Ecclesiastes 4

The world is full of trouble.
By reason of man’s perversity, he is ever disturbed and perplexed by social conditions around him.
If Christ and the hope of heaven were not taken into account,
to die as soon as possible would be desirable.

1 So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter.

2 Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead more than the living which are yet alive.

3 Yea, better is he than both they, which hath not yet been, who hath not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.

4 ¶ Again, I considered all travail, and every right work, that for this a man is envied of his neighbour. This is also vanity and vexation of spirit.

5 The fool foldeth his hands together, and eateth his own flesh.

6 Better is an handful with quietness, than both the hands full with travail and vexation of spirit.

7 Then I returned, and I saw vanity under the sun.

8 There is one alone, and there is not a second; yea, he hath neither child nor brother: yet is there no end of all his labour; neither is his eye satisfied with riches; neither saith he, For whom do I labour, and bereave my soul of good? This is also vanity, yea, it is a sore travail.

9 ¶ Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.

10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.

11 Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?

12 And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

13 ¶ Better is a poor and a wise child than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished.

14 For out of prison he cometh to reign; whereas also he that is born in his kingdom becometh poor.

15 I considered all the living which walk under the sun, with the second child that shall stand up in his stead.

16 There is no end of all the people, even of all that have been before them: they also that come after shall not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and vexation of spirit.

Ecclesiastes 4:1—Behold the tears of such as were oppressed.

       “Do ye hear the children weeping, O my brothers,
          Ere the morrow comes with years?
       They are leaning their young heads against their mothers,
          But that cannot stop their tears.
       The young lambs are bleating in the meadows;
          The young birds are chirping in the nest;
       The young fawns are playing with the shadows;
          The young flowers are blowing toward the west–
       But the young, young children, O my brothers,
          They are weeping bitterly!
       They are weeping in the playtime of the others,
          In the country of the free.”

   It is a sad, sad world, and perhaps must get sadder yet. It may be that we have not yet reached the darkest hour. Oh the tears of the oppressed; the tiny children; the terror-stricken fugitives from the Turk, the European trader, and the drunken tyrant of the home! Through all the centuries tears have flowed, enough to float a navy.
   There need be no difficulty in accounting for them. Our race has elected the service of sin and self. Turning our back on God, for whom we were made, we have turned every one to our own way, and are inheriting the ancient curse of travail, tears, thorns, and death. It is quite true that many suffer innocently and vicariously, because we are members one of another; and by the mysterious arrangement of the Almighty the whole race is bound together by mysterious but indissoluble cords. In Adam all die, all suffer, all sorrow and weep, just as in Christ shall all be made alive. The pain must last, till the Stronger than the strong comes to divide the spoils, and met the captives free.
   How comforting it is to realize that God knows our sorrows, puts our tears into his bottle, is afflicted in all our affliction, and bears us on his heart. —Our Daily Homily

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5 The ________ foldeth his hands together, and eateth his own __________.

6 Better is an handful with __________________, than both the hands full with ______________ and ________________ of spirit.

9 ¶ Two are ____________ than one; because they have a good ____________ for their ____________.