Aristotle maintains that this gas, or astral emanation, escaping from inside the earth, is the sole sufficient cause, acting from within outwardly for the vivification of every living being and plant upon the external crust. In answer to the skeptical negators of his century, Cicero, moved by a just wrath, exclaims: “And what can be more divine than the exhalations of the earth, which affect the human soul so as to enable her to predict the future? And could the hand of time evaporate such a virtue? Do you suppose you are talking of some kind of wine or salted meat?” Do modern experimentalists claim to be wiser than Cicero, and say that this eternal force has evaporated, and that the springs of prophecy are dry?

All the prophets of old — inspired sensitives — were said to be uttering their prophecies under the same conditions, either by the direct outward efflux of the astral emanation, or a sort of damp fluxion, rising from the earth. It is this astral matter which serves as a temporary clothing of the souls who form themselves in this light. Cornelius Agrippa expresses the same views as to the nature of these phantoms by describing it as moist or humid: “In spirito turbido HUMIDOQUE.”

Prophecies are delivered in two ways — consciously, by magicians who are able to look into the astral light; and unconsciously, by those

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who act under what is called inspiration. To the latter class belonged and belong the Biblical prophets and the modern trance-speakers. So familiar with this fact was Plato, that of such prophets he says: “No man, when in his senses, attains prophetic truth and inspiration . . . but only when demented by some distemper or possession . . .” (by a daimonion or spirit). “Some persons call them prophets; they do not know that they are only repeaters . . . and are not to be called prophets at all, but only transmitters of vision and prophecy,” — he adds.

In continuation of his argument, Mr. Cox says: “The most ardent spiritualists practically admit the existence of psychic force, under the very inappropriate name of magnetism (to which it has no affinity whatever), for they assert that the spirits of the dead can only do the acts attributed to them by using the magnetism (that is, the psychic force) of the mediums.”

Here, again, a misunderstanding arises in consequence of different names being applied to what may prove to be one and the same imponderable compound. Because electricity did not become a science till the eighteenth century, no one will presume to say that this force has not existed since the creation; moreover, we are prepared to prove that even the ancient Hebrews were acquainted with it. But, merely because exact science did not happen before 1819 to stumble over the discovery which showed the intimate connection existing between magnetism and electricity, it does not at all prevent these two agents being identical. If a bar of iron can be endowed with magnetic properties, by passing a current of voltaic electricity over some conductor placed in a certain way close to the bar, why not accept, as a provisional theory, that a medium may also be a conductor, and nothing more, at a seance? Is it unscientific to say that the intelligence of “psychic force,” drawing currents of electricity from the waves of the ether, and employing the medium as a conductor, develops and calls into action the latent magnetism with which the atmosphere of the seance-room is saturated, so as to produce the desired effects? The word magnetism is as appropriate as any other, until science gives us something more than a merely hypothetical agent endowed with conjectural properties.

“The difference between the advocates of psychic force and the spiritualists consists in this,” says Sergeant Cox, “that we contend that there is as yet insufficient proof of any other directing agent than the intelligence of the medium, and no proof whatever of the agency of the ‘spirits’ of the dead.”

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We fully agree with Mr. Cox as to the lack of proof that the agency is that of the spirits of the dead; as for the rest, it is a very extraordinary deduction from “a wealth of facts,” according to the expression of Mr. Crookes, who remarks further, “On going over my notes, I find . . . such a superabundance of evidence, so overwhelming a mass of testimony . . . that I could fill several numbers of the Quarterly.

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