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THE OTHER SIDE OF I DEATH. LENT INSTRUCTION BY THE DEAN OF I BANGOR. The Dean of Bangor delivered at the Cathedral on Monday evening the first of a series of Lent instructions on the subject "The other side of death." The Dean said:—At the time of the Crimean War John Bright startled the House of Com- mons by exclaiming: The Angel of Death has been abroad throughout the land: you may almost hear the beating of his "Wings." Another terrible war has brought the Angel of Death very near us and its heavy wings overshadow the greater part of the civilised world. Its sword has already mowed down many thousands. In. our country it has claimed victims in almost every town and couutrv district. The occurrences of the last few months have brought us face to face with the great Hereafter. That there is a Here- after is our unwavering conviction. We be- lieve that death is not the end of man; that the closing of the eyes on this world is the opening of them on another; that Canaan is on the other side of J-ordan. And it may be profitable at this time to examine the ground of our faith, and to ask ourselves why we believe in everlasting life after death. THE UNIVERSAL BELIEF OF MANKIND. I At the threshold of the subject we meet with the undeniable fact that belief in a future state is the common inheritance of mankind, and is as universal as belief in God. Everywhere and in all ages man has refused tú\ reconcile himself to the idea that death is the end of all things. The fact that a cer- tain number of individuals profess their un- belief does not appreciably affect the general rule. The expectation of another state of existence is deeply rooted in the human heart. The belief is not peculiar to the Christian religion. It was held before the Incarnate Son came into the world as the Revealer of Divine truth; and it is held to-day where Christ is not known, and where the Bible has never been heard of. It is true that apart from the Gospel man has been groping for this truth in the dark. In all heathen religions the pure grain oi. truth is mixed up with much chaff of error. But in all nations, worthy of the name, there exists now, and there has always existed, an expectation of life after death. Why did the ancient Egyptians embalm the bodies of the dead? Why did they raise over the resting place of their dead kings and heroes those gigantic pyramids which are among the won- ders of the world? It was because they be- lieved that their souls were still alive; and they had an idea that those souls occasionally came to visit the resting place of their bodies. The Egyptians further believed in the rewards and punishments of a future state. Their "Book of the Dead" teaches that the souls of the departed are weighed in the balance by Osiris, and each one is rewarded or punished according to his life and character in this world. Take again the religion of the ancient Persians. Zoroaster, their great prophet, oirected that the living should ad- dress prayers to the souls of the dead which were accordingly believed to be alive. The Zenied Avesta, their sacred book, prescribes that during the last ten days of the year the dead should be specially commemorated, because it was thought thit during those days their souls left the other world to visit their relatives on earth. Turn again to those clever people who have of recent years de- veloped into a mighty empire. We remember that a part of the religious service held in Japan at the accession of the present Emperor was a visit to the graves of his predecessors for the purpose of doing homage to their souls, still living in the world beyond. This belief has also been the support and comfort of the millions in India. In the Hindu religion marked reverence has always been paid to the dead. The Veda, its sacred book, relates that Gama was the first mortal to travel the road to the next world; that he and the other fathers now dwell in the inner- most heaven; that they drink of the waters of the heavenly river; and that they come to the religious banquets which are prepared for them on earth. In China afso the same ex- pectation of a great future has always pre- vailed. The moral law of Confucianism pre- scribes the worship of the souls of the de- parted as a part of the duty of children to their parents. In offering oblations to the departed the highest solemnity is ordered. The religions of ancient Greece and Roallo shared this belief with the older Oriental creeds. Tho besc thoughts of tlhe Greeks aire expressed by Socrates in these, words When I have drunk of the paieon I shall no longer remain with you, but tihaLl pass to the happy state of the depart- ed. 11 We may take the words of Cicero as giving us the