For if one falls down, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to help him up!
I. FELLOWSHIP MAKES LABOR EFFECTIVE. "Two have a good reward for their labor." If this was so in the day of the writer of Ecclesiastes, how much more strikingly and obviously is it so today! Division of labor and co-operation in labor are the two great principles which account for the success of industrial enterprise in our own time. There is scope for such united efforts in the Church of Christ - for unity and brotherly kindness, for mutual help, consideration, and endeavor.
II. FELLOWSHIP PROVIDES SUCCOR IN CALAMITY. When two are together, he who falls may be lifted up, when if alone he might be left to perish. This is a commonplace truth with reference to travelers in a strange land, with reference to comrades in war, etc. Our Lord Jesus sent forth his apostles two and. two, that one might supply his neighbor's deficiencies; that the healthy might uphold the sick; and the brave might cheer the timid. The history of Christ's Church is a long record of mutual succor and consolation. To raise the fallen, to cherish the weakly, to relieve the needy, to assist the widow and fatherless, - this is true religion. Here is the sphere for the manifestation of Christian fellowship.
III. FELLOWSHIP IS PROMOTIVE OF COMFORT, WELL-BEING, AND HAPPINESS. "How can one be warm alone?" asks the Preacher. Every household, every congregation, every Christian society, is a proof that there is a spirit of mutual dependence wherever the will of the great Father and Savior of mankind is honored and obeyed. The more there is of brotherly love within the Church, the more effective will be the Church's work of benevolence and missionary aggression upon the ignorance and sin of the world.
IV. FELLOWSHIP IMPARTS STRENGTH, STABILITY, AND POWER OF RESISTANCE. TWO, placing themselves shoulder to shoulder, can withstand an onset before which one alone would fall. "The threefold cord is not quickly broken." It must be remembered that the work of religious men in this world is no child's play; there are forces of evil toresist, there is a warfare to be maintained. And in order to succeed, two things are needful: first, dependence upon God; and secondly, brotherhood with our comrades and fellow-soldiers in the holy war. - T.
So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun.
I. CONSIDER WHAT OPPRESSION IS, AND THE MOST STRIKING INSTANCES IN WHICH MEN ARE GUILTY OF IT.
1. It is dealing unjustly or unkindly by a person over whose time, goods, trade, or business the oppressor hath power. It is principally the vice of rich men and superiors, who have power over their workmen, servants, tenants, and other inferiors. But it is not confined to them. The poor often meet with very bad, if not the worst, treatment from those who in station and fortune are very little above them. It is oppression, when men impose what terms they please upon others in commerce and dealings, without regarding what is just and right; when they oblige others to sell their goods under their real value, because they are in necessity; or to give more for a commodity than it is worth, because they cannot do without it. Selling bad and damaged goods to persons who dare not refuse to take them, and yet must lose by them, or not sell them again for a reasonable profit, is another instance of this vice. If a person makes a relation, a neighbour, or dependant, pay dearer for what he buys than his other customers, because he is under particular obligations to buy of him, he is an oppressor. Taking exorbitant interest for money lent, or exchange of bills and cash, on account of men's necessities, is extortion and oppression. Where a person, or a combination of persons, engross the whole of any commodity which is to be sold, in order to make an excessive gain of it, or to injure other tradesmen in the same way of business, this is oppression. Again, to be rigorous in exacting debts or other rights to the very utmost farthing, where poverty, sickness, losses, dear seasons, or a large family render men incapable of paying what they owe; to allow them no time to satisfy their creditors; or to strip them of their all; this is cruelly oppressive. Obliging persons, over whom men have power, to vote or act against their consciences; persecuting, reviling, or even bantering, men for their religious sentiments and worship, is dreadful oppression. In the black list of oppressors must likewise be ranged parents, masters and mistresses of families and schools, who behave cruelly and severely to their children, servants, and scholars. There is likewise great oppression in a haughty, insolent, overbearing way of speaking to inferiors, which is very grating and hurtful to any sensible mind.
