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THESE Lectures are a fragmentary contribution to the literature of a great subject. Anything like completeness, or even fulness, of treatment was impossible within the limits to which I was compelled to confine myself. And though in printing, I have added some passages to the Lectures, as originally delivered, I have still found it necessary to omit many points of interest and importance, which might naturally have been discussed as belonging to my subject. For an omission of this kind in the last Lecture, some apology is due to my readers. Nothing is said there on the question of future rewards and punishments, although in the First Lecture it was comprised within the scope of my argument. I had said, that I hoped to show, that the Christian scheme satisfied us, not only of existence, but also of recompense after death. But to do anything like justice to such a question, it would not have been sufficient to maintain that
Christianity satisfies our conscience, by its clear recognition of the truth, that future recompense will be “according to the deeds done in the body.” It would have been necessary also to meet the moral difficulties, arising from the application of the term aiários (“eternal”), to future punishments ; and this would have involved a careful investigation, both of the language of scripture, and of the history of its interpretation, from the days of Origen to our
For such an investigation I have not as yet been able to command the necessary leisure.
It may be well, perhaps, to state briefly what is the scope of these Lectures.
In the First, I have endeavoured to indicate the leading features of three systems, each of which professes to deal with the problem of a Future Life, and each of which at the present time counts numerous disciples. Without pretending to discuss any of these systems at length, I have satisfied myself with drawing attention to some of their salient defects. Thus, Materialism assumes a great deal which it cannot prove, and is supremely indifferent to facts, while professing to deal only with facts. Pantheism destroys personal identity in another life, and gives such immortality as it has to give, only to an intellectual aristocracy. Spiritualism,-understanding by that name the systein which admits a belief in God and the immortality of the soul, apart from Revelation,-argues for the perpetuity of individual existence, from the facts of human nature and the constitution of the world, and so far lends some confirmation to our hopes, but fails to yield us that certainty which we craye.
As attempts are constantly made, to get rid of the argument from the witness in man himself to his own immortality, the object of my Second Lec- . ture was to show, in a summary review of some of the principal systems of Pagan belief and Pagan speculation, how real and how wide spread is the instinct in human nature, which leads us to look beyond the grave. This review seemed to tend to the conclusion, that on the whole, there was a development of belief; that generally speaking, in each nation the dogma grew in distinctness, as time went on; and that in particular the moral element, the doctrine of future retribution, did not belong to the earlier stages of belief?. But on the other hand, it was equally plain, that in spite of this progress, and in spite of the efforts of their most
1 See, on this growth of the moral element in the doctrine of a Futuro Life, J. II. Fichte, die Seelenfortdauer und die W'eltstellung des Menschen, p. 304 ff. P. H. L.
brilliant thinkers, to solve the problem of man's destiny, they all alike failed in casting any real light on life and immortality. They all confess their imperfection, they all wait for some satisfying answer to their hopes and yearnings.
The Third Lecture deals with the problem, how far a revelation of the Future Life was made to the Jews under the Old Covenant. Of the remarkable fact, that, in the Law of Moses, the promises of a Future Life are never appealed to, as motives of obedience, I have not attempted any explanation. I have merely suggested some considerations, which should weigh with us in dealing with the problem. But to the wider question, what knowledge was actually possessed by the saints of old, of a future existence, of retribution after death, and a resurrection of the body, I have endeavoured to give an answer, drawn from a comparison of all the principal passages which have any bearing upon the subject. The result of the investigation was, to show that although there is very little of a direct testimony to the belief of the Jew in Immortality and a Resurrection, yet that such a belief was virtually implied, in the fact of the soul's conscious relation to a living God.
The Last Lecture explains the nature of the