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To the same.

Wayland, 1879.
I think there is sufficient evidence of another state of existence, and of the possibility of communication. But beyond this glimpse, I think it is all precarious and unreliable. One had better spend his life in [253] chasing shadows than in seeking for these “manifestations.” But I agree with Victor Hugo, who says: “To elude a phenomenon, to turn our backs upon it laughing, is to make bankruptcy of truth. The phenomenon of the ancient tripod, and of the modern table-turning, has a claim to be observed, like all other phenomena. Root out the worthless weeds of error, but harvest the facts. When was chaff made a pretext for refusing the wheat?”

Science pronounces it entirely illogical to suppose that we exist as individuals after our bodies are resolved into the elements. But logic is a science extremely narrow in its limitations. There may be phases of existence as much beyond its cognizance as birds are beyond the observation of fishes. Since Emerson and Tennyson have been evolved out of the original cave men, it does not seem to me irrational to suppose that a continuity of the process may produce seraphs. I know that the theory of evolution is a continual changing of forms, and that each form, in giving place to another, loses its own identity. But when evolution has arrived at such a stage as man, a being capable of conceiving of higher planes of existence, may it not have produced a state of things in which continued consciousness through changing forms becomes possible? There is nothing supernatural. All things are produced and governed by universal laws. But the trouble is, an immense domain of those laws is beyond our knowledge. I bow respectfully to Science and I think she is the safest guide we have. But, after all, she does not go very far.

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