« AnteriorContinuar »
he seemed to possess here? Does it seem probable that the mind which exists independently of the present body will manifest the same powers as now, when it inhabits a widely different and a far more exalted body? Is it not much more reasonable to conclude that the mind will seem to be greater when it inhabits a body which is in the highest degree fitted for the manifestation of mind? If the body which shall serve as a vehicle of the spirit in the resurrection state is vastly superior to the present body, we conclude that the mind there will seem to be much greater there than it did here.
Moreover, it does not seem probable that knowledge will be acquired there by the same slow, toilsome, and even painful process that it is here. We may rather believe that knowledge there will be gained intuitively ; that without pain, without effort, the mind will attain to all needful knowledge. It will understand the providences of God ; will have a knowledge of the works of creation ; will comprehend the greatness and goodness of the Divine being. We can not think there will be classes learning the alphabet of heaven, and other classes delving into the deep mysteries of science, or studying the theories of philosophy which may be received in the spirit world. We can not think that arithmetic and algebra and the higher mathematics will be pursued there much as here; or that diplomas will be given to such as make the requisite attainments in literature and science. We must rather believe that the perfections of the future state are such that we shall there see as we are seen, and know even as we are known; that we shall comprehend and know intuitively all things proper for us to comprehend and know. Yet we would not assert that it is so, since it is impossible for us at present to ascertain just what we shall be in the resurrection. “ It doth not yet appear
what we shall be, but when we see Jesus we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” But we must believe that the mind, when it shall dwell in a spiritual body, will be able to manifest its peculiar powers in a much more perfect manner than it possibly can here. These physical bodies, though wonderful in their structure, may none of them permit the mind to manifest itself perfectly through them, and some of them but very feebly. We do not suppose there will be any such seeming imperfection in the organizations of spiritual bodies.
Whether all minds will possess an equality of powers in the future life, we can not now say ; for we do not even know for a certainty whether all minds are really equal here. They may be : whence the present diversity in mental gifts resolves itself into a diversity in the powers of manifestation. If all minds are really equal in themselves, then the probability is that they will be essentially equal in the future state. Or if there is any diversity of intellect there, the mind which seemed the weakest and feeblest in the present may be the greatest and strongest in the future life. For if the mind exists independently of the physical organization, then the mind which is united with a body the most unfavorably organized for the manifestation of intellectual powers may itself, for aught we can know, be the greatest and brightest. This view of the matter seems as plausible and reasonable as any.
Some have contended that there is a diversity of intellectual gifts among the risen, because there is diversity everywhere. “ There is one glory of the sun,
and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars ; for one star differs from another star in glory.” And there are different orders and ranks among spiritual beings, such as are indicated by angel and archangel, cherub and seraph. But surely it is no proof that one human mind will differ from another in the risen state because the sun shines with a brighter light than the moon; or because one star differs from another in size and brilliancy. And the argument derived from the diversity of rank among spiritual beings is without force ; for if it be granted that a seraph is superior to an angel, it does not follow that the angels differ in respect to intellectual gifts. We may rather infer that the angels are equal to each other, that seraph is equal to seraph, and so on through the different orders of spiritual beings. If it can be shown that one man will be raised an angel, another an arch-angel, another a seraph, then it will seem probable that men will possess various intellectual gifts in the future life. But we must wait till we have a new revelation which is reliable, before we can know that men will be raised in this manner.
The conclusion arrived at in this brief discussion is, that there are two theories of the human mind: one, that its very existence is the result of the bodily organization, and has no existence of itself. Then, when the body is dissolved, the mind perishes, and will cease to exist forever. Or, if a new mind is created from the material of the old body, we can not tell what powers it will possess, or what it will know, or what advantage it will derive from the present existence.
The other theory is, that the mind has an existence independent of the body, and that the brain is the organ through which it manifests itself. We do not know, and we can not ascertain how much, or how great a mind is really possessed by any one. We only know how much mind is manifested. And when the mind is released from the body, it may not seem to be the same as when in the body, but it will probably manifest powers much greater than those which it manifested here. Hence, we conclude that when we enter upon the future life, we shall not seem to possess the same intellectual powers that we now do, but much greater ones.
We can not but think that the immortal mind will be able to manifest its powers in a better manner in a heavenly body than it could in this body composed of earthy material. Can any one believe that the earthy is equal to the heavenly ? The Scriptures suggest a change like this when they say, “ We now see as through a glass, darkly ; but then face to face; now I know in part, but then shall I know even as also I am known."