beet thoughts of the Romans: "The in- stinct of immortaility makes us spend our Jives in toils amd dangers." In the Iliad of Homer and the 2Eiiid of Virgil, we find the Greek and Latin conceptions of the Mfc of the world to come in the beautiful and immortal lan- guage of poetry. There are indications that belief in a future state existed in Britain before the advent of Christianity. Why does his riderless horse foTtni a part of the funeral procession of a great sol- dli.e.r? It is supposed to be tho surv i vall of on old heathen custom of the country. The horse oi the soldier was taken to the grave of his master, and there put to death, with the idea, that lie would want his horse to ride in the blessed fields of the under-world. Thus, to start with. Ave have to 'deal with this striking and undeniable fact: that, everywhere man behoves that he will litfJ after death. We li\ e im a scientific age, in which the scientific method is much praised, and deservedly so. It is the province of science to observe facts, and to account for them. Watts noticcd the rising of the lid of tiho boiling kettle and found its explanation in steaim-pow-er. Newton caw tho fail of the apple, and accounted for it by the law of gravitation. Apply this method to the sub- ject before us. Some account must be given of the- fact we have been oonaiderinig. What can it be? Tho explanation surely is that the. Almighty Creator, when He made man, implanted w:th,in him this expectation of immortality. The general consent of mankind is no-t a matter to be lightly regarded. S. Augustine. speaking of the general agreement of the Church, says: "The judgment 0If tho whole world is safeand Cecil Rhodes, taking a etui wider view: "Surely the universal instinct of the race has something to justify iL" THE EVIDENCE OF NATURAL I RELIGION. Let us examine the ground of this universal expectation. Ie it a reasonable hope? Let us investigate our own nature, a<nd inquire whether itha anything to say ip the matter. Now, first of all, man is conscious that he has a aotu.l as well as a body, and that the two are to be dis- tinguished from each other. I know that I have a hand, because I see it; I know that I have a soul, because I am conscious of it. And con- sciousness is as strong- ,an evidence as sight. I am quite as certain of the existence of my u.n- seen soul as I .am of my visible frame. lu tJJe Sis tine Cthape-I at Rome there r.s a striking pic- Wire by Michael Angelo reprosoenting the crea- tion of man. It shows the Holy Spirit of God, floating in the air, and touching the body of Adam with His finger. The touch of the Divine finger kindl-es a flame, which enters the body of our first pe. re nit, and man becomes a living soul. The painter borrowed his ideas from Genesis. These we read of the human body existing aa a separate thing before the soul entered into it. I do not step here to inquire Avhobher the human body oarneooddenly into being at tho Divino command; or whether there was a gradual pro- cess through plant and animal life. But in either case the soul came as an addition, and possessed an iiidopendcrit existence. Conscious- new testifies to the truth of thiis independe-nce. It is my soul which thinks and undcretands, amd remembers, and loves, and perceives the dirfferemcc between r.iylit and wrong. These are not physical functions; they a-re beyond the power off the bodily frame to accomplish. We know that in deaith a great chanige passes over the huma.n body. It becomes incapable of motion or feeling; tit can neither hear nor see. Gradually, it becomes subject to corruption and cl"Ud11h!i.nrto dust. But as the soul had an in- dependem; existence it is reasonable to believe that it undergoes nk> change; that it still con- tinues to think, and remember, and understand. In the language of St. Paul, the human body is the house" occupied by the soul. The demo.. lition of the house destroys not its occupant. The Preacher has well expressed the meaning- of doath: Then shall the diust retrum to the earth as it was; and the spirit shall return uaito God, who gave it. Let us attain oaoakkr the jwbure of the 1 its longings and desires, and its potentialities. One tflitinig is certain, we desire to live for ever. The ins,ta,net of immortality asserts itself as un- mistakably as the power to love and bate. There is nothing a sane man. dreads more tjhrun to cease to exist. He is prepared to face any suffering or disappointment if only he is able to continue in life. And this defcire embraces all those whom ho knows and loves. It is unbearable to think tliat any friend should cease to exist and be annihilated. We desire the immortality of others as well as our own. Now we find that where God has implanted in humtan. nature a univer- sal