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attained, is a prophecy of a future where sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
I make no apologies to the reader for quoting a poem at full length by the Bishop of Derry, which expresses with wondrous beauty the idea thrilling all hearts and causing humanity to cry, with loud voice and deep accord, for a new life to complete what is broken and imperfect here.
O the rest for ever, and the rapture!
O the hand that wipes the tears away!
And the hope that watches o'er the clay!"
Some modern sceptics have shuddered at the prospect of that eternity to which a Christian clings, because they misunderstand it. The future life is differently viewed by every one, and will, according to the Catholic theory, be different to every one.
It will be the ideal of every one; if his idea of happiness be low, his future will be of small value; if high, it will be glorious. Each will have his capacity of enjoyment satisfied, but the capacity of one being greater than that of another, the amount of delight to one will be greater than to another. Just, says an old writer, as at the feast in Shushan the palace, “ they gave them drink in vessels of gold (the vessels being diverse one from another), and royal wine in abundance,"* so will it be hereafter; every man will be satisfied, but the measure of one will not be the measure of another. This is what some have failed to understand. The future life has been conceived as a dead level of insufferable monótony, so dreary that men—
“Would fain lie down and die,
But for their curse of immortality."
“I scorn the heavenly plains above me,
In the blest land of paradise;
Than those whom here on earth I prize.
Could there replace my darling wife;
Would small enjoyment give to life."
2 Esther i. 7.
“Behold,” says Jean Reynaud, “on the steps of this strange heaven, the elect seated in order side by side, all in the rank assigned to them according to their short pilgrimage on earth, absorbed, without distraction, in the rigidity of their contemplation, and clothed for ever in their terrestrial bodies in which they were seized by death, as by the fatal seal of their eternal immutability. What are these phantoms engaged in doing? Are they living or dead? Ah! Christ, how this paradise scares me; I prefer my life with its lights and shadows, its tribulations and pains, to that blank immortality with its sanctimonious peace!"
But this is false altogether to the hypothesis of the Incarnation, which requires that the wants of man will find their complete satisfaction in Christ. If M. Reynaud's ideal of happiness be perpetual activity, such he will find to be his heaven.
-Some work sublime for ever working
What is pleasure to one man gives disgust to another; to a good, sensible, well-conducted man, the condition of a drunkard is one of misery. Yet to the drunkard there is no ambition to taste the joys of respectability and sobriety. A coarse, brutal nature cannot appreciate, or care to appreciate, the refined pleasures derived from art and literature. A street drab, with no modesty nor cleanliness, and with only animal lust and filthy habits, has no desire to live the life of a decent matron. The sweets of home and all its pure pleasures are beyond her conception; they are above her underground rail of pleasures. To a highly refined mind, the coarse and brutal nature is
Reynaud: Terre et Ciel. Paris, 1854.
awful in its loathsomeness. To the pure and virgin soul, full of heavenly aspirations, the life of a street drab is hell.
We all probably have germs of aspirations after what is pure and good and beautiful, but by repression some destroy these germs, and by cultivation others develop them.
Every faculty we educate opens to us a new horizon. Every faculty we repress narrows our horizon.
If we suppose that life fixes our characters, and determines our aspirations, our future state will correspond with our tastes and characters and desires. There is no reason to suppose that the coarse nature which could make the tour of the Alps to-day and receive no impression of beauty, will be a bit more sensitive ten thousand years hence; nor that the drab will be more inclined to exchange, what Mr. Swinburne calls
“The roses and raptures of vice"
for “the lilies and languors of virtue." Her spirit is not diaphanous to heavenly love now, a course of sensuality has rendered it more and more opaque, why should it become again translucent in eternity, unless she desire it?
Unless she desire it, I repeat, for where there is the will to be better, there regeneration is possible, though it may be through suffering; but where there is blank indifference, there it is impossible.
Take a Wiltshire clown and walk him through the National Gallery; he will yawn. Tell him that with a little attention and effort his mind will open to the beauties of art. He will roar in your face, fat bacon fills his soul with content,-he desires nothing further. Speak of the joys of virtue to a profligate; you are as one telling idle