Ecclesiastes 4:12
And though one may be overpowered, two can resist. Moreover, a cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
A Threefold CordT. Spurgeon.Ecclesiastes 4:12
A Threefold CordJ. F. Dempster.Ecclesiastes 4:12
The Threefold CordW. Clarkson Ecclesiastes 4:12
Friendship a Gain in LifeJ. Willcock Ecclesiastes 4:7-12
Mutual ServiceW. Clarkson Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
The Advantages of FellowshipD. Thomas Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
The Necessity and Benefits of Religious SocietyEcclesiastes 4:9-12
Two Better than OneC. R. Barnes.Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Ecclesiastes 4:12 (latter part)
Many bonds of many kinds bind us in many ways. Of these some are hard and cruel, and these we have to break as best we can; the worst of them may be snapped when we strive with the help that comes from Heaven. But there are others which are neither hard nor cruel, but kind and beneficent, and these we should not shun, but gladly welcome. Such is the threefold cord which binds us to our God and to his service. It is composed of -

I. DUTY. To know, to reverence, to love, to serve God, is our supreme obligation, For we came forth from him; we are indebted to him for all that makes us what we are, owing all our faculties of every kind to his creative power. We have been sustained in being every moment by his Divine visitation; we have been enriched by him with everything we possess, our hearts and our lives owing to his generous kindness all their joys and all their blessings; it is in him that we live and move and have our being; we sum up all obligations, we touch the height and depth of exalted duty, when we say that "he is our God." Moreover, all this natural obligation is enhanced and multiplied manifold by all that he has done for us, and all that he has endured for in the salvation which is in Jesus Christ, his Son.,

II. INTEREST. To know, to love, to serve God, - this is our highest and truest interest.

1. It means the possession of his Divine favor; and that surely is much, not to say everything, to us.

2. It constitutes our real, because our spiritual, well-being; it causes us thereby and therein to realize the ideal of our humanity; we are at our very best imaginable when we are in fellowship with God and are possessing his likeness.

3. It secures to us a happy life below, filled with hallowed contentment, and charged with sacred joy, while it conducts to a future which will be crowned with immortal glory.

III. AFFECTION. To live in the service of Jesus Christ is to act as our human relationships demand that we should act. It is to give the deepest and purest satisfaction to those from whom we have received the most self-denying love; it is also to lead those for whom we have the strongest affection in the way of wisdom, in the paths of honor, joy, eternal life. - C.

A threefold cord is not quickly broken.
I have read somewhere that the ancient Thebans had in their army a band of men who were pledged to friendship and fellowship with each other. They were therefore almost irresistible; they held together by a union caused by a living principle that suffused and inspired them all, therefore when the enemy came upon them it was like the sea breaking on the unmovable strand. If we as church members and fellow-Christians are thus one in heart, we shall be irresistible. A common Saviour claims our common love. We have been cleansed in the same precious fountain, we have all eaten of the Bread that came down from heaven, and drunk of the Spiritual Rock that follows us. Let us hold more closely together than ever — pastors, officers, people, for "a threefold cord is not quickly broken." "A threefold cord is not quickly broken." Do we not know this from sad experience?

I. IT WAS BY SUCH CORDS AS THESE THAT WE WERE ORIGINALLY HELD IN BONDAGE. I do not know how many threads were in them, how many strands they contained. Not three, perhaps, but thirty, nay, thirty thousand evil influences were dragging us down and holding us fast. All I do know is that they were not quickly broken. It took God's dear Son to break them, the Father's love, and the Spirit's power, and our own faith and repentance, begotten in our hearts from above. Satan knows the power of unity if we do not. "The world, the flesh, and the devil," a terrible trio, were in league against us. It was the cords of this triple enemy that held us fast. They were threefold cords, and they were not easily broken. Sin is of various shapes and sorts. There are three words in God's Book descriptive of sin, and I think I may apply them to the threefold cord. There is iniquity, that which is out of plumb, or off the line, or out of the level. There is sin, the missing of the mark, the going beyond by the arrow, or the falling short of the target. There is also transgression, breaking through God's settled rules, passing beyond the bounds that He has fixed, making landmarks of our own instead of regarding God's. Each of these may be regarded as a strand in the cord of sin, and all of us were held thereby. "A threefold cord is not quickly broken." It took years of straining, and tugging, and pulling by a hand Omnipotent to break these cords in pieces. Thank God! it is done, and that they can never be spliced again, nor ever cast about us as they were originally.

II. IT WAS BY SUCH CORDS AS THESE — cords that are not quickly broken, threefold cords, THAT WE WERE DELIVERED FROM THE POWER OF SIN. The form of the metaphor changes a little as we use it now. We were in a horrible pit by reason of sin. Sin always sinks us, and we were dropping deeper and deeper into it, and into the mire that was at the bottom of it. How have we got up? There was no ladder placed for us to climb; we did not cut notches in the pit-side by our own unaided strength, and so help ourselves up to light and liberty. No; God had pity on us. He, in the person of His Son, came to the pit's mouth and looked down with the eyes of love upon us. Christ's love, Christ's death, resurrection and ascension into heaven — these are as another threefold cord. As soon as our eyes were opened and we saw this rope swinging, as it were, in front of us, God gave us strength to leap to it, and He did the rest; nay, He did that, for we had not believed unless the Spirit had prompted faith. He drew us with the cords of love, and with the bands of a man.

