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THE MISSION OF CHRIST.                    391
Of the Grecian schools, the Pythagoreans held that the soul is eternal, that is, uncreated and indestructible; that no real entity is either made or destroyed. The Eleatics held practically the same doctrine. The Ionics taught that the soul was reabsorbed into the Divine reason. The Stoics believed in the periodical destruction of all things by fire, when the good will be absorbed and the wicked perish. The Epicurean faith was well described by Paul in the phrase, " Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die." The Pyrrhonists were the sceptics of the age, and doubted everything. Socrates taught the doctrine of immortality for the good, the virtuous, and the wise. The incurably bad are " hurled into Tartarus, whence they never come forth;" whilst those who can be cured are subjected to needful punishments before being admitted into the mansions of the blest. Plato was a Pythagorean, with certain bizarre notions of his own, such as the migration of souls through various brute and human forms \ and he believed that even the duration of divine work is limited.
It will thus be seen that when Jesus appeared on earth he found the philosophy of the soul in a very chaotic state. It was his mission to bring order out of chaos, and to proclaim the true philosophy; to declare the conditions of immortality, and point the way to eternal happiness. That he simplified the doctrine of immortality into a system so plain that " the wayfaring man, though a fool, need not err therein," no one will deny. Its grand simplicity, when placed in contrast with the complicated doctrines of all other systems of religious philosophy, ancient or modern, places upon it the stamp of inherent probability; for scientific truth is always simple and free from complication. It was Jesus who gave the doctrine of immortality a distinct and definite form and a permanent place in the philosophy of the civilized world. It was he who first proclaimed the fundamental law underlying the science of the soul. It was from his words, spoken to a few humble followers in an obscure corner of the earth, that the doctrine has spread