And you mourn at the last, when your flesh and your body are consumed,
What multitudes of men and women have there been who, on beds of pain, or in homes of poverty, or under strong spiritual apprehension, have "mourned at the last"! After tasting and "enjoying the pleasures of sin for a season," they have found that iniquity must meet its doom, and they have "mourned at the last." Sin makes fair promises, but breaks its word. It owns that there is a debt due for guilty pleasure, but it hints that it will not send in the bill for many years; - perhaps never: but that account has to be settled, and they who persist in sinful indulgence will find, when it is too late, that they have to "mourn at the last." This is true of -
I. SLOTHFULNESS. Very pleasant to be idling when others are busy, to be following the bent of our own fancy, dallying with the passing hours, amusing ourselves the whole day long, the whole year through; but there is retribution for wasted hours, for misspent youth, for negligent and idle manhood, to be endured further on; there is self-reproach, condemnation of the good and wise, an ill-regulated mind, straitened means if not poverty, - mourning at the last.
II. INTEMPERANCE. Very tempting may be the jovial feast, very fascinating the sparkling cup, Very inviting the hilarity of the festive circle; but there is the end of it all to be taken into account, not only tomorrow's pain or lassitude, but the forfeiture of esteem, the weakening of the soul's capacity for pure enjoyment, the depravation of the taste, the encircling round the spirit of those cruel fetters which "at the last" hold it in cruel bondage.
III. LASCIVIOUSNESS. (See previous homily.)
IV. WORLDLINESS. There is a strong temptation presented to men to throw themselves into, so as to be absorbed by, the affairs of time and sense - business, politics, literature, art, one or other of the various amusements which entertain and gratify. This inordinate, excessive, unqualified devotion to any earthly pursuit, while it is to be distinguished from abandonment to forbidden pleasure, is yet wrong and ruinous. It is wrong, for it leaves out of reckoning the supreme obligation - that which we owe to him in whom we live and move and have our being, and who has redeemed us with his own blood. It is ruinous, for it leaves us
(1) without the heritage we were meant to have, and may have, in God, in Jesus Christ and his blessed service and salvation;
(2) unprepared for the other and larger life which is so near to us, and to which we approach by every step we take. However pleasant be the pursuits we engage in or the prizes we win, we shall wake one day from our dream with shame and fear; we shall "mourn at the last." - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: And thou mourn at the last, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed,