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into which we are in danger of falling. Analogy might teach us that only rude and unorganized masses of matter have been allowed to attain their state of being suddenly. The crystal grows slowly in its silent but not uninstructive cave, and the exquisite brilliancy of the diamond is not that instantạneous hardening poets love to dream of. And, whatever soundness there be in these analogies, it is matter of known fact, that the temper of Socrates was of mortal mould, and only the industry bestowed on its correction was indeed divine. By the same constant care, the intellectual and moral simplicity observable in Socrates was built up.

“ However we estimate Socrates as a speculatist, there can be but one opinion about his practical character, about his sagacity in detecting in what happiness consists, and about his success in promoting it. Plato had more enthusiasm of imagination ; and when the test of his master's sounder sense

; was withdrawn, ran into speculations well adapted to exercise a powerful influence over sensitive and imaginative minds. Aristotle was more nice in his distinctions, and more scientific in his arrangements; and, when his master's practical objects had ceased to direct men's attention wholly to conduct, was well fitted to be listened to with admiration by those who view morals as a science. But for a sound judgment in questions of honesty and usefulness, we would prefer Socrates strong sense and right feeling, and practical mode of viewing every subject, to the peculiar powers which belonged to either of his great pupils." -- pp. 9-13.

It has required some self-denial to refrain from an indefinite enlargement on the matter of this essay, for which we shall possibly repay ourselves on the appearance of those which our author has announced on the Mysticism of Plato, and on the Utilitarianism of Aristotle.



There are three ways of regarding the condition of the human being after death, each of which has its advocates, since the subject presents but a choice of difficulties. Men will not cease to speculate on a subject in which each has an individual interest, though a very scanty portion of evidence can, from the nature of the case, be obtained at present,

and science, both physical and metaphysical, must have advanced to a degree which we can scarcely anticipate before any thing like certainty can be established as to the essence of human identity, the mode in which that identity is preserved, and the circumstances by which it shall be surrounded after death. There are a multitude of accessories to the interest which attends this very obscure inquiry. A being, whose individual fate was in no way involved in the question, - one who could contemplate humanity without being subject to its ordinary conditions the Wandering Jew, for instance, or St. Leon - could not but feel a stirring curiosity about the destination of such a creature as man, after it was known that death is not the end of being. He would look on him one day, every fibre thrilling with life; and every limb, powerful in its muscular strength, made tenfold more powerful by the direction given to that strength by some internal existence made known only through its control over the outward man. He would look on him again and see the external frame, fearfully wonderful in the delicacy of its organization, but cold, insensible, tending to decay; and as for the power within — what and where

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An Essay on such Physical Considerations as are connected with Man's Ultimate Destination ; the Essential Constitution of Superior Beings; and the Presumptive Unity of Nature. By Andrew Carmi. chael, M. R. I. A. Dublin. 1830.


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is it? Is it asleep? Is it departed? Is it there, conscious and watchful, though in no way manifested to the observer ? How intense, how irritating would be the curiosity such a wanderer of the earth would feel as he tracked the steps of death age after age through many climes, keeping him ever in sight, watching the direction of his dart, but ever blinded by an envious cloud at the precise moment of observation ! This would be one of the greatest evils of a deathless sojourn among dying men ; to hear all other mourners comforting one another with the certainty of a speedy departure; to see every other speculator relaxing his brow of thought at the suggestion that this mystery could not be long hidden ; to close the eyes of the last of a band of intellectual brethren,

“ I alone am left to wonder and doubt for ever.”. A being whose individual interest is involved in the question, who knows that his ignorance is only temporary, feels a curiosity not the less lively for its being hopesul. His observation becomes more keen as he sees one after another taken from the multitude of gazers without, and vanishing beneath the cloud which he shall also enter ere long. Age after age

has this cloud hung low on the gate of life, and if men have not learned what there is on the other side, they have at least determined in some degree what is not there.

The condition of the human being after death depends, of course, on the essence of his being; and as long as we can only guess at the essence, we can only speculate on the state. Since it is supposed that there is only one alternative respecting the essence of man, it has usually, but erroneously, been concluded that there is also but one alternative respecting the time and mode of entrance upon a future life. The essence of man, it is said, is either matter or spirit. Granted; since by spirit nothing more is meant than that which is not matter. If spirit, the essential portion of the human being must be immortal, must be separated from the destructible

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portions at death, and enter immediately on its future state. Granted. If matter, the human brain remains unconscious, in fact temporarily annihilated, till the life-giving decree shall go forth again to inspire the whole race with an immortal life. Not granted. It may be so, but not necessarily; there is yet a third supposition. But we will consider each in its turn, deducing our reasonings from facts rather than from philosophical speculations on matter and spirit; since, till we know the meaning of the terms in which they are conducted, such speculations will afford but an unstable basis for argument. All agree that the nature of spirit is wholly unascertainable ; but few bear in mind that matter is also a mere abstract term, under which are congregated many things which we in some measure understand, and many more which we do not. We will say nothing, therefore, about whether spirit is capable of a union with matter, whether matter may or may not be endowed with life and thought, &c., and will pass on to the facts (few though they be, and obscure in their interpretation) with which we are furnished by observation and testimony.

The first facts to which it is natural to have recourse are those which are exhibited by the various forms of death. All instances of sudden death are not apparently inconsistent with the notion of a separable soul, and by their peculiar suggestions have no doubt cherished the idea, if not helped to originate it. What more natural (the conception of an indestructible being residing in a destructible frame having been once admitted) than to look on a body suddenly become motionless as a body vacated, and to exclaim, “ See the shell of a flown bird !” What more natural than to suppose, when the “ strong swimmer” sinks instantaneously after his last convulsive effort, that his spirit parted in the agony and clave the waters and the invisible air upwards more swiftly than its perishing companion sunk to the caves of the deep?

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What more natural than to regard the last vivid glance of the expiring martyr as a silent though eloquent token that the soul had spread its wings for flight, and was bidding adieu to suffering and humanity at once?

In cases of gradual decline, it is less easy to the imagination to picture to itself the state of the spiritual essence during the gradual approach of dissolution. We know that the decay of the mind, the relaxation and final suspension of muscular power, the failure of all the organs in succession, are caused by affections of the brain and the nerves connected with it. Is it the life which fails and decays, or does the immaterial portion of the frame remain in its integrity while all its outward manifestations are obscured? Can it be that while torpor is stealing over the limbs, and dulness impairing the ear and the eye, the spiritual principle is awake and observant, — that there is a bright sensibility within, while all is verging upon death without ? We know that it is not so. We have all had experience of sleep, of faintings, of debility; and we know that if there be a spiritual principle unsusceptible of injury, it is not detected by our experience, our state in sleep and illness being the same as if mind and body were one. If the immaterial portion of the frame be susceptible of disease in exact proportion with the material part, where is its advantage over matter; what evidence is there for it; or rather, what evidence is there not against it?

The facts connected with disease and modes of death certainly afford no evidence of an immaterial principle in man; and the same may be said of those presented by the various instances on record of translation and resurrection. There is no hint in the case of Elijah of his body being any where deposited when the spirit left it, and resumed when he appeared to the disciples on the mount of transfiguration ; and if his presence had been wholly spiritual on that mount, it

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