SPIRITISM AND SPECIAL PROVIDENCES.
If we believe that we are surrounded by a spiritual universe, that our friends may at times be near us, and occasionally may be able to render us assistance of one kind or another, this would rationally ex plain the stories of which the world is full, of interventions on behalf of people in need or in danger. Such things as these by a certain class of believers are looked upon as special providences, - that is, God is supposed to interfere now and then in behalf of a certain person while others who are in danger are passed by. Sometimes a person's life is saved from a threatened danger in what seems to be an unaccountable way, and at the same time the life is of no special value to the world. On the other hand, another per son, who seems to be greatly needed, be comes the victim of some tragedy. Of course the scientific temper of the modern world is inclined to pass these things over without taking account of them at all. There are, however, a great many who believe that God does specially interpose in behalf of them or their personal friends. I have known of a great many cases where this belief has been held. It seems to me that, granting that such happenings do occur, we can hardly believe that God is directly concerned in them. Waiving for the moment the difficulties that our modern theory of the universe presents to belief in Divine interference, it is hardly consistent with our highest trust in God. We cannot think that He is partial; that He would save one person and let another suffer peril. This seems to us unaccount able when, so far as we can see, the one who is not delivered from danger may be the very one whose life would be specially valuable to his friends and the world. But if we have personal friends in the in visible, and if we suppose that they may be present and sometimes able to render assistance, then this theory would ration ally account for the facts. If a person was
saved from some special danger, it might mean that a friend happened then to be present and able to render assistance. If not, then the friend might not be present, or might not be able to help. Things like this are constantly occurring in this world. Over and over again a man is saved from some imminent danger by the presence and assistance of a friend, but it does not depend upon the question as to whether his life is valuable or not. It simply depends upon the question as to whether his friend happened to be with him and able to render him the service required. Even though we have those who love us in the other world and though they might be ready to do for us anything possible, we cannot think that they are by our side always, or that they would always have the power to do what the oc casion called for. This whole considera tion may seem to some of my readers fanciful in the extreme. I refer to it, however, because I have happened to know a large number of experiences which have raised a question of this sort in the minds of those who have passed through them. These persons have not been fanciful or imaginative people. They would not naturally publish these things to those who might look upon them as a sign of weakness of mind. But that there are such cases, and a great many of them, I happen to know.
It may be important to note briefly a few objections to the spiritistic theory, which, so far as my study of these mat ters is concerned, have been frequently brought up.