The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field:…
I. THE TRANSITORY NATURE OF ALL EARTHLY THINGS. Consider some of those things which constitute the goodliness and the glory of man, and see how they justify the assertion in the text.
1. Personal endowments of beauty and of form. We make our boast of beauty: of the sparkling eye, of comely features. Small is our cause for boast! That body which seemed to concentrate in it all that was beautiful, see it when wasted by accidents and by time, when blasted by the touch of death!
2. The text may be illustrated by adverting to the wisdom, as well as to the beauty and strength of man. Since the attention of man was first directed to the objects of nature, what an innumerable succession has there been of notions, of systems, of theories. And yet we look on these ill-digested systems as belonging only to days which are gone by, and as now utterly exploded. For the fact is, that all knowledge, except that which is derived from the Bible, is destined to pass away.
3. Advert to the transitory nature of those things which are the produce of the imagination and taste. Whatever the pencil of the painter has portrayed; whatever the chisel of the sculptor has wrought; whatever the skill of the architect has reared, — all these are destined shortly to be destroyed. This should convey a very forcible reproof to those who expend so large a portion of their time in the embellishments of life, in dress, and in furniture, and in equipages.
4. In reference to the possessions of men, — wealth and fortune, and their concomitants — grandeur, eminence, pomp, and luxury.
5. As strikingly is this illustrated by the emptiness of that shapeless thing, — that shadow of a shade called fame.
6. See it illustrated, also, as to dominion and power. Kingdoms and empires rise and fall — flourish and decay.
7. The world itself is an illustration of the sentiment.
II. THE DURABILITY OF THAT DISPENSATION WITH WHICH GOD HAS BEEN PLEASED TO BLESS THE WORLD. The "Word of our God shall stand for ever." This sentiment is greatly illustrated, and abundantly confirmed, by —
1. The utter impotence of persecution.
2. The utter failure of the opposition of infidelity.
3. The blessed and delightful spread given to it in our day.
4. The dispensation of truth with which God has blessed the world is the dispensation of the Spirit. The Word of our God is a living word; it is not only a dispensation of words, addressed to the understanding and will, but a dispensation of the Spirit coming to the heart of man.
Parallel VersesKJV: The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: