Moving shadows!

(John MacDuff, "Memories of Olivet" 1870)

"Verily every man at his best state is altogether
 vanity
. We are merely moving shadows, and all
 our busy rushing ends in nothing. We heap up
 wealth for someone else to spend." Ps. 39:5-6

Learn the unsatisfactory nature of all earthly things.

"Altogether vanity."

In one brief hour David's dream had vanished.

It was a pantomime, "moving shadows."

He had been "heaping up riches;" accumulating costly
materials in his palace. They now fell into the hands
of a base unscrupulous guerrilla band.

And was David's case a singular or exceptional one?

Alas! no. Every day makes additional disclosures of
the "moving shadows," and writes the old "sum of
the whole matter," "this also is vanity."

One man has toiled a whole lifetime. The coveted
RICHES have come at last; houses and lands and
equipage and luxury; all is realized. But, it is only
"moving shadows."  Disease unexpectedly supervenes;
he has no health, no heart to enjoy them. The riches
are there, but the zest is gone!

Another has toiled with equal SUCCESS. He had a
beloved child, all worthy of inheriting his wealth;
but, at the hour he least dreamed of, the footfall
of the dread messenger
was heard at the door,
and the object of his fondest anticipations is
borne away to the 'long home'!

What to him now are the long, toiling, fretting
years of the past? His gold is poor base alloy;
that amassed fortune passes to some unknown
or distant relative in whom he feels no interest.

It is again "moving shadows"; the "castle of snow"
which rises in a night and perishes with the morning
sun. "We heap up wealth for someone else to spend."

Yes! there are many broken and sad hearts that
will be ready to subscribe this experience as their
own; who, in the memory of . . .
  frustrated hopes,
  disappointed schemes,
  forfeited friendships,
  sorrowful bereavements,

will tell that the world is not the gay and
gladsome and happy thing many take it for.

Would that, in the midst of this constant experience
of its vanity and unsatisfactoriness; we might adopt
David's words in this Psalm as our habitual motto.
This would . . .
  temper the joys of prosperity,
  reconcile to the bitterness of adversity,
  and keep us mindful that this changeful,
deceitful earth is not our home.




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