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The Life Beyond the Cloud.

The Life Beyond the Cloud.

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY EZRA HOYT BYINGTON, D.D.


And when he had said these things, as they were looking^
he was taken up ; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
Acts i. 9.
BY EZRA HOYT BYINGTON, D.D.


And when he had said these things, as they were looking^
he was taken up ; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
Acts i. 9.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jul 15, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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THE LIFE BEYOD THE CLOUD. BY EZRA HOYT BYIGTO, D.D. And when he had said these things, as they were looking^ he was taken up ; and a cloud received him out of their sight. Acts i. 9. This is Easter Sunday, — the Sunday of the resur- rection of our Lord. It was fitting that the spring, which comes so much earHer in Judaea than in our colder latitude, should have been the season of His resurrection. When nature begins to renew its life, with the returning sun, at the time of the vernal equinox, it has been thought to be a type of the renewal of life after death. That was the season, beyond all doubt, when the Son of man arose from the dead, and became the first fruits of them that slept. By His resurrection He gave us the assurance of our resurrection, and taught us something of its nature, for the Apostle tells us that our *' bodies shall be fashioned like unto His glorious body." ^ L We can think of some things without the Bibhy zvhich make it probable that there is another life. The present life is so incomplete, and so unsatisfac- 1 Philippians iii. 21. 308 THE LIFE BEYOD THE CLOUD. tory, that we are Inclined to believe that there is some higher sphere for us, in which our powers will develop
 
more freely, and in which we can come nearer the fruition of our hopes than we can come here. The state of the world, and the hard conditions under which life goes on, suggest the hope that the Creator will provide for us a better life than this. Besides, there seems to be in our nature an instinctive desire for continued existence, and an expectation of it. This tendency is so decided, and so permanent, that, speaking broadly, one may say that all men, in all stages of social life, and in all ages of the world, have believed in a life beyond the present. Some of the earliest philosophers have set forth the reasons for this belief with great clearness and force. The Phaedo of Plato, written three centuries and a half before the coming of Christ, contains a wonderful argument for immortality, drawn from the nature of the soul. Plato attempts to bring the doctrine of a future life into connection with his theory of knowledge.^ The belief in immortality has shown its power not only in the best Hterature of the world, but especially in the religious rites of all nations. The motives connected with this belief have always had a large place in the life of man. The belief in another life, which has appeared so generally among the beliefs of men, seems to have come from an original tendency in the soul, or from some knowledge which God gave to man in His earliest revelation. 1 The Phaedo, in Jowett's Plato, vol i. 429-499. See a full state- ment in The Witness to Immortality, by Dr. George A. Gordon, PP- 135-179- THE LIFE BEYOD THE CLOUD. 309 II.
 
But the most of us need to have sojnething added to these natural beliefs. We cannot help the wish that those who have gone from this hfe could come back and tell us what the^ have experienced. Death is a mystery. It comes on gradually, or suddenly. The processes of physical life cease. The mind loses the power to communicate with us. The friend who is dying speaks to us up to a certain moment, and then he speaks no more. He hears no more, so far as we know. We say, the life and the spirit are gone. We hope this is not the end. We think that if a man die he will live again. Men have been so confident of it that they have said that they knew it. But it is a great help to this hope, that Christ came to bring life and incorruption to light through the gospel.^ The life of Christ in this world is itself a proof of the reality of a spiritual world, for He came out of that world into this. Our existence begins here, so far as we know. We can tell how many years we have had a being. But Jesus said, '' Before Abraham was, I am."''^ He spoke naturally and familiarly of His pre-existence. If we are to believe His most explicit statements, we must believe that He came forth from the Father to save lost men. Back of His earthly Hfe was His life in Heaven. He discoursed as one who had grown familiar with the eternal world, and was able to reveal its mysteries. He speaks again and again to His Father, who dwelleth in the 1 2 Timothy i. 10. 2 gt. John viii. 58. 3IO THE LIFE BEYOD THE CLOUD. unseen world, and receives answers in articulate words. " Father, glorify Thy name," He said ; and ** there came a voice out of Heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again." ^ There appeared unto Him, on the mount, Moses and Elijah,

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