"Thou can'st not call that madness of which thou art proved to know nothing."--TERTULLIAN: Apology.
"This is not a matter of to-day,
Or yesterday, but hath been from all times;
And none hath told us whence it came or how!"--SOPHOCLES.
"Belief in the supernatural is a fact natural, primitive, universal, and constant in the life and history of the human race. Unbelief in the supernatural begets materialism; materialism, sensuality; sensuality, social convulsions, amid whose storms man again learns to believe and pray."--GUIEOT.
"If any one think these things incredible, let him keep his opinions to himself, and not contradict those who, by such events, are incited to the study of virtue."--JOSEPHUS.
FROM the Platonic and Pythagorean views of matter and force, we will now turn to the kabalistic philosophy of the origin of man, and compare it with the theory of natural selection enunciated by Darwin and Wallace. It may be that we shall find as much reason to credit the ancients with originality in this direction as in that which we have been considering. To our mind, no stronger proof of the theory of cyclical progression need be required than the comparative enlightenment of former ages and that of the Patristic Church, as regards the form of the earth, and the movements of the planetary system. Even were other evidence wanting, the ignorance of Augustine and Lactantius, misleading the whole of Christendom upon these questions until the period of Galileo, would mark the eclipses through which human knowledge passes from age to age.
The "coats of skin," mentioned in the third chapter of Genesis as given to Adam and Eve, are explained by certain ancient philosophers to mean the fleshy bodies with which, in the progress of the cycles, the progenitors of the race became clothed. They maintained that the god-like physical form became grosser and grosser, until the bottom of what may be termed the last spiritual cycle was reached, and mankind entered upon the ascending arc of the first human cycle. Then began an uninterrupted series of cycles or yugas; the precise number of years of which each of them consisted remaining an inviolable mystery within the precincts of the sanctuaries and disclosed only to the initiates. As soon as humanity entered upon a new one, the stone age, with which the preceding cycle had closed, began to gradually merge into the following and next higher age. With each successive age, or epoch, men grew more refined, until
the acme of perfection possible in that particular cycle had been reached. Then the receding wave of time carried back with it the vestiges of human, social, and intellectual progress. Cycle succeeded cycle, by imperceptible transitions; highly-civilized flourishing nations, waxed in power, attained the climax of development, waned, and became extinct; and mankind, when the end of the lower cyclic arc was reached, was replunged into barbarism as at the start. Kingdoms have crumbled and nation succeeded nation from the beginning until our day, the races alternately mounting to the highest and descending to the lowest points of development. Draper observes that there is no reason to suppose that any one cycle applied to the whole human race. On the contrary, while man in one portion of the planet was in a condition of retrogression, in another he might be progressing in enlightenment and civilization.
How analogous this theory is to the law of planetary motion, which causes the individual orbs to rotate on their axes; the several systems to move around their respective suns; and the whole stellar host to follow a common path around a common centre! Life and death, light and darkness, day and night on the planet, as it turns about its axis and traverses the zodiacal circle representing the lesser and the greater cycles. * Remember the Hermetic axiom:--"As above, so below; as in heaven, so on earth."
Mr. Alfred R. Wallace argues with sound logic, that the development of man has been more marked in his mental organization than in his external form. Man, he conceives to differ from the animal, by being able to undergo great changes of conditions and of his entire environment, without very marked alterations in bodily form and structure. The changes of climate he meets with a corresponding alteration in his clothing, shelter, weapons, and implements of husbandry. His body may become less hairy, more erect, and of a different color and proportions; "the head and face is immediately connected with the organ of the mind, and as being the medium, expressing the most refined motions of his nature," alone change with the development of his intellect. There was a time when "he had not yet acquired that wonderfully-developed brain, the organ of the mind, which now, even in his lowest examples, raises him far above the highest brutes, at a period when he had the form, but hardly the nature of man, when he neither possessed human speech nor sympathetic and moral feelings." Further, Mr. Wallace says that "Man may have been--indeed, I believe must have been, once a homogeneous
race . . . in man, the hairy covering of the body has almost entirely disappeared." Of the cave men of Les Eyzies, Mr. Wallace remarks further " . . . the great breadth of the face, the enormous development of the ascending ramus of the lower jaw . . . indicate enormous muscular power and the habits of a savage and brutal race."
Such are the glimpses which anthropology affords us of men, either arrived at the bottom of a cycle or starting in a new one. Let us see how far they are corroborated by clairvoyant psychometry. Professor Denton submitted a fragment of fossilized bone to his wife's examination, without giving Mrs. Denton any hint as to what the article was. It immediately called up to her pictures of people and scenes which he thinks belonged to the stone age. She saw men closely resembling monkeys, with a body very hairy, and "as if the natural hair answered the purpose of clothing." "I question whether he can stand perfectly upright; his hip-joints appear to be so formed, he cannot," she added. "Occasionally I see part of the body of one of those beings that looks comparatively smooth. I can see the skin, which is lighter colored . . . I do not know whether he belongs to the same period. . . . At a distance the face seems flat; the lower part of it is heavy; they have what I suppose would be called prognathous jaws. The frontal region of the head is low, and the lower portion of it is very prominent, forming a round ridge across the forehead, immediately above the eyebrows. . . . Now I see a face that looks like that of a human being, though there is a monkey-like appearance about it. All these seem of that kind, having long arms and hairy bodies." *
Whether or not the men of science are willing to concede the correctness of the Hermetic theory of the physical evolution of man from higher and more spiritual natures, they themselves show us how the race has progressed from the lowest observed point to its present development. And, as all nature seems to be made up of analogies, is it unreasonable to affirm that the same progressive development of individual forms has prevailed among the inhabitants of the unseen universe? If such marvellous effects have been caused by evolution upon our little insignificant planet, producing reasoning and intuitive men from some higher type of the ape family, why suppose that the boundless realms of space are inhabited only by disembodied angelic forms? Why not give place in that vast domain to the spiritual duplicates of these hairy, long-armed and half-reasoning ancestors, their predecessors, and all their successors, down to our time? Of course, the spiritual parts of such primeval members of the human family would be as uncouth and undeveloped as were
their physical bodies. While they made no attempt to calculate the duration of the "grand cycle," the Hermetic philosophers yet maintained that, according to the cyclic law, the living human race must inevitably and collectively return one day to that point of departure, where man was first clothed with "coats of skin"; or, to express it more clearly, the human race must, in accordance with the law of evolution, be finally physically spiritualized. Unless Messrs. Darwin and Huxley are prepared to prove that the man of our century has attained, as a physical and moral animal, the acme of perfection, and evolution, having reached its apex, must stop all further progress with the modern genus Homo, we do not see how they can possibly confute such a logical deduction.
In his lecture on The Action of Natural Selection on Man, Mr. Alfred R. Wallace concludes his demonstrations as to the development of human races under that law of selection by saying that, if his conclusions are just, "it must inevitably follow that the higher--the more intellectual and moral--must displace the lower and more degraded races; and the power of 'natural selection,' still acting on his mental organization, must ever lead to the more perfect adaptation of man's higher faculties to the condition of surrounding nature, and to the exigencies of the social state. While his external form will probably ever remain unchanged, except in the development of that perfect beauty . . . refined and ennobled by the highest intellectual faculties and sympathetic emotions, his mental constitution may continue to advance and improve, till the world is again inhabited by a single, nearly homogeneous race, no individual of which will be inferior to the noblest specimens of existing humanity." Sober, scientific methods and cautiousness in hypothetical possibilities have evidently their share in this expression of the opinions of the great anthropologist. Still, what he says above clashes in no way with our kabalistic assertions. Allow to ever-progressing nature, to the great law of the "survival of the fittest," one step beyond Mr. Wallace's deductions, and we have in future the possibility--nay, the assurance of a race, which, like the Vril-ya of Bulwer-Lytton's Coming Race, will be but one remove from the primitive "Sons of God."
It will be observed that this philosophy of cycles, which was allegorized by the Egyptian Hierophants in the "circle of necessity," explains at the same time the allegory of the "Fall of man." According to the Arabian descriptions, each of the seven chambers of the Pyramids--those grandest of all cosmic symbols--was known by the name of a planet. The peculiar architecture of the Pyramids shows in itself the drift of the metaphysical thought of their builders. The apex is lost in the clear blue sky of the land of the Pharaohs, and typifies the primordial
point lost in the unseen universe from whence started the first race of the spiritual prototypes of man. Each mummy, from the moment that it was embalmed, lost its physical individuality in one sense; it symbolized the human race. Placed in such a way as was best calculated to aid the exit of the "soul," the latter had to pass through the seven planetary chambers before it made its exit through the symbolical apex. Each chamber typified, at the same time, one of the seven spheres, and one of the seven higher types of physico-spiritual humanity alleged to be above our own. Every 3,000 years, the soul, representative of its race, had to return to its primal point of departure before it underwent another evolution into a more perfected spiritual and physical transformation. We must go deep indeed into the abstruse metaphysics of Oriental mysticism before we can realize fully the infinitude of the subjects that were embraced at one sweep by the majestic thought of its exponents.
Starting as a pure and perfect spiritual being, the Adam of the second chapter of Genesis, not satisfied with the position allotted to him by the Demiurgus (who is the eldest first-begotten, the Adam-Kadmon), Adam the second, the "man of dust," strives in his pride to become Creator in his turn. Evolved out of the androgynous Kadmon, this Adam is himself an androgyn; for, according to the oldest beliefs presented allegorically in Plato's Timaeus, the prototypes of our races were all enclosed in the microcosmic tree which grew and developed within and under the great mundane or macrocosmic tree. Divine spirit being considered a unity, however numerous the rays of the great spiritual sun, man has still had his origin like all other forms, whether organic or otherwise, in this one Fount of Eternal Light. Were we even to reject the hypothesis of an androgynous man, in connection with physical evolution, the significance of the allegory in its spiritual sense, would remain unimpaired. So long as the first god-man, symbolizing the two first principles of creation, the dual male and female element, had no thought of good and evil he could not hypostasize "woman," for she was in him as he was in her. It was only when, as a result of the evil hints of the serpent, matter, the latter condensed itself and cooled on the spiritual man in its contact with the elements, that the fruits of the man-tree--who is himself that tree of knowledge--appeared to his view. From this moment the androgynal union ceased, man evolved out of himself the woman as a separate entity. They have broken the thread between pure spirit and pure matter. Henceforth they will create no more spiritually, and by the sole power of their will; man has become a physical creator, and the kingdom of spirit can be won only by a long imprisonment in matter. The meaning of Gogard, the Hellenic tree of life, the sacred oak among
whose luxuriant branches a serpent dwells, and cannot be dislodged, * thus becomes apparent. Creeping out from the primordial ilus, the mundane snake grows more material and waxes in strength and power with every new evolution.
The Adam Primus, or Kadmon, the Logos of the Jewish mystics, is the same as the Grecian Prometheus, who seeks to rival with the divine wisdom; he is also the Pymander of Hermes, or the POWER OF THE THOUGHT DIVINE, in its most spiritual aspect, for he was less hypostasized by the Egyptians than the two former. These all create men, but fail in their final object. Desiring to endow man with an immortal spirit, in order that by linking the trinity in one, he might gradually return to his primal spiritual state without losing his individuality, Prometheus fails in his attempt to steal the divine fire, and is sentenced to expiate his crime on Mount Kazbeck. Prometheus is also the Logos of the ancient Greeks, as well as Herakles. In the Codex Nazaraeus ** we see Bahak-Zivo deserting the heaven of his father, confessing that though he is the father of the genii, he is unable to "construct creatures," for he is equally unacquainted with Orcus as with "the consuming fire which is wanting in light." And Fetahil, one of the "powers," sits in the "mud" (matter) and wonders why the living fire is so changed.
