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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Ecclesiastes 12:12

But beyond this, my son, be warned: the writing of many books is endless, and excessive devotion to books is wearying to the body.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Nave's Topical Bible - Investigation;   Thompson Chain Reference - Books;   Decrepitude;   Knowledge;   Knowledge-Ignorance;   Long Life;   Old Age;   Reading;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Books;  
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Wisdom literature;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Canon of the Old Testament;   Scribes;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Ecclesiastes, Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Ecclesiastes;   Education;   Medicine;   Writing;  
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Dead;   Ecclesiastes, or the Preacher;   Flesh;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Apocrypha;   Ben La'anah;   Bible Canon;   Flesh;   Oral Law;  
Every Day Light - Devotion for August 6;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Verse Ecclesiastes 12:12. And farther, by these, my son, be admonished — Hear such teachers, and receive their admonitions; and do not receive the grace of God in vain.

Of making many books there is no end — Two thousand years have elapsed since this was written; and since that time some millions of treatises have been added, on all kinds of subjects, to those which have gone before. The press is still groaning under and teeming with books, books innumerable; and no one subject is yet exhausted, notwithstanding all that has been written on it. And we who live in these latter times are no nearer an end, in the investigation of NATURE and its properties; of GOD, his attributes, his providence, his justice, and his mercy; of MAN, his animal life, his mode of nutrition and existence, and his soul and its powers; of JESUS, and the redemption by him; of ETERNITY, and what it implies as exhibiting to us the pains of the cursed, and the glories of the blessed. Of several of these we know no more than they who have lived five thousand years before us; nor do we know any thing certainly by the endless books that have been published, except what bears the seal of the God of heaven, as published in that word which was declared by his Spirit.

And much study is a weariness of the flesh.] O how true is this! Let the trembling knees, the palsied hands, the darkened eyes, the aching heart, and the puzzled mind of every real student declare! And should none more worthy of the name of student be within reach to consult, the writer of this work is a proof in point.

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These files are public domain.
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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 12:12". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". 1832.

Bridgeway Bible Commentary

Final comments (12:9-14)

Those whom the writer taught were not only the sons of the rich who attended the wisdom schools, but also ordinary people around the city. His method of study was to consider all the wise teachings relevant to his subject, select the most suitable, then arrange them in a way that was interesting and helpful to his audience. However, he never twisted the truth to suit his own purposes (9-10). True wisdom teaching, such as that which the writer speaks of here, comes from God. It helps people on and sticks in their minds (11).
A final warning is necessary. Too much study can be harmful, especially if it goes beyond what is taught by the wisdom teachers (12). All people have a basic responsibility to fear God and obey his commandments. They are answerable to God for everything they do (13-14).

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Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 12:12". "Brideway Bible Commentary". 2005.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

"And furthermore, my son, be admonished: that of the making of many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh."

The perfect understanding of this verse is captured by this translation: "My son, avoid anything beyond the scriptures of wisdom; there is no end to the buying of books, and to study books closely is a weariness of the flesh."[43] This is almost the same warning as that given by Paul that the brethren, "Might learn not to go beyond the things which are written." (1 Corinthians 4:6).

In many of the earlier passages of Ecclesiastes which suggest doubt, skepticism, uncertainty and perplexity, the commentators, in many instances, have pointed out that many of those passages reflect the mythological and pagan writings of antiquity; and here Solomon virtually confesses that many of the things which he had read had been, at least partially, the cause of his terrible apostasy, Peterson agreed that the warning here, "Was to discourage the reading of pagan literature."[44]

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 12:12". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

This passage is properly regarded as the Epilogue of the whole book; a kind of apology for the obscurity of many of its sayings. The passage serves therefore to make the book more intelligible and more acceptable.

Here, as in the beginning of the book Ecclesiastes 1:1-2, the Preacher speaks of himself Ecclesiastes 12:8-10 in the third person. He first repeats Ecclesiastes 12:8 the mournful, perplexing theme with which his musings began Ecclesiastes 1:2; and then states the encouraging practical conclusion Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 to which they have led him. It has been pointed out that the Epilogue assumes the identity of the Preacher with the writer of the Book of Proverbs.

