the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
“At evening time it shall be light.”
Ecclesiastes 11:9 , Ecclesiastes 11:10
We shall read once more in the book of Ecclesiastes, and for that purpose shall select the wise mans famous address to the young in Ecclesiastes 11:9, Ecclesiastes 11:10.
Solomon does, as it were, dare the young man to seek his own pleasure and throw the reins upon the neck of his passions, but he warns him of the price to be paid, that he may see that the game will not be worth the candle. It can never be worth while to sin, if it be indeed true that every sin will meet with punishment.
There is a way of making youth truly joyous, let the wise young man try it. Our young days will soon be over, let us make them as happy as we can, and live while we live. Everyone agrees with this advice, but few know that the best way of carrying it out is to obtain salvation by believing in Jesus.
Ecclesiastes 12:1-7 , Ecclesiastes 12:13 , Ecclesiastes 12:14
Youth is the best time for religious consideration and decision. In old age little heart and little ability are left for the weighty themes of eternity; infirmity and general decay unfit the mind for contemplating subjects to which it has been all its life long unaccustomed. O that young people would beware of delay, and for ever renounce the idea that advanced years are favourable to conversion. No tree is so easily bent as the green sapling.
meaning that in old age sicknesses are many, and are more keenly felt than in our prime.
the arms are no longer powerful
the old mans legs totter beneath his weight
his teeth are almost gone
the eyes grow dim.
the senses are gradually closed, both ears and eyes become as doors shut up
his nights are weary, the first crowing of the cock awakes him,
his own voice is gone, and he is no longer able to hear the voice of others.
Ecclesiastes 12:5 , Ecclesiastes 12:6
aged men are full of anxieties, enterprise and courage fail
Ecclesiastes 12:5 , Ecclesiastes 12:6
The spinal cord, the skull, the heart, and the circulation of the blood are here set forth under beautiful imagery; all these fail us in death.
This, then, is the sum of the matter, but the question is, how are we to fulfil the whole duty of man? We may rest assured that it is quite out of our power to do so of ourselves. Only in Christ Jesus can we find the law fulfilled, and he is ours if we believe on him: this is wisdom, Solomon had been wiser had he known nothing but this.
“Be gentle unto all men.”
2 Chronicles 9:31
2 Chronicles 9:31
So ended the wisest man, and so must we all end; there is no discharge in this war. What a change came over the nation when the great ruler passed the sceptre into the hands of his feeble successor. Sad is it when great fathers have foolish sons.
2 Chronicles 10:3 , 2 Chronicles 10:4
The people had felt the government of Solomon to be too despotic, and they determined before they allowed his successor to take the crown, to bind him down to constitutional measures. Their hope of liberty lay in threatening to set up another king if Rehoboam would not grant them a charter.
2 Chronicles 10:5
He did well to take time for consideration. Important steps ought not to be taken in a hurry; we may do in an hour what we cannot undo in a lifetime.
2 Chronicles 10:7
Full often we must stoop to conquer. To yield a little in order to gain much is wise policy. The people had a right to what they asked, and the young prince should have granted their demands with a hearty good grace, and then he would have been the beloved monarch of an enthusiastic people.
2 Chronicles 10:8 , 2 Chronicles 10:10-11
These young aristocrats thought it dangerous to humour the people, for what might they not ask next? Let them be at once put down with an iron hand; to consent to their demands would only inflate them with pride, and lead to yet further insubordination. We have heard men talk in this fashion in our own day, but we judged them to be vain fellows. If the people ask for right things, let them have them, and no hurt can come of it.
2 Chronicles 10:16 , 2 Chronicles 10:19
Thus was the sin of Solomon visited on Rehoboam his son, but not unjustly, for the unwise action of Rehoboam naturally led to the breaking away of the ten tribes. God’s ways are always just, and we may rest assured that if he seems to act unjustly, it is not really the case. His ways are equal, and in the end men will confess that it is so.
When any turn from Zion’s way,
(Alas, what numbers do!)
Methinks I hear my Saviour say,
“Wilt thou forsake me too?”
Ah, Lord! with such a heart as mine,
Unless thou hold me fast,
I feel I must, I shall decline,
And prove like them at last.
How vain are all things here below!
How false, and yet how fair!
Each pleasure hath its poison too,
And ev’ry sweet a snare.
Dear Saviour! let thy beauties be
My soul’s eternal food;
And grace command my heart away
From all created good.
I thirst, but not as once I did,
The vain delights of earth to share;
Thy wounds, Immanuel, all forbid
That I should seek my pleasures there.
It was the sight of thy dear cross
First wean’d my soul from earthly things;
And taught me to esteem as dross
The mirth of fools and pomp of kings.
Jesus, my Saviour, is enough,
When all is gone and spent;
He fills and over-fills my soul,
Thus I am pure content.
My covenant with flesh and blood,
And every sinful thing,
Is broken, and is stedfast made,
With Jesus Christ my king.
Vanish from me, ye objects vain,
All scenes of lower kind;
A pleasure equal to my wish
In God alone I find.
Lord, season all my speech
With thine own Spirit’s salt,
And never let excess of words
Become my grievous fault.
Let grace dwell in my heart,
So shall it rule my tongue,
And all my faculties for thee
Become a harp well strung.
Each word a note of praise,
Each speech a line of song,
Thus like the angels round thy throne,
I’ll praise thee all day long.
Hear ye not a voice from heaven,
To the listening spirit given?
“Children, come,” it seems to say;
“Give your hearts to me to-day.”
While our day is in its dew,
And the clouds of life are few,
Jesu, may we hear thy voice,
And in thy dear love rejoice.
Then, when night and age appear,
Thou wilt chase each doubt and fear:
Thou our glorious Leader be,
When the stars shall fade and flee.
Now to thee, O Lord, we come,
In the morning’s early bloom:
Breathe on us thy grace divine;
Touch our hearts, and keep them thine.
Think gently, and as gently speak,
If thou art strong, respect the weak;
If thou art weak, from what thou art,
Judge gently of another’s heart.
For gentle thoughts and gentle words
Were ever thy dear Saviour Lord’s;
Shall worms a fellow-worm reprove,
When the great holy God is Love?
Therefore be gentle, O my soul!
Thy thoughts and words alike control;
And if thou must in aught decide,
Err ever on the gentle side.