Go to now, you that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:…
I. How MEN MAKE THE MISTAKE OF REGARDING THEIR LIFE AS SOMETHING SOLID AND STABLE.
1. Men calculate upon the certain continuance of their strength. The young generally seem to look upon diseases and infirmities as separated from them by an impassable gulf.
2. Men calculate upon an indefinite prolonging of life. They make no deliberate, serious calculation upon giving up friends, possessions, comforts, occupations, and pleasures.
3. The next life will much resemble this, according to their ideas. They forget that after death comes the judgment.
II. HUMAN LIFE IS A VAPOUR.
1. The uncertainty of life. Nothing is stable on this earth. Our cemeteries vie with our cities. Every day, every hour, every moment, a life is escaping. You may be attired for the gayest scene, awaiting a friend, securely seated at your father's fireside, and in an instant be in the fierce and fiery embrace of death, exchanging your rich garments for a winding-sheet of flame, breathing in an atmosphere of fire; in an instant, unwarned, unattended, unaided — gone.
2. This law is universal. That is, it is not only certain that every human life will cease, but that the time of its cessation is uncertain. There is a place, and a most important place, for medical science; a place for human prudence; but neither skill nor prudence will change the nature of every human life; it will still be "even a vapour."
III. How SHALL WE RECTIFY THESE ERRORS IN OURSELVES?
1. We should understand the reality of the case. Life with us is but a process of decay. We possess life, but not less certainly are we losing it.
2. We should become entirely reconciled to it. The higher views we take of man, the more satisfied we shall be with this arrangement.
3. Accommodate all your views, feelings, and plans to this state of things. Make nothing that can perish the foundation of your hope. Money, the favour of man, the admiration of man, worldly pleasure, personal accomplishments (other than holiness and sound knowledge) are all vapour. Enjoy them as you do a beautiful sunset. Take them at their real worth; but be fully persuaded that your happiness must come from higher, and holier, and more unfailing sources. Value life for its highest ends. It can be the period of your personal progress in the life of holiness and heaven; the seedtime for an eternal harvest of blessedness.
(E. N. Kirk, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: