Variations in vibrations - Dreams - Presentiments - Seeing by etheric telephone.
VARIATIONS are apt to be thrown into the thought-vibration from innumerable sources, and this might influence the thought without violating the law, just as tributaries may run into a river without the remotest possibility of ever making the river run up. There might be soul and spirit influences, mental and material influences, or some of the many influences of the senses. Soul and spirit influences, being themselves entirely allied to truth, never deteriorate from the quality of the harmonious vibration; but this is not the case with the influence of the senses, that being deceived, deceive, although the original cause of deception generally lies in the province of false reasoning. When the senses are dulled or temporarily dead in sleep, the etheric vibration goes on in the mind all the same. The action of the sun's rays is not more continuous than is the same action in the etheric chords. There is no cessation of thought-vibration. While the heart of the great universe beats forth its life, its nerve system will be on the alert, and its sensitiveness will never fail to receive impressions, and these vibratory impressions must be registered at every attached station, whether observed or not. Thus, in the silence of night and in the deadness of slumber the human mind is moved as the great seas are moved, as the rays of the sun are moved, and as the universal ocean of ether is moved. To the registration of these mental movements, or thought-vibrations, we give the name of dreams, which, for the most part, are remembered as allegorical pictures that need an interpreter, because the appointed interpreting sixth sense, like the other five, has been under the influence of sleep, and so only the registration without the interpretation is photographed on the memory in the morning. If the dream be the result of thought-vibrations from many chords, as it may well be, the morning recollection will present an incoherent, disconnected and confused register. There may be neither order nor continuity, but a perfect conglomeration of the most erratic and eccentric ideas; but the fact of the existence of the picture is indisputable, and no one would dream of denying that there are such things as dreams. Whether the dreams are intelligible or incoherent, this fact remains, that they are the registered and uninterpreted thought-vibrations of the ether.
As there is a lusus naturae in the material world, so in the mental world there are untimely thoughts to account for which seems past the comprehension of man's understanding, except by the methods of transmitted thought-vibrations. Thoughts do sometimes come into one's head that cannot be accounted for through any ideas of association or otherwise. Thoughts having no evident connection with one's life or circumstances in life crop up like weeds in a well-kept garden - trespassers, apparently, that have no business there. These thoughts are not spontaneous creations, nor mental offspring without progenitors. They exist, and must be caused or produced. The strangest of all such foundling or apparently disconnected thoughts are presentiments that come true, for it is an authenticated fact that presentiments without any known foundation have come true. In connection with these mental phenomena some people are said to have second sight, and so are able to see at least the shadows that coming events cast before them. It is a fact that death and disaster have sometimes been foreseen and foretold. Omens and auguries that have been more than mere coincidences have foreshadowed events. The conditions of friends and acquaintances separated by continents have been truly whispered without any visible material agency. These things are not only possibilities and probabilities, but are facts that cannot be gainsaid nor passed over with the mere remark that they are mental delusions. They are not mental delusions, and if they are they are still conditions that must have been caused, and caused, too, in accordance with some law in Nature, or by some force in Nature that is controlled by law. The condition of the whole universe is controlled by the instrumentality of laws and forces that can be physically and scientifically proved to be actual, active and necessary. These untimely thoughts are part of the conditions of the whole universe, and appear through the agencies of laws and forces. (It must be borne in mind that time and space are, as it were, annihilated as to the vibrations of the ether chord.) If, as is possible, the same ether chord pass through two people neither related nor acquainted, and living in different countries, under entirely different conditions, the thought-vibration communicated by that chord will be the same to each of these two people. If violent disaster were to overtake one of these two people, the changed conditions would influence the thought-vibrations on the ether chord, and, so changed, be at once transmitted to the other person. In the case of utter strangers, the coincidence might never be known, and the condition of mind be considered a mere phantasy. Such things have happened to close relations, where, say, the death of the one in a distant land has been known at once to the other at home, and the time and place been notified and verified. Such incidents, and they have been many, may erroneously be called visions, but the physical fact is that there is nothing supernatural or strange about them. They are simply natural code-signal vibrations of the connecting ether. There is no such thing as supernatural agency at work; that is, there is nothing done in the world that cannot be accounted for by the existing powers in Nature, and there is nothing, from phenomenon to fact, that is not caused by the action of some law in Nature, and can be so accounted for. There is no power existent that Nature does not share, and if a miracle be the resultant work of some power that did not previously exist - for there can be no such thing as supernatural power - then a miracle is an impossibility. Every power in the Deity is distributed through Nature in common with Himself, and He retains command and working power. From the suspension of worlds to the breathing of invisible animalcule, every movement is regulated by law, and every condition protected by law, with innumerable latent reserve forces in alliance, and these laws are themselves in the hands of Him who is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. Every psychical condition, as well as every physical, is law-controlled, and dreams, visions, and presentiments have their causes as well as tides and winds. All presentiments are thought-vibrations, transmitted from fellow creatures, celestial beings, or other sources; but whatever their sources are, they are the resultants of physical facts.