Ecclesiastes 12:11

literally, Words of wise men are as goads, and as nails driven in (by) masters of assemblies; they are given from one shepherd: “goads,” because they rouse the hearer and impel him to right actions; “nails” (perhaps tent-spikes), because they remain fixed in the memory: “masters of assemblies” are simply “teachers” or “preachers” (see Ecclesiastes 1:1 note), instructors of such assemblies as Wisdom addresses Proverbs 1:20.

One shepherd - i. e., God, who is the supreme Giver of wisdom Proverbs 2:6, and the chief Shepherd Jeremiah 23:1-4. Compare 1 Corinthians 2:12-13.

Ecclesiastes 12:12

By these - i. e., “By the words of wise men.”

Books - Rather, “Writings.” Probably the proverbs current in the Preacher’s age, including, though not especially indicating, his own.

The Preacher protests against the folly of protracted, unprofitable, meditation.

Ecclesiastes 12:13

literally, “The conclusion of the discourse” (or “word,” = words, Ecclesiastes 1:1), “the whole, let us hear.”

The whole duty of man - Rather, the whole man. To revere God and to obey Him is the whole man, constitutes man’s whole being; that only is conceded to Man; all other things, as this book teaches again and again, are dependent on a Higher Incomprehensible Being.

Ecclesiastes 12:14

Judgment with - Rather, judgment (which shall be held) upon etc.: i. e., an appointed judgment which shall take place in another world, as distinct from that retribution which frequently follows man’s actions in the course of this world, and which is too imperfect (compare Ecclesiastes 2:15; Ecclesiastes 4:1; Ecclesiastes 7:15; Ecclesiastes 9:2, ...) to be described by these expressions. He that is fully convinced that there is no solid happiness to be found in this world, and that there is a world to come wherein God will adjudge people to happiness or misery respectively, as they have made their choice and acted here, must necessarily subscribe to the truth of Solomon’s conclusion, that true religion is the only way to true happiness.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 12:12". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.

Chuck Smith Bible Commentary

Chapter 12

Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth ( Ecclesiastes 12:1 ),

It is interesting that most conversions are made during the teenage years. Seven-eighths of every decision for Jesus Christ is made while in your teenage years. That's why it's an important injunction, "Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth."

while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when you shall say, I have no pleasure in them ( Ecclesiastes 12:1 );

Don't wait until you get old to serve the Lord, to give your life to Jesus Christ. Commit your life while you're young, before those evil days come and you say, "Oh man, life has no more pleasure." And so we have now an interesting sort of graphic description of the aged person.

While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain ( Ecclesiastes 12:2 ):

As you get older you start putting stronger light bulbs in the socket. My first awareness of my need for glasses is when the light wasn't bright enough and I had to get a brighter light in order to read. And somehow the lights go dimmer as you get older. The muscles of your eyes don't contract as they should in the adjustment of the pupil and all. And so you need more light in order to read. So remember. You see, I'm in the other end of the stick now when the years draw nigh.

In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble ( Ecclesiastes 12:3 ),

That's when you begin to get the palsied shakes of the old age; your knees and your legs begin to shake. You walk sort of shakily. It's hard to have a smooth script as you're writing, you know, you can. "Keepers of the house are trembling."

and the strong men shall bow themselves ( Ecclesiastes 12:3 ),

You begin to hunch over your back. The grinders are your teeth.

and the grinders cease because they are few ( Ecclesiastes 12:3 ),

Of course, in those days they didn't have the spare sets.

and those that look out of the windows be darkened ( Ecclesiastes 12:3 ),

Again, the reference to the eyes, the windows of your body, the eye, and you begin to become blind.

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 music shall be brought low ( Ecclesiastes 12:4 );

Your hearing gets bad, and the singing, "Yeah, what?" It's a great life to look forward to, isn't it? You start waking up early in the morning, the first song of the bird. You don't sleep so long anymore. You don't need so much sleep.

