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THE INVISIBLE AND INAUDIBLE WORLD.
species of life, corporeal, indeed, and various in its orders, but not open to the cognizance of those who are confined to the conditions of animal organization,-not to be seen, not to be heard, not to be felt, by man.* We here,” he continues, "assume the abstract probability that our five modes of perception are partial, not universal, means of knowing what may be around us, and that, as the physical sciences furnish evidence of the presence and agency of certain powers which entirely elude the senses, except in some of their remote effects, so are we denied the right of concluding that we are conscious of all real existences within our sphere.”+ Or, as he elsewhere expresses it, “Within any given boundary there may be corporeally present the human crowd and the extra-human crowd, and the latter as naturally ard simply present as the former.” I
To these beings, usually invisible and inaudible to us, we also may be usually invisible and inaudible. It would seem that there are certain conditions, occasionally existing, which cause exceptions on both sides to this general rule. Whether human beings ought simply to await these conditions, or to seek to create them, is an inquiry which does not enter into the plan of this work.
As to the proofs of the agency upon earth of these Invisibles, I rest them not on any one class of observations set forth in this volume, not specially on the phenomena of dreaming, or of unexplained disturbances, or of apparitions whether of the living or the dead, or
* Not usually open, not usually to be seen, &c., would hore have been the correct expression.
7 “Physical Theory of Another Life," pp. 232, 233. # Work cited, p. 274.
& See Oberlin's opinion on this subject, at page 364; soe, also, a curious Intimation suggested by an alleged observation of Madame Hauffe, at pages 399, 400.
WE MAY DISCOVER OUTLINES ONLY.
of what seem examples of ultramundane retribution or indications of spiritual guardianship, but upon the aggregate and concurrent evidence of all these. It is strong confirmation of any theory that proofs converging from many and varying classes of phenomenà unite in establishing it.
These proofs are spread all over society. The attention of the civilized public has been attracted to them in our day as it has not been for centuries, at least, before. If the narrative illustrations here published, scanty and imperfect as they are, obtain, as perhaps they may, a wide circulation, they will provoke further inquiry; they will call forth, in support or in denial, additional facts; and, in any event, truth must be the gainer at last.
If it should finally prove that through the phenomena referred to we may reach some knowledge of our next phase of life, it will be impossible longer to deny the practical importance of studying them. Yet perhaps, as the result of that study, we ought to expect rather outlines, discerned as through a glass darkly, than any distinct filling up of the picture of our future home. We may reasonably imagine that it would injuriously interfere in the affairs of this world if too much or too certain information came to us from another. The duties of the present might be neglected in the rapt contemplation of the future. The feeling within us that to die is gain might assume the ascendency, might disgust us with this checkered earth-life, and even tempt us rashly to anticipate the appointed summons; thus, perhaps, prematurely cutting short the years of a novitiate, of which God, not man, can designate the appropriate term.
Yet enough may be disclosed to produce, on human conduct, a most salutary influence, and to cheer the darkest days of our pilgrimage here by the confident assurance that not an aspiration after good that fades,
MAN'S CHOICE BECOMES HIS JUDGE.
por a dream of the beautiful that vanishes, during the earth-phase of life, but will find noble field and fair realization when the pilgrim has cast off his burden and reached his journey's end.
Meanwhile, what motive to exertion in self-culture can be proposed to man more powerful than the assurance, that not an effort to train our hearts or store our minds made here, in time, but has its result and its reward, hereafter, in eternity? We are the architects of our own destiny: we inflict our own punishments; we select our own rewards. Our righteousness is a meed to be patiently earned, not miraculously bestowed or mysteriously imputed. Our wickedness, too, and the
, inherent doom it entails, are self imposed. We choose : and our Choice assumes place as inexorable judge. It ascends the tribunal, and passes sentence upon us; and its jurisdiction is not limited to earth. The operation of its decrees, whether penal or beneficient, extends as surely to another phase of existence as to this. When death calls, he neither deprives us of the virtues, nor relieves us of the vices, of which he finds us possessed. Both must go with us. Those qualities, moral, social, intellectual, which may have distinguished us in this world will be ours also in another, there constituting our identity and determining our position. And as the good, so the evil. That dark vestment of sin with which, in a man's progress through life, he may have become gradually endued, will cling to him, close as the tunic of Nessus, through the death-change. He, too, still remains the being he was. He retains his evil identity and decides his degraded rank. He awakes amid the torment of the same base thoughts and brutal passions that controlled him here, and that will attract to him, in the associates of his new life, thoughts as base and passions as brutal. Is there in the anticipation of a material Hell, begirt with flames, stronger influence to deter from
PNEUMATOLOGY OF THE BIBLE.
vice, than in the terrible looming up of an inevitable fate like that?
Inevitable, but not eternal. While there is life, there is hope; and there is life beyond the vail.
But I should be commencing another volume, instead of terminating the present, were I to enlarge on the benefits that may accrue from spiritual agency. The task I set to myself was to treat of an antecedent inquiry; an inquiry into the reality, not into the advantages, of ultramundane intervention. With a single additional observation, then, touching the bearings of that inquiry on the credence of the Christian world, I here close my task.
It is not possible to rise from the perusal of the Scriptures, Old or New, without feeling that the verity of communication with the Invisible World is the groundwork of all we have read. This is not a matter left to inference or construction,-nothing like a case of chronological or narrational variance, which commentators may reconcile or philologists may explain away. It is a question essential, inherent, fundamental. Admit much to be allegory, make allowance for the phraseology of Oriental tongues, for the language of parable and the license of poetry, there yet remains, vast, calm, and not to be mistaken, the firm faith of that Old World in the reality, and the occasional influence directly exerted, of the world of spirits. That faith undermined, the foundations are sapped of the entire Biblical superstructure.
I speak of a great fact declared, not of minute details supplied. The pneumatology of the Bible is general, not specific, in its character. It enters not upon the mode, or the conditions, under which the denizens of another sphere may become agents to modify the character or influence the destiny of mankind. · It leaves man to find his way along that interesting path by the
MORE LIGHT HEREAFTER.
light of analogy,- perhaps by the aid of such disclosures as this work records. The light may be imperfect, the disclosures insufficient to appease an eager curiosity. In the dimness of the present, our longings for enlightenment may never attain satisfaction. We may be destined to wait. That which human wit and industry cannot compass in this twilight world, may be a discovery postponed only till we are admitted, beyond the boundary, into the morning sunshine of another.