Verse 21. "Doth not their excellency-go away! " - Personal beauty, corporeal strength, powerful eloquence, and various mental endowments, pass away, or are plucked up by the roots; they are no more seen or heard among men, and their memory soon perisheth.
"They die, even without wisdom. " - If wisdom means the pursuit of the best end, by the most legitimate and appropriate means, the great mass of mankind appear to perish without it. But, if we consider the subject more closely, we shall find that all men die in a state of comparative ignorance.
With all our boasted science and arts, how little do we know! Do we know any thing to perfection that belongs either to the material or spiritual world? Do we understand even what matter is? What is its essence? Do we understand what spirit is? Then, what is its essence? Almost all the phenomena of nature, its grandest operations, and the laws of the heavenly bodies, have been explained on the principle of gravitation or attraction; but in what does this consist? Who can answer? We can traverse every part of the huge and trackless ocean by means of the compass; but who understands the nature of magnetism on which all this depends? We eat and drink in order to maintain life; but what is nutrition, and how is it effected? This has never been explained. Life depends on respiration for its continuance; but by what kind of action is it, that in a moment the lungs separate the oxygen, which is friendly to life, from the nitrogen, which would destroy it; suddenly absorbing the one, and expelling the other? Who, among the generation of hypothesis-framers, has guessed this out? Life is continued by the circulation of the blood; but by what power and law does it circulate? Have the systole and diastole of the heart, on which this circulation depends, ever been satisfactorily explained? Most certainly not. Alas, we die without wisdom; and must die, to know these, and ten thousand other matters equally unknown, and equally important. To be safe, in reference to eternity, we must know the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he has sent; whom to know is life eternal. This knowledge, obtained and retained, will entitle us to all the rest in the eternal world.