Click here to learn more!
Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary
New American Standard Version
Bible Study Resources
Nave's Topical Bible - Death; Diligence; Hell; Industry; Zeal, Religious; Scofield Reference Index - Dead; Thompson Chain Reference - Business Life; Capital and Labour; Death; Earnestness-Indifference; Fervour; Grave, the; Life-Death; Man; Readiness; Work, Physical; Zeal; The Topic Concordance - Deeds; Torrey's Topical Textbook - Death, Natural; Diligence;
Verse Ecclesiastes 9:10. Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do — Examine here the WHAT the HOW, and the WHY.
I. What is necessary to be done in this life, in reference to another?
1. Turn from sin.
3. Frequent the ordinances of God, and associate with the upright.
4. Read the Scriptures.
5. Pray for pardon.
6. Believe on the Lord Jesus, that thou mayest obtain it.
7. Look for the gift of the Holy Spirit.
8. Bring forth in their seasons the fruits of it -
(2) Faith; and
(3) The Holy Spirit.
9. Live to get good.
10. And to do good.
11. And refer every purpose and act to the eternal world.
II. How should these be done? With thy might.
1. Be fully convinced of the necessity of these things.
2. Be determined to act according to this conviction.
3. Then act with all thy strength; put forth all thy power in avoiding evil, repenting of sin, c., c.
III. Why should this be done?
1. Because thou art a dying man.
2. Thou art going into the grave.
3. When thou leavest this life, thy state of probation, with all its advantages, is eternally ended.
4. If thou die in sin, where God is thou shalt never come.
1. There is no work by which thou mayest profit
2. No device by which thou mayest escape punishment
3. No knowledge of any means of help; and,
4. No wisdom - restoration of the soul to the favour and image of God, in that grave whither thou goest. Therefore, work while it is called to-day.
My old MS. Bible translates this nervously: Whatever thinge may thin hond don, besily wirch: for nouther werc, ne resoun, ne wisdom, ne keennyng schuln be a nentis hell, whither thou gost. Properly speaking, every sinner is going to hell, and the wisdom of God calls upon him to turn and live.
These files are public domain.
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 9:10". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/ecclesiastes-9.html. 1832.
Life’s opportunities (9:1-12)
A person may believe that life is under the control of God, but still not know whether the experiences one meets in life are a sign of God’s pleasure or a sign of his anger. The same fate, death, comes to all (9:1-3). Good people have no advantage over the bad. The only advantage is that of the living over the dead. The living can still do things, but the dead are useless and forgotten (4-6).
Therefore, people should enjoy life to the full while they have the opportunity, as there will be no further opportunity when they are dead. Festive occasions, marital relations and daily work are all part of the order that God has instituted for human society, and he wants people to enjoy them (7-10). Much in life seems to depend on chance. Those who deserve success may miss out because of some misfortune; those who do not deserve defeat may be overtaken by calamity (11-12).
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 9:10". "Brideway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bbc/ecclesiastes-9.html. 2005.
Read these six verses connectedly, in order to arrive at the meaning of the writer; and compare Ecclesiastes 2:1-12.
After the description Ecclesiastes 9:5-6 of the portionless condition of the dead, the next thought which occurs is that the man who is prosperous and active should simply enjoy his portion all through this life Ecclesiastes 9:7-10; and then Ecclesiastes 9:11-12 follows the correcting thought (see Ecclesiastes 3:1-15 note), introduced as usual Ecclesiastes 2:12; Ecclesiastes 4:1, Ecclesiastes 4:7 by “I returned,” namely, that the course of events is disposed and regulated by another will than that of man.
The person addressed is one whose life of labor is already pleasing to God, and who bears visible tokens of God’s favor.
Now accepteth - Rather: “already has pleasure in.” Joy (the marginal reference note) is regarded as a sign of the approbation and favor of God.
White garments and perfume are simply an expressive sign of joy.
The works which we carry on here with the combined energies of body and soul come to an end in the hour of death, when the soul enters a new sphere of existence, and body and soul cease to act together. Compare John 9:4.
Device - See Ecclesiastes 7:25 note.
Chance - Or, “incident,” that which comes to us from without, one of the external events described in Ecclesiastes 3:0. Compare Ecclesiastes 2:14 note.
Time - See Ecclesiastes 3:1 ff.
These files are public domain.
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 9:10". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/ecclesiastes-9.html. 1870.
For all this I considered in my heart even to declare all this, that the righteous, and the wise, and their works, are in the hand of God: no man knows either love or hatred by all that is before them. All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not: as is the good, so is the sinner; and he that sweareth, as he that fears an oath. This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that there is one event unto all: yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead ( Ecclesiastes 9:1-3 ).
So one thing happens to everybody--they die whether you're good or bad, sacrifice or don't sacrifice. It doesn't matter. You're all going to die. And as far as Solomon was concerned, that was horrible. If all of your wisdom can't cause you to escape death, all of your wealth can't cause you to escape death, how dies the rich man? As the poor. How dies the wise? As the fool. They all die.
You can't escape death was the conclusion of his human wisdom, but Jesus taught us how to escape death. Jesus said, "He who lives and believes in Me shall never die" ( John 11:26 ). You can escape death by living and believing in Jesus Christ. But the human mind, human wisdom won't bring you to that. It takes the revelation of God. And if you're only coming at life from the human level and trying to find God from the human level, you'll never make it. God must reveal Himself to you by His Spirit. And God has revealed Himself through His Word. And God has revealed, "And this is the record, that God has given to us eternal life and this life is in the Son, and he who has the Son has life" ( 1 John 5:11-12 ). "He that lives and believes in Me," Jesus said, "will never die."
For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion ( Ecclesiastes 9:4 ).
I guess so.
For the living know that they shall die: but the dead don't know any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten ( Ecclesiastes 9:5 ).
Now those who teach the annihilation of the soul immediately turn to this as their scriptural proof. The book of Ecclesiastes, a book that deals with human reason, human intellect apart from God. And they pick out this scripture to prove soul annihilation. "For the living know that they shall die, but the dead know nothing, neither have they any more reward. For the memory of them is forgotten." And then in verse Ecclesiastes 9:9 , their second proof text. No, I beg your pardon. The second text is right in here somewhere close.
