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unwilling to grant, that he will not do for his children that which their brethren after the flesh have striven to secure. This is surely little better than atheism and idolatry strangely combined, for it is to deny to God that supremacy in all moral perfections which alone entitles him to our adoration, and at the same time to elevate mortals to the vacant shrine. It is heroworship, such as no race of idolaters ever yet practised. They revered in the hero a manifestation of the Deity ; this is to set the Christian hero above God himself.
The very obvious difficulty in the way of this, and indeed of all arguments from the perfections of God, is, the existence of moral evil. The presence of this difficulty is acknowledged, and partially met, by our author ; but we think he scarcely admits its full force, nor quite succeeds in disposing of it. His reply is, that for aught we know, the permission of moral evil may be essential in a scheme of true optimism ; partial evil may work out universal good. A denier of future life might, however, urge in reply, that just as well may the extinction of the human soul in death be essential to the ends of universal benevolence; the negation of partial good being as necessary as the permission of partial evil. It must be admitted, however, that to deny the reality of a future life, is not only to throw an additional difficulty in the way of a true theism, but is, at the same time, to deprive us of the only means of disposing of the difficulty already existing. If immortal life be admitted, then infinite room is left for the rectification of all evils, and the working out of an incomparable overplus of goodness and felicity; but the denial of a future life annihilates this.' It thus aggravates the difficulty of the existing evil, and brings in the additional difficulty involved in the denial of the perpetuation and perfection of present good.
Whatever value, however, this discussion may possess, we submit that it is out of place here, unconnected as it is with the main subject. The essay would be improved by its excision, and it might, with advantage, be expanded into an independent argument. We would suggest, as a very suitable and important substitution for it, a preliminary chapter, inquiring where the burden of proof lies in the discussion of this question. On whom does the onus rest-on the assertors or the deniers of recognition? It appears to us very manifestly to rest upon those who deny, so that in the absence of disproof we are bound to hold the affirmative. The continuance of personal identity in the next life is of course admitted by all. The future life is but an extension, a prolongation, of the present. Immortality is but the projection of my present being into eternity. The probability then is, that I shall carry into eternity the capabilities of
recognition which I possess here. The opposite theory involves the mutilation of mind—the destruction of some of its most important faculties. For the fact of this mutilation and destruction, we demand proof. In the admitted fact of personal identity, there is a primâ facie case made out in favour of recognition. It devolves, then, not upon those who maintain to prove, but upon those who deny to disprove. In the absence of any attempt at disproof, we have warrant in admitting the doctrine as true.
This primâ facie case is immensely strengthened if we remember what identity involves. It is impossible to conceive of the continuity and identity of conscious existence where there is utter oblivion of the past. Without going the length of some metaphysicians, in affirming that memory and identity are but different phases of the same fact, yet surely the latter must involve the former. Identity must include a continued consciousness of the past; that is to say, must include memory. We shall, then, assuredly carry with us into the future reminiscences of the present; and when we reflect how large a portion of our present spiritual existence is connected with our friends and associates, we are inevitably led to the conclusion that they must remember us, and we must remember them.
If this needs further proof, we find it in the fact of moral government. All who admit the reality of a future life, admit that the present and the future bear to one another the relationship of probation and retribution; so that our condition there will be but the development of our condition here. Now it is difficult, or even impossible, to conceive how there can be retribution where there is oblivion-how the present can be rewarded or punished unless it be at the same time remembered -how eternity can be developed from time unless time be remembered in eternity. And this proof amounts to demonstration when we reflect that in God's government retribution is chiefly made by grateful or remorseful remembrances. There must then be self-recognition, and the clear, full remembrance of the events of this life. This being so, we say that it devolves upon
the denier of recognition to explain and prove the nonrecognition of others; and to adduce evidence that so extraordinary and unprecedented an act in the Divine government shall take place, as the obliteration of one class of reminiscences and the perpetuation of others. Until this be done or attempted, we maintain that the direct argument in proof is logically ncedless.
To this direct argument we now turn. Mr. Sheppard, in the first place, directs attention to the presumptive evidence in support of this opinion furnished by the universal belief of the heathen world. He furnishes a most important and valuable induction of passages, drawn from all quarters; and shows that the belief of reunion and recognition has been as widely diffused, and as firmly held, as the belief of a future life itself. Orators, poets, and philosophers, alike testify to this conviction. The whole field of classical antiquity is ranged over in proof of their hopes of an auspicious day, when, escaping from the mob and rabble of earth, they shall join the banquet and council of departed friends and heavenly spirits."* The Chinese, Hindoos, and Persians, are shown to coincide in these beliefs; and, descending still in the social scale, the mythologies and funereal rites of the rudest barbarians are adduced to prove that they too indulge the same cheering conviction. The induction of evidence proves that there is, perhaps, no moral truth which more nearly fulfils the conditions requisite to give it the authority of universal consent,' that it be held always, everywhere, and by all.'
Una in re consensio, omnium gentium, lex naturæ putanda est.' (Cic. 1 Tusc. Ques.)
