Solomon had said in the foregoing verse that he who has not a large estate, or a great income, but a cheerful spirit, has a continual feast; Christian contentment, and joy in God, make the life easy and pleasant; now here he tells us what is necessary to that cheerfulness of spirit which will furnish a man with a continual feast, though he has but little in the world—holiness and love.
I. Holiness. A little, if we manage it and enjoy it in the fear of the Lord, if we keep a good conscience and go on in the way of duty, and serve God faithfully with the little we have, will be more comfortable, and turn to a better account, than great treasure and trouble therewith. Observe here, 1. It is often the lot of those that fear God to have but a little of this world. The poor receive the gospel, and poor they still are, Jas. 2:5. 2. Those that have great treasure have often great trouble therewith; it is so far from making them easy that it increases their care and hurry. The abundance of the rich will not suffer them to sleep. 3. If great treasure bring trouble with it, it is for want of the fear of God. If those that have great estates would do their duty with them, and then trust God with them, their treasure would not have so much trouble attending it. 4. It is therefore far better, and more desirable, to have but a little of the world and to have it with a good conscience, to keep up communion with God, and enjoy him in it, and live by faith, than to have the greatest plenty and live without God in the world.
II. Love. Next to the fear of God, peace with all men is necessary to the comfort of this life. 1. If brethren dwell together in unity, if they are friendly, and hearty, and pleasant, both in their daily meals and in more solemn entertainments, that will make a dinner of herbs a feast sufficient; though the fare be coarse, and the estate so small that they can afford no better, yet love will sweeten it and they may be as merry over it as if they had all dainties. 2. If there be mutual enmity and strife, though there be a whole ox for dinner, a fat ox, there can be no comfort in it; the leaven of malice, of hating and being hated, is enough to sour it all. Some refer it to him that makes the entertainment; better have a slender dinner and be heartily welcome than a table richly spread with a grudging evil eye.
Cum torvo vultu mihi conula nulla placebit, Cum placido vultu conula ulla placet. The most sumptuous entertainment, presented with a sullen brow, would offend me; while the plainest repast, presented kindly, would delight me.