An epitome of all vanity
(Thomas Brooks, "The Crown and Glory of Christianity; or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness" 1662)
"Truly, every man at his best state is altogether vanity!" Psalm 39:5
By Adam's fall, man has become . . .
a pile of dust,
a puff of wind,
a puff of smoke,
a debased soul,
a curious nothing.
Yes, man having fallen from his primitive glory, has become altogether vanity, says the psalmist in Psalm 39:5, "Truly, every man at his best state is altogether vanity!" Truly, every man — not some man, but every man at his best state, when he is in the height and perfection of all creature comforts and contentments — is altogether, not in some measure — but altogether, vanity — all vanity! Since the fall of Adam, every natural man in his best estate is vanity; nay, every man is every vanity. Imagine whatever vanity you will — fallen man is that! He is a comprehensive vanity — he is an epitome of all vanity.
Man before his fall, was the best of creatures; but since his fall, he has become the worst of creatures. By his fall he has fallen below the very beasts that perish. He who was once the image of God, the glory of paradise, the world's ruler, and the Lord's darling — has now become a burden to God, a burden to himself.