Page:Essays and phantasies by James Thomson.djvu/231

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219
SAYINGS OF SIGVAT.

reputed fashionable sinners, than the stiffest of respectable people take to be reputed religious! Pagan as I am, said Sigvat, I think I could preach you a rousing sermon on this text of the prophet.

Being once questioned with a certain whining solemnity as to his immortal soul, he laughed long in uncontrollable laughter:—A very sublime being truly is this Sigvat, to expect and claim immortality! But I fear that the universe can do without me, as me, though my being is part of its being. When I die, Nature seizes on my effects, administers my estate, duly distributing the property. I who am dead as this Sigvat still continue my interest in the general life by every particle of my being thus distributed, and by the enduring existence of all that I have ever rayed forth—from attraction of gravity, attraction and repulsion electrical, to thought and emotion of humanity. Nothing is lost, though the walls of the Ego have given way and let in the floods of the universe. It is quite right to call death dissolution; it may be also solution, resolution, evolution. Immortality! why the most of us don't know what to do with this one little personal life, and might well wonder how we came to be promoted to the dignity thereof: the claim to immortality is the claim to be trusted with millions of pounds because one has shown himself unfit to be trusted with sixpence. Leave me, O comical little men, with your talk about eternity; go and try to live a single happy and rational day!