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Life Is Short

James Watkins is an entrepreneur, musician, historian, and author of three non-fiction books. James enjoys people, music, film, and reading

The Good Life

That life is of short continuance, and is disquieted by many molestations, every person knows, and every person feels; and the complaint . . . has been continued, and will be continued, through all human generations.

To consider the shortness of life, is not an employment to which the mind recurs for solace or diversion; or to which it is invited by any hope of immediate delight. It is one of those intellectual medicines, of which the nauseous essence often obstructs the benefit.

Many things which are not pleasant may be salutary; and among them is the just estimate of human life, which may be made by all with advantage, though by very few with delight. As it is the business of a traveler to view the way before him, whatever dangers may threaten, or difficulties obstruct him, and however void may be the prospect of elegance or pleasure; it is our duty, in the pilgrimage of life, to proceed with our eyes open, and to see our state; not as hope or fancy may delineate it, but as it has been in reality appointed by divine Providence.

SO MANY HAD HOPES FOR US

SO MANY HAD HOPES FOR US

What Is the Purpose of Life

We see the daily descent into the grave of those whom we love or fear, admire or detest; we see one generation pass, and another passing, see possessions daily changing their owners, and the world, at very short intervals, altering its appearance, and should want to be reminded that life is short.

The business of life is to work out our salvation; and the days are few, in which provision must be made for eternity. We all stand upon the brink of the grave; of that state, in which there is no repentance. He whose life is extended to its utmost natural boundaries, can live but a little while; and that he shall be one of those who are comparatively said, to live long, no man can tell. Our days are not only few, but uncertain.

SPRING BREAK ACAPULCO

SPRING BREAK ACAPULCO

God is Not in Their Thoughts

Let the most candid and charitable observer take cognizance of the general practice of the world; and what can be discovered but gay thoughtlessness, or sordid industry? It seems that to secure their calling and election is the care of the few. Of the greater part it may be said, that God is not in their thoughts.

One forgets him in his business, another in his amusements; one in eager enjoyment of today, another in solicitous contrivance for tomorrow. Some die amidst the gratifications of luxury, and some in the tumults of contests undecided, and purposes uncompleted. Warnings are multiplied, but without notice.

GRIM REAPER

GRIM REAPER

The Shortness of Life

Among those that live thus wholly occupied by present things, there are some, in whom all sense of religion seems extinct or dormant; who gratify themselves within their own accustomed circle of amusements, or limit their thoughts by the attainment of their present pursuit; and, without allowing themselves to be interrupted by the unwelcome thoughts of death and judgment, congratulate themselves on their prudence or felicity, and rest satisfied with what the world can offer them; not that they doubt, but forget, a future state; not that they disbelieve their own immortality, but that they never consider it.

To these persons it is surely proper to represent the shortness of life, and to remind them that human acquisitions and enjoyments are of few days; and that, whatever value may be assigned them by perverted opinions, they certainly want durability; that the fabric of terrestrial happiness has no foundation that can long support it; that every hour, however enlivened by gaiety, or dignified by splendor, is a part subtracted from the sum of life; that age advances alike upon the negligent and the anxious; that every moment of delight makes delight the shorter.

WHERE WE ALL END UP

WHERE WE ALL END UP

All is Vanity

To him who turns his thoughts late to the duties of religion, the time is not only shorter, but the work is greater. The more sin has prevailed, with the more difficulty is its dominion resisted. Habits are formed by repeated acts, and therefore old habits are always strongest.

The mode of life, to which we have been accustomed, and which has entwined itself with all our thoughts and actions, is not quitted but with much difficulty. The want of those vanities, which have hitherto filled the day, is not easily supplied. Accustomed pleasures rush upon the imagination; the passions clamor for their usual gratifications; and sin, though resolutely shaken off, will struggle to regain its former hold.

ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY

ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY

TRINITY CHURCH CEMETERY NEW YORK CITY

TRINITY CHURCH CEMETERY NEW YORK CITY

What About the Afterlife?

The immediate effect of the numerous calamities, with which human nature is threatened, or afflicted, is to direct our desires to a better state.

When we know, that on every side we are beset by dangers; that our condition admits many evils which cannot be remedied, but contains no good which cannot be taken from us; that pain lies in ambush behind pleasure, and misfortune behind success; that we have bodies subject to innumerable maladies, and minds liable to endless perturbations; that our knowledge often gives us pain, by presenting our wishes such felicity as is beyond our reach, and our ignorance is such, that we often pursue, with eagerness, what either we cannot attain, or what, if we could attain it, disappoints our hopes; when we find ourselves forsaken by ingratitude; when those who love us fall into the grave; and we see ourselves considered as aliens and strangers by the rising generation; it seems that we must by necessity turn our thoughts to another life, where, to those who are well prepared for their departure, there will no longer be pain or sorrow.

