Ecclesiastes 9:2
It is the same for all: There is a common fate for the righteous and the wicked, for the good and the bad, for the clean and the unclean, for the one who sacrifices and the one who does not. As it is for the good, so it is for the sinner; as it is for the one who makes a vow, so it is for the one who refuses to take a vow.
ProvidenceZ. Cradock, D. D.Ecclesiastes 9:2
The Impartiality of ProvidenceHomiliesEcclesiastes 9:2
The Sufferings of Good MenR. Fiddes.Ecclesiastes 9:2
The Antidote to DespondencyD. Thomas Ecclesiastes 9:1-3
Inexorable DestinyJ. Willcock Ecclesiastes 9:1-6

It was said by a famous man of the world, "Life is a comedy to those who think, a tragedy to those who feel." The epigram is more sparkling than true; reflecting men in every age have been oppressed by the solemnity of life's facts, and the insolubility of life's problems. Some men are roused to inquiry and are beset by perplexities when trouble and adversity befall themselves; and others experience doubts and distress at the contemplation of the broad and obvious facts of human life as it unfolds before their observation. Few men who both think and feel have escaped the probation of doubt; most have striven, and many have striven in vain, to vindicate eternal Providence, and justify the ways of God to men.

I. THE FACT THAT IN THIS EARTHLY STATE THERE IS AN ABSENCE OF COMPLETE RETRIBUTION. "All things come alike to all;" "There is one event unto all." The righteous, the good, and the wise do not seem to meet with more prosperity and greater happiness than the wicked and the foolish. The man who offers due religious observance, and who reveres his oath, is subject to misfortune and calamity equally with the negligent, the impious, the false swearer. No thunderbolt of vengeance smites the sinner, no miraculous protection is round about the upright and obedient. Nay, the righteous is sometimes cut off in the prime of his manhood; the sinner's days are sometimes lengthened, and he dies in a delusive peace.

II. THE DIFFICULTY, DOUBT, AND PERPLEXITY OCCASIONED BY THE OBSERVATION OF THIS FACT. The writer of Ecclesiastes laid to heart and explored the mysteries of Providence; and in this he was not peculiar. Every observant and thoughtful person is sometimes compelled to ask himself whether or not there is a meaning in the events of life, and, if there be a meaning, what it is. Can our reason reconcile these events, as a whole, with belief in the existence, in the government, of a God at once almighty and benevolent? Are there considerations which can pacify the perturbed breast? Beneath the laws of nature is there a Divine heart? or is man alone sensitive to the inequalities of human fate, to the moral contradictions which seem to thrust themselves upon the attention?

III. THE TRUE SOLUTION OF THESE DOUBTS TO BE FOUND IN THE CONVICTION THAT ALL ARE IN THE HAND OF GOD. It is to be observed that faith in God can do what the human understanding cannot effect. Men and their affairs are not in the hand of chance or in the hand of fate, but in the hand of God. And by God is meant not merely the supreme Power of the universe, but the personal Power which is characterized by the attributes Holy Scripture assigns to the Eternal. Wisdom, righteousness, and benevolence belong to God. And by benevolence we are not to understand an intention to secure the enjoyment of men, to ward off from them every pain, all weakness, want, and woe. The purpose of the Divine mind is far higher than this - even the promotion of men's spiritual well-being, the discipline of human character, and especially the perfecting of obedience and submission. Sorrow and disappointment may be, and in the case of the pious will be, the means of bringing men into harmony with the will and character of God himself. - T.

All things come alike to all
Of what service is a religious life to man since Providence treats all alike? This statement is —

I. PHENOMENALLY TRUE. To all outward appearance the good and the bad are treated alike. All are subject to the same diseases, bereavements, disappointments, all go down to the grave alike.

1. This a perplexing fact. Antecedently one might have supposed that the God of holiness and rectitude would, in His providence, have treated men according to their moral character, that happiness and misery would be measured out according to the merits and demerits of mankind.

2. This fact is significant. It shows —

(1)The unalterableness of God's laws. They pay no deference to moral character.

(2)The high probability of a future state.

