Most of us human beings don’t like to think about death, but how can we really understand the gift of life without it’s contemplation? This world offers many things to it’s inhabitants that are illusive and transitory which hold seeming value but turn to dust over time and reveal their true worth. This world offers an infinite variety of paths to follow, but in the end they all seemingly end at one place. It’s the wise person who gives as much thought to the end of life as to the beginning . . . .
” . . . grave, where is thy victory?” –
In great cities we find monumental arches, columns, obelisks and tablets, telling of victories won by man over man; but death writes his name loftily on all these, saying, ” Man’s victories are my victories.” But the monumental trophies of death are found in all cities great and small, in all places, in fact. Death lords it everywhere and over all. Scarcely has humanity begun to put on nobility or virtue in any quarter, before death appears and sweeps away the excellent object, terrifying the stricken admirers with the display of its prodigious power.
Yet we make bold to say, ” Where is thy victory, O grave? Where, death, thy sting?” We tell death to the face that the captives whom he has apparently taken are not to be found in his chambers. In fact we can point to them in mansions where death has no admission. We can show the Son of God, once dead on Calvary, standing at the right hand of the Majesty on high. And with him the saints redeemed from the earth, the noble, the beautiful, the virtuous, dwelling in habitations not made with hands, clothed in purity, exempt from pain and sorrow, and not at all despondent because of their mortal remains sleeping in dust. How art thou become a picture of confusion, death, standing there with a crumbling bone in thy hand and looking at a celestial being walking amid the groves of the New Jerusalem, once connected with earthly life by that bone, now wearing many crowns of perfection bestowed by him who died and rose again! After having conquered all, behold, thou art thyself conquered, and a new in violable life given to those who once succumbed to thee. Behold the keys of death and hades are in the hands of our Lord; and what wonder if hereafter thou shouldst be compelled to restore even the dust of the once dead. Sweep as thou wilt with thy scythe from pole to pole; there is a sword impending over thee. Thou thyself shalt die. What canst thou do to him whose life is hid with Christ in God? He will sit upon a throne in the day when thou shalt be driven to darkness.