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a more apt illustration of the ductility and the able college in harmony-copious in their in brilliance of which moral truth is susceptible. quiries respecting the nature of good and bad What if Selden or Pascal would have extracted demons-assigning to the angelic host the into a page or two of apophthegms the essential nearest possible resemblance, and to the evil oils of all these discourses; and what though spirits the utmost possible dissimilarity, to the the capacity to concentrate thought be a nobler defecated intelligences of the Aristotelic learn gift than the art to diffuse it; yet may this in- ing; the one impassive to all sensual delights, ferior power exist in a state of rare and admir- the other inhaling with an unholy relish the able excellence. Genuine wisdom has many savoury fumes of heathen sacrifices, but both tongues and many aspects, and employs each clad with material integuments, subtilized to in turn to express and to promote that love of an imponderable and indefinite tenuity. Their mankind which, under all her external forms, volumes, especially, if we remember rightly, is still her animating spirit. Yet it must be those of Augustine, revealed to him the farther confessed, that she so habitually delights in secret of the manner in which spirits inhabitə the simplest garb, that when, as in these ing these ethereal vehicles hold intercourse sabbatical essays, she decks herself out in the with each other; and even explained the shapes literary fashions of the day, one may hope to in which they manifest their presence to those be forgiven for being unaware of her presence. exquisite organs of sensation by which alone They are infinitely more rich in knowledge they are perceptible. Cook, or La Perouse, and in power than the generation of the author never drew a plainer chart of their discoveries, would confess; and yet was not that generation than that which was thus laid open to our author to blame? Under draperies adjusted with of the regions of the blessed. Cuvier never such obtrusive skill, and of so elaborate a tex- examined the osseous structure of an ante ture, men are seldom accustomed to find real diluvian quadruped more closely, than the beauty, and are therefore but little disposed to mental and physical constitution of the im search for it. mortals was thus analyzed by some of those who in ancient times aspired one day to join that exalted company.
When a biographer has conducted his hero to the tomb, he usually leaves him there. To the list of excepted cases must be added that of the author of "A Physical Theory of a Future Life." In form a speculative treatise, it may be considered as substantially a narrative of his existence beyond the confines of earth, in those scenes which most men occasionally anticipate, and which many have attempted to describe; some from the ambition for immortal fame, and some impelled by the cravings for immortal felicity. From the shelves of his well-filled library, sages and poets were summoned to contribute to the formation of this work. First, and before all, were consulted the writers of the sacred volume; of whom it may with the strictest truth be said, that they have established the triumph of good sense over the mere dreams of excited fancy. Of such dreams, none possessed a firmer hold on the Italian and Greek philosophers and their disciples, than that after death man was to pass into a state of pure incorporeity, and to be absorbed by the great mundane soul. Very different the teaching of the writers of the New Testament. They transferred from this world to the next the great truth-that human happiness requires not only that the mind be sound, but that it be lodged in a sound body. Irenæus and Tertullian informed our theorist that such was also the creed of the immediate successors of the apostles. Origen taught him, that to exist as a spirit wholly detached and separate from matter, is the incommunicable attribute of the omnipresent Deity; and instructed him to understand the luciform body of the Platonic system as identical with the spiritual body of the Christian revelation.
From the same great master he learned that, without such an instrumentality, minds created and subordinate must be cut off from all commerce with external things, and become nothing more than so many inert, insulated, and contemplative entities. With these great fathers of the Church he found the rest of that vener
Other provinces of our author's literary do minions were yet to be explored. One con temptuous glance was given to the Koran, and to the paradise copied, as it might seem, by the prophet, from the Aphroditan temples of Paphos or Idalia. Homer exhibited to him the illustri ous dead as so many victims of the inexorable fates against which they had contended so bravely on earth, and as agitated by passions which it was no longer permitted them to gratify. His great imitator discovered to the student, Elysian fields over which satiety reigned in eternal and undisputed sway, and which the poet himself advantageously exchanged, twelve centuries afterwards, for the outskirts of the "Inferno" with an occasional voyage of discovery through those gloomy mansions. The awful magican who placed him there lost much of his own inspiration, when, quitting the guidance of Virgil for that of Beatrice, he traversed in her company the seven heavens, and listened in the sun to the lectures of Thomas Aquinas, or received from the saints congregated in the form of an eagle in the planet Jupiter, a metaphysical comment on the mysteries of the divine decrees.