III. IT IS BY SUCH CORDS AS THESE, threefold cords, cords that are not quickly broken, THAT WE ARE NOW HELD CAPTIVE. By creation, the claim of which we understand better than ever now; by regeneration, into the mystery of which they and we are being daily further led; by consecration, both on God's part and our own, we are His and His for ever. These cords bind us to the horns of the altar. "And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three, but the greatest of these is love." I think this is another threefold cord by which we are bound; bound to one another, bound to the cross of Christ, bound to this blessed book, and bound to heaven.

(T. Spurgeon.)

I. HAVE A THREEFOLD CORD IN YOUR RELIGION. Religion for young folks as well as old. Is yours twofold or threefold? Let us see. There is God — one. And you — two. Is that all? Explain how some people have no more. This not a nice religion. Can't get near God. Can't know Him. Bring in Christ, and you have the threefold cord. Then this cord will stand the strain. That is a strong religion. When temptations come down hard on you, it will hold and save you.

II. HAVE A THREEFOLD CORD IN YOUR DIFFICULTIES AND DANGERS. Story of youth at sea. Ordered, during a storm, to go up and put the rigging right. Momentary hesitation of boy, and then darted down to his cabin. Appeared again immediately, ascended mast, put rigging right, and came down. Asked by an officer, "What made you run below? For prayer, sir: father always told me no time was ever lost in prayer." "And what is that under your jacket?... My Bible, sir. My mother gave it to me when leaving home. I thought if I were drowned, I would like to have it with me." Now here was a nice threefold cord — Prayer, the Bible, and Courage. I wish you had it. You may have, likely will have, many a hard bit in your life. But if you weave these three together into a cord, and hold on by it, you are safe.

III. HAVE A THREEFOLD CORD IN YOUR FRIENDSHIPS. There is an old saying among folks, that "Two are good company, but three are none." And they expect us to believe that! We want no friendship that is only twofold. Have you any friendship without Jesus? He is the third strand of the cord. If there be anybody who wants you to go roads where Jesus can't go with you, give up that company at once. We should want no friendship where our Saviour can't; be one.

(J. F. Dempster.)

Alone, Apart, Attacked, Broken, Cord, Cords, Defend, Hastily, Overpower, Overpowered, Prevail, Prevaileth, Prevails, Quickly, Resist, Safe, Stand, Strands, Strengthen, Themselves, Though, Threefold, Three-fold, Torn, Twisted, Withstand
1. 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 Themes
Ecclesiastes 4:12

     1656   numbers, combinations
     5507   rope and cord
     5944   self-defence

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

     5689   friendlessness

The 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

In making the following thread to the rich literature on Constantine the plan has been to confine almost wholly to Monographs, since to refer to all histories, encyclopædias, and the like which treat of him would be endless. Only such few analyzed references are introduced as have special reasons. Even with this limit it cannot be at all hoped that the list is exhaustive. Considerable pains has been taken, however, to make it full, as there is no really extended modern list of works on Constantine,
Eusebius Pamphilius—The Life of Constantine

And for Your Fearlessness against them Hold this Sure Sign -- Whenever There Is...
43. And for your fearlessness against them hold this sure sign--whenever there is any apparition, be not prostrate with fear, but whatsoever it be, first boldly ask, Who art thou? And from whence comest thou? And if it should be a vision of holy ones they will assure you, and change your fear into joy. But if the vision should be from the devil, immediately it becomes feeble, beholding your firm purpose of mind. For merely to ask, Who art thou [1083] ? and whence comest thou? is a proof of coolness.
Athanasius—Select Works and Letters or Athanasius

The Upbringing of Jewish Children
The tenderness of the bond which united Jewish parents to their children appears even in the multiplicity and pictorialness of the expressions by which the various stages of child-life are designated in the Hebrew. Besides such general words as "ben" and "bath"--"son" and "daughter"--we find no fewer than nine different terms, each depicting a fresh stage of life. The first of these simply designates the babe as the newly--"born"--the "jeled," or, in the feminine, "jaldah"--as in Exodus 2:3, 6, 8.
Alfred Edersheim—Sketches of Jewish Social Life

Letter xxxvi (Circa A. D. 1131) to the Same Hildebert, who had not yet Acknowledged the Lord Innocent as Pope.
To the Same Hildebert, Who Had Not Yet Acknowledged the Lord Innocent as Pope. He exhorts him to recognise Innocent, now an exile in France, owing to the schism of Peter Leonis, as the rightful Pontiff. To the great prelate, most exalted in renown, Hildebert, by the grace of God Archbishop of Tours, Bernard, called Abbot of Clairvaux, sends greeting, and prays that he may walk in the Spirit, and spiritually discern all things. 1. To address you in the words of the prophet, Consolation is hid from
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux—Some Letters of Saint Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux

Scriptures Showing the Sin and Danger of Joining with Wicked and Ungodly Men.
Scriptures Showing The Sin And Danger Of Joining With Wicked And Ungodly Men. When the Lord is punishing such a people against whom he hath a controversy, and a notable controversy, every one that is found shall be thrust through: and every one joined with them shall fall, Isa. xiii. 15. They partake in their judgment, not only because in a common calamity all shares, (as in Ezek. xxi. 3.) but chiefly because joined with and partakers with these whom God is pursuing; even as the strangers that join
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

It is not surprising that the book of Ecclesiastes had a struggle to maintain its place in the canon, and it was probably only its reputed Solomonic authorship and the last two verses of the book that permanently secured its position at the synod of Jamnia in 90 A.D. The Jewish scholars of the first century A.D. were struck by the manner in which it contradicted itself: e.g., "I praised the dead more than the living," iv. 2, "A living dog is better than a dead lion," ix. 4; but they were still more
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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