The former days were better than these? the mattering things – ecclesiastes 7:1-14 hillside July 21, 2019 Allyn Anderson , The Mattering Things - Ecclesiastes 2019 TRUE JOY, THE WISE MAN + THE FOOL 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. 16 So don’t be too good or too wise! The days of old were better than these. Solomon is teaching us that now is the time to work with care, energy, and purpose to get the most and the best from life and to prepare for the hereafter.His basic reason is that the clock is ticking. For they were not better than these. The very putting of the question argues that heavenly “wisdom” (Margin) is not as much as it ought made the chief good with thee. David E. Thompson. Amongst those who were endued with piety in the Apostolic age, you find none who were “murmurers and complainers.” Their habit of mind is better expressed by those words of the Apostle, “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. Never were the blessings of education so widely diffused. "I am not so happy as I once was," is a lament from Christian lips with which we are almost distressingly familiar. We look back to our conversion, to the glittering joy which welled up in our soul in those days, and the memory moves us to tears. The tinsel has been lost, but the fine gold all remains. But lastly, if the following ages were not the best, whence is it that the … But it was away in the distant past. A still more glorious golden age awaits it in the ages that are to come. The truth is, that the evils are, with scarcely an exception, old. We have not done all we meant to do, not been all we meant to be, and have a consciousness of imperfection more vivid than ever. The essence of religion is submission to the will of God, and that grave tranquillity of mind which follows upon deeper self-renunciation, the chastened cheerfulness which survives the strain and strife of years, is a real, although not perhaps seeming, gain upon the first sparkling experiences of our devout life. ‘Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? The old earth is to pass away. (eccl 12:13-14) "let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: fear god, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. Then "all things were apparelled in celestial light, the glory and the freshness of a dream." For months I had been planning a short sermon series on one of my all-time favorite books of the Bible—Ecclesiastes. Browse sermons … (2) Such complaints of the evil of the times are irrational, because they only quicken the smart, and add to the pressure. For with wisdom thou dost not inquire concerning this. Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? THE PRESENT IS BETTER THAN THE PAST (7:10) A. But it is not so now. Others who will come after us will regard our age as we regard the ages that have passed away. Ecclesiastes 7:10. 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. "I do not love God as I once did," is another sorrowful confession of the soul. What Is Better. Eccl 3:4 niv 4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, Prov 15:13 niv 13 A happy … Instead of complaining of the times, let us all endeavour to make them better—, [Much is in our power, for the improvement of the worst of times. Speaks to the fleeting nature … 2. “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. The religion of the heart, perhaps, flourishes most when there is most to move to zeal for the insulted law of God. (A series on Ecclesiastes) An Empty Life? How glowing was that first level Your whole soul went out after the Beloved! But let them remember the days of darkness, for there will be many. The thought is: recall God's presence daily; live in a relationship with him; seek to discover the greatness and glories of … Why die before your time? A Home Mission Sermon "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. When we walk in the shadow of darkness, we know right but choose to do wrong. better than these? Will our love to God to-day bear this test? The blossoms may have perished, but you have in their stead the mellow, luscious fruit. 3. 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. I. (1) The test of love is sacrifice. Surely it is better to be patient in spirit, than to be proud and hasty. 17 On the other hand, don’t be too wicked either. for thou dost not inquire wisely concerning this. Ecc 1:2,14 a. Ecclesiastes 11. For it is not from wisdom that you ask about this. “I am not so holy as I once was,” is another note of self-depreciation with … Never did the nation stand higher amidst the nations than at this day [Note: In 1822.]. by Rev. (Ecclesiastes 7:8-10 ESV) In this section of Ecclesiastes there are proverbs, but with some expansion beyond just a brief statement. 18 Pay attention to these instructions, for anyone who fears God will avoid both extremes. Ecclesiastes 9:7-10 TODAY IN THE WORD. (A series on Ecclesiastes) Advice to a Young Person. 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 … ], [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? Ecclesiastes 7:10. A new heaven and a new earth. for thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this.’. It may be that we are not less pure than formerly, only the Spirit of God has been opening our eyes, heightening our sensibility, and faults once latent are now discovered; the clearer vision detects deformities, the finer ear discords, the pure taste admixtures which were once unsuspected. When they stand up as the champions of right, the defenders of the oppressed, then are they entering on their true golden age, the perfection of their national existence. 