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The Hope of Immortality. For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down that it will sprout again, and that the tender branci thereof will not cease. Though the root thereo wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground; yet through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant. If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands. My heart and my flesh faileth, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
God created man to be immortal. He made him an image of his own eternity. The souls of the righteous are in the hands of God, and there shall no evil touch them. In the sight of the unwise they seem to die; and their going from us is thought to be destruction. But they are in peace. Their hope is full of immortality.
The righteous live for evermore. Their reward is with the Lord; and they are in the care of the Most High. They shall receive a glorious kingdom and a beautiful crown from the Lord's hand.
The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? That which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die; and that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.
All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one
kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.
There are also celestial bodies and bodies terrestrial; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.
There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars ; for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the higher life of the dead.
It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption : it is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power : it is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy; and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
For we know that if our earthly house of this
tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.
And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. And I heard a voice from heaven saying, Blessed are the dead. They rest from their labors; and their works do follow them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more ; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.
For the city hath no need of the sun, neither of the moon to shine in it; for the glory of God doth lighten it. And the nations shall walk in the light of it. The gates of it shall not be shut at all; and there shall be no night there.
And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
This life is only a prelude to eternity, where we are to expect another state of things. We have no prospect of heaven here, but at a distance: let
us, therefore, expect our last hour with courage. The last I say to our bodies, but not to our minds. The day which we fear as our last is but the birthday of eternity. What we fear as a rock proves to be a harbor. He who dies young has only made a quick voyage of it. What if death comes ? If it does not stay with us, why should we fear it?
What it is we know not. And it were rash to condemn what we do not understand. But this we presume, either we shall pass out of this life into a better one, where we shall live in diviner mansions, or else return to our first principles, free from any sense of inconvenience.
That which we call death is but a pause or suspension, and in truth a progress to life: only our thoughts look downward upon the body, and not forward upon things to come.
It is the care of a wise and good man to look to his manners and actions; and rather how well he lives than how long. To die sooner or later is not the business, but to die well or ill; for death brings us to immortality.
Those of us who think that death is an evil are
There is great reason to hope that death is a good. For one of two things: either death is a state of nothingness and utter unconsciousness, or there is a migration of the soul from this world to another.
Now, if there is no consciousness, but a sleep, undisturbed by dreams, death will be a gain; for eternity is then but a single night.
But if death is the journey to another place, and there all the dead are, what good, O my friends, can be greater than this ? What would not a man give, if he might converse with Orpheus and Musæus and Hesiod and Homer? Nay, if this be true, let me die again and again. I shall have a wonderful interest in there meeting and conversing with the heroes of old.
Above all, I shall then be able to continue my search into knowledge. What delight would there be in conversing with (the great and good] and asking them questions !
[And] besides being happier in that world than in this, they will be immortal, if what is said is true.
Wherefore, be of good cheer about death, and know of a certainty that no evil can happen to a good man either in life or after death. To die and be released [is] better for me. I am not angry
my condemners or with my accusers. They have done me no harm, although they did not intend to do me any good; and for this I may gently blame them.
The hour of departure has arrived, and we go our ways,
I to die and you to live. Which is better God only knows.
The soul, which cannot die, merits all the moral and intellectual improvement we can possibly give it. A Spirit, formed to live forever, should be making continual advances in virtue and wisdom. At death, such a soul is conducted by its invisible guardian to the heights of heavenly felicity, where