Hitherto, vibrations of the ether have been spoken of as signal-transmitted thoughts; but there is no contention that such is the only work of the vibrations. Whilst different series of variations of vibrations produce thought - or idea - as a resultant, yet a different series of variations of vibrations will produce images or pictures as their resultant. This cannot seem so very strange when one bears in mind that one series of variations of vibrations of the sun's rays will produce heat, while another series of variations of vibrations of the same medium will produce light. So far, the ether chord has chiefly been considered as like a telephone conveying sound only, whilst now it is maintained that it carries sight as well. By this very ether not only can the voice be carried, but the speaker be seen. This can be nothing strange or startling to people who know all about the sensitized plate of the camera obscura receiving and retaining perfect impressions of sitters and scenery, entirely through the agency of transmitted vibrations. The action is exactly the same in the ether, and the sitters and scenery may be anywhere in annihilated space. In saying that there is no such thing as actual mental delusion, it is to be understood that so-called mental delusions are facts to the deluded, although they have no existence to other people. They may be called mere airy fancies, but they are real existences or conditions, inasmuch as they are the mental resultants of a certain series of variations of vibrations of the ether chords, abnormally influenced to such discordant issues, and will exist more or less until the restoration of the chords to their normally harmonious vibrations.
The dead cannot have passed into a state ot non-existence, because it is a physical impossibility if, as we believe, they are part of life eternal. They must be in some condition somewhere, so that whether in a heaven millions of millions of miles away, or in our very midst, there can be no difference with the medium ether, the annihilator, so to speak, of time and space. The dead are said to have appeared to the living - living people incapable of falsehood, yet who, in sympathetic mercy, we say, are deluded, simply because we can neither prove their error nor understand the possibility of what is to them a fact. There is neither impossibility nor improbability about this appearance of the dead, only it is not the actual dead, but only the camera-obscura-like impression developed before the sightseer's physical eyes, in the ether ray, as transmitted from the original. All visions of departed spirits are thus developed images; for it is a natural impossibility for the physical eye to behold a spiritual face. Both speech and sight from spiritual sources are translated, transmitted vibrations of the ether chord. Thus ghosts are possibilities, but they are only the images developed, like a mirage in the desert, or a delusive picture of some terrestrial scenery reflected in the sky. Hallucinations of every kind are phenomenal facts. To tell a man in delirium tremens, or in any other demented condition, that he sees nothing, is simply to utter a falsehood; whilst if he be persuaded that there is actually nothing to be seen, he speaks the truth. In a demented person's line of vision there are actual images depicted, as real to him as the ground he stands upon, and being in this sense real (although in another sense truthfully enough only ideal), their appearance must have been caused; but in these days of scientific demands for scientific proof it is not sufficiently satisfactory simply to say that they are the resultants of a diseased brain. A straight stick held in a deep pool of clear water has the actual appearance of being actually deflected; but whilst that deflection is certainly not true, it is certain there is an actual cause for the actual appearance, and that cause lies not in the stick, but in the water, viz., its different densities. The evening sun shining on the windows of houses facing the west causes the houses to look as if they were in flames. The appearance is a fact, and yet the fact is only a delusion, and a delusion that has an actual cause. We behold, admire, and speak of the beautiful colours of the rainbow, but they are delusions, inasmuch as there is no actual colour, as we think, for they are caused by the effects of light on perfectly colourless drops of rain. The dew drops on the heather hills at early sunrise have the glittering, gaudy, and fascinating appearance of fairy jewels, and that appearance has been caused, although the drops are not what they seem. There is not a moment of our lives in which we are not deluded, or have hallucinations which are acknowledged to be facts by the wisest of us. As such acknowledgment is general, the general judgment is that we are wise, and not demented. When an individual promulgates a truth that does not come in the line of vision of the multitude, he may be adjudged as unwise, deluded and demented, although truth is unaffected by the unanimous judgment. All hallucinations or mental delusions are facts produced by the action of a Nature-fixed series of variations of vibrations, which being induced on other people would produce exactly the same results. Of course the vibrations are themselves caused, and are not constant, nor have they even a normal constancy in the ether, in the sense that a river may be said to have a constant flow. The ether may normally have the stillness of a solid, but so volatile is it that not only the finest physical impression on it, but even the influence of a silent thought, will induce a vibratory motion in it, which vibration in its turn produces work as a resultant, and thus does not violate any truth involved in the principles of the conservation of energy.
Accepted inconsistencies in daily belief - Ringing the changes on vibrations - Mechanism of man - Higher mechanical organisms - Creator and creature communications.
EVERYBODY says, yet nobody believes, that a telescope magnifies and brings an object nearer. On a sultry summer day we say the air is heavy, when in reality its abnormal lightness causes the difficulty of breathing, which is wrongly attributed to the heaviness of the atmosphere. It would be a Herculean labour simply to name the universally-accepted inconsistencies of language used day by day. We calmly say things we do not mean; we maintain as facts ideas we don't believe, and believe ten thousand things we don't understand, even where they have not the ghost of the appearance of being self-evident. Proofs of the existence, universality and power of the laws of vibration are forced upon us every moment of our lives, and at every stage of our life's journey. Our five senses, which give us the distinction of being animals, are entirely under their control. Anything discernible by the sense of sight, whether light, colour, beauty, etc., is the resultant of their action. Tastes that are disagreeable and those that are pleasant, are only different in that they are the resultants of different variations of vibrations. Pleasant and unpleasant smells are simply the ringing of the changes on the interminable number of vibrations per second so with the work of all the senses. The same laws, too, operate on our nerves. The air and the sea are kept in continuous motion by them. The day and night lights, and all the artificial illuminators of man's making, are their work. They light the worlds, and supply them with fructifying heat. The lightning is theirs, and so, too, all the natural telegraphs, telephones, microphones, etc., are the invisible conductors of their marvellous simplicities. Their already understood spheres are so vast that the marvel is that we can imagine their having any boundary at all. When the truth of the rotundity of the earth was first promulgated, the proofs of it were exceedingly few, and the idea was laughed at. Galileo's assertion had little more than what were then only theories to support it. The circulation of the blood was too entirely novel to be believed. So every truth has had to fight its battles to secure and maintain its position, because its allies have been few, but here is the doctrine of etheric vibrations in the company of hosts of recognised faithful witnesses whom every man daily proves to be stanch and true in all the concerns of life. The present-day standard of worth of anything is, ' Will it pay ?' and if so, ' How much ?' Here is a truth - a great commercial truth, although it does not look so at first sight - whose value is greater than the market value of the discovery of gravitation, the circulation of the blood, and the movements of the heavenly bodies all in one. More than all that, it brings light to what seems impenetrable darkness in psychics, and shows by proofs that the events of our lives are in our own hands, and can only result in good to ourselves if we obey the natural laws imposed by the infallible Legislator, who has no respect of persons though He is the beneficent Creator and Father of all.
