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Immortality.

Immortality.

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Published by glennpease

BY REV. THOMAS MARCH CLARK, D.D., LL.D.


This mortal must put on immortality. — 1 Con. 15 : 53.

BY REV. THOMAS MARCH CLARK, D.D., LL.D.


This mortal must put on immortality. — 1 Con. 15 : 53.

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Published by: glennpease on May 09, 2014
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IMMORTALITY. BY REV. THOMAS MARCH CLARK, D.D., LL.D. This mortal must put on immortality. — 1 Con. 15 : 53. If it is difficult for a man to believe in liis own per- sonal imniortalitv, it is equally so to conceive of a final cessation of being. The idea of absolute an- nihilation is not only abhorrent to the feelings, but it is also contradictory to our instincts and intui- tions. And if all life is bounded by a span, we can not help asking, how did this notion of an immor- tal existence ever come to us ? If it is a mere de- lusion, it is the only lie that has been incorporated into the texture of our humanity. Every other in- stinct and intuition has something objective which corresponds to it. The body finds food some- wdiere for the gratification of all its appetites ; the ear was made for hearing, and the air is full of mu- sic ; the eye Avas made to see, and form and color meet it at every glance ; the heart was made to feel, and it is continually touched by experiences, which fill it with sorrow or with joy ; the brain was made to be the instrument of thought, and the material 161 IMMORTALITY. upon wliicli it exercises itself is as varied as it is abundant ; the spirit of man seems to have been made for immortality ; it craves after an unending existence ; and if it could be proved beyond a doubt that it must perish with the destruction of the tab- ernacle whicli it inhabits, there would go up from every tribe and nation one universal burst of exe- cration against the Beiug wlio created the soul.
 
'' But," we are told, " the soul was never created at all — it is only the development of one of the higher species of force, and the result of a peculiar organization. Apart from that physi(*al organiza- tion, we can not conceive of man's existence ; and as the spiritual part of our being originates w^ith the physical, and is subject to all its contingencies, so the actual dissolution of the one must be accom- panied with the destruction of the other." But then we find in man this essential difference w^hich distinguishes him from all other organized beings — there is in him a free, automatic, intelli- gent power, by which he can control his own move- ments and regulate his own development. In all other forms of earthly being, the organism is su- preme ; but man's noblest triumphs are achieved in defiance of his physical organization. And when all his nerves are tingling with fiery passion, and his heart throbbing with strong desire, and his blood IM]\tORTALITY. 165 coursing witli liglitning sj^eed tlirongli liis veins, and his aching brain impelling him to yield, and in the majesty of his ma^nhood he rises np, and says, ^'I will not yield!" then he comes to the con- sciousness of his immortality, for he feels that there is something in him which can defy and sub- due the body, and is not subject to all the miserable contingencies by Avhich it is controlled. " That may sound somewhat grand," is the reply ; " but after all, this notion of immortality must be a delusion, because we can form no actual conception of the future life ; a disembodied soul, as it is some- times called, is a simple nonentity. It has no func- tions, no caj)acities, no organs, and of course no lo-
 
cality. Men talk as if they had some idea of a spir- itual existence, but they have no definite thoughts about the matter. The forms and analogies of the natural world are merely transferred to a domain where they cease to have any significance." This is not an argument, but only an appeal to the imagination. What conception has an infant of the experiences that are awaiting him in his matu- rity? It might be worse than useless for us to know any thing very definite as to the outward conditions of our future life, and I think it is very doubtful whether there are any terms in the lan- ,guage that we now use capable of conveying to the 166 IMMORTALITY. mind a distinct idea of those conditions. Even after we have entered the next stage of being, it is very probable that we shall require the same gradual training and experience, in order to comprehend the new modes of existence which await us there, that are needed*in tlie process of our education here. When the boundary line has been passed, and we find ourselves standing in the presence of eternal realities, the veil may be lifted very slowly, and the glories of our immortality revealed to us, only as w^e have strength of vision to endure their bright- ness. "But," adds the objector, "if man is immortal, would there not have been such palpable, unques- tionable proof of the fact, that no possible room would have been left for a doubt 'i Why is it that so many who are really anxious to believe, and even crave after an immortality, are left in such wretched suspense, and find nothing to satisfy them ? If there is another world, where we are to dwell hereafter,

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