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that the eye is never satisfied with seeing, nor the ear with hearing 2 Why as man climbs steep after steep in pursuit of knowledge, does he not stay his step, but presses on, from summit to summit, scarce resting to glance at the widening prospect he can now command in his insatiate ardor for filling the ever unsatisfied soul? Why gave the Creator to him those faculties that enable him to study out the laws by which the Universe is ruled,—to calculate the motions and times of bodies almost infinitely remote, to reason from cause to effect, and back from effect to cause,_to scan the glorious purposes of God Himself?
“Those numerous worlds that throng the firmament,
Surely never would the Deity have filled the mind with powers for infinite expansion; never would He have gifted man with capacities that by improvement might surpass the present abilities of the highest cherubim, had He not intended for him an immortality of existence in which they might expand. Look too at the moral powers and sentiments. Were these made but to be destroyed? See energies such as those of Howard—acting under the impulses of such God-like benevolence—and tell me if that soul has been annihilated while senseless matter has continued to endure. But full of weighty considerations as is this branch of our subject, we cannot dwell on it. We only say that if man is not immortal, the brute is happier in his ignorance than man can be with the belief that so soon as he attains his highest measure of knowledge and of virtue, he shall be blotted, in an instant, from existence. It would be blasphemy in the most ignorant heathen, to charge the God of heaven with thus vainly tantalizing man with such desires never to be accomplished, and such faculties never to be exercised. Besides this thirst for knowledge, man possesses an irrepressible and ever increasing desire for immortality.
“Nature's first wish is endless happiness;
Who does not shudder at the thought of annihilation ? None, save he, who lost to virtue would choose it as the bitter alternative of endless suffering. What but this desire, this conviction of immortality, induced the heathen poets and orators, statesmen and historians, to make such mighty efforts that their names and memory might be immortal Why did Tully almost disdain to bestow on temporal existence the title of life 2 “My mind,” says he, “was ever raising its views into future ages, strongly persuaded that I
should then only begin to live, when I ceased to exist in the present world.” But perhaps we have no more forcible testimony to the truth of our position, than the universal prevalence of its belief in every age, and among every people. The universal consent of mankind is the voice of the God of nature speaking in man. Conscience, until perverted and seared by a long course of opposition, is a faithful witness. Why then, except from a conviction of the soul's immortality, has this monitor spoken in every human bosom, and influenced the conduct of every human being, pointing the mind to that future, when the deserts of good or ill shall be bestowed Why the dread, shown or concealed, with which the consciously guilty, even in heathen lands, have always met the hour of death, save from the fear of future retribution ? Why the remorse of the guilty criminal, who despises revelation, save that the voice of nature thunders above the tempest of passion and of crime, “the soul can never die”? Why the terrors beneath which the hardiest infidel cowers in the hour of danger, save that reason, or perhaps natural religion, teaches him, in spite of his efforts to elude the conviction, that even the annihilation which in his desperation he would choose, is denied to his undying soul? Human nature speaks the same lesson too, under different circumstances. When a loved object is torn from the embrace of affection, when the soul is yearning towards one of whom death has deprived us, reason as well as revelation teaches, “I shall go to him, though he shall not return to me.” “O ! praeclarum diem,” exclaimed the elder Cato, “cum ad illud divinum animorum concilium coetumque proficiscar. Proficiscar enim ad Catonem meum ;” * * et “me ipse consolabar existimans, non longinquum inter nos digressum et discessum fore.” But were the belief not universal, the fact is indisputable, that many of the ancients, unpossessed of the light of revelation, by reasoning derived wholly from nature, were convinced, and have recorded their conviction of the soul's immortality. The stoics feigned indeed to disbelieve the doctrine, but so also did they feign insensibility to pain and sorrow. Besides the sentiments of Cicero just referred to, those of Plato, and Xenophon, and especially of Socrates, are well known. When one of the friends of the latter asked for directions as to the disposal of his body after his death, the historian tells us that the philosopher was offended, even at the supposition, that any thing mortal should be an object of regard to him, after it had lost its value, by the departure of the immortal principle, which alone ennobled it. We have thus briefly noticed a few of the considerations by which unassisted reason might be led to the inference of the soul’s future existence. They are such as cheered the philosophers and moralists of ancient times, to whom “life and immortality had not been
brought to light in the gospel,” with hopes that illumined with no saint glimmering their passage to the tomb. Yet we cannot deny, nor need we, that with the truth they held the most preposterous errors. The wild caprice of the metempsychosis, and the still wilder fantasy of the eternal pre-existence of the soul, serve only to vindicate the necessity of that divine revelation, without whose aid, in so many particulars, the truth could never have been attained. The associations of that future world, the nature of its employments, and more than all, the resurrection from the dead, this mortal putting on immortality, and this corruptible, incorruption—man knows only as he learns them from the scriptures of truth. So far as enlightened reason can go, she walks hand in hand with revelation; where reason fails, faith with irrefutable evidence comes in, and revelation leads the triumphant way.