But anyway, Jesus tells us that there was a certain rich man who fared sumptuously every day. Moreover, there was a poor man who was daily brought at his gate, full of sores, begging bread and eating bread that fell from the rich man's table. And the poor man died and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom. And the rich man also died, and in hell, lifted up his eyes being in torment and said, "Father Abraham, have mercy on me and send Lazarus unto me that he may take his finger and dip it in water and touch my tongue, for I am tormented in this heat." And Abraham said unto him, "Son, remember that in thy lifetime you had good things." Now that's what Jesus said. The consciousness that exists after death.
Solomon with human reason and understanding said, "But the dead don't know anything." This guy knew that his tongue was tormented, he knew Lazarus, and he knew that he had brothers back on earth who were still living sinful lives. And he could remember his past sinful life. Now you have to either accept the word of Jesus or the word of Solomon in a backslidden state as he is trying to find the reason and purpose of life apart from God, life under the sun. It is wrong to take the book of Ecclesiastes for biblical doctrine. Better to turn to the words of Christ. He surely knew much better than did Solomon in his backslidden state.
Also their love [that is, of the dead], and their hatred, and their envy, [is forgotten] and it's perished [annihilated]; neither have they any more a portion for ever of any thing that is done under the sun ( Ecclesiastes 9:6 ).
They're through. It's over. It's all... it's the end.
Go thy way, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart; for God now accepts your works. Let your garments be always white; and let your head lack no ointment. Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest [all the days of your life] all the days of your empty life, which he hath given you under the sun, all the days of your emptiness: for that is your portion in this life, and in thy labor which you take under the sun ( Ecclesiastes 9:7-9 ).
That's all you're going to get, man, so you might as well go for it. That's life.
Whatsoever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave ( Ecclesiastes 9:10 ),
That's their other proof text. "No work, device, knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going." It's not what Jesus said.
I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happens to them all ( Ecclesiastes 9:11 ).
There is no purpose in life. There is no guiding hand in life. It's all a matter of time and chance. That's his conclusion. That is not a Scriptural doctrine. Only Solomon's conclusion of looking at things. Life is just time and chance. It doesn't matter how swift or slow, weak or strong, wise or foolish. Life is just time and chance.
For a man also knows not his time: as the fish that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them. This wisdom have I seen also under the sun, and it seemed great to me ( Ecclesiastes 9:12-13 ):
Now this is what I observed. It seemed like a great thing.
There was a little city, and few men within it; and there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and he built great bulwarks against it: Now there was in this little city found a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man remembered that same poor man. Then I said, Wisdom is better than strength: nevertheless the poor man's wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard. The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that rules among fools. Wisdom is better than the weapons of war: but one sinner destroys much good ( Ecclesiastes 9:14-18 ).
So his conclusions of observing a city spared by a wise man. "
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 9:10". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/csc/ecclesiastes-9.html. 2014.
1. The future of the righteous on earth 9:1-10
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 9:10". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/ecclesiastes-9.html. 2012.
Solomon’s second recommendation was diligent work (cf. John 9:4). He viewed work as is a privilege that the dead do not have. Probably toil connected with the curse on nature is in view here. We will be active in service in heaven, for example, but this will not be work as we know it now (Revelation 22:3). If you think work is not a blessing, spend some time talking with someone who has been out of work for a long time.
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 9:10". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/ecclesiastes-9.html. 2012.
Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do,.... Not anything that is evil, which is near at hand, and easy to be found, and is in the power of men's hands to do, Romans 7:21; for this is forbidden of God, abominable to him, and hurtful to men; but whatsoever is good; so the Targum,
"to do good and alms to the poor;''
even all good works in general, which God requires of men, and it is their duty to do; though they are not meritorious of anything at his hands, nor is there justification or salvation by them; yet should be done in obedience to the will of God, in gratitude to him for mercies received, and for his glory; as also for the profit of men, and for our own good; for the evidence of grace, and to preserve our characters from the insults and reproaches of men. Whatever is found written in the book of God should be done; not what is of a ceremonial kind, and now abolished, but everything of a moral nature, and of positive institution, under Gospel times; as all Gospel ordinances, and whatever falls within a man's calling: for every man has a work to do; in every station, as magistrates and subjects; in every relation, as husband and wife, parents and children, masters and servants; in every business of life men are called to; which they should attend, for the good of themselves and families, the relief of the poor, and the support of the interest of religion: and in religious things everyone has his work to do; the minister, in preaching and administering ordinances; the deacon, in taking care of the poor; private Christians, in praying in their closets and families, in hearing the word, making a profession of religion, and attending on ordinances; and, as opportunity serves, should do good to all men, especially to the saints, Galatians 6:10; and whatsoever is in the power of their hands, as this phrase signifies,
Leviticus 12:8. Aben Ezra refers it to the delights and pleasures of life, such as before mentioned; which may be allowed, when used in a lawful and moderate manner;
do [it] with thy might; or "strength"; for though men have no might or strength of their own to do good, which is lost by sin; yea, even good men, of themselves, and without Christ, his spirit and grace, can do nothing spiritually good; yet there is strength in him, and to be had from him; and who should be applied to for it, and who gives it,
Isaiah 40:29; the phrase denotes intenseness of spirit, vigour of mind, activity and fervency; doing that which is good, cheerfully and diligently, and not in a negligent careless manner; see Deuteronomy 6:5;
for [there is] no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest; this, and not then, is our working time; good men at death cease from their labours in the grave, as the night in which no man can "work", Revelation 14:13; then the liberal man can no more "devise" liberal ways and means of doing good; his purposes of doing good are broken off; and no more plans can be laid, or designs formed, for the glory of God and the good of fellow creatures: and no more "knowledge" of objects to do good unto; nor any improvement in any kind of knowledge, natural or spiritual: nor "wisdom" and prudence in the management of affairs, to answer some good ends and purposes; nor opportunity of attaining that wisdom by the Scriptures, and by the ministry of the word, which make men wise unto salvation: and now, since every man is going to the grave, his long home, the place appointed for all living, and this, is the way of all flesh; and every step he has taken, and does take, is a step to the grave; therefore it is incumbent on him to do all the good he can in life.
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
Gill, John. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 9:10". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/ecclesiastes-9.html. 1999.
|The Consequences of Death; The Proper Enjoyment of Life.|| |
4 For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion. 5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. 6 Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun. 7 Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works. 8 Let thy garments be always white; and let thy head lack no ointment. 9 Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun. 10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.
