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will be no need that the judge shall point to the right or the left. Each will go to his own place, is all the while going thither, by the law of his own nature.
The theme has one lesson for us all, - a lesson of preparation.
Prepare by repentance for sin, by faith in Christ, by fellowship with the Spirit.
Prepare by honest thought, by self-denial, by unending struggle after righteousness, by spiritual aspiration.
Thus prepared, the opening of the book of our life will bring no shock or shame, and the judgment will but conduct us a step nearer to that throne from which heaven and earth have fled away.
“Though nothing can bring back the hour
WORDSWORTH, Ode on Immortality. “ The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together: our virtues would be proud if our faults whipped them not; and our crimes would despair if they were not cherished by our virtues." -All's Well That Ends Well, iv. 3.
“Silent rushes the swift Lord
Through ruined systems still restored,
EMERSON, Threnody. “Draw, Holy Ghost, Thy seven-fold veil
Between us and the fires of youth;
Christian Year; Confirmation.
LIFE A GAIN.
“I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly." ST. JOHN, X. 10.
THERE is a strange question that has come under discussion of late, — a question symbolizing the audacity of the age and something of its lack of reverence, — namely, “Is life worth living?” The book that made it a title is nearly forgotten, but the question still enters into the speculations of the schools and into the common talk of men. It seems strange that any one should ask the question in soberness and sincerity, and as though it were debatable, until we recollect that a philosophy has won for itself recognition that has for its main thesis that life is not worth living because this is not only a bad world, but the worst possible world. It is not difficult to detect the genesis of this brave philosophy. So soon as one begins to doubt the goodness of God, or to suspect ever so vaguely that God is not infinitely good, one begins to doubt if life has much value. So soon as there is a suspicion that there is not an eternal goodness behind and under life, it changes color and grows cheap and poor.
It happens just now that in several directions the goodness of God, or, at least, the proofs of it are being questioned. The philosopher is still stumbling over the problem of the ages, the existence of evil, with partial but not entire relief in the doctrine of evolution; the why is simply carried farther back. The scientists, many of them, are saying that for their part they see no clear evidence of a creating goodness; see much indeed that looks in an opposite direction, or simple indifference to happiness. The reactions of an intense age, and the revelations of motives in a state of society in which there is no secrecy, an age strong in analysis but weak in synthesis, favor the same tendency. Suddenly, the world seems to have discovered that it suffers, and that man is selfish ; it can dissect life with alarming accuracy, but it has not yet learned to put it together. When there is doubt as to the source, there will be doubt of the value of whatever flows from it. If God is not good, his greatest gift may not be good. If the infinite force does not act beneficently, no inferior force can evolve any good. If the eternal tide flows with indifference to happiness, happiness will be a matter of chance. The more impatient overleap all reasoning on either side, and ask, If man was made to be happy, why is he not happy ?- not an easy question to answer nor a good one to ask. The questioner has no advantage because answer is difficult, and he has the disadvantage of being forced to answer it himself; if he is presumptuous he will attempt it; if he is wise, he will say, I have not the data, and will “ trust the larger hope.”