All of these Logoi strove to endow man with the immortal spirit, failed, and nearly all are represented as being punished for the attempt by severe sentences. Those of the early Christian Fathers who like Origen and Clemens Alexandrinus, were well versed in Pagan symbology, having begun their careers as philosophers, felt very much embarrassed. They could not deny the anticipation of their doctrines in the oldest myths. The latest Logos, according to their teachings, had also appeared in order to show mankind the way to immortality; and in his desire to endow the world with eternal life through the Pentecostal fire, had lost his life agreeably to the traditional programme. Thus was originated the very awkward explanation of which our modern clergy freely avail themselves, that all these mythic types show the prophetic spirit which, through the Lord's mercy, was afforded even to the heathen idolaters! The Pagans, they assert, had presented in their imagery the great drama of Calvary --hence the resemblance. On the other hand, the philosophers maintained, with unassailable logic, that the pious fathers had simply helped themselves to a ready-made groundwork, either finding it easier than to exert their own imagination, or because of the greater number of ignorant proselytes who were attracted to the new doctrine
by such an extraordinary resemblance with their mythologies, at least as far as the outward form of the most fundamental doctrines goes.
The allegory of the Fall of man and the fire of Prometheus is also another version of the myth of the rebellion of the proud Lucifer, hurled down to the bottomless pit--Orcus. In the religion of the Brahmans, Moisasure, the Hindu Lucifer, becomes envious of the Creator's resplendent light, and at the head of a legion of inferior spirits rebels against Brahma, and declares war against him. Like Hercules, the faithful Titan, who helps Jupiter and restores to him his throne, Siva, the third person of the Hindu trinity, hurls them all from the celestial abode in Honderah, the region of eternal darkness. But here the fallen angels are made to repent of their evil deed, and in the Hindu doctrine they are all afforded the opportunity to progress. In the Greek fiction, Hercules, the Sun-god, descends to Hades to deliver the victims from their tortures; and the Christian Church also makes her incarnate god descend to the dreary Plutonic regions and overcome the rebellious ex-archangel. In their turn the kabalists explain the allegory in a semi-scientific way. Adam the second, or the first-created race which Plato calls gods, and the Bible the Elohim, was not triple in his nature like the earthly man: i.e., he was not composed of soul, spirit, and body, but was a compound of sublimated astral elements into which the "Father" had breathed an immortal, divine spirit. The latter, by reason of its godlike essence, was ever struggling to liberate itself from the bonds of even that flimsy prison; hence the "sons of God," in their imprudent efforts, were the first to trace a future model for the cyclic law. But, man must not be "like one of us," says the Creative Deity, one of the Elohim "intrusted with the fabrication of the lower animal." * And thus it was, when the men of the first race had reached the summit of the first cycle, they lost their balance, and their second envelope, the grosser clothing (astral body), dragged them down the opposite arc.
This kabalistic version of the sons of God (or of light) is given in the Codex Nazaraeus. Bahak-Zivo, the "father of genii, is ordered to 'construct creatures.' " But, as he is "ignorant of Orcus," he fails to do so and calls in Fetahil a still purer spirit to his aid, who fails still worse.
Then steps on the stage of creation the "spirit" ** (which properly ought to be translated "soul," for it is the anima mundi, and which
with the Nazarenes and the Gnostics was feminine), and perceiving that for Fetahil, * the newest man (the latest), the splendor was "changed," and that for splendor existed "decrease and damage," awakes Karabtanos, ** "who was frantic and without sense and judgment," and says to him: "Arise; see, the splendor (light) of the newest man (Fetahil) has failed (to produce or create men), the decrease of this splendor is visible. Rise up, come with thy MOTHER (the spiritus) and free thee from limits by which thou art held, and those more ample than the whole world." After which follows the union of the frantic and blind matter, guided by the insinuations of the spirit (not the Divine breath, but the Astral spirit, which by its double essence is already tainted with matter) and the offer of the MOTHER being accepted the Spiritus conceives "Seven Figures," which Irenaeus is disposed to take for the seven stellars (planets) but which represent the seven capital sins, the progeny of an astral soul separated from its divine source (spirit) and matter, the blind demon of concupiscence. Seeing this, Fetahil extends his hand toward the abyss of matter, and says: "Let the earth exist, just as the abode of the powers has existed." Dipping his hand in the chaos, which he condenses, he creates our planet. ***
Then the Codex proceeds to tell how Bahak-Zivo was separated from the Spiritus, and the genii, or angels, from the rebels. **** Then Mano ***** (the greatest), who dwells with the greatest FERHO, calls Kebar-Zivo (known also by the name of Nebat-Iavar bar Iufin-Ifafin), Helm and Vine of the food of life ****** he being the third life, and, commiserating the rebellious and foolish genii, on account of the magnitude of their ambition, says: "Lord of the genii ******* (Æons), see what the genii, the rebellious angels do, and about what they are consulting. ******** They say, "Let us call forth the world, and let us call the 'powers' into existence. The genii are the Principes, the 'sons of Light,' but thou art the 'Messenger of Life.' " *********
And in order to counteract the influence of the seven "badly disposed" principles, the progeny of Spiritus, CABAR ZIO, the mighty Lord of Splendor, procreates seven other lives (the cardinal virtues) who shine in their own form and light "from on high" * and thus reestablishes the balance between good and evil, light and darkness.
But this creation of beings, without the requisite influx of divine pure breath in them, which was known among the kabalists as the "Living Fire," produced but creatures of matter and astral light. ** Thus were generated the animals which preceded man on this earth. The spiritual beings, the "sons of light," those who remained faithful to the great Ferho (the First Cause of all), constitute the celestial or angelic hierarchy, the Adonim, and the legions of the never-embodied spiritual men. The followers of the rebellious and foolish genii, and the descendants of the "witless" seven spirits begotten by "Karabtanos" and the "spiritus," became, in course of time, the "men of our planet," *** after having previously passed through every "creation" of every one of the elements. From this stage of life they have been traced by Darwin, who shows us how our highest forms have been evolved out of the lowest. Anthropology dares not follow the kabalist in his metaphysical flights beyond this planet, and it is doubtful if its teachers have the courage to search for the missing link in the old kabalistic manuscripts.
Thus was set in motion the first cycle, which in its rotations downward, brought an infinitesimal part of the created lives to our planet of mud. Arrived at the lowest point of the arc of the cycle which directly preceded life on this earth, the pure divine spark still lingering in the Adam made an effort to separate itself from the astral spirit, for "man was falling gradually into generation," and the fleshy coat was becoming with every action more and more dense.
And now comes a mystery, a Sod; **** a secret which Rabbi
Simeon * imparted but to very few initiates. It was enacted once every seven years during the Mysteries of Samothrace, and the records of it are found self-printed on the leaves of the Thibetan sacred tree, the mysterious KOUNBOUM, in the Lamasery of the holy adepts. **
In the shoreless ocean of space radiates the central, spiritual, and Invisible sun. The universe is his body, spirit and soul; and after this ideal model are framed ALL THINGS. These three emanations are the three lives, the three degrees of the gnostic Pleroma, the three "Kabalistic Faces," for the ANCIENT of the ancient, the holy of the aged, the great En-Soph, "has a form and then he has no form." The invisible "assumed a form when he called the universe into existence," *** says the Sohar, the Book of splendor. The first light is His soul, the Infinite, Boundless, and Immortal breath; under the efflux of which the universe heaves its mighty bosom, infusing Intelligent life throughout creation. The second emanation condenses cometary matter and produces forms within the cosmic circle; sets the countless worlds floating in the electric space, and infuses the unintelligent, blind life-principle into every form. The third, produces the whole universe of physical matter; and as it keeps gradually receding from the Central Divine Light its brightness wanes and it becomes DARKNESS and the BAD--pure matter, the "gross purgations of the celestial fire" of the Hermetists.
When the Central Invisible (the Lord Ferho) saw the efforts of the divine Scintilla, unwilling to be dragged lower down into the degradation of matter, to liberate itself, he permitted it to shoot out from itself a monad, over which, attached to it as by the finest thread, the Divine Scintilla (the soul) had to watch during its ceaseless peregrinations from one form to another. Thus the monad was shot down into the first form of matter and became encased in stone; then, in course of time, through the combined efforts of living fire and living water, both of which shone their reflection upon the stone, the monad crept out of its prison to sunlight as a lichen. From change to change it went higher and higher; the monad, with every new transformation borrowing more of the radiance of its parent, Scintilla, which approached it nearer at every transmigration. For "the First Cause, had willed it to proceed in this order" and destined it to creep on higher until its physical form became once more the Adam of dust, shaped in the image of the Adam Kadmon. Before undergoing its last earthly transformation, the external covering of the monad, from the moment of its conception as an embryo, passes in turn, once more, through the phases of the several kingdoms. In
its fluidic prison it assumes a vague resemblance at various periods of the gestation to plant, reptile, bird, and animal, until it becomes a human embryo. * At the birth of the future man, the monad, radiating with all the glory of its immortal parent which watches it from the seventh sphere, becomes senseless. ** It loses all recollection of the past, and returns to consciousness but gradually, when the instinct of childhood gives way to reason and intelligence. After the separation between the life-principle (astral spirit) and the body takes place, the liberated soul--Monad, exultingly rejoins the mother and father spirit, the radiant Augoeides, and the two, merged into one, forever form, with a glory proportioned to the spiritual purity of the past earth-life, the Adam who has completed the circle of necessity, and is freed from the last vestige of his physical encasement. Henceforth, growing more and more radiant at each step of his upward progress, he mounts the shining path that ends at the point from which he started around the GRAND CYCLE.
The whole Darwinian theory of natural selection is included in the first six chapters of the Book of Genesis. The "Man" of chapter i. is radically different from the "Adam" of chapter ii., for the former was created "male and female"--that is, bi-sexed--and in the image of God; while the latter, according to verse seven, was formed of the dust of the ground, and became "a living soul," after the Lord God "breathed into his nostrils the breath of life." Moreover, this Adam was a male being, and in verse twenty we are told that "there was not found a helpmeet for him." The Adonai, being pure spiritual entities, had no sex, or rather had both sexes united in themselves, like their Creator; and the ancients understood this so well that they represented many of their deities as of dual sex. The Biblical student must either accept this interpretation, or make the passages in the two chapters alluded to absurdly contradict each other. It was such literal acceptance of passages that warranted the atheists in covering the Mosaic account with ridicule, and it is the dead letter of the old text that begets the materialism of our age. Not only are these two races of beings thus clearly indicated in Genesis, but even a third and a fourth one are ushered before the reader in chapter iv., where the "sons of God" and the race of "giants" are spoken of.
As we write, there appears in an American paper, The Kansas City Times, an account of important discoveries of the remains of a prehistorical race of giants, which corroborates the statements of the kabalists and the Bible allegories at the same time. It is worth preserving:
"In his researches among the forests of Western Missouri, Judge E. P. West has discovered a number of conical-shaped mounds, similar in construction to those found in Ohio and Kentucky. These mounds are found upon the high bluffs overlooking the Missouri River, the largest and more prominent being found in Tennessee, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Until about three weeks ago it was not suspected that the mound builders had made this region their home in the prehistoric days; but now it is discovered that this strange and extinct race once occupied this land, and have left an extensive graveyard in a number of high mounds upon the Clay County bluffs.
