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of the dead, before they became Christians, what more did they learn about the next life when they became Christians? Something they did learn, most certainly—and that most important. St. Paul speaks of what our Lord and our Lord's resurrection had taught him, as something quite infinitely grander, and more blessed, than what he had known before. He talks of our Lord as having abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light; of his having conquered death, and of his destroying death at last. He speaks at moments as if he did not expect to die at all; and when he does speak of the death of the Christian, it is merely as a falling asleep. When he speaks of his own death, it is merely as a change of place. He longs to depart, and to be with Christ. Death had looked terrible to him once, when he was a Jew. Death had had a sting, and the grave a victory, which seemed ready to conquer him: but now he cries, 'O Death, where is thy sting ? O Grave, where is thy victory ?' and then he declares that the terrors of death and the grave are taken away, not by anything which he knew
when he was a Pharisee, but through our Lord Jesus Christ.
All his old Jewish notions of the resurrection, though they were true, as far as they went, seemed poor and paltry beside what Christ had taught him. He was not going to wait till the end of the world—perhaps for thousands of years—in darkness and the shadow of death, he knew not where or how. His soul was to pass at once into life,-into joy, and peace, and bliss, in the presence of his Saviour, till it should have a new body given to it, in the resurrection of life at the last day.
This, I think, is what St. Paul learned, and what the Jews had not learned till our blessed Lord came. They were still afraid of death. It looked to them a dark and ugly blank; and no wonder. For would it not be dark and ugly enough to have to wait, we know not where, it may be a thousand, it may be tens of thousands of years, till the resurrection in the last day, before we entered into joy, peace, activity, or anything worthy of the name of life? Would not death have a sting indeed, the
grave a victory indeed, if we had to be as good as dead for ten thousands of years ?
What then? Remember this, that death is an enemy, an evil thing, an enemy to man, and therefore an enemy to Christ, the King and Head and Saviour of man. Men ought not to die, and they feel it. It is no use to tell them, “Everything that is born must die, and 'why not you? All other animals died. They
died, just as they die now, hundreds of thou'sands of years before man came upon this earth; and why should man expect to have a different lot? Why should you not take your *death patiently, as you take any other evil 'which you cannot escape ?' The heart of man, as soon as he begins to be a man, and not a mere savage; as soon as he begins to think reasonably, and feel deeply; the heart of man answers : 'No, I am not a mere animal. I
have something in me which ought not to die, ' which perhaps cannot die. I have a living soul ‘in me, which ought to be able to keep my ·body alive likewise, but cannot; and therefore • death is my enemy. I hate him, and I believe that I was meant to hate him. Something 'must be wrong with me, or I should not
die; something must be wrong with all man' kind, or I should not see those I love dying round me.'
Yes, my friends, death is an enemy, - a hideous, hateful thing. The longer one looks at it, the more one hates it. The more often one sees it, the less one grows accustomed to it. Its very commonness makes it all the more shocking. We may not be so much shocked at seeing the old die. We say, “They have done their work, why should they not go ?' That is not true. They have not done their work. There is more work in plenty for them to do, if they could but live; and it seems shocking and sad, at least to him who loves his country and his kind, that, just as men have grown old enough to be of use, when they have learnt to conquer their passions, when their characters are formed, when they have gained sound experience of this world, and what man ought and can do in it, just as, in fact, they have become most able to teach and help their fellow-men—that then they are to grow old and decrepit, and helpless, and fade away, and die just when they are most fit to live, and the world needs them most.
Sad, I say, and strange is that. But sadder, and more strange, and more utterly shocking, to see the young die ; to see parents leaving infant children; children vanishing early out of the world where they might have done good work for God and man.
What arguments will make us believe that that ought to be? That that is God's will? That that is anything but an evil, an anomaly, a disease ?
Not the Bible, certainly. The Bible never tells us that such tragedies as are too often seen are the will of God. The Bible says that it is not the will of our Father that one of these little ones should perish. The Bible tells us that Jesus, when on earth, went about fighting and conquering disease and death, even raising from the dead those who had died before their time. To fight against death, and to give life, wheresoever he went—that was his work;