And when they shall be afraid of that which is high ( Ecclesiastes 12:5 ),

You start getting these fears.

and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper will be a burden ( Ecclesiastes 12:5 ),

Oh, there's a grasshopper, what shall I do?

I was visiting a while back in one of the retirement homes, one of our members, and as I was going to leave, as I got to the elevator, I was on the seventeenth floor, and when I got to the elevator this little old lady came running up to me. She says, "Help, help, help!" And I said, "What's the matter, Ma'am?" And she said, "There's a man; he came right into my room. I didn't invite him; he came right into my room. And he's still there in my room and I can't get him out." And I said, "Well, I'll get him out for you, Ma'am, you know." She was a little old lady so I figured it must be a little old man, you know. I could have handled that. So I went back to her room with her and we went into her room and here I was ready to assume my authority and order the guy out. What are you doing in this room uninvited? And looked around I said, "Well, Ma'am, I don't see anybody here." She said, "Well, he came flying right in that window there. And he landed right there in the sink. And was just staring at me for a while, you know."

Even a grasshopper can become a burden. Or a fly.

your desire shall fail: because man goes to his long home, and the mourners will be in the streets: Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel be broken at the cistern. Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it. Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher; all is vanity ( Ecclesiastes 12:5-8 ).

You've come to the end of the road, man. This is it. The mourners are out in the street. The pitcher's been broken at the fountain. It's all over. And what is life? Vanity, vanity. Your body is gone back to dust. Spirit's gone back to God who gave it. And it was just one vast emptiness.

That's life apart from God. And if you live apart from God, you will experience the same thing. You can't escape it. There is no real meaning in life apart from God, apart from serving God. There is nothing worthwhile. Vanity, vanity, all is emptiness.

And moreover, because the [assembler] Preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs. The [assembler or] Preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even the words of truth. The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of the assemblies, which are given from one shepherd. And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making of many books there is no end; and much study is weariness of the flesh ( Ecclesiastes 12:9-12 ).

I used to have that in my room when I was in school.

Now let's hear the conclusion of the whole matter ( Ecclesiastes 12:13 ):

This is it.

Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it is good, or whether it is evil ( Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 ).

This is it. The best way to live is just to fear God, keep His commandments. Because one day God is going to bring every work into judgment, even the secret things whether good or evil.

Shall we stand.

I pray that the Lord will give you a closer walk with Him. That you begin to understand life from the divine perspective. That you'll experience much more than the emptiness of life after the flesh under the sun but will begin to experience the rich fulfillment of life in the Son after the Spirit. And so may God lead you by His Spirit into that full, rich life that He wants you to know and to experience in Jesus Christ. And may you begin to experience that which Jesus said was life more abundantly that He had come to bring to you. So may the hand of the Lord be upon your life this week. And may you walk with Him in love. In Jesus' name. "

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Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 12:12". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". 2014.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

B. The Concluding Summary 12:8-14

In conclusion, Solomon repeated his original thesis (Ecclesiastes 12:8; cf. Ecclesiastes 1:2) and his counsel in view of life’s realities (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). In between these statements, he set forth his source of authority for writing what we have in Ecclesiastes (Ecclesiastes 12:9-12).

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 12:12". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". 2012.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The phrase "these collections" (Ecclesiastes 12:11) refers to other collections of wise sayings (e.g., Job and Proverbs). Ultimately all wisdom comes from God. "Goads" (Ecclesiastes 12:11) are prodding sticks, and people who master this wisdom literature are similar to "well-driven nails" in that they are stable and secure.

"Beyond this" (Ecclesiastes 12:12) evidently refers to beyond the wisdom literature that God has revealed, in view of Ecclesiastes 12:11. Solomon warned his disciple that looking elsewhere in other books for divine wisdom would only wear him out.

"Writing was well established as a hallmark of civilization from about 3500 BC onwards." [Note: Eaton, p. 155.]

