Remember how short my time is: why have you made all men in vain?
I. SOME DIRECT PROOFS OF THE VANITY OF HUMAN LIFE.
1. The brevity of our mortal existence.
2. The positive evils that are in the world.
(1) Sickness and pain.
(2) Wars and fightings.
(4) Earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, etc.
II. THE REAL VALUE OF THOSE THINGS WHICH SEEM TO RENDER OUR EXISTENCE OF MOST WORTH.
1. After all the failure, and fiction, and insincerity, and envy, that attend worldly possessions, we cannot surely suppose them of much real value. If we had only what they afford, we should be compelled to confess we were made in vain.
2. Knowledge is not necessarily happiness. We are not going to say, that increase of knowledge is always increase of sorrow (Ecclesiastes 1:18); but we believe most of the happiness that we find in knowledge, in exercising intellect, in discovering truth, springs from the hope we entertain of making our knowledge subserve our happiness in other respects. If our only felicity consisted in knowing, we believe it would be extremely small. And how little even men called learned succeed in making their acquisitions advance human felicity, the whole history of cultured intellect too sadly tells.
3. Some one might say to us, the joys of friendly attachment are neither few nor small; they are pure; they are peaceful; they are noble. But let us remember there are regions where the husband and the father is the tyrant; where the mother murders her offspring; where the wife is the slave; and where the widow burns on the funeral pile of her husband! Let us remember, too, how often friendships give place to enmity. When half the world is dressed in mourning, its friendships can scarcely convince us that, apart from another world, all men have not been made in vain.
4. Religion is vain, if the world is all. Its votaries are miserably deluded. They have renounced the world, but gained nothing.
1. The amazing difficulties of that species of infidelity which denies a future state.
2. That the doctrine of immortality, and the truths of religion, are very needful to us, in order to make us happy even here. Remove immortality — and what is man? a distressful dream! a throb — a wish — a sigh — then, nothing! But, blessed be God, life and immortality are brought to light. Yes —
3. That the true Christian is the happiest man. He is not perplexed with a thousand doubts and difficulties that trouble the unbeliever.
(I. S. Spencer, D.D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Remember how short my time is: wherefore hast thou made all men in vain?