Annotations on the book of Ecclesiastes
Reynolds, Edward, 1599-1676.


IN the former Chapter he shewed the ex∣cellent use of true wisdome, as a means of Tranquillity of mind, and remedy against the vanity of outward things, in ordering our behaviour aright towards Superiors for prevention of those dangers which their dis∣pleasure may subject us unto. In this Chap∣ter he further discovereth the use thereof un∣to the same End of comfortable living, in ordering of our behaviour towards Inferiors, those especially that are in want.

Concerning which, we have, First, the pre∣cept it self, concerning substantial and use∣ful charity, vers. 1. with an effectual reason thereof, both drawn from a Metaphor of sow∣ing and reaping seed, vers. 1.

Secondly, the manner and measure of this our charity, which is to abound towards all Page  351 that are in want, and that enforced by a rea∣son drawn from the uncertainty of future E∣vents; now thou art able; hereafter thou mayst be disabled, therefore do good while thou hast means so to do, and thereby pro∣vide friends to thy self against any evils which thou also mayst fall into, vers. 2.

Thirdly, Both those are illustrated by ma∣ny similitudes, in the which he doth by way of Prolepsis prevent such objections as the covetous hearts of men are apt to make against this duty.

1. A man is apt to say, That he is neerest to himself, and must look after his own sup∣plyes, and leave others to look after theirs.

To which he answereth, That as Clouds are not filled with waters to keep them to them∣selves, but to empty them upon the Earth: so Gods blessings are not deposited to men only for their own good, but as Stewards they are to dispence out of them unto others, vers. 3.

2. It may be objected, If I must relieve seven and eight, take notice of the wants of many, It will be seven to one if much of this bounty will not be cast away upon un∣worthy and ungrateful persons, who will make no return either unto God or man for it.

To this he answereth, That as it is all one Page  352 to the master of a tree, whether it fall North or South, for either way it falls to the owners use and benefit: so that good which is done to any man in want, out of a desire thereby to honour God, and to help our neighbour, shall prove beneficial unto him that so doth it, whatever the person be unto whom it is done, vers. 3.

3. It may be objected, That it is not yet a season to be thus bountiful, there are many Impediments and discouragements thereun∣to, This charge, this loss; that affliction or danger, or expence lyes upon me, when I am gotten over these, it will then be a fitter time to think on the wants of others, when I am secured against mine own.

To this he answers by another similitude drawn from husbandry, He that will not sow his seed lest the wind should blow it away, nor reap his corn, lest the Clouds should rain and wet it, shall never want exceptions a∣gainst that which yet is necessary to be done. Therefore our duty is to embrace the present opportunity, and leave the success for the future unto Gods blessing.

If we could certainly fore-see better weather, and more seasonable accommodati∣ons for our businesses to morrow than to day, we might haply pretend some reason for de∣lay of duty. But that is in Gods hand alone, Page  353 as unknown unto us, as the way of the wind, or of the souls coming into the body, or the growing of the bones of an Embryo in the womb. Therefore it is our duty to do good at present while we have opportunity, and to commit the success of all for the future unto God, vers. 4, 5. Whereupon he re∣peateth the Exhortation in the same Meta∣phor, sow thy seed, scatter thy charity in sea∣son and out of season, in youth, in age, at all times, on all occasions, since thou knowest not which will be most succesful, vers. 6.

And now having thus largely set down va∣rious precepts for making the life of a man comfortable, and his mind quiet amidst all the vanities of the world, He proceedeth to instruct him how he may provide for death, and judgement, and so secure happiness in another world too: for a man might be apt to say, when I am thus throughly fitted by these many precepts unto a secure and com∣fortable manner of living, having the favour of great men, the blessing of poor men, peace within, and plenty without, when by godly wisdome, vexation of mind, and the vanity and disquietness thereupon of all outward things is healed, and removed. It cannot then but be a very pleasant thing to live, to see the light of the Sun, and to enjoy those Page  354 contents which by these means we have ar∣rived at, vers. 7. To this the Wise man an∣swereth, That albeit by these means life is much sweetned, and the vanity thereof is much abated, yet it is never throughly re∣moved: But when all is done which can be done to render our condition here comfor∣table, yet All that cometh, both life, and the supplyes thereof, are still Vanity, and will pass away, and the daies of darkness which follow, will be abundantly more than the daies of light which went before. And that therefore we ought, by the timely remem∣brance of them both, to moderate our de∣lights in things present, and to prepare our selves to lift up our heads with comfort in the judgement to come, vers. 8.

