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A LAND OF LOVE AND TRUTH.
word "falsehood" will designate no possible sin. Can we imagine an influence more salutary, more nobly regenerating, more satisfying to the heart, than this?
But I pause, and check the impulse to amplify the picture. Hereafter, it may be, in possession of more copious materials, I may be enabled better to carry out such a task.
Meanwhile, in pursuit of my immediate object, there needs not, perhaps, further elaboration. I may have adduced sufficient argument in proof that the hypothesis of spirit-visitation involves no absurd postulate. I may also, perhaps, have proved to the satisfaction of a portion of my readers, that the common conceptions of death are false, that death is not, as Plato argued and as millions believe, the opposite of life, but only the agency whereby life changes its phase.
Yet I know how fast-rooted are long-cherished opinions. Even while I have been writing, I have occasionally been fain to tolerate current phrases of faulty import. Although in the preceding pages, for the sake of being intelligible, I have employed the expressions "on this side the grave," "beyond the tomb," and the like, these, as applied to human beings, are, strictly speaking, inaccurate. We have nothing to do with the grave. We do not descend to the tomb. It is a cast-off garment, encoffined, to which are paid the rites of sepulture.
"In completing this design, I am ignorant neither of the greatness of the work, nor of my own incapacity. My hope, however, is, that if the love of my subject carry me too far, I may, at least, obtain the excuse of affection. It is not granted to man to love and be wise."-BACON.
BEFORE I part from the reader, he may desire to ask me whether I conceive the reality of occasional spiritual interference to be here conclusively made out.
I prefer that he should take the answer from his own deliberate judgment. In one respect, he is, probably, better qualified to judge than I. It is not in human nature to ponder long and deeply any theory,-to spend years in search of its proofs and in examination of its probabilities, yet maintain that nice equanimity which accepts or rejects without one extraneous bias. He who simply inspects may discriminate more justly than he whose feelings have been enlisted in collecting and collating.
Yet I will not withhold the admission that, after putting the strictest guard on the favoritism of parentage, I am unable to explain much of what my reason tells me I must here receive as true, on any other hypothesis than the ultramundane.
Where there are clear, palpable evidences of thought, of intention, of foresight, I see not how one can do otherwise than refer these to a thinker, an intender, a foreseer. Such reference appears to me not rational only, but necessary. If I refuse to accept such manifestations of intelligence as indicating the workings of a
ADMISSIONS DEMANDED BY REASON.
rational mind,—if I begin to doubt whether some mechanical or chemical combination of physical elements may not put on the semblance of reason and counterfeit the expression of thought,-then I no longer perceive the basis of my own right to assume that the human forms which surround me have minds to think or hearts to feel. If our perceptions of the forest, and the ocean, and the plain, are to be accepted as proofs that there really is a material world around us, shall we refuse to receive our perceptions of thoughts and feelings other than our own, as evidence that some being, other than ourselves, exists, whence these emanate ?* And if that being belong not to the visible world, are we not justified in concluding that it has existence in the invisible?
That the rational being of which we thus detect the agency is invisible, invalidates not at all the evidence we receive. It is but a child's logic which infers that, where nothing is seen, nothing exists.
As to the mode and place of existence of these invisible beings, Taylor's conjecture may be the correct one, when he supposes,―
"That within the field occupied by the visible and ponderable universe, and on all sides of us, there is existing and moving another element, fraught with another
*Thus argues an elegant and logical mind:-"On the table before us a needle, nicely balanced, trembles, and turns, as with the constancy of love, towards a certain spot in the arctic regions; but a mass of iron, placed near it, disturbs this tendency and gives it a new direction. We assume, then, the presence of an element universally diffused, of which we have no direct perception whatever. Now, let it be imagined that the sheets of a manuscript, scattered confusedly over the table and the floor, are seen to be slowly adjusting themselves according to the order of the pages, and that at last every leaf and every loose fragment has come into its due place and is ready for the compositor. In such a case we should, without any scruple, assume the presence of an invisible rational agent, just as in the case of the oscillations of the needle we had assumed the presence of an invisible elementary power."-TAYLOR'S "Physical Theory of Another Life," London, 1839, p. 244.
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.* 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 and simply present as the former."t
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 here have been the correct expression.
"Physical Theory of Another Life," pp. 232, 233.
Work cited, p. 274.
? See Oberlin's opinion on this subject, at page 364; see, also, a curious Intimation suggested by an alleged observation of Madame Hauffe, at pages 399, 400.
WE MAY DISCOVER OUTLINES ONLY.
509 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 phenomena 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,