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THE THIRD ASPECT OF TRUE WISDOM: CHARITY & MEEKNESS: ECCLESIASTES 7:20-22

 

            The person who meekly and charitably bears with the faults of others – even if that fault is something as extreme as speaking ill – is a great means to obtain happiness.  Since, thoughts of revenge will only cause one to be upset.  You can’t be happy and rage with hate at the same time.

 

TEXT: 

 

Ecclesiastes 7:20-22: 20 For there is not a just man upon earth, that does good, and sins not. 21 Also takes no heed unto all words that are spoken; lest thou hear thy servant curse thee: 22 For oftentimes also thine own heart knows that thou thyself likewise has cursed others.

 

COMMENTARY:

 

            Charity and meekness towards others, in bearing and passing by man’s infirmities and injuries in and from them opposed to a suspicious, censorious, revengefull and implacable mind.  This most excellent part of true wisdom )whose virtue and use is of large extent in all conversations and society( is set forth by synedoche64.  1.  In one kind of fault which is most apt & usual to breed offence, viz, evil speeches.  2.  In one kind of men, which are the fittest objects on whom men think they may best discharge their choler.

            Servants and inferiors: Touching these we are commanded, Take no heed to all the worlds that are spoken, take not to heart all offensive speechs that are uttered in heat and passion, in jest or in earnest; think not too much on them, hear and hear not; hear, but dissemble and pass by in love, without bitterness, wrath and displeasure: This do as in regard of others, equals or superiors, so even of the servant whom thou should not hear in severe examination and animadversion for every speech or not cursing thee in greater contumelies, bitter complaints and execrations, verse 21.  Now this meek and merciful bearing with others’ faults, is commended unto us by a double argument: 

 

                        (A)       From the common condition of human fraility; in many things we sin all, even the best, For there is not a just man, no, be he never so just upon earth, in all the world, that doth good, viz., only and sinneth not.  Wherefore, in scanning of others faults, we must consider ourselves, lest we likewise be tempted, verse 20.

 

                        (B)       From the conscience of a man’s own failings and infirmities in the same kind haply for which he now condemneth others.  For oftentimes thine own heart knoweth not that thou hast cursed others, spoken ill, reviled, railed & c. upon others, for which notwithstanding thou wouldest have them pardon thee, and use the favorably; do so likewise thyself to others.  Hanc veniam petimusque damnique vicissim, & c., verse 21.

                                                                                   


64  Here a synecdoche is a part given as an illustration for the whole.  For example, when there is a call for “all hands on deck”, we hope not merely to see the hands but rather the entire body of the sailor.  However, the “hand” being the working part is emphasized and the part stands for the whole.