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316 DEMONSTRATION OF The future life.
perfect synchronism. As genius affords the best, nay, the only illustrations of the most useful and at the same time the least harmful of all manifestations of psychic activity, I have ventured to avail myself of the researches of one of the most eminent students of the abnormal in mankind for the purpose of showing that there is but one step between insanity and the least harmful of psychic manifestations.
One of the great practical lessons, therefore, which psychic science teaches is that, normally, this is an objective world, the realm of physical life and activity. God has endowed us with faculties of mind exactly fitted for our physical environment; and they are all-sufficient to enable us to master the forces of physical Nature so far as to render our brief sojourn within its realm tolerable and even pleasant. Those are the faculties, therefore, which we should cultivate in this form of existence; for their functions pertain exclusively to this life, and to no other. On the other hand, psychic science teaches us that we are the possessors of other faculties which perform no normal functions in this life; and practical experience shows that the habitual exercise of those faculties in this life produces the most disastrous results to both body and mind.
The conclusion is irresistible that we should carefully refrain from exercising and developing, in this life, those powers which belong exclusively to another form of existence; and the necessity for this inhibition becomes still more apparent when we remember that all immorality, all vice, all crime, and all insanity arise from one and the same cause, namely, the dominance of the subjective faculties; and that all exercise of psychic powers for other than works of necessity, and all practices which develop and cultivate the subjective faculties, have a direct tendency to arouse to abnormal activity those emotions and propensities which, uncontrolled by reason, lead to immorality, vice, crime, and insanity.
A Perspective View of the Arguments Presented. - The Final Syl. logism. The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. - The Christian's Heaven. - The Revelations of Modern Science Identical with those of Jesus.
HAVE now briefly outlined a few of the principal argu
ments for a future life which are based upon the observable and demonstrable facts of experimental psychology, so far as those facts have been definitely ascertained through modern scientific investigations. The treatment has necessarily been brief; for, although the science of the soul is yet in its infancy, the basic facts have accumulated at an astonishing rate since the world has learned where to look for them. From the great mass of data thus far available I have selected what seemed to be the most important, and, to borrow a phrase from art, I have delineated them thus far in sectional detail. A perspective view will now be attempted in the form of a brief résumé of the salient features of the argument. This will be done at the risk of what might be considered unnecessary repetition; but the intelligent reader will agree with me that fundamental facts and principles cannot be too thoroughly impressed upon the mind of the earnest and conscientious searcher after truth.
The fundamental axiom upon which our argument is based, and which the reader is again requested constantly
to bear in mind, is this: There is no faculty, emotion, or organism of the human mind that has not its use, function, or object.
The first great fundamental fact presented to view is that man is endowed with a dual mind. This has been abundantly demonstrated by the facts of experimental hypnotism, cerebral anatomy, and experimental surgery. It has also been shown to be a primordial fact of psychic evolution.
The fact of duality alone, considered in connection with our fundamental axiom, is sufficient to put the intelligent observer upon an earnest inquiry into the possible use, function, and object of a dual mental organism; and his first inquiry is, "What possible use is there for two minds if both are to perish with the body?" A future life, therefore, is at once suggested by this one isolated fact; and the suggestion is further strengthened by the fact that, whilst one of the two minds grows feeble as the body loses its vitality and is extinguished when the brain ceases to perform its functions, the other mind grows strong as the body grows weak, stronger still when the brain ceases to act, and reaches its maximum of power to produce observable phenomena at the very hour of physical dissolution. It is simply impossible, from these two facts alone, to resist the conclusion that the mind which reaches its maximum of observable power at the moment of dissolution is not extinguished by the act of dissolution. These facts, therefore, constitute presumptive evidence of a future life. They are not claimed to be conclusive; yet it can truly be said that men of sound judgment habitually stake their dearest interests upon evidence less demonstrative of vital propositions. It would, indeed, be difficult to find any other rational hypothesis that would explain all the phenomena pertaining to these two facts.
The next great fact, or congeries of facts, which presents itself to view is that
I. Each of the two minds possesses powers and functions which are not shared by the other.
2. Each of the two minds is hedged about by limitations not shared by the other.
3. These powers and limitations are divided into three distinct classes; namely,
(a) Those which belong exclusively to the objective mind;
(b) Those which belong exclusively to the subjective mind;
(c) Those which are common to both minds.
4. Those which belong to class (a) pertain exclusively to physical life and environment.
5. Those which belong to class (b) perform no function whatever in physical life, and are observable only under abnormal physical conditions.
6. Those which belong to class (c) are more or less imperfect finite in their manifestations in the objective mind, whereas each faculty is perfect in the subjective mind.
Thus we find man, as he is presented to us in the light of demonstrable facts, possessed of a dual mental organism, comprising two classes of faculties, each complete in itself.
We find one class of faculties to be finite, perishable, imperfect, and yet well adapted to a physical existence and a material environment, and capable of development, by the processes of evolution, to a high degree of excellence, morally, physically, and mentally, within the limits of its finite nature. We also find that the nobiest faculties belonging to physical man those faculties which alone render his existence in this life tolerable or even possible, those faculties which give him dominion over the forces of physical nature are faculties which pertain exclusively to this life.
On the other hand, we find another set of faculties, each perfect in itself, and complete in the aggregate, that is to
say, every faculty, attribute, and power necessary to con stitute a complete personality being present in perfection; and we find that the most important of those faculties perform no normal function in physical life.
Here, then, we have a personality, connascent with the physical organism, but possessing independent powers; a distinct entity, with the intellect of a god; a human soul, filled with human emotions, affections, hopes, aspirations, and desires; longing for immortal life with a passionate yearning that passeth understanding; possessing, in a word, all the intellectual and moral attributes of a perfect manhood, together with a kinetic force often transcending, in its visible manifestations, the power of the physical frame; in a word, "a perfect being, nobly planned," a being of godlike powers and of infinite possibilities.
In his apostrophe to man, Shakespeare must have embodied a description of an inspired vision, not of a mere human entity as it is visible in the flesh, but of a disembodied soul, clothed with the investiture of Heaven, and in full possession of its heritage of immortal attributes. It was a dream of such a being that he put into the mouth of Hamlet in these memorable words:
"What a piece of work is a man! how noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! in form and moving how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god!"
The reader will not fail to remember the last exclamation in connection with what has been said of man's powers of intuitional perception of divine truth, a power which belongs alone to the soul; a power which in itself is demonstrative of kinship to God, because it is the essential attribute of Omniscience.
Is it conceivable that there has been created such a manhood without a mission, such faculties without a function, such powers without a purpose?