Neither youth, nor wit, nor beauty, nor strength, nor money
(George Mylne, "Lessons for the Christian's Daily Walk" 1859)
"No one has power over the spirit to retain the spirit; and no one has power in the day of death." Ecclesiastes 8:8
Man, for six thousand years, has tried to understand his spirit — yet knows as little of it as he did at first. What is the soul of man? Whence did it come? Where does it go? He can't explain how spirit dwells with flesh — what binds the two together, for a time, in perfect unity. He has never seen, as little can he feel, the links that knit them to each other. It is all within him — his flesh, his spirit, his life, his being — all the machinery of soul and body, thus closely interlaced. Yet is it as foreign to his grasp, as that which happens in another world!
Thus flesh and spirit dwell together. Who could suppose they ever would part again! Who can explain how soul and body part, or how the links of union are undone — what makes the spirit fly away, or how the flesh gives up its hold! God wills it. God does it. God does not explain why. God does not tell how. He speaks, unheard; and immediately it is done — the spirit returns to Him who made it.
Man may detain the body — but he cannot keep the soul, nor say, "You shall not go!" God says, "Return to Me!" The command must be obeyed. Neither youth, nor wit, nor beauty, nor strength, nor money, can delay His omnipotent hand.
How mysterious is death! At times how unexpected! At times how stealthy! At times He takes your darling from your side — and robs you unblushingly before your face! At other times, days, months, and years may intervene before you know it. The spirit fled — and you knew it not. You thought it still on earth; but it was gone. You think of him, prepare for him, and write to invite him to your home. But alas! the spirit is gone; and had you known it, what could you have done!
Oh, vanity of vanities! What pain, what misery — man's sin has brought to pass! And yet how astonishing is the ignorance, the recklessness of sinful man! Dead in spiritual death, he neither knows nor seeks a remedy, but binds his misery around him with thoughtless energy. And yet there is a remedy — a remedy in Jesus — a remedy for those who look to Jesus!
Say, reader, can you look around you, can you look backward or forward and be happy — unless you find this remedy for all the misery and uncertainty of this poor, passing world?
"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord!" Romans 6:23