They spend their days in wealth, and in a moment go down to the grave.
Whatever begins, begins in a moment, and whatever ends, ends in a moment. Thoughts and purposes are formed in a moment — plans contemplated for years are decided in a moment — instantaneously. In so short a space everything comes to life and expires. In a moment we plant seed which takes centuries to grow, but which, in a moment only, the storm may cast down to the ground. The lightning may, in a moment, blast the work of a thousand years. A man's character may be ruined in a moment. In a little space of time it begins to go down. Break the law of gravitation, and crash would go creation. Job is moralising thus with his friends, and it seems to him strange that one event befalls the righteous and the wicked. It is a quick text, and has a sudden termination.
1. Life is a very little thing. It may be crushed as we would crush an eggshell. It need not take an hour to strike the blow which shall shiver it. Indeed, the wonder is that with such a little thing we live at all, for death is lurking all around us — the destructive forces so thick, that it seems as if the earth was made of nothing else. The pestilence rings at no man's door to toll of its coming, but it comes suddenly, and sweeps hundreds of men into the tomb. We stand on the grave's brink every day.
2. Some men think death to be a long way off when the precipice is right at their side, and they are liable to fall into it at any moment. The young are not more free from the enemies of destruction than their parents. The great and the small, the good and the evil, are taken away in a moment. What is to rescue us from death's dominion? Moses on Pisgah's top might plead that he was but 120 years old, that his eye was not dim, that he greatly desired to enter the promised land, but the plea was too weak, and he laid him down there on the top of the Mount. The man of business may plead that he is young and healthy, and his plans not yet accomplished; but death is inexorable, and he bows his head and gives up the ghost. Charles I and Marie Antoinette might plead their royal blood, or the popular will in their exaltation, but the executioner's axe severed their heads and their excuses in a moment. Death cares for none of these things.
3. How suddenly, too, his arrows fly. Like that night in Egypt, when suddenly at midnight the gleam of the destroying angel's sword was seen in the darkness, and, in a moment, the firstborn of all that land passed from life to death. The king's son and the chained captive lie side by side in death's embrace, and a kingdom is in tears. How sudden the exit of Dickens, Thackeray, and others, hurried off ere their last chapter was written and last page dried. And sometimes death aggravates his work, and takes thousands on the battlefield, and hacks and tears them ¢o pieces; or, on the steamer, burns and scalds their flesh from their bones. Learn from destructive forces being near not to tempt Providence by carelessness and negligence. A great deal is sot down to Providence which should be set down to ourselves. And let us be always ready, since but a step between us and the grave!
Parallel VersesKJV: They spend their days in wealth, and in a moment go down to the grave.