Hasty or shallow reasoners may say, ' This must be a mechanical universe; man must be a mechanical creature, a mere automaton worked by latent forces in Nature that are governed by laws.' This is an outrageous conclusion, for, although certain actions in man, which produce certain and fixed results, are undoubtedly mechanical, it does not at all follow that man himself is a machine. The power that works the engine does work on mechanical principles, but the driver who administers, regulates, and controls the power by machinery is not himself a machine. Man's frame is a wonderful piece of machinery; in fact, every limb and atom in his body is a mechanical construction; his mind also in this sense is mechanically contrived, and the forces that operate in it are regulated in their action by inviolable law, but the producing and controlling power is not a machine. Conscience is not a machine in the strict sense of the word, although its operation is mechanical. It is maintained that the least conceivable influence affects the mechanical action of the ether, but that is no reason that the true man should be considered as simple mechanism. Air and friction, etc., retard the progress of a locomotive, but whilst the steam admitted into the proper channels in it must have a definite propulsive effect, that is, control its forward movements, it must not be forgotten that the driver controls the steam. The vibrations of ether in the mechanical channels of man must do fixed or definite work, but if man has control of the generators of these vibrations he cannot be said to be a mere machine. This is just how it stands: the frame of man is a mechanical arrangement, the laws of Nature are worked on mechanical principles, but the generating power is effectively controlled. When the driver admits steam into the piston of his properly-conditioned locomotive, the whole machinery acts, and must act, in a definite way. There is no power in the engine capable of changing its action. Exactly the same thing takes place when, for example, I open my eyes to behold an object. That object produces most mechanical work on my sense of sight, and there is nothing in my sense of sight to prevent that peculiar operation. As often as I look on that same object, under similar circumstances, the mechanical work of the eyes will be similar. I can close my eyes or turn them away, but that has nothing to do with the work done in the eyes. Beyond this there is no conceivable difference in the method of doing mechanical work in any of the senses. There is the same method, the same power, the same principle, the same action, in all the senses. There is only a difference of degree. The resultants differ with the different series of variations of vibrations, or power that produces the work.
To go a stage higher: there is no more conceivable difference than this in the mental actions or operations of the mind. The operations of the mind are the necessary resultants of the same mechanical action, differing only in the work-producing series of variations of vibrations. Higher still, the workings of the intelligent soul are conducted on exactly the same principles, and by the same means and methods, having resultants differing according to the difference of vibrations. This, too, goes on through all the stages of intelligence, until, highest of all, the mind of the Deity Himself works in exact accord with our own, is operated on by similar influences, and affected by the same sympathies. In as far as the mechanical construction and operation go, we are indeed like Him, and He like us. The Father and His children are like. There is one organism in the body, another organism in the mind; conscience is an organism, the soul is an organism, the universe is an organism, and each organism is mechanically worked by a motive-power under perfect control.
Every such mechanical organism is but a part of the vast universal organism, whose individual parts fit in to such perfection with each other as to work without friction in themselves when their law-established motive-power is unopposed by unlawful actions. The manner of communicating this motive-power is also by a mechanical contrivance. If these law-established etheric vibrations be the agent of all intelligent communications between all created beings, is it not reasonable to suppose that they are also the agents for the same purpose between these beings and their Creator? That He should otherwise communicate with them would seem an unnecessarily far-fetched disregard for the otherwise universally-established system in every respect competent for the work. That He does not communicate with them at all is a physical impossibility. If it were possible that He could and did not communicate with man, whom He has so fearfully and wonderfully made, then man would be of all conceivable beings, the most miserable and pitiable, for his enforced existence at every stage would be in indescribable darkness and horror. The idea of such a condition is ridiculous to any mind with even the smallest glimpse of civilization. Man was made, and made for a purpose the completion of which has been postponed through the ignorance - perhaps excusable - of man himself. The purpose will be completed by the process of law through the action of slow but steady development. As the inheritors of this world, we are here to innocently enjoy our possession to the full lawful bent of body, mind and soul, and thereby glorify God with that same kind of unalloyed joy which saints and angels continually have around the throne, for earth is a suburb of heaven.
Mystery about God - Our Father - Head-centre of intelligence - Sympathy of Nature - Nature at man's service - Fate - Accident - Earth a mansion of heaven.