II. SPIRITUALLY FALSE. "All things" do not "come alike to all."

1. They do not come in the same character.(1) To the wicked the trials of earth are either blind casualties or penal inflictions. But to the godly they are chastisements of fatherly love.(2) To the wicked the prosperity and enjoyment appear as the results of their own skill, industry, and merit. To the godly they appear as the unmerited favours of a merciful God.

2. They do not come with the same influence. Trials irritate the spirit of the wicked; they purify the godly. Prosperity feeds the vanity and ambition of the wicked; but inspires the godly with devout humility and holy gratitude. The same soils, dews, and sunbeams that fill the hemlock with poison, fill the wheat with food for nations. And the same events which transform some men into devils, transform others into seraphs.



1. Because men have the dominion over their own actions, and do that which themselves choose to do.

2. Because a great deal of prosperity and affliction befalls men, not as the reward or the effect of anything done by themselves, but by descent from their parents, whose virtues and vices have great influence upon the persons and fortunes of their children by the providence of God, and by the laws of men, and by the course of nature.

3. Because they are so mixed together in their persons, interests, employments, and places of abode, that they cannot be distinguished in the events that befall them.

4. For the more evident and certain distinguishing of them one from another.

II. THEY WHO MAKE THIS OBJECTION AGAINST PROVIDENCE ARE NO COMPETENT JUDGES IN THE CASE, AND SUPPOSE IN THEIR OBJECTION THAT WHICH IS FALSE. It is supposed in this objection that the righteous endure so much grief, and the wicked enjoy so much pleasure, as cannot consist with God's love to the righteous and anger at the wicked, if He take notice and be concerned in that which happens. The better to judge of this supposition, let two things be considered.

1. That by the outward estate of men we know very little of their present grief or pleasure.

2. If we did know their present grief or pleasure, we cannot infer from thence which is the good, and which is the bad condition.

III. HOWEVER, THE DAY OF JUDGMENT IS A SUFFICIENT ANSWER TO THE OBJECTION. St. Paul, when he felt the smart of his present afflictions, called them light afflictions, for a moment, not worthy to be compared with the glory to be revealed.

(Z. Cradock, D. D.)

1. God permits the sufferings of good men for the advancement of the honour and interest of religion. A passive state is the proper sphere of action for the noblest virtues of Christianity; and for this reason the Son of God, when He took our nature upon Him, chose to appear in such a state that His example might be of more powerful and general influence to mankind. And indeed, next to the miracles, whereby the truth of the Christian religion was established, nothing contributed more to the propagation of it than the invincible patience and constancy of its possessors.

2. God has this further wise and religious end in the sufferings of good men: that we may learn by them to moderate our affections to this deceitful world; and to cast our views forward upon a more durable state of happiness, and better suited to the noble faculties and inclinations of human nature.

3. The sufferings of good men are designed to remind us both of our duty and our danger; when it is observed that the righteous fall and no man layeth it to heart, it is implied that this is a proper season of inquiring into the occasions of God's public judgments, and reforming those sins which provoked them; and this is the more incumbent upon us in proportion to the dignity of the person and the character he sustains.

4. There is no man so good but he is conscious to himself he deserves what he suffers. The world perhaps cannot charge him with any visible or notorious escapes; yet he need only put the question to his own heart concerning the reasons of his sufferings, and it will acquit the justice of heaven in them.

(R. Fiddes.)

Afraid, Alike, Bad, Clean, Common, Destiny, Doesn't, Event, Evil, Fate, Fear, Feareth, Fearing, Fears, Makes, Oath, Oaths, Offer, Offering, Offers, Righteous, Sacrifice, Sacrifices, Sacrificeth, Sacrificing, Shuns, Sinner, Swear, Swearer, Sweareth, Swearing, Swears, Takes, Unclean, Upright, Wicked
1. like things happen to good and bad
4. there is a necessity of death unto men
7. Comfort is all their portion in this life
11. God's providence rules over all
13. wisdom is better than strength