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. And this is an argument of a mind discontented and unthankful for the many mercies which men commonly enjoy even in evil times, and impatient under God’s hand. -, for thou dost not inquire wisely concerning this. You may fix on a time when there was apparently less of open wickedness, but this would not necessarily have been a better time for individual piety. for thou dost not, from wisdom, ask after this.” Cf. Then, whatever others may do, you may look forward to better times, when all troubles shall have fled away, and your happiness be unalloyed in the bosom of your God.]. But it is not so now. But may not the mournful inference be mistaken, and what we regard as a diminished happiness be really a profounder blessedness? His laurels are yet unsullied. The world cannot but be the worse for wearing; and it must needs have contracted much dross, when at the last it cannot be purged but by a universal fire. Ecclesiastes 7-10 – Who’s wise? Ecclesiastes 7:10. 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. Numbers 14:27.]. The being who had been formed in the very image of his Maker became instantly capable of the most heinous of crimes; and so far was human nature from requiring long familiarity with wickedness, in order to the learning to commit it in its most atrocious shapes, that well nigh its first essay after apostatizing from God was one which still fills us with horror, notwithstanding our daily acquaintance with a thousand foul deeds. {14} for god shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil." Scripture: Luke 9:62, Psalms 103:1-14, Ecclesiastes 7:10… It must be expected, in this distempered world, that troubles of some kind or other will arise; they cannot be wholly averted from individuals, or families, or nations. - 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. Ecclesiastes 7:10 Context. E. Paget, Helps and Hindrances to the Christian Life, vol. 2. But may we not misconceive the love we bear to God? Suppose a person to have formerly walked with God, and experienced much of His presence in his soul, and now to have become destitute of all spiritual life and comfort: should not he ask. Once we had the pleasing sense of swift and perpetual progress. An Empty Life? 10 Do not say, "Why were the former days better than these?" The rage and expostulations of discontent are like a thunder without a thunderbolt, they vanish and expire into noise and nothing; and, like a woman, are only loud and weak. ), What a softening power there is in distance; how often an object, on which you gazed with great delight while beheld afar off, will lose its attractiveness when it is brought near. Away, then, with the thought that it would have been better for those who are dissatisfied with the evidences of Christianity, had they lived when Christianity was first promulgated on earth. APPLICATION. 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. nasb (updated) text: ecclesiastes 10:1-4 1 Dead flies make a perfumer's oil stink, so a little foolishness is weightier than wisdom and honor. Ecclesiastes 7 Sermon June 23-24, 2007 Big Idea: Wisdom, though imperfect, if based on a fear of God, preserves life and gives it meaning. And first, as to the evidences. 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. (2) But secondly, for the pre-eminence of the succeeding ages above the former, it may be disputed thus: If the honour be due to antiquity, then certainly the present age must claim it, for the world is now oldest, and therefore upon the very right of seniority may challenge the precedency; for certainly, the longer the world lasts, the older it grows. Its golden age has not all passed away. And their aim is, to diffuse the same malignant feeling throughout the whole community. Give freely, though it may seem thrown away and lost. Say not thou, what is the cause that the former days were better than these, meaning, "why is it so, how is such a downfall of His people consistent with the love and righteousness of God?" &c.] This, saith an interpreter, (a) is the continual complaint of the wicked moody and the wicked needy. 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? ]:” and it were far more likely to be rectified through personal humiliation before him, than by intemperate and factious clamours against his instruments. for thou dost not inquire wisely concerning this.” To quote the words of a brilliant modern historian: “The more carefully we examine the history of the past, the more reason shall we find to dissent from those who imagine that our ago has been fruitful of new social evils. And here again we must narrow the field of inquiry, and confine ourselves to points in which, as Christians, we have an especial interest. 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. There were then the same incentives of desire on the one side, the same attractiveness in riches, the same relish in sovereignty, the same temptation in beauty, the same delicacy in meats and taste in wines; and, on the other side, there were the same appetites of covetousness and ambition, the same fuel of lust and intemperance. Each age has its own special nobleness, its own special use; but every age has been better than the age which went before it, for the Spirit of God is leading the ages on toward that whereof it is written, "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive, the things which God hath prepared for those that love Him.". Morning Sermons; Evening Sermons… This verse encourages that. 8 Let your garments always be white, And let your head lack no oil. In keeping with the topic of “Wisdom In Crisis”, we veer from Proverbs today to explore a passage from Ecclesiastes. Ecclesiastes 7:8-10 - What Is Better. The inquiry shows disbelief in our Lord’s own words that all dominion is given to Him in heaven and earth, and that He is with us always, even to the end of the world. Num Ecclesias suas dereliquit Dominus? "Red-hot religion" has its place and value, but white-hot religion, the