No man, however gross and material he may be, can avoid leading a double existence; one in the visible universe, the other in the invisible. The life-principle which animates his physical frame is chiefly in the astral body; and while the more animal portions of him rest, the more spiritual ones know neither limits nor obstacles. We are perfectly aware that many learned, as well as the unlearned, will object to such a novel theory of the distribution of the life-principle. They would prefer remaining in blissful ignorance and go on confessing that no one knows or can pretend to tell whence and whither this mysterious agent appears and disappears, than to give one moment’s attention to what they consider old and exploded theories. Some might object on the ground taken by theology, that dumb brutes have no immortal souls, and hence, can have no astral spirits; for theologians as well as laymen labor under the erroneous impression that soul and spirit are one and the same thing.

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But if we study Plato and other philosophers of old, we may readily perceive that while the “irrational soul,” by which Plato meant our astral body, or the more ethereal representation of ourselves, can have at best only a more or less prolonged continuity of existence beyond the grave; the divine spirit — wrongly termed soul, by the Church — is immortal by its very essence. (Any Hebrew scholar will readily appreciate the distinction who comprehends the difference between the two words ruah and nephesh.) If the life-principle is something apart from the astral spirit and in no way connected with it, why is it that the intensity of the clairvoyant powers depends so much on the bodily prostration of the subject? The deeper the trance, the less signs of life the body shows, the clearer become the spiritual perceptions, and the more powerful are the soul’s visions. The soul, disburdened of the bodily senses, shows activity of power in a far greater degree of intensity than it can in a strong, healthy body. Brierre de Boismont gives repeated instances of this fact. The organs of sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing are proved to become far acuter in a mesmerized subject deprived of the possibility of exercising them bodily, than while he uses them in his normal state.

Such facts alone, once proved, ought to stand as invincible demonstrations of the continuity of individual life, at least for a certain period after the body has been left by us, either by reason of its being worn out or by accident. But though during its brief sojourn on earth our soul may be assimilated to a light hidden under a bushel, it still shines more or less bright and attracts to itself the influences of kindred spirits; and when a thought of good or evil import is begotten in our brain, it draws to it impulses of like nature as irresistibly as the magnet attracts iron filings. This attraction is also proportionate to the intensity with which the thought-impulse makes itself felt in the ether; and so it will be understood how one man may impress himself upon his own epoch so forcibly, that the influence may be carried — through the ever-interchanging currents of energy between the two worlds, the visible and the invisible — from one succeeding age to another, until it affects a large portion of mankind.

How much the authors of the famous work entitled the Unseen Universe may have allowed themselves to think in this direction, it would be difficult to say; but that they have not told all they might will be inferred from the following language:

“Regard it as you please, there can be no doubt that the properties of the ether are of a much higher order in the arcana of nature than those of tangible matter. And, as even the high priests of science still find the latter far beyond their comprehension, except in numerous but minute

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and often isolated particulars, it would not become us to speculate further. It is sufficient for our purpose to know from what the ether certainly does, that it is capable of vastly more than any has yet ventured to say.”

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