Solomon, in a fret, had praised the dead more than the living (Ecclesiastes 4:2; Ecclesiastes 4:2); but here, considering the advantages of life to prepare for death and make sure the hope of a better life, he seems to be of another mind.
I. He shows the advantages which the living have above those that are dead, Ecclesiastes 9:4-6; Ecclesiastes 9:4-6. 1. While there is life there is hope. Dum spiro, spero--While I breathe, I hope. It is the privilege of the living that they are joined to the living, in relation, commerce, and conversation, and, while they are so, there is hope. If a man's condition be, upon any account, bad, there is hope it will be amended. If the heart be full of evil, and madness be in it, yet while there is life there is hope that by the grace of God there may be a blessed change wrought; but after men go to the dead (Ecclesiastes 9:3; Ecclesiastes 9:3) it is too late then; he that is then filthy will be filthy still, for ever filthy. If men be thrown aside as useless, yet, while they are joined to the living, there is hope that they may yet again take root and bear fruit; he that is alive is, or may be, good for something, but he that is dead, as to this world, is not capable of being any further serviceable. Therefore a living dog is better than a dead lion; the meanest beggar alive has that comfort of this world and does that service to it which the greatest prince, when he is dead, is utterly incapable of. 2. While there is life there is an opportunity of preparing for death: The living know that which the dead have no knowledge of, particularly they know that they shall die, and are, or may be, thereby influenced to prepare for that great change which will come certainly, and may come suddenly. Note, The living cannot but know that they shall die, that they must needs die. They know they are under a sentence of death; they are already taken into custody by its messengers, and feel themselves declining. This is a needful useful knowledge; for what is our business, while we live, but to get ready to die: The living know they shall die; it is a thing yet to come, and therefore provision may be made for it. The dead know they are dead, and it is too late; they are on the other side the great gulf fixed. 3. When life is gone all this world is gone with it, as to us. (1.) There is an end of all our acquaintance with this world and the things of it: The dead know not any thing of that which, while they lived, they were intimately conversant with. It does not appear that they know any thing of what is done by those they leave behind. Abraham is ignorant of us; they are removed into darkness,Job 10:22. (2.) There is an end of all our enjoyments in this world: They have no more a reward for their toils about the world, but all they got must be left to others; they have a reward for their holy actions, but not for their worldly ones. The meats and the belly will be destroyed together, John 6:27; 1 Corinthians 6:13. It is explained Ecclesiastes 9:6; Ecclesiastes 9:6. Neither have they any more a portion for ever, none of that which they imagined would be a portion for ever, of that which is done and got under the sun. The things of this world will not be a portion for the soul because they will not be a portion for ever; those that choose them, and have them for their good things, have only a portion in this life,Psalms 17:14. The world can only be an annuity for life, not a portion for ever. (3.) There is an end of their name. There are but few whose names survive them long; the grave is a land of forgetfulness, for the memory of those that are laid there is soon forgotten; their place knows them no more, nor the lands they called by their own names. (4.) There is an end of their affections, their friendships and enmities: Their love, and their hatred, and their envy have now perished; the good things they loved, the evil things they hated, the prosperity of others, which they envied, are now all at an end with them. Death parts those that loved one another, and puts an end to their friendship, and those that hated one another too, and puts an end to their quarrels. Actio moritur cum personâ--The person and his actions die together. There we shall be never the better for our friends (their love can do us no kindness), nor ever the worse for our enemies--their hatred and envy can do us no damage. There the wicked cease from troubling. Those things which now so affect us and fill us, which we are so concerned about and so jealous of, will there be at an end.
II. Hence he infers that it is our wisdom to make the best use of life that we can while it does last, and manage wisely what remains of it.
1. Let us relish the comforts of life while we live, and cheerfully take our share of the enjoyments of it. Solomon, having been himself ensnared by the abuse of sensitive delights, warns others of the danger, not by a total prohibition of them, but by directing to the sober and moderate use of them; we may use the world, but must not abuse it, take what is to be had out of it, and expect no more. Here we have,
(1.) The particular instances of this cheerfulness prescribed: "Thou art drooping and melancholy, go thy way, like a fool as thou art, and get into a better temper of mind." [1.] "Let thy spirit be easy and pleasant; then let there be joy and a merry heart within," a good heart (so the word is), which distinguishes this from carnal mirth and sensual pleasure, which are the evil of the heart, both a symptom and a cause of much evil there. We must enjoy ourselves, enjoy our friends, enjoy our God, and be careful to keep a good conscience, that nothing may disturb us in these enjoyments. We must serve God with gladness, in the use of what he gives us, and be liberal in communicating it to others, and not suffer ourselves to be oppressed with inordinate care and grief about the world. We must eat our bread as Israelites, not in our mourning (Deuteronomy 26:14), as Christians, with gladness and liberality of heart,Acts 2:46. See Deuteronomy 28:47. [2.] "Make use of the comforts and enjoyments which God has given thee: Eat thy bread, drink thy wine, thine, not another's, not the bread of deceit, nor the wine of violence, but that which is honestly got, else thou canst not eat it with any comfort nor expect a blessing upon it--thy bread and thy wine, such as are agreeable to thy place and station, not extravagantly above it nor sordidly below it; lay out what God has given thee for the ends for which thou art entrusted with it, as being but a steward." [3.] "Evidence thy cheerfulness (Ecclesiastes 9:8; Ecclesiastes 9:8): Let thy garments be always white. Observe a proportion in thy expenses; reduce not thy food in order to gratify thy pride, nor thy clothing in order to gratify thy voluptuousness. Be neat, wear clean linen, and be not slovenly." Or, "Let thy garments be white in token of joy and cheerfulness," which were expressed by white raiment (Revelation 3:4); "and as a further token of joy, let thy head lack no ointment that is fit for it." Our Saviour admitted this piece of pleasure at a feast (Matthew 26:7), and David observes it among the gifts of God's bounty to him. Psalms 23:5, Thou anointest my head with oil. Not that we must place our happiness in any of the delights of sense, or set our hearts upon them, but what God has given us we must make as comfortable a use of as we can afford, under the limitations of sobriety and wisdom, and not forgetting the poor. [4.] "Make thyself agreeable to thy relations: Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest. Do not engross thy delights, making much of thyself only, and not caring what becomes of those about thee, but let them share with thee and make them easy too. Have a wife; for even in paradise it was not good for man to be alone. Keep to thy wife, to one, and do not multiply wives" (Solomon had found the mischief of that); "keep to her only, and have nothing to do with any other." How can a man live joyfully with one with whom he does not live honestly? "Love thy wife; and the wife whom thou lovest thou wilt be likely to live joyfully with." When we do the duty of relations we may expect the comfort of them. See Proverbs 5:19. "Live with thy wife, and delight in her society. Live joyfully with her, and be most cheerful when thou art with her. Take pleasure in thy family, thy vine and thy olive plants."
