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He is not here : for He is risen, as He said. — St. Matthew xxviii., 6.
TTHERE has never been another morning like * that ! In all the history of human experience it stands alone, conspicuous and awful in its mystery. A startled world looked into the empty tomb, and, while looking, wonder changed to hope, and hope became certainty. From that time to this the sky has been brighter, the clouds have been radiant with reflected sunshine, and the heart of man has been cheered by visions of a glorious future.
The most difficult thing in this lower life is to appreciate thoroughly the fact of a higher life, and to act with constant reference to it. We are so saturated with the spirit of to-day, so entangled in the fascinating meshes of the present, so content with the pleasures and ambitions of time that the
future seems more like a romance than a reality. In
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a vague sort of way we believe in a continued existence, but we are so concerned about the apparent impossibilities connected with it that our faith is more or less blurred and marred. We allow ourselves to dwell so continuously on the method by which immortality is to be achieved that we sometimes doubt God's ability to keep His promise, and feel that He should have told us more about it. So we walk in a dense fog, once in a while catching a glimpse of the landscape when the fog lifts, and then again groping about, not knowing which way to turn.
The action of Christ under circumstances more trying than any we can experience is a rebuke to us. He faced life with less calmness than He faced death. He grew in spiritual stature after entering Gethsemane. He was never more serene than when
the shadow of the cross fell on Him. He was like a star at all other times, but when the nails were being driven into the cruel wood He was a blazing sun. One cry of human suffering escaped Him, but it was the cry of the body, not of the soul. I marvel at this. The picture attracts and awes me. In the most solemn of all hours He was as peaceful at heart as an unruffled sea, and as mighty. He welcomed
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the shock of death, which terrifies you and me, glad that His earthly mission had been accomplished, and buoyed by the actual sight — a privilege often granted to us also — of the home to which He was hastening.
Yes, it not infrequently happens that mortals in their last extremity, just as kindly death is loosening the bonds which unite soul and body, have visions of those who will meet them when their farewells to earth have been said. Almost every family can recite an incident of that kind, and tell
you how, under its influence, some dear one has passed away with a smile on his lips. And why should not these things be true if God is really our Father and we are really His children ? Why should He not send His ministering angels to us at such a time, when timid souls touch a strange shore, to bid them a welcome into the world of which they have dreamed in their loftier moods.
And if the eyes of the dying may be thus opened, why may not the time come when the eyes of the living shall be equally blessed ? If heaven is close to us, and only a thin partition divides the two homes, it must be possible when we become pure in heart to hear and see even as the Lord did. It
will not be too much to ask when we shall so live as to merit the privilege. This world presses too heavily on our hearts just now, but by and by, when we comprehend the significance of the other world, it will be very different.
Your immortal life began before your cradled infancy. You are in the midst of it at the present moment. Mortality and immortality go hand in hand for a while up many a steep hill and into many a deep valley. It is God's will that they shall keep company, that which dies and that which cannot die. They are strange comrades, but they get on very well together. When the right moment arrives they take a tender farewell of each other, and then we discover their several peculiarities and the curious difference between the two. The mortal is weary and worn. It has come up from the dust, and longs to get back to it. It has accomplished its task, its work is done, and it has deserved the rest it seeks. I have no doubt that the body is glad to get back to the sod again, that it may help the
violets to blossom and the grass to grow. But the soul is not tired. It has just begun to recognize itself. It has plumed its wings for many a short
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flight, and is ready to soar. It has learned the alphabet of life, nothing more, and is prepared to study its principles and its mysteries.
A tired body, a fresh and vigorous soul ! Why should they not part company? Let them clasp hands in a tender farewell, the one to go back whence it came, the other to go forward to achieve its great destiny. I do not know why they ever came together, this mortal and this immortal, but I can see a good reason for their parting and why the soul should lay aside its torn and shattered garment and be clothed upon with a spiritual body.
This Easter morning is whispering about heaven. The soft, low voices of angels are sounding in our
ears. Dear ones from on high are here in our earthly homes. They have not forgotten us, for true human love, like God's love, never dies; and to-day, when all the earth is filled with the echoing words, 1 ' He is risen, ' ' they stretch out invisible hands and cry, " We, too, have risen, and you shall rise ! "
There is no death. Those who have gone are more truly and more thoroughly alive than we are, and our best life will come when death does us a great service and sets us free.
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