"As yet, only one of these mounds has been opened. Judge West discovered a skeleton about two weeks ago, and made a report to other members of the society. They accompanied him to the mound, and not far from the surface excavated and took out the remains of two skeletons. The bones are very large--so large, in fact, when compared with an ordinary skeleton of modern date, they appear to have formed part of a giant. The head bones, such as have not rotted away, are monstrous in size. The lower jaw of one skeleton is in a state of preservation, and is double the size of the jaw of a civilized person. The teeth in this jawbone are large, and appear to have been ground down and worn away by contact with roots and carnivorous food. The jaw-bone indicates immense muscular strength. The thigh-bone, when compared with that of an ordinary modern skeleton, looks like that of a horse. The length, thickness, and muscular development are remarkable. But the most peculiar part about the skeleton is the frontal bone. It is very low, and differs radically from any ever seen in this section before. It forms one thick ridge of bone about one inch wide, extending across the eyes. It is a narrow but rather heavy ridge of bone which, instead of extending upward, as it does now in these days of civilization, receded back from the eyebrows, forming a flat head, and thus indicates a very low order of mankind. It is the opinion of the scientific gentlemen who are making these discoveries that these bones are the remains of a prehistoric race of men. They do not resemble the present existing race of Indians, nor are the mounds constructed upon any pattern or model known to have been in use by any race of men now in existence in America. The bodies are discovered in a sitting posture in the mounds, and among the bones are found stone weapons, such as flint knives, flint scrapers, and all of them different in shape to the arrow-heads, war-hatchets, and other stone tools and weapons known to have been in use by the aboriginal Indians of this land when discovered by the whites. The gentlemen who have these curious bones in charge have deposited them with Dr. Foe, on Main street. It is their intention to make further and closer researches in the mounds on
the bluffs opposite this city. They will make a report of their labors at the next meeting of the Academy of Science, by which time they expect to be able to make some definite report as to their opinions. It is pretty definitely settled, however, that the skeletons are those of a race of men not now in existence."
The author of a recent and very elaborate work * finds some cause for merriment over the union of the sons of God with the "daughters of men," who were fair, as alluded to in Genesis, and described at great length in that wonderful legend, the Book of Enoch. More is the pity, that our most learned and liberal men do not employ their close and merciless logic to repair its one-sidedness by seeking the true spirit which dictated these allegories of old. This spirit was certainly more scientific than skeptics are yet prepared to admit. But with every year some new discovery may corroborate their assertions, until the whole of antiquity is vindicated.
One thing, at least, has been shown in the Hebrew text, viz.: that there was one race of purely physical creatures, another purely spiritual. The evolution and "transformation of species" required to fill the gap between the two has been left to abler anthropologists. We can only repeat the philosophy of men of old, which says that the union of these two races produced a third--the Adamite race. Sharing the natures of both its parents, it is equally adapted to an existence in the material and spiritual worlds. Allied to the physical half of man's nature is reason, which enables him to maintain his supremacy over the lower animals, and to subjugate nature to his uses. Allied to his spiritual part is his conscience, which will serve as his unerring guide through the besetments of the senses; for conscience is that instantaneous perception between right and wrong, which can only be exercised by the spirit, which, being a portion of the Divine Wisdom and Purity, is absolutely pure and wise. Its promptings are independent of reason, and it can only manifest itself clearly, when unhampered by the baser attractions of our dual nature.
Reason being a faculty of our physical brain, one which is justly defined as that of deducing inferences from premises, and being wholly dependent on the evidence of other senses, cannot be a quality pertaining directly to our divine spirit. The latter knows--hence, all reasoning which implies discussion and argument would be useless. So an entity, which, if it must be considered as a direct emanation from the eternal Spirit of wisdom, has to be viewed as possessed of the same attri-
butes as the essence or the whole of which it is a part. Therefore, it is with a certain degree of logic that the ancient theurgists maintained that the rational part of man's soul (spirit) never entered wholly into the man's body, but only overshadowed him more or less through the irrational or astral soul, which serves as an intermediatory agent, or a medium between spirit and body. The man who has conquered matter sufficiently to receive the direct light from his shining Augoeides, feels truth intuitionally; he could not err in his judgment, notwithstanding all the sophisms suggested by cold reason, for he is ILLUMINATED. Hence, prophecy, vaticination, and the so-called Divine inspiration are simply the effects of this illumination from above by our own immortal spirit.
Swedenborg, following the mystical doctrines of the Hermetic philosophers, devoted a number of volumes to the elucidation of the "internal sense" of Genesis. Swedenborg was undoubtedly a "natural-born magician," a seer; he was not an adept. Thus, however closely he may have followed the apparent method of interpretation used by the alchemists and mystic writers, he partially failed; the more so, that the model chosen by him in this method was one who, albeit a great alchemist, was no more of an adept than the Swedish seer himself, in the fullest sense of the word. Eugenius Philalethes had never attained "the highest pyrotechny," to use the diction of the mystic philosophers. But, although both have missed the whole truth in its details, Swedenborg has virtually given the same interpretation of the first chapter of Genesis as the Hermetic philosophers. The seer, as well as the initiates, notwithstanding their veiled phraseology, clearly show that the first chapters of Genesis relate to the regeneration, or a new birth of man, not to the creation of our universe and its crown work--MAN. The fact that the terms of the alchemists, such as salt, sulphur, and mercury are transformed by Swedenborg into ens, cause, and effect, * does not affect the underlying idea of solving the problems of the Mosaic books by the only possible method--that used by the Hermetists--that of correspondences.
His doctrine of correspondence, or Hermetic symbolism, is that of Pythagoras and of the kabalists--"as above, so below." It is also that of the Buddhist philosophers, who, in their still more abstract metaphysics, inverting the usual mode of definition given by our erudite scholars, call the invisible types the only reality, and everything else the effects of the causes, or visible prototypes--illusions. However contradictory their various elucidations of the Pentateuch may appear on their surface, every one of them tends to show that the sacred literature of every country, the Bible as much as the Vedas or the Buddhist Scriptures, can only be
understood and thoroughly sifted by the light of Hermetic philosophy. The great sages of antiquity, those of the mediaeval ages, and the mystical writers of our more modern times also, were all Hermetists. Whether the light of truth had illuminated them through their faculty of intuition, or as a consequence of study and regular initiation, virtually, they had accepted the method and followed the path traced to them by such men as Moses, Gautama-Buddha, and Jesus. The truth, symbolized by some alchemists as dew from heaven, had descended into their hearts, and they had all gathered it upon the tops of mountains, after having spread CLEAN linen cloths to receive it; and thus, in one sense, they had secured, each for himself, and in his own way, the universal solvent. How much they were allowed to share it with the public is another question. That veil, which is alleged to have covered the face of Moses, when, after descending from Sinai, he taught his people the Word of God, cannot be withdrawn at the will of the teacher only. It depends on the listeners, whether they will also remove the veil which is "upon their hearts." Paul says it plainly; and his words addressed to the Corinthians can be applied to every man or woman, and of any age in the history of the world. If "their minds are blinded" by the shining skin of divine truth, whether the Hermetic veil be withdrawn or not from the face of the teacher, it cannot be taken away from their heart unless "it shall turn to the Lord." But the latter appellation must not be applied to either of the three anthropomorphized personages of the Trinity, but to the "Lord," as understood by Swedenborg and the Hermetic philosophers--the Lord, who is Life and MAN.
The everlasting conflict between the world-religions--Christianity, Judaism, Brahmanism, Paganism, Buddhism, proceeds from this one source: Truth is known but to the few; the rest, unwilling to withdraw the veil from their own hearts, imagine it blinding the eyes of their neighbor. The god of every exoteric religion, including Christianity, not withstanding its pretensions to mystery, is an idol, a fiction, and cannot be anything else. Moses, closely-veiled, speaks to the stiff-necked multitudes of Jehovah, the cruel, anthropomorphic deity, as of the highest God, burying deep in the bottom of his heart that truth which cannot be "either spoken of or revealed." Kapila cuts with the sharp sword of his sarcasms the Brahman-Yoggins, who in their mystical visions pretend to see the HIGHEST one. Gautama-Buddha conceals, under an impenetrable cloak of metaphysical subtilties, the verity, and is regarded by posterity as an atheist. Pythagoras, with his allegorical mysticism and metempsychosis, is held for a clever impostor, and is succeeded in the same estimation by other philosophers, like Apollonius and Plotinus, who are generally spoken of as visionaries, if not charlatans. Plato, whose writings
were never read by the majority of our great scholars but superficially, is accused by many of his translators of absurdities and puerilities, and even of being ignorant of his own language; * most likely for saying, in reference to the Supreme, that "a matter of that kind cannot be expressed by words, like other things to be learned"; ** and making Protagoras lay too much stress on the use of "veils." We could fill a whole volume with names of misunderstood sages, whose writings--only because our materialistic critics feel unable to lift the "veil," which shrouds them--pass off in a current way for mystical absurdities. The most important feature of this seemingly incomprehensible mystery lies perhaps in the inveterate habit of the majority of readers to judge a work by its words and insufficiently-expressed ideas, leaving the spirit of it out of the question. Philosophers of quite different schools may be often found to use a multitude of different expressions, some dark and metaphorical--all figurative, and yet treating of the same subject. Like the thousand divergent rays of a globe of fire, every ray leads, nevertheless, to the central point, so every mystic philosopher, whether he be a devotedly pious enthusiast like Henry More; an irascible alchemist, using a Billingsgate phraseology--like his adversary, Eugenius Philalethes; or an atheist (?) like Spinoza, all had one and the same object in view--MAN. It is Spinoza, however, who furnishes perhaps the truest key to a portion of this unwritten secret. While Moses forbids "graven images" of Him whose name is not to be taken in vain, Spinoza goes farther. He clearly infers that God must not be so much as described. Human language is totally unfit to give an idea of this "Being" who is altogether unique. Whether it is Spinoza or the Christian theology that is more right in their premises and conclusion, we leave the reader to judge for himself. Every attempt to the contrary leads a nation to anthropomorphize the deity in whom it believes, and the result is that given by Swedenborg. Instead of stating that God made man after his own image, we ought in truth to say that "man imagines God after his image," *** forgetting that he has set up his own reflection for worship.
Where, then, lies the true, real secret so much talked about by the Hermetists? That there was and there is a secret, no candid student of esoteric literature will ever doubt. Men of genius--as many of the Hermetic philosophers undeniably were--would not have made fools of themselves by trying to fool others for several thousand consecutive years. That this great secret, commonly termed "the philosopher's stone," had a spiritual as well as a physical meaning attached to it, was suspected in all ages. The author of Remarks on Alchemy and the Alchemists very truly
observes that the subject of the Hermetic art is MAN, and the object of the art is the perfection of man. * But we cannot agree with him that only those whom he terms "money-loving sots," ever attempted to carry a purely moral design (of the alchemists) into the field of physical science. The fact alone that man, in their eyes, is a trinity, which they divide into Sol, water of mercury, and sulphur, which is the secret fire, or, to speak plain, into body, soul, and spirit, shows that there is a physical side to the question. Man is the philosopher's stone spiritually--"a triune or trinity in unity," as Philalethes expresses it. But he is also that stone physically. The latter is but the effect of the cause, and the cause is the universal solvent of everything--divine spirit. Man is a correlation of chemical physical forces, as well as a correlation of spiritual powers. The latter react on the physical powers of man in proportion to the development of the earthly man. "The work is carried to perfection according to the virtue of a body, soul, and spirit," says an alchemist; "for the body would never be penetrable were it not for the spirit, nor would the spirit be permanent in its supra-perfect tincture, were it not for the body; nor could these two act one upon another without the soul, for the spirit is an invisible thing, nor doth it ever appear without another GARMENT, which garment is the SOUL." **
The "philosophers by fire" asserted, through their chief, Robert Fludd, that sympathy is the offspring of light, and "antipathy hath its beginning from darkness." Moreover, they taught, with other kabalists, that "contrarieties in nature doth proceed from one eternal essence, or from the root of all things." Thus, the first cause is the parent-source of good as well as of evil. The creator--who is not the Highest God--is the father of matter, which is bad, as well as of spirit, which, emanating from the highest, invisible cause, passes through him like through a vehicle, and pervades the whole universe. "It is most certain," remarks Robertus di Fluctibus (Robert Fludd), "that, as there are an infinity of visible creatures, so there is an endless variety of invisible ones, of divers natures, in the universal machine. Through the mysterious name of God, which Moses was so desirous of him (Jehova) to hear and know, when he received from him this answer, Jehova is my everlasting name. As for the other name, it is so pure and simple that it cannot be articulated, or compounded, or truly expressed by man's voice . . . all the other names are wholly comprehended within it, for it contains the property as well of Nolunty as volunty, of privation as position, of death as life, of cursing as blessing, of evil as good (though nothing ideally is bad in
him), of hatred and discord, and consequently of sympathy and antipathy." *
Lowest in the scale of being are those invisible creatures called by the kabalists the "elementary." There are three distinct classes of these. The highest, in intelligence and cunning, are the so-called terrestrial spirits, of which we will speak more categorically in other parts of this work. Suffice to say, for the present, that they are the larvae, or shadows of those who have lived on earth, have refused all spiritual light, remained and died deeply immersed in the mire of matter, and from whose sinful souls the immortal spirit has gradually separated. The second class is composed of the invisible antitypes of the men to be born. No form can come into objective existence--from the highest to the lowest--before the abstract ideal of this form--or, as Aristotle would call it, the privation of this form--is called forth. Before an artist paints a picture every feature of it exists already in his imagination; to have enabled us to discern a watch, this particular watch must have existed in its abstract form in the watchmaker's mind. So with future men.
