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Strange Texts but Grand Truths (8 of 17)
The Influence of the Dead
Clarence E. Macartney
2 Kings 13:21
Elisha was a good and great man-so good and so great
that contact even with his bones in the grave brought
the dead to life.
War is the great violator of the honor and desecrator
of the sanctity of life. Those things which, until war
comes, men hold to be uppermost-the care of the
living, respect for the dead, compassion for the
suffering, the refinements of the mind and the spirit-
are thrown rudely into the background when men engage
in the riot and extermination of war. When the
"bleeding testament of war" is opened, all other books
or testaments, new or old, are closed.
In some nameless village of Israel a man had died. He
was decently arrayed for the grave and, after the
usual lamentations and mournings, was being carried by
his friends to the place of sepulture. They had just
arrived at the cemetery when they saw a band of
marauding Moabites, who were making their annual foray
into the land of the Hebrews. When they saw those
ruthless invaders, fear for their own lives mastered
their reverence for the dead. They hastily cast the
body of their friend into the first sepulcher they
came to and made off for their lives. The grave into
which they had cast the body happened to be that of
the man of God, Elisha, recently dead and buried. As
soon as the man touched the bones of Elisha, "he
revived, and stood up on his feet."
It is not this extraordinary physical miracle that I
desire to emphasize, but what is suggested by it-the
perennial moral miracle, the influence of the good
after their death upon the living. It is good for us
to pause now and then amid the rush and cares of this
life and pay a tribute to the memory of the righteous
dead. In all cities of the world there are to be seen
stately and magnificent monuments and cenotaphs which
memorialize the dead of the two World Wars. ...
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