Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/206

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all they could say, and tried to believe. But here's the thing I could never get out of the way—and if I only could! If my soul is immortal, why did it have a beginning? If I'm to know eternal life, why don't I reach out to infinity behind as well as before? How can a thing be immortal that has its moment of birth? I've asked; they tell me I've always existed—in the consciousness of God. But I don't know it—and according to that theory I may go out of this existence into another with no recollection of this, no recognition of the angel faces that are dear to me—no, they can't answer that question, Floyd, they can't answer it—they have to fall back on quibbles. It's a beautiful, beautiful myth—that God might have made true. It's done a great work in the world; it's made men better and kinder to one another—but it's only a beautiful myth. And I'd rather have it so; rather than believe that I'm to be transmuted from one personality to another, never allowed to see again the two faces that I love—rather than that I'd ask for everlasting sleep."

Floyd was silent for a while. "I've never thought much about it," he said at last. "Until now, nothing has ever brought it home to me personally. But it seems to me that that line of the hymn—'When with the morn those angel faces smile'—illustrates the most beautiful thought that the human race has ever worked out. It's just as you say—you have the feeling that nothing could be more beautiful than that—if it were a fact. Now why shouldn't the Supreme Power of the universe actually achieve the thing that we grasp as most beautiful in our thoughts? It seems to me unlikely that He should fall short of our own highest conception; it's more probable that He's worked out an arrangement that's even better and more beautiful. Of course if you deny the existence of a Supreme Power, it's different—but I have n't got to that. As for an immortal soul—a thing that's to have no end—having a definite beginning, that's an inconsistency I can't fathom. But just the same I fall back on