PROMOTION BY DEATH
“The day of death (is better) than the day of one’s birth.” Eccles. 7.1
This is to be understood, as Dr. Gill well says, not of death in itself simply, for death as such is not better than life. Death is contrary to nature, being a dissolution of it, the effect of sin, a curse, an enemy, the very king of terrors. The day of birth is usually the day of rejoicing, and the day of death the cause of mourning.
Nor can this statement of the wise man be applied to all mankind, because, as to the wicked, it would have been very good for them if they had not been born (Mt. 26.24). But it is true of every good man, saved by the grace of God. By death the good man, the man with “a good name”, whose name is written in heaven, and written on earth in works of faith and love, who has a new name, as being a new creature, and walks in newness of life – to such a one “death is gain.”
Solomon had found all earthly treasures and pleasures to be but ‘vanity and vexation of spirit.” He therefore prescribes the best remedies against worldliness, vexation, and disappointment. The doctrines taught by him are quite opposed to man’s natural conception and conduct. He tells us that “the day of death is better than the day of one’s birth”; that it is better for real instruction to go to a funeral than to a festival; that sadness, especially godly sorrow, is better than frothy and frivolous mirth. He says much more to the same purpose. His teaching may be compared with the paradoxes of
name of the Lord!” He has an absolute right to do what He will with His own, and all He does is done lovingly, wisely, and well.