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Man’s Immortality
by [?]

Is there a life beyond the grave?

Ten thousand thousand times this question hath been answered, yet answer there is none that satisfies the soul.

Never yet did man look into the cold face of one he loved and not feel, creeping like a thousand-fanged adder into his desolate heart, the awful fear that death’s the end of all.

Never yet did mother stand by her first born’s bier and say, “Thank God for Death that bringeth to my beloved eternal Life.” Though Bibles were piled as high as Helicon and every son of Adam a white-stoled priest, proclaiming the grave the gate to glorious life, still would Doubt, twin brother of Despair, linger ever at that dread portal, and Love long to tear aside Futurity’s awful veil–to see and know, as only those can know who see, that Death is but Life’s messenger.

Oh Love! thou art at once the sweetest blossom that ever perfumed the bowers of Paradise, and the most poignant thorn that grows in the empoisoned shadows of everlasting Pain! But for thee, mad sorceress, every individual life were a microcosm, complete within itself. We would live but our own life, suffer our own pangs, and dying, descend without a sigh to ever dreamless sleep; but thy soft fingers do sweep the human harpsichord, the ego doth “pass in music out of sight”; the single note of life is blended with others in holy diapason, sweeter than fabled song of Israfil.

But alas! the penalty of this terrestrial Paradise, this blending of human hearts in heavenly harmony! The added pleasures bring redoubled pains; of symphonies so sweet is born the discord of Despair. Loving others more than our proper selves, their wounds are deeper far than our own hurts, and death to them is death and hell to us.

Of love was born the hope of immortality. We part to-night from those so near and dear that they seem our better selves, looking with longing eyes to the glad to morrow when we shall meet again; but when comes the sleep of Death, and Reason, that pitiless monarch of the Mind, proclaims that all the to-morrows in Time’s fecund womb will come and go and bring them never back to our fond embrace, the heart revolts and wars on Destiny.

Hope, dear daughter of the Gods, angel of Light, what seraphic visions thou dost weave for us in thy celestial loom! How beautiful and bright the star that blazes upon thy ethereal brow; yet alas! how oft obscured by the deadly vapors of Doubt and dark Despair.

Is thy enchanted world a world indeed, where Love is lord and Death is driven forth? or dost thou seek to soothe us with lying pictures of Paradise, such as the shipwrecked mariner in tropic seas beholds beneath the sultry brine? Is thy beacon in very truth a star; shining eternal in our cimmerian sky, a guide infallible to life’s worn voyager; or a wandering fire such as the foolish follow,–a lying flame that leads the trusting traveler to his loss?

Since man first placed his foot upon this earth he hath been listening with greedy ear to thy sweet song; since Death first did show his horrid front thou hast been whispering to the stricken heart that Love could never die,–that there is not, cannot be in nature a pang so cruel as Love’s farewell forever. Thou hast been the world’s comforter in all ages past; will faithful prove through the long ages yet to be.

Is there a life beyond the grave?

Aye, it must be so; but what that life will be it boots not to inquire. Even a land of sand and thorns, with grinding toil, yet everlasting life with those we love, were heaven and heaven enough.

Perhaps–who knows?–the sweet blending of our lives with other and dearer ones upon this earth is but an earnest of what will be in the great hereafter; that when every spark of that bright effulgence increate is released from its thrall of clay, all Life, and Light and Love will forever blend in One; that husband, wife and child, and each and all the human heart holds dear will be resolved into one perfect Life, and thus at once in God and self, emparadised in each other’s souls in Heaven as in the loving arms of each on earth, let Eternity roll on!