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in our daily life, the Self-Living into the countless details of animation. Thus the Absolute Oneness is ever re-appearing in the unit, and Plurality in the many. The primal Love blooms before our eyes and bears fruit in all the visible tenderness of nature and the humanities of our race. An august kingdom, indeed, is this Platonic realm of Ideas or Primordial Forms! It is the native province of the ancreated and the immortal! There nothing is new, and yet nothing passes into the "sere and yellow leaf” of age! Those perfect
“ essences, entities, Ideas constitute the domain of the eternal, from which the temporal springs as clouds are bred from the earth to assume a thousand forms, and then vanish. From ordinary mortals, who, according to Plato, dwell in a cave, or amid carnal veilings, like the sea-mud and weeds and barnacles that gathered about the god, Glaucus, this majestic sphere is hidden; but philosophers, who purify their vision and die from their bodies in advance of death, ascending by the royal path of induction or generalization, bend on it an eye that fills with awe and admiration.
And it was amid these glorified Ideas or Self-Subsistences that Plato discovered the soul, not yet descended to dwell in humble human relations, like Apollo among the shepherds. Indeed, he saw all souls in this exalted company, so that their number was never less and will never be greater. In his own phrase, “ The soul is and ever was immortal”; and lie adds elsewhere, that “Souls will not diminish in number, neither will they increase.” They are part and parcel of the eternities, according to the Platonic theory, and are most wisely regarded as Ideas, since they are usually spoken of in terms interchangeable with those employed concerning the SelfBeautiful, the Self-Just, and the entire circle of Substantial Forms. In his rhetoric, when it is most guarded and unpoetic, souls are referred to as simple and uncompounded, and since they were not created, neither can they be dispersed. As the Self-Beautiful passes into the phenominally beautiful and is the changing and entrancing " light that swims on the surface of things," so the Self-Living Soul descends, by will of the gods, and locates in the head of man, and rules his body, and reveals itself in the dim or broken mirrors of human life. Like the Self-Beautiful and the Self-Just, the Soul takes a stain, and sometimes a foul contagion in its exile from its native sphere. But if, contrary to the implication in this interchangeable use of terms, the Soul is not an Idea, in the Platonic sense, it is, to quote the words of Zeller, “so closely combined with the Idea that it cannot be conceived without it"; or as Mr. Grote declares, “ Platonic Ideas and souls are inseparably identified."
As in the tragic poets of old, when the knot of their fable can not be otherwise untied, i god is brought down in a machine, who solves all the difficulties, so in Plato the Eternal Idea comes flying down to solve the mystery of super-sensuous wisdom and reveal the undying nature of man. Indeed, the Platonic assumption in connection with the Idea well nigh surfeits man with immortality. It makes him older than the morning stars, at whose first concert he must have been present, and already venerable in the time of Cheops and the Sphinxes. The nine hundred years of Methuselah are as a span to the age of these nurselings in our cradles, and the army of mothers are playfully pinching the toes and assaulting the lips of darlings who are more ancient than the planets!
The theory of a prior existence, in which they saw a future being prophesied or proven, stood justified in the eyes of Socrates and Plato on the score that the soul contemplates the Perfect Concepts or Ideas. Whence does it derive its knowledge of them ? Since it cannot have seen them in this world, the Perfect ever hiding behind the visible and temporal, it must have made their acquaintance in a former existence, in the schools of the gods; and therefore, according to Plato, " they are said to learn who only remember.” Identical with reminiscence must be this higher knowledge. The awakening of memory is the dawn of philosophy. In the scheme of psychology, so prominent in the dialogues, our super-sensuous cognitions are classed as memories, and not as intuitions, according to our ordinary metaphysics, nor as constitutional
forms of thought, according to Kant, nor as revelations of an impersonal reason, as in the mysticism of Cousin. They are our inheritance from the studies of a life we have previously lived, a wisdom drawn from the archives of a higher world.
"Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The soul that rises with us, our life's star,
And comoth from atar;"
The suggestive recollection thus ascribed to the mind Plato seems attended by an equally suggestive aspiration of the heart, a striving on the part of the philosopher to withdraw from the body and dwell in the more congenial realm of contemplation. Not only do the wise strive to recall their former glorified life, but they seek to return to it, as those absent from the dear scenes of their native land would not only remember them, but go back to re-visit them. In Platonic phrase, the soul is merely "glued,” or “ nailed” to the flesh, and philosophy is a process of emancipation in a degree before death secures complete deliverance. In the high moods and moments of abstract thought, the soul is to be looked upon as having run away from the body and gone to sit and rejoice amid the scenes of its former life. In this lower world it suf
fers a sort of imprisonment, and struggles and flutters to ascend to its ancient sphere, as a bird longs to soar to the skies. It sighs for its old-time honor and joy with the gods. But while Socrates gathers hope and comfort in his last hour from this aspiration as something that points to a pre-existence in which a future is implicated, it is our privilege, rejecting the Socratic view, to see in this longing and soaring of the soul to find the Perfect an intimation and prophecy of a better destiny. Our immortality is a rational inference from the unattained ideals that fly before us and lure us on.
In order to a more complete treatment of our theme it must be further observed that in perfect accord with the assumption that the soul is one of the eternal entities or Ideas, Plato also assumes that it is a cause, a first cause, an uncreated but a creating power, and that as such it is immortal. He tells us that that which is begun is only an effect, and that an effect cannot be a cause ; but since the soul is the Self-Moved and the Self-Moving, and therefore master of its lingerings and its ongoings, its rest and its activity, it will take a very decided stand against extermination, or even a permanent repose. Why should the Self-Moving cease to move? Over the dependent body death can assert its sway, but not over the independent spirit. The august Will of man will dictate a moving on from every conceivable point at which it may arrive, lured by new horizons rising before it ; will order the striking of its tent to-day only to pitch it in a new encampment to-morrow. But while we may turn aside again from the circle of the Platonic logic, we are still obliged and pleased to confess that the Hunian Will or Personality is indeed an august fact and force in the universe, and that it seems made for, and entitled to something better than a grave a few steps away from the cradle. When we see it so grandly creative as it was in Moses and a Paul, a Dante and a Shakspeare, an Angelo and a Raphael, a Wilberforce and a Charles Sumner, and as it is in man in general, we can but stand in awe before it and declare that immortality is the only outlook harmonious with its endowments. The aspects of divinity clearly pertain to it,
and a greater career than time permits opens before it as the destiny to which its gifts entitle it.
In conclusion of this review of the Platonic argument for immortality, it must be said, that while we do not discover in the Dialogues that the argument is anywhere made to rest in a formal way on the purely moral ground that equity demands a hereafter for the adjustment of the unadjusted accounts of time, we still feel that this view of the case is not absent from the thought of the two great minds there engaged in debate. The two worlds are constantly linked in these moral relations, and especially in the Gorgias and the Phædo are we made to feel that earthly virtue, conspicuous at the hour of death, is entitled to yet unreceived reward, and that mortal sinfulness, still prone to evil deeds, when the great summons comes, is justly amenable to further retribution. It is clear that Socrates and Plato regarded the scales of coinpensation as not fully adjusted on this mortal shore, and that in the light of equity, which appears to be a light of the universe, they saw the evidence or intimation of an abiding moral administration and a coming judgment. In the Gorgias it is affirmed with favor, " that in the days of Cronos there was this law respecting the destiny of man, which has always existed, and still continues in heaven, that he who lived all his life in justice and holiness shall go, when he dies, to the islands of the blest, and dwell there in perfect happiness out of the reach of evil, but that he who has lived unjustly and impiously shall go to the house of vengeance and punishment, which is called Tartarus."
The Nature of Christ. The Birth of Jesus. By Rev. Henry A. Miles, D.D. Boston: Lock wood, Brooks & Co.
Celsus, and a whole tribe of skeptical assailants of the New Testament Histories, were refuted by the Christian Fathers; Strauss and Renan, and their many imitators, have been buried