II. THE GREAT EVIL AND WICKEDNESS OF IT.
1. It proceeds from a very bad disposition of mind. The principal source of it is covetousness; an inordinate love of the world (Jeremiah 22:17). In some persons the practice of this sin proceeds from pride; to show their authority over others, and to keep them in awe. Hence they treat their inferiors as if they were of a lower species, and not worthy of common justice. This chows a base, ignoble mind (Psalm 63:6-8). In some, it is owing to luxury and extravagance. They are dressed with the spoils of the poor; and their fine houses, equipages, and entertainments are supported by the properties and comforts of others. It is sometimes owing to sloth; because, like drones in the hive, they will not work, they prey upon the labours of the industrious. It is very often owing to resentment, malice, and ill-nature.
2. Oppression is a high ingratitude and affront to the righteous God. It is ingratitude to Him, because He giveth men all their wealth and power over others, and He doth this, not that they may oppress, but protect, relieve, and serve others, and be a blessing to them. It must, therefore, be horrid ingratitude to abuse and pervert these favours to their injury. But what renders it worse is, that He hath bestowed upon men spiritual blessings and Christian privileges, and, therefore, to oppress and injure them must be proportionably wicked. Further, He hath placed men in different circumstances in life; "made both the rich and the poor." He hath allotted to men such conditions here that they need one another's assistance. The rich want the labour of the poor, as the poor want the money of the rich; and God expects that they should help one another, and so contribute to the general happiness. To oppress the poor, then, is defeating the wise and kind design of God's providence.
3. It is detestable inhumanity and cruelty to the oppressed. "A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast." What then must we think of those who are oppressive and cruel to their fellow-men, but that they are utterly void of justice, goodness, and humanity, that they are monsters and not men?
4. It is directly contrary to the design of the Gospel; which is to promote righteousness, love, peace, and happiness upon earth, as well as to secure the eternal salvation of mankind.
5. It will sink men into everlasting ruin. God is a just and righteous Being, and at the judgment-day "He will render to every one according to his works." The Lord seeth and remembereth all the oppression that is done under the sun, and He will at length reckon with those who have done it.APPLICATION.
1. I shall address oppressors; those whose consciences tell them, as in the sight of God, that they have been guilty of this sin in the instances above mentioned or any other. I exhort you, sirs, to hearken to the voice of conscience as the voice of God; to submit to its reproofs; and to be humbled deeply before God for your injustice and cruelty to men.
2. Let me address the oppressed. It may perhaps be the ease of some of you, and I would endeavour to be your comforter. Acknowledge the justice of the Lord in what you suffer from the hand of men. Though they are unrighteous, He is righteous, for you have sinned; and He may choose this method of afflicting you, to lead you to repentance, to exercise your virtues, and make your hearts better. Let me exhort you to guard against a spirit of malice and revenge. Remember that their oppressing you will be no excuse for injustice to them. That "it is no harm to bite the biter" is a very wicked maxim. It is better to suffer many wrongs than to do one. Yea, it is our duty to render good for evil.
3. I would address those who can appeal to a heart-searching God that they are guiltless of this sin. I would exhort you to guard against the love of money, which is the chief root of this evil. To prevent your becoming oppressors, go not to the utmost bounds of things lawful. Keep on the safe side. Be not only just, but honourable, generous, and charitable, and "abstain from the very appearance of evil." Let me exhort you, likewise, to be comforters of the oppressed.
(Job Orton, D. D.)
(T. DeWilt Talmage.)
They had no comforter
I. THE LATENT PAIN. This pain does not leap forth at once. It is a kind of hidden fire: a sort of slumbering force. Students of life should think deeply on this, that pain lies hidden in pleasure. The strangest fact in life is that the measure of joy is often the measure of sorrow. The height of gain is the length of the shadow of loss. The keener our affection, the more bitter our anguish when bereavement comes. The more ardent our pursuit, the more depressing the disappointment in missing the goal. In Jesus Christ our Lord He has offered us a renewed nature and a restful heart. He has given us a Saviour and a Comforter. We need no more. If the latent pain leaps forth, we have an anodyne for sorrow, a perfect absolution for sin, a balm for broken hearts, a brother born for adversity, and beyond the present the glories of immortal life. At our peril we put Christ away. Out in the wide fields of human search we come upon no footprints of another Saviour.
