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“murder will out,” that “honesty is the best policy," and that “the righteous” man is never forsaken, nor his seed destined to “beg their bread.” From some other source remote from experience we must have derived an impression which we persistently maintain, and endeavour to verify in defiance of ever-recurring failure and disappointment. What that source may be, it does not vitally concern the present argument to determine. Probably the expectation may most safely be treated as the imperfect intellectual expression of a great moral intuition, forming an ultimate fact of our moral constitution. All such deep but dim intuitions, when rendered into definite ideas, are necessarily imperfect and liable to error. We err both as to the time and the form in which they are to be fulfilled. We feel that Justice ought to be supreme; but when we translate that sentiment into an idea, we fondly picture the great scheme of the universe developed within the sphere of our vision. Like children possessed of a magnet, we imagine the pole to which it points may be found in the neighbouring field. Our magnet is true enough; but
the far-off Divine Event
Towards which the whole creation moves," is beyond our horizon. And, similarly, we give to our spiritual intuitions materialistic forms which are far from rendering them veraciously. The concrete, the visible, the tangible, are inevitably the earliest expressions even of our highest sentiments. We feel the Majesty of God, and picture Him seated on a throne. We feel His Justice, and the myth of a Day of Judgment rises before us. In like manner, our intuitive expectation that virtue will be rewarded, clothes itself in all manner of carnal shapes of crowns and riches; and our expectation that vice will be punished, in similar shapes of pain and infamy. At a further stage of human thought, when the anticipation of physical reward and punishment in this life has been of necessity postponed to, or supplemented by, those of another world, we substitute the almost equally materialistic rewards of Elysium and Paradise, or penalties of Jehanum and Hell. It needs a long course of progress to get beyond such ideas, and learn to render spiritual sentiments spiritually, and moral ones morally only. It militates nothing against the veracity of the original profound intuition of Justice, that hitherto men have thus mistranslated it into the promise of a speedy settlement of the Great Account in the gross earthly coin of physical good or evil, here or hereafter. That intuition will doubtless be far more perfectly fulfilled in the grander scope of eternity, and by means of the transcendent joys and sorrows of the spiritual life. When we have advanced far enough to feel that all other good and evil are as nothing in comparison of these, it will be easy to see how the Supreme Justice may use those tremendous instruments in its ultimate dealings with merit and demerit; and reward Virtue-not with the dross of earthly health or wealth, or of celestial crowns and harps—but with the only boon the true saint desires, even the sense of union with God; and punish Vicenot with disease and disgrace, nor with the fire and worms of hell--but with the most awful of all penalties, the severance of the soul from Divine light and love. No one who has obtained even a glimmering of the meaning of these spiritual realities can hesitate to confess that his soul's most passionate craving after Justice may be superabundantly fulfilled in such ways; even in worlds not necessarily divided into distinct realms of reward and punishment, but where, as in another school and higher stage of being, our spiritual part shall have freer scope and leave the carnal in the shade.
We now proceed to the next step of the argument, which, as yet, makes no appeal beyond experience. We assume that mankind at large anticipates and desires that Justice may be done. Is it done in this world? We have seen that it is not outwardly or perspicuously vindicated,—is there, nevertheless, room left to suppose that it possibly may have been fulfilled in ways hidden from us, such as the satisfaction of a mens conscia recti, or the misery of secret remorse ?
The answer to this question has been commonly evaded, or the question itself blinked, under what I conceive to be a most mistaken sense of reverence to God. Sometimes we are told it is not for us to say what is Justice; and sometimes we are reminded how little we can guess the hidden joys and pangs of our fellowcreatures, and how easily these may counterbalance all external conditions. I do not think the case is so obscure as is alleged, and I am quite sure that reverence for God never requires us to close our eyes to facts. What is in question is not any abstract or occulta Justitia, but precisely our idea of Justice—that expectation which, by some means or other, has been raised in the hearts of men from the beginning of history till now. Is that fulfilled, or room left for its fulfilment, in this world? I do not hesitate to affirm that it is not fulfilled-and that in thousands of cases there is no room left wherein it can possibly be fulfilled up to the hour of death. No retribution which could satisfy it has had space to be exhibited. The tyrant with his last breath has crowned the pyramid of his crimes and died with the smile of gratified cruelty on his lips. The martyr has expired in tortures of body and of mind. Nothing that can be imagined to have been experienced of remorse in the one soul, or of joy in the other, would rectify the balance.
Two classes of readers will demur to what I have to say on this topic. One will take the injustice of the world to be so notorious a fact as to need no elaborate proof, and will resent as superfluous any attempt to establish it. The other will be shocked by the naked statement, and may even contradict it with impatience. Let us clear up our position a little. What a welldeveloped sense of Justice requires for its satisfaction is, that no one being shall suffer more than he has deserved, or undergo the penalty of another's guilt. It is nothing to the satisfaction of such Justice that nine hundred and ninety-nine persons are treated with exactest equity, if the humblest and meanest bears sufferings disproportioned to his deserts ; nor if the punishment which A has merited falls upon B, and the reward of the virtue of C be enjoyed by D. A single instance of positive injustice done to a single individual would suffice to decide the point. Justice is not fulfilled on earth if there has been one such case since creation.
Now will any one dispute that such cases have occurred, not singly, but by hundreds and thousands? Of course there are innumerable instances, seemingly of crying injustice, in which, could we see behind the scenes and know all the bearings of the matter, we should find no injustice at all. But there are also other instances in which, rationally speaking, it is certain there was injustice, and no further knowledge conceivable could alter our judgment. With all reverence I will endeavour to state one such case, about which there can be little obscurity.
Jesus Christ was assuredly one of the holiest of men. He died in undeserved tortures, and at the supreme hour of his agony he cried out in despair, “My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Instead of flooding his departing soul with the rapturous vision which might have neutralized all the horrors of the cross, it pleased the Father, whom he loved as no man had loved Him before, to withdraw all consciousness of His presence, and to leave him to expire in darkness and doubt. That ancient story, stripped of all its misleading supernaturalism,