And because of all others, young men, whose blood is fresh, and spirits active, are most apt to surfeit on present pleasures, and to put far from them the evil day, slighting such admonitions as these; therefore the Wise man, who had had himself as full a gale of youthful pleasures, as ever any other man, and had found the vanity of them all, doth by an Irony, deride the folly, and by a solemn citation unto the Tribunal of God, awaken the conscience of such a voluptuous Epicure, vers. 9. perswading him by the assurance of a future judgement, wherein he must be cal∣led Page  355 to a strict account for all the vanities and miscarriages of his youth: and by the flit∣ting condition of that age wherein he doth so glut upon them, to remove far from him∣self those sinful excesses which would fill his heart with sorrow, and his flesh with sin.

Vers. 1. CAst thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after ma∣ny daies] This is a proverbial form of speech, drawn from the manner of husbandmen, who sow their land in expectation of a plentiful harvest, after many daies. Whereby the Wise man, in pursuance of his principal argu∣ment, touching tranquillity and comfort of life, doth perswade unto liberality towards the poor, that their mouths and bowels may bless us. Some make it an allusion to Mer∣chants, who send their Estates in Ships upon the Sea, expecting in time a return with much gain, called the Harvest of the River, Isa. 23.3. if the Prophet do not rather there allude to the plenty of Egypt, by the over-flowing of the River, whereunto possibly the Wise man may likewise allude in this place. O∣thers, more generally, understand it of giving alms to the poor, where all we do, may seem to be cast away, as if it were thrown into the Sea. Though thou think, what is so given, is all lost, because given to those who can Page  356 never recompence thee; yet do thou lend in that manner, looking for nothing again, Luk. 6.35. being assured, that what is thus given to the poor, is lent unto the Lord, Prov. 19.17. who will in his time, certainly re∣pay it with advantage unto thee. But I ra∣ther take it to be an allusion unto seed, which is sowed on very fertil ground, which is neer a river, or is made fat by the over-flowing of a river, Numb. 24.7. Isa. 32.20. So they used in Egypt to make their land fertil, by drawing the water, when the river flowed over, by art unto it, Deut. 11.10, 11. There∣fore amongst other plagues, which the Lord threatneth Egypt withal, this is one, That their Rivers should be dried up; and that which was sowed by them, should wither, Isa. 19.5, 6, 7. and so we read of the seed of Sihor, Isa. 23.3. which was a River in Egypt, Josh. 13.3. Jer. 2.18. By casting the bread upon the waters, we understand, by or neer the waters; as Ps. 1.3. Gen. 41.1. because those places are the most fertil. When he saith, thy bread, he thereby teach∣eth us, that our charity must be out of our own estate, and according to that condition wherewith God hath blessed us, Eph. 4.28.

for thou shalt find it after many daies] The seed which a man sows seemeth to dye Page  357 and perish, but the husbandman waiteth pa∣tiently for many daies together, and at last he reapeth a plentiful harvest, Jam. 5.7. as Isaac did, Gen. 26.12. Mark. 4.8. And in like manner, that which is sowed in the bel∣lies and backs of the poor, will be repayed, as the seed is in harvest, manifold into the bosoms of righteous men, Prov. 19.17. 2 Cor. 9.6—10. Deut. 15.10. Matth 19.22. Ps. 112.9.

V. 2. Give a portion to seven, and also to eight: for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth] By waters, is sometimes in the Scripture meant, multitudes of people; as Isa. 8.7. & 17.12. Revel. 17.15. and the Wise man here bidding us to cast our bread on the waters, doth in this verse ex∣plain what he meant thereby, namely, that we should disperse our good works, and alms-deeds unto many, that we should be large hearted, and open-handed unto the poor.

Give a portion] He alludeth unto the manner of their feasts and entertainments in old times, when they did use to distribute portions to their guests, and to send to the poor, 2 Sam. 6.19. 1 Sam. 1.4, 5. Gen. 43.34. Esth. 9.22. Nehem. 8.10.12. Isa. 58.7. Whereunto our Saviour haply alludeth, when he saith that Mary had cho∣sen Page  358〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉; A good part or portion, Luk. 10.42. Which custome of distributing equal portions to the guests, we find in Ho∣mer and Plutarch, to have been observed likewise among the Grecians; as also the custome of sending portions from the Ta∣bles of greater persons, to those that were absent. Vide Stuck. Antiq. Conviv. lib. 3. cap. 3.