This verse does not say that all study is tiring, though that is true. It means that study of books-other than what God has revealed-to learn wisdom, is an endless, wearisome occupation. This is not to say we should avoid reading books other than the Bible. Nonetheless the main place to look when you want to find true wisdom is God’s Word.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 12:12". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". 2012.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And further, by these, my son, be admonished,.... Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, may be intended, for whose sake, more especially, this book might be written; though it may take in every hearer of this divine preacher, every disciple of this teacher, every subject of his kingdom, as well as every reader of this book, whom he thus addresses, and for whom he was affectionately concerned as a father for a son; that they might be enlightened with divine knowledge, warned of that which is evil, and admonished and advised to that which is good; "by these" words and writings of his own, and other wise men; and by these masters of assemblies, who, and their words, are from the one and chief Shepherd; to these they would do well to take heed, and to these only or chiefly. It may be rendered, "and what is the more excellent of these, he admonished" k; to observe what is mentioned in Ecclesiastes 12:13, and lies in a few words, "Fear God", c. and especially Jesus Christ, the "Alpha" and "Omega", the sum and substance of the whole Bible of what had been written in Solomon's time, and has been since: he is the most excellent part of it; or that which concerns him, in his person, offices, and grace: or thus; "and what is above", or "more than these, beware of" l; do not trouble thyself with any other writings; these are sufficient, all that is useful and valuable is to be found in them; and as for others, if read, read them with care and caution, and only as serving to explain these, and to promote the same ends and designs, or otherwise to be rejected;

of making many books [there is] no end; many books, it seems, were written in Solomon's time; there was the same itch of writing as now, it may be; but what was written was not to be mentioned with the sacred writings, were comparatively useless and worthless. Or the sense is, should Solomon, or any other, write ever so many volumes, it would be quite needless; and there would be no end of writing, for these would not give satisfaction and contentment; and which yet was to be had in the word of God; and therefore that should be closely attended to: though this may be understood, not only of making or composing books, but of getting them, as Aben Ezra; of purchasing them, and so making them a man's own. A man may lay out his money, and fill his library with books, and be very little the better for them; what one writer affirms, another denies; what one seems to have proved clearly, another rises up and points out his errors and mistakes; and this occasions replies and rejoinders, so that there is no end of these things, and scarce any profit by them; which, without so much trouble, may be found in the writings of wise men, inspired by God, and in which we should rest contented;

and much study [is] a weariness of the flesh; the study of languages, and of each of the arts and sciences, and of various subjects in philosophy and divinity, particularly in writing books on any of these subjects; which study is as fatiguing to the body, and brings as much weariness on it, as any manual and mechanic operation; it dries up the moisture of the body, consumes the spirits, and gradually and insensibly impairs health, and brings on weakness, as well as weariness. Some render it, "much reading", as Jarchi, and so Mr. Broughton; and Aben Ezra observes, that the word in the Arabic language so signifies: the Arabic word "lahag" signifies to desire anything greedily, or to be greedily given and addicted to anything m; and so may denote such kind of reading here, or such a person who is "helluo", a glutton at books, as Cato is said to be. And now reading books with such eagerness, and with constancy, is very wearisome, and is to little advantage; whereas reading the Scripture cheers and refreshes the mind, and is profitable and edifying. Gussetius n interprets it of much speaking, long orations, which make weary.

k ויתר מהמה "potius inquam ex istis", Junius Tremellius "quod potissimum ex istis", Gejerus. l "Et amplius his, fili mi, cave", Mercerus. m Vid. Castell. Lexic. col. 1874. who gives an instance of the use of this word in, the following sentence; ולהג "he that reads with mouth, but his heart is not with it"; and so Kimchi, in Sepher Shotash, fol. 74. fol. 2. explains the word here, "learning without understanding". n Ebr. Comment. p. 431.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 12:12". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". 1999.

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

The Conclusion of the Whole.

      8 Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity.   9 And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs.   10 The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth.   11 The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd.   12 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.

      Solomon is here drawing towards a close, and is loth to part till he has gained his point, and prevailed with his hearers, with his readers, to seek for that satisfaction in God only and in their duty to him which they can never find in the creature.

