But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities…
I. LET US ENDEAVOUR. TO DISCOVER WHAT IS IMPLIED IN THE DESCRIPTION OF DEATH GIVEN US IN THESE WORDS.
1. We fade, like the leaves, soon.
3. The approaches of death may be lovely. The woods are never more beautiful than during the brief period of autumnal change. So our time of decay may be more beautiful than our summer time of health and activity, and "nothing in our life become us like the leaving of it." The hoary head becomes a crown of glory, — the patience of' the Christian vanquishing the temptations to petulance and repining that affliction presents, — the hope of the believer shining clear and steady when he knows that he must soon depart, — are things that often give to the approaches of death more interest and loveliness than life has enjoyed.
4. "We all do fade as u leaf" in point of certainty.
5. How wide is the empire of death, and how many he has brought into his dark dominions; in every track the leaves are falling, and no favoured portion of the country escapes the general desolation. How many autumns has death had among men since first his reign began! Our fathers, where are they? Where are those hordes of painted barbarians, whose savage courage stayed so long the progress of the Roman legions? Where are those who erected in our land those ancient piles that were dedicated to the worship of God amid the darkness of the Middle Ages Where are those who led the devotions there, and those who joined in them? Where are they who but a hundred years ago ploughed the fields that you now cultivate, listened to the Gospel that is now proclaimed to us, and walked in the paths that we are accustomed to tread? They are gone, and we arc going fast.
II. THE PRACTICAL USE THAT SHOULD BE MADE OF THE TRUTH BROUGHT BEFORE US IN THE TEXT. The .great lesson we should learn is to make ready for our fading time. But there are various circumstances that go far to account for this very common, almost universal forgetfulness of death. First, one cause may be. that we see little of the sick and dying. In the next place, death has no periods corresponding to the general fall of the leaf. Again, when we are in the enjoyment of good health, we feel nothing death-like about us. Then our worldly employments accustom our minds to a different train of thinking from that more serious one which brings death to our view, and tend to turn our thoughts from it. But the chief cause of the forgetfulness of death is to be found in the systematic attempt that is made by most men to banish the remembrance of it from their minds.
Parallel VersesKJV: But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.