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xi. 19. are denominated in another, men that have their eyes open, Exod. xxiii. 8. In the beginning of a business they look forward to the end of it; they anticipate events, and foresee consequences; their eyes try their ways, as Ps. xi. 4. Thus, looking straight forwards denotes pondering and weighing a man's actions, Prov. iv. 25, 26: hence Moses said to his father-in-law, who was a very wise man, "Thou shalt be to us instead of eyes, to guide and counsel us," Numb. x. 31; where the Septuagint renders it goßirns, thou shalt be an elder, a counsellor, a guide amongst us. So Job declares, "I was eyes to the blind," Job xxix. 15; a counsellor and guide unto them. Thus the excellency of wisdom is described by the eye, the principal part of the body, and most beneficial to the whole, 1 Cor. xii. 16, 17, 21; Mat. vi. 22: and what the eye is to the body, that is wisdom to the mind, Ephes. i. 18.-" But the fool walketh in darkness." By which we understand what is meant by having the eyes in the head; namely, to have them useful for guiding and ordering our ways, so that we may not err, wander, stumble, fall, or miscarry in our affairs. The antithesis should have thus ran, but the fool's eyes are in his heels, or he has no eyes to see; but it is usual in Scripture to put

in the place of the antithesis that which amounts to the same sense, as Prov. xii. 27: one part of the verse is parabolical or proverbial, but the antithesis is plain and familiar; so Prov. xiv. 3. and xv. 19. The fool is rash, heady, inconsiderate, cannot discern events, nor foresee dangers; knows not which way to choose, or which to refuse: his eyes are every where but in his head, Prov. xvii. 24; he is carried headlong in his business, and is easily ensnared and taken, Prov. iv. 18, 19; 2 Pet. i. 19; Mat. xiii. 15, 16. By darkness here we may understand blindness, Acts xiii. 11; and then walking in darkness is a discovery of folly, when a man wants eyes, and yet will be wandering and venturing abroad, when he knows not whither he goes, nor what dangers lie in his way.

Thus far he has shewn the superiority of wisdom to folly, now he proceeds to point out wherein they agree in that vanity which attaches to both.-" And I perceived," notwithstanding this excellency of the one above the other, “that one event happeneth to them all;" they are equally subject to the same unhappy consequences: the wisest man cannot, by his own counsel, exempt himself from the same common calamities into which other men fall; as two ways which seem to part, the one

turning to the right hand, and the other to the left, both ultimately lead to the same town or village, ch. ix. 2. and iii. 18.

15. Then said I in my heart, As it happeneth to the fool, so it happeneth even to me; and why was I then more wise? Then I said in my heart, that this also is vanity.

“Then said I in my heart;" i. e. therefore, or upon this, I said in my heart, If it happen to me, even to me, as to the fool, to what end have I taken so much pains to be more wise and learned than he, not being in the least degree protected by all my wisdom from those evils to which, by his folly, he has exposed himself." That this also is vanity." Some consider this to be a reflection on that hasty and angry inference, "Why was I then more wise?" and so the meaning to be, this was my infirmity and vanity, to undervalue wisdom, and measure it by the casual events which befal it, as Ps. lxxiii. 13-15. and lxxvii. 10. But the sense is, that wisdom is no more able in this respect to make a man happy, or to impart perfect tranquillity to the soul, than folly; though in other respects there is a singular excellency in it, which that cannot claim.

Here then observe, first, that the most excellent endowments of mind cannot thoroughly satisfy the heart of man. Secondly, that

there is a special beauty and goodness in such gifts, to attract the delight of the heart to them, as being to the mind what the eye is to the head, its guide and beauty; or as light to the eye, a most congenial and suitable good. Thirdly, that events and successes depend not upon the counsels of men, nor upon the gifts of God bestowed on them; but his providence has the casting voice, which overrules and orders them all as it pleases him, Eccles. ix. 11; Ps. cxxvii. 1, 2. Sometimes, those who have the least wisdom or goodness have the greatest success, and the wisest and most circumspect men are frustrated in those courses which were contrived with the utmost skill and ability, 2 Sam. xvii. 14; Job v. 12—14; Isai. xix. 11— 14; 1 Cor. i. 20. Fourthly, that notwithstanding the providence and counsel of God disposes all events, yet that altereth not the superiority of wisdom to folly, nor should it discourage us from using all lawful means to attain it, whilst we neither deify them, nor trust in them, but entirely depend upon God for his blessing on our counsels, submit to his wise and holy purposes when they are disappointed, and admire his goodness when at any time he turns

our imprudence or improvidence to our advantage, and makes the event answerable, not to our follies, but to his love. Fifthly, that we cannot judge of the wisdom or folly, the goodness or badness of men, by outward events, because they happen alike to all, ch. viii. 14, and ix. 11.

16. For there is no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool for ever; seeing that which now is, in the days to come shall be forgotten. And how dieth the wise man? as the fool.

"There is no remembrance," &c. He now proves, in two particulars, the preceding general observation; namely, oblivion and death, which are both equally common to wise men and fools. The wise may seem to secure their names at least, if not their bodies, from mortality, by such magnificent edifices as Solomon erected, and by such noble contemplations in which he was conversant: but he here and elsewhere assures us of the contrary; that piety alone preserves the name from corrupting with the body, Prov. x. 7; Ps. cxii. 6. and xlix. 11, 12; Jer. xvii. 13. Time will obliterate all the monuments of wisdom; or if they continue, the renown of a wise man is not capable of benefiting him, because he is neither sensible of it, nor comforted by it, after death; so ch. i. 11: new persons, that arise in succeeding ages,


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