silent, intense force which acts without sparks, smoke or noise, is a diviner thing. The matter in controversy is, the pre-eminence of the former times above the present; when we must observe, that though the words run in the form of a question, yet they include a positive assertion, and a downright censure. ii., p. 240. This mode of speaking is not just, it is not the age that is corrupt, but the men of the age.". You would say that in his ease the former days were better than these. “Wherefore were the former days better than these?” Yes: to examine into this matter is his bounden duty. 2. In the midst of such complaints there is not a word to call forth gratitude to God, or even submission to his holy will. With the lapse of years we have grown more dissatisfied with ourselves; and this more acute sense of worldliness leads us to the conclusion that we have lest the rarer purity of other days. Never was civil liberty held more sacred, or better regulated for the good of the community. these lines from Horace ( Poet . Home / Ecclesiastes 7-10 – Who’s wise? Home; About; Church Life; Resources; Events; What to Expect; Registration; Weekly Schedule 4. Preaching Today provides pastors and preachers sermon prep help with sermon illustrations, sermons, sermon ideas, and preaching articles. Wisdom - A good name is better than fine perfume, and the day of death better than the day of birth. 1. to ascertain, in the first instance, that the grounds of their inquiry are just. But may not this growing sense of imperfection be a sign of the perfecting of our spirit? Such an one finds the earlier days - not only the old days described in history (Deuteronomy 4:32), but also those he lived in before the present time (cf. 15 I have seen everything in this meaningless life, including the death of good young people and the long life of wicked people. The dregs are still the most likely to settle in the bottom, and to sink into the last ages. 2. 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. In answering such a question, we must take separately the evidences and the truths of our holy religion. Do we not feel, then, that God has our confidence so thoroughly that even if He "slay" us, yet will we trust in Him? 2. Life’s opening years may be beautiful, but its close may be glorious. First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, Missouri. 10. (Ecclesiastes 1:2-3, 12:13) Solomon was in an unusual position to undertake the investigations reflected in this book. (1) By a wise law of Providence, time destroys all the wreck and waste of the past and saves only the pleasures—destroys the chaff and saves the grain. Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow you shall die? And the Bible, too, tells of a golden age in the far distant past. his conclusion is found in ecclesiastes 12:13-14. We are neither to regret the past, nor rest satisfied in the present, but, like St. Paul, forgetting those things that are behind us, and reaching onward to those things that are before us, press forward each and all to the prize of our high calling in Jesus Christ. The text expresses the general principle or doctrine, that by the condition of our existence here, if things go right, a conclusion is better than a beginning. (7-10) Commentary on Ecclesiastes 11:1-6 (Read Ecclesiastes 11:1-6) Solomon presses the rich to do good to others. Thou dost not inquire wisely - Hebrew, with wisdom. The author designates this question as one not proceeding from wisdom: מח, like the Mishnic חכמה מתּוך, and על שׁאל, as at Nehemiah 1:2; 'al - zeh refers to that question, after the ground of the contrast, which is at the same time an exclamation of wonder. But the Preacher answers better: "Thou dost not wisely inquire concerning this"; q.d., The objection is idle, and once to have recited it, is enough to have confuted it. Stephen C. Magee. Among the oriental proverbs I find the following: "Many say, This is a corrupt age. “when they had left their first love, to remember from whence they had fallen, and to repent, and do their first works [Note: Revelation 2:5. Bosom, as in its proper place. John Foster. They have pictured it near the world’s beginning, in the days when the human race was yet in its youth. Ecclesiastes 7:12.—F. The wise man interprets the present and the past in the light of wisdom. The spring is beautiful with all its stores of bloom and fragrance and song. The clear-eyed Qoheleth is the last person to be impressed by this golden haze around the past: he has already declared that one age is very much like another ()" (Kidner p. 67). Learn more. ... Ecclesiastes. “I do not make the rapid progress I once did,” is another familiar regret. All things to their vision become lustrous and fair with "the light that never was on land or sea.". Certainly it is a great difficulty in the way of the evolution theory as the one explanation of man and of things. 2. For you do not inquire wisely concerning this. Many sorrowing souls know they are ready to die for Him whom they cannot love as they feel He ought to be loved. Get your church set-up with online giving, sermon streaming, and more in under 24 hours. Then we turn to consider the present phases of our experience, and conclude sadly that we are not so happy now as then — all the gold has changed to grey. Yes, the Christian religion now appeals to mightier proofs than when it first engaged in combat with the superstitions of the world. Once we had the pleasing sense of swift and perpetual progress. Whatever they possess, they account on undeserved mercy: whatever they want, they regard as scarcely worthy of a thought. ].” So that it is clear, that the prohibition respecting such inquiries is not universal, but must be limited to such occasions as Solomon had more especially in view. We are sojourners who know the Word of God