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Ecclesiastes 1:14

I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and like grasping the wind.
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
We read in Scripture concerning the striving after temporal things, “All is vanity and presumption of spirit,” but presumption of spirit means audacity and pride. Usually also the proud are said to have great spirits, and rightly, inasmuch as the wind also is called spirit. And hence it is written, “Fire, hail, snow, ice, spirit of tempest.” But, indeed, who does not know that the proud are spoken of as puffed up, as if swelled out with wind? And hence also that expression of the apostle, “Knowledge puffs up, but charity edifies.” And “the poor in spirit” are rightly understood here, as meaning the humble and Godfearing, that is, those who have not the spirit which puffs up. Nor ought blessedness to begin at any other point whatever, if indeed it is to attain unto the highest wisdom. “But the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”; for, on the other hand also, “pride” is entitled “the beginning of all sin.” Let the proud, therefore, seek after and love the kingdoms of the earth, ...

George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
Vexation. Hebrew also, "food of wind "(Symmachus) or "choice of the spirit. "(Septuagint) People are eager to become learned, and yet find no satisfaction. (Haydock) All natural things are insufficient to procure felicity. (Worthington) O Curas hominum! O quantum est in rebus inane! (Persius.)

Gregory of Nyssa

AD 394
He came, then, to enquire by his own wisdom what has come about under the sun, what the confusion is of things here on earth, how being became the slave of nonbeing, how the unreal dominates being. And he saw that evil distress God gave to the sons of man, for them to be distressed with. This does not mean, as one might assume at first glance, that it is devout to think that God gave evil distress to people, for then the responsibility for ills would be laid on him.… What the more devout understanding is disposed to think is this: that the good gift of God, that is, freedom of action, became a means to sin through the sinful use humankind made of it. For unfettered free will is good by nature, and nobody would reckon among good things anything that was constrained by the yoke of necessity. But that free impulse of the mind rushing unschooled toward the choice of evil became a source of distress for the soul, as it was dragged down from the sublime and honorable toward the urges of the ...

Gregory the Theologian

AD 390
“I have seen everything,” says Ecclesiastes. I have reviewed in my mind all human things, wealth, luxury, power, glory that is not stable, wisdom that eludes us more often than it is mastered; again pleasure, again wisdom, often returning full circle to the same things, delights of the belly, orchards, numbers of slaves, a multitude of possessions, male and female table servants, singing men and singing women, arms, henchmen, nations at one’s feet, revenues flowing in, the pride of royalty, all life’s superfluities and necessities, in which I surpassed all the kings who were before me. And after all this what is his judgment? “All is vanity of vanities, all is vanity and vexation of spirit,” that is, a kind of irrational impulse of soul and distraction of man who has been condemned to this perhaps because of the original fall. But “hear all the conclusion of my discourse,” he says; “fear God.” Through this he ceases from perplexity. And this alone is your gain from life here, to be bro...

John of Damascus

AD 749
So, following the teachings of these blessed saints, we utterly renounce these corruptible and perishable things of life, wherein may be found nothing stable or constant, or that continues in one stay. But all things are vanity and vexation of spirit, and many are the changes that they bring in a moment, for they are slighter than dreams and a shadow, or the breeze that blows the air. Small and shortlived is their charm, that is after all no charm, but illusion and deception of the wickedness of the world; which world we have been taught to love not at all but rather to hate with all our heart. Yes, and truly it is worthy of hatred and abhorrence; for whatsoever gifts it gives to its friends, these in turn in passion it takes away and shall hand over its victims, stripped of all good things, clad in the garment of shame, and bound under heavy burdens, to eternal tribulation. And those again whom it exalts, it quickly abases to the utmost wretchedness, making them a footstool and a laug...

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. - 2 Peter 1:20

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