(2.) The qualifications necessary to this cheerfulness: "Rejoice and have a merry heart, if God now accepts thy works. If thou art reconciled to God, and recommended to him, then thou has reason to be cheerful, otherwise not." Rejoice not, O Israel! for joy, as other people, for thou hast gone a whoring from thy God,Hosea 9:1. Our first care must be to make our peace with God, and obtain his favour, to do that which he will accept of, and then, Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy. Note, Those whose works God has accepted have reason to be cheerful and ought to be so. 'Now that thou eatest the bread of thy sacrifices with joy, and partakest of the wine of thy drink-offerings with a merry heart, now God accepts thy works. Thy religious services, when performed with holy joy, are pleasing to God; he loves to have his servants sing at their work, it proclaims him a good Master.
(3.) The reasons for it. "Live joyfully, for," [1.] "It is all little enough to make thy passage through this world easy and comfortable: The days of thy life are the days of thy vanity; there is nothing here but trouble, and disappointment. Thou wilt have time enough for sorrow and grief when thou canst not help it, and therefore live joyfully while thou canst, and perplex not thyself with thoughts and cares about to-morrow; sufficient to the day is the evil thereof. Let a gracious serenity of mind be a powerful antidote against the vanity of the world." [2.] "It is all thou canst get from this world: That is thy portion in the things of this life. In God, and another life, thou shalt have a better portion, and a better recompence for thy labours in religion; but for thy pains which thou takest about the things under the sun this is all thou canst expect, and therefore do not deny this to thyself."
2. Let us apply ourselves to the business of life while life lasts, and so use the enjoyments of it as by them to be fitted for the employments: "Therefore eat with joy and a merry heart, not that thy soul may take its ease (as Luke 12:19), but that thy soul may take the more pains and the joy of the Lord may be its strength and oil to its wheels," Ecclesiastes 9:10; Ecclesiastes 9:10. Whatsoever thy hand finds to do do it with thy might. Observe here, (1.) There is not only something to be had, but something to be done, in this life, and the chief good we are to enquire after is the good we should do,Ecclesiastes 2:3. This is the world of service; that to come is the world of recompence. This is the world of probation and preparation for eternity; we are here upon business, and upon our good behaviour. (2.) Opportunity is to direct and quicken duty. That is to be done which our hand finds to do, which occasion calls for; and an active hand will always find something to do that will turn to a good account. What must be done, of necessity, our hand will here find a price in it for the doing of, Proverbs 17:16. (3.) What good we have an opportunity of doing we must do while we have the opportunity, and do it with our might, with care, vigour, and resolution, whatever difficulties and discouragements we may meet with in it. Harvest-days are busy days; and we must make hay while the sun shines. Serving God and working out our salvation must be done with all that is within us, and all little enough. (4.) There is good reason why we should work the works of him that sent us while it is day, because the night comes, wherein no man can work,John 9:4. We must up and be doing now with all possible diligence, because our doing-time will be done shortly and we know not how soon. But this we know that, if the work of life be not done when our time is done, we are undone for ever: "There is no work to be done, nor device to do it, no knowledge for speculation, nor wisdom for practice, in the grave whither thou goest." We are all going towards the grave; every day brings us a step nearer to it; when we are in the grave it will be too late to mend the errors of life, too late to repent and make our peace with God, too late to lay up any thing in store for eternal life; it must be done now or never. The grave is a land of darkness and silence, and therefore there is no doing any thing for our souls there; it must be done now or never, John 12:35.
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Ecclesiastes 9:10". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhm/ecclesiastes-9.html. 1706.
A Home Mission Sermon
June 26th, 1859 by C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892)
"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest." Ecclesiastes 9:10 .
If God had willed it we might each one of us have entered heaven at the moment of our conversion. It was not absolutely necessary for our preparation for immortality that we should tarry here. It is possible for a man to be taken to heaven, and to be found meet to be a partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light, though he hath but believed in Christ a solitary moment. The thief upon the cross had no long time for the process of sanctification; for thus spake the Saviour. "Verily I say unto thee this day shalt thou be with. me in paradise." It is true that in our case sanctification is a long and continued process, and we shall not be perfected the being of sin shall not be cast out till we lay aside our bodies and enter within the veil. But nevertheless, it is quite certain that if God had so willed it, he might have sanctified us in a moment. He might l eve changed us front. imperfection to perfection, he might have cut out the very roots of sin, and have destroyed the very being of corruption, and have taken us to heaven instanter, if so he had willed it. Notwithstanding that, we are here. and why are we here? Would God keep his children out of paradise a single moment longer than was necessary? Yet it is not absolutely necessary for them. Then, why are they here? Does God delight to tantalise his people by keeping them in a wilderness when they might be in Canaan? Will he shut them up in prison when he might give them instant liberty, unless there be some overwhelming reason for his delay in giving them the fullness of their life and bliss? Why are they here? Why is the army of the living God still on the battle field? One charge might give them the victory. Why are God's ships still at sea? One breath of his wind might waft them to the haven. Why are his children still wandering hither and thither through a maze, when hen a solitary word from his lips would bring them into the center of their hopes in heaven? The answer is; they are here that they may glorify God, and that they may bring others to know his love. We are not here in vain, dear brethren. We are here on earth like sowers scattering good seed; like ploughmen ploughing up the fallow ground. We are here as heralds, telling to sinners around
"What a dear Saviour we have found,"
and heralding the coming of our Master. We are here as the salt to preserve a world, which else would become putrid and destroyed. We are here as the very pillars of this world's happiness: for when God shall take away his saints, the universal moral fabric "shall tumble to its fall; and great shall be the crash, when the righteous shall be removed, and the foundations shall be shaken. Taking it therefore as granted that the people of God are here to do something to bless their fellow-men, our text comes in very pertinently as the rule of our life. May God help us to practice it by giving us much of his powerful Spirit. "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might." This is what thou art here for. Thou art here for a certain purpose. That purpose will soon be ended, and whether it be accomplished or unaccomplished, there shall never be a second opportunity for attempting it, "for there is no work, nor device nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave, wither hither thou goest." So far as this world is concerned, the grave is the end of our doing. So far as this time and state are concerned, the grave shall be the burial of our wisdom, our knowledge, and our devices. Now, I shall this morning, first, endeavor to explain the preacher's exhortation; and then endeavor to enforce it by evangelical arguments. I. First, I shall explain THE PREACHER'S EXHORTATION. I shall do so by dividing it into three parts. What shall I do? "Whatsoever thy hand findeth." How shall I do it? "Do it with thy might." And then, why shall I do it? "For there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave, whither thou goest. 