CEMETERY OMAHA BEACH, NORMANDY

CEMETERY OMAHA BEACH, NORMANDY

Be Wise My Friend

The power of doing good is not confined to the wealthy. He that has nothing else to give, may often give advice. Wisdom likewise has benefits in its power.

A wise man may reclaim the vicious, and instruct the ignorant, may quiet the throbs of sorrow, or disentangle the perplexities of conscience. He may compose the resentful, encourage the timorous, and animate the hopeless.

In the multifarious afflictions, with which every state of human life is acquainted, there is place for a thousand offices of tenderness; so that he, whose desire is to do good, can never be long without an opportunity; and every opportunity that Providence presents, let us seize it with eagerness, and improve with diligence; remembering that we have no time to lose, for "man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble." JOB 14:1

Dr. Samuel Johnson

This is an edited (by yours truly, for brevity) version of a sermon written by Dr. Samuel Johnson about 260 years ago.

Dr. Johnson created the Dictionary of the English Language, published in 1755 after nine years of work. He was an astounding author, journalist, literary critic, and intellectual. He wrote many poems, novels and essays. He was not a preacher, but wrote some sermons, including the one that the above is derived from, for pastors to preach.

Comments

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 14, 2011:

olgakhumlo— Thank you for your gracious laudations toward my work here on HubPages. I am humbly grateful for your encouraging words. God Bless You!

olga khumlo from Mira Road Mumbai India on January 13, 2011:

Dear James ,Honestly you are God's chosen one to strike out loud and clear of His eternal salvation.I wonder at the way you portray your hubs.Awesome! God bless you .

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 11, 2011:

vocalcoach— Thank you! I appreciate your interest in my works. It is rewarding to receive your recognition. I appreciate the blessings and love and return the same to you. :)

Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on January 09, 2011:

Magnificent and sterling hub, James. I am so very glad I read this. Great writing. I save all of your hubs to re-read from time to time. Blessings and love to you!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 08, 2010:

fetty— I am humbled by your gracious remarks. Thank you so much for your affirmation and encouragement. You are precious. :-)

fetty from South Jersey on September 08, 2010:

Your writing ability never ceases to amaze me. The two non-believers only add to the premise . I agree with others that you are always so cordial to detractors. You are living your faith, James. Amazing hub.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 07, 2010:

caretakerray— Thank you for these kind words, my friend.

James

caretakerray on September 07, 2010:

Beautiful Hub Tony. Gives one something to conteplate.

caretakerray

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 27, 2009:

Mina Lincoln— Thank you and welcome to the Hub Pages Community. I will be reading your work soon and I look forward to it.

Mina Lincoln from Arlington, Texas on August 27, 2009:

This is a wonderfully written Hub James.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 18, 2009:

Tom Whitworth— Thank you for reading my piece and you are welcome. I am pleased you enjoyed it. There has been some vitriol and I agree with your assessment of its origin. God's work does show itself in His creation.

I want to thank you for your outstanding commentary. I enjoyed hearing your thoughts.

Tom Whitworth on August 18, 2009:

James,

I enjoyed your Hub greatly, and I thank you for writing it. I always read the comments to see the reactions of others. I recognize the view of quark and it seen expresses by such as Bill Mahre. He never has a constructive comment concerning religion or spirituality. I believe such vitriol is inspired by fear much like many forms of hatred. That fear is born of self loathing, and envy (misery loves company). The fear-hatred connection is expressed in most types of poor behavior. I remember the gleeful proclamations of the 60"s, "God is dead", not mine brother.

Faith doesn't lend itself to "proof", and that is the exact reason it's called faith. I was educated as an applied scientist (engineer), and I see God's work in many occurances. Evolution? Why not if that is how God wanted it. The Big Bang? Same answer as evolution. But also in many countless ways each and every day God gives me to do so.

I do not know God's mind nor his methods, but should that be sufficient to be a non believer? I think not. If we had all the answers there would be no reason for faith.

Thanks brother. Peace, Love, and Faith.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 12, 2009:

ftgfmom— I am glad you enjoyed it. You are welcome and thank you. I have enjoyed your Hubs.

ftgfmom on August 12, 2009:

I enjoyed this hub also, and thank you for all your kind words.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 12, 2009:

Royal Diadem— I was feeling a little discouraged today and then I find this lovely message from you, that has immediately lifted my spirits. Thank you very much.

