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cannot be doubted. developed into fanaticism, could be the result of nothing less than absolute conviction, not only of the truth of their utterances, but of their divine origin and authority. They could not believe otherwise; for they were constantly experiencing phenomena which forced that conviction upon them. They found themselves habitually entering a state that was to them mysterious and abnormal, and yet agreeable. In that state they entered into communion with what appeared to them to be an extraneous intelligence. That intelligence sometimes put words into their mouths that were foreign to their objective thoughts. In short, they experienced the same phenomena that modern psychics attribute to disembodied spirits, differing only in the suggestions which gave character to the manifestations. To them the evidences of divine communion and of their own divine mission were demonstrative. That conviction was communicated to the people, partly by their intense earnestness, and partly by their occasional exhibitions of psychic power in the performance of what was then regarded as miracles, as in the cases of Elijah and Elisha and later by Jesus of Nazareth.
Their enthusiasm, which oftentimes
It will thus be seen that the monotheistic idea was inherent in the very nature of the psychic phenomena experienced by the seers and prophets of the Jewish race. The first psychic who, no matter how the idea originated, conceived himself to be in communion with God, fixed the monotheistic idea in his own mind and in the minds of his successors for all time. No power on earth could uproot that idea thus formed, so long as there was a succession of psychics to whom the dominating suggestion could be transmitted. Nevertheless it was an idea that possessed the seeds of future development, in that every step in the progress of a higher civilization correspondingly elevated and refined the popular conception of the Deity.
have already seen the advancement of the idea under the dispensation of Moses. Its development after his death was comparatively slow up to the advent of Jesus. Nevertheless, there was substantial progress before that event. The God of Abraham was the God of a tribe. As the tribe enlarged to a nation, he became a national God. But it was not until the days of Isaiah that the idea of God's power and dominion was so enlarged as to give him credit for benevolent intentions towards the whole race of mankind.
“And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldst be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.”1
In chapter lx. of Isaiah, there is further vague mention of the benevolent intentions of the God of Israel towards the Gentiles; but it is also evident that the latter were of secondary consideration:
"Yet it must be confessed,” says Mackintosh, “that even the prophetic hold of this higher conception was wavering and unsteady, as is conspicuously apparent in the psalter, where the old popular, or we may say heathenish, and prophetic sentiments follow each other in baffling confusion, in irreconcilable juxtaposition. Not a reader but is surprised, if not pained, to see the breath of vengeance and the breath of mercy blow by turns through those wonderful compositions, which were probably among the last, and were, in some respects, the greatest products of the prophetic spirit."
The most substantial progress of the monotheistic idea during the interval between the death of Moses and the advent of Christ, consisted not so much in the enlargement of the idea itself as in its general acceptance by the Jewish people. This was brought about by their misfortunes, together with the earnest efforts made by their 1 Isaiah xlix. 6.
prophets to convince them that it was to their wickedness, evinced in following after false gods, that their troubles were due. With the details of their history, however, we have little to do. It suffices to know that the monotheistic principle was developed by and through the Jewish people by means of psychic phenomena. As I have before remarked, the fact that it was misunderstood at the time does not militate against the broad truth of the proposition. All the phenomena of Nature were misinterpreted in the infancy of the human race; but the laws of Nature were the same then as they are now. The advantage that we possess consists in the fact that we know a little more than did the ancients of the laws which pertain to the phenomena of Nature. They thought that the earth was flat, and that it was the centre of the universe. We know that
it is round, and that it constitutes but an infinitesimal part of the universe. We also know that it was round when they lived, and that it will continue to be round as long as it holds together. In other words, with our knowledge of astronomical laws we can reconstruct the past and foretell the future movements of the heavenly bodies. We also know something of the laws of the soul. It is little, it is true, compared with what is known of the physical sciences; for the fact is just fairly beginning to dawn upon the human mind that the soul can be studied scientifically. But enough is known of the phenomena of the soul to enable us to classify a few of the leading facts and understand something of their significance. The phenomena which we have been discussing have a well-settled place in psychic science, and there is no longer any excuse for misinterpreting them.
THE ADVENT OF JESUS.
The Third Great Step in the Evolution of the Spiritual Man. - The God which Jesus Proclaimed. Intellectual Prodigies. - The Intuitional Powers of Jesus. — His Psychical Powers. His Perfect Knowledge of the Laws of the Soul.- Modern Confirmations of the Truth of his Philosophy. — The Psychic Methods of Jesus. His Reason always in the Ascendant. — His Perfect Moral and Religious Character. - Psychic Phenomena the Evidence of his Divine Mission. - Paley's Views. - The Divine Heritage. The Vitality of the Christian Religion.
HE third great epoch in the evolution of the spiritual
man was inaugurated by Jesus of Nazareth. In discussing this branch of the subject, I shall not enter the field of controversial argument respecting his alleged miraculous birth or his resurrection from the dead. I leave that to the theologian who regards those questions as possessing vital importance from his point of view. From my standpoint they cannot be considered. Miracles can have no place in science; for they can neither be scientifically verified nor experimentally reproduced. I have thus far confined my observations to the records of such psychic phenomena as can be verified by experimental reproduction; and I shall continue to do so wherever the nature of the phenomena will admit of such demonstration. In the history of Jesus, however, there is much that cannot be specifically verified by experiment. His character and inherent attributes cannot be reproduced. We are not, however, without means
of scientifically verifying his history in that regard, as will be seen later in this work.
The phenomena which we are now called upon to consider differ in many essential particulars from those recorded in the Old Testament. The older prophets, as we have seen, were psychics who believed that they had the power to enter at will into tangible communion with God, and to receive from Him direct verbal communications. These phenomena, as I have pointed out, were identical with the phenomena of modern spiritism, differing only in the suggestion which gave character to the supposed communications. The God of the old prophets was, therefore, necessarily a reflection of their own personal characteristics. On the other hand, the God whom Jesus revealed to mankind was a conception so grand and lofty, as compared with that of the old prophets, that credulity has, in all the ages, been taxed in vain to identify the God of Abraham with the God of Jesus. This fact has been a stumbling-block to the sceptic or heretic for eighteen hundred years; whereas, when the facts are understood, they will be found to present the strongest possible internal evidence of the substantial truth of the essential portions of the historical part of both the Old and the New Testaments. Viewed as a series of psychic manifestations, the gradual improvement in the God of Israel corresponds exactly with the natural progress of that race towards civilization, and the consequent evolution of the human mind and soul. That there was a sudden step in advance, of infinite magnitude and importance, does not militate against the theory of the evolution of the spiritual man through psychic phenomena. On the contrary, it will be found to confirm and emphasize that hypothesis. The great step in advance which Jesus made was the result, not of a cessation of psychic manifestations, but of a radical change in their character. The conception of God which he evolved was not the result of verbal communications from