He has made every thing beautiful in his time: also he has set the world in their heart…
The difference between the splendid world of vegetation, with its myriad colours and its ever-changing life; between the animal world, with its studied gradations of form and of development — and man, is this: God hath set eternity in our hearts. All creation around us is satisfied with its sustenance, we alone have a thirst and a hunger for which the circumstances of our life have no meat and drink. In the burning noonday of life's labour man sits — as the Son of Man once sat — by well-sides weary, and while others can slake their thirst with that, he needs a living water; while others go into cities to buy meat, he has need of and finds a sustenance that they know net of. Is not the strange, sad contrast, which is brought out before us here, true? Is not man a striking anomaly? He dwells amid the finite; he longs for the infinite. All the rest of creation can find enough to satisfy its wants — he cannot. He is like the bird that wings its way over the surging waters, seeking rest, and finding none, while the coarser thing can satisfy itself on the floating garbage. The truer and the nobler man is, the more certainly he feels all this, the more keenly he realizes eternity in his heart. There is none of us, however, who do not feel it sometimes. As you gaze on some setting sun, and its burning rays of gold seem to you like the very light of heaven across the glowing binges of her closing doors — as you stand amid some mountain solitude that rises like heaven's ramparts against the sounds and strifes of earth — as some note of music seems "to come from the soul of the organ and enter into thine" — as some deep sorrow, or some deeper joy falls upon your life — in these, or other kindred experiences, the eternity which God has set in your heart will assert itself; you will feel in your soul the thirst of a life which cannot be satisfied, and which cannot end here. And why? Because God hath set eternity in our hearts. He has given us a hunger which can he satisfied only with the Bread of Life, a thirst which can be quenched only by the living water from the Rock of Ages. Well, granting the universal desire; granting the universal capacity; granting the almost universal conviction that there is such a life, may we not be deceived? That is the triumphant answer of some philosophers. Deceived! By whom? It is God who hath set eternity in our hearts. Do you mean we have been deceived by Him? Are, we, then, to believe that God sent the noblest, purest, best Teacher that ever visited this earth, and gave Him the moral illumination and power to dispel a thousand errors, and explode a hundred fallacies which ignorance had invented or superstition had nurtured, but left Him so ignorant upon this point — the one universal error — that it was the supreme sustenance of His own life and the very lever by which He did raise the world? Can you believe that? All that is best, truest, noblest in your souls rebels against the thought. O God, we trust Thee! We bow our heads before Thee in reverence for even daring to speak of it. We trust the word of Thy Incarnate Son! O Christ, we know Thy words were true when Thou saidst: — "If it were not so I would have told you." Thou didst not tell us, and IT IS TRUE! God hath set eternity in our hearts. Are we living worthy of it? Are we living as if we really believed it? The only way of doing so is by clinging close to Him, by dying with Him to all that He died to save us from, and living worthy of that life and immortality which He hath brought from out of the mists of speculation into the light of truth by His Gospel. Instead of the "perhaps" of philosophic speculation, we have, thank God, the "Credo" of Christianity.
(T. T. Shore, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.