« AnteriorContinuar »
any exertion of his mental powers, however exalted they may be; that it is made known to him by other teaching than his own, and is received through simple belief of the testimony given. ... I have never seen anything incompatible between those things of man which can be known by the spirit of man which is within him, and those higher things concerning his future which he cannot know by that spirit.1
I cannot think that death has to the Christian anything in it that should make it a rare, or other than a constant, thought; out of the view of death comes the view of the life beyond the grave, as out of the view of sin (that true and real view which the Holy Spirit alone can give to a man) comes the glorious hope; without the conviction of sin there is no ground of hope to the Christian. As far as he is permitted for the trial of his faith to forget the conviction of sin, he forgets his hope, he forgets the need of Him who became sin, or a sin-offering, for His people, and overcame death by dying. And though death be repugnant to the flesh, yet, where the Spirit is given, to die is gain.2
PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY
AM content to see no farther into futurity than
Plato and Bacon. My mind is tranquil; I have no fears and some hopes. In our present gross material
1 From lecture at the Royal Institution, 1854.
state our faculties are clouded; when Death removes our clay coverings the mystery will be solved.1
Death is the veil which those who live call life; they sleep, and it is lifted. Intelligence should be imperishable.
I hope, but my hopes are not unmixed with fear for what will befall this inestimable spirit when we appear to die.3
The One remains, the many change and pass ;
Flowers, ruins, statues, music, words, are weak
Why linger, why turn back, why shrink, my Heart?
"Tis Adonais calls ! oh, hasten thither, No more let Life divide what Death can join together. 4
1 From Trelawney's Recollections of the Last Days of Shelley and Byron. 3 From Journal, July 1814. 4 From “ Adonais” (1821).
ALPHONSE DE LAMARTINE
DO not believe myself to be either the first or the
last I me-a man subject to ordinary changes; placed by Providence in the world; rather superior to the vulgar herd; trained in a pure, noble, and virtuous home—an atmosphere, indeed, which does not assert itself, but which makes itself felt, especially by a child; afterwards perverted, although not radically, by association with wild, vicious young men of my own age, the contact with whom insensibly chilled both heart and soul; then brought back and sobered by age to do my work of good and evil in the world ; bearing ever about with me the remembrance of my father's honourable career, of my mother's tender piety; and at last growing old with a quiet resignation, submitting to the judgments of men, and waiting with confidence for that of my Creator—that is all! May He forgive and have mercy upon me! I ask but for His justice ; for His justice is but the expression of His mercy."
WILLIAM CHARLES MAC-
that life was begun in a very mediocre position -mere respectability. . . . My heart's thanks are con
1 From Twenty-five Years of My Life, Book i. 1.
stantly offered to God Almighty for the share of good He has permitted to be allotted to me in this life. I have attained the loftiest position in the art to which my destiny directed me, have gained the respect of the honoured and respected, and the friendship of the highly-gifted, amiable, and distinguished. My education, my habits, my turn of mind did not suggest to me the thought of amassing wealth, or I might have been rich; I have what I trust will prove competence, and most grateful am I for its possession. My home is one of comfort and of love, and I look towards it with cheerfulness and delightful security of heart, and most gratefully and earnestly do I bless the name and thank the bounty of Almighty God, Who has vouchsafed such an indulgence to me, undeserving as I have been, and sinner as I am. Blessed be His name! Amen.
There surely cannot be an end to all here, or all who have innocently suffered, from the blessed Jesus downwards, have existed for sorrow without comfort, and seemingly without cause. But He Who made us must have His ow
purposes. Let us wait and adore.2
JOHN KEATS. . . (1795–1821) O
FOR a life of Sensations rather than of Thoughts!
It is “a Vision in the form of Youth," a shadow of reality to come—and this consideration has further convinced me,-for it has come as auxiliary to another favourite speculation of mine—that we shall enjoy
1 From Diary, February 3, 1851.
2 Ibid. August 17.
ourselves hereafter by having what we called happiness on Earth repeated in a finer tone. .
You know my ideas about Religion. I do not think myself more in the right than other people, and that nothing in this world is proveable.?
The goings on of the world makes me dizzy. There you are with Birkbeck-here I am with Brown—sometimes I fancy an immense separation, and sometimes, as at present, a direct communication of Spirit with you. That will be one of the grandeurs of immortality. There will be no space, and consequently the only commerce between spirits will be by their intelligence of each other—when they will completely understand each other, while we in this world merely comprehend each other in different degrees—the higher the degree of good so higher is our Love and Friendship.3
The common cognomen of this world among the misguided and superstitious is “a vale of tears,” from which we are to be redeemed by a certain arbitrary interposition of God and taken to Heaven. What a little circumscribed straightened notion ! Call the world if you please “The vale of Soul - making.” Then you will find out the use of the world (I am speaking now in the highest terms for human nature, admitting it to be immortal, which I will here take for granted, for the purpose of showing a thought which has struck me concerning it). I say “ Soul-making”.
1 From letter to Benjamin Bailey, November 1817.
2 From letter to same, March 1818.