You are a fine writer and I enjoy your Hubs a bunch. :-)

Royal Diadem on August 12, 2009:

James I could only hope to be half the writter you are. Thank you for taking the time to read my writtings. Thank you for the encouragement that you give. I am so glad you are still with us, It would have been a trememdous lost to Hubpages and us readers who love your work so much.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 10, 2009:

Timely— I thank you profusely! I had read some comments you made on another Hub and then read your profile and titles. Very interesting! I look forward to reading your work, and I appreciate the visitation. :D

Timely from United States on August 10, 2009:

Being as this is the first Hub I have read of yours, I am in awe of your talent! God truly has blessed you with ability to convey emotions that are deeply set. I have a lot to learn! Thank you for allowing me to vision the possibilities. Your newest fan!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 10, 2009:

jesusmyjoy— Your remarks reflect a heart full of wisdom. Thank you for your Hubs in service to the Kingdom. I enjoy them. I appreciate your visit here.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 10, 2009:

qwark— You are mistaken about logic and reason being in opposition to the Truth. Perhaps you could read Plato and get back to me.

Believers do live by Hope. You are right. But the apostolic fathers were not driven by greed or a need to control. That shows that you have evolved to utter ignorance. On the contrary, the Christian Church was founded under 300 years of persecution, poverty and martyrdom. You are way out of your depth in a field in which you have no knowledge—or you wouldn't say such ignorant things. And that history is not full of death, though death is the normal end of man, that much is true. The greatest century of death in human history—250 million dead in the 20th Century—was the result of Darwinism and Atheism.

Monotheism will never die as in fact it has grown in the number of adherents in the past ten years faster than the general population growth.

Since your father is the father of lies, I am not surprised that you cannot come up with one word of Truth. Because the Truth is not in you. God Bless You, you poor creature.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 10, 2009:

Doodlelyn— Welcome to the Hub Pages Community. These days are indeed short. I want to thank you for visiting my Hub and leaving behind your warm words. I look forward to reading your work as well.

Betty Bolden from Bucyrus Ohio on August 10, 2009:

Nice writing, death we all have to do someday..we just need to know where we are going, we need to know who we trust and what our purpose is..which is only to glorify God in our lives.

qwark on August 09, 2009:

Arch Dynamics...

I'm sorry to disappoint you..:-) I cannot "reduce" my responses, referencing a subject that only the lesser evolved of human life relate to: "god/s," using logic and reason and do it with "aplomb" Why?..because Logic and reason exist as the antithesis of fear inspired, monotheistic fiction.

Mr. Watkins and those who guide their lives by religious "faith" (hope), guess and opinion, thoughtlessly follow in the footsteps of their primitive, ignorant, forefathers who were driven by greed and a "need" for control. Their history was rife with death and destruction.

Monotheism still exists as the bane of human progress and has fragmented mankind to a point, in "it's" evolution, that may, in the not to distant future, create the potential for "it's" demise.

I have written a "Hub" dedicated to the subject "fanaticism." Mr. Watkins epitomizes my conclusions.

Finis.

Qwark

DoodleLyn from Upstate New York, USA on August 09, 2009:

"The business of life is to work out our salvation, and the days are few." Wow, very powerful message in this hub, James. I appreciate your insight and grasp of His truths. Thank you for sharing so eloquently on such a difficult topic. I'm fairly new here on HP, and just discovered you. I will definitely read more of your hubs. I'm not sure what the comment about your leaving was about, but I do hope you will stay.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 09, 2009:

KStyle— Thank you for your laudatory remarks.

"We are but a moment's sunlight; fading on the grass"

You are altogether welcome.

KStyle on August 09, 2009:

James you are a remarkable writer. Life is Short and we all need reminding sometimes. Trinity is a solstice for Mankind to embrace.

Thanks again for this hub.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 09, 2009:

Royal Diadem— Nice name, by the way.

God will redeem your time because you are a good and faithful servant.

I love that video!!! I am surprised more folks haven't commented on it.

Thank you for visiting. I intend to read more of your work tonight. :-)

Royal Diadem on August 09, 2009:

James this statement here hit’s home to me, you said, “To him who turns his thoughts late to the duties of religion, the time is not only shorter, but the work is greater. The more sin has prevailed, with the more difficulty is its dominion resisted.” When I think about the wasted years, struggling to know Jesus, now I know Him and is willing to be committed to Him, I find that there is not enough time to do the things I want to do in order that I can visually see my efforts in the growth of the Kingdom of God. The hard part, it is harder to witness of Jesus redeeming feature. Death awaits us, and I must admit at times, the ideal of death is frightening. However, it is something that we must all face. Good topic again video mind blaster.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 09, 2009:

asalvani— I thank you kindly for your support. I will read your Hub, too.

asalvani from London, UK on August 09, 2009:

Hey, i really enjoy your hubs and keep wiriting as i will follow you.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 06, 2009:

David,

Welcome the Hub Pages Community! There are plenty of fine folks in here. I believe you'll enjoy it and judging from your web site and your first Hub, you have a lot to offer. You are wise and a fine writer. And you once were a great bass player, too! :D

David on August 06, 2009:

Hello Everybody,

Well thanks to James I finally joined. I am now known as David W (Wheeler)https://hubpages.com/profile/David+W

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 05, 2009:

dara— One must keep a sense of humor in the Hub Pages, believe me!

