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are as yet received by a small minority only. 'If in this life alone we have hope,' we should be led by common sense and prudence to make the best of it, our neighbour's sufferings notwithstanding. At least we should listen to him only as did the judge 'who neither feared God, nor regarded man,' when he said, 'This widow troubleth me; I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.'

We would conclude by observing that the natural disinclination to receive as true a religion whose very first effect is 'to convict the world of sin,' is admirably set forth in the striking words of Peter1: 'Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.'

See also Job xxi. 14, 15.

CHAPTER I.

INTRODUCTORY SKETCH.

'L'immortalité de l'âme est une chose qui nous importe si fort, et qui nous touche si profondément, qu'il faut avoir perdu tout sentiment pour être dans l'indifférence de savoir ce qui en est.’—PASCAL.

'For he should persevere until he has attained one of two things; either he should discover or learn the truth about them, or, if this is impossible, I would have him take the best and most irrefragable of human notions, and let this be the raft upon which he sails through life-not without risk, as I admit, if he cannot find some word of God which will more surely and safely carry him.'-PLATO'S Phædo; translated by Jowett.

I. THE great majority of mankind have always believed in some fashion in a life after d th; many in the essential immortality of the sol; but it is certain that we find many disbelievers in such doctrines who yet retain the nobler attributes of humanity. It may, however, be questioned whether it be possible even to imagine the great bulk of our race to have lost their belief in a future state of existence, and yet to have retained the virtues of civilised and wellordered communities.

We have said that the disbelievers in such doctrines form a minority of the race; but at the same time it must be acknowledged that the strength of this minority has of late years greatly increased, so

much so that at the present moment it numbers in its ranks not a few of the most intelligent, the most. earnest, and the most virtuous of men.

It is, however, possible that, could we examine these, we should find them to be unwilling disbelievers, compelled by the working of their intellects to abandon the desire of their hearts, only after many struggles, and with much bitterness of spirit.

Others, again, without absolutely abandoning all hope of a future existence, are yet full of doubt regarding it, and have settled down into the belief that we cannot come to any reasonable conclusion upon the subject. Now, these men can have had nothing to gain, but rather much to lose, in arriving at this result. It has been reached by them with reluctance, with misgivings, not without a certain kind of persecution, nor without the loss of friends and the stirring up of strife; still they have fearlessly looked things in the face, and have followed whithersoever they imagines they were led by facts, even to the brink of an abyss.

It is the object of the present volume to examine the intellectual process which has brought about such results, and we hope to be able to show not only that the conclusion at which these men have arrived is not justified by what we know of the physical universe, but that on the other hand there are many lines of thought which point very strongly towards an opposite conclusion.

2. A division as old as Aristotle separates1 speculators into two great classes,-those who study the How of the Universe, and those who study the Why.

1 See Westminster Sermons, by the Rev. Charles Kingsley.

All men of science are embraced in the former of these, all men of religion in the latter. The former regard the Universe as a huge machine, and thei object is to study the laws which regulate its working ; the latter again speculate about the object of the machine, and what sort of work it is intended to produce. The disciples of How are accused by their adversaries of being willing to sacrifice the individual to the system; while the disciples of Why are accused by their adversaries of being willing to sacrifice the system to the individual.

We may compare the Universe to a great steamer plying between two well-known ports, and carrying two sets of passengers. The one set remain on deck and try to make out, as well as they can, the mind of the Captain regarding the future of their voyage after they have reached the port to which they know they are all fast hastening, while the other set remain below and examine the engines. Occasionally there is much wrangling at the top of the ladder where the two sets meet, some of those who have examined the engines and the ship asserting that the passengers will all be inevitably wrecked at the next port, it being physically impossible that the good ship can carry them further. To whom those on deck reply, that they have perfect confidence in the Captain, who has informed some of those nearest him that the passengers will not be wrecked, but will be carried in safety past the port to an unknown land of felicity. And so the altercation goes on; some who have been on deck being unwilling or unable to examine the engines, and some who have examined the engines preferring to remain below.

3. Our readers will perceive from what we have said, that difficulties regarding the possibility of a future state of existence are most likely to arise amidst the disciples of How or those who study the machinery of the Universe, and inasmuch as this class has greatly increased of late, it follows that the disbelievers in or doubters of the future state have increased likewise. The disciples of Why have, on the other hand, existed from time immemorial, and have, in the plenitude of their power, frequently carried themselves with much violence towards the disciples of How, who are of comparatively modern origin. It must not, however, be inferred that this old and venerable family have always been at peace amongst themselves, for there have been numerous contentions among their various sections, not the less acrimonious because the contending members have been to some extent supporters of a common cause, believing in some fashion in the reality of a world to comma We shall therefore begin by giving our readers sketch, necessarily and purposely a very meagre one, of the various beliefs on these subjects held by the different branches of this great family.

4. Let us begin with the Egyptians, who are perhaps the most antient people of whom we have historical records. The manners and customs of this nation have been very minutely described by Sir Gardner Wilkinson, to whose work we are chiefly indebted for the following account. In the first place it appears that we must separate between what the priests believed and what was held by the great body of the people. The bulk of the nation were left by the priests to believe in a multiplicity of deities, and

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