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being inhabited, while it is next to certain that our moon is entirely without inhabitants.

In fine, there is no reason to suppose that the speculations of Swedenborg were anything else than the product of his own mind, in the same sense as that in which the speculations of this volume may be regarded as the product of the minds of its authors.

48. Before concluding this historical sketch let us say a few words about modern spiritualists in so far as their pretensions have reference to our subject. They assert the presence among them of the spirits of the departed, assuming sometimes a visible shape, and they compare these appearances to those which are recorded in the Sacred writings. But there is this prominent distinction between the two: the spiritual communications recorded in the Scriptures are represented as made to those who were unprepared to receive them, and also for the most part as taking place in open daylight, or, to speak more properly, having no sort of reference to light or darkness. Whatever be their explanation they have an openair look about them. On the other hand, the manifestations recorded by the spiritualists take place as a rule in insufficient light, if not in total darkness, and in presence of those who are in a state of mental excitement.

Now, for our own part, we should not be disposed to credit any communication from the world of spirits. that was not made openly, and to those unprepared to receive it, and therefore unprejudiced.

The man of science must be perfectly recipient, but he must in the interests of truth guard himself against the possibility of delusion. We know the

almost infinite power of the mind not only to delude itself, but to propagate its delusions to other minds, and, as we have already remarked, the conditions of these manifestations are specially favourable to the spread of such delusions. We do not therefore hesitate to choose between the two alternative explanations, and to regard these pretended manifestations as having no objective reality.

49. But while we altogether deny the reality of these appearances, we think it likely that the spiritualists have enlarged our knowledge of the power which one mind has of influencing another, and this is in itself a valuable subject of inquiry. We agree too in the position assumed by Swedenborg, and by the spiritualists, according to which they look upon the invisible world not as something absolutely distinct from the visible universe, and absolutely unconnected with it, as is frequently thought to be the case, but rather as a universe which has some bond of union with the present.

This line of argument will be developed in the following chapters of our book.

CHAPTER II.

POSITION TAKEN BY THE AUTHORS-PHYSICAL

AXIOMS.

'Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God; so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.'-HEBREWS XI. 3.

50. IN the preceding chapter we have given a very brief epitome of the various beliefs regarding immortality and the invisible world held by the civilised nations of the earth, from the earliest dawn of history to the present day. Our object has been not so much to enter even into general details as to present boldly those particular features of each system of belief which are most closely concerned with the subject of our work. Thus our account of each separate system is intentionally incomplete, even as a simple sketch. It is now time to say something about the object of this book, as well as to define the position from which we mean to start in pursuance of that object. We shall therefore commence by dividing those who at all concern themselves about our theme into three great classes.

First, we have those who are so absolutely certain of the truth of their views of religion, and of the immortality which they believe it teaches, that they are not

qualified to entertain or even to perceive any scientific objection. They acknowledge that certain deductions made by men of science appear to contradict or to be incompatible with certain truths of their religion. But these they regard as premature conclusions, averring that when the laws of nature have been more deeply investigated, there will be found a perfect concord between science and revelation. Certain scientific truths they readily assent to, and it is only the altogether human superstructure of speculation built upon these that they profess to question. 'You have built,' they say, 'upon the rock of truth a structure of wood, hay, stubble, and you would persuade us that it is the very temple of God. We will not enter it, but will patiently wait in the expectation of seeing it speedily consumed with fire.'

Now, whatever be the merits or demerits of such men, it is not for them we write. Their merit may consist in having made a perfectly true charge against certain classes of scientific men-their demerit probably in having themselves treated religion precisely as they accuse their adversaries of having treated scientific truth. We must let them alone-they will not be influenced by anything that we can say. We may perhaps be praised by them in a certain measure if it be thought that we have helped to overthrow the superstructure built by their adversaries; we shall certainly be condemned by them if it be thought that we have helped to weaken any portion of the superstructure which they themselves have reared.

51. In the next place, and occupying a middle position, we have those who see strong grounds for believing in a future life for man and in the existence

of an invisible world, but who at the same time are forced to acknowledge the strength of the objections urged against these doctrines by certain men of science. Some of this class attach much weight to the evidence in favour of these doctrines derived from the Christian records; others again, unable to believe in these records, are yet powerfully impressed by the universal longing for immortality which civilised man has always shown, while others attach nearly equal importance to both kinds of evidence. Nevertheless, all of the class of which we now speak have deeply studied the scientific objections, and do not well see how to surmount them. It is to this class that we shall especially address ourselves in the following chapters.

52. The third class of men are those of the extreme materialistic school. All human history, including the life of Christ and that which took place in connection with it, all yearnings of man for immortality, all life, from that of the noblest of human beings to that of the primordial animated germ, are explained by this class as the result of the interaction of material atoms guided by certain measurable physical forces. They consider that they have no reason to believe that there is anything beyond or beside the visible universe, and in consequence they decline entering into any argument upon the subject. Their premiss may be wrong, but their conclusion follows from it as a matter of course. We have examined (say they) all the evidence in favour of another universe, and find it utterly worthless, why then should we discuss the subject ?-it is one of those delusions. that are common in man. When a traveller pretends

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