I think you should do a HUB about your art or I'll do it for you—with your permission?

dara on August 05, 2009:

Thank you kindly for your graciousness

Oh... and great comeback to ArchDynamics.Yes!

No offense Arch...I do appreciate your critical thought. Besides this ii all kind of funny.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 05, 2009:

JAMES! My name sake. You know . . . I think a HUB on the General Epistles is in order. Thank you for coming back!

R Burow from Florida, United States on August 05, 2009:

"Only one life, will soon be past. Only what's done for Christ will last." As life is a vapor, it behooves us to get busy doesn't it. Thank you James. Keep telling the truth.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 05, 2009:

ArchDynamics— LOL! I assume Beelzebub is still lurking.

ArchDynamics on August 05, 2009:

I hope Quark comes back. Things were just starting to get interesting.

What Sterno is to the wandering indigent, Quark is to the rest of us. We're either drinking it or it's heating us up.

Beelezebub-i-liciousness at its best.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 05, 2009:

ibjennyjenny— You're welcome. I will go take a look at your first Hub. Congratulations!

ibjennyjenny on August 05, 2009:

James...I have just posted one..yeah. I am a photographer so most of my hubs will most likely be wrapped around photographs of animals and nature, hope you will enjoy them. Thanks again.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 05, 2009:

David— You are welcome brother. Though this thread probably opened up old feelings of sorrow, I know they are not far from your mind at any time. It is just that way in this Vale of Tears.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 05, 2009:

ibjennyjenny— You are welcome. I know this has been a tough year for you. Thank you for sharing in this thread. David has certainly been there. He is one of my oldest and best friends, though distance does not allow us to see each other.

Hey! I joined your fan club but you have no Hubs! When can we expect one? :-)

David on August 05, 2009:

Jenny,

I am happy to help in any way. I sent you an email with more detail of that event. Hope your junk filter doesn't trash it. God Bless

James,

I know you are more connected to my story than others, because you knew my wife. Thanks for your kind words.

ibjennyjenny on August 05, 2009:

James, thank you, this is my wish for you as well. My appreciation for this wonderful life we are given has grown so much through this experience. I take no day for granted nor the opportunity to share my feelings with those around me. Today matters more than any other day, as tomorrow is not yet here and we cannot guarantee it will be at all. I love deeper and I live fuller than ever before.

And just now, as I type this, I realize that with Patrick's suicide has come a positive...thank you.

ibjennyjenny on August 05, 2009:

David,

Thank you...really. It is sad that you have also had to experience the pain that is left by suicide, we are survivors and I through our grief I find comfort in knowing I am not alone in this.

What a tragedy, for you and for your children, I hope they have come to terms as much as possible with such a traumatic event in their lives, this is my hope for you as well.

For me, I am trying to make my way through the fog, I hope someday I will, like you, be able to accept the unacceptable, at the moment, that is difficult for me as there are many layers to this. With Patrick's suicide, he left a note and in his note, I was named the reason. Logically, I know this was his action and only he can own it but my heart, it wonders what it was that I could have done different.

I can't go back which is what probably hurts the most, so many things I needed to say to him, so many things. I hope wherever he is now, he can hear me and I hope he knows how much he meant to me.

Thank you for taking the time David...your words bring comfort.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 05, 2009:

dara— My old friend! How pleased I am to see you here. Life is miraculous. I agree with that alright. I especially love that last paragraph of his about the power of doing good whilst we are here. He certainly was an amazing writer.

I am grateful that you left your wise words here today. :D

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 05, 2009:

rkmertz— Thank you. Welcome to Hub Pages!

I am going to read your latest Hub later today. :-)

dara on August 05, 2009:

Yes, every day we must be grateful and try to be better people. Many of us humans end up so flawed and sometimes defeated by life but, no matter what need to over come our burdens and love the life given to us. Every form of life on earth is miraculous as is every moment.

What an amazing writer this guy was. I will have to come back to this Hub and delve deeper sometime.

rkmertz on August 05, 2009:

These are some really interesting perspectives. Thanks for sharing...