From the poets, our author next turned to the theological philosophers of his own and other countries. In Cudworth and Brucker he found the doctrines of the schools of ancient and of modern Europe in more perfect sym metry, and in greater clearness than in the works of the sages and schoolmen themselves; but cold as the latitudinarianism of the first, and dry as the antiquarian lore of the second. At length his hand rested on two volumes in which the post-sepulchral condition of man is delineated with a beauty and eloquence to which he rendered a willing, although a silent homage. One of those was the treatise of Thomas Burnett-De Statu Mortuorum et Re surgentium-the other, that book on the "Light of Nature," in which Abraham Tucker tra
verses the world to come in his atomic or | tinuance, in a single case, of customs so genevehicular state. Burnett, it may be supposed, rally laid aside; or to arraign an author as best knew his own strength and weakness, and making an unjust pretension to the praise of judged rightly in choosing scientific or criti- originality, merely because he does not in cal subjects, and in discussing them in a dead terms disavow it. If in this new theory there language. But to those who read his works it is little to be found in substance with which must ever remain a mystery that he could sub- those who are inquisitive about such matters ject himself to such fetters, instead of yielding were not already familiar, there is at least a to the inspiration which was ever at hand to systematic completeness and symmetry, in this sublimate into impassioned poetry whatever ex- scheme of a future life, unrivalled even in act knowledge or whatever learned inquiries Abraham Tucker's vision. In order to dismight happen to engage his thoughts. Tucker, close to mankind the prospect which thus on the other hand, was a matter of fact person; awaits them, it will be necessary to convert happy beyond all men in the power of illus-our author's didactics into the form of a fragtrating the obscure by the familiar; but happier ment of his posthumous autobiography—a still in the most benevolent and cheerful tem- freedom, for the pardon of which the necessity per, and in a style which beautifully reflects of the case may be urged; since it seems imthe constitutional gayety and kindness of his possible by any other method to convey any heart. There is a charm even in his want of adequate conception of a career which, dazmethod, and in the very clumsiness of his zling as it is in itself, is still further obscured paragraphs; for each sentence bears him testi- by the brilliant polish of the abstract phraseomony that he is too intent on his object to logy in which it is described by him by whom, think of any thing else, and that to teach con- in imagination at least, it was run. He may, troversialists to understand and to love each then, be supposed to have revealed the inciother was the single end for which he lived dents of his immortal existence to the assoand wrote. Of his metaphysical speculations, ciates of his mortal being, in some such terms the most original and curious is the Inquiry as the following: into the Nature and the Operation of Motives. But his excellence consists in the brightness and in the variety of the lights he has thrown round the whole circle of those topics over which natural and revealed religion exercise a common and indivisible dominion. To rid them of mere logomachies, to show how much the fiercest disputants may be unconsciously agreed, to prove how greatly Christianity is misrepresented by many of her opponents, and misunderstood by many of her friends-and, without ever assuming the preacher's office, to explain the depths of the great Christian canon of mutual love as the universal substratum of all moral truth, this is the duty which he has undertaken, and which he executes, often successfully, and always with such courage, diligence, and vivacity, and with so unbroken a sunshine of a placid and playful temper, as to render the "Light of Nature" one of the most attractive books in our language, both to those who read to be themselves instructed on these questions, and to those who read with a view of imparting such instruction to others.
