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*Ov 8« fi apiaKtiv Toil Kariii Ttov ev-SaSf •
She expects a meeting and an approving recognition from her father, mother, and brother.
*EA$otkra jueWot KapT h> ikirt<riv Tpl<fxa
But her notions of that world were just as vague, dreary, and utterly joyless as were those of the Homeric personages. So were those which Euripides puts into the mouth of Medea in behalf of her children, and of his other characters, under the like circumstances. And four or five centuries later, Homer's ideas of the soul and its future state are reproduced, without expansion or improvement, by Virgil, who lived in the very bloom of the Grseco-Roman civilization. His necrology (as to the spiritual conceptions it embodies) is nothing more than a feeble and servile imitation of that of Homer. Even the enlightened and thoughtful Cicero, after all the fine things he has put into the mouths of Cato and others on the subject, confesses his own utter uncertainty by saying, " I hope there is a place where I and all good men will meet after death, but I dare not affirm it." Nor does he draw a single argument or exhortation in behalf of virtue, from the contemplation of a future life, in his admirable Offices.
- And the sentiment seems to have continued equally vague and uncertain (to have become even more so, in fact) after the coming of Christ, in those who rejected or were ignorant of, the Gospel. Still the pagan mourner " sorrowed without hope," still engraved on the tombstone of the beloved dead," eternum vale!" The virtuous Perseus has not. as far as we remember, a hint of immortality. Hadrian exclaims to his departing soul: "qua? nunc abibis in loca?" And after some eighteen centuries more of civilization and development, there is no firm belief in the immortality of the
soul, but that which is the product of Christian faith. Hume played cards and joked about Charon and the Styx, almost to the last moment of life. Dr. Franklin is said to have exclaimed : "Oh, that dreadful uncertainty!" And Kant, when asked by a friend, shortly before his death, what were his expectations of a future life, after a thoughtful silence, replied: "I have no idea of a future life.'"
So much for " the progress of reflection," as Dr. Voelcker expresses it, in its relation to the belief in a distinct, separable, and immortal soul. We do not owe it to " reflection." We owe it to the finger of God which wrote it on the heart; to the voice of God which spoke it in the ears of men (an utterance, however perverted, bewildered, and weakened, never to be forgotten by after generations); to the nature of the soul itself as it was breathed into the nostrils of man, conscious of its source and so conscious of its immortality. Whether in Homer it was an old tradition, a reach of his own powerful and deeply working intellect, a notion gathered up in his eastern travels, or a special suggestion from the Source of all truth to one who was to exert so powerful an influence in moulding ten centuries of the human race; certain it is, that the living Agamemnon and Achilles were not more clearly or fully endowed with intellect, heart, and will, than were their souls in Hades.
That the state of these departed souls was destitute of every cheerful concomitant, is quite true. A dreary abode, a joyless existence, is that of the Homeric ^fru^aL But they are immortal. And the idea of immortality, in its rudest form, is one of infinite dignity and importance. It lifts man above the world of matter and mere animal natures around him, and opens a boundless future to his thoughts and aspirations. There can be no virtue, no worship, no faith nor hope, nor capacity for them without it. Without it, man is a mere animal, nobler and more susceptible only to be agitated by mightier passions and vulnerable to keener sorrows and fears. But when he expects a future life he will think of it; he will connect with it some idea of retribution. The very opening of this boundless vista before him leave
him less at the mercy of low impulses and material circumstances. Every thought of it, every glance into it, is a quickener to his faculties, a check on his passions, an incentive to his hopes.
Homer lacked the completive idea of a future life, the resurrection of the body. There can be no distinct, firm, and cheerful expectation of a future life without that. The soul, which has so long been the "hospes comesque corporis," cannot look forward to an existence in which it is to be eternally separated from that which has been the sharer of its life, the organ of all its operations from the beginning of its existence, without a. desolating sense of loneliness and imperfection. The anticipation of thus surviving (like the friend of old, " nec carus seque nec superstes integer"), could yield but little comfort in looking beyond death.