According to Aristotle's doctrine, there are three principles of natural bodies: privation, matter, and form. These principles may be applied in this particular case. The privation of the child which is to be we will locate in the invisible mind of the great Architect of the Universe--privation not being considered in the Aristotelic philosophy as a principle in the composition of bodies, but as an external property in their production; for the production is a change by which the matter passes from the shape it has not to that which it assumes. Though the privation of the unborn child's form, as well as of the future form of the unmade watch, is that which is neither substance nor extension nor quality as yet, nor any kind of existence, it is still something which is, though its outlines, in order to be, must acquire an objective form--the abstract must become concrete, in short. Thus, as soon as this privation of matter is transmitted by energy to universal ether, it becomes a material form, however sublimated. If modern science teaches that human thought "affects the matter of another universe simultaneously with this," how can he who believes in an Intelligent First Cause, deny that the divine thought is equally transmitted, by the same law of energy, to our common mediator, the universal ether--the world-soul? And, if so, then it must follow that once there the divine thought manifests itself objectively, energy faithfully reproducing the outlines of that whose "privation" was first born in the divine mind. Only it must not be understood that this thought creates matter. No; it creates but the design for the future form; the
matter which serves to make this design having always been in existence, and having been prepared to form a human body, through a series of progressive transformations, as the result of evolution. Forms pass; ideas that created them and the material which gave them objectiveness, remain. These models, as yet devoid of immortal spirits, are "elementals,"--properly speaking, psychic embryos--which, when their time arrives, die out of the invisible world, and are born into this visible one as human infants, receiving in transitu that divine breath called spirit which completes the perfect man. This class cannot communicate objectively with men.
The third class are the "elementals" proper, which never evolve into human beings, but occupy, as it were, a specific step of the ladder of being, and, by comparison with the others, may properly be called nature-spirits, or cosmic agents of nature, each being confined to its own element and never transgressing the bounds of others. These are what Tertullian called the "princes of the powers of the air."
This class is believed to possess but one of the three attributes of man. They have neither immortal spirits nor tangible bodies; only astral forms, which partake, in a distinguishing degree, of the element to which they belong and also of the ether. They are a combination of sublimated matter and a rudimental mind. Some are changeless, but still have no separate individuality, acting collectively, so to say. Others, of certain elements and species, change form under a fixed law which kabalists explain. The most solid of their bodies is ordinarily just immaterial enough to escape perception by our physical eyesight, but not so unsubstantial but that they can be perfectly recognized by the inner, or clairvoyant vision. They not only exist and can all live in ether, but can handle and direct it for the production of physical effects, as readily as we can compress air or water for the same purpose by pneumatic and hydraulic apparatus; in which occupation they are readily helped by the "human elementary." More than this; they can so condense it as to make to themselves tangible bodies, which by their Protean powers they can cause to assume such likeness as they choose, by taking as their models the portraits they find stamped in the memory of the persons present. It is not necessary that the sitter should be thinking at the moment of the one represented. His image may have faded many years before. The mind receives indelible impression even from chance acquaintance or persons encountered but once. As a few seconds exposure of the sensitized photograph plate is all that is requisite to preserve indefinitely the image of the sitter, so is it with the mind.
According to the doctrine of Proclus, the uppermost regions from the zenith of the universe to the moon belonged to the gods or planetary
spirits, according to their hierarchies and classes. The highest among them were the twelve uper-ouranioi, or supercelestial gods, having whole legions of subordinate demons at their command. They are followed next in rank and power by the egkosmioi, the intercosmic gods, each of these presiding over a great number of demons, to whom they impart their power and change it from one to another at will. These are evidently the personified forces of nature in their mutual correlation, the latter being represented by the third class or the "elementals" we have just described.
Further on he shows, on the principle of the Hermetic axiom--of types, and prototypes--that the lower spheres have their subdivisions and classes of beings as well as the upper celestial ones, the former being always subordinate to the higher ones. He held that the four elements are all filled with demons, maintaining with Aristotle that the universe is full, and that there is no void in nature. The demons of the earth, air, fire, and water are of an elastic, ethereal, semi-corporeal essence. It is these classes which officiate as intermediate agents between the gods and men. Although lower in intelligence than the sixth order of the higher demons, these beings preside directly over the elements and organic life. They direct the growth, the inflorescence, the properties, and various changes of plants. They are the personified ideas or virtues shed from the heavenly ule into the inorganic matter; and, as the vegetable kingdom is one remove higher than the mineral, these emanations from the celestial gods take form and being in the plant, they become its soul. It is that which Aristotle's doctrine terms the form in the three principles of natural bodies, classified by him as privation, matter, and form. His philosophy teaches that besides the original matter, another principle is necessary to complete the triune nature of every particle, and this is form; an invisible, but still, in an ontological sense of the word, a substantial being, really distinct from matter proper. Thus, in an animal or a plant, besides the bones, the flesh, the nerves, the brains, and the blood, in the former, and besides the pulpy matter, tissues, fibres, and juice in the latter, which blood and juice, by circulating through the veins and fibres, nourishes all parts of both animal and plant; and besides the animal spirits, which are the principles of motion; and the chemical energy which is transformed into vital force in the green leaf, there must be a substantial form, which Aristotle called in the horse, the horse's soul; Proclus, the demon of every mineral, plant, or animal, and the mediaeval philosophers, the elementary spirits of the four kingdoms.
All this is held in our century as metaphysics and gross superstition. Still, on strictly ontological principles, there is, in these old hypotheses, some shadow of probability, some clew to the perplexing "missing links"
of exact science. The latter has become so dogmatical of late, that all that lies beyond the ken of inductive science is termed imaginary; and we find Professor Joseph Le Conte stating that some of the best scientists "ridicule the use of the term 'vital force,' or vitality, as a remnant of superstition." * De Candolle suggests the term "vital movement," instead of vital force; ** thus preparing for a final scientific leap which will transform the immortal, thinking man, into an automaton with a clock-work inside him. "But," objects Le Conte, "can we conceive of movement without force? And if the movement is peculiar, so also is the form of force."
In the Jewish Kabala, the nature-spirits were known under the general name of Shedim and divided into four classes. The Persians called them all devs; the Greeks, indistinctly designated them as demons; the Egyptians knew them as afrites. The ancient Mexicans, says Kaiser, believed in numerous spirit-abodes, into one of which the shades of innocent children were placed until final disposal; into another, situated in the sun, ascended the valiant souls of heroes; while the hideous spectres of incorrigible sinners were sentenced to wander and despair in subterranean caves, held in the bonds of the earth-atmosphere, unwilling and unable to liberate themselves. They passed their time in communicating with mortals, and frightening those who could see them. Some of the African tribes know them as Yowahoos. In the Indian Pantheon there are no less than 330,000,000 of various kinds of spirits, including elementals, which latter were termed by the Brahmans the Daityas. These beings are known by the adepts to be attracted toward certain quarters of the heavens by something of the same mysterious property which makes the magnetic needle turn toward the north, and certain plants to obey the same attraction. The various races are also believed to have a special sympathy with certain human temperaments, and to more readily exert power over such than others. Thus, a bilious, lymphatic, nervous, or sanguine person would be affected favorably or otherwise by conditions of the astral light, resulting from the different aspects of the planetary bodies. Having reached this general principle, after recorded observations extending over an indefinite series of years, or ages, the adept astrologer would require only to know what the planetary aspects were at a given anterior date, and to apply his knowledge of the succeeding changes in the heavenly bodies, to be able to trace, with approximate accuracy, the varying fortunes of the personage whose horoscope was required, and even to predict the future. The accuracy of the horoscope
would depend, of course, no less upon the astrologer's knowledge of the occult forces and races of nature, than upon his astronomical erudition.
Eliphas Levi expounds with reasonable clearness, in his Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie, the law of reciprocal influences between the planets and their combined effect upon the mineral, vegetable, and animal kingdoms, as well as upon ourselves. He states that the astral atmosphere is as constantly changing from day to day, and from hour to hour, as the air we breathe. He quotes approvingly the doctrine of Paracelsus that every man, animal, and plant bears external and internal evidences of the influences dominant at the moment of germinal development. He repeats the old kabalistic doctrine, that nothing is unimportant in nature, and that even so small a thing as the birth of one child upon our insignificant planet has its effect upon the universe, as the whole universe has its own reactive influence upon him.
"The stars," he remarks, "are linked to each other by attractions which hold them in equilibrium and cause them to move with regularity through space. This network of light stretches from all the spheres to all the spheres, and there is not a point upon any planet to which is not attached one of these indestructible threads. The precise locality, as well as the hour of birth, should then be calculated by the true adept in astrology; then, when he shall have made the exact calculation of the astral influences, it remains for him to count the chances of his position in life, the helps or hindrances he is likely to encounter . . . and his natural impulses toward the accomplishment of his destiny." He also asserts that the individual force of the person, as indicating his ability to conquer difficulties and subdue unfavorable propensities, and so carve out his fortune, or to passively await what blind fate may bring, must be taken into account.
A consideration of the subject from the standpoint of the ancients, affords us, it will be seen, a very different view from that taken by Professor Tyndall in his famous Belfast address. "To supersensual beings," says he, "which, however potent and invisible, were nothing but species of human creatures, perhaps raised from among mankind, and retaining all human passions and appetites, were handed over the rule and governance of natural phenomena."
To enforce his point, Mr. Tyndall conveniently quotes from Euripides the familiar passage in Hume: "The gods toss all into confusion, mix everything with its reverse, that all of us, from our ignorance and uncertainty, may pay them the more worship and reverence." Although enunciating in Chrysippus several Pythagorean doctrines, Euripides is considered by every ancient writer as heterodox, therefore the quotation
proceeding from this philosopher does not at all strengthen Mr. Tyndall's argument.
