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far as their own consciousness goes, in final alienation and revolt from God and goodness. It is for these that he demands another and a better life at the hands of the Divine Justice and Love; and in as far as he loves both God and man, so far is he incapable of renouncing that demand, and resting satisfied because he has had a pleasant mortal existence, and because younger men will enjoy the like after him, and, when he is gone, help to carry on the progressive movement of human affairs.” The prayer of his soul, “Thy kingdom come,” includes indefinitely more than this.
Further, the writer's lack of the religious sense is once more revealed by the absence of any reference in the summary of the reasons why men hope for another life, of that which must always be to religious persons the supreme Hope of all. Mr. Mill expresses, in a few most touching words (what he, of all men, could not have failed to know), how the sceptic loses one most valuable consolation—“the hope of re-union with those dear to him who have ended their earthly life before him.” “That loss," he adds, “is neither to be denied nor extenuated. In many cases it must be beyond the reach of comparison or estimate, and will always suffice to keep alive in the more sensitive natures the imaginative hope of a futurity which, if there is nothing to prove, there is as little in our knowledge or experience to contradict." These words will find an echo in every heart. There is no "extenuation" of the immeasurable loss of the hope of meeting once more with the beloved dead; and when M. Comte sets forth the satisfaction of being buried by their side—that we may perish instead of living together-it would seem as if he meant to mock at the anguish of mortal bereavement as some grim tyrant who has promised to release a captive, and fulfils his word by giving back his corpse. But has Mr. Mill, who so deeply understands what the longing for the re-union of human love may mean, never known the aspiration of every religious man for the communion of Divine Love in a world where we shall sin against it no more, and where it may be more perfectly unbroken than is possible while we stand behind the veil of the flesh ? This longing desire, which lies at the very core of every God-loving heart, is surely worth mention among the reasons for hoping for Immortality, even if it cannot be accepted, according to the principle of Experimental philosophy, as ground for the faith that every son of God who has felt it is, even in right thereof, immortal.
But I quit the ungracious, and, in my case, most ungrateful, task of offering my feeble protest against the last words given to us of a man so good and great, that even his mistakes and deficiencies (as I needs must deem them) are more instructive to us than a million platitudes and truisms of teachers whom his transcendent intellectual honesty should put to the blush, and whose souls never kindled with a spark of the generous ardour for the welfare of his race which flamed in his noble heart and animated his entire career.
In conclusion, while commending to the reader's consideration what appears to me the true method of solving the problem of a Life after Death, I have but to point out the fact that on the answer to that great question must hang the alternative, not only of the hope or despair of the human race, but of the glory or the failure of the whole Kosmos, so far as our uttermost vision can extend. Lions and eagles, oaks and roses, may be good after their kind; but if the summit and crown of the whole work, the being in whose consciousness it is all mirrored, be worse than incomplete and imperfect, an undeveloped monster, an acorn mouldered in its shell, a bud blighted by the frost, then must the entire world be deemed a failure also. Now Man can only be reckoned on any ground as a provisionally successful work—successful, that is, provided we regard him as in transitu, on his way to another and far more perfect stage of development. We are content that the egg, the larva, the bud, the half-painted canvas, the rough scaffolding, should only faintly indicate what will be the future bird and butterfly and flower and picture and temple. And thus to look on man (as by some deep insight he has almost universally regarded himself) as a “sojourner upon earth,” upon his way to “another country, even a heavenly,” destined to complete his pilgrimage and make up for all his shortcomings elsewhere, is to leave a margin for believing him to be even now a Divine work in its embryonic stage. But if we close out this view of the future, and assure ourselves that nothing more is
ever to be expected of him than what we knew him to be during the last days of his mortal life; if we are to believe we have seen the best development which his intellect and heart, his powers of knowing, feeling, enjoying, loving, blessing and being blessed, will ever obtain while the heavens endure,—then, indeed is the conclusion inevitable and final. Man is a Failure, the consummate failure of creation. Everything else-star, ocean, mountain, forest, bird, beast and insect-has a sort of completeness and perfection. It is fitting in its own place, and it gives no hint that it ought to be other than it is. “Every lion,” as Parker has said, “is a type of all lionhood; but there is no man who is a type of all manhood.” Even the best and greatest of men have only been imperfect types of a single phase of manhood -of the saint, the hero, the sage, the philanthropist, the poet, the friend-never of the full-orbed man who should be all these together. If each perish at death, then, as the seeds of all these varied forms of good are in each, every one is cut off prematurely, blighted, spoiled. Nor is this criterion of success or failure solely applicable to our small planet-a mere spark thrown off the wheel whereon a million suns are turned into space. It is easy to believe that much loftier beings, possessed of far greater mental and moral powers than our own, inhabit other realms of immensity. But Thought and Love are, after all, the grandest things which any world can shew, and if a whole race endowed with them proves such a failure as death-extinguished mankind would undoubt
edly be, then there remains no reason why all the spheres of the universe should not be similar scenes of disappointment and frustration, and creation itself one huge blunder and mishap. In vain may the President of the British Congress of Science dazzle us with the splendid panorama of the material universe unrolling itself “from out of the primeval nebula’s fiery cloud.” Suns and planets swarming through the abysses of
space are but whirling sepulchres after all, if, while no grain of dust is shaken from off their rolling sides, the conscious souls of whom they have been the palaces are all for ever lost. Spreading continents and flowing seas, soaring Alps and fertile plains, are worse than failures if we, even we, poor, feeble, sinful, dim-eyed creatures that we are, shall ever “vanish like the streak of morning cloud in the infinite azure of the past.”
For the concluding Essay in this book, wherein I have endeavoured to explain what I deem to be the best Hope of the Human Race here on earth, I have to crave the readers' forgiveness for two defects of which I am thoroughly sensible. One is that I have attempted to compress the statement of a large and somewhat revolutionary theory of human development into a compass far too small to do justice to whatever claims it may have upon acceptance. Should the psychological fact, which I imagine myself to have for the first time brought