One universal bewilderment of thought, one passing agony, and all was still. I had emerged from the confines of life, and yet I lived. Time, place, and sensation were extinct. Memory had lost her office, and the activity of my reasoning powers was suspended. Apart from every other being, and entombed in the solitude of my own nature, all my sentient and mental faculties were absorbed and concentrated in one intense perception of self-consciousness. Before me lay expanded, as in a vast panorama, the entire course of my mortal life. I was at once the actor and the spectator of the whole eventful scene; every thought as distinct, every word as articulate, and every incident as fresh as at the moment of their birth. The enigmas of my existence were solved. That material and intellectual mechanism of which, for threescore years and ten, I had been the subject, was laid bare, with all the mutual dependencies of the countless events, great and trivial, of my sublunary days. Grasping at length the threads of that vast labyrinth, I perceived that they had all So judged Paley in the last generation; and been woven by the same Divine Artificer. At such is manifestly the opinion of Archbishop each step of the way by which I had come, I Whately, and of Bishop Coppleston, with many now traced the intervention of an ever watchother writers of our own. Amongst the many ful Providence. Complicated and perplexing who have drawn at this fountain, the latest as the condition of human life had formerly would appear to be the author of "The Physi- appeared to me, I at length discovered the cal Theory of a Future Life." Whether he in great ultimate object to which each movement fact availed himself of the sources of informa- of that intricate apparatus had been designed tion which we have indicated, or any other of to minister. I saw that the whole had been the countless books which treat on the myste- one harmonious and comprehensive scheme ries of the world to which we are all passing, for purifying the affections of my nature, and is, however a fact on which it is impossible to invigorating them for nobler and more arduous advance beyond conjecture. The old and obso- exercises. I had gone down to Hades, and lete fashion of commencing a voyage of disco- Deity was there. On earth his existence had very to any terra incognita, by a retrospect of been demonstrated. Here it was felt by a conthe success or failure of former adventurers, sciousness intuitive and irresistible. A priand the still more ancient practice of fencing soner in the flesh, I had been wont to adore round the page with references and quotations, the majesty of the Creator. A disembodied were not without their use. It would, how- spirit, I was awake to the conviction that he ever, be captious to complain of the discon-exists as the perennial source of happiness,
which, concentrated in his own nature, is thence diffused throughout the universe, although in degrees immeasurably distant from each other, and according to laws unsearchable by any finite understanding. Thus imbibing knowledge of myself and of Deity, and alive only to the emotions inspired by this ever-present spectacle, I became the passive recipient of influences instinct with a delight so tranquil, and with a peace so unbroken, that weariness, satiety, and the desire for change appeared to have departed from me for ever.
rested on the numbers without number of intelligent and sentient creatures who shared with me my new abode. Incorruptible, exempt from lassitude, and undesirous of repose, they imbibed energy from rays which in the twinkling of an eye would have dissipated into thin vapour the world and all that it inherits. On that opaque globe, the principles which sustain, and those which destroy life had been engaged within me in a constant but unequal conflict. The quickening spirit on earth, though continually recruited by rest and sleep, had at length yielded to the still-recurring assaults of her more potent adversaries. Here the vital powers had no foes to encounter, and demanded no respite from their ceaseless occupation. In the world below, from man, the universal sovereign, to the animalcula who people a drop of turbid water, I had seen all animated things sustaining themselves by the mutual extermination of each other. In the solar sphere I found all pursuing their appointed course of duty or enjoyment, in immortal youth and undecaying vigour. Death had found no entrance, life demanded no renewal.