THERE can be no reasonable doubt about the fact that God and man are sympathetically connected with mutual intelligence. Ignorant people have the idea that royal persons are something more than human, but when the truth is known, they are found to be even as others are; and so, on an infinitely higher scale, we, comparatively ignorant mortals, cannot imagine the Deity to be, in any respect, like ourselves, although we vaguely think we are made after His image, and that He is our Father. To believe in Him we must have some conception of Him, and to intelligent beings, as we believe ourselves to be, the conception ought to be acceptable to our reason. It is no good saying that these things are beyond us, and that they are the mysteries of God. They are not absolutely beyond us, and God has no mysteries. The steam engine is a mystery to those who do not understand it, but that mystery is neither the fault nor the wish of the maker. The religious idea of mystery has originated with man entirely. If there be some natural occurrence that nobody can account for at the time, and because it cannot be there and then accounted for, it is called a mystery; how often in the history of advancement have such mysteries been proved to be very simplicities! It is so with all Nature, and with all God's ways. Everything can be known, and by natural development, in accordance with established laws, the knowledge will be forced upon man, and then grandeur and inexpressible glory will be visible in the simplicities of revealed Nature, when life will no longer be a puzzle, death an enigma, nor hope a mirage. One bond of union cemented with equity shall be found to encircle all worlds and carry in its now mysterious chords that vibratory sympathy that not only makes all the world feel kin, but assures us of the unity and common interests of man, angels and God. Even the contemplation of the only alternative is sufficient to curdle up every sympathy in existence and to wring tears of pity from incarnate fiends, for that only alternative is that man, disunited from the Deity his Creator, is left with feeling, intellect and reason in a cold, cold world, an unfinished masterpiece, like a waif upon a stormy ocean, without guide, without light, without hope, groping wormlike for a miserable existence in darkness that can indeed be felt, having in him the keenest knowledge of helplessness and the tangible prospect of black despair.
How is it possible for reasonable man to realize or believe that his human voice can reach the ear of God who dwells in the heavens ? If He be near everyone, not only in this world but in all worlds, is it possible for reasonable man to realize or believe in His personality ? Is it not more reasonable, as well as more comforting and realizable, to think of Him as the great Father who is united with us individually in sympathy transmitted by the material medium and physical laws similar in action to what we constantly experience with our senses? Along this interminable telepath that knows no time nor space, every conceivable commotion that touches our interests is borne to Him, and by the same means everything is seen by Him. Thus the idea of the personality of the Deity is easily comprehended, and so are His omniscience and omnipresence, and, above all, His relationship as the sympathetic Father.
Thus it is that the ether is the nerve system of the whole universe, conveying the most minute impression on that system to the Headcentre of intelligence. It is the telepath that passes through every atom and disintegrated atom like telegraph wires throughout every town towards one metropolitan centre, remitting, transmitting, and replying to the transactions and interests of the universe without omission, without fault or flaw, and without the possibility of error. Neither thought, word, nor deed can escape transmission. Darkness precludes nothing, nor does light make anything more evident. Distance is proximity, action instantaneous, sensitiveness complete, correctness unerring, truth infallible, and sympathy comprehensive. The method, the medium, and the law are constant and universal.
This great truth opens the portals to a new world of enlightenment, full of peace on earth and goodwill to men. To those who temporarily absent themselves from the cares and wiles of the world, and seek in meditative solitude to know the truth, Nature whispers her sweet secrets with the breath of sincere sympathy that gives calm and solace which the hurly-burly world cannot comprehend. He who confides in her lies indeed in the lap of mental luxury. She alone has the balm of Gilead and the elixir of life; and her handmaid Wisdom, to all who enter the sacred portals of her mistress, will lay bare the beauties and mysteries of existence and the sweet harmonies of life, unlocking, also, the chambers where lies the hidden lore. With Nature all the secrets of life lie, and she has no desire to hide any of them, nor, on the other hand, will she, like casting pearls before swine, display them before those who do not confide in her. Confidence and sympathy must go hand-in-hand. It is the glory of her dominions to have Wisdom extol her, and display her treasures, which can neither increase nor decrease with receiving or giving away, and she gives with a bountiful hand. Although the lives of poets, as a whole, are anything but enviable, it is certain that at their composing times of close communion with Nature, their ecstasy and supreme sympathy with her and all mankind must make them the envy of the gods; and from no other source can such superlative sympathy and happiness be obtained. Though Nature gives so much to poets, she has more still to give to scientists and philosophers.
The interests of a single blade of grass in all its stages are protected by a code of laws. The lives of birds are completely provided for by natural laws. In no sense can fishes be said to have been neglected. There is not a symptom of incompleteness in creation except from man's point of view about himself, yet provision for all his natural wants is also complete, and that in a manner commensurate with his vast superiority, for the universal code of laws is at his service, and the whole nerve-system of the universe is in constant communication with every individual man, so that every individual man may be said to have the universe, with all its laws and forces, at his command. All the mechanical forces of Nature are at his service, but he can only use them as she herself can, in strict accordance with governing laws. What she can do, he can do, but both must obey the laxv. With Nature there is no FATE in the ordinary sense, neither is man the creature of fate ordained to prescribed courses. His course in life depends, not on his knowledge of, but on his obedience to, the laws of Nature He may flee from the servitude of one law, but he must always be in the environment of some, violation of any one of which will infallibly bring him into conflict with those reserve forces in Nature that, like gunpowder touched by fire, ignite with the least breath of opposition to the law which it is their duty to protect. Loyalty to their law is the law that governs these forces. Every opposition to law engenders wear and tear to mind and body according to the nature of the offense. In other words, certain actions must produce certain results, but that is not fate. Neither is there such a thing as accident in Nature, and what man calls accident is the inevitable result of some given action that violated law. That a man falling before an express train should be killed is no accident except in the sense of being not wilfully done. So completely is every law and force in Nature at the service of man, that his life is entirely in his own power, and to him, as to Nature, there is really no fate, no miracle, no accident.