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 05, 2009:

David,

I feel your pain all these years later. It was heartbreaking and shocking what happened with Laura. I am so sorry for the devastation to your family.

Thank you for a great response to this hurting lady, Jen. With your experience, your words are much more effective that mine and it is gracious of you to share your story and the outcome with her. God Bless You, Brother.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 05, 2009:

Jen— Your message is profoundly sad. Those who commit suicide usually leave a lot of pain in their wake. You are so right—so many would give anything for just one more day. In the end, it is relationships that matter. I hope when you go, you will be surrounded by loved ones. Thank you for reading and writing. God Bless You.

David on August 05, 2009:

Jen,

People do things in a moment of weakness that have a great influence on those who love them. In 1989 my ex-wife committed suicide. She was raised in church, and as an adult had embraced Christ as her savior; yet, in one moment of weakness had come to believe that death was preferable to life.

We had been divorced since 1986 and our children were living with me except during the summer when they went to stay with their mother (we lived in different states 500 miles apart).

Sadly, for the first time in three years I was finally willing to reconcile and reunite the family. I had refused to let her come home in the past and now I finally wanted her to come home. From my point of view it was a happy time for us, we were finally leaving the hurtful (for the both of us) past behind and talking of a future.

Then she killed herself, I was completely devastated. Our two children were young, but not too young to remember that they needed their mother, they were devastated too. Even now 20 years later I sometimes grieve for her, but then we had spent eleven years together before the divorce.

Dearest Jen, no matter what the situation, sometimes people do things in a moment of weakness that cannot be undone. And in the case of suicide those who are left alive are the ones who are left hurt and hurting. I had to learn to accept the unacceptable.

It’s been twenty years now and we’ve had some good times and some not so good times. But, my children are grown and have their own families. We learned to go on living with our loss.

The Bible says, “to him that is joined to all the living there is hope.” (Ecclesiastes 9:4) So I never give up hope, no matter how impossible the situation may seem.

Your friend,

David

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 05, 2009:

Connie,

I am graceful alright . . . for a bull in a China Shop! :D

That's right; I preached it first and then gave credit where credit is due. The great Dr. Johnson says it far better than I ever could so I thought his own words would be better than a cheap imitation.

Thank you for your gracious words of encouragement. Always a pleasure to hear from you.

Jen on August 05, 2009:

Interesting I would come across this at this time...in four days it will be 1 year since my best friend Patrick killed himself at my home.

This last year has been so full of so many misplaced thoughts, I struggle still today trying to put them in their proper place.

Life is absolutely too short and when it becomes shorter than what we anticipate, it becomes confusing and frightening. I have never thought about death much in the past, I was raised Catholic and have a very strong Faith.

The questions left behind by suicide shake the very foundation of what beliefs are made of....

So many of us would give anything for one more day and he made the choice to leave.

Connie Smith from Tampa Bay, Florida on August 04, 2009:

James, as always you amaze me with your grace even with those who disagree with your beliefs and I noticed that there was one or two. It does take courage to stand out for what you believe in and I admire that. Though you were accused of plagarism, you did attribute the work, so no one can really go there, albeit it was late in the work. Also, since Dr. Johnson wrote it as a sermon to be preached you were just doing with it here what it was intended for. :)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 04, 2009:

Connie,

Hey! It's great to see you again. Perhaps this Hub was a bit tricky. I don't think most folks would recognize Dr. Johnson's name these days so I waited til the end for attribution. Added a bit of mystery and intrigue there! :D

Thanks for coming by and leaving your comments. I'm glad you did.

Connie Smith from Tampa Bay, Florida on August 04, 2009:

It is funny that part way through this, I was wondering where you were going with this...was it a poem (as it is not your writing style and quite lyrical ) or have you jumped off the deep end? Sorry, but I had a cousin who did and turned very religious. After he recuperated, he ended up being a preacher and one of the best ones around. Sadly, the Grim Reaper took him long before his time, but he is still much loved by all. (Okay, so back to the hub)...in the middle of all that, I thought maybe you missed your calling and YOU should be a preacher. Then at the end, I found out it was a sermon after all, only not your sermon. Still, I have to agree that time is so short for us all. Every day we have is blessed.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 04, 2009:

David,

I am guessing King Solomon. :D

Mercy and Compassion. Well, you have said it. There is where it is. As a matter a fact, Dr. Johnson has a incredible sermon about those two words that I might just truncate at a later time. For some reason, the Spirit moved me to do this one at this moment. I hope it wasn't for me.

Your commentary is wonderful, David. I enjoyed it so and I am sure others will, too. It is edifying. Thank you for adding much to the thread. I love you, Brother.

