And so every nation has had its fancied golden age. But if it was composed in the last century of the Persian domination, this dissatisfaction with the present times is explained, over against which Koheleth leads us to consider that it is self-deception and one-sidedness to regard the present as all dark and the past as all bright and rosy. This is all false. 11 … 2. 1. The wise man interprets the present and the past in the light of wisdom. The former days were not better, for you are now larger, stronger, richer in power, with a far further horizon round you. Experience teaches us that, before asking for the cause, it is well to assure ourselves of the fact. Sermon by on August 31, 2003. If there have been a plain and visible decline in the national prosperity, all who are affected by it are entitled, with modesty, to inquire whence that decline has arisen: and to express to those who are in authority their sentiments respecting it; and to point out what they conceive to be the most judicious and effectual means of remedying the existing evils — — — In reference to the concerns of the soul, to neglect such inquiries would be the height of folly and wickedness. Time is running out. Navigating life under the sun requires mature attention to values. It is a vain inquiry, based on a mistake. Do not call in question God‘s ways in making thy former days better than thy present, as Job did (Job 29:2-5). And here comes into play the precept of our text--“Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? Our grief may be well founded; for those who "did run well" are sometimes "hindered" and fall into slowest pace. (2) The worship of the past springs out of man's deep and noble dissatisfaction with the present. weaknesses of aged men, that they depreciate the present time. The stream of evidence has been like that beheld in mystic vision by Ezekiel, when waters issued out from the eastern gate of the temple. - This is a common saying; and it is as foolish as it is common. for thou dost not inquire wisely concerning this. Never was there such a combination of all ranks and orders of men to diffuse religion and happiness over the face of the earth. 17 On the other hand, don’t be too wicked either. It is through such a fiery discipline as this that a nation becomes truly great in all those qualities that ennoble them in the sight of God. Enoch, the seventh from Adam, complained; so did Noah, Lot, Moses, and the prophets; Christ, the archprophet, and all his apostles; the primitive fathers and professors of the truth. The lightest things float at the top of time, but if there be such a thing as a golden age, its mass and weight must needs sink it to the bottom and concluding ages of the world. And first, it ought to be carefully observed in regard of human nature that it did not grow corrupt by degrees, but became all at once as bad as it was ever to be. Ecclesiastes 7-10 – Who’s wise? When we walk in the shadow of darkness, we know right but choose to do wrong. Thou dost not inquire wisely concerning this; this question showeth thy great folly in contending with thy Creator, and the sovereign Lord and Governor of all things, in opposing thy shallow wit to his unsearchable wisdom, and thy will to his will. Hengstenberg explains, God causes evil days to alternate with good ones, to the end that man should not find anything which will come after him - i:e., in order that he may not be able to fathom anything which … The wise man sees in the sufferings of the people of God the deserved punishment of their sins, and says, "It is the goodness of the Lord that we are not utterly lost, but the Lord does not cast off for ever, he has compassion again according to his great kindness." for thou dost not inquire wisely concerning this." 173, 4): “Difficilis, querulus, laudator temporis acti. "it is not from wisdom that you ask about this"-we need to talk more sensibly than longing for the supposed good old days. The fruit is better than the blossom; the … If men ought to employ all their powers and faculties in … His courage has been tried. The former days were better than these? Ecclesiastes 10:3 "Yea also, when he that is a fool walketh by the way, his wisdom faileth [him], and he saith to every one [that] he [is] a fool. " Would any former days have been better days for us, estimating the superiority by the superior facilities for believing the Christian religion, and acquiring the Christian character? Morning Sermons; Evening Sermons… But may not the mournful inference be mistaken, and what we regard as a diminished happiness be really a profounder blessedness? God gives the gift of youth, so rejoice in it. Sin was never an infant; it was a giant in the very birth; and forasmuch as we should have had precisely the same evil nature whensoever we had lived, it would be very hard to show that any former period would have been better for us than the present. It is not the times that debauch men, but men that derive and rob a contagion upon the time: and it is still the liquor that first taints and infects the vessel. The wise may feel its impressions, but he immediately makes resistance. May 31, 2009 Ecclesiastes 7-10 – Who’s wise? Now such things as these may be disputed in favour of the latter times beyond the former. But it is not so now. It is possible to be growing in moral strength and grace, in everything that constitutes perfection of character and life, when appearances are decidedly to the contrary. The first, the testimony of the senses, is granted to the spectator of a miracle; only the second, the testimony of witnesses, to those who are not present at the performance. So also in Ecclesiastes 3:14-15, "ye say, it is vain to serve God, and what profit is it that we keep his ordinance and walk in filth before the Lord of Hosts. "I am not so happy as I once was," is a lament from Christian lips with which we are almost distressingly familiar. WHY ONE IS NOT WISE IN THINKING THIS... 1. Whatever they possess, they account on undeserved mercy: whatever they want, they regard as scarcely worthy of a thought. Though, even if we were forced to concede that the spectator of a miracle has necessarily a superiority over those to whom the miracle travels down in the annals of well-attested history, we should be far enough from allowing that there is less evidence now on the side of Christianity than was granted to the men of some preceding age. Once we had the pleasing sense of swift and perpetual progress. Would any former days have been better days for us, estimating the superiority by the superior facilities for believing the Christian religion, and acquiring the Christian character? And first, as to the evidences. Ecclesiastes 9:7-10 TODAY IN THE WORD. "—Ecclesiastes 9:10 If God had … But may we not misconceive the love we bear to God? “I am not so happy as I once was,” is a lament from Christian lips with which we are almost distressingly familiar. Ecclesiastes 12:1-14. Christian values are consistently being attacked. 