Change, however, awaited me. So slight and imperfect had been the alliance between | my disembodied spirit and the world of matter, that, destitute of all sensation, I had lost all measure of time, and knew not whether ages had revolved, or but a moment had passed away during my isolated state of being. Heir to ten thousand infirmities, the body I had tenanted on earth had returned to the dust, there to be dissolved and recompounded into other forms and new substances. Yet the seminal principle of that mortal frame had adhered to me; and at the appointed season there brooded over it from on high a repro- I anticipated the results of the observations ductive and plastic influence. Fearfully and which I gradually learned to make of the difwonderfully as I had been made when a deni- ference between solar and planetary existence; zen of the world, the chemical affinities, and for on my entrance into this untried state of the complex organization of my animal struc- being, my thoughts were long riveted to the ture, had borne the impress of decay, of a tran- change which I had myself undergone. While sitory state, and of powers restricted in their incarcerated in my tenement of clay, I had free exercise. Passing all comprehension as given law to my nerves, muscles, and tendons; had been the wisdom with which it was adapted but they had in turn imposed restraints on me to the purposes of my sublunary being, those against which it had been vain to struggle. purposes had been ephemeral, and circum- My corporeal mechanism had moved in prompt scribed within precincts which now seemed to obedience to each successive mandate of my me scarcely wider than those within which mind; but so fragile were the materials of the emmet plies her daily task. In the ca- which it was wrought, that, yielding to inexorreer which was now opening to me, I re-able necessity, my will had repressed inquired a far different instrumentality to give scope to my new faculties, and to accomplish the ends to which I had learned to aspire. Emancipated from the petty cares and the mean pursuits in which, during the period of my humanity, I had been immersed, I now inhabited and informed a spiritual body, not dissimilar in outward semblance to that which I had bequeathed to the worms, but uniform in texture, homogeneous in every part, and drawn from elements blended harmoniously together, into one simple, pure, and uncompounded whole. Into such perfect unison had my mental and my corporeal nature been drawn, that it was not without difficulty I admitted the belief that I was once again clothed with a material integument. Experience was Soon to convince me that such an association was indispensable to the use and to the enlargement of my intellectual and moral powers.
Emerging from the region of separate spirits into my next scene of activity and social intercourse, I found myself an inhabitant of the great luminary, around which Mercury and his more distant satellites eternally revolve. In all their unmitigated radiance were floating around me, those effulgent beams of light and heat which so faintly visit the obscure and distant planets. Everlasting day, the intense glories of an endless summer noon,
numerable desires which, if matured into absolute volitions, would have rent asunder that frail apparatus. I had relaxed the grasp, and abandoned the chase, and thrown aside the uplifted weapon, as often as my overstrained limbs admonished me that their cords would give way beneath any increased impetus. And when the living power within me had subjected my fibres to the highest pressure which they could safely endure, the arrangement, and the relative position of my joints and muscles, had impeded all my movements, except in some circumscribed and unalterable directions. But my spiritual body, incapable of waste or of fracture, and responsive at every point to the impact of the indwelling mind, advanced, receded, rose or fell, in prompt obedience to each new volition, with a rapidity unimpeded, though not unlimited, by the gravitating influence of the mighty orb over the surface of which I passed. At one time I soared as with the wings of eagles, and at another penetrated the abysses of the deep. The docile and indestructible instrument of my will could outstrip the flight of the swiftest arrow, or rend the knotted oak, or shiver the primeval rocks; and then, contracting its efforts, could weave the threads of the gossamer in looms too subtle and evanescent for the touch of the delicate Ariel.
While on earth I had, like Milton, bewailed | me in aspects till now unimagined. I did not
that constitution of my frame which admitting to knowledge of visible objects only at one entrance, forbade me to converse with them except through the medium of a single nerve, and within the narrow limits of the retina. Had the poet's wish been granted, and if, departing from her benignant parsimony, nature had exposed his sensorium to the full influx of the excitements of which it was inherently susceptible, that insufferable glare would either have annihilated the percipient faculty, or would have quickened it to agonies unimagined even by his daring fancy. Under the shelter of that material structure which at once admitted and mitigated the light, I had in my mortal state been accustomed to point my telescope to the heavens; and, while measuring the curve described round their common centre by stars which to the unaided eye were not even disunited, I had felt how infinitely far the latent capacities of my soul for corresponding with the aspect of the exterior world transcended such powers as could be developed within me, while confined to the inadequate organs of vision afforded me by nature or by art. An immortal, I quaffed at my pleasure the streams of knowledge and of observation for which before I had thus panted in vain. I could now scan and explore at large the whole physical creation. At my will I could call my visual powers into action to the utmost range of their susceptibility; for in my new body I possessed the properties of every different lens in every possible variety of combination-expanding, dissecting, and refracting at any required angle the beams which radiated from the various substances around me, it brought me intelligence of the forms, the colours, and the movements of them all. Assisted by this optical incarnation, I could survey the luminary on which I dwelt, the globes whose orbits were concentric there, and, though less distinctly, the other solar spheres which glowed in the firmament above me. Not more clearly had I deciphered during my sojourn on earth the shapes and hues of the various beings by which it is replenished, than I now discerned the aspect and the movements of the countless species, animate and inanimate, with which the prodigal munificence of creative will has peopled the various planetary regions.