David on August 04, 2009:

Reading this, I am reminded that no matter where we are in life, we certainly are capable of appreciating the life that we have had thus far. Even if we have lived in destitute poverty, financially, emotionally, and or spiritually; the fact that we are alive offers the opportunity to have life and to change it for the better; because no matter what our situation we are given the freedom within our hearts.

Even the devout atheist has faith. Though it may be in something other than a God or gods; yet faith is part of humanity. And though “the living know that they shall die, but the dead now not anything”, many of us will go on blindly ignoring the faith within themselves.

Sadly, we humans as a whole, while knowing that we shall surely die, for the most part live each day as if we shall never die. But as a wise man once said, “What profit hath a man of all his labor which he takes under the sun? One generation passes away, and another generation comes: but the earth abides forever. The sun also rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to his place where he arose. The wind goes toward the south, and turns about unto the north; it whirls about continually, and the wind returns again according to his circuits. All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again. All things are full of labor; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.”

Knowing this many have built cities, monuments and/or fortunes to their name hoping not to be like cattle forgotten.

It would do all of us good to remember that we only have the moment which we now have and it is a wise thing to make the best of the moment that we have right now.

To me the best legacy is one that speaks of mercy and compassion to those around us. History of the Pharaohs of Egypt proves that even if you take it with you it will only be there temporarily. But, no one can take away the acts of compassion given to another, even if history doesn’t remember.

Thanks for the Hub James

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 04, 2009:

febriedethan— I love your philosophy! I lost a cousin who was like a sister to me at 46 last year. I empathize with you. Thank you for your kind comments!

febriedethan from Indonesia on August 04, 2009:

What a wonderful hub James, yes life is short I lost one of my cousin (he's only 22 years old) and you will never know what will happen tomorrow.

Now I just focus on spreading the Word of God through my writing (like : repent, believe in Jesus, be baptized, Jesus will come soon,etc)and enjoy life with the ones you love (family,friends,etc). That's how I fill my life :)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 04, 2009:

qwark— The answer to your question, obviously, is that human beings do not DESERVE immortality. It is given by Grace from God the Creator to those who accept His Son as their Savior. That is why I said "You don't" because it is apparent that you don't.

Every adjective you used to describe me is false, as is every word that proceeds out of your mouth. I recognize you easily, Beelzebub.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 04, 2009:

the spectator— Your comments are savory. I thank you very much for them. I love the thoughts of, and the incredible use of the human language by Dr. Johnson. I appreciate your visit and wisdom.

qwark on August 03, 2009:

Mr. Watkins...Why is it that you primitive believers in mythical supernatural entities respond with such trite comments? I ask a serious question: "Now, please explain to me, logically, why we simple creatures deserve immortality?" and you reply: " I'll answer your last question with two words: YOU DON'T'.. no reasoned response. I can only judge you as being frightened primitive, unevolved religious sycophant. Certainly not to be considered to be credible in reference to the subjects you write about. You have nothing of intellectual value to offer. Finis.

Qwark

Ken Seagle from North Carolina on August 03, 2009:

James - "...we see ourselves considered as aliens and strangers by the rising generation..." There are passages which rival crescendos from Haydn or Bach that come from the pen of Dr. Johnson...passages which come so near to proving Universal Truths.

Dr. Johnson's well ran deep. The deeper the well, the cooler and sweeter the water.

That there are those who have Dr. Samuel Johnson on their bookshelves - much less read him and are passionate enough to share him with others - is, to me, quite remarkable and thrilling. You are bold, sir, admirably bold.

Thank you for another excursion into sanity.

P.S. I love your use of the word 'penultimate' in one of the comments above. It has been far too long since I have either heard or read that word.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 03, 2009:

qwark— I'll answer your last question with two words: YOU DON'T

I just went to your profile and unless I misunderstood you: not one person besides you understands the universe. WOW!

I cannot even begin to address such a superior intellect. But I will pray for you—that the demonic forces in control of such a pitiful soul will leave you in peace.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 03, 2009:

DynamicS— You are welcome.

Sometimes, the Truth needs to be written plainly, without gentility, to reach the stone-hearted or the procrastinators.

You, though see it clearly; so for you I could have been much more gentle. :D

Thanks for your fine comments.

qwark on August 03, 2009:

Watkins...lol..trite but as expected. Man is but a simple effect of the processes of "natural selection." We are of no greater value in the cosmos than is a dung beetle. Writers to whom you seem to deem to be your "idol" in terms of intellect, are nothing more than ignorant members of an incipient life form which is controlled by the same laws of nature as all other life. We exist as simple animals which have evolved an unique characteristic we call "consciousness." Why do you consider "us" to be "special" in terms of generic life on this earth? Because we can build buildings, fly and perform feats other life cannot? If we don't begin to function as a synergistic unit with the goal of human viability in mind, primitive monotheists will bring the self fulfilling prophecy of armageddon to fruition. We will be reduced to the stone age in one catastrophic moment! Now, please explain to me, logically, why we simple creatures deserve immortality?....