As to the human spirit, the notions of the older philosophers and medieval kabalists while differing in some particulars, agreed on the whole; so that the doctrine of one may be viewed as the doctrine of the other. The most substantial difference consisted in the location of the immortal or divine spirit of man. While the ancient Neo-platonists held that the Augoeides never descends hypostatically into the living man, but only sheds more or less its radiance on the inner man--the astral soul--the kabalists of the middle ages maintained that the spirit, detaching itself from the ocean of light and spirit, entered into man's soul, where it remained through life imprisoned in the astral capsule. This difference was the result of the belief of Christian kabalists, more or less, in the dead letter of the allegory of the fall of man. The soul, they said, became, through the fall of Adam, contaminated with the world of matter, or Satan. Before it could appear with its enclosed divine spirit in the presence of the Eternal, it had to purify itself of the impurities of darkness. They compared "the spirit imprisoned within the soul to a drop of water enclosed within a capsule of gelatine and thrown in the ocean; so long as the capsule remains whole the drop of water remains isolated; break the envelope and the drop becomes a part of the ocean--its individual existence has ceased. So it is with the spirit. As long as it is enclosed in its plastic mediator, or soul, it has an individual existence. Destroy the capsule, a result which may occur from the agonies of withered conscience, crime, and moral disease, and the spirit returns back to its original abode. Its individuality is gone."
On the other hand, the philosophers who explained the "fall into generation" in their own way, viewed spirit as something wholly distinct from the soul. They allowed its presence in the astral capsule only so far as the spiritual emanations or rays of the "shining one" were concerned. Man and soul had to conquer their immortality by ascending toward the unity with which, if successful, they were finally linked, and into which they were absorbed, so to say. The individualization of man after death depended on the spirit, not on his soul and body. Although the word "personality," in the sense in which it is usually understood, is an absurdity, if applied literally to our immortal essence, still the latter is a distinct entity, immortal and eternal, per se; and, as in the case of criminals beyond redemption, when the shining thread which links the spirit to the soul, from the moment of the birth of a child, is violently snapped, and the disembodied entity is left to share the fate of the lower animals, to gradually dissolve into ether, and have its individuality annihilated--even then the spirit remains a distinct being. It becomes a
planetary spirit, an angel; for the gods of the Pagan or the archangels of the Christian, the direct emanations of the First Cause, notwithstanding the hazardous statement of Swedenborg, never were or will be men, on our planet, at least.
This specialization has been in all ages the stumbling-block of metaphysicians. The whole esoterism of the Buddhistical philosophy is based on this mysterious teaching, understood by so few persons, and so totally misrepresented by many of the most learned scholars. Even metaphysicians are too inclined to confound the effect with the cause. A person may have won his immortal life, and remain the same inner-self he was on earth, throughout eternity; but this does not imply necessarily that he must either remain the Mr. Smith or Brown he was on earth, or lose his individuality. Therefore, the astral soul and terrestrial body of man may, in the dark Hereafter, be absorbed into the cosmical ocean of sublimated elements, and cease to feel his ego, if this ego did not deserve to soar higher; and the divine spirit still remain an unchanged entity, though this terrestrial experience of his emanations may be totally obliterated at the instant of separation from the unworthy vehicle.
If the "spirit," or the divine portion of the soul, is preexistent as a distinct being from all eternity, as Origen, Synesius, and other Christian fathers and philosophers taught, and if it is the same, and nothing more than the metaphysically-objective soul, how can it be otherwise than eternal? And what matters it in such a case, whether man leads an animal or a pure life, if, do what he may, he can never lose his individuality? This doctrine is as pernicious in its consequences as that of vicarious atonement. Had the latter dogma, in company with the false idea that we are all immortal, been demonstrated to the world in its true light, humanity would have been bettered by its propagation. Crime and sin would be avoided, not for fear of earthly punishment, or of a ridiculous hell, but for the sake of that which lies the most deeply rooted in our inner nature--the desire of an individual and distinct life in the hereafter, the positive assurance that we cannot win it unless we "take the kingdom of heaven by violence," and the conviction that neither human prayers nor the blood of another man will save us from individual destruction after death, unless we firmly link ourselves during our terrestrial life with our own immortal spirit--our GOD.
Pythagoras, Plato, Timaeus of Locris, and the whole Alexandrian school derived the soul from the universal World-Soul; and the latter was, according to their own teachings--ether; something of such a fine nature as to be perceived only by our inner sight. Therefore, it cannot be the essence of the Monas, or cause, because the anima mundi is but the effect, the objective emanation of the former. Both the human spirit
and soul are preexistent. But, while the former exists as a distinct entity, an individualization, the soul exists as preexisting matter, an unscient portion of an intelligent whole. Both were originally formed from the Eternal Ocean of Light; but as the theosophists expressed it, there is a visible as well as invisible spirit in fire. They made a difference between the anima bruta and the anima divina. Empedocles firmly believed all men and animals to possess two souls; and in Aristotle we find that he calls one the reasoning soul--νους, and the other, the animal soul--ψυχε. According to these philosophers, the reasoning soul comes from without the universal soul, and the other from within. This divine and superior region, in which they located the invisible and supreme deity, was considered by them (by Aristotle himself) as a fifth element, purely spiritual and divine, whereas the anima mundi proper was considered as composed of a fine, igneous, and ethereal nature spread throughout the universe, in short--ether. The Stoics, the greatest materialists of ancient days, excepted the Invisible God and Divine Soul (Spirit) from any such a corporeal nature. Their modern commentators and admirers, greedily seizing the opportunity, built on this ground the supposition that the Stoics believed in neither God nor soul. But Epicurus, whose doctrine militating directly against the agency of a Supreme Being and gods, in the formation or government of the world, placed him far above the Stoics in atheism and materialism, taught, nevertheless, that the soul is of a fine, tender essence, formed from the smoothest, roundest, and finest atoms, which description still brings us to the same sublimated ether. Arnobius, Tertullian, Irenaeus, and Origen, notwithstanding their Christianity, believed, with the more modern Spinoza and Hobbes, that the soul was corporeal, though of a very fine nature.
This doctrine of the possibility of losing one's soul and, hence, individuality, militates with the ideal theories and progressive ideas of some spiritualists, though Swedenborg fully adopts it. They will never accept the kabalistic doctrine which teaches that it is only through observing the law of harmony that individual life hereafter can be obtained; and that the farther the inner and outer man deviate from this fount of harmony, whose source lies in our divine spirit, the more difficult it is to regain the ground.
But while the spiritualists and other adherents of Christianity have little if any perception of this fact of the possible death and obliteration of the human personality by the separation of the immortal part from the perishable, the Swedenborgians fully comprehend it. One of the most respected ministers of the New Church, the Rev. Chauncey Giles, D.D., of New York, recently elucidated the subject in a public discourse as follows: Physical death, or the death of the body, was a provision of the
divine economy for the benefit of man, a provision by means of which he attained the higher ends of his being. But there is another death which is the interruption of the divine order and the destruction of every human element in man's nature, and every possibility of human happiness. This is the spiritual death, which takes place before the dissolution of the body. "There may be a vast development of man's natural mind without that development being accompanied by a particle of love of God, or of unselfish love of man." When one falls into a love of self and love of the world, with its pleasures, losing the divine love of God and of the neighbor, he falls from life to death. The higher principles which constitute the essential elements of his humanity perish, and he lives only on the natural plane of his faculties. Physically he exists, spiritually he is dead. To all that pertain to the higher and the only enduring phase of existence he is as much dead as his body becomes dead to all the activities, delights, and sensations of the world when the spirit has left it. This spiritual death results from disobedience of the laws of spiritual life, which is followed by the same penalty as the disobedience of the laws of the natural life. But the spiritually dead have still their delights; they have their intellectual endowments and power, and intense activities. All the animal delights are theirs, and to multitudes of men and women these constitute the highest ideal of human happiness. The tireless pursuit of riches, of the amusements and entertainments of social life; the cultivation of graces of manner, of taste in dress, of social preferment, of scientific distinction, intoxicate and enrapture these dead-alive; but, the eloquent preacher remarks, "these creatures, with all their graces, rich attire, and brilliant accomplishments, are dead in the eye of the Lord and the angels, and when measured by the only true and immutable standard have no more genuine life than skeletons whose flesh has turned to dust." A high development of the intellectual faculties does not imply spiritual and true life. Many of our greatest scientists are but animate corpses--they have no spiritual sight because their spirits have left them. So we might go through all ages, examine all occupations, weigh all human attainments, and investigate all forms of society, and we would find these spiritually dead everywhere.
Pythagoras taught that the entire universe is one vast system of mathematically correct combinations. Plato shows the deity geometrizing. The world is sustained by the same law of equilibrium and harmony upon which it was built. The centripetal force could not manifest itself without the centrifugal in the harmonious revolutions of the spheres; all forms are the product of this dual force in nature. Thus, to illustrate our case, we may designate the spirit as the centrifugal, and the soul as the centripetal, spiritual energies. When in perfect harmony, both forces
produce one result; break or damage the centripetal motion of the earthly soul tending toward the centre which attracts it; arrest its progress by clogging it with a heavier weight of matter than it can bear, and the harmony of the whole, which was its life, is destroyed. Individual life can only be continued if sustained by this two-fold force. The least deviation from harmony damages it; when it is destroyed beyond redemption the forces separate and the form is gradually annihilated. After the death of the depraved and the wicked, arrives the critical moment. If during life the ultimate and desperate effort of the inner-self to reunite itself with the faintly-glimmering ray of its divine parent is neglected; if this ray is allowed to be more and more shut out by the thickening crust of matter, the soul, once freed from the body, follows its earthly attractions, and is magnetically drawn into and held within the dense fogs of the material atmosphere. Then it begins to sink lower and lower, until it finds itself, when returned to consciousness, in what the ancients termed Hades. The annihilation of such a soul is never instantaneous; it may last centuries, perhaps; for nature never proceeds by jumps and starts, and the astral soul being formed of elements, the law of evolution must bide its time. Then begins the fearful law of compensation, the Yin-youan of the Buddhists.
This class of spirits are called the "terrestrial" or "earthly elementary," in contradistinction to the other classes, as we have shown in the introductory chapter. In the East they are known as the "Brothers of the Shadow." Cunning, low, vindictive, and seeking to retaliate their sufferings upon humanity, they become, until final annihilation, vampires, ghouls, and prominent actors. These are the leading "stars" on the great spiritual stage of "materialization," which phenomena they perform with the help of the more intelligent of the genuine-born "elemental" creatures, which hover around and welcome them with delight in their own spheres. Henry Kunrath, the great German kabalist, has on a plate of his rare work, Amphitheatri Sapientiae AEternae, representations of the four classes of these human "elementary spirits." Once past the threshold of the sanctuary of initiation, once that an adept has lifted the "Veil of Isis," the mysterious and jealous goddess, he has nothing to fear; but till then he is in constant danger.
Although Aristotle himself, anticipating the modern physiologists, regarded the human mind as a material substance, and ridiculed the hylozoists, nevertheless he fully believed in the existence of a "double" soul, or spirit and soul. * He laughed at Strabo for believing that any particles of matter, per se, could have life and intellect in themselves suf-
ficient to fashion by degrees such a multiform world as ours. * Aristotle is indebted for the sublime morality of his Nichomachean Ethics to a thorough study of the Pythagoric Ethical Fragments; for the latter can be easily shown to have been the source at which he gathered his ideas, though he might not have sworn "by him who the tetractys found." ** Finally, what do we know so certain about Aristotle? His philosophy is so abstruse that he constantly leaves his reader to supply by the imagination the missing links of his logical deductions. Moreover, we know that before his works ever reached our scholars, who delight in his seemingly atheistical arguments in support of his doctrine of fate, these works passed through too many hands to have remained immaculate. From Theophrastus, his legator, they passed to Neleus, whose heirs kept them mouldering in subterranean caves for nearly 150 years; *** after which, we learn that his manuscripts were copied and much augmented by Apellicon of Theos, who supplied such paragraphs as had become illegible, by conjectures of his own, probably many of these drawn from the depths of his inner consciousness. Our scholars of the nineteenth century might certainly profit well by Aristotle's example, were they as anxious to imitate him practically as they are to throw his inductive method and materialistic theories at the head of the Platonists. We invite them to collect facts as carefully as he did, instead of denying those they know nothing about.
