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vaded any of the more liberal minds of modern Christendom ! Surely, it has invaded some of the most liberal. Frederick Robertson was one of these; and he said, "If the soul be not immortal, I am not certain that we can show cause why Saint Paul's life of sublime devotion was not a noble existence wasted. If the soul be not immortal, Christian life not merely apostolical devotedness is a grand impertinence. With our immortality gone [this was precisely Dr. Bradford's view], the value of humanity ceases, and people become not worth living for. Why should I live like an angel if I must die like a dog?" "If to-morrow I perish utterly," said Theodore Parker,- the last man from whom we should have expected any such sentiment,—“if to-morrow I perish utterly, I shall care nothing for the generations of mankind. I shall know no higher law than passion. Morality will vanish.” Said I not rightly that, if Dr. Bradford erred, he erred in splendid company! To differ from such company may be a daring thing; and yet, if I had to choose between this order of opinion and that of those who maintain that the belief in immortality is essentially immoral, I should choose the latter without a moment's hesitation. But we cannot choose between opposing doctrines. Belief is not a matter of choice: it is a matter of evidence and conviction. There is no evidence for the immorality of the doctrine of immortality that is sufficient for conviction to any unprejudiced person. But I do not wonder that such a damaging opinion has found acceptance with many earnest souls. The doctrine of immortality is an immoral doctrine whenever it is made indispensable to the moral life of man here in this world. It was an immoral doctrine, a doctrine prejudicial to morality, in every personal instance I have named. The doctrine was immoral, not the men. There was more goodness in them than they gave themselves credit for. If Paul had been obliged to give up his faith in a future life, he would not have said, "Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die," but "Let us work while the day lasts." If not, so much the worse for Paul. And Robertson would still have

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lived like an angel if he had known that he must die like a dog, though how a man who lives like an angel can die like a dog is to me inconceivable. But, then, too, I have known dogs to die embosomed in a wonder of affection of which an angel might be glad.

There are various renderings of the motive power of immortality. The grossest is that virtue cannot be enforced without the sanctions of another life, without its penalties to warn, its promises to lure, the soul immersed in manifold temptation. But one thing is certain. Never has civilized society attained to lower depths of degradation than in those Christian centuries when the felicities of heaven and the agonies of hell were no mere rhetoric, but just as real as monkish gingerbread and beer or as the tortures of the Inquisition. As a police agent, the belief in other-world rewards and penalties, conceived with an appalling realism, did not avail to stay men's hands from violence, to bridle their fierce lusts, to check their meanness and rapacity, to soften their revenge and hate. And, however it has been in the past, Macbeth is but the mouthpiece of all modern thought and feeling when he says, thumbing his dagger's edge,

"If the assassination
Could trammel up the consequence, and catch
With his surcease, success; that but this blow
Might be the be-all and the end-all here,
But here, upon this bank and shoal of time,—
We'd jump the life to come."

But, surely, the more liberal thinkers I have named did not find the moral value of immortality in its ability to entice the selfish and to scare the wicked from their sin. Surely, Theodore Parker saw as plainly as any man has ever seen that such a view demoralizes morality, contaminates virtue with selfishness. What he felt — and many with him and before and after him-was that, in losing immortality, human nature would lose its greatness, that a perishable being would not be worth working for with patience and self-sacrifice,

whether that being was one's self or another. But the evidence is overwhelming that the moral life has been lived by many who have not aspired to immortality and who have had no theistic faith. Thousands of millions of the Buddhist faith have given this evidence,— without belief in God or immortality, exhibiting a moral life vastly superior to the Brahmins, with their double confidence in God and immortality. Moreover, there are thousands in the modern world without this double confidence, or either part of it, whose moral life shames that of those who talk of God as literally as of a man on the next street, and of heaven as if they had been there and explored with vulgar curiosity its every mystery. For there remains for such

"the fidelity

Of fellow-wanderers in a barren place,

Who share the same dire thirst, and therefore share

The scanty water; the fidelity

Of fellow-heirs of this small island, Life,

Where we must dig and sow and reap like brothers."

