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VII

THEIR ARGUMENTS

THEY, on their part, say or might say that, in the present stage of science, two or three cases excepted, there is never a certainty of death. Not to support life to its last limits, even at the cost of insupportable torments, were perhaps to kill. Doubtless there is not one chance in a hundred thousand that the sufferer escape. No matter. If that chance exist which, in the majority of cases, will give but a few days, or, at the utmost, a few months of a life that will not be the real life, but much rather, as the Latin said, "an extended death," those hundred thousand torments will not have been in vain. A single hour snatched from death outweighs a whole existence of tortures.

Here are, face to face, two values that cannot be compared; and, if we mean to weigh them in the same balance, we must heap the scale which we see with all that remains to us, that is, with every imaginable pain, for at the decisive hour this is the only weight which counts and which is heavy enough to raise by a few degrees the other scale that dips into what we do not see and is loaded with the thick darkness of another world.


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