Hope is natural, fear is unnatural. Fear is the parent of worry and insomnia, but there is nothing to fear in creation, in life or in death, here or hereafter. Of all conditions, fear or dread of coming evil is the most unnatural; yet, strange to say, perhaps it is the most common, and its existence produces despair. Why should one fear when he commands the ruling powers of the present and the future, and, moreover, is in constant communication with omniscient sympathy ? The root of all the multitudinous miseries of life takes its rise in the want of confidence in Nature, but how shall a man have confidence in what he does not understand, and how shall he understand if he be not taught? It is true that man is ignorant, but who is to blame ? Certainly neither Nature nor the Creator. The universal technical school is furnished, the scholars are assembled with all the capabilities for receiving instruction, cultured and willing teachers abound, and the book of Nature is open; but the hearts of the scholars are so imbrued in paltry games of chance for counters of gold that shadowy excitement is preferred to the glory of substantial truth. The acquisition and use of knowledge is the true object of the school, but so habitual have the loose habits of the scholars become, and so relentless is Nemesis, that the school is now with flippant seriousness falsely called a mere place of probation for the higher spheres of another life. It is not so; it is not so. The earth is one of the mansions of heaven, but the mansion needs to be swept of all dogmas and false prejudices, and then to be garnished with truth according to the original architectural design.
The higher the goal the slower the evolution - Man's nearness to Nature - Nature is a sustainer, not a destroyer - Man's partnership with Nature - True man and the Deity.
IT is in accordance with the laws in Nature that the higher the goal of any development the slower is the evolution of upward gradation. The productions of Nature for mere animal food pass through all their processes in far less than a year. This is not only the case with fodder for beasts, but with corn, herbs, and vegetables for the use of man. The actual necessities of life - and all actual necessities of life are produced by Nature - pass through their requisite processes of evolution, not in the shortest possible time, but in the shortest time possible consistent with established laws of development. In the first stage following the natural productions necessary to life comes fruit proper, which is more a luxury than a necessity. It is decidedly a higher state of development in the vegetable world, and such fruit is never borne within one year from the seed. Among fruits themselves it is the rule that the greater the natural luxury the slower is the evolution from seed to fruit. The goal of development in the animal world is higher than that in the vegetable, and therefore the evolution from birth to maturity is much more gradual. Animals that are the natural food of man reach their maturity far sooner than those that are evidently for his pleasure and commercial use. The highest stage of all animal life is that of man, and his development from birth to maturity is most remarkable in its evolutionary difference from that of all other animals. If his goal of development be high in proportion to his rate of evolution - in reference to his human manhood alone - that goal inconceivably transcends all earth-life. Of all helpless life, a child's is the most remarkably helpless. Every stage of progress in a child's life is a distinct series of evolutionary development. By this gradual process the knowledge and use of its own senses are acquired. By the same slow process the mind asserts its superiority over the body, and the soul over the mind. By the same process of evolutionary development the individual locates himself in society. By the selfsame process society advances civilization, and by the same slow process civilization brings man to his natural goal. All life and all conditions of life move onward stage by stage. All progress is by development and the slower the development the higher the goal. No development is so slow as man's, but he can no more be debarred from his ultimate goal than the harvests of autumn can be completely denied to the world through any locally unfavourable summer.
There is no important invention of man whose leading principle has not been borrowed from Nature. From the highest to the lowest of his mechanical contrivances of any commercial value, all are shaped according to her models. His most gigantic servants are her own forces utilized. The acts that must ennoble him are done in accordance with her laws. She is the necessary associate of all his highest pleasures; the least satisfying of all his joys are the artificial productions of society. He is not the original modeller of one single useful machine, nor the first designer of a single work of art. The sweet harmonies of song are her musical echoes. All that is best in man's work' is confessedly copied from Nature, and the nearer to Nature the nobler the work. The distinguished actor holds the mirror up to Nature, but he who writes verses without her inspiration is a poetaster. Even toys are not acceptable to childhood when not an imitation of her handiwork. To know her is to be wise; to be acquainted with her secrets is to have favour from heaven. She is greater than man - her son, her heir, and her master. What can be the greatness of Him who created her ! If man be so associated with Nature in all his material conditions, what are the probabilities of his association with her in her superlative greatness ? All his material benefits come from her or through her; can it be supposed that these benefits terminate with the material ? All her laws are at his service; can their only or highest use be to win for him his daily bread ? All her forces are at his disposal; can that only be that he may eat, drink, and be merry, then die like a dog ? Does she produce pleasure for him only that he may dream the happy hours away ? Is it possible that Nature herself, in all her architectural grandeur and law-regulated actions of inconceivably high merit, has been created and supported for the temporary use of man with the ultimate fate of being hurled into oblivion with all humanity in her inexpressible wreck!
The design, the work and fate are nobler far !
It is the mockery of the highest friendship to doubt the sympathy of Nature. To fear her elements does not make them fearful. We tremble at her earthquakes, her thunders and her lightnings; look in awe upon her volcanoes, and behold with admiration the movements of her seas; but we wrong her when we say she destroys life, and it is scandalizing her good name to assert that, either through the greedy grave or the insatiable sea, she voraciously entombs the dead while gloating over the miseries of the living. 'Tis false ! 'tis false! Her true position in creation is not to foster death, but life; for out of her bosom all life comes, except the breath of man. Seeds and bodies are not thrown into her lap for corruption, but that they may be warmed into productive life of a higher and more fruitful grade. Nature is a sustainer not a destroyer, and as such is in the closest sympathy with man. There is no true analogy that does not show she favours him in the minutest things, and places all her powers at his disposal, including the knowledge, use, and control of vibrations.
