Life’s Shortness and Vanity

“Then they will go away to eternal punishment–but the righteous to eternal life!” Matthew 25:46

In this present world, our good and evil are blended. Our happiness has some bitter ingredients, and our miseries have some agreeable mitigations.

But in the eternal world, good and evil shall be entirely and forever separated! All will be pure, unmingled happiness or pure, unmingled misery!

But what gives infinite importance to these joys and sorrows is that they are enjoyed or suffered in the eternal world, and they are themselves eternal. Eternal joys! Eternal pains! Joys and pains that will last as long as the King eternal and immortal will live to distribute them! As long as our immortal spirits will live to feel them! Oh what joys and pains are these!

And these eternal joys or pains, my friends, are awaiting every one of us! These pleasures or these pains are felt this moment by all our friends and acquaintances who have died before us! And in a little while, you and I must feel them!

Alas! What then, have we to do with time and earth? Are the pleasures and pains of this world worthy to be compared with eternal pleasures and pains? “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity!” The enjoyments and sufferings, the labors and pursuits, the laughter and tears of the present state, are all nothing in comparison. What is the loss of an estate, or of a dear relative, compared to the loss of a blissful immortality?

And if our heavenly inheritance is secure, what does it matter, even if we should be reduced into Job’s forlorn situation? What does it matter, even if we are poor, sickly, racked with pains, and submerged in every human misery? Heaven will more than make amends for all!

But if we have no evidences of a title to heaven, the sense of these transitory distresses may be swallowed up in the fear of the horrible miseries of eternity!

Alas! What does it avail that we play away a few years in mirth and gaiety, in grandeur and pleasure, if when these few years have fled, we lift up our eyes in hell, tormented in eternal flames!

Oh what are all these transitory things to a candidate for eternity! An heir of everlasting happiness or everlasting misery!

If we spend our immortality in eternal misery, what sorry comfort will it be that we laughed, and played, and frolicked away our few years upon earth!

As Christians, we are to be nobly indifferent to all the little amusements and pleasures of so short an earthly life.

“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life!” Matthew 25:46

– Samuel Davies

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