The future life is thus made a pleasing theme of contemplation ; for, though we can not at present know how great will be its perfections, we can nevertheless feel assured that they are so great as to stand in wide and happy contrast with the imperfections of earth. The assurance that we are destined to such an exalted state, to a condition so elevated and noble, can not but have a good and heavenly influence on us here. The more we reflect upon that future life, the stronger our faith becomes ; and the clearer our view of it, the happier and the better we shall be.
W. R. F,
Mountain Travel and Literature.
“Summer months among the Alps : with the ascent of Monte Rosa. By Thomas W. Hinchcliff. London: Longman, Brown, Green, Longmans & Roberts. 1857."
“ Peaks, Passes, and Glaciers. A series of excursions by members of the Alpine Club. London: Longman, Brown, Green, Longmans, and Roberts. 1859."
"The White Hills; their Legends, Landscape, and Poetry. By Thomas Starr King. With sixty illustrations, engraved by Andrew, from drawings by Wheelock. Boston: Crosby, Nichols, & Co. 1860."
We remember hearing an artist exult, with the enthusiasm of his craft, over the mountains, as not possibly to be utilized out of their mystery and natural sacredness. All other things belonging to the beauty and awe of nature, he said, had come to base uses. Steamships and voyaging of all fashions had trespassed upon the sovereignty the sea once held over the imaginations of men, and Cape Cod captains laughed at Horace's “ Illi robur et æs triplex.” Speculators prospected along primeval rivers, and invited towns to pry into their ancient solitudes, and to confound their solemn monotone with the multitudinous noise of trade ; saw-mills and smug villages were intruding upon secluded streams and tracking them to their sacred sources. Worse sacrilege was done the venerable cathedral aisles of mighty forests than the Roundheads' profanation of abbeys and minsters, villain astronomers were pointing their telescopes at the “stars in their courses,” bidding them stand and deliver the secrets of their dim nebulæ and perplexed motions; the very god of day, adored by Magians and Greeks, was turning to a journeyman, and exchanging golden shafts for pencils of light ;-and all these inroads of encroaching utility upon the demesnes of beauty and awe were an offense to our sensitive friend's ästhetic likes. But those mountains, he said, (for we were walking where the hills rose upon us with their gloom of shadow and glory of light,) are still intact, and will never give up the stern or lovely lines of their peaks and ridges to the smooth effacement of the plough, or exchange the gorgeous purple, bronze, and gold of their plateaus and cliffs for the tamer tints of orchards and crops, but must remain virgin soil for the imagination, and ever fruitful only of the “ sheaves of a celestial Ceres and the Muse."
As he talked on, we found this fine frenzy of his enthusiasm opening to us the true penetralia of the hills, admitting us to recesses of beauty and adyta of grandeur to which our intrusive foot and peering eye had not guided us when we were scaling their farthest heights or exploring their deepest gulfs. He was lending us his finer sight, the artist's educated eye, by whose help we saw delicacies of shadow, splendors of light, tenderness of flowing contours and strength of nervous lines in the landscape, which before we had not guessed. And his rhapsody in this seemed to us to touch the point of the best sort of mountain travel, and the highest kind of mountain literature. For each manner of journey, exploration, and impression has its own fashion of literary record. But, of both travel and literature, that is the best, whether for delight or benefit, which trains the sight and also developes the power of insight.
To the tourist and his purposes belongs the guide-book with its chart of routes, list of those objects no gentleman should leave the mountains without seeing, and criticism of the fare and lodging in hotels and taverns. The gymnast of the hills is pleased with reading, or rejoices to add to the record of hair-breadth escape and brave adventure among their) dangers. The naturalist likes to stay in fancy with De Saussure on the Col de Géant, 11,000 feet above the sea, in his seventeen days' long observation of the phenomena of that lofty place, or actually to follow the steps of Agassiz and Forbes in their careful glacier explorations, that he too may draw from nature's great store-house to enrich the treasury of science. At last, Ruskin travels those old roads and stops in the frequented places, toils up remote passes and seldom-attempted peaks, notes on his way, with scientific exactness, various facts of physical structure and change among the hills and vallies, but, in the record of his travels, raises the labor and pleasure of tourist, climber, and savant into the high region where flow for the mind the great issues, and pure delights of art and religion.