1. Never were the blessings of education so widely diffused. Notice the unwisdom of the complaint. Many sorrowing souls know they are ready to die for Him whom they cannot love as they feel He ought to be loved. 10 Do not say, "Why were the former days better than these?" They are good when you look back, because you have forgotten the problems. THE PRESENT IS BETTER THAN THE PAST (7:10) A. (1) Because such complaints have no efficacy to alter or remove the cause of them: thoughts and words alter not the state of things. ], [What is the tendency of this inquiry, but to hide from our eyes the blessings we enjoy, to magnify in our minds the evils we endure, and to render us dissatisfied even with God himself? But it is another and a higher order of beauty when, instead of the fresh young blade, you have the rich golden harvest. (W. L. But it is not so now. (3) The test of love is confidence. David E. Thompson. Ecclesiastes 11:7-10 - NIV: Light is sweet, and it pleases the eyes to see the sun. Ecclesiastes 12:1-14. John Foster. IN the writings of Solomon we find many maxims, which, if uttered by an uninspired man, would be controverted; but to which, as suggested by inspiration from God, we submit without gainsaying. But it is not so now. The blossoms may have perished, but you have in their stead the mellow, luscious fruit. Years pass on. if all ranks of the community would unite, as they might well do, to lighten the burthens of each other, and to contribute, according to their respective abilities, to the happiness of the community, we should have little occasion to complain of present times, and none at all to institute invidious comparisons with former times. 1. ], The comparisons which are here discouraged, are those which are the mere effusions of discontent—, [In every age, discontented men have been forward to make this inquiry; “What is the cause that the former days were better than these?” They make no endeavour to ascertain the correctness of their sentiments: but, taking for granted that they are right, they demand the reason of so strange a phenomenon. "I am not so holy as I once was," is another note of self-depreciation with which we are unhappily familiar, and with which, perhaps, we are sometimes disposed to sympathize. They often bemoan that things were better then than now B. If, however, it were only the softening power of distance which had to be taken into the account, it might be necessary to caution men against judging without making allowance for this power, but we should scarcely have to charge it upon them as a fault, that they looked so complacently on what was far back. TEXT: Luke 9:62 – “And Jesus ...read more Scripture: Luke 9:62, Psalms 103:1-14, Ecclesiastes 7:10, 1 … Give freely, though it may seem thrown away and lost. Certainly it is a great difficulty in the way of the evolution theory as the one explanation of man and of things. The futility of life “under the sun” - cf. 3. They know that “all things shall eventually work together for their good.” “They are hid, in the secret of their Saviour’s presence, from the strife of tongues: and whilst the minds of others are agitated with violent and malignant passions, theirs are “kept in perfect peace.” This, then, I would earnestly recommend to you: Let your first concern be about your own souls. ! "—Ecclesiastes 9:10 If God had willed it we might each one of us have entered heaven at the moment of our conversion. Or you may fix upon a time when there was apparently less of misery; but we need not say that this would not necessarily have been a better time for growth in Christian holiness, seeing that confessedly it is amidst the deepest sorrows that the strongest virtues are produced. Never did the nation stand higher amidst the nations than at this day [Note: In 1822.]. Ecclesiastes 7:10 Say not thou, What is [the cause] that the former days were better than these? "verse 10 is even more crushing, as befits an answer to nostalgia, which is an enervating and self-indulgent mood. When ye say, every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the Lord and He delighteth in them; or, where is the God of judgment?" ii., p. 240. Ecclesiastes 7:10. Sermon by on August 24, 2003. In this section that we're going to look at, he's telling us that God has sent us four text messages that we would be wise to pay attention too. For they were not better than these. All the affairs of the world are the births and issue of men's actions; and all actions come from the meeting and collision of faculties with suitable objects. ... Ecclesiastes 1:3-11; Ecclesiastes 7:13-18; Ecclesiastes 9:7-10; Philip Ryken Bio. — More quiet and comfortable. The testimony of witnesses may be every jot as conclusive as the testimony of your own senses. We believe that what is rough becomes so softened, and what is hard so mellowed through being viewed in the retrospect, that we are hardly fair judges of much on which we bestow unqualified admiration. better than these? And if we plead original, we know that sin is strongest in its original; and we are taught whence to date that. - and blessing God for our gospel privileges, which indeed should drown all our discontents, let every one mend one, and then let the world run its circuits - take its course. (1) And first for antiquity, and the former ages, we may plead thus. His graces do not now seem so fresh and beautiful as they did forty or fifty years ago. Deborah Hannay Sunoo OK, that was different. The New Year’s sermon reminds us not to look back, but to look ahead to the future that is as bright as the promises of God. Today's verses were Ecclesiastes 9:7-10 "Go eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for it is now that God favors what you do." 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