The World Passes Away!

The World Passes Away!

(by Horatius Bonar)

The things that are seen are temporal.
Ours is a dying world, and here we have no
continuing city. But a few years, it may be
less, and all things here are changed.

Like a dream of the night, the world passes
away. We lie down to rest; we fall asleep; we
dream; we awake at morn; and lo, all is fled
that in our dream seemed so stable and so
pleasant! So hastes the world away. O child of
mortality, have you no brighter world beyond?

Like the mist of the morning
, the world
passes away. The night brings down the
mists upon the hills, the vapor covers the
valleys; the sun rises, all has passed off,
hill and vale are clear. So the world passes
off, and is seen no more. O man, will you
embrace a world like this? Will you lie down
upon a mist, and say, "This is my home"?

Like a shadow,
the world passes away.
There is nothing more unreal than a shadow.
It has no substance, no being. It is dark, it
is a figure, it has motion, that is all! Such is
the world. O man will you chase a shadow?
What will a shadow do for you?

Like a wave of the sea
, the world passes
away. It rises, falls, and is seen no more.
Such is the history of a wave. Such is the
story of the world. O man will you make
a wave your portion? Have you no better
pillow on which to lay your wearied head
than this? A poor world this for human heart
to love, for an immortal soul to be filled with!

Like a rainbow
, the world passes away.
The sun throws its colors on a cloud, and for
a few minutes all is brilliant. But the cloud shifts,
and the brilliance is all gone. Such is the world.
With all its beauty and brightness; with all its
honors and pleasures; with all its mirth and
madness; with all its pomp and luxury; with
all its revelry and riot; with all its hopes and
flatteries; with all its love and laughter; with
all its songs and splendor; with all its gems
and gold, it vanishes. And the cloud that knew
the rainbow knows it no more. O man, is a passing
world like this all that you have for an inheritance?

Like a flower
, the world passes away.
Beautiful, very beautiful; fragrant, very
fragrant, are the summer flowers. But
they wither away. So fades the world
from before our eyes. While we are looking
at it, and admiring it, behold, it is gone!
No trace is left of all its loveliness but a
little dust! O man, can you feed on flowers?
Can you dote on that which is but for an hour?
You were made for eternity; and only that
which is eternal can be your portion or your
resting place. The things that perish with the
using only mock your longings. They cannot fill
you; and even if they filled, they cannot abide.
Mortality is written on all things here;
immortality belongs only to the world to come.

Like a ship at sea
, the world passes away.
With all its sails set, and a fresh breeze blowing,
the vessel comes into sight, passes before our
eye in the distance, and then disappears.
So comes, so goes, so vanishes away this
present world, with all that it contains. A few
hours within sight, then gone! The wide sea
over which it sailed as calm or as stormy
as before; no trace anywhere of all the life
or motion or beauty which was passing
over it! O man, is that vanishing world your
only dwelling place? Are all your treasures,
your hopes, your joys laid up there? Where
will all these be when you go down to the
tomb? Or where will you be when these
things leave you, and you are stripped of all
the inheritance which you are ever to have
for eternity? It is a poor heritage at the best,
and its short duration makes it poorer still.
Oh, choose the better part, which shall not
be taken from you!

Like a tent in the desert
, the world passes
away. They who have traveled over the
Arabian sands know what this means. At
sunset a little speck of white seems to rise
out of the barren waste. It is a traveler's tent.
At sunrise it disappears. Both it and its inhabitant
are gone. The wilderness is as lonely as before.
Such is the world. Today it shows itself;
tomorrow it disappears. O man, is that your
home? Will you say of it, "This is my rest," when
we tell you that there is a rest, an everlasting
rest, remaining for the people of God?

message from heaven. All flesh is grass, and all
the goodness thereof as the flower of the field.

But God ever lives. He is from everlasting to
everlasting; the King eternal and immortal.

But man is immortal. Eternity lies before each
son of Adam as the duration of his lifetime.
In light or in darkness forever! In joy or in
sorrow forever!

What then? This is the question that so deeply
concerns man. If the world is to vanish away,
and man is to live forever, of what importance
is it to know where and what we are to be
forever! Life is no plaything, and time is no
child's toy, to be flung away. Life here is the
beginning of the life which has no end; and
time is but the gateway of eternity.

What then? You must, O man, make sure
of a home in that world into which you are
so soon to pass. One who had lived a worldly
life at last lay down to die; and when about
to pass away he uttered these terrible words,
"I am dying, and I don't know where I am going."
Another in similar circumstances cried out,
"I am within an hour of eternity and all is dark."
O man of earth, it is time to awake!

In the cross there is salvation; nowhere else.
In the day of darkening prospects, of thickening
sorrows, of heavy burdens, of pressing cares;
when friends depart, when riches fly away, when
disease oppresses us, when poverty knocks at
our door; then the cross shines out, and tells
us of a light beyond this world's darkness,
the Light of Him who is the light of the world.


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