And the gifts of the Man of Galilee are permanent; they survive the tomb. As one nears the end of life he becomes conscious of an inner longing to attach himself to institutions that will outlive him. His affections having gone out to his fellows, and his heart having entwined itself with the causes that embrace all humankind, he does not like to drop out and be forgotten. His sympathies expand and sympathy is the real blood of the heart, forced by the pulsations of that major organ through all the arteries of society. Have you thought how few of each generation are remembered after death by any one outside of a small circle of friends? We have an hundred millions of people living in the largest republic in history—one of the greatest nations the world has ever known—and yet how many names will survive for a century after those who bore the names are buried? The vanity of man is rebuked by a visit to any old, neglected cemetery. As Bryant puts it
“The world will laugh when thou
And solemn brood of care plod on
And each one as before will chase his favourite
It is partly to escape this dread oblivion that men and women, blessed with means, endow hospitals and colleges and charitable institutions. They yearn for an immortality on earth as well as in the world beyond, and nothing but the spiritual has promise of the life everlasting.
If we examine our expense accounts we will be ashamed to note how large a proportion of our money we spend on the body. We buy it the food that it most enjoys, and the raiment that most adorns it; we give it habitations of comfort and beauty, and yet the body is responsible for most of our easily besetting sins and its aches and pains fill life with much of its misery. We spend the first twenty years of life in an effort to develop the body, the second twenty years of life in an effort to keep it in a state of health and twenty more trying to preserve it from decline, and then the threescore years have passed. And, no matter how successful we may be in lifting the body toward physical perfection, we have no assurance that any physical perfection can be made use of in the world above. I believe in the resurrection of but I have not spent much time during the later years in worrying about what particular body I shall have over there. According to the scientists the body changes every seven years. If that be true, I have done little more than exchange an old body for a new one during the more than sixty years that I have lived. I had a baby body and a boy’s body, then the body of a young man, and so on until I am now well along with my ninth body. I do not know which one of these will be best for me in the next world, but I know that the God who made this world and gave me an existence in it will give me, in the land beyond, the body that will best serve me there.