1. First, then, are there not some here who are saying, I hope I love Christ; I desire to serve him, for I have been saved by his work upon the cross; what then can I do? "The answer is "whatsoever thy hand findeth to do." Here we will observe, first, that this refers us to the works that are near at hand. You are not called upon to-day, the most of you, to do works which your eye sees far away in Hindostan or China. The most of you are called especially to do the work which is near at hand. People are always desiring to be doing something miles off, If they could but be somewhere else what wonders they would accomplish! Many a young man thinks if he could stand up under a banyan tree, and discourse to the black faces in India, how eloquent he might be. My dear fellow, why don't you try the streets of London first, and see whether you are eloquent there. Many a lady imagines that if she could move in a high circle she would no doubt become another Lady Huntingdon, and do wonders. But why cannot you do wonders in the circle in which God has placed you? He does not call you to do that which is leagues away, and which is beyond your power; it is that which your hand findeth to do I am persuaded that our home duties, the duties which come near to us in our own streets, in our own lanes and alleys, are the duties in which we ought most of us mainly to glorify Christ. Why will you be stretching out your hands to that which you cannot reach? Do that which is near, which is at your hand. People sometimes come to their minister and say, "What shall I do for Christ?" In nine eases out of ten it is evidence of a lazy, idle spirit, when men ask what they shall do. For if they were really in earnest, wanting to do something they would find themselves placed in the midst of such a press of work, that the question would not be, "What can I do?" but "Which out of all these shall I do first? for here is enough to fill an angel's hands, and occupy more than all a mortal's time." Very often I find men ambitious to serve God in an orbit in which they will never move. Many say, I wish I could become a preacher." Yes, but you are not called to be a preacher it may be. Serve God in that which your hand findeth present. Serve him in your immediate situation, where you now are. Can you not distribute tracts? "Oh yes," you say, "but I was thinking of doing something else." Yes, but God put you there to do that. Could you not teach an infant class in the Sunday School?" I was thinking of being the superintendent of the Sunday School." Were you, indeed? but flour hand has not found out how to get there. Do what thy hand has found: it has found an infant class to teach. Could you not endeavor to instruct your family, and teach your servants in the way of God God helping? "Oh yes," says one, "but I was thinking about organizing a Dorcas Society, or a Ladies' Visiting or Tract Distributing Society." Yes, but your hand has not found that out yet. Just do that first which is nearest to you. Begin at home. When Jerusalem was built, every man built before his own house. Do you the same? There is a vise provision by our rulers, that every man should cleanse the street in front of his own house. Why will you, who fire here in Southwark walk all the way to Islington to cleanse the street in front of somebody else's door? Stop and attend to y our own work. and if everybody will do that which comes immediately under his own eyes, and is found out by his own hand then how much may be accomplished. Depend upon it, there is more wisdom in that than some of us dream. "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it." Do not be prowling about for work, but do it where it is when thy hand findeth it. Again, "whatsoever thy hand findeth to do," refers to works that are possible. There are many things which our heart findeth to do that we never shall do. It is well it is in our heart, God accepts the will for the deed. But if we would be eminently useful, we must not be content with forming schemes in our heart, and talking of them with our lips. We must get plan" that are tangible, schemes that we can really manage, ideas that we can really carry out; and so we shall fulfill the exhortation of Solomon, "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it." I will give you an illustration not many months ago in a certain magazine, which I will not mention, there was a supplement given upon China; in which supplement the churches represented by that magazine were exhorted to raise enough money to send a hundred missionaries to China. There was a vary earnest appeal made to the churches a glorious blast of trumpets as if something very great was coming. The mountain was in labor, and labor it did. Now, I have been told that the secretary of the Chinese mission called upon the editor of the aforesaid magazine, and said, "I see you have a proposal to send a hundred missionaries to China. Will you strike the two off and find money enough to send one. It is said that they who aim at the moon will shoot higher than those who shoot at a bush. It may be correct, they may shoot higher, but I do not think they are so likely to hit their mark. Shooting high is not the thing: it is hitting what you shoot at now, if they had said, "We will do our utmost to send one missionary to China," they might have effected it; but they were talking about a hundred and they have not succeeded, nor are they likely to do". The exhortation of our preacher would come home to such people. They have got it in their hearts to do it; they say when they grow big enough they mean to accomplish great things. "Who art thou. O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain." Now, instead of meddling with that great mountain, suppose you try your faith upon a fig tree first; and, then, if you moved that first, you might have confidence to move a mountain. John Bunyan was a very wise man when he thought once he would try to work miracles, Instead of ordering the sun and moon to go back several degrees, as he rode along he thought he would tell the puddles in the road to become dry. It was a miracle that would not interfere with anybody, and therefore a very proper one to begin with. But in the beginning the thought came into his mind, "Pray first;" and when he prayed he could not find any promise that he could dry up the puddles, and so he determined to leave them alone. I hope those men who come with some splendid vision in their heads would only try to do what they can and no more. When they become giants let them do a giant's work, but as long as they are dwarfs, let them do a dwarf's work Remember, the exhortation of the great man is, to do, not great things, but to do the things that thy hand findeth to do present things, possible things. Do not be scheming and speculating about what you would do if your old aunt were to leave you twenty thousand pounds, or what you would do if you were to become prime minister, and so forth. Do what you can, in your workshop or shed, or with a needle in your hand; and if ever you have a scepter which is not likely and you use your needle well, you would be the most likely person to use your scepter well also. There is another word of exhortation which seems to strike me as being very necessary when addressing God's people, it is this: "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do." Suppose, now, the duty which lies against our door to be a very disagreeable one. A sad thing that any duty should be disagreeable to the man who has been saved by Christ, but so it is. There are some duties, which while we are nothing but poor flesh and blood will always be less agreeable than certain others; yet, mark you, though the duties seem to you to be degrading and disagreeable, contrary to your taste, yet the exhortation hath it, "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might." Whether