard even the clouds from hell, or the blasts from the infernal pit; but go straight on in the path of right, and God being with you, you shall sow and you shall reap, unto his eternal glory.

Will some poor sinner here to-night, whether he sinks or swims, trust Christ? Come, if you feel less inclined to-night to hope, than you ever did before. Have hope even now; hope against hope; belief against belief. Cast yourself on Christ, even though he may seem to stand with a drawn sword in his hand, to run you through; trust even an angry Christ. Though your sins have grieved him, come and trust him. Do not stop for winds to blow over, or clouds to burst. Just as thou art, without one trace of anything that is good about thee, come and trust Christ as thy Saviour, and thou art saved. God give you grace to do so, for Jesus' sake! Amen.

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Ecclesiastes 11-12.

11:1. Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.

Hoard not thy bread; for if thou dost, it will mildew, it will be of no use to thee. Cast it on the waters; scatter it abroad; give it to the unworthy men if need be. Some here have seen an allusion to the casting of seed into the Nile when it overflowed its banks. When the waters subsided, the corn would grow, and be gathered in "after many days."

2. Give a portion to seven,

And if that be a perfect number, give beyond it,

2. And also to eight;

Give to more than thou canst afford to give to. Help some who are doubtful, some who are outside of the perfect number, and give them a portion, a fair portion. Our Saviour went beyond Solomon; for he said, "Give to every man that asketh of thee."

2. For thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth.

Thou knowest not what need there may be of thy help; nor what need may come to thee, and how thou thyself mayest be helped by those whom thou helpest now.

3. If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth;

Thou knowest not what need there may be of thy help; nor what need may come to thee, and how thou thyself mayest be helped by those whom thou helpest now.

3. And if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be.

The tree falls the way it is inclined; but when it has fallen, there it must be. God grant that you and I may fall the right way when the axe of death hews us down! Which way are we inclined?

4, 5. He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap. As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child; even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.

There are great mysteries which we can never comprehend. God alone knows how the soul comes into the body, or even how the body is fashioned. This must remain with him. We do not know how sinners are regenerated. We know not how the Spirit of God works upon the mind of man, and transforms the sinner into a saint. We do not know. There are some who know too much already. I have not half the desire to know that I have to believe and to love. Oh, that we loved God more, and trusted God more! We might then get to heaven if we knew even less than we do.

6. In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.

You cannot make the gospel enter into men's hearts. You cannot tell how it does enter and change them. The Spirit of God does that; but your duty is to go on telling it out. Go on spreading abroad the knowledge of Christ; in the morning, and in the evening, and all day long, scatter the good seed of the kingdom. You have nothing to do with the result of your sowing; that remains with the Lord. That which you sow in the morning may prosper, or the seed that you scatter in the evening; possibly God will bless both. You are to keep on sowing, whether you reap or not.

7, 8. Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun: but if a man live many years, and rejoice in them all; yet let him remember the days of darkness; for they shall be many. All that cometh is vanity.

Take Christ away, and this is a truthful estimate of human life. Put Christ into the question, and Solomon does not hit the mark at all. If we have Christ with us, whether the days are light or dark, we walk in the light, and our soul is happy and glad; but apart from Christ, the estimate of life which is given here is an exactly accurate one a little brightness and long darkness, a flash and then midnight. God save you from living a merely natural life! May you rise to the supernatural! May you get out of the lower life of the mere animal into the higher life of the regenerated soul! If the life of God be in you, then you shall go from strength to strength like the sun that shineth unto the perfect day.

9. Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.

Young man, will you dare, then, to follow your passions, and the devices of your own heart, with this at thy back, "God will bring thee into judgment?" Oh no, the advice of Solomon, apparently so evil, is answered by warning at the end, which is also true,

10. Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh: for childhood and youth are vanity.

"Remove sorrow," or rather, anger, ambition, or anything else that would cause sorrow, "from thy heart; and put away evil from thy flesh." Let not thy fleshly nature rule thee; thou art in the period when flesh is strong towards evil, when "vanity" is the ruin of many.

12:1. Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth.

Now we get on solid ground. There is an irony in the advice, "Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes." There is no irony here; there is solid, sound advice: "Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth." May every young man take this advice, and carry it out!

1-3. While the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them; while the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain: in the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble,

These arms and hands of ours shake by reason of weakness.

3. And the strong men shall bow themselves,

These limbs, these legs of ours, begin to bend under the weight they have to support.

3. And the grinders cease because they are few,

The teeth are gone.

3. And those that look out of the windows be darkened,

The eyesight begins to fail.

4. And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of musick shall be brought low;

The old man sleeps very lightly; anything awakens him. He hides away from public business. The doors are shut in the streets.

5. Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way.

There is none of the courage of youth. Daring is gone; prudence, not to say cowardice, sits on the throne.

5. And the almond tree shall flourish,

The hair is white and grey, like the early peach or almond tree in the beginning of the year.

5. And the grasshopper shall be a burden,

A little trouble weighs the old man down. He has no energy now. The grasshopper is a burden.

5, 6. And desire shall fail: because men to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets; or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden cord be broken.

Before the spinal cord is broken, or the skull becomes emptied of the living inhabitants.

6. Or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.

The circulation of the blood begins to fail, the heart grows weak, it will soon stop. The man's career is nearly over.

7. Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

This will happen to us all, either to return to dust or else return to God. Whether we die, and return to dust, or live until the coming of Christ, our spirit shall return to God who gave it. May the return be a joyous one for each of us!

8-11. Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity. And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yes, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs. The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth. The words of the wise are as goads,

They prick us onward, as the goad does the bullock, when he is trying to stop instead of ploughing in the furrow.

11. And as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd.

The words of the wise are driven home, like nails, and clinched. There is one Shepherd who, by means of his servants' words, leads his flock where he would have them go.

12, 13. And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh. Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the duty of man.

Or, "this is the whole of man." It makes a man of him when he fears God and keeps his commandments; he has that which makes him "the whole man."

14. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

Depend upon it that it will be so. At the last great day, there will be a revelation of everything, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. Nor need the righteous fear that revelation, for they will only magnify in that day the amazing grace of God which has put all their iniquities away; and then shall all men know how great the grace of God was in passing by iniquity, transgression, and sin.

Bibliographical Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 11:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/​commentaries/​spe/​ecclesiastes-11.html. 2011.