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Ecclesiastes 9:2

     5864   futility

Ecclesiastes 9:1-2

     7150   righteous, the

Ecclesiastes 9:2-6

     4938   fate, final destiny

The Lapse of Time.
"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest."--Eccles. ix. 10. Solomon's advice that we should do whatever our hand findeth to do with our might, naturally directs our thoughts to that great work in which all others are included, which will outlive all other works, and for which alone we really are placed here below--the salvation of our souls. And the consideration of this great work,
John Henry Newman—Parochial and Plain Sermons, Vol. VII

A Home Mission Sermon
"What a dear Saviour we have found," and heralding the coming of our Master. We are here as the salt to preserve a world, which else would become putrid and destroyed. We are here as the very pillars of this world's happiness: for when God shall take away his saints, the universal moral fabric "shall tumble to its fall; and great shall be the crash, when the righteous shall be removed, and the foundations shall be shaken. Taking it therefore as granted that the people of God are here to do something
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 5: 1859

Three Youths Save Constantinople
Now there was found in that city a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no one remembered that same poor man. Eccl. ix. 15. After these events it really seems as if Gaïnas, to use a modern expression, had completely lost his head, or, to give the view of it taken by himself and his contemporaries, as if a demon had begun to trouble him; for his conduct became aimless and uncertain. Discontent, revenge, ambition, and evil counsels destroyed in him all capacity for wise
Frederic William Farrar—Gathering Clouds: A Tale of the Days of St. Chrysostom

Annunciation to Joseph of the Birth of Jesus.
(at Nazareth, b.c. 5.) ^A Matt. I. 18-25. ^a 18 Now the birth [The birth of Jesus is to handled with reverential awe. We are not to probe into its mysteries with presumptuous curiosity. The birth of common persons is mysterious enough (Eccl. ix. 5; Ps. cxxxix. 13-16), and we do not well, therefore, if we seek to be wise above what is written as to the birth of the Son of God] of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When his mother Mary had been betrothed [The Jews were usually betrothed ten or twelve months
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Moral Depravity.
In discussing the subject of human depravity, I shall,-- I. Define the term depravity. The word is derived from the Latin de and pravus. Pravus means "crooked." De is intensive. Depravatus literally and primarily means "very crooked," not in the sense of original or constitutional crookedness, but in the sense of having become crooked. The term does not imply original mal-conformation, but lapsed, fallen, departed from right or straight. It always implies deterioration, or fall from a former state
Charles Grandison Finney—Systematic Theology

Epistle cxxvii. From S. Columbanus to Pope Gregory .
From S. Columbanus to Pope Gregory [89] . To the holy lord, and father in Christ, the Roman [pope], most fair ornament of the Church, a certain most august flower, as it were, of the whole of withering Europe, distinguished speculator, as enjoying a divine contemplation of purity (?) [90] . I, Bargoma [91] , poor dove in Christ, send greeting. Grace to thee and peace from God the Father [and] our [Lord] Jesus Christ. I am pleased to think, O holy pope, that it will seem to thee nothing extravagant
Saint Gregory the Great—the Epistles of Saint Gregory the Great

Relation v. Observations on Certain Points of Spirituality.
1. "What is it that distresses thee, little sinner? Am I not thy God? Dost thou not see how ill I am treated here? If thou lovest Me, why art thou not sorry for Me? Daughter, light is very different from darkness. I am faithful; no one will be lost without knowing it. He must be deceiving himself who relies on spiritual sweetnesses; the true safety lies in the witness of a good conscience. [1] But let no one think that of himself he can abide in the light, any more than he can hinder the natural
Teresa of Avila—The Life of St. Teresa of Jesus

Epistle xxxiv. To Venantius, Ex-Monk, Patrician of Syracuse .
To Venantius, Ex-Monk, Patrician of Syracuse [1331] . Gregory to Venantius, &c. Many foolish men have supposed that, if I were advanced to the rank of the episcopate, I should decline to address thee, or to keep up communication with thee by letter. But this is not so; since I am compelled by the very necessity of my position not to hold my peace. For it is written, Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet (Isai. lviii. 1). And again it is written, I have given thee for a watchman
Saint Gregory the Great—the Epistles of Saint Gregory the Great

