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A

CRITICAL HISTORY

OF THE

DOCTRINE OF A FUTURE LIFE.

WITH A

Complete Bibliograpby of the Subject

.

BY

WILLIAM ROUNSEVILLE ALGER.

One question, more than others all,

From thoughtful minds implores reply:
It is, as breathed from star and pall,

What fate awaits us when we die?

PHILADELPHIA :
GEORGE W. CHILDS, 628 & 630 CHESTNUT ST.

186 4.

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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1860, by

WILLIAM ROUNSEVILLE ALGER. in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the District of

Massachusetts

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PREFACE.

Who follows truth carries his star in his brain. Even so bold a thought is no inappropriate motto for an intellectual workman, if his heart be filled with loyalty to God, the Author of truth and the Maker of stars. In this double spirit of independence and submission it has been my desire to perform the arduous task now finished and offered to the charitable judgments of the reader. One may be courageous to handle both the traditions and the novelties of men, and yet be modest before the solemn mysteries of fate and nature. He may place no veil before his eyes and no finger on his lips in presence of popular dogmas, and yet shrink from the conceit of esteeming his mind a mirror of the universe. Ideas, like coins, bear the stamp of the age and brain they were struck in. Many a phantom which ought to have vanished at the first cock-crowing of reason still holds its seat on the oppressed heart of faith before the terror-stricken eyes of the multitude. Every thoughtful scholar who loves his fellow-men must feel it an obligation to do what he can to remove painful superstitions, and to spread the peace of a cheerful faith and the wholesome light of truth. The theories in theological systems being but philosophy, why should they not be freely subjected to philosophical criticism ? I have endeavored, without virulence, arrogance, or irreverence towards any thing sacred, to investigate the various doctrines pertaining to the great subject treated in these pages. Many persons, of course, will find statements from which they dissent,--sentiments disagreeable to them. But, where thought and discussion are so free and the press so accessible as with us, no one but a bigot will esteem this a ground of complaint. May all such passages be charitably perused, fairly weighed, and, if unsou

ound, honorably refuted! If the work be not animated with a mean or false spirit, but be catholic and kindly,-if it be not superficial and

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