THE TRADITIONALLY Those people who are satisfied with their inherited belief in immortality are perhaps to be congratulated. The only trouble is that it is the characteristic of this age to challenge not only this, but all other traditional opinions; and when these challenged people find it difficult to give an account of themselves, this diffi culty starts doubts which are not easily set at rest. Most Christians, I suppose, have accepted the belief as a part of their inherited religion. But the basis of the great doctrines of the churches is being tested and re-examined as never before in the history of the world. So there are thousands of people to-day who feel no real assurance in regard to this matter; and perhaps the number is increasing. Such as they are intensely interested in anything that seems to have a bearing on the settlement of this great problem. While lesser minds and superficial thinkers are treating lightly the work in which the Society for Psychical Research is engaged, some of the greatest men of the time look a little more deeply into the questions concerned, and appreciate fully what is at stake. Mr. Gladstone accepted an hon orary membership in this society, - hon orary, because he was too busy to do any work, but was glad to have his name as sociated with it. Now Mr. Gladstone,
as all the world knows, was one of the foremost statesmen of his age. He held in his hand problems of war and peace, not only touching Europe, but all the world. He was a Churchman from head to foot, a professed believer in all the great orthodox doctrines of the Estab lished Church. He was a great brain, a pure heart, a keen controversialist. He was a statesman weighing the changes, the institutions, the growth of nations. He was keenly interested in all problems that concerned the progress of humanity. In accepting the honorary membership re ferred to, he writes: "It [that is, the work of the Society] is the most important work which is being done in the world, - by far the most important." While not taking any active part in its investigations, for reasons which are sat isfactory to himself, Professor Shaler, of Cambridge, already referred to in these pages, says in his book, The Individual, page 318: "The only direct evidence that can claim scientific inquiry which goes to show the persistence of the individual after the body dies, is that afforded by the so-called occult phenomena, by the alleged appearance of spirits or communi cation with what appear to some inquirers to be the minds of the departed."