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become of us.” But were it so ;-had no authentic information


the point ever reached you, or any means been afforded for your making even plausible conjectures about it, yet how is it that such darkness and uncertainty can produce indifference? How is it that they do not pain you, puzzle you, torture you? If you were obliged to launch upon a great ocean-to sail, you knew not for how long a period, it might be for months or for years—to sail you knew not whither, it might be to a land most beautiful, or to one most desolateto sail you knew not with what fellow passengers, they might be saints or pirates—in such a case you could not be indifferent. Your very ignorance of the voyage, and of all that might be, would agonize you. Yet, strange; you are indifferent, though ignorant of the voyage which you must take over the sea of the eternal future!

But if you may thus exist for ever, consider further, whether you are to be for ever happy or unhappy? “I do not know,” may be your reply. But if so, how is it that you do not care to know? If you are to live at all, you must remain essentially the same person, and neither become an angel or a brute, but remain a human being in all that belongs to you as such ; and therefore capable of good or evil, happiness or misery. For to be essentially changed, would be practically the same for you as to cease to exist, and another being totally different in kind to be created in your stead.

But if you are to exist, I again ask, How ? You must admit that it is possible you may be unhappy, yea, miserable.

I do not at present assert that it shall be so, or must be so, but only that it may be so. This you dare not deny. It is, however, a fact that many people are very wretched here ; so wretched, indeed, that they have tried by suicide to extinguish the existence which was so horrible to them. Our souls have, therefore, an awful capacity for being miserable. Dare you assert, then, that you can never share this misery before you die? Dare you boldly maintain that there exists no righteous power which could permit you, as it has done others, to endure horror of conscience and agony of woe while living unrighteously? And if before death, why not after? What security have you against either? Only think what misery of soul is for a single day or hour here, and but admit the bare possibility of your enduring anything like this hereafter -for eternity ? ay, for less even than threescore years and ten! and, tell me then whether the may be of such suffering ought not to banish indifference at least, whatever other feeling should be produced by it? “But,” you suggest, "I may be happy." Yes,


” you may, but only when in a very different state of mind from your present one; for God never shares His joy but with those who share His character. Now can you really be indifferent, yet think it even possible for you to be made like such a person as Jesus Christ in character, so as to have all sin, and all inclination to sin, emptied out of you; and to have love to God filling your whole soul, and you yourself possessing all that is glorious in Him, as far as a creature can share the glory of the Creator? Can you, indeed, believe it possible, that after death you may begin an existence of happiness, great and deep as the Almighty can impart; and that this shall continue without a moment's interruption, in the society of all the best in God's universe for eternity? Can you think of this as possible for such a one as you, and yet think of it with indifference ?

In either case, then, whether you may be miserable or happy, the feeling of indifference is utterly unworthy of a rational being! I can understand how the expectation of coming misery might excite present fear; or earnest struggles to escape, if escape were possible; or horror and wrath, if escape were impossible ; but indifference to it I cannot

: comprehend ! Equally incomprehensible is the same feeling when contemplating the possibility of coming joy. Hope, thankfulness, peace, delight are natural—but indifference !

There is only one other supposition which can be made regarding the future, and that is of our annihilation, body and soul. Whether any man can believe this, far less wish it, I shall not here inquire. It is enough for my present purpose if any reader entertains the idea with unconcern. Yet, if I read your thoughts aright, you more than suspect that there is a heaven and a hell, a future state of good and evil; but conscious of your unfitness for the one, and inwardly fearing the other, you try to escape from the pain which faith in both occasions, by flying for shelter to the utter darkness of annihilation! Still the light of God's truth, whether you will or not, finds you out; for that light is in your soul, and cannot wholly be extinguished, and it reveals to you that which cannot be annihilated by death. But suppose it possible for you to embrace the belief that it shall be otherwise that in a moment you may pass from this world of light and beauty; from the happy circle of friends and acquaintances, with all the affectionate realities of social life; and from all your present thoughts, speculations, labours, hopes, joys, into utter nothingness, and become senseless as the clod on which we tread, while the lark continues to sing overhead, and flowers to spring up in beauty, and the sun to shine in his strength, and all material things to continue as at creation's prime; so that you are forced to conclude, that the Creator has made you either incapable of living for evermore, or has not provided any means available to you wherewith to secure a happy life for ever, but has made you, with all your marvellous powers, merely to labour or enjoy for a moment, and then to die! Oh, I can conceive how a man believing this might burn with rage at his destiny, and exclaim loudly, beneath the sky, against the tragedy of such an existence, and feel as if a fiend had

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