— Tt's /? to s fioi aov \ e\ 11n u. ivy ^>t'Aos;
with a higher truth than those words were at first used, would express the emotions with which the soul must expect such an eternal widowhood, such an eternal separation from a part of itself. The dismal gloom of the Homeric picture of futurity is the inevitable consequence of this deficiency. He appears to have felt it himself. Hesiod and Pindar have attempted to depict a happy state of mere spirits. Homer's mind was of that order which demanded consistency and completeness in its own ideas. He could not conceive, at least he has not attempted to describe, happiness without body. To only two of mortal men has he allotted a happy life beyond death; and those he has transported, one to Olympus, the other to Elysium, in the body. His i/n^cn who are doomed to a disembodied existence, leave the body with lamentation and take up their abode in a region, the epithets of which, r/epoeK, afieOuxps, cmr/epos, imply the absence of every element of cheerful existence. Foreshadowings of the future revelation may perhaps be discovered in the pious care which was paid to the body and even the ashes of the beloved dead; a consciousness of the necessity
iof the body to the soul appears in the shadowy corporeity with which the poet invests his yfrvxal; a conception of the possibility of a perpetual life of the body is disclosed in the transfer of Menelaus, by a special divine decree, without death, to Elysium;1 and it is impossible to read, without astonishment, the passage in which Achilles expresses his emotions when he sees before him the living form of Lycaon, one of the sons of Priam, whom he had long before sent into captivity beyond the sea, and now probably supposed to be dead:2
rCl Ttatrai, ri p-tya Savpw. To8' o^aXp-oLaw bputpxit. •
Avrts av a <t T yl <r Ovt a i Viro £6<f>ov rjipotvros •
Oiov Si) Kal off 7jX3t;
But the thought of an actual resurrection never probably occurred to the mind of Homer; nor is it to be found, we believe, among the innumerable guesses of Greek ingenuity and inquisitiveness.3 No secret was kept more profoundly "hid from ages and generations." Faint and occasional gleams of it broke upon the minds of pious Hebrews from the beginning. But they were only gleams. They did not shed that steady and strong illumination which was needed to see through the breakers and mists along the coast of death, the peaceful and happy shore of a better life. Sheol was scarcely less terrible to the Hebrew than Hades to the Greek. That best and brightest of revelations which announces, not an immortal soul (that is everywhere taken for granted in the New Testament), but an immortal man, was reserved for the Son of God in person, the divine Brother and Redeemer of man. It shone full-orbed on the world when he uttered those words: "I am the resurrection and the life. Thy brother shall rise again. He that believeth in me, though he were dead yet shall he live. I will raise
him up at the last day." This prophecy was turned into fact by his own resurrection, the first-fruits of the general harvest of restored and re-vivified humanity. Fuller light, with other circumstances and concomitants, were afterwards added. "Behold! I tell you a mystery (a secret). In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump, the dead shall be raised." Through all the earlier ages, the belief of the soul's immortality had survived, defective and one-sided though it was, — an indestructible sentiment, a part of consciousness, a perpetual and universal tradition — awaiting the happy hour when it should be completed by that of an incorruptible, powerful, and glorious body, and thus the idea of immortal humanity receive its full and perfect form — " life and immortality brought to light by the Gospel."
BY RET. LEONARD WITUIKOTOX, D. D., NEWBCRYrORT, MASS.
The tendency of philosophical investigation is to extend the dominion of the laws of nature and to diminish the region of chance, until it dwindles to an unextended point. We behold a chip floating down a stream, or a feather floating on the air, — nothing at first view can be more apparently capricious than their motions; yet it is not more certain that they are passive things than it is that they are subjected to an invariable law, regulating all their movements and never for a moment relaxed or repealed.
When Dr. Paley, in the opening of his work on Natural Theology, was looking round for an antagonist power to his watch, he pitched upon a stone, lying on a heath, as an in