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thren on which account he so frequently in this book appropriates to himself this title, as of a penitent convert, ch. i. 12; vii. 27; and xii. 8, 9, 10.

If it be enquired why Solomon does not prefix his proper name to this book, as he does to the Proverbs and Canticles, though it is not necessary to be curious in questions of this nature, yet this may be inoffensively conjectured, first, to intimate, that he had by his former sins forfeited his name of peace; and so we find God stirred up adversaries against him on account of these very transgressions, 1 Kings. xi. 14, 23. Secondly, to manifest his sincerity, who now chose to be known rather by the name of a penitent convert, than of a peaceable prince; as if he who had troubled Israel by his sins no longer deserved his name of Solomon, as the prodigal said to his father, "I am no more worthy to be called thy son:" so in Scripture, persons have assumed new names suitable to a new condition, Ruth. i. 20; Mark. iii. 16, 17; Nehem. ix. 7. The other additions to his name of the penitent preacher seem to be regarded by him as aggravations of his sins, first, that he was the son of David, a godly father, who had given him a holy education, provided him with materials to build the temple, and greatly encouraged him to advance the worship of the Lord,

besides having been an example to him to take heed of falling into gross offences. How criminal in the son of such a father to act so wickedly! Secondly, that he was a king on his father's throne, not so much by right of inheritance, as by a special designation from God, who had singled him out above his brethren, had appeared unto him twice, and bestowed upon him wisdom and princely endowments adapted to so exalted a station; and yet he had polluted the throne to which he had been so graciously advanced, and from thence gave to all the people so sad an example of sensuality and apostasy. Thirdly, that he was king of Jerusalem, the holy city, where was God's throne, as well as the thrones of the house of David; but he had defiled the Lord's land and his dwelling-place. These were considerations proper to occupy the mind of such a penitent, for his greater humiliation; and they teach us, first, that the sins of the child are considerably aggravated by the godliness of the parent, Jerem. xxii. 15, 16, 17. Secondly, that the sins of the child are no less aggravated by the falls and miscarriages of the parent, Dan. v. 18-23. Thirdly, that sins are greatly aggravated by the dignities and privileges of those who commit them, 2 Sam. xii. 7, 8, 9; Deut. xxxii. 12-19; Amos ii. 9-13. iii. 2. Fourthly, that the greater the person is that

sinneth, and consequently the greater the scandal brought upon the church, the more solemn should be his repentance, Numb. xii. 14, 16; 2 Chron. xxxiii. 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 19. Fifthly, that the power of grace is exceedingly great, which can subdue the hearts of the greatest men to the heaviest yoke of public and solemn repentance, 2 Cor. x. 4—6. And further, from the description of the person, and his writing this book, we may observe, first, that eminence of wisdom, without the continual assistance of grace, cannot preserve a man from gross and foul lapses. There never was a wiser man than Solomon, and yet no saint ever fell into more foolish or hurtful lusts. God is pleased sometimes to suffer persons to commit sins the most opposite to those graces with which they had been eminently adorned; examples of which we have in David, Lot, Job, Moses, and Peter. Secondly, that high honours and abundant wealth are sore snares and temptations even to the wisest and most excellent men, Mark x, 23, 25; 1 Tim. vi. 9; Isaiah xxxix, 1,2. Thirdly, that repentance sets a true convert most against that evil by which he had been most easily foiled, and most dishonoured God. Extensive knowledge and large treasures had drawn Solomon's heart too far from his creator and benefactor; and being restored, he par

ticularly applies himself to discern their emptiness and vanity. So Zaccheus, Luke xix. 8 ; and Mary Magdalen, Luke vii. 37, 38. Fourthly, that the Lord can render the falls of his servants very beneficial to his church: David's sin was the occasion of his penning several excellent psalms; and Solomon's, of writing this interesting book. Fifthly, that the saints, after some great offence given by their falls to the church, are concerned, upon their repentance, to perform some more eminent service for their generation: as Peter, who had been most fearful in denying Christ, was afterwards most courageous in his profession as well as preaching, Acts i, 15; ii. 14; iii. 12; iv. 8; v. 29.

2. Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.

The object of the wise man is to direct us in the right way to true happiness. This he does, first, negatively, assuring us, that it is not to be found in any thing under the sun. Secondly, affirmatively, that it is to be found only in God and his service. With respect to the former, this is the issue and result of all his enquiries, that all is vanity; which he asserts in a vehement and pathetic manner, to render it more observable. He does not say, all is vain; but

in the abstract (which is much more emphatical), all is vanity; not vanity only, but vanity of vanities, that is, extreme vanity: the genitive case of the noun, according to the Hebrew construction, supplying the place of an adjective of the superlative degree, Gen. ix. 25; Cant. i. 1; 1 Tim. vi. 15. And this proposition he doubles and repeats, thereby intimating, first, the unquestionable certainty of it, Gen. xli. 32. Secondly, its great consequence, as necessary to be inculcated to make the deeper im. pression on the heart, Ezek. xxi. 27; Psalm lxii. 11; Rev. xviii. 2. Thirdly, our natural unaptness to credit it, or to take notice of it, except it be thus inculcated upon us, Jer. xxii. 29.— Fourthly, the earnest affection of the wise man in urging this important truth, with which he himself was so deeply affected. Repetitions argue vehemency of affections, as well as zealous contending for the things so repeated, Ezek. xvi. 6; Luke xxiii. 21; Gal. i. 8, 9; Psalm xciii. 3.

And because it might be true only of some things, and other objects which Solomon had not so narrowly examined might possibly possess superior excellencies; to prevent this objection, he adds, that all is vanity. All, not universally, but limited to the subject of this book; every thing severally, all things jointly. Not one of them alone, nor all of them together,

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