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“The final conclusion and exhortation of the Preacher is found in the last two verses of this remarkable book. ‘The great inquiry which Solomon prosecutes in this book,’ writes Matthew Henry, ‘is, What is that good which the sons of men should do? (Eccl. 2:3). What is the true way to happiness, the certain means to attain our great end? He had in vain sought it among those things which most men are eager in pursuit of, but here, at length, he has found it.’

The answer to this great question is as simple as it is profound: Fear God and keep His commandments. The root of religion is the fear of God reigning in the heart, a reverence of His majesty, a deference to His authority, and a dread of His wrath. To fear God is to worship Him, giving Him the glory due to His name. The rule of religion is the law of God revealed in the Scriptures.

Our fear towards God must be taught by His commandments. Wherever the fear of God is uppermost in the heart, there will be a respect to all His commandments. And care to keep them without adding our own inventions or leaving what He has required undone. Solomon underscores this duty once more by referring to the inevitable judgment of every man’s works.

The great thing to be judged in man’s works is whether they are good or evil; which is just another way of saying, whether or not they conform to His revealed Word- for that is the only way that good and evil can be known. The ‘conclusion of the whole matter’, then, is the absolute vanity of the words and works of man, and the absolute perfection of God’s word and works. We do well, says Solomon, to remember this-in our daily employment, in our conduct as citizens, in our recreation, and especially when we come into the house of the Lord- the same rule is to govern us in every sphere of life: Fear God and keep His commandments.

The great principle is therefore further established, that man’s every activity is to be regulated by the revealed will of God found in His infallible Word. If our worship does not conform to this rule, and we are not able to say with confidence that what we do is commanded by God, then we have no firm ground upon which to stand. ‘Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.’” (Comin, 208-209)

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