desire, He also provides the means to satisfy it. All men desire food and drink; and God has given us bread and water to gratify that desire. As there is a universal desire to live for ever, it is reasonable to believe that there is awaituiig us an endless life by which the long- ing will be gratified. Again, how marvellous are the powers of the human soul, and how great its capacity for progress. Think of its achieve- ments. It puts the heaA-enly bodies in its bal- ances and tell's their weight to an ounce, it throws its measuring tape over them and guves us their dimensions to an inch; it captures the lightning of heaven and sends it witn messages to the uttermost pa,rt6 of the earth. And it is never satisfied with what it has done, and what it Has become. To the hour of death it longs for further progress. It ia inconceivable that eucth a no-ble being should be destined to Live a :ew short years on earth, and then cease to exist. And what shall we say for the disorders in the moral world? Wicked men have been seen to prosper; everything they touch turns to gold. On the other hand, the good a.nd holy occasion- ally ire the iiicst unfortunate of men; oveirything seems to be against them. It is true this does not often happen. But even one instance com- pels us to ask, "Shall not the Judige of all the earth do right?" Most surely He shall. But we do not always see it here: and there must De another tife in which the wicked is rewarded aC- cording to his wickedness, and the righteous ac- cording to his righteousness. Nature a.round as tcib of a life after death. Can anything m more dead than the earth in winter? aaid yet when the spring arrives it bursts into fresh life. You took pleasure in the beauty of the tulip which adorned your garden. You saw it sicken and wither and die. During tho winter months it iay in its oold grave. But when the sun re- turned and the long days, it sprang out again into life, and lived again. Is a tulip better tiian a nuvn? It is unthinkable that there should bo a life after death for a flower, and none for man, the lord of creation. SPIRITUALISM. I The pretentions of spiritualism cannot be re- garded as evidence of a I' fe after death. Its conceivable, indeed, that the souls of the de- parted may make their thoughts known to men in the flesh. We believe th:at the holy angels suggest t.o us goodl thoughts, and that Satan by suggesting evil thoughts tempts men to sin. But to seek to communicate with the dead is to be guilty of the sin of our first parents. It i3 to touch forbidden fruit. I am qui,to sure that what may look like innocent playing at a medium is a thing to be eschewed as full of danger. Sataui may be there. Necromancy, or consulting the doad, which is the Biblical name for spiritualism, is denounced in Holy Scripture as a heinous sin. It was one of theae sins for w:hich the seven nations of Canaan, at the com- mand of God, were put to the sword by the ohil- d,ren of Israel. The experience I had some years ago of the professors of this cult convinced me that spiritualism leads to the denial of Jesus Christ, and the renunciation of the Christian Faith. A sermon I once preached on the sub- ject brought me much of their literature, and many private letters, all of which clearly showed that the practice is one which luakes men un- believers. One correspondent said, "It is only a short time since I joined t-he spiritualists. I do believe in Jesus Christ. I know the others do not. IHE TEACHING OF THE GOSPEL. 11le probabilities of N atlliral Religion have be- I come to us Christians certainties of Revelation. God has set to His seal that in His expectation of a Great Hereafter man has all along been right. "Our Saviour Jesus Christ hath brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel." He alone can speak with perfect knowledge of tho other side of death. He has not told us much; but He has placed the matter above doubt. lie teUs us that while the body, full of sores, of the boggair Lazarus was left behind on earth, his soul was carried by angels into Abraham's 030Ill; and that whilst the body of the rich mam was | receiving a gorgeous burial hia c-otti ottenc-d its eyes in hell, in torment. And not only haa our Lord taught us of life after death; He has also given us an example of it in Himself. For after the passion He showed Himself alive to the Apostles. Even after the Ascension St. Stephen kxoked up to he uven and saw Him standing on tlbe right hand of God. St. Paul saw and heard Him on the road to Damas- cus; and St. John was granted a vision of Him, whan an exile in Patmos. Without a shadow d a shade of doubt we recite our creed, "I believe in everlasting life after death."






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