What we have said in the introductory chapter and elsewhere, of mediums and the tendency of their mediumship, is not based upon conjecture, but upon actual experience and observation. There is scarcely one phase of mediumship, of either kind, that we have not seen exemplified during the past twenty-five years, in various countries. India, Thibet, Borneo, Siam, Egypt, Asia Minor, America (North and South), and other parts of the world, have each displayed to us its peculiar phase of mediumistic phenomena and magical power. Our varied experience has taught us two important truths, viz.: that for the exercise of the latter personal purity and the exercise of a trained and indomitable will-power are indispensable; and that spiritualists can never assure themselves of the genuineness of mediumistic manifestations, unless they occur in the light and under such reasonable test conditions as would make an attempted fraud instantly noticed.
For fear of being misunderstood, we would remark that while, as a rule, physical phenomena are produced by the nature-spirits, of their own
motion and to please their own fancy, still good disembodied human spirits, under exceptional circumstances, such as the aspiration of a pure heart or the occurrence of some favoring emergency, can manifest their presence by any of the phenomena except personal materialization. But it must be a mighty attraction indeed to draw a pure, disembodied spirit from its radiant home into the foul atmosphere from which it escaped upon leaving its earthly body.
Magi and theurgic philosophers objected most severely to the "evocation of souls." "Bring her (the soul) not forth, lest in departing she retain something," says Psellus. *
"It becomes you not to behold them before your body is initiated,
Since, by always alluring, they seduce the souls of the uninitiated,"
says the same philosopher, in another passage. **
They objected to it for several good reasons. 1. "It is extremely difficult to distinguish a good daemon from a bad one," says Iamblichus. 2. If a human soul succeeds in penetrating the density of the earth's atmosphere--always oppressive to her, often hateful--still there is a danger the soul is unable to come into proximity with the material world without that she cannot avoid; "departing, she retains something," that is to say, contaminating her purity, for which she has to suffer more or less after her departure. Therefore, the true theurgist will avoid causing any more suffering to this pure denizen of the higher sphere than is absolutely required by the interests of humanity. It is only the practitioner of black magic who compels the presence, by the powerful incantations of necromancy, of the tainted souls of such as have lived bad lives, and are ready to aid his selfish designs. Of intercourse with the Augoeides, through the mediumistic powers of subjective mediums, we elsewhere speak. The theurgists employed chemicals and mineral substances to chase away evil spirits. Of the latter, a stone called Μνιζουριν was one of the most powerful agents.
"When you shall see a terrestrial demon approaching,
Exclaim, and sacrifice the stone Mnizurin,"
exclaims a Zoroastrian oracle (Psel., 40).
And now, to descend from the eminence of theurgico-magian poetry to the "unconscious" magic of our present century, and the prose of a modern kabalist, we will review it in the following:
In Dr. Morin's Journal de Magnetisme, published a few years since in
Paris, at a time when the "table-turning" was raging in France, a curious letter was published.
"Believe me, sir," wrote the anonymous correspondent, "that there are no spirits, no ghosts, no angels, no demons enclosed in a table; but, all of these can be found there, nevertheless, for that depends on our own wills and our imaginations. . . . This MENSAbulism * is an ancient phenomenon . . . misunderstood by us moderns, but natural, for all that, and which pertains to physics and psychology; unfortunately, it had to remain incomprehensible until the discovery of electricity and heliography, as, to explain a fact of spiritual nature, we are obliged to base ourselves on a corresponding fact of a material order. . . .
"As we all know, the daguerreotype-plate may be impressed, not only by objects, but also by their reflections. Well, the phenomenon in question, which ought to be named mental photography, produces, besides realities, the dreams of our imagination, with such a fidelity that very often we become unable to distinguish a copy taken from one present, from a negative obtained of an image. . . .
"The magnetization of a table or of a person is absolutely identical in its results; it is the saturation of a foreign body by either the intelligent vital electricity, or the thought of the magnetizer and those present."
Nothing can give a better or a more just idea of it than the electric battery gathering the fluid on its conductor, to obtain thereof a brute force which manifests itself in sparks of light, etc. Thus, the electricity accumulated on an isolated body acquires a power of reaction equal to the action, either for charging, magnetizing, decomposing, inflaming, or for discharging its vibrations far away. These are the visible effects of the blind, or crude electricity produced by blind elements--the word blind being used by the table itself in contradistinction to the intelligent electricity. But there evidently exists a corresponding electricity produced by the cerebral pile of man; this soul-electricity, this spiritual and universal ether, which is the ambient, middle nature of the metaphysical universe, or rather of the incorporeal universe, has to be studied before it is admitted by science, which, having no idea of it, will never know anything of the great phenomenon of life until she does.
"It appears that to manifest itself the cerebral electricity requires the help of the ordinary statical electricity; when the latter is lacking in the atmosphere--when the air is very damp, for instance--you can get little or nothing of either tables or mediums. . . .
"There is no need for the ideas to be formulated very precisely in the
brains of the persons present; the table discovers and formulates them itself, in either prose or verse, but always correctly; the table requires time to compose a verse; it begins, then it erases a word, corrects it, and sometimes sends back the epigram to our address . . . if the persons present are in sympathy with each other, it jokes and laughs with us as any living person could. As to the things of the exterior world, it has to content itself with conjectures, as well as ourselves; it (the table) composes little philosophical systems, discusses and maintains them as the most cunning rhetorician might. In short, it creates itself a conscience and a reason properly belonging to itself, but with the materials it finds in us. . . .
"The Americans are persuaded that they talk with their dead; some think (more truly) that these are spirits; others take them for angels; others again for devils . . . (the intelligence) assuming the shape which fits the conviction and preconceived opinion of every one; so did the initiates of the temples of Serapis, of Delphi, and other theurgico-medical establishments of the same kind. They were convinced beforehand that they would communicate with their gods; and they never failed.
"We, who well know the value of the phenomenon . . . are perfectly sure that after having charged the table with our magnetic efflux, we have called to life, or created an intelligence analogous to our own, which like ourselves is endowed with a free will, can talk and discuss with us, with a degree of superior lucidity, considering that the resultant is stronger than the individual, or rather the whole is larger than a part of it. . . . We must not accuse Herodotus of telling us fibs when he records the most extraordinary circumstances, for we must hold them to be as true and correct as the rest of historical facts which are to be found in all the Pagan writers of antiquity. . . .
"The phenomenon is as old as the world. . . . The priests of India and China practiced it before the Egyptians and the Greeks. The savages and the Esquimaux know it well. It is the phenomenon of Faith, sole source of every prodigy," and it will be done to you according to your faith. The one who enunciated this profound doctrine was verily the incarnated word of Truth; he neither deceived himself, nor wanted to deceive others; he expounded an axiom which we now repeat, without much hope of seeing it accepted.
"Man is a microcosm, or a little world; he carries in him a fragment of the great All, in a chaotic state. The task of our half-gods is to disentangle from it the share belonging to them by an incessant mental and material labor. They have their task to do, the perpetual invention of new products, of new moralities, and the proper arrangement of the crude and formless material furnished them by the Creator, who created
them in His own image, that they should create in their turn and so complete here the work of the Creation; an immense labor which can be achieved only when the whole will become so perfect, that it will be like unto God Himself, and thus able to survive to itself. We are very far yet from that final moment, for we can say that everything is to be done, to be undone, and outdone as yet on our globe, institutions, machinery, and products.
"Mens non solum agitat sed creat molem.
"We live in this life, in an ambient, intellectual centre, which entertains between human beings and things a necessary and perpetual solidarity; every brain is a ganglion, a station of a universal neurological telegraphy in constant rapport with the central and other stations by the vibrations of thought.
"The spiritual sun shines for souls as the material sun shines for bodies, for the universe is double and follows the law of couples. The ignorant operator interprets erroneously the divine dispatches, and often delivers them in a false and ridiculous manner. Thus study and true science alone can destroy the superstitions and nonsense spread by the ignorant interpreters placed at the stations of teaching among every people in this world. These blind interpreters of the Verbum, the WORD, have always tried to impose on their pupils the obligation to swear to everything without examination in verba magistri.
"Alas! we could wish for nothing better were they to translate correctly the inner voices, which voices never deceive but those who have false spirits in them. 'It is our duty,' they say, 'to interpret oracles; it is we who have received the exclusive mission for it from heaven, spiritus flat ubi vult, and it blows on us alone. . . .'
"It blows on every one, and the rays of the spiritual light illuminate every conscience; and when all the bodies and all the minds will reflect equally this dual light, people will see a great deal clearer than they do now."
We have translated and quoted the above fragments for their great originality and truthfulness. We know the writer; fame proclaims him a great kabalist, and a few friends know him as a truthful and honest man.
The letter shows, moreover, that the writer has well and carefully studied the chameleon-like nature of the intelligences presiding over spiritual circles. That they are of the same kind and race as those so frequently mentioned in antiquity, admits of as little doubt as that the present generation of men are of the same nature as were human beings in the days of Moses. Subjective manifestations proceed, under harmonious
conditions, from those beings which were known as the "good demons" in days of old. Sometimes, but rarely, the planetary spirits--beings of another race than our own--produce them; sometimes the spirits of our translated and beloved friends; sometimes nature-spirits of one or more of the countless tribes; but most frequently of all terrestrial elementary spirits, disembodied evil men, the Diakka of A. Jackson Davis.
We do not forget what we have elsewhere written about subjective and objective mediumistic phenomena. We keep the distinction always in mind. There are good and bad of both classes. An impure medium will attract to his impure inner self, the vicious, depraved, malignant influences as inevitably as one that is pure draws only those that are good and pure. Of the latter kind of medium where can a nobler example be found than the gentle Baroness Adelma von Vay, of Austria (born Countess Wurmbrandt), who is described to us by a correspondent as "the Providence of her neighborhood"? She uses her mediumistic power to heal the sick and comfort the afflicted. To the rich she is a phenomenon; but to the poor a ministering angel. For many years she has seen and recognized the nature-spirits or cosmic elementaries, and found them always friendly. But this was because she was a pure, good woman. Other correspondents of the Theosophical Society have not fared so well at the hands of these apish and impish beings. The Havanna case, elsewhere described, is an example.
Though spiritualists discredit them ever so much, these nature-spirits are realities. If the gnomes, sylphs, salamanders, and undines of the Rosicrucians existed in their days, they must exist now. Bulwer-Lytton's Dweller of the Threshold, is a modern conception, modelled on the ancient type of the Sulanuth * of the Hebrews and Egyptians, which is mentioned in the Book of Jasher. **
The Christians call them "devils," "imps of Satan," and like characteristic names. They are nothing of the kind, but simply creatures of ethereal matter, irresponsible, and neither good nor bad, unless influenced by a superior intelligence. It is very extraordinary to hear devout
Catholics abuse and misrepresent the nature-spirits, when one of their greatest authorities, Clement the Alexandrian, disposed of them, by describing these creatures as they really are. Clement, who perhaps had been a theurgist as well as a Neo-platonist, thus arguing upon good authority, remarks, that it is absurd to call them devils, * for they are only inferior angels, "the powers which inhabit elements, move the winds and distribute showers, and as such are agents and subject to God." ** Origen, who before he became a Christian also belonged to the Platonic school, is of the same opinion. Porphyry describes these daemons more carefully than any one else.
When the possible nature of the manifesting intelligences, which science believes to be a "psychic force," and spiritualists the identical spirits of the dead, is better known, then will academicians and believers turn to the old philosophers for information.
