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is that our trust in the moral nature of God, and our consciousness of a kinship by aspiration to Him, assure us of His will to preserve us alive throughout eternity. The analyst of the soul submits that it appears a harsh and almost cruel thought to suppose that God should, as it were, elaborately train a soul for serving and loving Him, and then suddenly abandon His own workmanship, when its lineaments were beginning a little to exhibit the hand of the Divine artist. “I cannot think,” avows the author of the Religion of the Heart, “ that the Author of all good and hope does anything by halves in respect to that roundness of completion in a future state, which He has put it in our hearts to desire in this,” any more than He has made anything which yearns or tends to be completed, a thing but half complete, from an orb itself down to a fruit. What mourner can be consoled if the dead die for ever? is the obstinate self-questioning of Allen Fenwick, at the crisis of his Strange Story; and through every pulse of his frame throbs that dread question, and all nature around seems to him to murmur it. “And suddenly, as by a flash from heaven, the grand truth in Faber's grand reasoning shone on me, and lighted up all, within and without. Man alone, of all earthly creatures,
is sure there is a future state, for she believes that God is good. He will not leave her in the dust, for He so made her as to think He would not, could not, He being just.
Glancing for illustrations in another direction, quite another, we light on Canon Kingsley's Tom Thurnall affirming his absolute certitude of a future state,-our having been once born being to him the strongest possible presumption in favour of being born again; and this, as nature always works upwards and develops higher forms, probably in some higher state. A religion of nature, if not a very natural religion.
But there needs, as towards the close of In Memoriam, the invocation of a “living will ” that shall endure when all that “ seems" shall suffer shock, —
" That we may lift from out of dust
A voice as unto Him that hears,
A cry above the conquered years
The truths that never can be proved
Until we close with all we loved,
asks, *Can the dead die for ever?' and the instinct that urges the question is God's answer to man. No instinct is given in vain.” Who, in the demand of one of Two Voices, who forged that higher influence, that heat of inward evidence, by which man doubts against the sense ? To man pertains the gift of eyes
“ That read his spirit blindly wise,
Not simple as a thing that dies.
He names the name Eternity." He does this as one made to do it. And God has made him : God is just.
“ Thou carest for Thy creatures ; and the end
Thou seest. The world unto Thy hands I leave;
And to Thy hands my life. I will not grieve
Because I know not all Thou dost intend.” So muses the Wanderer of one contemporary poet. In the Faithful for Ever of another, a troubled spirit takes comfort in the thought that
“... Love's best is not bereft
Ever from him to whom is left
The prophecies of pure desire.” The heart, argues an expositor of the natural religion of it, the heart bids us hope, and God therefore bids us hope, by whom the heart was made. “Whatever good thing the heart bids us believe, let us do our best to believe it ; for God has put it there ; and its goodness is His warrant for its being cherished.” St. Clement, the Bishop of Rome, like the father
1 “As-tu peur,” exclaims Marmontel's Bélisaire, “que Celui qui nous a créés ne nous délaisse et ne nous oublie?”.
Marmontel's teaching is that “La révélation n'est que le supplément de la conscience : c'est la même voix qui se fait entendre du ciel et du fond de mon âme.” To an objection on the part of the Emperor Justinian, his philosophic general replies,—“Si elle ne l'est pas, Dieu me trompe, et tout est perdu,” etc.
of the faithful, like Esaias, is very bold : Si Deus est justus, animus est immortalis, he asserts. Else had “enormous doubt, in the words of a nineteenth century poet, rushed on the early Christian prelate, and all solution been undone of life's darkest riddles; else might he have been driven to cry, with the bewildered of his race,
“Is this the best a Deity has dreamed ?
To eat, and suffer, why so subtly schemed ?
The brute's small spark of life had better him beseemed !" Annihilation horrifies me, muses the author of La Religion Naturelle, and death is a troublous thought. Am I to believe that God inspired me with this dread, only to mock me? “Est-ce un Dieu sage, qui ne me rend si grand que pour me rendre si malheureux ? . . . Il m'a donné l'être gratuitement; mais ce bienfait reçu me confère un droit, puisque Dieu est juste.”] The intense and longing desire for future life which most men have is probably, says one of the Benjamin Constant school, the foundation of their hope; an explanation which however suggests the prior question, Why do men desire a future life? and to that the only answer he can give is, that God has implanted the feeling within us.
Apply the reasoning of Mr. Robert Browning in one of the most tuneful and tender of his lyrics :
“No, indeed! for God above
Is great to grant, as mighty to make,
1 “Nous avons donc le droit de demander si Dieu nous a fait à la fois pour aimer la vie, et pour la perdre.” See, passim, the section headed L'Immortalité.
There was not much of Jules Simon about Beaumarchais ; but the latter argues like the former, in one of his latest letters, touching the aspirations of the soul, presumably inspired from on high : “Mais l'ouvrier d'un si bel assemblage aurait fait un ouvrage indigne de sa puissance s'il ne réservait rien à cette grande faculté à qui il a permis de s'elever jusqu'a sa connaissance.” Compare this one among the dernières pensées of M. Necker : “Nous ne croirons pas que notre imagination s'élance au delà des temps pour nous fournir un simple jouet ; nous ne valions pas la peine d'être trompés, de l'être avec tant d'éclat, si nous ne devions avoir qu'une existence éphémère."
or that again to the same effect, and by the same poet, in his fine poem of Saul : “Do I find love so full in my nature, God's ultimate gift,
That I doubt His own love can compete with it? here, the parts shift?
Here the creature surpass the Creator; the end, what Began?” Southey bids us think not love, genius, and virtue should inhere alone in mere mortality, and earth put out the sparks which are of Heaven :
“ Think not that He in whom we live doth mock
Our dearest aspirations."
JOB xvi. 1-4. M ISERABLE comforters were they all, the man of Uz
VI told Temanite, and Shuhite, and Naamathite. He had heard many such things before as they had to tell him, but all their full sentences and rounded periods were void of comfort. He too could talk such comfort with the best of them, were he in their place; and he too could find fault with the best of them, were they the sufferers, and he the lecturer. “I also could speak as ye do, if your soul were in my soul's stead. I could heap up words against you, and shake mine head at you.” It is not all quibble, what Brabantio says, in reply to the complacent counsel and condolence of one of high degree :
“He bears the sentence well, that nothing bears
But the free comfort which from thence he hears ;
That the bruised heart was piercèd through the ear.”
strant appeal, “Let me dispute with thee of thy estate," Romeo's rejoinder is, “Thou canst not speak of what thou dost not feel.” In like mode Leonato bids his brother Antonio cease comfort and counsel that fall into his ears as profitless as water in a sieve :
“... For, brother, men
Can counsel, and speak comfort to, that grief
My grief cries louder than advertisement.” That is, than admonition. As Benedict says in the same play, “Well, every one can master a grief but he that has it.” Pandulph's rebuke of Constance bewailing her young Arthur, “ You hold too heinous a respect of grief,” only stirs her to the exclamation, “He talks to me that never had a son.” Adriana again thus disposes of Luciana's essayings to comfort and compose her:
“A wretched soul, bruised with adversity,
As much, or more, we should ourselves complain.” Volumnia gives way, high-spirited Roman matron though she be, at the parting with her son, who recalls her sonorous precepts of old time, ere she had instant need of applying them, as a very present help in trouble—a help found absent now, conspicuous by its absence :
“. . . Nay, mother,
The heart that conned them;". but which, somehow, the preceptor (or preceptress) had not learnt by heart, so as now to apply in practice.