it be the visitation of the poorest of the poor or the teaching of tile most ignorant, whether the hewing of wood or the drawing of water, the very lowest work in the Lord's house, if thy hand findeth it to do it. You will remark in many Christians, and possibly if you are wise you will remark in yourself, how we all have a preference to do those duties which we regard as being honorable, as coming strictly within the range of our own office, those which probably will be rewarded with the praise of men. But it there is any duly that shall never be heard of till the day of judgment, if there is any work that never shall be seen until the blaze of the last day shall manifest it to a blind world, then we generally slur such a duty and seek another. Oh, if ire did but understand the true majesty of humility, and how great a thing it is for a Christian to do little things, to bow himself and to stoop, we should rather envy the meanest of the flock than the greatest, and each of us try to wash the saint's feet and perform the most menial service for the Master. Often, I think, when you and I are standing back for some humbling duty if Christ Jesus should come by that way and do it, how we should blush. Let me give you Christ's own picture. There was a poor wounded Samaritan who was left half dead. There was a priest coming to Jerusalem. He was busy with his sermon, looking over his notes, and thinking of what he should have to say to the people when he addressed them. Well, there was a poor fellow the other side of the road, wounded. It was no business of his he was a preacher. If he went to interfere with that poor man's wounds, he was quite sure it would be such a ghastly sight that he would not be able to preach half so well, so he passed by. Well, then there came a Levite, a good respectable deacon in the sanctuary. "Well," he says, "I must make haste and catch the minister, or else I shall not be in time to read the hymns." It was no business of his to go and see after the poor man who was wounded. At last the Master himself came that way, and he, the head of the church, the prince of preachers. the great deacon, the great servant of servants, he did not disdain to bind up the broken heart, and to heal the poor man's wounds. There is a story told in the old American war, that once upon a time George Washington, the commander-in-chief, was going around among his soldiers. They were hard at work, lifting a heavy piece of timber at some fortification There stood the corporal of the regiment calling out to his men, "Heave there, heave ahoy!" and giving them all kinds of directions. As large as possible the good corporal was. So Washington, alighting from his horse, said to him, "What is the good of your calling out to those men, why don't you help them yourself and do part of the work." The corporal drew himself up and said, "Perhaps you are not aware to whom you are speaking, sir; 1 am a corporal." "I beg your pardon," said Washington; "you are a corporal are you; I am sorry I should have insulted you." So he took off his own coat and waistcoat and set to work to help the men build the fortification When he had done he said, "Mr. Corporal, I am sorry I insulted you, but when you have any more fortifications to get up, and your men won't help you, send for George Washington, the commander-in-chief, and I will come and help them." The corporal slunk away perfectly ashamed of himself. And so Christ Jesus might say to us, "Oh, you don't like teaching the poor; it is beneath your dignity; then let your commander-in-chief do it; he can teach the poor, he can wash the feet of the saints, he can visit the sick and afflicted he came from heaven to do this, and he will set you the example." Surely we should each be ashamed of ourselves, and declare from this time forward whatever it is, be it great or little, if it comes to our hand, and if God will but give us help and give us grace, we will do it with all our might. I have thus explained what we are to do. 2. And, now, How are we to do it? "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might." First, "do it." That is do it promptly; not fritter away your lives in setting down what you intend to do to-morrow as being a recompense for the idleness of to-day. No man ever served God by doing things tomorrow. If we have honored Christ and are blessed, it is by the things which we do to-day. For after all, the ticking of the clock saith-today! to-day! to-day! We have no other time in which to live. The past is gone; the future hath not come; we have, we never shall have, anything but the present. This is our all. let us do what our hand findeth to do. Young Christian, are you just converted? Do not wait until your experience has ripened into maturity before you attempt to serve God. And now to bring forth fruit. This very day, if it be the first day of your conversion, bring forth fruits meet for repentance even now. And thou who art now in middle age, say not, "I will begin to serve Christ when my hair shall be frosty with age." No. Now do it. do it "do it with thy might." Oh that God would keep us to this that we would always do our day's work in our day, and serve him now. I have heard of a certain divine who was a preacher at Newgate. He preached a sermon divided into two parts: the first was to the saint, the second was to the sinner. When he had finished the first part, to the saint, in the morning, he said he would preach to the sinner the next Sunday morning, and then finish his sermon. There was a poor man who was hanged on the Monday, and who therefore never heard that part of the discourse which was best adapted to his case. How often may we be found in the like light. We may be saying, "I will do him good by-and-bye." But he may be dead then, and our opportunity will be gone, or, what is just as likely, we may be dead also; and then all our opportunities will be passed, and it will be totally out of our power to do anything. Do it! do it! do it! This is what the church of Christ wants to have proclaimed as with the sound of a trumpet in all her ranks, "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it." Put it not off one hour. Do it! Procrastinate not a day. "Procrastination is the thief of time." Let him not steal thy time. Do it, at once. Serve thy God now; for now is all the time thou canst reckon on. Then, the next words, "Do it with thy might." Whatever you do for Christ, throw your whole soul into it Christ wants none to serve him with their fingers: he must have their hands their arms, their hearts, We must not give Christ a little slurred labor, which is done as a matter of course now and then; but when we do serve him, we must do it with all our bears, and soul, and strength, and might. Among the old Roman pagans, they were accustomed to slay the beasts and cut them open, in order to discover future events. If ever they cut open a bullock and could not find the heart, it was always considered by the people to be an ill omen. And depend upon it, if ye cut your works open and cannot find your hearts in them, it is an ill omen for your works they are good for nothing, and their object shall never be accomplished. The worst part of the Christian church at this time is, that it seems as if many of our ministers and their churches had lost their hearts. Step into your churches and chapels, everything is orderly and precise. but where is the life, where is the power? I confess that I would rather address a congregation of ignorant men who are alive and enthusiastic, than a congregation of the most learned and orderly who are dead and blank, upon whose ears all the preaching in the world falls as but a dull monotony. About three weeks ago I was addressing a Methodist congregation. They leaped on their feet, now and then, and cried, "Hallelujah! Glory be to God!" My whole soul was stirred within me, and I felt that I could preach and preach again, and never grow weary while these people drink in the word with real life. I am persuaded that real good was done, and that they did not forget what was said. But, then, our people take things so orderly; they come and take their seats so quietly; until it