to seven and also to eight] That is, to many: a definite number, for an indefinite, 1 Sam. 2.5. Job 5.19. Mic. 5.5. So here∣by is noted, large and cheerful liberality to all in want, according to our abilities. We may not think we have done our duty, when we have been charitable to one or two per∣sons; but we must disperse our bounty, as seed that is sown; and do good unto all men, according to their need and to our condi∣tion, cheerfully and incessantly. The neces∣sity of a man may require it, when his person doth not deserve it, Luk. 6.30. 2 Cor. 9.5—10. Gal. 6.10. Isa. 2.18. Prov. 31.20.

for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth] Embrace the present opportunity of doing good, thou canst not fore-see how soon thou mayst be deprived of it, since thou knowest not what a day may bring forth, Jam. 4.14. Prov. 27.1. & 3.27, 28. Luk. Page  359 12.20. Haply thou mayst dye, and leave thy wealth to those who will shut up their bow∣els against the poor; however, what they do shall not be put on thy account. Thou art a steward of thy estate, no longer than for thine own life; and therefore be thine own Ex∣ecutor, and consider the wants of the poor at present, therefore let not thy bounty be only future. Haply God may disable thee another time, from doing that good which now he puts into thy hand. It is wisdome to do Gods work in Gods time. Haply thou thy self mayst fall into want, and stand in need of help from others; therefore make thee friends of Mammon before hand, Luk. 16.9. Ps. 37.26. & 41.1, 2, 3. 1 Tim. 6.18, 19.

V. 3. If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth: and if the tree fall towards the South, or towards the North, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be] He urgeth the duty of charity and bounty, by elegant similitudes. Clouds that are full of moisture, do not keep it to themselves, but shed it forth in showers on the earth, and on all kind of corn, and herbs for the benefit of many; whence they are called the bottles of heaven, Job. 38.37. and the chambers of the Lord: Ps. 104.13. Page  360 from whence he poureth down rain ac∣cording to the vapour thereof, Job. 36.27, 28. so should rich men, Prov. 11.25. whom the Lord hath filled with his blessings, as the Scripture useth to express it, Deut. 33.23. Job 22.18. Prov. 5.10. Deut. 6.11. Prov. 30.9. Phil. 4.12.18. not keep Gods blessings to themselves, but pour them forth upon those that are empty.

and if the tree fall, &c.] This some ap∣ply unto death, as if we were thereby war∣ned to do good while we may, because death will at last cut us down, and deprive us of any further opportunity, Eccl. 9.10. Joh. 9.4. and as death leaves us, judgement will find us. But it seemeth rather to denote the benefit of charity unto the authors there∣of, that wheresoever their bounty and mercy is placed, there it will be found again to their comfort; they shall not go without their re∣ward, as the tree on which side ever it falls, it will there be found, when the owner there∣of inquireth after it.

V. 4. He that observeth the wind, shall not sow, and he that regardeth the clouds, shall not reap] By these similitudes, he preventeth all those pretences and objecti∣ons which carnal hearts are apt to make Page  361 against the present season of doing good, and are apt thereby, to defer and put it off to some fitter time, when they shall have found out more fitting objects on which to place their bounty. We are very apt to frame excuses against present duty, Hag. 1.2. Act. 24.25. Prov. 3.27, 28. Here therefore the Wise man removeth these pretences; He that will by every wind be deterred from sowing his seed, lest it should be blown away; and by every cloud from reaping his corn, lest the weather should be unseasonable, shall never do his business; because there will never be wanting some discouragement or other: so he that is ever framing carnal objections a∣gainst doing good, shall over-slip the season, and never do his duty, nor receive his re∣ward. We are to take notice of the present call of God unto any good work, and the pre∣sent opportunity he puts into our hands, and not delay service upon the fear of future contingents, which are not in our power, Matth. 6.34.

V. 5. As thou knowest not what is the way of the Spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with Child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who ma∣keth all] By our ignorance of the works of Gods providence, he warneth us to be diligent in embracing every present oppor∣tunity Page  362 of doing good, and not to defer or de∣lay duty, till haply the Lord will put us out of all capacity to do it. This ignorance he proveth a minori, If we know not things more ordinary and familiar unto us, which happen every day, as the way of the spirit.] Symmachus rendreth it, of the wind, which way it comes and goes, how it riseth and slackneth, Joh. 3.8. Or how the soul comes into the body, and quickneth it; so the Septuagint, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉; Or, how the bones do grow; How the several parts of the body, skin, flesh, sinews, bones, some hard, some soft, are all shaped out of the same seed, Psal. 139.13—16. Job 10.10—13. Much less are we able to fore∣see the works of Gods providence, which are far off and exceeding deep, Chap. 7.24. Therefore since we know not what shall be to morrow, how God may dispose of our life or our estate▪ how long he may continue unto us opportunities of doing good, we ought not to defer or put off duty from time to time, but while we have a present season, to em∣brace it, Chap. 9.10. Gal. 6.10.

