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IS LIFE WORTH LIVING

IS LIFE WORTH LIVING

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Published by glennpease
BY CANON FARRAR
BY CANON FARRAR

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Published by: glennpease on Jan 11, 2013
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09/01/2013

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IS LIFE WORTH LIVING?BY CANON FARRAR *' So we that are Thy people, and sheep of Thy pasture, will giveThee thanks forever; and will always be showing forth Thy praise,from generation to generation.** — Ps. bodx., 13.AS the first day of this month was the grandfestival of All Saints, so in past cen-turies the second of November was set apart inhonour of " All Souls." The motives which ledto its abolition were doubtless adequate at thetime, but yet we may be allowed to regret itsabandonment. Undoubtedly there was a certaingrandeur, a certain catholicity, a certain trium-phant faith, a certain indomitable hope in thatancient commemoration of the departed. It wasthe feast of A// Souls. It is true that it wasoriginally intended only for the faithful departed ;for the souls in purgatory. But in the title of the day, at any rate, there was no exceptionmade. On that day men might think, if theywould, of all the souls, of all the innocent littleones that have passed away like a breath of vernal air since time began; of all thd soulsyGooQie22 IS LIFE WORTH LIVING? .which the great, and the wise, and the aged,have sighed forth in pain and weariness afterlong and noble lives ; of all the souls of the wildraces of hunters and fishermen in the boundlessprairies or the icy floes; of all the souls thathave passed, worn and heavy-laden, from the
 
roaring city streets; of all the souls of thosewhose life has ebbed away in the red tide of imnumbered battles, or whose bodies have beendropped into the troubled waves unknelled, un-coffined, and, save to their God, unknown ; of allthe souls, even of the guilty, and of the foolish,and of the miserable, and of those who haverushed by wild self-murder into their Maker^spresence. All Souls' Day was a day of suppli-cation for, of commemoration of, all these. Forthese too are souls that He created ; into thesetoo He breathed the breath of life ; and all theselie in the hollow of His hand as the snows of the countless water lilies — whether white andimmaculate, or torn and stained — lie all on thesilver bosom of the lake. Yes, there is a gran-deur and sublimity in the thoughts of all humansouls, as one by one they have passed away andbeen taken to the mercy of the Merciful ; and aday might well have been set apart to com-yGooQleIS LIFE WORTH LIVING? 2$memorate, in all humble reverence, their awfulimmortality. Our finite imaginations may growdizzy at the thought of these infinite multi-tudes, — these who at each ticking of the clockpass from the one thousand millions of the living;the tribes, the generations, the centuries, the mil-lenniums, the aeons of the dead ; all of which arebut the leaves — green or fallen — of the mightyTree Existence, — the wave after wave of its il-limitable tide. As we think of all these souls, werecall the imagination of the jgreat poet of theInferno^ and seem to be gazing on a white,rushing, indistinguishable whirl of life, sweeping
 
on and on and on, from horizon to horizon, inever lengthening cycles and infinite processions,endless, multitudinous, innumerable, as the motesthat people the sun's beam. To us, inevitably,in this infinitude, all individuality is lost ; humannumeration reels at it. But it is not so withHim to whom is known the number of the starsof the heaven, and the sands of the sea, and by" Every leaf in every nook,Every wave in every brook,"who are heard as they sing forth their unendingpaean all day long. And knowing this, we areyGooQie24 IS LIFE WORTH LIVING? /lot appalled at the thought of these vast multi-tudes, whose bodies are now the dust of the solidearth, even though so many millions of themhave passed away in sin and sorrow, because wecan say with the Holy Psalmist of Israel: "Olet the sorrowful sighing of the prisoners comebefore Thee, according to the greatness of Thypower, save Thou those that are appointed todie; so we, that are Thy people and sheep of Thy pasture, shall give Thee thanks forever,and shall always be shewing forth Thy praisefrom generation to generation."2. But if we cannot say this at all, if wehave lost all faith in God, how does life appearto us then ? There are, alas ! many who havelost their faith in God. My brethren, it is notfor us to judge them or to blame them; nay,we most heartily pity them; not, believe me,

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