Longfellow said, “Is death the last sleep? No, it is the last and final awakening!”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said, “I am fully convinced that the soul is indestructible, and that its activities will continue through eternity. It is like the sun, which, to our eyes seems to set at night; but it has really gone to diffuse its light elsewhere.”
Robert G. Ingersoll, an avowed infidel, in an address delivered at the funeral of his brother, said, “From the voiceless lips of the unreplying dead, there comes no word. But in the night of death, hope sees a star, and listening love can hear the rustling of an angel. Is there beyond the silent night an endless day? The tongueless secret locked in fate, we do not know. We hope and wait. Life is a narrow vale between the cold and barren peaks of two eternities. We strive in vain to look beyond the heights. We cry aloud; and the only murmur is the echo of our wailing cry.”
John Greenleaf Whittier reminds us that “Life is lord of death and love can never lose its own.” Bulwer said, “We are born for a higher destiny than that of earth. There is a realm where the rainbow never fades, where the stars will be spread out before us like islands that slumber on the ocean, and where the beings that pass before us like shadows, will stay in our presence forever.” Aristotle wrote, “Whatsoever that be within us that feels, thinks, desires, and animates, is something celestial, divine, and consequently imperishable.” I discovered this German motto years ago, and it has been a blessing to many: “Those who live in the Lord never see each other for the last time.” We will be together for all eternity. I believe that.
We were made in the image of God. Joseph Addison said, “The stars shall fade away, the sun himself grow dim with age, and nature sink in years, but thou shalt flourish in immortal youth, unhurt amidst the wars of elements, the wrecks of matter, and the crush of worlds.”
Werner von Braun said, “Everything science has taught me — and continues to teach me — strengthens my belief in the continuity of our spiritual existence after death.”
Louis Pasteur, at the bedside of his dying daughter, said, “I know only scientifically determined truth, but I am going to believe what I wish to believe, what I cannot help but believe — I expect to meet this dear child in another world.”
Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto Myself, that where I am there you may be also.”
Socrates said, “Be of good cheer about death, and know this is a truth, that no evil can happen to a good man, either in life or after death.”
Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He that believeth in me, though he were dead yet shall he live again.” Henry van Dyke gave us some good advice when he suggested there are four things a man must learn to do, if he would make his record true: to think, without confusion, clearly; to act, from honest motives, purely; to love his fellow man sincerely, and trust in God and heaven securely. If you live by this, you will find your way to the Father’s house.
Robert V. Ozment is a retired United Methodist minister.