Chapter 1

In this chapter we have, I. The inscription, or title of the book, Eccl. 1:1. II. The general doctrine of the vanity of the creature laid down (Eccl. 1:2) and explained, Eccl. 1:3. III. The proof of this doctrine, taken, 1. From the shortness of human life and the multitude of births and burials in this life, Eccl. 1:4. 2. From the inconstant nature, and constant revolutions, of all the creatures, and the perpetual flux and reflux they are in, the sun, wind, and water, Eccl. 1:5-7. 3. From the abundant toil man has about them and the little satisfaction he has in them, Eccl. 1:8. 4. From the return of the same things again, which shows the end of all perfection, and that the stock is exhausted, Eccl. 1:9, 10. 5. From the oblivion to which all things are condemned, Eccl. 1:11. IV. The first instance of the vanity of man’s knowledge, and all the parts of learning, especially natural philosophy and politics. Observe, 1. The trial Solomon made of these, Eccl. 1:12, 13, 16, 17. 2. His judgment of them, that all is vanity, Eccl. 1:14. For, (1.) There is labour in getting knowledge, Eccl. 1:13. (2.) There is little good to be done with it, Eccl. 1:15. (3.) There is no satisfaction in it, Eccl. 1:18. And, if this is vanity and vexation, all other things in this world, being much inferior to it in dignity and worth, must needs be so too. A great scholar cannot be happy unless he be a true saint.