Samuel--Continuous life of a man after the death of the body as shown by the manifestations of nature is not conclusive.
I am here--Samuel.
I desire to write for a short time on a subject that is of importance to those who are in doubt as to the reality of the future life.
I know that a vast majority of mortals believe in a future existence and the immortality of the soul, but there are a considerable number of mortals who do not know these facts or who have no belief regarding the matter, and simply say "I don't know." It is to these latter persons that I wish to write.
In the first place, all persons know, if they know anything, that they are living, and that sooner or later what they call death is inevitable, no matter from what cause it may take place. To live then, implies that there is such a thing as continuous life; and to die, to these people, demonstrates that the life with which they are acquainted ceases, and that the material body in which this life manifests itself gradually disintegrates into the original elements that composed that body.
Now a man being a materialist purely, would seem to be correct in his conclusions that when life, which could be manifested only through the material things of nature, ceases and the body becomes inanimate and dead, that then is the end not only of the body but of the individual. And if there existed no other manifestation of life than this physical one, there would be no foundation upon which to base the assumption that the death of the body does not end all.
I know it has been asserted in the way of argument that even though the material parts of vegetation die, yet as Spring comes round, these materials show forth again the life that had previously manifested itself, and therefore, by analogy, the death of the human body merely means that its life will appear again in evidence in some other body or form.
But upon close investigation and exact reasoning it will be seen that the two subjects of demonstration are not alike, because while the material of the vegetable kingdom apparently dies, yet it does not all die, for even though you may apparently see the particular body of the tree or plant or every part of it go into decay or rottenness, yet as a fact, this is not true. The whole of the material plant which enclosed or manifested life, does not die until out of it a new body arises and grows, and the life that animated the body that appears to have died, continues in it awaiting the new growth for its display of existence.
The flower dies and the bush upon which it grows may appear to die, yet the roots continue to enclose the life principle which causes the bush to grow again, and which has its genesis in these roots, and is the same life that originally existed in the bush. Pluck up the bush by the roots and expose them to the elements until they die and commence to disintegrate, and then replant them, and you will find they will not grow for the reason that the life which had animated them has departed.
And the same conclusions will be reached when you apply the same investigation and reasoning to every species of the vegetable kingdom. The grain of corn though apparently dead, is in reality not dead, but continues to contain the life principle which was the cause of the growth of the stalk and the blade and the ear in the blade. Nothing of the vegetable kingdom will be reproduced or form the basis of a new growth, unless some part of the old growth retains in it the life force.
In man's investigation of the wonders of vegetable life, he has discovered that a grain of corn that had been entombed in the hands of an Egyptian mummy for more than three thousand years, when planted in the ground reproduced the stalk and blade and ear of corn, just as the original material body had produced. And why? Not because when the grain of corn was planted in the earth it received unto itself new life or any force that was not already in it, but because the grain had never ceased to be without the life that existed in it as it grew from the original seed to the perfect grain. The grain had never lost its life and had never died, though apparently it had. Always there was some part of the original body that continued to exist and that held enclosed in itself the life principle. Without the preservation of some part of the original body there could never have been a manifestation of the life that caused the growth of that body.
This phenomena, as you call it, was not the resurrection of a material body that had died and become disintegrated and nonexistent, but was merely the resurrection of that part of the old body that had never died but had always retained in it the life principle. And this I say, is no argument for the future existence of man, as viewed from a purely material aspect.
When the body of a man dies it is eternally destroyed, either by natural decay or by incineration or, sometimes, by cannibals, so that no portion of his body remains in which the life principle may be preserved; and so far as the material body is involved, it utterly disappears--no roots remain in the ground and no grain or seed of it is preserved from which a new body may arise.
So I say, the phenomena of the vegetable apparently dying and after a season springing forth again and producing a body similar to the one that had formerly lived and died, furnishes no demonstration or argument from which, logically, can be drawn the conclusion that when a man dies he will not cease to exist, or will live again.
From the purely material standpoint, the materialist has the better of the argument, and he may well ask the question: "When a man dies shall he live again?" and answer the inquiry by saying, nature furnishes no proof that he will.
It may be said that life permeates all nature and is the basis of all existence, and that assertion is true; but it does not follow therefrom that any particular manifestation of life, such as the individual man, when once ceasing to manifest will again be reproduced in that particular identity of material manifestation, or in that form or existence that will make itself the identical being that had ceased to exist.
So to show man that there is a continuous existence after the death of the body--and I mean an individual, identical existence--something more is required than the argument of analogy in nature, or to the material things of nature in which life appears and then apparently disappears and then reappears. As the discussion on this phase of the matter will require more time than you have tonight to receive it, I will defer the treatment until later. With all my love I will say good night. Your brother in Christ,
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