V. 6. In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withold not thy hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good] He inferreth from the former do∣ctrine Page  363 of the uncertainty of future events, an hortatory conclusion, to be doing good on all occasions, and to be assiduous and dili∣ligent in the work which God hath set us to do, whether all our labour take effect or no. The Lord being sometimes pleased to frustrate mens endeavours, and to defer the success they expected from them; First, to try them whether they would persevere in their calling: and continue therein with God, though they had not alwayes alike incou∣ragement. 2. To teach them, that succes∣ses depend not upon the labours of man, but upon the will and free blessing of God. And he persisteth in his former Metaphor of sow∣ing seed; meaning thereby, First, in parti∣cular works of charity and mercy to the poor; as vers. 1—4. 2 Cor. 9.6. Ps. 112.9. Se∣condly, In general, works of righteousness in our general or particular callings, Prov. 11.18. Hos. 12.10. Thereby teach∣ing us, that works of mercy and righteous∣ness do not perish, but will bring forth an harvest of comfort, and great reward unto those that abound in them, Gal. 6.8.

sow thy seed] Do thine own work, in∣tend thine own calling, intermix not thy self in things which belong not unto thee, 2 Thess. 3.10. 1 Thess. 4.11. Be liberal of thine own estate, Ephes. 4.28.

Page  364In the morning sow—and in the even∣ing withold not thine hand, or let not thine hand rest or give over.] Begin betimes, and be not weary of well doing, but continue unto the end; be alwayes doing of good, morning and evening, note the whole day from one end of it to the other, Gen. 1.5. Dan. 8.14. Psal. 104.22, 23. So Solomon bids us, be in the fear of the Lord all the day long, Prov. 23.17. It is to be understood of the morning and evening of a mans life, which should be wholly consecrated to God, Lam. 3.27. Eccles. 12.1. Psal. 92.14. Matth. 10.22. or of the morning and evening of a mans prosperity; as soon as ever God giveth thee an estate, begin to do good with it, and be not weary of so doing, but con∣tinue to the end. God requires our charity to be set about on the first day of the week, 1 Cor. 16.2. Gal. 6.9, 10. The night is shut out of the time of working, or of dty, therefore while it is day, while we have life and opportunity, we must ply our duties, Eccles. 9.10. Joh. 9.4.

for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, or whether will be most right, or congruous, the one or the other, &c.] Thou maiest justly expect a blessing upon all, however, though the success, as to men, be not alwaes prosperous; sometimes thy bounty is mis∣placed Page  365 upon those that abuse it, or return evil for good, yet with God, constancy in well-doing will not miss of its reward; and by this largeness heart, thou maist unawares entertain Angels, and bring extraordinary blessings upon thy family, Matth. 10.14, 42. Heb. 13.2. 1 Reg. 17.13 — 16.

V. 7. Truly the light is sweet, and a plea∣sant thing it is for the eyes to behold the Sun] By light, and beholding the Sun, we are to understand the time of this present life, as is evident by what follows in the next verse; so Job 3.20. & 33.30. and withall, we may take in those pleasures and comforts thereof, which serve to render it more sweet and contentfull. Some make it to be a tacit objection, against that continual labour which he before prescribed. Since life is short, we ought to use all the wayes we can to render it pleasant, and not weary out our time and strength in continual toyl and labour; it is much more sweet, to enjoy the light and pleasures of life while we may, 1 Cor. 15.32. whereunto they make the words of the next verse to be an answer; That when death comes, the good we have done will remain with us, but all our pleasures and delights will vanish into nothing. It may seem to relate unto the former verse, as well as to that which follows; sow your seed in the Page  366 morning, and in the evening, so long as you have the light of the Sun to guide you; for this is the chief comfort and sweetness of life, to be doing good while we have time & oppor∣tunity, because the dayes of death and dark∣ness are coming, wherein we cannot work.

