I am chained to the chariot of rolling time!
(Charles Spurgeon, "The Swiftness of Life!")
"My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle!" Job 7:6
"My days are but a breath!" Job 7:16
"My days are swifter than a runner — they flee away!" Job 9:25
"My days pass by like swift ships — like an eagle swooping on its prey!" Job 9:26
"Are not my days few?" Job 10:20
"My days are cut short, the grave awaits me!" Job 17:1
"Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes!" James 4:14
Let me speak to you of . . .
the frailty of human life,
the fleeting nature of time,
how swiftly time passes away,
how soon we shall all fade as the leaf, and
how speedily the place which knows us now, shall know us no more forever.
It is a great fact that life to the young man appears to be long.
Yet to the old man, life is ever short.
And to all men, life is really but a brief period!
Children sometimes blow bubbles, and amuse themselves thereby. Life is even as that bubble. You see it rising into the air; the child delights itself by seeing it fly about, but it is all gone in one moment! So uncertain is life!
Human life is not long. Compare it with the ages of the universe, and it becomes a span; and especially measure it by eternity — and how imperceptible does life appear! It sinks like one small drop into the ocean — and becomes as insignificant as one tiny grain of sand upon the sea-shore!
Life is swift!
Your pulses each moment beat the funeral marches to the tomb!
I am chained to the chariot of rolling time — there is no bridling the steeds, or leaping from the chariot. The wind of time bears me along — I cannot stop its motion. I am moving through time at an incalculable rate. Oh! what an idea it is, could I grasp it!
The wise man says, "For who knows what is good for man in life, all the days of his vain life which he passes like a shadow?" Ecclesiastes 6:12. Now what can there be less substantial than a shadow? What substance is there in a shadow? Who can lay hold thereof? You may see it, but the moment the person passes by, it is gone.
Yes, and who can grasp his life? Many men reckon upon a long existence, and think they are going to live forever; but who can calculate upon a shadow? Go, O man, who say to your soul, "Eat, drink, and be merry; I have much goods laid up for many years!" Go, and store your barn with shadows; go and pile shadows up, and say, "These are mine, and they shall never depart." But, say you, "I cannot catch a shadow!" No and you can not reckon on a year, for it is as a shadow, which soon melts away and is gone!
"My days pass by like swift ships!" Like a swift ship, my life must speed on its way until it reaches its haven. But where is that haven to be? Shall it be found in the land of eternal bitterness and punishment — that dreary region of the lost? Or shall it be that sweet haven of eternal peace, where not a troubling wave can ruffle the quiescent glory of my spirit?
Wherever the haven is to be, that truth is the same, we are like "the swift ships."
"So teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom!" Psalm 90:12