chapter  V
42 Pages

The Resurrection and Immortality

IN perusing the literature of the ancient Egyptians one of the first things which forces itself upon the mind of the reader is the frequency of allusions to the future life or to things which appertain thereto. The writers of the various religious and other works, belonging to all periods of Egyptian history, which have come down to us, tacitly assume throughout that those who once have lived in this world have "renewed" their life in that which is beyond the grave, and that they still live and will live until time shall be no more. The Egyptian belief in the existence of A.lmighty God is olu, so old that we lllUSt seek for its beginnings in pre-dynastic tinles; but the belief in a future life is very much older, and its beginnings must be as old, at least, as the oldest human remains which have been found in Egypt. To atternpt to measure by years the remoteness of the period w hen these were committed to the earth is futile, for no date that could be given them is likely to be even approxiluately correct, and they lllay as

in vases and vessels of various kinds, a fact which proves beyond all doubt that the men who made these graves believed that their dead friends and relatives' would live again in some place, of the whereabouts of which they probably had very vague ideas, in a life which was, presumably, not unlike that which they had lived upon earth. The flint 'tools, knives, scrapers and the like indicate that they thought they would hunt and slay their quarry when brought down, and fight their foes; and the schist objects found in the graves, which M. de Morgan identifies as amulets, shows that even in those early days man believed that he could protect himself against the powers of supernatural and invisible enemies by talismans. The man who would hunt and fight in the next world must live again; and if he would live again it must be either in his old body or in a new one; if in the old body, it must be revivified. But once having imagined a new life, probably in a new body, death a second time was not, the prehistoric Egyptian hoped, within the bounds of possibility. Here, then, we have the origin of the grand ideas of the RESURRECTION and IMMORTALITY.