PRACTICAL UNIVERSALITY OF SPIRITISTIC Let us now turn for a little and con sider the spiritistic theory. It is an axiom of science that one must keep to the nearest and most seemingly natural theory in attempting to explain facts which are not yet scientifically accounted for. We must not explain the unknown by something else which is still more un known. But it seems to me that a rea sonable claim may be set up in favour of the statement that the spiritistic theory is nearer to the natural and normal than such an expansion of the telepathic as would seem necessary to account for the facts with which we are dealing.
It is practically true that all men every where have always believed in con tinued existence after death. It is the teaching of all the religions of the world. It is bound up with the deepest loves and dearest hopes of the human heart. Now if this hope have a substantial basis, - that is, if all the people who have ever lived on this earth are living still, and if they are not far away somewhere in the deeps of space, - then what more natural than that they should attempt to come into communication with and influence the lives of those whom they used to know here? If they are living at all, there is no longer any reason for suppos ing that they are away off, shut up in certain places called heavens or hells. This earth of ours is as near to heaven and near to God as any of the planets in space. There is no reason, then, why we
should suppose that the former inhabit ants of this earth may not be near to us, provided they are living at all. It is within the limits of the conceivable and rational also that they should be in some way embodied. Paul said: "There is a natural body and there is a pneumatical body." I do not offer this phrase as au thority. I simply say that so far as any science can tell us to the contrary, it may be true. The intelligence which once animated the body of a friend here may still be the animating principle of an ethereal body unspeakably more real and powerful than that which used to clothe it, and still it be not cognisable by our senses. I do not say that these things are so. I simply assert that they may be. The only person in the universe which ever does things is either a human being or a being with quasi-human in telligence. We have no knowledge of intelligently exercised force except such as is under the guidance of a human or quasi-human will. I submit, then, that on the supposition that people do live through the fact of, and after death, the theory of their agency in accomplishing the things which we are discussing is much more simple and natural than any other which has been brought forward.