The Retrospect
Genesis 47:9
And Jacob said to Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years…

1. The character given of human life. He considers this life as a pilgrimage.

2. The estimate of its worth. He counted the days of the years of his life to be few and evil.

3. The consequent necessity of provision for its ultimate result.

I. We are to consider this life under the figure which the text sets before us. It is a pilgrimage. Let us dwell for a short time on the practical view of life which is taken by the true believer.

1. He does not regard this world as his home. There are many who live in it as if they were permanently fixed in it. But the Christian pilgrim is conscious that he has a home to which he is travelling. "There remaineth a rest for the people of God."

II. We notice the estimate which true wisdom gives us of the real worth of this life, regarded in itself. "Few and evil," said the patriarch, "have the days of the years of my life been." Life is short. And oh! how short! — how limited! "The days of our years are threescore years and ten"; sometimes with difficulty they reach to fourscore years. But how few of our race reach even the nearer limit! But the wise estimate of human life is not only that it is short in its duration, but that it is evil in its nature. It is evil, as it is the scene of continual trial and affliction, as it is chequered by calamities of various kinds, which bow down the spirit, and gradually render the end of life desirable. But we observe, again, that life is full of evil, because it is full of sin. Jacob knew his own heart well, and the contemplation of his own history could afford him no self-satisfaction. Let the votary of this world make a fair estimate of his days. "They are few and evil." Can you make better of them? The cutting conviction of your heart, when you look within, is that they are so. You have no means of lengthening their duration. You cannot dismiss their oppressive sorrows.

III. We notice, then, the absolute need of a provision for the ultimate result of life. In conclusion, the subject suggests to us a few practical remarks.

1. It becomes all those who make a Christian profession diligently to examine their own ground of hope for a better world.

2. Again, we are called upon by our professed principles to take care that we are not bound down by an improper attachment to the perishing goods of this world.

3. We are called upon by our principles, as pilgrims towards another and a better world, to do our utmost as faithful stewards of the gifts of God in alleviating the sufferings and the sorrows of our fellow-creatures.

4. There is a duty incumbent on us also to use every fair opportunity of inculcating on our fellow-men the consideration of the true character of this life and its speedy termination.

(E. Craig.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage.

WEB: Jacob said to Pharaoh, "The days of the years of my pilgrimage are one hundred thirty years. Few and evil have been the days of the years of my life, and they have not attained to the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage."

The Nothingness of Life
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