Knowledge and Sorrow
Ecclesiastes 1:18
For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increases knowledge increases sorrow.

This is one of those utterances which contain much truth and leave much to be supplied. "In much wisdom is much grief," but there is much beside grief to be found in it. So we look at -

I. THE TRUTH WHICH IT CONTAINS. Of the wisdom or the knowledge which brings sadness to the heart we have to reckon the following.

1. Our deeper insight into ourselves. As we go on we find ourselves capable of worse things than we once supposed we were - selfish aims, evil thoughts, unhallowed passions, etc. Neither David nor Peter supposed himself capable of doing the deed to which he fell.

2. Childhood's corrected estimate of the good. We begin by thinking all good men and women perfect; then, as experience enlarges, we have reluctantly and sorrowfully to acknowledge to ourselves that there are flaws even in the life and character of the best. And disillusion is a very painful process.

3. Maturity's acquaintance with evil. We may go some way into life before we know one-half of the evil which is in the world? Indeed, it is the wisdom and the duty of many - of even a large proportion of the race - not to know much that might be revealed. But as a widening knowledge unveils the magnitude and heinousness of moral evil, there is sorrow indeed to the pure and sympathetic soul. The more we know of the sins and the sorrows of our race - of its cruelties on the one hand and its sufferings on the other, of its enormities and its privations, of its toils and troubles, of its degradation and its death in life - the more we are distressed in spirit; "in much wisdom is much grief."

II. ITS LARGE QUALIFICATIONS. There is much truth belonging to the subject which lies outside this statement, qualifying though not contradicting it.

1. There is much pleasure in the act of acquisition. The study of one of the sciences, the reading of history, the careful observation of nature and mastery of its secrets, the investigation of the nature of man, etc., - there is a pure and invigorating delight in all this.

2. Knowledge is power; and it is power to acquire that which will surround us with comfort, with freedom, with friendship, with intellectual enlargement.

3. The knowledge which is heavenly wisdom is, in itself, a source of elevation and of deep spiritual thankfulness and happiness.

4. The knowledge of God, as he is known to us in Jesus Christ, is the one unfailing source of unfading joy. - C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.

WEB: For in much wisdom is much grief; and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.

Knowledge and Sorrow
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