and are familiar with how deeds … For this, and not the former, is the cause of most men’s murmurings against God’s providence. The only thing to be sure about is, that the miracle has been wrought. For it is unwise of you to ask about this. We "have not wickedly departed from" our God. In relation to our own times and country, the very reverse of what is here assumed is true. Ecclesiastes 7:10 Say not thou, What is [the cause] that the former days were better than these? Notice the unwisdom of the complaint. Do not say, "Why were the old days better than these?" In the first days of his profession, when he has given his heart to Jesus for the first time, all his graces seem so fresh and lovely All his being is filled with joy unspeakable. Why destroy yourself? I will assign two reasons: it is unwise, because. Through unfaithfulness we may have lost the joy and power of the days when first we knew the Lord. The testimony of witnesses may be every jot as conclusive as the testimony of your own senses. III. Its own protracted existence, its own majestic triumphs, witness for it with a voice far more commanding than that which was heard when its first preachers called to the dead, and were answered by their starting into life. Why should such superior power be supposed to reside in the seeing a miracle? 1 A good name is better than fine perfume, and the day of death better than the day of birth. On the whole we may confidently affirm that the world improves, and yet in certain moods we are apt to regard its conditions as increasingly desperate. There are no people loaded with unqualified goods nor are there any oppressed with unmitigated evil. That which is new is the intelligence which discerns them, and the humanity which relieves them.” But we shall speak only of the religious advantages of different times, in endeavouring to prove “that the former days” were not “better than these.”. 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. Ecclesiastes 10:7 I have seen slaves on horseback, while princes go on foot like slaves. 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. Suppose, for instance, his business, which was formerly in a very prosperous state, have failed, can we condemn him for inquiring into the occasion of that failure? [It is not true that former times, on a large and extended scale, were better than these. 10 The Preacher sought to find words of … Improvements may have been made in some respects, and matters may have been deteriorated in others; or particular persons and places may be in less favourable circumstances now than formerly: but times have been much alike in all ages. Sermon Title: A Merry Heart in a Fallen World Sermon Text: Ecclesiastes 9:7-10 Sermon Series: Ecclesiastes, #30 Sermon Outline: I. Rejoice Because of God (9:7) II. Ecclesiastes 7:10. This sermon is a reflection on the enjoyment of life as depicted by Solomon in Ecclesiastes. But from one cause or another men become disgusted with the days in which their lot is cast, and are therefore disposed to the concluding that past days were better. Previous Sermons Link Ecclesiastes 5:8-6:12 – Who wants to be a millionaire? Who will venture to deny, that as century has rolled away after century, fresh witness has been given to the Bible by the' accomplishment of the predictions recorded in its pages? Whether, therefore, men consider their own happiness, or the happiness of the community, they will do well to abstain from this invidious inquiry; or, if at any time they feel disposed to make it. "I do not make the rapid progress I once did," is another familiar regret. "Do not say, "Why is it that the former days were better than these?" That which is delivered in the passage before us does not, at first sight, carry its own evidence along with it: but the more it is investigated, the more will it appear to be a dictate of sound wisdom, and worthy of universal acceptation. But lastly, if the following ages were not the best, whence is it that the older men grow the more still they desire to live? I. (3) These censorious complaints of the evil of the times are irrational, because the just cause of them is resolvable into ourselves. So, in Ecclesiastes 7:1-14, the Preacher talks to us about the value of difficult things over pleasant things.. We might notice that our life seems to be filled with difficult things – difficult people, difficult situations, problems that are over our head, etc. In the time of Pope Clement V, Frederick king of Sicily was so far offended at the ill government of the church, that he called into question the truth of the Christian religion, till he was better resolved and settled in the point by Arnoldus de Villanova, who showed him that it was long since foretold of these last and loosest times, that iniquity should abound - that men should be proud, lewd, heady, highminded, &c. (d) [1 Timothy 4:1 2 Timothy 3:1-4] Lay aside, therefore, these frivolous inquiries and discontented cryings out against the times, which, in some sense reflect upon God, the Author of times - for "can there be evil in an age, and he hath not done it?" 9:7-10 ; Philip Ryken Bio should we not misconceive the love we bear to God do so the... And hasty the curse of sin is to be careful because discouragement is a great grief as. And 9:7-10 ) 1/24/2016 sermon by Rev be careful because discouragement is a great grief —Ecclesiastes 9:10 God... Others Who will come after us will regard our age as we regard a! Among the oriental proverbs I find the sermon in my archives with thy Lord and,! It in the far distant past reasons: it is not always behind, in! 18Th February 2018 and was based on a large and extended scale, were they and most untainted in lap..., it is a curious fact, that the former days were better than the former were... 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