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This Life a Preparation for the Next

This Life a Preparation for the Next

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Published by glennpease
" Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord." — i Cor. xv. 58.
" Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord." — i Cor. xv. 58.

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Published by: glennpease on May 21, 2012
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BY E. GRIFFITH-JOES" Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable,always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as yeknowthat your labour is not in vain in the Lord." — i Cor. xv. 58.This is the climax of St. Paul's long and eloquentargument on the Resurrection problem which hadbeen put to him by the Church at Corinth — a very-wonderful climax to a very remarkable argument. Icannot summarise it just now, but what I want topoint out is that the whole weight of it comes here — that our faith in immortality is of no avail exceptas it makes us better men and better Christians." Therefore," writes the Apostle — and any onewho knows Paul well from his writings would knowthat the emphasis he would throw into this wordwould be tremendous — "therefore" — i.e., becauseof the glorious prospect before the people of God of afuture life, wherein all that is " mortal in us shall puton immortality," and all that is " corruptible in usshall put on incorruption " ; or, in other words,where the frail shall become eternally strong and theold perennially young — " therefore let all yourenergy be turned to good ends, be indefatigable inthe work of God, since nothing of good is lost, andall we aim at will be fulfilled."This," then, is our subject : " What influence278
This Life a Preparation for the extshould the thought of a future life have on the waywe live in this world? What help can such a hopegive us ? What courage, reinforcement, steadfast-ness, and abounding energy ? And why should allthis naturally follow from an honest and hearty belief that this life is not all, but only a preface to a higher ?"II must begin with a statement which is not veryencouraging from a Christian standpoint, but which Iam afraid is true — that there has not often been anage when the belief in a future life had so little in-fluence on men's thoughts and lives as that beforethe war.I do not believe that there was any widespreadtendency to deny a future life, or even to doubt it,at any time in the world's history. The number of people who have ever been thorough sceptics on thispoint is very few, the number of genuine atheists isfewer still. I have been carefully taking note of theattitude of soldiers and of those who have lost dearfriends and relatives in this war, and I have as yetmet none who have doubted that these dear lads whohave given their lives for their country are still alivesomewhere — beyond the veil of sense in the eternalworld. And I think this has been so always, how-ever little people may say about it. Hardly anyonedoubts the prospect of a future life for all. We arenot born to die ; we die to live. This life is an
episode, a scene in a drama, a stage in a pilgrimage,a chapter in the working out of an eternal destiny forthe human soul. That is the natural and instinctivefaith of mankind always and everywhere.The question is not whether a man shall live again279The Unspeakable Giftin another world, but what difference should thatmake to us here ? And my contention was that of late years — /.^., before the war — the thought of afuture life, while the fact was not denied, had verylittle conscious influence on the lives of most menand women. Let me give you some proof of thisposition. At the beginning of the present century aquestionnaire was issued by the American branch of the Society for Psychical Research under the title of " Human Sentiment with Regard to a Future Life."Thousands of replies came back. Among the ques-tions asked was this : " Do you feel the question of a future life to be of urgent importance to yourmental comfort i^" and to these 1,807 persons saiddefinitely " o," adding often, "not at all," " neverthink of it," etc., while 1,314 (a little more than33 per cent, of all the replies) replied in the affirma-tive, most of them saying that a future existence wasto them, not only a matter of faith, but of profoundinfluence on their daily conduct. A few years later,as many of you will remember, a long controversy rosein the Daily Telegraph on the question, " Do weBelieve.'^" and the Editor summed up the discussion

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