Ecclesiastes 11:7, 8
Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun:…
Let a man rejoice, says the Preacher, in his long bright days of prosperity; but let him remember that the time is drawing on when he will sleep his long sleep beneath the ground; and many as his days have been when the light of the sun was sweet to his eyes, very many more will be the days of darkness which will follow. It is open to us all to indulge in some -
I. SENTIMENTAL SADNESS, IN VIEW OF THIS LONG FUTURE. We may stroll in the churchyard, and as we read the names and ages of men who lived for thirty or forty years, but who have been in their graves for, it may be, two hundred years, we may think how small was the measure of the light on which they looked compared with that of the darkness in which they have been sleeping. And as we yield to these thoughts we feel the vanity of human affairs. Thus the shadow of the tomb falls upon and darkens the brightness of our life. It seems to us a poor thing for a man to come out of the infinite darkness behind; to walk in the sunshine for a few swiftly passing, soon-departed decades, and then go out into the immeasurable darkness on the other side. There is, however -
II. A CORRECTING THOUGHT. Why should the excellency of human life be spoiled to us by the reflection that it is limited, bound by a line which is not far off us? If it be so that there is nothing but darkness beyond, if it be true that what we see comprises all that is to be seen, then let us, for that very reason, make the most of all that we hold. If the worth of our existence is confined to the present, let us compress into the present time all the action and all the enjoyment which it will hold shall we not say -
"I will drink
Life to the lees.... Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains: but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence"?
III. THE CHRISTIAN ASPECT OF THE SUBJECT. We know that this life will soon be over, may reach its terminus any day, and must come to its conclusion before many years have gone. What shall we be concerned about in this?
1. Not the hour or act of dying. Common human fortitude will carry us through that experience, as it has done in countless millions of cases already; much more will Christian faith and hope.
2. Not the silence and darkness of the grave. What does it signify to us that our mortal body will lie long in the grave, when we are hoping to be "clothed upon with our house which is from heaven?"
3. The long future of heavenly life. Not the many days of darkness, but the long, the everlasting day of glory is before us who believe in Christ, and who hope to dwell with him forever. For that endless day of blessedness the life we are now living is not only the preliminary but the preparation. Therefore let every day, every hour, be sacred; be so spent in faith, in love, in holy labor, in ennobling joy, that the future will be but the continuance of the present - the continuance, but also the enlargement, the glorification. Thus shall there not fall upon the life that now is the shadow of the tomb; there shall shine upon it some beams from the glory that is beyond. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun: