Verse 36. Yet he passed away. Tree and man both gone, the son of man as surely as the child of the forest. What clean sweeps death makes! And, lo, he was not. To the surprise of all men the great man was gone, his estates sold, his business bankrupt, his house alienated, his name forgotten, and all in a few months. Yea, I sought him, but he could not be found. Moved by curiosity, if we enquire for the ungodly, they have left no trace; like birds of ill omen none desire to remember them. Some of the humblest of the godly are immortalized, their names are imperishably fragrant in the church, while of the ablest of infidels and blasphemers hardly their names are remembered beyond a few years. Men who were in everybody's mouths but yesterday are forgotten tomorrow, for only virtue is immortal.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 35-36. -- See Psalms on "Psalms 37:35" for further information.
Verse 36-37. The hawk flies high, and is as highly prized, being set upon a perch, vervelled with the jingling bells of encouragement, and carried on his master's fist; but being once dead and picked over the perch, is cast upon the dunghill as good for nothing. The hen scrapes in the dust, not anything rewarded when she is alive, but being dead, is brought as a choice dish to her master's table. Thus wicked men are commonly set in high places, and prosper in this life; and good men lie grovelling with their mouths in the dust, as the very underlings of the world; but being once dead, the one is cast into the dungeon of hell, the other advanced to the kingdom of heaven: the one is into Abraham's bosom, whilst the other is tormented with the devil and his angels. Thomas Westfield, D.D., 1644.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 35-37. Three memorable scenes.
- The imposing spectacle.
- The astounding disappearance.
- The delightful exit.