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die with serenity, happy in the ripeness of years to give up his own vitality to feed the never-dying vitality of his race. And even, if I may make a most daring hypothesis, - even if the human race were at some remote period to become extinct, even if, as astronomy now says, a world may become dead, a sun or star go out of existence, we may yet conceive of a universe so vast and majestic in its proportions that the death of a man or of a world. may have no more effect on the vast and ceaseless procession of beneficent life than does the fall of a leaf from its tree when it has fulfilled its function in serving the unfolding, ceaseless, vital Law.
But, again, when I think of the countless æons which were spent by the Eternal Power in producing a being capable of such service as this which man at his best can perform, when I think of the world-struggles and birth-pains of which he is the product, I am reluctant to believe that the consummate flower of creation on this planet, the moral personality of man, is after a few score years of existence to be extinguished forever, blown out like the flame of a candle by a whiff of your breath. And then there rises before me, with massive strength the more rational conclusion that somewhere, somehow, this responsible vicegerent of the Eternal Power will continue consciously to live. and work in this universe, which is the house of the Eternal.
Nor am I troubled by the problem of the how and the where. The old mythological heavens and
hells and stories of physical resurrections we may regard as outlawed by modern criticism. Nor do the alleged claims of Spiritualism, though I have no prejudice against them, appear to me to have so sifted facts from personal illusions and mercenary frauds as to avail much before the tribunal of science. But there is no more difficulty in conceiving of a new and more ethereal body for the human personality after the death and hopeless dissolution of the present body than there would be in conceiving a priori of hundreds of things which science has made familiar facts. We should never a priori believe it possible for the butterfly to come forth from the grub, nor for the sun's heat to be motor of all energy and life on the earth, nor for a tiny seed, almost invisible, to possess within it a principle of life capable of drawing elements from earth and air and moisture, and translating them into a gigantic tree, with all its beauty of foliage and blossom and its bounty of fruit. Just consider, for a moment, that unique kind of matter, the ether-atmosphere, which, as science assures us, interpenetrates our denser air and all the interplanetary and interstellar spaces. It is not visible, yet makes for us all other things visible. It is not tangible nor measurable. No chemical skill has resolved it into its constituent elements. Science has nevertheless inferred its existence as a necessary condition for transmitting light and heat from the sun to its planets. It is the highway of communication between the worlds.
more than that. Here is one kind of matter actually occupying to some extent the same space with another kind of matter. Why, then, may we not here have the material for another body developing within this body of flesh, which may be the cause of some of the strange psychic phenomena now seeking explanation? Here may be the fabric for the shining garments of our dead, our beloved ones literally rising from death clothed with bodies of light.
Of course, I am not pressing this hypothesis for belief. It may seem to most persons wildly visionary. My only point is that, however improbable an hypothesis may seem a priori, it is not therefore to be dismissed as impossible. Wonderful as such a consummation of human life would be, I aver that in itself it would be no greater marvel than is the scientific fact that not a breath is drawn by any living creature on this earth, not a blade of grass grows, not a flower blooms, not a movement is made nor any kind of power exerted here, but that the engine which does it all is in that sun up yonder ninety-five millions of miles. away. And the connection between the engine there and its work here is by the waves of this invisible ocean of ether! I am only urging that, on this great problem of immortality, it behooves us to be very modest not only in our affirmations, but in our denials,- very modest, yet very expectant. There is a theological dogmatism which greatly obstructs the way of truth; and there is a
credulity that is the root of superstition. But there is an incredulity which is as hostile to truth's progress as is superstition or dogmatism,—an incredulity that is the dogmatism of negation, and closes the avenues of the mind to the very approaches of truth.
But, in whatever form this problem of man's future destiny is to be settled, his present duty remains the same. In some shape our lives and their results must survive death. Somewhere in the house of the Eternal, our influence, our work, our spirit, or our still living personality will continue for helping to shape eternal issues. In either case our duty now is to do the best service possible for this world's good, and to attain the utmost possible nobility of character and conduct, and then to wait serenely and patiently, and also, if it be possible, with the glow of large expectancy in our eyes, for death to lift the veil and reveal the after destiny. And in either case, too, we shall dwell still in the house of the Eternal, to "share," as said our greatest American prophet and psalmist, "the will and the immensity and the immortality of the First Cause." No rightly living soul need ever fear to be exiled at death to an utterly strange country. Moral realms are not separated. by space nor time nor outward condition. Whoever lives a life of righteousness on whatever planet dwells now in heaven and inhabiteth and enricheth eternity.
THE TRINITY OF EVOLUTION.
THE modern scientific doctrine of Evolution, in its teachings and implications concerning worldformation, has given us a new trinity, which, I venture to say, will play even a more important part in the religious thinking of the future than the theological doctrine of the Trinity has played in the past history of Christendom.
The three constituent elements of the Trinity of Evolution are Power, Intelligence, Goodness; considering the various manifestations of the creative World-energy, we are in a condition, I think, now to affirm on scientific grounds that there can be no adequate explanation of all the phenomena of the world without implying that each of these three elements must be an inherent attribute of the creative Energy. Of course, there is hardly need to-day to add, in any intelligent assembly, that modern science does not allow us to conceive of creation as beginning or ending six thousand or even six hundred thousand years ago, or as being at any time a finished process. The scientific theory is that creation is a continuous process, that productive forces which were operative in the universe six thousand or six hundred thousand years ago are operative to-day, that the book of genesis in nature.