merely see, and hear, taste, smell, and feel, but I exercised senses for which the languages of earth have no names, and received intimations of properties and conditions of matter unutterable in human discourse. Employing this instrument of universal sensation, the inner forms of nature presented themselves before me as vividly as her exterior types. Thus entering her secret laboratories, I was present at the composition and the blending together of those plastic energies of which mundane philosophy is content to register some few of the superficial results. Each new disclosure afforded me a wider and still lengthening measure of that unfathomable wisdom and power, with the more sublime emanations of which I was thus becoming conversant. Such was the flexibility of my spiritualized organs, that at my bidding they could absolutely exclude every influence from without, leaving me to enjoy the luxuries of meditation in profound and unassailable solitude.
While thus I passed along the solar regions, and made endless accessions of knowledge, I was at first alarmed lest my mind should have been crushed beneath the weight of her own conquests, and the whole should be merged in one chaotic assemblage of confused recollections. From this danger I was rescued by another change in my animal economy. During my planetary existence, the structure and the health of my brain had exercised a despotic authority over my intellectual powers. Then my mind laboured ineffectually over her most welcome tasks, if accident or indigestion relaxed, distended, or compressed my cerebral vessels. For the time, the tools with which she wrought were deprived of their brightness and their edge. At such seasons, (and they were frequent,) the records of past sensations, and of the thoughts associated with them, became illegible in my memory, or could be read there only in disjointed fragments. An acid on his stomach would have rendered vain the boast of Cæsar, that he could address each of his legionaries by name. Even when all my pulses were beating with regularity and vigour, the best I could accomplish was to grope backward through my store of accumulated know. ledge, holding by a single thread, to which my attention was confined, and the loss of which defeated all my efforts.
Nor was it through the intervention of light merely, that my altered corporeity brought me How different the tablets on which my obinto communication with the works of the Di-servations of the past were recorded in my vine Architect. It attracted and combined for spiritual body! Unconscious of fatigue, inmy study or my delight, all the vibratory move- capable of decay, and undisturbed by any of ments, and all the gustatory and pungent those innumerable processes essential to the emanations, by which the sense is aroused and conservation of mortal life, it enabled me to gratified. Celestial harmony floated around inscribe in indelible lines, as on some outme, and I breathed odours such as exhaled stretched map, each successive perception, and from Eden on the fresh dawn of the world's every thought to which it had given birth. At nativity. In that world, chained down by the my pleasure, I could unroll and contemplate coarse elements of flesh and blood, I had the entire chart of my past being. I could rencaught some transient glimpses of exterior der myself as absolutely conscious of the forthings, through the five portals which opened-mer, as of the present operations of my mind, shall I say into my fortress or my prison-house? From the glorious mansion which my soul now inhabited, pervious to myself at every point, though impregnable to every hostile or unwelcome aggression, I surveyed the things around
and at one retrospective glance could trace back to their various fountains all the tributary streams which combined to swell the current of my immediate contemplations. Gliding over the various provinces of the solar world,
and gathering in each new treasures of inforination, I deposited them all beyond the reach of the great spoiler, time, in this ample storehouse of a plenary memory. With the increase of my intellectual hoard, my cravings for such wealth continually augmented. It was an avarice which no gains could satiate, and to the indulgence of which imagination itself could assign no limit.
