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Views of Human Life

Views of Human Life

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Published by glennpease

" Surely every man walketh in a vain show." — Psalm xxxrx. 6.

" Surely every man walketh in a vain show." — Psalm xxxrx. 6.

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Published by: glennpease on Mar 30, 2014
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VIEWS OF HUMAN LIFEBY REV. D. L. CARROLL" Surely every man walketh in a vain show." — Psalm xxxrx. 6. In the representations of human life, contained in the Scriptures, there is a tender and touching melancholy. To illustrate its brief and transitory nature, the Bible selects images of the most delicate, frail, and passing objects around us. It is said to be "as the grass, and as the flower of the grass," — "as the swift ships" — as the flight of the eagle "has-tening to the prey " — " as a tale that is told " — as "a vapour that appeareth for a little while, and then vanisheth away" — "a wind that passeth away and Cometh not again " — as a handbreadth " — " as no-thing and vanity''^ compared with the eternal being of God. These figures of speech indicate a brevity of human life, sufficiently humbling and tantalizing to the fond hopes and proud aspirations of man. It requires but little depth of thought, on this sub- ject, to be convinced, that in addition to this mourn-ful brevity, there is much also that is unsubstan-tial and shadowy in our present existence. So-phocles, a heathen poet, many centuries ago — ar-rived at this conclusion, and made a declaration very
similar to that of the psalmist in our text. He re-marks, "I see that we who live are nothing else but images and a vain shadow." This, indeed, is a SERMON VII. 151 peculiarly sorrowful view of human life. Its length is but ^^a handsbreadth ^' — its duration "as the flower of the grass," and yet shadows instead of substance make up the greater part of this momen-tary existence. The world is one great stage, and its mighty ge-nerations as so many actors arrayed in mock cos-tume, and sustaining assumed and unreal characters, and performing the hollow feats of those mere images thrown on the canvass, by certain optical instruments. So truly does this illustrate much that pertains to our present life that the saying has well nigh become proverbial, — "What shadows we are, and what shadows we pursue." How uiisub-siantial is every thing that is related only to our fleeting earthly existence ! Its joys, and its sor-rows, its hopes and its fears, its plans and purposes,
its toils and cares, and sleepless solicitudes are but as the shadows that pass over the plain, compared with those spiritual things related to the soul as a moral and immortal agent living and acting for eter-nity! When we confine our views exclusively to our present existence, and analyze critically all its elements and varying phases, we feel that the de-claration of the psalmist in the text has a most mournful significancy. " Surely every man walk-eth in a vain show." Permit me now to submit to you, my hearers, some considerations to illustrate and confirm this inspired assertion. I. Every man walks in a vain show, as respects the plans of life , which he forms. To a superficial observer, the plans and enterprises of men have of-152 SERMON VII. ten a most imposing aspect — they make a great show in the world. Contemplate every man's plans of gain — of acquiring riches. Are they

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