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" As they who run a race are not crowned till they have conquered, so good men believe that the reward of virtue is not given till after death.
Not by lamentations and mournful chants ought we to celebrate the funerals of the good, but by hymns ; for in ceasing to be numbered with mortals, they enter upon the heritage of a diviner life.”—Plutarch.
“ If my body be overpressed, it must descend to the destined place; nevertheless, iny soul shall pot descend, but, being a thing immortal, shall fly up to high heaveu."- Heraclitus.
“When, therefore, death approaches a man, the mortal part of him dies; but the immortal departs safe and uncorruptible, having withdrawn itself from death. The soul, therefore, is most certainly immortal and imperishable, and our souls really exist in the world of spirits. Those who shall have sufficiently purified themselves by philosophy [religion], shall live without their bodies received into more beautiful mansions.
For the sake of these things, we should use every endeavor to acquire virtue and wisdom in this life ; for the reward is noble and the hope is great.
A man ought then to have confidence about his soul, if during this life he has made it beautiful with temperance, justice, fortitude, freedom, and truth; he waits for his entrance into the world of spirits, is one who is ready to depart when destiny calls. I shall not remain, I shall depart. Do not say then that Socrates is buried; say that you bury my body."-Socrates.
“ This was the end of the best, the wisest, and most just of men,-a story which Cicero professed he never read without tears."--Plato.
“ The origin of souls cannot be found upon earth, for there is nothing earthly in them. They have faculties which claim to be called divine, and which can never be shown to have come to man from any source but God. That nature in us which thinks, which knows, which lives, is celestial, and for that reason necessarily eternal. God himself can be represented only as a free Spirit separate from matter, seeing all things, and moving all things, himself ceaselessly working. Of this kind, from this nature, is the human soul. * It cannot be destroyed." He represents the aged Cato as exclaiming, “ O happy day when I shall ren.ove from this crowd of mortals, to go and join the divine assembly of great souls. Not only shall I meet again there the men who have lived godlike on earth; I shall find again my son, to whom these aged bands have performed the duties which in the order of nature he should have rendered to me. His spirit has never quitted me. He departed, turning his eyes upon me and calling on me, for that place where he knew I should soon come. If I have borne his loss with courage, it is not that my heart was unfeeling, but I consoled myself with the thought that our separation would not be long."Cicero.
These citations, taken as selected pebbles from an immeasurable ocean of evidence, prove that the doctrine of future, immortal existence is as natural to the soul as a heartbeat in its casement; that, like sunlight, it has flowed into and bubbled from the spiritual affections of all seers in all ages, and become there a prophecy, yea, a positive knowledge. Even the ruder tribes of earth, less favored with the supports of civilization, instinctively entertain this truth. The poor Indian of America's wilds, child of fate falling before the more savage monopoly of his pale brother, is nature's diorama of immortal lights and shades from the spirit hunting-grounds. When a brave chief dies, the survivors, bending down a sapling pine till the roots jut out, place under it the tenantless form, letting the tree spring back to its original position, where, spiring up a symbol of towering spirituality, it is nourished with the rich “ dust to dust” and becomes greener and stronger, rising higher towards the wierd lands of the hereafter.
Death strikes no class of persons with such terror as professed Christians. Their sighs, groanings, moanings and mourning apparel-black fitting their condition—a churchmenagerie of sable show and brooding despair-absolutely shock the seers and sages of India, Greece, Rome, the millions of present Spiritualists, and even the North American Indians.
What consummate bigotry, then, or learned malignityculpable in that they know no better — for clergymen, sneering at the manifestations of angel presence, to insist, as they do, that the only reliable evidence of immortality is revealed in the Bible, or “brought to light” in the historic resurrection of Jesus! Even the Hindoo Menu can teach them; “Universal instinct is transcendent law.” The human soul will burst all fetters, and, child-like, find nature a perpetual paradise of immortal fore-gleams, and its own inner springs of love the future “river of life" flowing into the estuary of eternity.
“ Upon the frontier of this bright summer-land, We, pilgrims of cankering sorrow, stand:What realm lies forward, with its happier store
Of forests green and deep,
Of valleys hushed in sleep,
“The grave itself is but a covered bridge,
Leading from light to light, through a brief darkness.”
Will open next in bliss ;
Ere the farewell is hushed in this."
“There shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain ; for the former things are passed away.”
Death, the shade-side of conscious life, is comparable to a star, that, fading from telescopic vision, sets to illumine others in the siderial heavens; to a rose that, on a morning in June, climbs up the garden wall to bloom the other side.
The Greek, anastasis, generally translated by the Englislı word, resurrection, does not necessarily signify, that those to whom it refers should be physically dead. In the scriptures and the classics, it is often applied to the living. Its best definition implies a rising, an exaltation, a being lifted up higher in regard to condition or circumstance. The learned Dr. Campbell says: “It denotes simply being raised from inactivity to action, or from obscurity to eminence.” Anisterni, the verb form, has a signification equally wide, as used by Grecian writers, both before and after the Christian era. Therefore, in the original, rising from a seat, awakening out of sleep, or being promoted to a higher condition, may be legitimately, termed an anastasis—a resurrection.
Persians, Mahommedans, Jews, and Christians, with very few exceptions, believe in the literal resurrection of these physical bodies—somata—while the great army of Spiritualists, in constant converse with the spirit-world, utterly repudiates the theory.
Mineral matter to matter in accordance with gravitation and adaptation-dust with its primitive dust—and spirit heavenward towards the perfections of Infinite spirit—is the immutable law as seen from the spiritual side of this question.
In that Christian writer's work—Dr. Young's—entitled “The Last Day,” the dogma of the resurrection of the mortal body is carried to the ultimate Augustine, hard pressed upon the point, of cannibalism, said, “ The flesh shall be restored to the man in whom it first became human flesh, regardless of the changes it may have passed through; for it is to be considered as borrowed, and, like borrowed money, must be returned to the one from whom it was taken."
Among the most important words of the Episcopal creed, are these: “I believe in
the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.”
Brigham Young, the Mormon leader, preaching the funeral discourse of elder Heber C. Kimball, said:
“ He has fallen asleep for a certain purpose, to be prepared for a glorious resurrection ; and the same Heber C. Kimball, every component particle of his body, from the crown of his head to the soles of his feet, will be resurrected, and he, in the flesh, will see God and converse with Him; and see his brethren and associate with them, and they will enjoy a happy eternity together.”
The bodies that once walked the New Atlantis Isle-the mummied forms of Egypt's cemeteries transferred to fuel, or to medicines upon apothecaries shelves—the crumbling scattered remains that once peopled those old catacombs, in the Via Appia—the organized particles passing into invisible gases, freed by the process of combustion, incident to cremation, as practiced by some of the orientals—where