      I. He repeats his text (Ecclesiastes 12:8; Ecclesiastes 12:8), 1. As that which he had fully demonstrated the truth of, and so made good his undertaking in this sermon, wherein he had kept closely to his text, and both his reasons and his application were to the purpose. 2. As that which he desired to inculcate both upon others and upon himself, to have it ready, and to make use of it upon all occasions. We see it daily proved; let it therefore be daily improved: Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.

      II. He recommends what he had written upon this subject by divine direction and inspiration to our serious consideration. The words of this book are faithful, and well worthy our acceptance, for,

      1. They are the words of one that was a convert, a penitent, that could speak by dear-bought experience of the vanity of the world and the folly of expecting great things from it. He was Coheleth, one gathered in from his wanderings and gathered home to that God from whom he had revolted. Vanity of vanities, saith the penitent. All true penitents are convinced of the vanity of the world, for they find it can do nothing to ease them of the burden of sin, which they complain of.

      2. They are the words of one that was wise, wiser than any, endued with extraordinary measures of wisdom, famous for it among his neighbours, who all sought unto him to hear his wisdom, and therefore a competent judge of this matter, not only wise as a prince, but wise as a preacher--and preachers have need of wisdom to win souls.

      3. He was one that made it his business to do good, and to use wisdom aright. Because he was himself wise, but knew he had not his wisdom for himself, any more than he had it from himself, he still taught the people that knowledge which he had found useful to himself, and hoped might be so to them too. It is the interest of princes to have their people well taught in religion, and no disparagement to them to teach them themselves the good knowledge of the Lord, but their duty to encourage those whose office it is to teach them and to speak comfortably to them, 2 Chronicles 30:22. Let not the people, the common people, be despised, no, not by the wisest and greatest, as either unworthy or incapable of good knowledge: even those that are well taught have need to be still taught, that they may grow in knowledge.

      4. He took a great deal of pains and care to do good, designing to teach the people knowledge. He did not put them off with any thing that came next to hand, because they were inferior people, and he a very wise man, but considering the worth of the souls he preached to and the weight of the subject he preached on, he gave good heed to what he read and heard from others, that, having stocked himself well, he might bring out of his treasury things new and old. He gave good heed to what he spoke and wrote himself, and was choice and exact in it; all he did was elaborate. (1.) He chose the most profitable way of preaching, by proverbs or short sentences, which would be more easily apprehended and remembered than long and laboured periods. (2.) He did not content himself with a few parables, or wise sayings, and repeat them again and again, but he furnished himself with many proverbs, a great variety of grave discourses, that he might have something to say on every occasion. (3.) He did not only give them such observations as were obvious and trite, but he sought out such as were surprising and uncommon; he dug into the mines of knowledge, and did not merely pick up what lay on the surface. (4.) He did not deliver his heads and observations at random, as they came to mind, but methodized them, and set them in order that they might appear in more strength and lustre.

      5. He put what he had to say in such a dress as he thought would be most pleasing: He sought to find out acceptable words, words of delight (Ecclesiastes 12:10; Ecclesiastes 12:10); he took care that good matter might not be spoiled by a bad style, and by the ungratefulness and incongruity of the expression. Ministers should study, not for the big words, nor the fine words, but acceptable words, such as are likely to please men for their good, to edification, 1 Corinthians 10:33. Those that would win souls must contrive how to win upon them with words fitly spoken.

      6. That which he wrote for our instruction is of unquestionable certainty, and what we may rely upon: That which was written was upright and sincere, according to the real sentiments of the penman, even words of truth, the exact representation of the thing as it is. Those are sure not to miss their way who are guided by these words. What good will acceptable words do us if they be not upright and words of truth? Most are for smooth things, that flatter them, rather than right things, that direct them (Isaiah 30:10), but to those that understand themselves, and their own interest, words of truth will always be acceptable words.