Qwark

Sandria Green-Stewart from Toronto, Canada on August 03, 2009:

Wow! James. We've heard the term "life is short" but you have taken it to the nth degrees. Great job. You made your point vividly and I can't agree with you more that

"The business of life is to work out our salvation; and the days are few..."

Thanks for such thought provoking hub...

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 03, 2009:

ArchDynamics— You are so clever! :-)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 03, 2009:

qwark— Thank you for visiting. I welcome criticism, though it must be pointed out you are the first person I am aware of who ever had the hubris to call Dr. Samuel Johnson puerile and trite. Of all the adjectives you could have chosen, it seems these must have been drawn out of a hat. I don't know who you are, but Samuel Johnson is widely known as one of the towering intellects in history—even by people who disagree with him.

Are humans a special species? Gee, I would think that is rather obvious. When I see man build rocket ships to the moon; magnificent cities filled with awesome architecture; create medical and other technologies (such as the computer you are using); create art such as Michelangelo, Beethoven, Shakespeare; and contemplate philosophy—yes, most men are special. Perhaps not all. At least man knows there is a Milky Way.

There is a difference between quoting and plagiarizing. I attributed this part of this sermon to Dr. Johnson.

There is no such thing as the evolution of man from any other species. Why would you believe such a thing? Have you ever seen any species turn into any other species? Then why do you cling to this false belief that so denies your humanity? Because some scientists told you so? That requires a lot of Faith. I'll stick with Jesus Christ. I think He, and Dr. Johnson, are a little farther up the food chain than you.

ArchDynamics on August 03, 2009:

Perhaps. But 'Babble-licious', nonetheless.

qwark on August 03, 2009:

Mr. Watkins: I read your hub, cursorily. The triteness of your comments was ludicrously puerile. I chuckled as I labored through the profound lack of logic exhibited in this Hub from beginning to end. For some unknown reason, you intimate that we "human" creatures exist as a special species of life on this speck of dust in the Milkyway Galaxy. What on "earth" has given you this idea? Do you suppose that you are but a frightened and ignorant member of a life form that has, through the processes of natural selection, attained a level of consciousness which at this moment in time makes "us" an unique but natural animal which suffers the same beginning and ending as all other kinds of extant life? Please inform this "seeker" of truths, why we exist as a life worthy of "immortality." Please, don't guess or offer only opinion when you reply. You plagiarize well, but I'd like to read words created from your personal thoughts so that I may "judge" you as being "credible" or just another thoughtless lesser evolved monotheist who "babbles." incoherently. Ty.

Qwark

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 03, 2009:

Hxprof— Thank you. Dr. Johnson's sermons are not available on line but they are collected in a fabulous book, "The Supplicating Voice." Highly recommended. I appreciate your gracious comments.

Hxprof on August 03, 2009:

Well thought out-well put together. Christ told us in advance not to be weighted down by the cares of this life, and He told us because it's so easy to fall into that very thing. It is as you say, we're here to work out our salvation: "Work out your own salvation in fear and trembling (with the proper attitude)for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure".

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 03, 2009:

jayb23— You are welcome. Thank you for your kind words.

jayb23 from India on August 03, 2009:

Thanks james for such a wonderful hub. It bought sso many things into perspective. Keep up the good work.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 03, 2009:

ArchDynamics— Jamesian . . . Wow! That kinda has a ring to it!

And sprint we shall, my friend. I think I'll sprint to the Texas Steakhouse!

Thanks for your support.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 03, 2009:

bgpappa— Message received. I'll gird my loins for the attack! :)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 03, 2009:

quietnessandtrust— I love that video! I am surprised you are the first one to mention it. Thanks for swinging by, my drumming friend.

ArchDynamics on August 02, 2009:

Thanks for the usual Jamesian insight and eloquence. I think that, on occasion, perhaps some 'preponderance of pondering' is in order.

A wise and beautiful woman (Ms. Nancy) once said, "We all grow up thinking life is a Journey. When we get a little older, we begin to understand it's a Race. When we get a LOT older, we suddenly realize it's time to SPRINT!"

So, let's get to it!

bgpappa from Sacramento, California on August 02, 2009:

Don't get use to the warmth James, the next political one you write I am attacking with everything I got. Just kidding, got too mushy for my taste.

quietnessandtrust on August 02, 2009:

Looks like I got here late.

