¶ For all these things purposed I in my mind to seek out. The righteous and wise, yea and their works also are in the hand of God: and there is no man that knoweth either the love or hate of the thing that he hath before him. It happeneth unto one as unto another: It goeth with the righteous as with the ungodly: with the good and clean as with the unclean: with him that offereth as with him that offereth not: like as it goeth with the virtuous, so goeth it also with the sinner: As it happeneth unto the perjured, so happeneth it also unto him that is afraid to be foresworn. Among all things that come to pass under the Son, this is a mystery, that it happeneth unto all alike. This is the cause also that the hearts of men are full of wickedness, and mad foolishness is in their hearts, as long as they live, until they die.
¶ And why? As long as a man liveth, he is careless: for a quick dog (say they) is better than a dead lion: for they that be living, know that they shall die: but they that be dead, know nothing, neither deserve they anymore. For their memorial is forgotten, so that they be neither loved, hated nor envied: neither have they anymore part in the world, in all that is done under the Son. Go thou thy way then, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with gladness, for thy works please God. Let thy garments be alway white, and let thy head want none ointment. Use thy self to live joyfully with thy wife whom thou lovest, all the days of thy life, which is but vanity, that God hath given thee under the Son, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, of all thy labor and travail that thou takest under the Son. Whatsoever thou takest in hand to do, that do with all thy power: for among the dead, where thou goest unto, there is neither work, counsel, knowledge nor wisdom.
¶ So I turned me unto other things under the Son, and I saw, that in running, it helpeth not to be swift: in battle, it helpeth not to be strong: to feeding, it helpeth not to be wise: to riches, it helpeth not to be suttle: to be had in favour, it helpeth not to be cunning: but that all lieth in time and fortune. For man knoweth not his time, but like as the fish are taken with the angle and as the birds are catched with the snare: Even so are men taken in the perilous time, when it cometh suddenly upon them.
¶ This wisdom have I seen also under the Son, and me thought it a great thing. There was a little city, and a few men within it: so there came a great king and besieged it, and made great bulwarks against it. And in the city there was found a poor man, (but he was wise) which with his wisdom delivered the city: yet was there no body, that had any respect for such a simple man. Then said I: Wisdom is better than strength. Nevertheless, a simple man's wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard. A wise man's counsel that is followed in silence, is far above the crying of a captain among fools. For wisdom is better than harness: but one unthrifty alone destroyeth much good.