But it seemeth rather to be a Transition unto a new matter. In the former parts of this book, the Wise man had set forth the vanity of all outward things, and had pre∣scribed many gracious and excellent means to remedy the same, and to frame the heart of man unto Tranquillity and peace. But now when by these precepts the life of man here is rendred as full of comfort, and quiet∣ness, as an earthly condition is capable of, yet though his life be never so sweet, there are great evils coming, which will require much meditation and preparation of hear to fit a man for them: and there is a far longer condition for the future, which will abide us after this life is gone; necessary therefore it is unto the compleating of that happiness whereinto he had all this while inquired, to secure not only the comforts of this life, but the assurance of a better, which is the busi∣ness of Solomon in the remaining part of this Book, by a timely meditation of death and judgement, and by the fear of God, and keeping his commandments in our youth, Page  367 to arm us against the terror of future evils, and to fit us for that happiness, which is the whole of man, and which will be throughly proportionable to his largest desires. And so the meaning is this, It is true indeed, to enjoy the light of the Sun, and the comforts of this present life, is a very sweet thing: Sensually sweet unto those, who are volup∣tuous; Solidly and substantially sweet unto those, who by all the foregoing precepts, have gotten wisdome to cure the vanity and vexation of spirit, which otherwise outward things are apt to produce; yet both the one and the other must remember, that though life be sweet under the Sun, yet it is not long, much less, perpetual; dayes of darkness are to come, therefore unto compleat hap∣piness there is yet more to be done, and such an estate to be secured, as may bear full proportion to the capacities of an immortal soul, and may make up the Whole of man.

Light is Sweet] Sweetness here is that properly which is the object of our Taste, Jdg. 14.18. Prov. 24.13. but it is usual in the Scripture to attribute that which is proper unto one sense, to another; as to see thunder, Exod. 20.18. to see the smell f a field, Gen. 27.27. It is a broken and con∣cise sentence, unto which something is to be added or understood, it is indeed sweetPage  368 to see the Sun; life is pleasant, but yet it is vanity, and will end in death; by the medita∣tion whereof, we are to abate our inordinate love of the profits and pleasures of so vanish∣ing a condition.

V. 8. But if a man live many years, and rejoyce in them all, yet let him remember the dayes of darkness, for they shall be many. All that cometh is Vanity] Though it be a sweet thing to enjoy life, and the comforts thereof, and though a man should live long, and all that long life should have his full of worldly delights, yet the serious meditation of death, and the long abode we shall after all those pleasures have in the house of darkness, will sufficiently demonstrate the vanity of Tem∣poral life, how long, or how prosperous so∣ever it have been; such a life we find de∣scribed, Job 21.7— 13. By dayes of darkness, are understood in opposition to light; and the seeing of the Sun, in the for∣mer verse, that space of time wherein men shall lie in the dust, Psal. 88.12, 13. Psal. 143.3. Eccles. 6.4. Job. 10.21.

for they shall be many] This some apply to the first words of the verse, though the dayes of life be mny, yet let a man remem∣ber the dayes of darkness, and that will make him judge all things which happen in this world to be but vanity: we may like∣wise Page  369 read the words thus; If a man live many years, let him rejoyce in them all, he is not debarred the comforts and contents of them, but let him withall temper and moderate the joyes of life, with the medita∣tion of death, and know that every thing which hapneth, that every man which co∣meth into the world is vanity.

V. 9. Rejoyce O young man in thy youth, and let thine heart cheer thee in the dayes of thy youth, and walk in the wayes of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: But know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgement.] Since all that co∣meth is vanity, as well youth as age, both which he sheweth here and in the next Chapter: And since the dayes of life and jollity here, how long soever, are very short and inconsiderable, in comparison of the dayes of darkness which follow after them, he therefore perswadeth those who are most subject to be transported with the pleasures of life, to remember death and judgement, and thereby to restrain their inordinate de∣sires. A young Epicure, who is scornfull and impatient of such cooling and chill do∣ctrines as those of death and judgement, might be apt to say; if the dayes of darkness be so many, let us not make them more then they are by denying our selves the pleasures Page  370 of light, but let us freely indulge to our selves all our delights, and live to the length of our desires, 1 Cor. 15.32. whereunto Solomon answereth in these words, 1. By way of Concession, 2. By way of sad and se∣vere praemonition. The Concession some would have to be real and serious, as if he had said, I would not discourage thee from the use of lawfull pleasures, nor debar thee such contents as the flower of thine age do call for: only I would have thee carefull not to ex∣ceed the bounds of temperance and mode∣ration, but by the vanity of things present, and certainty of future judgement, to com∣pose thy mind to sobriety in enjoying, and to a readiness to depart from these vain de∣lights, as Gal. 5.13. 1 Pet. 2.16. enjoy pleasures, but be not drowned in them; use honest delights, but be not a slave unto them: Thou seest that all here is Vanity, that the fashion of this world, the power, wealth, honour, pleasures, strength, health, beauties thereof, all vanish and pass away, & that all of us must be brought before Gods tribunal; and all our actions undergo a severe tryal: there∣fore let it be thy chiefest care to provide for that account. But the place is much more Emphatical, if we understand the Conces∣sion Ironically; as 1 Reg. 18.27. & 22.15. Ezek. 28.3, 4. Matth. 26.45. Since thou Page  371 art wilfull and scornfull, take thy course, Rejoyce in thy youth; or, because thou art young, strong, healthfull, and thy bones full of marrow, Job 21.23, 24.

