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The Greatest Questions of the Bible and of Life
If a Man Die, Shall He Live Again? (18 of 18)
Clarence E. Macartney
The famous Russian author Ivan Turgenev, at the end of
his great book Fathers and Sons, describes a village
graveyard in one of the remote corners of Russia.
Among the many neglected graves there was one
untouched by man, untrampled by beasts. Only the birds
rested upon it and sang at daybreak. An iron railing
ran around it. Two fir trees were planted at each end
of the plot. In this grave was buried the brilliant
but wayward son of the country doctor Bazaroe. Often
from the nearby village two feeble old people, husband
and wife, moving with heavy steps and supporting one
another, came to visit this grave. Kneeling down at
the railing and gazing intently at the dumb stone
under which their son was lying, they yearned and
wept. After a brief word they wiped the dust away from
the stone, set straight a branch of a fir tree, and
then began to pray. In this spot they seemed to be
nearer to their son and to their memories of him.
And then Turgenev asks:
Can it be that their prayers, their tears are
fruitless? Can it be that love, sacred, devoted love,
is not all powerful? Oh, no; however passionate
sinning and rebellious the heart hidden in the tomb,
the flowers growing over it peep serenely at us with
their innocent eyes. They tell us not of eternal peace
alone, of that great peace of indifferent nature; they
tell us, too, of eternal reconciliation and of life
A beautiful tribute, that, to a father's and mother's
love for a son who had passed into the unseen, and a
noble expression of the hope of "eternal
reconciliation and of life without end." But upon what
is that hope based?
"If a man die, shall he live again?" As to the first
part of that question, there is no doubt. There is no
"if" about it. "It is appointed unto men once to die." ...
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