Man can never do better than go hand-in-glove with Nature. The closer he walks with her, the less shakeable will his beliefs in her become, because he will see that the benefits of partnership are all on his side. Wherever his powers and her resources amalgamate, he prospers; failure results where he declines her assistance, and disaster follows opposition to her. This is not only true in regard to her strictly material forces, but in respect to all moral obligations that bind man to the obedience of her laws. All moral laws are bye-laws in Nature, inasmuch as they are all comprehended by dominant natural laws. Into the centre of every society and the inner recesses of every motive the same principles of law penetrate, and moral obligations can no more be violated with impunity than can the most violently-active laws in Nature themselves The system is too complete, too perfect, to admit of a single flaw as to its mechanism, a doubt of its perfection in arrangement, or the possibility of failure of its action in any emergency. Nature is immovably true to herself, and is substantially true to her confidants, in whatever part of creation they are. Her powers may be secrets to man, but in no possible respect can man keep a secret from her.
A person yearning for true affection is often grievously misunderstood. Nature is ever trying to charm man into placing confidence in her, and he never does so without getting solace of mind, if not surcease of sorrow. She wraps the earth in snow and hardbound frosts, not that she may show a cold heart or callous exterior, but that, she may protect the life-heat in the soil, that, when the winter is gone, the beauty and glory of the resurrection of plants and flowers may rejoice his heart with the reassuring hope of a plenteous harvest. As the loveliness and fertility of the earth reappear, she draws her manifold charms around him, and invites him to nestle in her kindly embrace. With healthy odours she perfumes the air he inhales: her enchanting melodies beguile the tedium of his mercenary chains: her bewitching smiles, as with magician's power, dispel the artificial gleams of grovelling joys. The more intimate man becomes with Nature, the purer and nobler he feels, for she is altogether lovely, sympathetic and genuine. There can be no mistake about Nature being in sympathy with man.
Not only is Nature but God in direct etheric communication with man, and therefore there must be sympathy common to both. 'Man is only evil, and that continually. There is none righteous, no, not one.' Several such Scripture quotations, almost proving sympathy between God and man to be impossible, might be cited. It is not paradoxical to say that the quoted words are true, and the facts which are the very opposite are also true. The words are true in regard to man's second nature, or habit; but they are utterly untrue about the tone man. We are not by nature the offscouring of creation. Though we publicly call ourselves miserable sinners, we secretly know our tongues in the utterance belie our souls. Let a man think of any of the qualities which he rightly attributes to the Deity, and then let him examine his higher nature, and he will find that same quality is strong in himself. We, for instance, ascribe the highest sympathy to the Deity: now, from the highest to the lowest born human being this is an innate and indwelling power that can never be, under any experience, entirely taken out of the human breast. The bond of sympathy cannot be broken, and a display of genuine sympathy on the part of one person never fails to touch another observer of it. We ascribe beauty and purity in their highest sense to Divinity, but in the utmost degradation of physical and moral filth a man loathsome in his own estimation breathes more freely and aspires with renewed hope at the presence of beauty and purity which formerly, with a kind of blind ruthlessness, he may have trampled on. Man's true nature is undoubtedly in genuine accord with all that is pure and beautiful, and these are godlike conditions. So it is with all the qualities of God: man himself undoubtedly shares them. The breath of God is the breath of man, and the sympathies of God are the sympathies of man. Can this be so, and yet no connection exist between them ? If there be communication, can it be but as a blind guide to the blind ? Intelligent sympathy intelligibly exists everywhere, yet can it be believed that the omniscient Creator neglected to prescribe some intelligent guidance to the communicator ! Blind perversion alone can permit doubt for a moment that mortal man is in direct, intelligent and intelligible communication with eternal God.
Universal sorrow and law - Masquerade of the love of truth - Speech of Nature - Children and Nature - Vis inertiae in ether - The voice of God - Simplicity in Nature - The still small voice.
WHAT seems a strong barrier against believing in this omnipresent sympathy is the permitted existence of universal sorrow. There is not a human being without his sorrow. Why does the Deity permit, if, indeed, He does not create, this sorrow? The Deity, to whom all things are presumably possible, could in a moment transform the grief-stricken condition of mankind into one of unalloyed happiness. Why does He not do it ? Simply because such an action would be in direct contravention of His whole established system. He rules His universe by laws that dovetail, as it were, into each other with the minutest exactness. The collision of one law with another is an impossibility. They are not living beings with feelings, but instruments of the finest adjusted Mechanism. Their duties and courses are prescribed, and successful opposition to their action is utterly impossible. All misery. and joy come according to law, and are never specially produced contrary to law. If the people who are acknowledged to have received their misery by heredity were classed by themselves, the multitude would be very great. Of the still very many left, a vast number could be grouped who had indubitably and wilfully, or carelessly, violated some law in Nature, and so originated their sorrow; and there is little doubt but that the misery of the remainder might be accounted for by the ignorant violation of these laws, which do their work irrespective of knowledge or ignorance. There is not a single human unhappiness that can justly be laid to the charge of the Governor of the universe. Statistics show that one out of every four of the population of London is underfed, and the incalculable attendant miseries demand the sympathies of humanity, yet on what conceivable grounds can the Deity be blamed for this lamentable condition ? While everywhere showing evidence of sympathy, He as universally shows government of unswerving equity. He could only change the unhappy condition of mankind by changing His laws; but His laws, suitable to the mechanism of the world, are, like Himself, unchangeable, and could not even be opposed for such ends without cataclysmic consequences far worse than the evils now existing. His laws are inexorable, but His ways are not past finding out, and if man will not learn His ways now - a thing he is capable of doing by his own free will and sufficient inborn knowledge - then by law itself, and by law alone, man's perfection and ultimate goal will be attained by the regular and ordinary process of natural development, and not by any miraculous interposition of Providence. His ways are just and systematic, and without any violation of His established system of government. He will help man with the concurrence of law only. Chaotic anarchy could be the only result of interference with this law-controlled natural development. Even in mundane matters it would be bad policy to liberate a nation of slaves at a moment's notice, and dire results could only follow the folly of opening and setting free the inmates of the prisons and madhouses of civilized countries.
