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members one of another. For there is no race unless the future be a development of the present, the same more fully grown. Manhood is very different from childhood, yet it contains childhood, and the childish things that we put away have influenced it both for evil and for good. And so with the manhood of the race, it must be the mature age of what once was young-what was once young, growing up into and enjoying the maturity of power and of energy. We cannot indeed imagine the cessation of our life, however vaguely, and with however little fruit or result we may believe in our immortality. No living creature can conceive its own non-existence, for that which is not cannot think or wonder, imagine or remember. When we think of death or of the grave, we cannot believe that we shall be other than spectators of our own obsequies; we can scarcely help believing that our spirits will be soothed or wounded by the affection or forgetfulness of our survivors. We do not suffer or rejoice in these things by anticipation only; we believe that hereafter we shall be sensitive to reproach or praise. It is this belief in ourselves, and the recognition of it by the poet, which forms one of the greatest charms of Mr. Tennyson's “In Memoriam;" he is at once so sure that the dead are living, and that they are the nobler and better for dying; he believes so heartily and expresses so well what we all partly believe, and feel that we all ought to believe fully, that he wins our hearts at once and for ever. To realize the continuous personal life of those who have died is harder than to anticipate our own, while to deny either is sure to affect our faith in the other. We ask what our friends would have thought had they been living now; it does not occur to us always that they are living, and may still have fellowship with us. This Mr. Tennyson never forgets; he feels almost nearer to his friend than ever, because that friend has passed into a state where there are no more veils and disguises. He desires “the dead should still be near him at his side;" he will not
“Wrong the grave with fears untrue.
Shall love be blamed for want of faith?
There must be wisdom with great Death.
Ye watch, like God, the rolling hours
He cannot believe that any new affection can destroy an old one that was true; or that all the changes, even of many long years, could make his friend an unwelcome visitor.
" Ah, dear, but come thou back to me.
Whatever change the years have wrought,
I find not yet one lonely thought
That cries against my wish for thee.”
" Thou may'st watch me where I weep,
As unto vaster motions bound,
The circuits of thine orbit round
“ Sweet soul, do with me as thou wilt,
I lull a fancy trouble-tost
Till out of painful phases wrought
There flutters up a happy thought,
And thine effect so lives in me,
A part of mine may live in thee
It has been given to the modern poet to utter the faith which, though now far too weak, has always sought and partly found expression in the ritual and festivals of the Christian Church. This is the meaning of All Saints' Day; this is the meaning of the commemoration of the departed in the Holy Communion ; this helps us to understand why by so large a majority of Christians the dead are prayed for and prayed to. The Church cannot believe that death can divide it; she believes that all her members are still living, still as interested as ever in the welfare of each and all. Indeed, without this belief, heaven would be to us as vague and unattractive as the annihilation or absorption into God of many mythologies and philosophies.
We must look, then, for any future revelation of God to the same sources with which we are already familiar. There may be other sources; if there be, it is obvious that we cannot know them ; meanwhile, also, we wish more of the same kind of light that we already enjoy. In science, for example, we have arrived at a firm conviction of the existence of law; we have found that, except on very rare occasions, in the most solemn crises of the world's history, God does not interfere by miraculous interpositions, but that He governs according to an unchangeable order. Nevertheless, there are many laws almost entirely unknown to us : the laws, for instance, of weather. No educated person doubts that the weather is subject to laws as real and as in. variable as those which govern eclipses or the descent of falling bodies; we are, however, still ignorant of those laws, and sorely tempted to avail ourselves, were it only possible, of supernatural interventions in answer to prayer. Again, there is the far greater difficulty of ascertaining the relations of the sciences to each other. Within the limits of any one, such as chemistry, all is comparatively easy ; but there are laws higher than those of chemistry. No analysis can answer every question about a living body, no chemistry can put together again the elements of which a living body has been composed. The physiologist finds chemistry at once an indispensable instrument, and we might almost say, a useless impediment in his own peculiar province. So, again, the physiologist is himself both a help and a hindrance to the student of psychology and ethics. The brain and spinal cord scarcely give us the full explanation of religion and morals. Nothing can be more unlike a living man than his dead body under the knife of the anatomist. Nerves and ganglia may be our instruments, they are surely not ourselves. We have yet to learn what we are, as related to our bodies and to the laws of chemistry and mechanics.