Let us for a moment imagine an intelligent orang-outang or some African anthropoid ape disembodied, i.e., deprived of its physical and in possession of an astral, if not an immortal body. We have found in spiritual journals many instances where apparitions of departed pet dogs and other animals have been seen. Therefore, upon spiritualistic testimony, we must think that such animal "spirits" do appear although we reserve the right of concurring with the ancients that the forms are but tricks of the elementals. Once open the door of communication between the terrestrial and the spiritual world, what prevents the ape from producing physical phenomena such as he sees human spirits produce. And why may not these excel in cleverness of ingenuity many of those which have been witnessed in spiritual circles? Let spiritualists answer. The orang-outang of Borneo is little, if any, inferior to the savage man in intelligence. Mr. Wallace and other great naturalists give instances of its wonderful acuteness, although its brains are inferior in cubic capacity to the most undeveloped of savages. These apes lack but speech to be men of low grade. The sentinels placed by monkeys; the sleeping chambers selected and built by orang-outangs; their prevision of danger and calculations, which show more than instinct; their choice of leaders whom they obey; and the exercise of many of their faculties, certainly entitle them to a place at least on a level with many a flat-headed Australian. Says Mr. Wallace, "The mental requirements of savages, and the faculties actually exercised by them, are very little above those of the animals."
Now, people assume that there can be no apes in the other world, because apes have no "souls." But apes have as much intelligence, it
appears, as some men; why, then, should these men, in no way superior to the apes, have immortal spirits, and the apes none? The materialists will answer that neither the one nor the other has a spirit, but that annihilation overtakes each at physical death. But the spiritual philosophers of all times have agreed that man occupies a step one degree higher than the animal, and is possessed of that something which it lacks, be he the most untutored of savages or the wisest of philosophers. The ancients, as we have seen, taught that while man is a trinity of body, astral spirit, and immortal soul, the animal is but a duality--a being having a physical body and an astral spirit animating it. Scientists can distinguish no difference in the elements composing the bodies of men and brutes; and the kabalists agree with them so far as to say that the astral bodies (or, as the physicists would call it, "the life-principle") of animals and men are identical in essence. Physical man is but the highest development of animal life. If, as the scientists tell us, even thought is matter, and every sensation of pain or pleasure, every transient desire is accompanied by a disturbance of ether; and those bold speculators, the authors of the Unseen Universe believe that thought is conceived "to affect the matter of another universe simultaneously with this"; why, then, should not the gross, brutish thought of an orang-outang, or a dog, impressing itself on the ethereal waves of the astral light, as well as that of man, assure the animal a continuity of life after death, or "a future state"?
The kabalists held, and now hold, that it is unphilosophical to admit that the astral body of man can survive corporeal death, and at the same time assert that the astral body of the ape is resolved into independent molecules. That which survives as an individuality after the death of the body is the astral soul, which Plato, in the Timaeus and Gorgias, calls the mortal soul, for, according to the Hermetic doctrine, it throws off its more material particles at every progressive change into a higher sphere. Socrates narrates to Callicles * that this mortal soul retains all the characteristics of the body after the death of the latter; so much so, indeed, that a man marked with the whip will have his astral body "full of the prints and scars." The astral spirit is a faithful duplicate of the body, both in a physical and spiritual sense. The Divine, the highest and immortal spirit, can be neither punished nor rewarded. To maintain such a doctrine would be at the same time absurd and blasphemous, for it is not merely a flame lit at the central and inexhaustible fountain of light, but actually a portion of it, and of identical essence. It assures immortality to the individual astral being in proportion to the willingness of the latter to receive it. So long as the double man, i.e., the man of
flesh and spirit, keeps within the limits of the law of spiritual continuity; so long as the divine spark lingers in him, however faintly, he is on the road to an immortality in the future state. But those who resign themselves to a materialistic existence, shutting out the divine radiance shed by their spirit, at the beginning of the earthly pilgrimage, and stifling the warning voice of that faithful sentry, the conscience, which serves as a focus for the light in the soul--such beings as these, having left behind conscience and spirit, and crossed the boundaries of matter, will of necessity have to follow its laws.
Matter is as indestructible and eternal as the immortal spirit itself, but only in its particles, and not as organized forms. The body of so grossly materialistic a person as above described, having been deserted by its spirit before physical death, when that event occurs, the plastic material, astral soul, following the laws of blind matter, shapes itself thoroughly into the mould which vice has been gradually preparing for it through the earth-life of the individual. Then, as Plato says, it assumes the form of that "animal to which it resembled in its evil ways" * during life. "It is an ancient saying," he tells us, "that the souls departing hence exist in Hades and return hither again and are produced from the dead ** . . . But those who are found to have lived an eminently holy life, these are they who arrive at the pure abode ABOVE and DWELL ON THE UPPER PARTS of the earth" *** (the ethereal region). In Phaedrus, again, he says that when man has ended his first life (on earth), some go to places of punishment beneath the earth. **** This region below the earth, the kabalists do not understand as a place inside the earth, but maintain it to be a sphere, far inferior in perfection to the earth, and far more material.
Of all the modern speculators upon the seeming incongruities of the New Testament, alone the authors of the Unseen Universe seem to have caught a glimpse of its kabalistic truths, respecting the gehenna of the universe. ***** This gehenna, termed by the occultists the eighth sphere (numbering inversely), is merely a planet like our own, attached to the latter and following it in its penumbra; a kind of dust-hole, a "place where all its garbage and filth is consumed," to borrow an expression of the above-mentioned authors, and on which all the dross and scorification of the cosmic matter pertaining to our planet is in a continual state of remodelling.
The secret doctrine teaches that man, if he wins immortality, will remain forever the trinity that he is in life, and will continue so through-
out all the spheres. The astral body, which in this life is covered by a gross physical envelope, becomes--when relieved of that covering by the process of corporeal death--in its turn the shell of another and more ethereal body. This begins developing from the moment of death, and becomes perfected when the astral body of the earthly form finally separates from it. This process, they say, is repeated at every new transition from sphere to sphere. But the immortal soul, "the silvery spark," observed by Dr. Fenwick in Margrave's brain, * and not found by him in the animals, never changes, but remains indestructible "by aught that shatters its tabernacle." The descriptions by Porphyry and Iamblichus and others, of the spirits of animals, which inhabit the astral light, are corroborated by those of many of the most trustworthy and intelligent clairvoyants. Sometimes the animal forms are even made visible to every person present at a spiritual circle, by being materialized. In his People from the Other World, Colonel H. S. Olcott describes a materialized squirrel which followed a spirit-woman into the view of the spectators, disappeared and reappeared before their eyes several times, and finally followed the spirit into the cabinet.
Let us advance another step in our argument. If there is such a thing as existence in the spiritual world after corporeal death, then it must occur in accordance with the law of evolution. It takes man from his place at the apex of the pyramid of matter, and lifts him into a sphere of existence where the same inexorable law follows him. And if it follows him, why not everything else in nature? Why not animals and plants, which have all a life-principle, and whose gross forms decay like his, when that life-principle leaves them? If his astral body becomes more ethereal upon attaining the other sphere, why not theirs? They, as well as he, have been evolved out of condensed cosmic matter, and our physicists cannot see the slightest difference between the molecules of the four kingdoms of nature, which are thus specified by Professor Le Conte:
4. Animal Kingdom.
3. Vegetable Kingdom.
2. Mineral Kingdom.
The progress of matter from each of these planes to the plane above is continuous; and, according to Le Conte, there is no force in nature
capable of raising matter at once from No. 1 to No. 3, or from No. 2 to No. 4, without stopping and receiving an accession of force of a different kind on the intermediate plane.
Now, will any one presume to say that out of a given number of molecules, originally and constantly homogeneous, and all energized by the same principle of evolution, a certain number can be carried through those four kingdoms to the final result of evolving immortal man, and the others not be allowed to progress beyond planes 1, 2, and 3? Why should not all these molecules have an equal future before them; the mineral becoming plant, the plant, animal, and the animal, man--if not upon this earth, at least somewhere in the boundless realms of space? The harmony which geometry and mathematics--the only exact sciences--demonstrate to be the law of the universe, would be destroyed if evolution were perfectly exemplified in man alone and limited in the subordinate kingdoms. What logic suggests, psychometry proves; and, as we said before, it is not unlikely that a monument will one day be erected by men of science to Joseph R. Buchanan, its modern discoverer. If a fragment of mineral, fossilized plant, or animal form gives the psychometer as vivid and accurate pictures of their previous conditions, as a fragment of human bone does of those of the individual to which it belonged, it would seem as if the same subtile spirit pervaded all nature, and was inseparable from organic or inorganic substances. If anthropologists, physiologists, and psychologists are equally perplexed by primal and final causes, and by finding in matter so much similarity in all its forms, but in spirit such abysses of difference, it is, perhaps, because their inquiries are limited to our visible globe, and that they cannot, or dare not, go beyond. The spirit of a mineral, plant, or animal, may begin to form here, and reach its final development millions of ages hereafter, on other planets, known or unknown, visible or invisible to astronomers. For, who is able to controvert the theory previously suggested, that the earth itself will, like the living creatures to which it has given birth, ultimately, and after passing through its own stage of death and dissolution, become an etherealized astral planet? "As above, so below"; harmony is the great law of nature.
Harmony in the physical and mathematical world of sense, is justice in the spiritual one. Justice produces harmony, and injustice, discord; and discord, on a cosmical scale, means chaos--annihilation.
If there is a developed immortal spirit in man, it must be in every thing else, at least in a latent or germinal state, and it can only be a question of time for each of these germs to become fully developed. What gross injustice it would be for an impenitent criminal man, the perpetrator of a brutal murder when in the exercise of his free will, to have
all immortal spirit which in time may be washed clean of sin, and enjoying perfect happiness, while a poor horse, innocent of all crime, should toil and suffer under the merciless torture of his master's whip during a whole life, and then be annihilated at death? Such a belief implies a brutal injustice, and is only possible among people taught in the dogma that everything is created for man, and he alone is the sovereign of the universe;--a sovereign so mighty that to save him from the consequences of his own misdeeds, it was not too much that the God of the universe should die to placate his own just wrath.
If the most abject savage, with a brain "very little inferior to that of a philosopher" * (the latter developed physically by ages of civilization), is still, as regards the actual exercise of his mental faculties, very little superior to an animal, is it just to infer that both he and the ape will not have the opportunity to become philosophers; the ape in this world, the man on some other planet peopled equally with beings created in some other image of God?
Says Professor Denton, when speaking of the future of psychometry: "Astronomy will not disdain the assistance of this power. As new forms of organic being are revealed, when we go back to the earlier geologic periods, so new groupings of the stars, new constellations, will be displayed, when the heavens of those early periods are examined by the piercing gaze of future psychometers. An accurate map of the starry heavens during the Silurian period may reveal to us many secrets that we have been unable to discover. . . . Why may we not indeed be able to read the history of the various heavenly bodies . . . their geological, their natural, and, perchance, their human history? . . . I have good reason to believe that trained psychometers will be able to travel from planet to planet, and read their present condition minutely, and their past history." **
Herodotus tells us that in the eighth of the towers of Belus, in Babylon, used by the sacerdotal astrologers, there was an uppermost room, a sanctuary, where the prophesying priestesses slept to receive communications from the god. Beside the couch stood a table of gold, upon which were laid various stones, which Manetho informs us were all aerolites. The priestesses developed the prophetic vision in themselves by pressing one of these sacred stones against their heads and bosoms. The same took place at Thebes, and at Patara, in Lycia. ***
This would seem to indicate that psychometry was known and extensively practiced by the ancients. We have somewhere seen it stated that
the profound knowledge possessed, according to Draper, by the ancient Chaldean astrologers, of the planets and their relations, was obtained more by the divination of the betylos, or the meteoric stone, than by astronomical instruments. Strabo, Pliny, Hellanicus--all speak of the electrical, or electromagnetic power of the betyli. They were worshipped in the remotest antiquity in Egypt and Samothrace, as magnetic stones, "containing souls which had fallen from heaven"; and the priests of Cybele wore a small betylos on their bodies. How curious the coincidence between the practice of the priests of Belus and the experiments of Professor Denton!