The fervency of the present-day desire for knowledge of things supernatural degenerates, as a rule, into a love of palmistry, fortunetelling, belief in dreams, etc. This is a miserable masquerade of the love of truth - a mere pantomimic school of knowledge, having its playground on the very shallows of the depths of wisdom, with a natural net result of disappointment. Surely, this is a feeble resort for the divine mind of man. He who can command the forces of Nature, and successfully seek the assistance of her laws, can be little ennobled by trying to unravel the tangled skein of the conglomerate ideas of existence in a dream. The whole book of intelligent Nature lies open before him expressly for his edification yet he prefers to study the lines in his hands, and cannot see his descent from the sublime to the ridiculous. All the pleasures and powers of the universe are at his beck and call, but he can find time only to grovel for gold, the getting of which only creates an unsatisfying thirst for more. He prefers the bubbles of his own creation to the substantialities of God's, and cries like a disappointed baby when his bubbles burst. There are none so blind as those who will not see. Man, seek Nature and see God.
Although Nature is not the source, she is undoubtedly the reservoir of all true power and sympathy, as she is of all beauty. A very ignorant person indeed may see that these powers and sympathies penetrate far beyond her material boundaries, and are inexhaustible, from the hopes and new aspirations breathed on man by her morning air, to the soothing calmness of her still night. Man is, consciously or unconsciously, continuously inhaling bracing health, high spirits, mental pleasures, reinvigoration of mind and body, peace of soul and universal sympathy. As from her man copies all his inventions, she is the mother of thought and the matrix of fact. Of course, Nature is not confined to our crusted earth, but embraces, at least, all terrestrial influences. Ideas are constantly suggested to man by her appearances and thoughts generated by her influences, but it is not supposed by anyone that she actually speaks with articulated language. All people admit that Nature speaks, meaning thereby that she figuratively speaks, and that is exactly what this philosophy maintains in this respect, and its object is to show that this figure of speech in Nature is systematic and translatable. Seeing that any man of any age, country or language can understand and translate it for himself, it stands to reason that it must be a methodically arranged simple figure of speech. It must first be remembered that Nature speaks no language but her own, and it is a foreign tongue in no country. As she speaks to all people in one tongue, so she speaks to all the senses of man in the same tongue. There is neither complexity nor variableness with her. Like her Maker, she never changes, because she is law-bound. The alphabet of the language is simplicity itself, easier far than the dots and dashes of the Morse system of telegraphy. Her language is plain truth, without duplicity and without figures. Every man knows it better than any man can describe it. In a series of mentally compared ideas, one of the ideas must have been anterior to the others which doubtless arise by association. But association could not have originated the first idea. What caused it ? I look at a mountain and say it is big: how did the idea of size get into my mind ? I immediately associate the idea of its being big in comparison with another mountain I think of. The idea of the size of the second mountain comes distinctly after the idea of the size of the first. The first idea of size did not come by association: how did it come? Nature distinctly produced the first idea through the methods of her own speech. She telegraphed it by mutually recognised signs. When my eyes observe a colour they are acted on by a fixed series of vibrations, that is Nature's speech for naming the colour; and the same series of vibrations to any eye would be the language for the same colour. So her speech addresses the ear, and so it addresses the eye and all man's senses. When my eyes behold the mountain, they are materially affected by a certain series of variations of vibrations, and that is the signal-expressed language of Nature for speaking the size of the mountain. Exactly by this same means Nature is constantly speaking and declaring the everlasting truth of God. She addresses all the senses, so that the deaf may still see her, and the blind may still hear her, therefore ignorance can be no excuse. When are innocent children happier than when frolicking freely with Nature? They go hand-in-hand with her, think with her and speak to her in their prattling ways, and she fondles them and breathes upon them the beauties of health and the confiding sympathies of life. The children and Nature intelligibly understand each other. They are so anxious to embrace her that they romp and bound with an inspiring elasticity of mind and body that she alone can bestow. Old Mother Nature is specially fond of the children, because they never mistrust her like the skin-and-bone old gold-seekers who have retired to live upon their care-gathered disappointments, and watch with greedy envy the rich resources of the young who revel in Nature's luxuries, whence love of gold has not yet tempted them. Oh that the children would never forget the language that Nature teaches them, the sympathy that she instills into them, the innocence that she wraps them in, the knowledge that she gives them, and the inspiring hopes she ennobles them with.
All the laws that govern the conditions of matter, and all the principles inherent or adherent to matter, hold good in the mind, because mind by material connection, physically necessary, is only a continuation of matter. The natural element in which the mind subsists is the material ether, just as air is the element of living animals. The mental senses, emotions, and all mental conditions, are the resultants of the vibrations of ether acting on what may be called for the time the mental senses, which are affected exactly as the physical senses are. To put it another way, the ether is the clockwork of the machinery by which the indications or conditions of the mind are originated, continued, and made known. The ether, as has been said, is material, and, therefore, all the principles of His inertial are as true in its metaphysical region as in its physical. As matter at rest it cannot move itself, nor as matter in motion can it bring itself to rest. Every motion of it is some intelligible vibratory code-signal. The force required to generate motion in it is not inconceivably small; for force is not necessarily small because the medium or active agent of it is invisible. Think of the storms caused by the invisible force, wind; think of the invisible force, wind, being caused by the invisible force, heat; think of the invisible force, heat, being caused by the invisible force, vibration. Surely ether, the most attenuated and volatile of known substances, will be much more easily disturbed than the ocean or the air. A thought already in the mind will cause commotion in the ether; vibrations from the light of truth will move it, the wind of the spirit or the breath of the soul will disturb it; the motion of an angel's wing, the memory of the dead, the influence of the living, or the will of man or the will of God: there is force enough in any conceivable influence to agitate this tenuous matter. A word or look is sufficient to ruffle the temper of a neighbour, and to cause unlimited disturbance. No violent material explosion is necessary to absolutely destroy the happiness of a home, or to set nations at war. Great effects are constantly taking place that have no material or apparent cause, and yet they are caused; more easily than any of these is the production of vibratory agitation of the subtle ether, to which all the principles of matter are common.
