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humanity, not only in the world of religion, but in the senate, the market, and the home; so that the very phrase "like a Christian," points to the purest and most gracious form of life? Nay, what, if he can even now work from that high world, and, from behind the veil, still pour into men's hearts the fire of his own pure love, the courage
of his own high trusts, and the unselfishness of the old life of Judea, sublimed by the new life of Paradise ? And what if this that has happened to him has happened also to the mighty multitude that no man can number,—who now spend their heavenly life, not in selfish ease and profitless enjoyment, but in harvesting the results of their own seed-sowing, and in still contributing to the mental and moral advances of mankind ? Truly for these, the saying has been abundantly verified—that they should know hereafter.
Bring all this now to ourselves. Think of some whose separation from you has been one of the shadows of your life,-a separation all the more bitter if there has gone, with the departed, unsolved questions, perhaps unhealed wounds, unadjusted misunderstandings. It may be some comfort to you to feel that they know you better now:God grant it may not be a new source of sorrow for you to think that they have found you out,—not as better than they thought you, but as worse. Perhaps you can think of a good mother or father who never saw in you the fruit of culture, anxiety and care spent upon you, who died with their eyes holden, or alas ! with no result of good to be seen: and perhaps the seed is now springing up, and you say: Would to God they could know how I think and feel towards them now! I think they do, and that what they knew not then, they have known in the blessed “ hereafter.” Or is that bliss still to come ? Then think that it may be in your power to make their heaven complete,—to give them now the reward they never found on earth.
Or think of the good you are trying to do. I know only too well how hard it is to go on working with hope deferred and empty store-house ; and all know that well who have tried to do their duty in the world. But the promise of these words comes home to us now like a blessed foretaste of heaven, -"Thou shalt know hereafter.” Longfellow tells the old old story well :
“I shot an arrow into the air ;
It fell to earth, I knew not where !
I found again in the heart of a friend.” A sweet parable, sweetly illustrating this truth; “ Thou shalt know hereafter.” The counsel you thought you had failed in, the teaching you thought you had thrown away, the effort you thought had been in vain,-all shall be found again, like the unbroken arrow in the tree, like the song in the heart of a friend.
Or think of the totality of life, which seems to end so badly, so hopelessly;--for all life does so end that ends
only in a grave. What a compound of riddle and tragedy life is till we hear the Father say,—“Thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter!” But when we do believe in that, how is the burden of life lifted from us ! how hopeful we become, how courageous, how trustful, how happy! The past haunts us no more, the present no longer burdens us, the future we leave to him: and so, as old age comes on, how blithe the spirit may become!like a pilgrim going gladly, home, and no more like a victim passing to his doom. O wondrous victory!-old age, and the new birth beyond old age, welcome alike as an advance to light, and life, and truth—as the realisation of the promise that we shall know all hereafter.
Trust that promise; cling to it; be led by it; let it sing and make melody in your heart: so shall God's peace keep your heart and mind in perfect peace,—and you yourself pass on as one who goes out of darkness into light.
DEATH NOT THE LAST THING,
T was said of Jesus that God raised him up from the
dead, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. This may mean one of two things ;--that Jesus was exceptionally precious to God, and was therefore exceptionally dealt with ; or, that in the very nature of things, as it were, it was not possible that such a being as Jesus could be conquered, and despoiled, and destroyed by death. It is this last thought that commends itself to me; so that I take this writer to mean—that it was not possible such a being as Jesus could be held by death, that he was too precious to really die, that he naturally belonged to the higher life, and so, by a natural law, he, of his own sheer force and glory, winged his heavenly way through the dark valley, out into the unfading sunshine beyond.
Such a thought as this seems to me the most natural in the world. Nature everywhere works for life, for development, for beauty. She is not a wild spendthrift of her creations, and is often most provident where she appears most prodigal. If we take Nature as our guide, --even apart altogether from Religion and the Bible, and our spiritual hopes—we are led straight to this very thought, that the eternal living forces are always working for the preservation and perpetuation of life and power. Even the Atheist has to account for that. Here, before his very eyes, is a power, intelligent or unintelligent it matters not, a power, ever at work, and ever at work for life, and never accepting death as the last thing,-nay, ever working through seeming death to vaster, completer life.
We know what happens every year. We sometimes speak of “the resurrections of summer," but the phrase is inadequate. There are resurrections and something more; and it is always that something more that shows Nature as working for life, as building up new growths on old decays, as pushing on; and “pushing off” some will say; yes, but pushing off only where something better, or something more certain to last, or something more prolific is waiting. It is true that if you let Nature have her way she will let things run down, she will not keep up your fine varieties, she will revert to her own few rough sketches of species : but that is not failure, that is not death, that is a struggle for life, and a struggle that would be successful, in the falling back upon a few hardy fertile kinds.
But Nature is full of suggestions as to this truth that “death is not the last thing, but life.” We have so long talked of “ dead leaves,” and “dead flowers” as to suggest the utterly untrue idea that Nature in both cases had either thus far failed, or had spent an effort which must be considered closed with the decay of the leaf, or the death of the flower. But this is thoroughly inaccurate. The leaf only decays when the new life behind lurks in the bud of the future; and the flower only dies when the