No theories about another world or about God or the constitution of our human life can alter the inexpugnable fact that we are here, with bodies sensitive to a thousand and ten thousand varying influences for good or ill, with minds thirsting for knowledge, hearts longing for affection, imaginations hungering for the beautiful. To make the most and best of all these is certainly worth while, whatever fate impends. And I must confess that it is to me a terrible thought that it is only the fulness and richness and splendor of life that attract our sympathies, or that the miseries of life must have this golden background before they can appeal to us for help and cheer. The man to whom misery does not appeal as misery, who would not alleviate a suffering or save a threatened life simply because it was suffering or threatened, would prove himself not only unworthy of the immortality that he demands to sanction his morality, but unworthy of the privileges and blessing of this present life. Shame on the man

whose heart does not go out as quickly to a beggar's as to a prince's child! The motive power got for the moral train by such considerations may be enormous. 'The trouble is it is a motive power that wrecks the train, that brings morality to naught, that multiplies its amount at the expense of its quality.

Never was lesson read more backwardly than is this of the relation of the human soul to the immortal life. We need the greatness of the soul to prove its immortality, and we cannot draw upon its immortality to prove its greatness in advance. The advocate of immortality as the sanction and the inspiration of morality sets out by denuding human life of all its characteristic strength and discharging it of all its characteristic virtue. Thus Dr. Bradford, spurning with a contemptuous heel the platform upon which he stood, said, "If the soul is no more than this platform, I will care for it no more than for this." That is plain enough. Why should he? But he might as well have said, "If the sun is a leather button, its radiance shall get no praise from me," or "If the 'Sistine Madonna' is a tyro's daub, it shall not have my admiration," or If Shakspere is a worse poet than Tupper, why should we read his plays?" But Shakspere is not a worse poet than Tupper, and the "Sistine Madonna is not a tyro's daub, and the sun is not a leather button, and the soul of man is not a wooden platform, or no more than that, but noble in reason, infinite in faculties, with thoughts that wander through eternity, with quite immeasurable capacities for knowledge, action, love. In Tennyson we have the same depreciation,



"If the wages of Virtue be dust, Would she have heart to endure for the life of the worm and the fly?"

Perhaps not; but the question is not worth considering, seeing that the wages of virtue are not dust. They are the things done, the accomplished facts, the suffering alleviated, the pain assuaged, the broken heart bound up, the wrong thing stricken down, the right thing set on high, and the

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proud consciousness of having been a help, and not a hindrance, to these lofty ends. "Would she have heart to endure for the life of the worm and the fly?" She has no such life. Human life has none such. The life of the worm and the fly is for a day or a few days or weeks. The life of man is three and fourscore years, lengthened out sometimes well-nigh another score. And, while it lasts, it is not the life of the worm and the fly,- a little throb of tremulous sensation,- but in form and moving how express and admirable, in apprehension how like an angel, in action how like a god! And it is because man is what he is that we have for him a hope full of immortality, and a sense of his eternal sonship with the Father of all souls. No ultimate catastrophe can impeach the greatness of humanity. Whatever is, is so. Yonder great bridge or yonder lovely tower may, by some throe of nature, be a ruinous heap before to-morrow dawns. But, while the one aspires to heaven and the other swings in air, how beautiful they are! Stability does not prove perfection; else were the Pyramids more beautiful than the Parthenon or the mosaics of Santa Maria Maggiore more perfect than the splendid forms which Michel Angelo painted for a warrior pope.



you can't go to 'eaven," said a blundering consoler to a sick man in the hospital, "you ought to be glad that there is such a place as 'ell for you to go to.' But we have no such miserable dilemma in the world of human struggle, aspiration, hope, and fear. If we can't go to heaven, we ought to be glad that there is such a place as earth to live in for our mortal span. It is, I know, the scene of awful miseries and crushing disappointments and intolerable crimes. But it is marvellously beautiful, with its brave, overhanging firmament, its grass with daisies pied, its forests stretching up the mountains' sides, its vastness of old ocean's sway and moan. But there is nothing in this house "called Beautiful" so beautiful as the men and women who go in and out of all its spacious rooms, sit at its tables and enjoy the feast, in its sequestered corners have their tender passages of love, and

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