As Professor Buchanan truthfully remarks of psychometry, it will enable us " . . . to detect vice and crime. No criminal act . . . can escape the detection of psychometry, when its powers are properly brought forth . . . the sure detection of guilt by psychometry (no matter how secret the act) will nullify all concealment." *
Speaking of the elementary, Porphyry says: "These invisible beings have been receiving from men honors as gods . . . a universal belief makes them capable of becoming very malevolent: it proves that their wrath is kindled against those who neglect to offer them a legitimate worship." **
Homer describes them in the following terms: "Our gods appear to us when we offer them sacrifice . . . sitting themselves at our tables, they partake of our festival meals. Whenever they meet on his travels a solitary Phoenician, they serve to him as guides, and otherwise manifest their presence. We can say that our piety approaches us to them as much as crime and bloodshed unite the Cyclopes and the ferocious race of giants." *** The latter proving that these gods were kind and beneficent daemons, and that, whether they were disembodied spirits or elementary beings, they were no devils.
The language of Porphyry, who was himself a direct disciple of Plotinus, is still more explicit as to the nature of these spirits. "Demons," he says, "are invisible; but they know how to clothe themselves with forms and configurations subjected to numerous variations, which can be explained by their nature having much of the corporeal in itself. Their abode is in the neighborhood of the earth . . . and when they can escape the vigilance of the good daemons, there is no mischief they will not dare commit. One day they will employ brute force; another, cunning." **** Further, he says: "It is a child's play for them to arouse
in us vile passions, to impart to societies and nations turbulent doctrines, provoking wars, seditions, and other public calamities, and then tell you 'that all of these is the work of the gods.' . . . These spirits pass their time in cheating and deceiving mortals, creating around them illusions and prodigies; their greatest ambition is to pass as gods and souls (disembodied spirits)." *
Iamblichus, the great theurgist of the Neo-platonic school, a man skilled in sacred magic, teaches that "good daemons appear to us in reality, while the bad ones can manifest themselves but under the shadowy forms of phantoms." Further, he corroborates Porphyry, and tells that " . . . the good ones fear not the light, while the wicked ones require darkness. . . . The sensations they excite in us make us believe in the presence and reality of things they show, though these things be absent." **
Even the most practiced theurgists found danger sometimes in their dealings with certain elementaries, and we have Iamblichus stating that, "The gods, the angels, and the daemons, as well as the souls, may be summoned through evocation and prayer. . . . But when, during theurgic operations, a mistake is made, beware! Do not imagine that you are communicating with beneficent divinities, who have answered your earnest prayer; no, for they are bad daemons, only under the guise of good ones! For the elementaries often clothe themselves with the similitude of the good, and assume a rank very much superior to that they really occupy. Their boasting betrays them." ***
Some twenty years since, Baron Du Potet, disgusted with the indifference of the scientists, who persisted in seeing in the greatest psychological phenomena only the result of clever trickery, gave vent to his indignation in the following terms:
"Here am I, on my way, I may truly say, to the land of marvels! I am preparing to shock every opinion, and provoke laughter in our most illustrious scientists . . . for I am convinced that agents of an immense potency exist outside of us; that they can enter in us; move our limbs and organs; and use us as they please. It was, after all, the belief of our fathers and of the whole of antiquity. Every religion admitted the reality of spiritual agents. . . . Recalling innumerable phenomena which I have produced in the sight of thousands of persons, seeing the beastly indifference of official science, in presence of a discovery which transports the mind into the regions of the unknown [sic]; an old man, at the very moment when I ought to be just being born. . . . I am not
sure if it would not have been better for me to have shared the common ignorance.
"I have suffered calumnies to be written without refuting them. . . . At one time it is simple ignorance which speaks, and I am silent; at another still, superficiality, raising its voice, makes a bluster, and I find myself hesitating whether or not to speak. Is this indifference or laziness? Has fear the power to paralyze my spirit? No; none of these causes affect me; I know simply that it is necessary to prove what one asserts, and this restrains me. For, in justifying my assertions, in showing the living FACT, which proves my sincerity and the truth, I translate OUTSIDE THE PRECINCTS OF THE TEMPLE the sacred inscription, WHICH NO PROFANE EYE SHOULD EVER READ.
"You doubt sorcery and magic? O, truth! thy possession is a heavy burden!" *
With a bigotry which one might search for in vain outside the church in whose interest he writes, des Mousseaux quotes the above language, as proof positive that this devoted savant, and all who share his belief, have given themselves over to the dominion of the Evil One!
Self-complacency is the most serious obstacle to the enlightenment of the modern spiritualist. His thirty years' experience with the phenomena seem to him sufficient to have established intermundane intercourse upon an unassailable basis. His thirty years have not only brought to him the conviction that the dead communicate and thus prove the spirit's immortality, but also settled in his mind an idea that little or nothing can be learned of the other world, except through mediums.
For the spiritualists, the records of the past either do not exist, or if they are familiar with its gathered treasures, they regard them as having no bearing upon their own experiences. And yet, the problems which so vex them, were solved thousands of years ago by the theurgists, who have left the keys to those who will search for them in the proper spirit and with knowledge. Is it possible that nature has changed her work, and that we are encountering different spirits and different laws from those of old? Or can any spiritualist imagine that he knows more, or even as much about mediumistic phenomena or the nature of various spirits, as a priest-caste who spent their lives in theurgical practice, which had been known and studied for countless centuries? If the narratives of Owen and Hare, of Edmonds, and Crookes, and Wallace are credible, why not those of Herodotus, the "Father of History," of Iamblichus, and Porphyry, and hundreds of other ancient authors? If the spiritualists
have their phenomena under test-conditions, so had the old theurgists, whose records, moreover, show that they could produce and vary them at will. The day when this fact shall be recognized, and profitless speculations of modern investigators shall give place to patient study of the works of the theurgists, will mark the dawn of new and important discoveries in the field of psychology.
294:* Orpheus is said to have ascribed to the grand cycle 120,000 years of duration, and Cassandrus 136,000. See Censorinus: "de Natal. Die"; "Chronological and Astronomical Fragments."
295:* W. and E. Denton: "The Soul of Things," vol. i.
298:* See the "Cosmogony of Pherecydes."
298:** See a few pages further on the quotation from the "Codex of the Nazarenes."
299:* See Plato's "Timaeus."
299:** On the authority of Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, and the "Codex" itself, Dunlap shows that the Nazarenes treated their "spirit," or rather soul, as a female and Evil Power. Irenaeus, accusing the Gnostics of heresy, calls Christ and the Holy Ghost "the gnostic pair that produce the AEons" (Dunlap: "Sod, the Son of the Man," p. 52, footnote).
300:* Fetahil was with the Nazarenes the king of light, and the Creator; but in this instance he is the unlucky Prometheus, who fails to get hold of the Living Fire, necessary for the formation of the divine soul, as he is ignorant of the secret name (the ineffable or incommunicable name of the kabalists).
300:** The spirit of matter and concupiscence.
300:*** See Franck's "Codex Nazaraeus" and Dunlap's "Sod, the Son of the Man."
300:**** "Codex Nazaraeus," ii. 233.
300:***** This Mano of the Nazarenes strangely resembles the Hindu Manu, the heavenly man of the "Rig-Vedas."
300:****** "I am the true vine and my Father is the husbandman" (John xv. 1).
300:******* With the Gnostics, Christ, as well as Michael, who is identical in some respects with him, was the "Chief of the Æons."
300:******** "Codex Nazaraeus," i. 135.
301:* "Codex Nazaraeus," iii. 61.
301:** The Astral Light, or anima mundi, is dual and bisexual. The male part of it is purely divine and spiritual; it is the Wisdom; while the female portion (the spiritus of the Nazarenes) is tainted, in one sense, with matter, and therefore is evil already. It is the life-principle of every living creature, and furnishes the astral soul, the fluidic perisprit to men, animals, fowls of the air, and everything living. Animals have only the germ of the highest immortal soul as a third principle. It will develop but through a series of countless evolutions; the doctrine of which evolution is contained in the kabalistic axiom: "A stone becomes a plant; a plant a beast; a beast a man; a man a spirit; and the spirit a god."
301:*** See Commentary on "Idra Suta," by Rabbi Eleashar.
301:**** Sod means a religious Mystery. Cicero mentions the sod, as constituting a portion of the Idean Mysteries. "The members of the Priest-Colleges were called Sodales," says Dunlap, quoting Freund's "Latin Lexicon," iv. 448.
302:* The author of the "Sohar," the great kabalistic work of the first century B.C.
302:** See Abbe Huc's works.
302:*** "The Sohar," iii. 288; "Idra Suta."
303:* Everard: "Mysteres Physiologiques," p. 132.
303:** See Plato's "Timaeus."
305:* "Supernatural Religion; an Inquiry into the Reality of Divine Revelation," vol. ii. London, 1875.
306:* See "Heavenly Arcana."
308:* Burges: Preface.
308:** "Seventh Letter."
308:*** "The True Christian Religion."
309:* E. A. Hitchcock: "Swedenborg, a Hermetic Philosopher."
309:** "Ripley Revived," 1678.
310:* "Mosaicall Philosophy," p. 173. 1659.
313:* "Correlation of Vital with Chemical and Physical Forces," by J. Le Conte.
313:** "Archives des Sciences," vol. xlv., p. 345. December, 1872.
319:* Aristotle: "De Generat. et Corrupt.," lib. ii.
320:* "De Part.," an. lib. i., c. I.
320:** A Pythagorean oath. The Pythagoreans swore by their master.
320:*** See Lempriere: "Classical Dictionary."
321:* Psel. in Alieb: "Chaldean Oracles."
321:** Proc. in 1 "Alieb."
322:* From the Latin word mensa--table. This curious letter is copied in full in "La Science des Esprits," by Eliphas Levi.
325:* The Sulanuth is described in chap. lxxx., vers. 19, 20, of "Jasher."
325:** "And when the Egyptians hid themselves on account of the swarm" (one of the plagues alleged to have been brought on by Moses) ". . . they locked their doors after them, and God ordered the Sulanuth . . ." (a sea-monster, naively explains the translator, in a foot-note) "which was then in the sea, to come up and go into Egypt . . . and she had long arms, ten cubits in length . . . and she went upon the roofs and uncovered the rafting and cut them . . . and stretched forth her arm into the house and removed the lock and the bolt and opened the houses of Egypt . . . and the swarm of animals destroyed the Egyptians, and it grieved them exceedingly."
326:* "Strom," vi., 17, § 159.
326:** Ibid., vi., 3, § 30.
328:** Cory: "Phaedro," i. 69.
328:*** Ibid., i. 123.
328:**** Cory: "Phaedras"; Cory's "Plato," 325.
328:***** See "The Unseen Universe," pp. 205, 206.
329:* See Bulwer-Lytton: "Strange Story," p. 76. We do not know where in literature can be found a more vivid and beautiful description of this difference between the life-principle of man and that of animals, than in the passages herein briefly alluded to.
331:* A. R. Wallace: "The Action of Natural Selection on Man."
331:** W. Denton: "The Soul of Things," p. 273.
331:*** "Herodotus," b. i., c. 181.
332:* "Anthropology," p. 125.
332:** "Of Sacrifices to Gods and Daemons," chap. ii.
332:*** "Odyssey," book vii.
332:**** Porphyry: "Of Sacrifices to Gods and Daemons," chap. ii.
333:** Iamblichus: "De Mysteriis Egyptorum."
333:*** Ibid.: "On the Difference between the Daemons, the Souls, etc."
334:* Du Potet: "La Magie Devoilee."