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Mornings In The College Chapel by Francis Greenwood Peabody

LXVI ATTAINING TO THE RESURRECTION

Philippians iii.11.

(MONDAY AFTER EASTER)

This is certainly a very extraordinary saying of St. Paul -- that he hopes to attain unto the resurrection from the dead. We are so apt to think of the resurrection as a remote truth, to be realized in some distant future, when some day we shall die and live again, that the very idea of attaining to such a resurrection now is not easy to grasp. But here we have a resurrection which can be attained any day. |I have not already attained,| says St. Paul, |but I press on.| It is possible, that is to say, for a man to-day, who seems perfectly healthy, to be dying or dead, and for a man to rise from the dead to-day and attain to the resurrection.

And thus the fundamental question of the Easter season is not: |Do I believe that people when they die shall rise again from the dead?| but it is |Have I risen from the dead {167} myself?| |Am I alive to-day, with any touch of the eternal life?| Mr. Ruskin describes a grim Scythian custom where, when the king died, he was set on his throne at the head of his table, and his vassals, instead of mourning for him, bowed before his corpse and feasted in his presence. That same ghastly scene is sometimes repeated now, and young men think they are sitting at a feast, when they are really sitting at a funeral, and believe themselves to be, as they say, |seeing life,| when they are in reality looking upon the death of all that is true and fair. And on the other hand the most beautiful thing which is permitted for any one to see is the resurrection of a human soul from the dead, its deliverance from shame and sin, its passing from death into life. As the father of the prodigal said of his boy, he was dead and is alive again, and in that coming to his true self he attains, as surely as he ever can in any future world, unto the resurrection from the dead.

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