Boast not yourself of to morrow; for you know not what a day may bring forth.
It is needless to prove the change and mutability of our present state, or the fact that the changes cannot be foreseen by us. Obvious as they are, it would be well if the thoughts of men dwelt on them more. But by a strange and prevailing deception, almost every one thinks his own case an exception from the general law; and that he may build plans with as much confidence on his present situation as if some assurance were given him that it were never to change. It has been so contrived by Providence that there should be no permanent stability to man's condition on earth. The seeds of alteration are everywhere sown. And think on what small and inconsiderable causes changes depend. In the midst of all these contingencies plans and designs for the future are every day formed. And this is fit and proper. Rules and precautions may be indicated.
I. BOAST NOT THYSELF OF TO-MORROW, Never presume arrogantly on futurity. Beware of pride and vanity. In the day of prosperity rejoice with trembling.
II. DESPAIR NOT OF TO-MORROW. Adverse situations fill many with fears and alarms of what is to come. The day may bring forth some unforeseen relief, and therefore we should hope under distress. The doctrine which the changes of the world perpetually inculcate is that no state of external things should appear so important, or should so affect and agitate our spirits, as to deprive us of a calm, an equal, and a steady mind. Anxiety, when it seizes the heart, is a dangerous disease, productive both of much sin and much misery.
III. DELAY NOT TILL TO-MORROW WHAT IS PROPER TO BE DONE TO-DAY. Thou art not the lord of to-morrow. Procrastination has, throughout every age, been the ruin of mankind. Many of the misfortunes which befall men in their worldly concerns are a consequence of delay. To-morrow, being loaded with the concerns of to-day, in addition to its own, is clogged and embarrassed. Evils of the same kind, arising from the same cause, overtake men in their moral and spiritual interests.
IV. BE EVERY DAY PREPARED FOR WHAT TO-MORROW MAY BRING FORTH. The best preparation for all the uncertainties of futurity consists in a well-ordered mind, a good conscience, and a cheerful submission to the will of heaven. If to-morrow bring you any unexpected good, prepare to receive it with gratitude, temperance, and modesty. If it shall bring forth evil, prepare to receive it with manly fortitude.
V. BUILD YOUR HOPES OF HAPPINESS ON SOMEWHAT MORE SOLID AND LASTING THAN WHAT EITHER TO-DAY OR TO-MORROW ARE LIKELY TO PRODUCE. He who rests wholly upon this world builds his house upon the sand. We are begotten again unto a "lively hope." Here is the object to which a wise man will bend his chief attention, that, having acted his part on earth with fidelity and honour, he may be enabled, through the merits of his Saviour, to look for a place in the mansions of eternal and untroubled peace. This prospect is the great corrective of the present vanity of human life.
(Hugh Blair, D.D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.