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The vanity of pleasures, riches, and worldly labours.

[1] I said in my heart: I will go, and abound with delights, and enjoy good things. And I saw that this also was vanity. [2] Laughter I counted error: and to mirth I said: Why art thou vainly deceived? [3] I thought in my heart, to withdraw my flesh from wine, that I might turn my mind to wisdom, and might avoid folly, till I might see what was profitable for the children of men: and what they ought to do under the sun, all the days of their life. [4] I made me great works, I built me houses, and planted vineyards, [5] I made gardens, and orchards, and set them with trees of all kinds,

[6] And I made me ponds of water, to water therewith the wood of the young trees, [7] I got me menservants, and maidservants, and had a great family: and herds of oxen, and great flocks of sheep, above all that were before me in Jerusalem: [8] I heaped together for myself silver and gold, and the wealth of kings, and provinces: I made me singing men, and singing women, and the delights of the sons of men, cups and vessels to serve to pour out wine: [9] And I surpassed in riches all that were before me in Jerusalem: my wisdom also remained with me. [10] And whatsoever my eyes desired, I refused them not: and I withheld not my heart from enjoying every pleasure, and delighting itself in the things which I had prepared: and esteemed this my portion, to make use of my own labour.

[11] And when I turned myself to all the works which my hands had wrought, and to the labours wherein I had laboured in vain, I saw in all things vanity, and vexation of mind, and that nothing was lasting under the sun. [12] I passed further to behold wisdom, and errors and folly, (What is man, said I, that he can follow the King his maker?) [13] And I saw that wisdom excelled folly, as much as light differeth from darkness. [14] The eyes of a wise man are in his head: the fool walketh in darkness: and I learned that they were to die both alike. [15] And I said in my heart: If the death of the fool and mine shall be one, what doth it avail me, that I have applied myself more to the study of wisdom? And speaking with my own mind, I perceived that this also was vanity.

[16] For there shall be no remembrance of the wise no more than of the fool for ever, and the times to come shall cover all things together with oblivion: the learned dieth in like manner as the unlearned. [17] And therefore I was weary of my life, when I saw that all things under the sun are evil, and all vanity and vexation of spirit. [18] Again I hated all my application wherewith I had earnestly laboured under the sun, being like to have an heir after me, [19] Whom I know not whether he will be a wise man or a fool, and he shall have rule over all my labours with which I have laboured and been solicitous: and is there any thing so vain? [20] Wherefore I left off and my heart renounced labouring any more under the sun.

[21] For when a man laboureth in wisdom, and knowledge, and carefulness, he leaveth what he hath gotten to an idle man: so this also is vanity, and a great evil. [22] For what profit shall a man have of all his labour, and vexation of spirit, with which he hath been tormented under the sun? [23] All his days are full of sorrows and miseries, even in the night he doth not rest in mind: and is not this vanity? [24] Is it not better to eat and drink, and to shew his soul good things of his labours? and this is from the hand of God. [25] Who shall so feast and abound with delights as I?

[26] God hath given to a man that is good in his sight, wisdom, and knowledge, and joy: but to the sinner he hath given vexation, and superfluous care, to heap up and to gather together, and to give it to him that hath pleased God: but this also is vanity, and a fruitless solicitude of the mind.

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