The Vanity and Value of Human Life
Psalm 89:47-48
Remember how short my time is: why have you made all men in vain?…

I. If we consider LIFE AS IT IS IS ITSELF, and form our estimate of its value only by the degree of temporal enjoyment it is capable of affording, it will appear to be very vain indeed; and man will almost seem to be made for nothing.

1. Consider how short life is!

2. Consider its uncertainty. Who can say of any project that he has formed, that he shall accomplish it?

3. Survey also the sufferings to which life is exposed in this short existence. — Take notice of the natural calamities which belong to man. Look at the history of man, and see what he suffers from his own species.

4. Look also at the business of life, the very end for which most men live, and the same reflection will forcibly recur. What is the end for which so much toil is endured, so many cares and anxieties suffered? Simply this; to go on suffering the same anxieties and cares, and enduring the same toil.

II. Let us look at life in ANOTHER POINT OF VIEW, and we shall see that God has not made man in vain.

1. We live not to eat, and drink, and labour; but we eat, drink, and labour, in order to live; that is, to fulfil the will of our great Creator and to glorify His name. Now, this is done when His will is made the chief rule of our lives, and His glory the end of our actions; when we exercise dispositions proper to our stations in life and agreeable to the duties we owe to Him. In this light the events of life are comparatively of little consequence, the duties they call forth are what are of importance. In this view, life is not to be regarded as given in vain.

2. When we carry our view forward to that eternal state of which this life is but the beginning, and in comparison of which it is but a moment; when we consider that this eternal life will be either miserable or happy according to the manner in which we spend our short existence here; surely this life is not in vain: it becomes of infinite importance — an importance proportioned to that infinite happiness or woe with which it is necessarily connected.

3. What a value is stamped upon life; what dignity upon the world, when we behold the only Son of God taking upon Him that life, and coming into that world! Are men made in vain, when the only begotten of the Father gave His life as a ransom for theirs?

4. Is life of such unspeakable moment, and yet is it so short in its duration? What an additional value does it derive even from this circumstance, which may seem, at first sight, to detract from its worth! If life be so uncertain; if almost the only thing certain in life is that we shall die, what manner of persons ought we to be in all holy conversation and godliness!

(John Penn, M.A)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Remember how short my time is: wherefore hast thou made all men in vain?

WEB: Remember how short my time is! For what vanity have you created all the children of men!

The Sense of Life's Brevity
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