often seems that one might preach to a set of statues or wooden blocks, with just as much hope of effect as to preach to them. We want life, we want heart. heart in the ministry, heart in the deacons, heart in all the offices of the church, and until we have this we cannot expect the Master's blessing. You are going to teach in the Sunday school this afternoon, are you? How are you going to teach? "I am going to do as I have often done." Stand back I If you are going to serve Christ, stand back till you have got your heart with you, and take with you all your strength, and all your might, and say as David did, "Bless the Lord, and serve the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me." Serve the Master and spend yourself in your strength. I would rather have no sermon than a dull sermon, no teaching than sleepy teaching, no prayers than lifeless prayers. A cold religion is tasteless. Let us have a hot religion that will burn its way into the heart. this is the religion that will make its way in the world, and make itself respected, even though some pretend to despise it. "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might." But where is the might of a Christian? Let us not forget that. The might of a Christian is not in himself, for he is perfect weakness. His might lieth in the Lord of Hosts. It will be well for us if all we attempt to do is done in God's strength, or else it will not be done with might: it will be feebly and badly done. Whenever we attempt to serve a loaf in the winning of souls, let us first begin with prayer. Let us seek his help. Let us go on with prayer mixed with faith; and when we have concluded the work, let us commend it again to God with renewed faith and fresh prayer. What we do thus will be well done, and will not fail in its effect. But what we do merely with creature-strength, with the mere influence of carnal zeal, will come to nothing at all. "whatsoever thy hand findeth to do," do it with that real might which God hath promised them that ask it, with that real wisdom which he giveth liberally, which he bestows on all who seek it meekly and reverently at his feet. God help us, then to carry out this exhortation, "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it v with thy might." 3. And, now, the third part of the exhortation was, Why? We are to do it with all our might death is near. and when death comes there will be an end to all our serving God on earth, an end to our preaching, an end to our praying, an end to our doing aught for God's glory among the perishing souls of men. If we all lived in the light of our funerals how well should we live. Some of the old Romish monks always read their Bibles with a candle stuck in a skull. The light from a death's head may be an awful one, but it is a very profitable one. There is no way of living like that. There is an old monkish legend told of a great painter, who had begun a painting, but did not finish it; and as the legend went, he prayed that he might come back on earth that he might finish that painting. There is a picture now extant, representing him after he had come back to finish his picture. There is a solemnity about that man's look, as he paints away with all his might, for he had but little time allowed him, and a ghastliness, as if he knew that he must soon go back again, and wanted his labor to be finished. If you were quite sure of the time of your death, if you knew you had but a week or two to live, with what haste would you go round and bid farewell to all your friends; with what haste would you begin to set all matters right on earth, supposing matters are all right for eternity. But, Christian men like other men, forget that they are mortal, and even we who profess to see into the future, and declaring that we are looking for a city that hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God, even we seem to think that we shall live here for ever. It is well that God puts a thorn into our nest, or else, often his own birds of Paradise would build their nests here and never mount higher. Let us pause a moment, and think that in a short time we must die. The hour is not to be staved off. When yon winged arrow shall have ended its hasty journey, and found its target in this heart, then all is over. I may preach to you to-day and exhort you to flee from the wrath to come; but when this tongue is sealed in silence, I can no more warn you. If I have been unfaithful, and have not discharged my Master's message and faithfully told it, I cannot come back and tell it over again. Mother, you can pray for your children, now; but when death shall have sealed your eyes in darkness, there can be no more prayers lifted up for ever. You can teach them now in God's Word, and labor that they may be brought to know their mother's God, but it shall be all over then. You may now, O Sunday school teacher, instruct those children. and God blessing you, you may be their spiritual father and bring them to Christ; but it shall one day be whispered in your class, "teacher is dead;" and there is the end of your labor. Your children may come to your grave, and sit down there and weep, but from the clay-cold sod no voice of warning can come up. There, your warning and your love is lost, alike unknowing and unknown. And you, the servant of Christ, with great stores of wealth, you have this day money with which God's cause might be greatly helped; you have talent, too, which might fit you well to stand in the midst of the church and serve it. You are going the way of all flesh. Grey hairs are scattered here and there. You know that your end is approaching. When once death shall have come your ham! cannot devise liberal things; your brain cannot form new devices for the spread of your Master's kingdom, neither can your heart, then, bend and weep over sinners perishing, or your tongue address them with earnest exhortation. Think, dear friends, that all we can do for our fellows we must do, now. For the cerement shall soon enwrap us, the hands must soon hang down, and the eyes be shut, and the tongue be still. While we live let us live. There are no two live. accorded us on earth. If we build not now, the fabric can never be built. If now we spin not, the garment will never be woven. Work while ye live, and live while ye work; and God grant to each of us that we may discharge in this life all the desires of our hearts, in magnifying God and bringing sinners to the cross. II. How, having thus explained and opened the exhortation, I shall pray that God's Holy Spirit may be solemnly with me while very briefly and very vehemently, I endeavor to STIR UP ALL PROFESSORS OF RELIGION HERE PRESENT TO DO WHATSOEVER THEIR HANDS FINDETH TO DO, TO DO IT NOW, AND WITH ALL THEIR MIGHT. If Christ Jesus should leave the upper world and come into the midst of this hall this morning, what answer could you give if after showing you his wounded hands and feet, and his rent side, he should put this question, "I have done all this for thee what hast thou done for me?" Let me put that question for him, and in his behalf. You have known his love some of you, forty years, some of you thirty, twenty, ten, three, one. He has done all this for you, has bled away his precious life, has died in agonies most exquisite upon the cross. What have you done for him? Turn over your diary now. Can you remember the contributions you have given out of your wealth, and what do they amount to? Add them up. Think of what you have done for him, how much of v our time you have spent in his service. Add that up, turn over another leaf, and then observe how much time you have spent in praying for the progress of his kingdom. What have you done there? Add that up. I will do so for myself, and I can say without a boast I have labored to serve God, and have been in labors more abundant; but when I come to add all up and set what I have done side by side with what I owe to Christ, it is less than nothing and vanity, I pour contempt upon it all, it is but dust of vanity. and though from this day forward I should preach every hour in the day, though I could spend myself and be spent; though night should know no rest and day should never cease