So I will just say.

THE VIDEO WAS A TOTAL CRACK UP DUDE.

SHALOM

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 02, 2009:

k@ri— You are welcome. I want to read that Hub of yours. I so appreciate your always thoughtful comments. Thanks for visiting. :-)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 02, 2009:

Jerry Joseph— I am glad to be of service. Thank you! And welcome to the Hub Pages Community.

Kari Poulsen from Ohio on August 02, 2009:

James, Thanks for the reminder of this great truth. This world is just the prologue to another, more lasting, existence. I try to keep my eyes on my home and I will continue to. I wrote in a hub that "My goal is eternal life." I meant it then and I mean it now. This is the truth that I live for. I have often said I can do anything for 3 months when taking a job as a traveler nurse...and this life will be less time than that in eternity.

Jerry Joseph from Elizabeth.New Jersey on August 02, 2009:

what you wrote really help me a lot. great hub

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 02, 2009:

Kebennett1— Then ponder we shall! :)

I love your comments! Thank you for reading.

Kebennett1 from San Bernardino County, California on August 02, 2009:

Very insightful James, as always you give us much to ponder! Life is in fact short, the day nears when it will be too late for many! I know those things that once held such importance in my life, are nothing in comparison to my relationship with my maker and witnessing to family, friends and strangers who I pray will not find themselves lost in death with no hope.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 02, 2009:

Carrie Bradshaw— Thank you for your wonderful commentary. Life is serious business. The Light did come into the world.

"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." JOHN 13:34-35

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 02, 2009:

A Texan— I had not heard about that. I am sure it will be fabulous. Thanks for cluing me in.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 02, 2009:

Cher Anne— Thank you very much. I appreciate your support.

Carrie Bradshaw from Manhattan on August 02, 2009:

I'm thankful we still have "light" in the world, for if God was removed altogether, the motives of the wicked hearts would devour each other in the dark. One reader posted a comment on my hub that we should just focus on this life and make it the best we can, and not worry about life after death (he is not one of faith in anything beyond this life). John 12:25 states, "He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal." (KJV)

This life is but a breath in comparison to eternity. Because we love others, we will have a concern for the lives that end on this earth every second of every day. My days are numbered. I can think that I'm 44 and have 50-60 years left, but I'm not even promised tomorrow here on earth.

This message is so timely for those who want to avoid the truth about death and eternity. The darker it gets here, the more I reach out for Jesus and His light. I thank God His light is in my heart. I remember no matter how great the darkness, even one candle lights the way for all who will follow our Lord.

A Texan on August 02, 2009:

If you liked BoB then get your war face on for "The Pacific" coming to HBO in 2010! Another Hanks and Spielberg collaboration about Marines in WW2

Cher Anne from Earth on August 02, 2009:

Reminds us to remember "the good stuff". Great Insight!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 02, 2009:

Moonchild60— While there is a rather large family of Believers, as shocking as that may be, I agree with you that Natural Law writes on our hearts what is "Right." And you are undoubtedly correct that unbelievers can be highly moral, loving, giving people; and some religious people do terrible things and live selfishly.

Woody Allen said, "I don't mind dying. I just don't want to be there when it happens." I'm with Woody.

Thank you for your mild corrective of Dr. Johnson. I appreciate you visiting and your comments are worthy of reflection.

Moonchild60 on August 02, 2009:

While no one can deny this is a beautifully written piece, once again we are confronted with the "idea" that those who do not believe in religion are morally bankrupt and do not live lives in a certain way and this is so untrue it's shocking that anyone would believe it. I don't think anyone needs religion to inherently know what is "Right" and live a loving and giving life just as there are people who do believe in religion who make selfish choices and do horrible things all the time.

My father (a good Roman Catholic his entire life) asked me, interestingly enough, only a couple of months before he died this past April, "Annie aren't you afraid of dying, don't you worry..."

I gently interrupted him and said "Dad, no, I have never been afraid of dying and you shouldn't be either. It's an adventure. It's just another adventure. We all have to "go home" right?"

"I hope you're right Annie" he replied.

Now he knows I was.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 02, 2009:

Peggy,

Indeed he was!

Your first sentence says it all. Thank you and you are welcome.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 02, 2009:

A Texan— It doesn't get much better than "Band of Brothers." Maybe six months ago I watched the series again and the second time was better than the first. Humans can bring remarkable truths to light through art.

Thanks for your support and encouragement. I appreciate you.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 02, 2009:

Universal Laws— "I remember, I remember . . . they had a swimming pool"

Thank you for visiting. I appreciate your interesting insights.

Namaste

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