compelled, by the feebleness of my cerebral and nervous economy, to render my studies almost exclusively analytical. There, I had toiled to disencumber every question of whatever might obscure the view of the isolated point proposed as the end of my inquiries. Morals apart from physics, art disunited from logic, the science of numbers and of space detached from the exercise of the imaginative I should, however, have become the victim power, even theology itself divorced from the of my own avidity for knowledge, if my ideas devout aspirations to which she tends, had had still obeyed those laws of association to each in turn engaged my earnest pursuit. But which, in my telluric state, they had been sub- to ascend those heights from which they could ject. Then it behooved my reason to exercise be contemplated as parts of one harmonious a severe and watchful government. When her whole-to seize and to blend together the anacontrol was relaxed, my thoughts would break logies pervading the works of poets and matheloose from all legitimate restraint. They ar- maticians, of naturalists and divines-this was ranged themselves into strange groups and an attempt which convinced me how indissofantastic combinations, and established with luble were the fetters which riveted my soul each other such alliances as whim, caprice, or to her sluggish associate. Set free from this accident suggested. These, once made, were bondage, and supplied with an instrument of indissoluble. They asserted their power but sensation which kept pace with her own inhetoo often, in resistance to the sternest mandates rent activity, she found and desired no repose. of my judgment and my will. But in times of Solar time is measured by the revolutions of debility, of disease, or of sleep, my ideas would the planetary orbs, and from the commencecombine into heterogeneous masses, seething ment to the completion of his career through and mingling together, like the ingredients of the firmament. Uranus still found me engaged some witch's caldron, assembled by her in- in some unbroken contemplation. During that cantations to work out some still more potent interval I had completed some vast synthesis, spell. Over the whole of this intoxicating in which were at once combined and distinconfusion presided carnality, in all her nerv-guished all the various aspects under which ous, cerebral, vascular, and other forms, and some province of knowledge had disclosed working by means of all her digestive, secre- itself to my view. In the nether world, high tory, and assimilating processes. discourse had been held on the connexion of the sciences; but now I discovered the mutual influence, the interaction, and the simultaneous workings of their different laws. I no longer cultivated the exact sciences as a separate domain, but the most severe physical truth was revealed to me in union with the richest hues of ideal beauty, with the perfection of the imitative arts, with the pure abstractions of metaphysical thought, with narratives both historical and romantic, with the precepts of universal morals, and the mysteries of the Divine government. Ontology-vain-glorious word as used among men-the knowledge of universal being as distinct from species, and of species as harmonized in universal being, was the study which engaged the time and rewarded the labours of immortal minds animating spiritual bodies.
No longer the inmate of a tremulous and sordid tabernacle of flesh, but inhabiting a shrine pure and enduring as her own nature, my soul was now rescued from this ignoble thraldom. Accident, appetite, lassitude, the heat and fumes of my animal laboratory, had ceased to disturb the supremacy of reason. Instead of congregating as an undisciplined host, my ideas, as in some stately procession, followed each the other in meet order and predetermined sequence-their march unobstructed by any suggestions or desires originating in my sensuous frame. I had become, not the passive recipient of thought, but the unquestioned sovereign of my own mental operations. The material organs, by the aid of which I now wrought them out, obeyed a law like that on which depends the involuntary movements of the heart and arteries, unattended by any conscious effort, and productive of no fatigue. Every increment of knowledge spontaneously assumed in my memory its proper place and relative position; and the whole of my intellectual resources fell into connected chains of argument or illustration, which I could traverse at pleasure from end to end, still finding the mutual dependence and adhesion of each successive link unbroken.
To contemplate any truth in all the relations in which it stands to every other truth, is to possess the attribute of omniscience; but, in proportion as any created intelligence can combine together her ideas in their various species, genera, classes, and orders, in the same degree is diminished the distance from the Supreme Mind, immeasurable and infinite as the intervening gulf must ever remain. On earth I had been
Let not those who boast themselves in logic, Aristotelian or Baconian, assume that their puny architecture of syllogistic or inductive reasoning affords the rules by which the soul, rescued from the hindrances of a carnal corporeity, erects for herself edifices of knowledge, immovable in their base, beautiful in their proportions, and towering in splendid domes and pinnacles to the skies.
To Newton and to Pascal the theories of the vulgar geometry were as instinctly obvious as the preliminary axioms on which they rest. While yet an infant, Mozart was possessed of all those complex harmonies which a life of patient study scarcely reveals to inferior masters of his art. In my planetary existence, I had rejoiced in my habitual aptitude for physiology and historical researches, nor had I regretted the years of ceaseless toil devoted to