from toil, and year should succeed to year till this hair was hoary and this frame exhausted, when I come to render up my account he might say, "Well done." but I should not feel it was so, but should rather say, "I am still an unprofitable servant; I have not done that which it was even my bare duty to do much less have I done all to show the love I owe." Now will you think what you have done dear brother and sister, and surely your account must fall short equally with mine. But as for some of you, you have done positively nothing. You have joined the church and have been baptized, and that is about all, you have sometimes doled out a little from your abundance to the cause of Christ, but oh, how little when you think he gave his all for you! Others there are of you who out of your little have given much, out of your weakness have been strong, in your poverty you have never been poor towards Christ's cause; ye shall not lack your reward at last but even ye will come with the rest of us and say, "Lord help us to love the poor and by thy amazing love to us constrain us to devote ourselves wholly, unreservedly to thee." Another argument let me give you, why you should serve Christ with all your might now. You believe, my dear hearers, that if men die unconverted their doom is fearful beyond all expression. You and I are compelled to believe from the testimony of the Spirit, that the punishment of those who die impenitent is beyond all that words can describe. They sink into a pit that is bottomless, into a fire that never can be quenched where they are fed on by a worm that dieth not. You know, and sometimes your hair has almost stood on end with the thought that the wrath to come is more than the soul can conceive. And is it possible, can it be possible with this belief in your mind that many of your fellow-creatures are going post-haste to this awful, this fearful hell, that you are idle and doing nothing? May God forgive you if such is your unfeeling state of heart that you can contemplate a fellow-creature perishing in the fires of hell, and yet permit your band to hang down in listless idleness. O children of the living God, I beseech you by the fires of hell, by the agony that knows of no abatement by the thirst that is not to be mitigated by a drop of water, by the eternity which knows no end; I beseech you by the wrath to come, be ye up and doing, earnestly striving together to be the means in God's hand of awakening poor souls and bringing them to the mercy of Christ. Be ye earnest. If ye do not believe this Bible, I care not what you are earnest or dull. But if ye do believe it, act as ye believe; if ye think men are perishing, if the Lord's right hand is dashing in pieces his enemy, then I beseech you be strengthened by the same right hand, to endeavor to bring those enemies to Christ that they may be reconciled by the blood of the cross. And, now last of all, let, me just appeal to you in this way. Possibly, in my explanation, I have led you to form in your heart some great scheme of what you would do. Let me knock that all to pieces, because that is not my text. It is not a great scheme, but it is, "whatsoever your hand findeth to do," that I want you to do. My dear friends, many of you are parents of children. It is quite certain, whatever else may be your duty, that your duty as parents is first. As their parents you owe them a duty; you have responsibilities towards them, and it is your duty to bring them up in the fear and nurture of God. May I earnestly beg and beseech of you, not to neglect this; for remember, you will soon be gone, and will not this be a thorn in your dying pillow, if, when your children stand around your bed to bid farewell to their dying father, or their dying mother, they shall have to say to you, "You are going from us, but we shall not miss you. We shall miss you as far as temporal things is concerned but when you are dead we shall be as well off in spiritual things as we were before, for you neglected us." They will not say so but do you suppose they will not think so, if such be the truth? Children are always quick. and if they say it not they would feel it. Will it not be far better, if God stroll so bless you, that when you lay sick and dying, there shall be a daughter wiping the hot sweat from your brow, and saying, "Fear not, mother, though you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, "God is with you, and you need fear no evil?' Will it not be a satisfaction to you, father, when you die if glancing at the foot of the bed, you can say to your son, "Farewell, my son; I bless God that I leave you in this world to carry on the work which I have begun, for you are walking in your father's steps." I know of no greater joy than for some aged patriarch, and I know of one, God bless him, he is preaching the word I doubt not this morning, to be able to look to sons and daughters converted to Christ and then to look to another generation and see grandchildren converted to Christ It must be a noble thing to die and leave behind three generations, and many of these already able to call the Redeemer blessed. O neglect not your present work I beseech you, or otherwise you shall lose the present blessing; and by neglecting this present duty which concerns your own household, you shell incur a household curse and make your death-bed uneasy, so that you shall toss there with those eyes looking on you, and silently charging you with having neglected their souls. Sunday school teachers, I give you the same exhortation. I pray God that when you die it may not be said in your schools, "Well, we do not miss so-and-so at all; she was not a teacher we could desire, she filled up a gap, and that is all we can say." I hope it may be said of you, my brothers and sisters, in the holy work of Sunday school teaching, "They are gone to their grave, and there is a vacancy made which will not soon be filled." But still your children shall gather round your coffin, and say, "God be blessed that we ever had such a teacher!" And though they are not converted, yet shall their little eyes weep w hen they think, "Teacher will never weep over us again. teacher will never pray for us any more, teacher will never tell us of Christ again;" and that very thought may be more powerful in their minds than all you ever said to them, and may, perhaps, effect the work which was not accomplished when your soul left the body. And now I charge myself most solemnly in his conclusion, to be more earnest than ever in preaching the Word to you, to preach it in season and out of season to preach it with all my might, for I shall soon be gone. Life lasts not long, and when we have all departed may not others have to think of us, that we went before our work was fully accomplished? Once when George Whitfleld was very sick and ill he was laid down by his friends by the fireside and he lay there as if he was dying. Presently he opened his eyes and a poor old negro woman, who had watched over him when others had given him up, spoke to him and said, "Massa George Whitfield are you still alive?" He looked and said, "Yes, I am; but I was in hopes I should have been in heaven." Then the old woman made this pretty speech. "Ah! Massa George," she said, "you went to the very gates of heaven, and Christ said, 'Go back, Massa George; there are many poor negroes down on the earth that I mean to have saved. Go back and tell them I love them, and mind you do not come back any more till you bring them all with you." So Whitfield recovered strength, and even found, as the old women said, a desire not to go home till he could take these poor negroes with him. So may it be with us; may we live till we shall bring many souls home with us to glory, and then may it be said
"Servant of Christ well done, Rest from thy loved employ; The battle's fought. the victory's won, Enter thy rest with joy."
"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved, for he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned."
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 9:10". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/ecclesiastes-9.html. 2011.
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29