Possibly also it may be needful for our perfect rest to understand, as we by no means understand yet, the ministry of pain. All our triumphs in things physical and spiritual cost this. How many animals, for instance, have been slaughtered for the sake of experiments which seem to the uninitiated to be trivial. The whole order of the world seems to include a continual struggle for existence. There is not a vegetable, not an animal, that would not, if left unchecked, exterminate every other. Grasses and shrubs fight each other as ferociously as carnivora, and it is only by a perpetual conflict that the earth is able to hold the countless tribes that people it. And in a higher region, painful sacrifice is the condition of all excellence, of all great achievements. No home can continue happy without self-sacrifice; and when we come to the highest example of all, we cannot believe that the life of Jesus Christ was an altogether happy one. It would be a kind of profanity to expand the simple words of the Evangelist, “ He groaned in spirit, and was troubled ;" “Now is my soul troubled;" “ My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death :" but it is quite plain that such words are meant to express the lowest depths of human anguish. Why, we may well ask, should acute pain be the condition of all blessedness? why should the whole earth be covered with sorrow and death? and how can they produce life and joy? Even in the region of the physical sciences we feel that we must have answers to questions like this; we want an answer concerning God, not from each only, but from all; the full harmony of nature, the whole “mystery made orderly. Then will be fulfilled that which
was spoken by the Psalmist, “ All Thy works praise Thee, O God, and Thy saints shall bless Thee;" "" The glory of the Lord shall endure for ever; the Lord shall rejoice in His works.”
But how much more do we need fresh light for the interpretation of human history. Here, also, we have been discovering laws; we have begun more and more clearly to perceive, for instance, the influence of climate on civilization. The inhabitants of hot countries, we are becoming willing to allow, must have a work to do intimately related to the place in which God has put them ;-here, again, physical and metaphysical laws interacting in a way that we can neither overlook nor explain. Every fresh discovery, every more careful observation of the antiquities, political institutions, domestic life, food, clothing, general habits of a people, fills up for us the meaning of St. Paul's words to the Athenians, “ God hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of men's habitations, in order that they might seek the Lord; though He be not far from every one of us." So, again, God has been revealing Himself to us in the many retributions which history records. Within the limits of the Bible, for instance, the destruction of the Egyptians, and, later on, the rejection of the Israelites themselves, are full of light and warning. And so again in what we call profane history, are the triumphs of the Greeks, when
A king sat on the rocky brow
And nearer our own times the defeat of the Spanish Armada, and the great French Revolution, and even now the melting away of Italian tyrannies ;-all these are revealing to us the principles on which God governs the world, and the glories of His own Being. They all tell us that at whatever cost to nations or individuals, God will have us know that a “man is more precious than gold, even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.” They all warn us that when priesthood and prophecy become a mere trade, when the bonds of neighbourhood and kindred are broken, when men cannot trust each other, but “every brother will utterly supplant and every neighbour will walk with slanders ;" the people among whom such evils have come to a corrupt maturity, is doomed to inevitable destruction. History is full of proofs that no lie is of the truth, or can do the work of truth; that sooner or later it must be detected and cast away, and all who have allied themselves with it be put to confusion. Governors may neglect their duties to their subjects, subjects may become turbulent and rebellious, rejecting their true rulers; in either
hough we mais our rightfullestimony to the tations and sing
giving thoni God none the best
case, though after it may be a very long delay, there must come anarchy and the day of reckoning. God is continually proclaiming Himself through all the long chapters of the history of nations to be a God of righteousness and order, to be no respecter of persons, but to accept in every nation all who fear Him and work righteousness.
So, again, in the experience of individuals, each of us is made to feel that “all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do." Amid all our temptations and sins there is yet an unmistakeable testimony to the fact that God, and not the devil, is our rightful Lord. However often we may fall, though we may become “tied and bound with the chain of our sins," we feel none the less that the power of darkness is a usurpation. God has nowhere left Himself without witness ; giving to the conscience and reason of every human being far nobler tokens of what He really is, than rains and fruitful seasons. “The true Light lighteth every man that cometh into the world."
Yet how much darkness and mystery still remain in the destiny of nations and the spiritual life of individuals. What is to be, in every case, the end of the long conflict? How can that which is crooked be made straight, and that numbered which is wanting? For sin seems ever fruitful of more sin; to yield to temptation is not only to come within the reach of more temptations, but it is also to lose a portion of that spiritual power by which alone they could be successfully resisted. By one and the same act we increase the forces of our enemies and diminish our own. Setting out from a fall, from sin, there is no sort of logic that does not end in despair. And even after Divine grace has done much to restore us, by processes far too mysterious for our full comprehension, we still remain conscious of an immeasurable loss; we feel that our position is far inferior to what it might have been. We cannot bring back the empty years and fill them with good works, we cannot undo the injuries we have done to other human spirits. Parents in their old age cannot begin again to train up the children, now grown up to manhood and womanhood, in the way they should go. Ungrateful and unreverent sons and daughters cannot show the respect they have learned too late to feel, to the parents that have been "gathered to their own people.” There are works for which repentance is, so far as we can see, utterly powerless. And what, then, is to be the end? what is to fill up the hollow that sin has made ? Must it not ever be that the sacrifice presented to God will be not without blemish? Have we had any experience that can lead us to perceive how such spiritual deadness as ours can be entirely removed even by the second Man, the quickening Spirit? We