Jewish views on Trade, Tradesmen, and Trades' Guilds
We read in the Mishnah (Kidd. iv. 14) as follows: "Rabbi Meir said: Let a man always teach his son a cleanly and a light trade; and let him pray to Him whose are wealth and riches; for there is no trade which has not both poverty and riches, and neither does poverty come from the trade nor yet riches, but everything according to one's deserving (merit). Rabbi Simeon, the son of Eleazer, said: Hast thou all thy life long seen a beast or a bird which has a trade? Still they are nourished, and that
Alfred Edersheim—Sketches of Jewish Social Life

Thoughts Upon Worldly-Riches. Sect. Ii.
TIMOTHY after his Conversion to the Christian Faith, being found to be a Man of great Parts, Learning, and Piety, and so every way qualified for the work of the Ministry, St. Paul who had planted a Church at Ephesus the Metropolis or chief City of all Asia, left him to dress and propagate it, after his departure from it, giving him Power to ordain Elders or Priests, and to visit and exercise Jurisdiction over them, to see they did not teach false Doctrines, 1 Tim. i. 3. That they be unblameable in
William Beveridge—Private Thoughts Upon a Christian Life

Solomon's Temple Spiritualized
or, Gospel Light Fetched out of the Temple at Jerusalem, to Let us More Easily into the Glory of New Testament Truths. 'Thou son of man, shew the house to the house of Isreal;--shew them the form of the house, and the fashion thereof, and the goings out hereof, and the comings in thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the laws thereof.'--Ezekiel 43:10, 11 London: Printed for, and sold by George Larkin, at the Two Swans without Bishopgate,
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

"But Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God," &C.
Matth. vi. 33.--"But seek ye first the kingdom of God," &c. II. The Christian's chief employment should be to seek the kingdom of God, and the righteousness thereof. "Seek first," &c. Upon this he should first and chiefly spend his thoughts, and affections, and pains. We comprehend it in three things. First, He should seek to be clothed upon with Christ's righteousness, and this ought to take up all his spirit. This is the first care and the chief concern. Did not this righteousness weigh much
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

The Life and Death of Mr. Badman,
Presented to the World in a Familiar Dialogue Between Mr. Wiseman and Mr. Attentive. By John Bunyan ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR. The life of Badman is a very interesting description, a true and lively portraiture, of the demoralized classes of the trading community in the reign of King Charles II; a subject which naturally led the author to use expressions familiar among such persons, but which are now either obsolete or considered as vulgar. In fact it is the only work proceeding from the prolific
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

Second Great Group of Parables.
(Probably in Peræa.) Subdivision D. Parable of the Lost Son. ^C Luke XV. 11-32. ^c 11 And he said, A certain man had two sons [These two sons represent the professedly religious (the elder) and the openly irreligious (the younger). They have special reference to the two parties found in the first two verses of this chapter --the Pharisees, the publicans and sinners]: 12 and the younger of them [the more childish and easily deceived] said to his father, Father, give me the portion of thy substance
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Original Sin
Q-16: DID ALL MANKIND FALL IN ADAM'S FIRST TRANSGRESSION? A: The covenant being made with Adam, not only for himself, but for his posterity, all mankind descending from him, by ordinary generation, sinned in him, and fell with him in his first transgression. 'By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin,' &c. Rom 5:12. Adam being a representative person, while he stood, we stood; when he fell, we fell, We sinned in Adam; so it is in the text, In whom all have sinned.' Adam was the head
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

Jesus' Feet Anointed in the House of a Pharisee.
(Galilee.) ^C Luke VII. 36-50. ^c 36 And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. [We learn from verse 40 that the Pharisee's name was Simon. Because the feast at Bethany was given in the house of Simon the leper, and because Jesus was anointed there also, some have been led to think that Luke is here describing this supper. See Matt. xxvi. 6-13; Mark xiv. 3-9; John xii. 1-8. But Simon the leper was not Simon the Pharisee. The name Simon was one of the most common among the Jewish
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

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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