This paragraph, by its small human comparisons, may seem the product of an irreverent mind, but there is no irreverence, seeing that to the pure all things are pure, and no earnest, honest search for truth can be too bold, nor can it give cause of offense to God or true man. If there be a God, why does He not say so in plainly articulated language? Such a question may be honestly enough asked, but it seems a practical absurdity, for if a voice from heaven were this day to declare the truth in all languages, it would fail in its object. The simple hearing of the voice would be a physical impossibility, and the reception of the intelligence would soon be put down as some delusive natural phenomenon. The voice would have to be repeated from day to day for the sake of rising generations, until the demands of the ever-multiplying dialects caused the huge Babel to be looked upon by man as the source of unintelligible thunder.
Suppose the sacred declaration of Jehovah to be depicted in the sky with beautiful stars artistically arranged in plain English. In common fairness to others, it would be written likewise in other languages. Even this would not please the unbelievers of this advertising age, no matter what the design of the sky-signs might be. If, as we believe, we are the sons of God, it is God's duty - be it reverently said - to speak to us. If we are His children, He ought to be at our beck and call in all seasons. To all, His declaration about Himself must, Godlike, be simple, that none may plead ignorance; He must speak to all and not to a favoured few; His communication must be constant and intermittent, lest in the intervals some soul might perish. By what language can all this be done ? Not, assuredly, by any human tongue or human pen. No inspiration of any prophet, nor of all the prophets combined, can be sufficiently simple, universal, and continuous. No human revelation by the Deity Himself could answer. There is but one voice sufficient, and that voice is the voice of Nature - the voice of God. It is constantly spoken in and to each individual man by the vibratory signals used everywhere and understood by everybody. By the individual whispers received by each man from Nature, and not from the talk or writings of fellow-men, each individual man knows the truth. The proof of the spoken word is in and around every man, stronger than the logic of all languages. - To every one of ten thousand strangers I maintain there have been parents, and if you ask me to prove my simple assertion, I think I do well to content myself with saying, 'There must be,' and so, too, to the question, 'Is there a God who is our Father?' I say, 'There must be.'
The grandeur of simplicity adorns everything in Nature. She makes no mysteries nor delights in any of the eccentricities that man, with his coloured spectacles of doubt and prejudice, is always looking for. Her awe-inspiring grandeur her scenes of exquisite beauty, her soft zephyrs and howling winds, her thunder and lightning, her storms and calms, her manifold appearances and strange transitions, are all,and ever whispering to everyone the sweet secrets of life, and yet, in reality, she has no more power of speech than the tongue of a dead man. The body of man is fearfully and wonderfully made, but when the breath of life goes out of it, what then ? The senses are senseless then, and beauty soon decays into very loathsomeness. So take from Nature her life, and the destruction of her nerve system would result, and creation would crumble into inanition and chaos like a loathsome corpse. That secret action called life which permeates the living body distributes its influence throughout the whole nerve system of creation, and when that influence is withdrawn from any part that part is dead. That secret action which distinguishes life from death is the life or breath of God, that is, the essential part of His own eternal existence, for the word ' breath ' is but a poor, weak, human, comparative equivalent. Whether it be called ' life, breath,' or soul, it is that force or power in the Deity which is essential to His eternal being. All life has, in some degree, this same power, and the dissolution of it from any body resolves that body into something else, just as water dissolved into oxygen and hydrogen no more remains water. Now, all natural forces are used for working the laws of Nature or for defensively lying latent in the channels of their operation, and as this is an active force it cannot lie latent, but is used for the operation of those laws which control life. Thus, the essential part of the Deity's own existence is in constant controlling communication - its own action being controlled by law - with all life, and consequently the universal ether is immediately under His influence, and all transmitted influences - are correctly recorded on Nature that, being law-bound, cannot err, when man - a free-will agent to a limited extent may fail in his correct reception of them. Both to Nature and to man these influences, including the thoughts of the Deity and eternal truth, are universally transmitted by the same vibratory signals. What man receives from Nature is a secondary transmission, but, nevertheless, her voice is the voice of God, and as such speaks to us most distinctly in all that is pure, lovely, and beautiful, whether in herself or in copied works of art.
To the pure in heart, to those susceptible of the ennobling influences of the beautiful, to true lovers of the highest ideal, to those who earnestly desire genuine sympathy, this still, small voice is most audible. Independent of darkness, distance, and time, it vibrates on the ethereal wing from the throne of the highest to the heart of the humblest. It is re-echoed by the majesty of the sea, the grandeur of the mountains, the beauty of a solitary flower, the sympathetic smile of a fellow-creature. It is respoken by the solemn silence of night as well as by the genial brightness of the day. The stars twinkle it forth, the birds sing it, the bees hum it, every living creature and inanimate object declares it continually to the eye and ear, and to all 'the senses of mind and body.