Sue West


“To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, creeps in this petty pace from day to day; to the last syllable of recorded time; and all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury. Signifying nothing.” — from Shakespeare’s Macbeth

How sad this would be if it were true about life and the hereafter. Macbeth offers no hope to the ailing soul. His philosophy is no more than a tale told by an idiot. It’s full of deceit and lies, full of sound and fury, signifying only a worldly point of view. 

While it is true our brief candle will one day go out and our hour upon the stage of life will cease, it is also true that a new life will begin. In the old Biblical churches we still sing of a time when Jesus will take us by the hand and lead us through the Promised Land — a time void of pain and sorrow.

If Dante Alighieri’s poem “The Divine Comedy” was correct concerning the inscription written above the entrance to Hell, “Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here,” then most certainly could the words, “Abandon All Pain and Sorrow,” be inscribed in the walls of that great Heavenly city to which we seek.

Worldly philosophy leaves us feeling as if in the end, all is vanity and vexation of spirit. It leaves us at last to a cold dark grave where nothing but finality lies. Perhaps Shakespeare took many of his thoughts from the book of Ecclesiastes which was written by King Solomon, the wisest, yet, the most foolish man in his backslidden condition. King Solomon all but destroys the hope of the elect. 

Perhaps it was the gods of his many wives that served to corrupt the truth of the only true God passed down to him from his father, King David. Who knows if Solomon ever returned to the faith of his fathers? I like to believe he did. 

Nonetheless, it appears that Shakespeare’s thoughts come straight from a man who forgot the God of his youth. The God who met him in secret and gave him more than his heart could ever desire. These vain philosophies of worldly seers leave us hopeless. 

It is only in Christ that life and death take on purpose. The choice is clear and it is ours to make. Will we live life hopelessly under the Sun or will we live life full of hope, in the Son? 

“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” (1 John 5:13)

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