Hope in Death

By Roger Shouse

Robert Ingersoll, the nineteenth century agnostic, known for his lectures and writings against religion, died in the summer of 1899. He challenged, like many of his other intellectual contemporaries (Darwin in Origins, Wellhausen in inspiration of the Bible), the accepted standards of his days. It was an age of reason. It was a time when the seen would have preeminence over the unseen. There was little room for faith. This thinking became very popular among the universities.

But Ingersoll died. One would expect that the passing of this grand champion of thinking would be with pride and courage, for he had nothing to fear. But the story is told that on his death bed, Ingersoll cried, “0, God, if there be a God; save my soul if I have a soul.”

And now we come to this interesting newspaper clipping from the summer of 1899. Found tucked away in an old dusty book, this accounts the terrible anguish and hopelessness of a family who cannot look beyond this present life. The thought of seeing their loved one no more was more than they could bear.

How sad indeed to live to this life only. How pitiful it is to not be able to see beyond the horizon. There are certainly a lot of folks who today, live and die like old Ingersoll did. They only plan for this day. They never give a thought past the present. The eternal has no meaning or concern to them. And in their death there is no hope!

“But we do not want you to be uniformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve, as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus

“Therefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thess. 4:13,14,18).

Guardian of Truth XXXIII: 8, p. 233
April 20, 1989