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WHAT HEAVEN IS.

WHAT HEAVEN IS.

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Published by glennpease

" Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest.^ — Heb. iv., ii.

" Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest.^ — Heb. iv., ii.

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Published by: glennpease on Jan 11, 2013
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01/11/2013

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WHAT HEAVEN IS.BY CANON FARRAR " Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest.^ — Heb. iv., ii.IN one of our ablest Reviews, a discussion hasbeen going on for some time on the soul andfuture life ; and it is a sign of the large tolerationof the times tnat v)me of the writers not onlyglory in expressing a belief that, apart from hisbody, man has no soul, and no life beyond thegrave — an opinion, the open expression of whichwould, twenty years ago, have been received withoutbursts of indignation ; but have even arrivedat the point of treating with compassionate dis-dain those who still cling to the traditional belief.Now I do not think it needful, brethren, in thisnineteenth century after Christ, to argue with youthat you have souls, and that your life is not asthe life of the beasts that perish. To the end of time the human race will believe this, thoughfrom the dawn of History there have been a fewphilosophers who disputed it Securus judicatorhk krrarum. These speculations have nevero n r* rr -"T oDigitized by VjOOQ IC2 WHAT HEAVEN IS.shaken, will never shake, the fixed convictions of manktnd. Those convictions might have beenexpressed from very early ages in the simpleverse of the poet :
 
** Life is real, life is earnest,And the grave is not its goal ;* Dust thou art, to dust retumest,*Was not spoken of the soul."We may freely concede that, of the separateexistence of the immaterial soul, and our survivalbeyond "the intolerable indignities of dust todust," we have no mathematical demonstrationto offer. But this fact does not in the slightestdegree trouble us, because neither is there anysuch proof of the existence of a God. It is per-fectly easy for a man to say, if he will, " I do notbelieve in a God.' I do not care to offer up anyworship, even of the silent sort, even at the altarof "the unknown and the unknowable." I donot even think it worth while to pray that wildprayer once uttered by a criminal upon the scaf-fold : " O God, if there be a God, save my soul,if I have a soul." A man may say all this, andplume himself on this melancholy abnegation of man's fairest hopes ; on this deliberate suicideof the spiritual faculty ; and if he considers such / Digitized by VjOOQ ICWHAT HEAVEN IS. 3opinions to be a sign of intellectual emancipa-tion, we can offer to him no proof that willnecessarily convince him. When Vanini lay inprison on a charge of atheism, he touched withhis foot a straw which lay on his dungeon-floor,and said, " that from that straw he could provethe existence of God. We can pluck the mean-
 
est flower of the hedgerow, and point to theexquisite perfection of its structure, the tenderdelicacy of its loveliness; we may pick up thetiniest shell out of myriads upon the shore, sodelicate that a touch would crush it, and yet amiracle of rose and pearl, of lustrous iridescenceand fairy arabesque, and ask the atheist if hefeels seriously certain that these things are butthe accidental outcome of self-evolving laws. Wecan take him under the canopy of night, andshow him the stars of heaven, and ask himwhether he really holds them to be nothing morethan "shining illusions of the night, eternalimages of deception in an imaginary heaven,golden lies in dark blue nothingness." Or we maybid him watch with us the flow of the vast streamof history, and see how the great laws of it are asmighty currents "that make for righteousness."Or we may appeal to the inner voices of hisyGooQie4 WHAT HEAVEN IS.being, and ask whether they have indeed nomessage to tell him. But if he deny or rejectsuch arguments as these ; if he treat with arro-gant scorn that evidence of the things unseenwhich has been enough in all ages for themillions of humanity — which was enough inpast times for Dante and Shakespeare, and Mil-ton and Newton — which was enough till yester-day for Brewster, and Whewell, and Herschel,and Faraday; if he demand a kind of proof which is impossible, and which God has withheld,seeing that it is a law that spiritual things canonly be spiritually discerned, and that we walk byfaith and not by sight; if, in short, a man will

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