II. THE CHARLATAN COMFORTERS. Yes! there are comforters. We find that men will put the poppy in the pillow when there is no peace in the heart. They seek comfort. Sometimes in quiet retreats, where the scenes of the city life do not haunt them, Nature's floral groves and woodland shadows constitute a veil to hide the weird forms of guilt and shame and sorrow to be met with in crowded centres of life. But past life will there come back to memory, and unforgiven sin will there send its sharp dagger to the heart. Or it may be that freedom from necessity brings comfort, and that superfluity has made the old days of care and struggle only a memory! Now at all events there are no sleepless nights, no battles amid daily anxiety for daily bread, and we sit under the restful shadow of trees planted long ago! Then, too, much looks like comfort, which comes from ease of circumstance, when the couch is of down, and no spectre of anxiety crosses the earthly threshold. But even then there are deep necessities of the soul, if we are dead to things divine.
III. THE FULNESS OF CHRIST. I do not mean merely Divine perfectness in the quantity of sympathy, but, if I may say so, in the quality of it. Nothing is more wonderful than the way in which the weary soul finds sympathy in the Saviour. There is a revelation of grace in Christ which makes Him the complement of each man's nature. Sorrows differ; doubts differ; needs differ; tastes differ; and even the wounds inflicted by bereavement differ. But Christ searches us, and knows us all. And what sweet response comes from hearts that have trusted in Him, as they unite in testifying, "His grace is sufficient for us!" How patiently Christians suffer! How trustfully they rest! How cheerfully they live! How hopefully they die!
IV. THE MISSING GOOD. No comforter! Then who will show us any good? For we cannot unmake ourselves. There is the connection of comfort with conscience. Divine redemption still, as of old, is a necessity of the human heart. Then there is the connection of comfort with character. We are made new creatures in Christ Jesus. We have new motives, new aims, new desires, new sympathies, new relationship to God. Our life is hid with Christ in God — the blessed God: and then peace flows like a river through the heart. This is life eternal. Then there is the connection of comfort with influence. That man has no comforter who realizes that the influence of his life is an infection of evil, an impulse to the lower life. Even if he possess genius, it may be but an added force for harm. But the Christian has this comfort, though no minstrel sings the story of his chivalry, though no sculptured marble tells the tale of his renown — yet he liveth to the Lord, he dieth to the Lord. The world of holy influence will be the richer for his being!
(W. M. Statham.)
TopicsAlone, Companion, Doesn't, Either, Fall, Falleth, Falls, Fellow, Friend, Helper, Lift, Pity, Raise, Raiseth, Rise, Unhappy, Wo, Woe
Outline1. vanity is increased unto men by oppression
4. by envy
5. by idleness
7. by covetousness
9. by solitariness
13. by willfulness
Dictionary of Bible ThemesEcclesiastes 4:10
LibraryThe Order of Thought which Surrounded the Development of Jesus.
As the cooled earth no longer permits us to understand the phenomena of primitive creation, because the fire which penetrated it is extinct, so deliberate explanations have always appeared somewhat insufficient when applying our timid methods of induction to the revolutions of the creative epochs which have decided the fate of humanity. Jesus lived at one of those times when the game of public life is freely played, and when the stake of human activity is increased a hundredfold. Every great part, …
Ernest Renan—The Life of Jesus
And for Your Fearlessness against them Hold this Sure Sign -- Whenever There Is...
The Upbringing of Jewish Children
Letter xxxvi (Circa A. D. 1131) to the Same Hildebert, who had not yet Acknowledged the Lord Innocent as Pope.
Scriptures Showing the Sin and Danger of Joining with Wicked and Ungodly Men.
LinksEcclesiastes 4:10 NIV
Ecclesiastes 4:10 NLT
Ecclesiastes 4:10 ESV
Ecclesiastes 4:10 NASB
Ecclesiastes 4:10 KJV
Ecclesiastes 4:10 Bible Apps
Ecclesiastes 4:10 Parallel
Ecclesiastes 4:10 Biblia Paralela
Ecclesiastes 4:10 Chinese Bible
Ecclesiastes 4:10 French Bible
Ecclesiastes 4:10 German Bible
Ecclesiastes 4:10 Commentaries