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Chapter III.

Ver. 3. “There is a time to kill, and a time to heal.”

To “kill,” in the case of him who perpetrates unpardonable transgression; and to “heal,” in the case of him who can show a wound that will bear remedy.

4. “A time to weep, and a time to laugh.”

A time to weep, when it is the time of suffering; as when the Lord also says, “Verily I say unto you, that ye shall weep and lament.”962962    Luke vi. 25; John xvi. 20. But to laugh, as concerns the resurrection: “For your sorrow,” He says, “shall be turned into joy.”963963    John xvi. 20.

4. “A time to mourn, and a time to dance.”

When one thinks of the death which the transgression of Adam brought on us, it is a time to mourn; but it is a time to hold festal gatherings when we call to mind the resurrection from the dead which we expect through the new Adam.964964    The fast of the Paschal week, and the feast that follows, are here referred to. Of course the religious salutation of the Hebrews (2 Sam. vi. 14) is the thought of Koheleth, and figuratively it is here adopted for holy mirth.]

6. “A time to keep, and a time to cast away.”

A time to keep the Scripture against the unworthy, and a time to put it forth for the worthy. Or, again: Before the incarnation it was a time to keep the letter of the law; but it was a time to cast it away when the truth came in its flower.

7. “A time to keep silence, and a time to speak.”

A time to speak, when there are hearers who receive the word; but a time to keep silence, when the hearers pervert the word; as Paul says: “A man that is an heretic, after the first and second admonition, reject.”965965    Tit. iii. 10.

10. “I have seen, then, the travail which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.

11. Everything that He hath made is beautiful in its time: and He hath set the whole world in their heart; so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning and to the end.”

And this is true. For no one is able to comprehend the works of God altogether. Moreover, the world is the work of God. No one, then, can find out as to this world what is its space from the beginning and unto the end, that is to say, the period appointed for it, and the limits before determined unto it; forasmuch as God has set the whole world as a realm of ignorance in our hearts. And thus one says: “Declare to me the shortness of my days.”966966    Ps. cii. 24, τὴν ὀλιγότητα τῶν ἡμερῶν μου ἀνάγγειλόν μοι. In this manner, and for our profit, the end of this world (age)—that is to say, this present life—is a thing of which we are ignorant.

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