Verse 12. Life spent in happiness is the desire of all, and he who can give the young a receipt for leading a happy life deserves to be popular among them. Mere existence is not life; the art of living, truly, really, and joyfully living, it is not given to all men to know. To teach men how to live and how to die, is the aim of all useful religious instruction. The rewards of virtue are the baits with which the young are to be drawn to morality. While we teach piety to God we should also dwell much upon morality towards man.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 12. It is no great matter to live long, or always, but to live happily. That loyal prayer, "Let the king live" (in every language) imports a prosperous state. When the psalmist saith, "Who is the man that would see life?" he explains himself presently after by "good days." Vivere among the Latins is sometimes as much as valere, to live is as much as to be well; and upon this account it is that, on the one hand, the Scripture calls the state of the damned an eternal death, because their life is only a continuance in misery; so on the other hand the state of the blessed is an eternal life, because it is a perpetual abode in felicity. Nathanael Hardy.
Verse 12. The benefit of life is not in the length, but in the use of it. He sometimes lives the least that lives the longest. Seneca.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 12-14. How to make the best of both worlds.