WASHINGTON AT THE GRAVE OF DE KALB.
His lofty brow is deeply calm,
O! could he wake to life again,
His mighty spirit's gone, and low
* * * * * *
Years roll along, and hymns of joy
Their ghastly wounds were not in vain,
SCIENCE AND SUPEIRSTITION.
It was a delightful afternoon in July, when Albert Sterneston, a German student, shutting up a huge folio which he had been perusing, directed his steps towards the dwelling of his affianced bride. Thekla Coningston was the daughter of an eminent professor, who pursued his literary avocations in a retired village on the borders of Germany. She was naturally gisted with a high and noble mind, which had been most carefully cultivated by her affectionate father, and was not only versed in the lighter studies of the day, but a proficient in many of the more abstruse branches of science. Albert Sterneston had been first attracted by her beautiful face; then inspired with respect for her superior intellect; but he was won by the rich depth of feeling that at length centered in her love for him. The enthusiasm which shone forth in her every action and gave a new coloring to life, found in the gisted young student a fit object for its idolatry. Her gay spirits were gradually melting into the sobered cheerfulness of maturer years, and at times merged into slight melancholy. She felt that happiness was hers, but superstition saintly tinged her mind, and often forebodings would disturb its serenity.
That beautiful asternoon in July found her deeply involved in gloom. She looked out on the silvered clouds, poised in the transparent sky and mellowing the warm light, but no sunshine sell upon her soul. A well known step was heard, and she flew to meet Albert. He seated himself by her side, and with tender anxiety marked the sad expression of her lovely countenance.
“Thekla, why thus? Did you not wish to see me?”
“Yes, Albert, I ever rejoice at your presence, and now you are most welcome, for my spirit is very sorrowful. Yester-night I dreamed of you !” “And is this so uncommon that it troubles you? Thekla is the presiding genius of my nightly visions!” “Do not trifle, Albert,” she replied, in a tone of deep melancholy. “I heard a voice which forbade our union, but I vowed that I would disobey the prohibition. Then I saw a fiery ball fall from the sky and draw near my head, which so terrified me that I awoke.” “Thekla''' vehemently exclaimed Albert, “you cannot believe this will happen. If you seek to break our engagement, it is done.” “I wish it not. I will be thine,” she firmly replied. “Thank you, dearest, and now smile again. It is lovely without, let us walk to Krentzner's grove.” Thekla consented, and slowly they proceeded to the spot. A beautiful plain spread before them, nearly surrounded by hills, and divided by a swiftly flowing stream. There was a slight sound. Thekla grasped Albert's arm, and saintly articulated, “Did you hear that?” “Yes! but”—ere he could finish, there was a rumbling, as of distant thunder. Louder and louder it fell upon their startled ears, till a bright ball of fire appeared. On it swept with tremendous velocity, leaving a long train of light; then a loud report ensued, and a burning fragment descending, buried itself in the earth. All nature seemed affrighted; animals lay prostrate with fear, and the ground where it sell seemed heaving convulsively. Albert was on his knees, but Thekla stood firm, one arm around a slight tree, while her hand was still clasped in that of her lover. All was still for a few moments, till Albert cried out, “Speak, scream, weep, for heaven's sake, any thing to break this awful silence. 'Twas yesterday I read to you of meteors, which like this have often fallen to the earth. Look up, dearest, the danger now is past.” The beautiful girl lowered her long eye lashes, and a tear stealing through them, sell upon her pallid cheek. At length almost mechanically she spoke. “Albert, to-night we part for ever. My dream is fulfilled.” “Thekla, you are unharmed, and I have heard of similar coincidences, between the visions of an excited imagination and the actual phenomena of nature.” “To warn equally presumptuous mortals. When you can tell whence came the strange appearance, I will consent to become your wife.” “Whatever be its origin, are we of sufficient consequence to cause such a phenomenon 2 No! Thekla; God reveals not thus his will. Why not believe that the comet brings misfortune in its train " “Because men can predict the period of its return. But who foretold the coming of that fearful star?” “Thekla, I will not rest, till I explain its cause. Then, if you cannot disprove my theory, will you be mine *