      7. That which he and other holy men wrote will be of great use and advantage to us, especially being inculcated upon us by the exposition of it, Ecclesiastes 12:11; Ecclesiastes 12:11. Here observe, (1.) A double benefit accruing to us from divine truths if duly applied and improved; they are profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and instruction in righteousness. They are of use, [1.] To excite us to our duty. They are as goads to the ox that draws the plough, putting him forward when he is dull and quickening him, to amend his pace. The truths of God prick men to the heart (Acts 2:37) and put them upon bethinking themselves, when they trifle and grow remiss, and exerting themselves with more vigour in their work. While our good affections are so apt as they are to grow flat and cool, we have need of these goads. [2.] To engage us to persevere in our duty. They are as nails to those that are wavering and inconstant, to fix them to that which is good. They are as goads to such as are dull and draw back, and nails to such as are desultory and draw aside, means to establish the heart and confirm good resolutions, that we may not sit loose to our duty, nor even be taken off from it, but that what good there is in us may be as a nail fastened in a sure place,Ezra 9:8. (2.) A double way of communicating divine truths, in order to those benefits:-- [1.] By the scriptures, as the standing rule, the words of the wise, that is, of the prophets, who are called wise men,Matthew 23:34. These we have in black and white, and may have recourse to them at any time, and make use of them as goads and as nails. By them we may teach ourselves; let them but come with pungency and power to the soul, let the impressions of them be deep and durable, and the will make us wise to salvation. [2.] By the ministry. To make the words of the wise more profitable to us, it is appointed that they should be impressed and fastened by the masters of assemblies. Solemn assemblies for religious worship are an ancient divine institution, intended for the honour of God and the edification of his church, and are not only serviceable, but necessary, to those ends. There must be masters of these assemblies, who are Christ's ministers, and as such are to preside in them, to be God's mouth to the people and theirs to God. Their business is to fasten the words of the wise, and drive them as nails to the head, in order to which the word of God is likewise as a hammer,Jeremiah 23:29.

      8. That which is written, and thus recommended to us, is of divine origin. Though it comes to us through various hands (many wise men, and many masters of assemblies), yet it is given by one and the same shepherd, the great shepherd of Israel, that leads Joseph like a flock,Psalms 80:1. God is that one Shepherd, whose good Spirit indited the scriptures, and assists the masters of the assemblies in opening and applying the scriptures. These words of the wise are the true sayings of God, on which we may rest our souls. From that one Shepherd all ministers must receive what they deliver, and speak according to the light of the written word.

      9. The sacred inspired writings, if we will but make use of them, are sufficient to guide us in the way of true happiness, and we need not, in the pursuit of that, to fatigue ourselves with the search of other writings (Ecclesiastes 12:12; Ecclesiastes 12:12): "And further, nothing now remains but to tell thee that that of making many books there is no end," that is, (1.) Of writing many books. "If what I have written, serve not to convince thee of the vanity of the world, and the necessity of being religious, neither wouldst thou be convinced if I should write ever so much." If the end be not attained in the use of those books of scripture which God has blessed us with, neither should we obtain the end, if we had twice as many more; nay, if we had so many that the whole world could not contain them (John 21:25), and much study of them would but confound us, and would rather be a weariness to the flesh than any advantage to the soul. We have as much as God saw fit to give us, saw fit for us, and saw us fit for. Much less can it be expected that those who will not by these be admonished should be wrought upon by other writings. Let men write ever so many books for the conduct of human life, write till they have tired themselves with much study, they cannot give better instructions than those we have from the word of God. Or, (2.) Of buying many books, making ourselves master of them, and masters of what is in them, by much study; still the desire of learning would be unsatisfied. It will give a man indeed the best entertainment and the best accomplishment this world can afford him; but if we be not by these admonished of the vanity of the world, and human learning, among other things, and its insufficiency to make us happy without true piety, alas! there is no end of it, nor real benefit by it; it will weary the body, but never give the soul any true satisfaction. The great Mr. Selden subscribed to this when he owned that in all the books he had read he never found that on which he could rest his soul, but in the holy scripture, especially Titus 2:11; Titus 2:12. By these therefore let us be admonished.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Ecclesiastes 12:12". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". 1706.