What Is Man’s Lease?

Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men. – Psalm 90:3

One would imagine, from the way in which some men talk, that we were freeholders, or at least had a lease for nine hundred and ninety-nine years. The truth is, we are but tenants at will. We may possess the tenement, in which our soul now finds a house for itself, together with its appurtenances and outhouses, for the term of seventy years, and the tenure may even be prolonged to fourscore years, or even to a longer period in rare cases. But at no one time is the tenure altered. We always occupy from moment to moment. Our lease is not for three, seven, fourteen, or twenty-one years, nor is it even from day to day, or from hour to hour—but from second to second we hold precarious possession. We are tenants at the absolute will of God. The commencement of a day never secures the ending of it to us alive, and the striking of the clock, as the commencement of the hour, is no guarantee that we shall hear it strike again. Every second, we hold our lives, and goods, and chattels upon the sole tenure of the divine will. God has but to say to us, “Return, ye children of men,” and we return to the dust. Flowers are not more frail, moths more fragile, bubbles more unsubstantial, or meteors more fleeting than man’s life. What transient things we are! I said, We are, but I made a mistake—we are not. We but begin to be, and ere we are, we are not. It is God alone who can say, “I AM.” None of the human race should dare to pronounce those words. ~ C.H. Spurgeon


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