And let thine heart cheer thee] Symma∣chus, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Let it be wholly in good, or in delights.

and walk in the wayes of thy heart, and in the sight of thine eyes] Do what thou plea∣sest, let thy wanton and wandring eye en∣flame the lusts of thy heart, and let thy sen∣sual heart give law to thy whole man, deny not thy self any thing which heart can wish, or eye look on, Numb. 15.39. 1 Joh. 2.16. 2 Pet. 2.14. & 3.2. Ezek. 23.16. Josh. 7.21. Jer. 18.12. Psal. 81.12. Job. 21.7. Thus sharply doth the Lord deride the pride and folly of young men in their career of Lust and Vanity, and as it were give them over to their own hearts desires, Prov. 1.24— 28. Rom. 1.28.

But know thou] Though thou Endeavour to blind thine own eyes with sensual de∣lights, to smother thy conscience, and to baffle those principles of fear and restraint which God hath planted in thee; Though thou wouldst not see, yet thou shalt see and know to thy cost, Isa. 26.11. 1 Reg. 22.25. 2 Pet. 3.5.

that for All these things] For all the sins, Page  372 vanities, and excesses of thy youth, for all those things which are now so gratefull to thy senses, though they please thine eye, they will gnaw and sting thy conscience, Job. 13.26. Psal. 25.7. God, whose Word and fear thou now despisest, from whose eye thou canst not hide thy sins, from whose Tribunal thou canst not withdraw thy con∣science; will bring thee] Perforce whe∣ther thou wilt or no, when thou shalt in vain call to Mountains and Rocks to hide thee, Rev. 6.16. Luk. 23.30.

into judgement] The Judgement of the great day, Jude vers. 6. called the Terrour of the Lord, 2 Cor. 5.10. Act. 17.30. the consideration whereof should abate the heat of lust, and cause the heart of young men to tremble at the wrath to come.

V. 10. Therefore remove sorrow from thine heart, and put away evil from thy flesh: for childhood and youth are vanity] This is not to be understood Ironically, as the for∣mer words of the verse foregoing, nor in that sense; but seriously, as a seasonable precept unto young men, who are of all other men, by reason of the heat of their blood, subject unto passions,, and unto pleasures; the one seat∣ed in the heart, the other in the flesh; from both which, he doth here forewarn them.

Remove sorrow, or anger and indignation Page  373 from thine heart] If we read it sorrow, then hereby is meant all those sinfull pleasures which though the deceitfull heart look on as matter of joy, yet will certainly fill the heart with sorrow at the last, Prov. 14.13. If Anger, or Indignation, then the meaning is, that he should restrain all Inordinate pas∣sions and perturbations of mind, especially take heed of swelling or storming at the will and wayes of God, or at any serious advice minding him thereof, James 1.19. Job 6.24.

and put away evil, sinfull lusts, from thy flesh] From thy bodily members, Rom. 6.13. 1 Cor. 6.15. 2 Cor. 7.1. 1 Pet. 2.11. 2 Tim. 2.22. and so some understand the word flesh, in the sense as it is used, Ezek. 16.26. & 23.20. 2 Pet. 2.10. Jude vers. 23.

for childhood and youth are vanity.] The reason of this advice, drawn from the vanish∣ing condition of youth, and the pleasures thereof: Youth is but as the Aurora or early morning of a day quickly gone, from thence to noon, and from noon to night, therefore care should be used to spend it in such a manner, as that we may have an abiding fruit, and pleasure which will not vanish with the years which were consumed in the pursuance of it.