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taught from childhood a belief in a future state of existence as a part of the creed of their coun
do so in any strictly logical, manner. In reading the works of Plato and his interpreter Cicero, we find the germs of all the doubts and anxieties to which we have alluded, so far as these are connected with the workings of our reason. The singularity is, that those clouds of darkness, which hang over the intellect, do not appear, so far as we can perceive, to have thrown at any time any very alarming shade upon the feelings or temper of the ancient sceptic. We should think a very great deal of this was owing to the brilliancy and activity of his southern fancy. The lighter spirits of antiquity, like the more mercurial of our moderns, sought refuge in mere gaieté du cæur and derision. The graver poets and philosophers-and poetry and philosophy were in those days seldom disunited-built up some airy and beautiful system of mysticism, each following his own devices, and suiting the erection to his own peculiarities of hope and inclination ; and this being once accomplished, the mind appears to have felt quite satisfied with what it had done, and to have reposed amidst the splendours of its sand-built fantastic edifice, with as much security as if it had been grooved and rivetted into the rock of ages. The mere exercise of ingenuity in devising a system furnished consolation to its creators, or improvers. Lucretius is a striking example of all this ; and it may be averred that down to the time of Claudian, who lived in the fourth century of our æra, in no classical writer of antiquity do there occur any traces of what moderns understand by the restlessness and discomfort of uncertainty, as to the government of the world and the future destinies of man."-Edinburgh Review, vol. xxx. p. 96, 97. Article, Childe Harold, Canto 4.
try, the supposition that there was no such state in store for them, could not shock their feelings, or confound their imagination, in the same manner as it does with us, who have been brought up in such a belief; and who live with those who deeply cherish, and would be unhappy without a full conviction of it. It is the Christian religion alone that takes us to the highest pinnacle of the Temple, to point out to us “the glory hereafter to be revealed,” and that makes us shrink back with affright from the precipice of annihilation that yawns below. Those who have never entertained a hope, cannot be greatly staggered by having it struck from under their feet ; those who have never been led to expect the reversion of an estate, will not be excessively disappointed at finding that the inheritance has descended to others.
Second Series. VOL. II.