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PROFESSOR HENRY JONES AT ESSEX…

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PROFESSOR HENRY JONES AT ESSEX HALL. The Essex Hall lecture this year was delivered by Professor Henry Jones, of Glasgow, who chose for his subject Browning and Tennyson on the Immortality of the Soul." As might have been expected when such a scholar and philosopher dealt with such a subject, there was a crowded attendance, and the masterly address was followed with the closest interest. In the course of his address Professor Jones said that the immortality of the soul is one of those grave matters on which most men of refinement are reticent. They break silence, as a rule, when they are deeply moved, and that alone could bring to the surface those solemn thoughts that still lie in the recesses of the soul. It was the death of Socrates, and the apparent victory of the ignorant over the wisest, the justest, and the best of men, that had led Plato to speak of immortality as almost no other had done, with that consummate art, which was perfect truth, making Socrates on his last day discuss the meaning of death and of what might lie beyond. It was in a similar spirit and way that Tennyson and Browning raised the great question. For the death of Arthur Hallam disturbed the even equipoise and well-nigh broke down the strong restraints of Tennyson's spirit, which ordinarily moved like a star. Browning was habitually less reticent on all matters concerning the human soul, and his speculative impulse was more daring. But if it was the death of Arthur Hallam that had moved Tennyson to speculate so hopefully in the In Memoriam," it was also the sudden death of a young friend that had startled Browning's sprightly spirit to challenge his own faith, and to dare his own doubts of immortality. Each had challenged death, and each had found that, provided a moral world stood, and God remained, death could not in itself mean much, and what it did mean was good. If they ever doubted the immortality of the soul, which was questionable, the doubt left the assurance more firmly fixed. A close examination of Tennyson's poems would show that while his belief in the immortality of the soul never wavered, he entertained at different times different conceptions of its future state. He did not appear to believe that it passed at once to perfec bliss or woe No sudden heaven or sudden hell for man," he says. Browning put aside the final woe or the extinc- tion of the soul. Both poets recurred again and again to the conception of the soul after death entering on another life, and perhaps a series of lives-to the evolution from life to life-the soul in each embodiment approaching more nearly to God. Immortality was the conscious and indefinitely-prolonged life beyond death, and life without this belief seemed to have neither sense nor value. Else earth were dark- ness to the core." The grand perhaps" of immortality was for them a conviction. The natural world and the natural life signified much

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PROFESSOR HENRY JONES AT ESSEX…