Consider what you have in the smallest well-chosen library-a company of the wisest and wittiest men which can be plucked out of all civilized countries in a thousand years. The men themselves were then hidden and inaccessible. They were solitary, impatient of interruption, and fenced by etiquette. But now they are immortal, and the thought they did not reveal, even to their bosom friends, is here written out in transparent words of light to us, who are strangers of another age.
When speaking of divine perfection, we signify that God is just and true and loving, the author of order, not disorder, of good, not evil. We signify that he is justice, that he is truth, that he is love, that he is order, that he is the very progress of which we were speaking; and that wherever these qualities exist, whether in the human soul or in the order of nature, there God exists. We might still see him everywhere, if we had not been mistakenly seeking for him apart from us, instead of in us; away from the laws of nature, instead of in them, but by partaking of that truth and justice and love which He himself is. Therefore the belief in immortality depends finally upon the belief in God. If there exists a good and wise God, then there also exists a progress of men towards perfection; and if there be no progress of men towards perfection, then there cannot be a good and wise God. We cannot suppose that God's moral government, the beginnings of which we see in the world and in ourselves, will cease when we leave this life.
Beholding beauty with the eye of the mind, he will be enabled to bring forth, not images of beauty, but realities (for he has hold not of an image but of a reality), and bringing forth and nourishing true virtue to become the friend of God and be immortal, if mortal man may.
We pray Thee, O Christ, to keep us under the spell of immortality. My we never again think and act as if Thou were dead. Let us more and more come to know Thee as a living Lord who hath promised to them that believe: "Because I live, ye shall live also." Help us to remember that we are praying to the Conqueror of Death, that we may no longer be afraid nor dismayed by the world's problems and threats, since Thou hast overcome the world. In Thy strong name, we ask for Thy living presence and Thy victorious power. Amen.
The American composer Silas Gamaliel Pratt deserves immortality, if only for the alleged conversation with Wagner, when Wagner said, "You are the Richard Wagner of the United States", and the polite rejoinder was made, "And you, sir, are the Silas G. Pratt of Germany."