What is man — that You are mindful of him?

(Hugh Brown, "Altogether Lovely!" 1897)

"What is man — that You are mindful of him?" Psalm 8:4

What is man?

Where did he come from?

Where does his pathway lead?

Man was once the crowning piece of God's workmanship, made in His own image, and given dominion over the works of His hands!

Alas! We now only know man . . .
  in his fallen state — not as God created him,
  with the crown fallen from his head,
  as a rebel against his Maker,
  as the slave of sin,
  as a willing subject of Satan,
  in his weakness,
  compassed with infirmity,
  the prey of many diseases,
  as "of few days, and full of trouble,"
  as a bearer of burdens,
  with a heritage of sorrow!

So fearfully and wonderfully is man made — 
  so great — and yet so little;
  so noble — yet so base;
  a feeble spark of life — yet having an eternal destiny!

We now only know man . . .
  in his sinfulness,
  with a "heart deceitful above all things — and desperately wicked,"
  torn by conflicting passions,
  in the vile bondage of iniquity,
  sin reigning within and without,
  making the earth a habitation of cruelty!

For though sometimes in his youth, life may seem bright while he eagerly hunts after pleasure — how soon the flowers fade, the bubble bursts — and he is left with emptiness in his heart and learns by sad experience the truth of God’s Word: "Truly, every man at his best estate is altogether vanity!"