To this succeeds the scriptural argument. We regret that want of space forbids our quoting any of the passages adduced by Mr. Sheppard, with his comments upon them. We call attention, however, to the exquisite precision with which he sometimes gives a new rendering of a passage, indicative of fine scholarship and intimate acquaintance with New Testament idioms. We must content ourselves with presenting his summary of the whole chapter :
• It has been thus, I think, amply evinced from the Christian Scripture-1st, that our Saviour's purpose was to form a society; 2ndly, that he originated with and between them the most real of relations; 3rdly, that the intimacy of it is described by the very strongest comparisons we can imagine ; 4thly, that the local assembling of this whole society at his coming is clearly promised; and, 5thly, not less so their everlasting abode with each other and with him. We have seen, Gthly, that the references to these subjects in the Old Testament, however slight and brief, are yet in agreement with the prospects which a later revelation opens. It has been shown, 7thly, that not only is a reciprocal sympathy of love and joy between Christians in this life both recorded and strongly enjoined in the New Testament, but also the expectation of this same happy sympathy in the life to come; and, 8thly, that the renewal of especial communion,” by some joyful and exalted modification of that commemorative social rite which our Redeemer instituted, appears to be matter of promise.'—Pp. 63, 64.
The redeemed in heaven are thus seen to form a community of individuals who had been intimately associated during the most critical portion of their history—the term of their proba
• Cicero De Senectute, cap. 23. VOL. XXVIII.
tion; and who, during that period, had influenced one another's spiritual interests by mutual action and reaction. Those influences are vividly and gratefully remembered by each individual in the community, and form the great theme of devotion, in a world where devotion is the great business of existence. Now, is it credible or conceivable that, with this intimate communion and individual remembrance, there should be no recognition ? Shall we bury these grateful reminiscences in our own hearts, and communicate them to none of our associates? Remembering the friend or pastor whose words decided our religious character, is it possible that we should be distinctly conscious that he is near us, and yet no recognition take place? Would not such a restriction limit the happiness of heaven, and be inconsistent with the perfect union of thought and feeling which exist there? We ask yet further, Is it credible that an eternity of communion should pass away without recognition ? Even supposing that at first our friends should be lost in the indistinguishable throng of that 'great multitude which no man can number;' yet still that number will be less than infinite, and the duration of intercourse will be infinite. We shall have eternity in which to range. And who shall say that in the discoveries and developments of that eternity, we shall not find ourselves bound, by hidden and mysterious ties, to every member of that redeemed family—each indebted to all, and all to each--no individual isolated and unconnected, but all united in indissoluble bonds of mutual gratitude and obligation ; to use the magnificent language of Milton, ‘progressing through the dateless and irrevoluble circle of eternity, shall clasp inseparable hands, with joy and bliss, in over-measure for ever.'
Various other arguments and illustrations may be urged, at which, however, we can only glance. Illustrious men are constantly alluded to-Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Moses and Elias, and the Twelve Apostles—as forming part of that society, and as adding, by their presence, to its happiness. "To sit down with them, is often used as a synonyme for entering heaven. But this surely implies that they shall be known and recognised.
Again, the transactions of the judgment and the publicity of its proceedings intimate the same truth. The individual and all his acts are to be brought prominently and publicly forward. The kind word and deed, the cup of cold water, the prison visit, the sympathetic tear, rendered to the disciple, are to be acknowledged and honoured by the judge. And must not the disciple who was the immediate object of the charity, recognise the benefactor too? This surely implies recognition on the very widest and grandest scale.
Again, the fact of angelic ministry must involve in it recognition. There is joy in heaven among the angels over the sinner as he relents and turns to God. He at once becomes an object of their solicitous care and ministry; they attend him throughout his course, and have charge concerning him lest he dash his foot against a stone.' Surely their interest in him does not cease at the very moment their labours are crowned with success. If they rejoice when he repents, they can scarcely be silent when they escort him to glory ; they can hardly 'minister to him an entrance among the saints in light, and then at once and for ever dismiss him from their thoughts.
But what, we hasten to ask, are the reasons which excite incredulity as to a doctrine so accordant with reason and revelation? Evidence crowds in upon us from all sides, in proof that the affections of earth will be consummated and perpetuated in heaven. What counter-evidence is there? As far as we are aware, there is no single passage in the word of God which can be shown to be in the slightest degree discordant with it. There is no fact of our experience or consciousness inconsistent with it—all are in its favour. The only objection which has any weight, is, 'that the anxious and fruitless search for friends, who have come short of heaven, or the dreadful information as to their absence, which may preclude that search, could not but be a fearful subtraction from the happiness of loving and tender spirits.
Now in the first place, this objection throughout is mere assumption and conjecture. Neither premises nor conclusion have the slightest show of proof, and, therefore, can be of no force when brought against direct and absolute evidence to the contrary. It is taken for granted, that the sorrowful remembrance of the lost depends upon the joyful recognition of the saved. It is taken for granted, that the grief of conscious separation would so far outweigh the joy of recognition, and eternal reunion, as to render entire oblivion preferable. It is yet further taken for granted, that there will be no means taken to meet the case, and to mitigate the sorrow, of finding that some whom we loved are lost, other than the very clumsy and improbable one of keeping us in universal ignorance as to those who are saved. Such unproved conjectures cannot surely be admitted as sufficient warrant for discrediting a doctrine, proved by strong and direct testimony.
In the second place, we reply, that the knowledge of the ruin of the finally impenitent, and the sorrow consequent on that knowledge, do not depend on the fact of recognition. The publicity of the final judgment, to which we have already alluded, an