THE LAW AND THE WORD
BY T. TROWARD
Late Divisional Judge, Punjab. Honorary member of the Medico-Legal Society of New York. First Vice-President International New Thought Alliance
Author of the "Edinburgh Lectures on Mental Science," etc.
NEW YORK ROBERT M. McBRIDE & COMPANY 1937
COPYRIGHT, 1917 BY S.A. TROWARD
_Published, May, 1917
Eighth Printing, June, 1937_
THE LAW AND THE WORD
PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
I SOME FACTS IN NATURE 1
II SOME PSYCHIC EXPERIENCES 18
III MAN'S PLACE IN THE CREATIVE ORDER 44
IV THE LAW OF WHOLENESS 75
V THE SOUL OF THE SUBJECT 85
VI THE PROMISES 103
VII DEATH AND IMMORTALITY 132
VIII TRANSFERRING THE BURDEN 168
How is one to know a friend? Certainly not by the duration of acquaintance. Neither can friendship be bought or sold by service rendered. Nor can it be coined into acts of gallantry or phrases of flattery. It has no part in the small change of courtesy. It is outside all these, containing them all and superior to them all.
To some is given the great privilege of a day set apart to mark the arrival of a total stranger panoplied with all the insignia of friendship. He comes unannounced. He bears no letter of introduction. No mutual friend can vouch for him. Suddenly and silently he steps unexpectedly out of the shadow of material concern and spiritual obscurity, into the radiance of intimate friendship, as a picture is projected upon a lighted screen. But unlike the phantom picture he is an instant reality that one's whole being immediately recognizes, and the radiance of fellowship that pervades his word, thought and action holds all the essence of long companionship.
Unfortunately there are too few of these bright messengers of God to be met with in life's pilgrimage, but that Judge Troward was one of them will never be doubted by the thousands who are now mourning his departure from among us. Those whose closest touch with him has been the reading of his books will mourn him as a friend only less than those who listened to him on the platform. For no books ever written more clearly expressed the author. The same simple lucidity and gentle humanity, the same effort to discard complicated non-essentials, mark both the man and his books.
Although the spirit of benign friendliness pervades his writings and illuminated his public life, yet much of his capacity for friendship was denied those who were not privileged to clasp hands with him and to sit beside him in familiar confidence. Only in the intimacy of the fireside did he wholly reveal his innate modesty and simplicity of character. Here alone, glamoured with his radiating friendship, was shown the wealth of his richly-stored mind equipped by nature and long training to deal logically with the most profound and abstruse questions of life. Here indeed was proof of his greatness, his unassuming superiority, his humanity, his keen sense of honour, his wit and humour, his generosity and all the characteristics of a rare gentleman, a kindly philosopher and a true friend.
To Judge Troward was given the logician's power to strip a subject bare of all superfluous and concealing verbiage, and to exhibit the gleaming jewels of truth and reality in splendid simplicity. This supreme quality, this ability to make the complex simple, the power to subordinate the non-essential, gave to his conversation, to his lectures, to his writings, and in no less degree to his personality, a direct and charming naivete that at once challenged attention and compelled confidence and affection.
His sincerity was beyond question. However much one might differ from him in opinion, at least one never doubted his profound faith and complete devotion to truth. His guileless nature was beyond ungenerous suspicions and selfish ambitions. He walked calmly upon his way wrapped in the majesty of his great thoughts, oblivious to the vexations of the world's cynicism. Charity and reverence for the indwelling spirit marked all his human relations. Tolerance of the opinions of others, benevolence and tenderness dwelt in his every word and act. Yet his careful consideration of others did not paralyze the strength of his firm will or his power to strike hard blows at wrong and error. The search for truth, to which his life was devoted, was to him a holy quest. That he could and would lay a lance in defence of his opinions is evidenced in his writings, and has many times been demonstrated to the discomfiture of assailing critics. But his urbanity was a part of himself and never departed from him.
Not to destroy but to create was his part in the world. In developing his philosophy he built upon the foundation of his predecessors. No good and true stone to be found among the ruins of the past, but was carefully worked into his superstructure of modern thought, radiant with spirituality, to the building of which the enthusiasm of his life was devoted.
To one who has studied Judge Troward, and grasped the significance of his theory of the "Universal Sub-conscious Mind," and who also has attained to an appreciation of Henri Bergson's theory of a "Universal Livingness," superior to and outside the material Universe, there must appear a distinct correlation of ideas. That intricate and ponderously irrefutable argument that Bergson has so patiently built up by deep scientific research and unsurpassed profundity of thought and crystal-clear reason, that leads to the substantial conclusion that man has leapt the barrier of materiality only by the urge of some external pressure superior to himself, but which, by reason of infinite effort, he alone of all terrestrial beings has succeeded in utilizing in a superior manner and to his advantage: this well-rounded and exhaustively demonstrated argument in favour of a super-livingness in the universe, which finds its highest terrestrial expression in man, appears to be the scientific demonstration of Judge Troward's basic principle of the "Universal Sub-conscious Mind." This universal and infinite God-consciousness which Judge Troward postulates as man's sub-consciousness, and from which man was created and is maintained, and of which all physical, mental and spiritual manifestation is a form of expression, appears to be a corollary of Bergson's demonstrated "Universal Livingness." What Bergson has so brilliantly proven by patient and exhaustive processes of science, Judge Troward arrived at by intuition, and postulated as the basis of his argument, which he proceeded to develop by deductive reasoning.
The writer was struck by the apparent parallelism of these two distinctly dissimilar philosophies, and mentioned the discovery to Judge Troward who naturally expressed a wish to read Bergson, with whose writings he was wholly unacquainted. A loan of Bergson's "Creative Evolution" produced no comment for several weeks, when it was returned with the characteristic remark, "I've tried my best to get hold of him, but I don't know what he is talking about." I mention the remark as being characteristic only because it indicates his extreme modesty and disregard of exhaustive scientific research.
The Bergson method of scientific expression was unintelligible to his mind, trained to intuitive reasoning. The very elaborateness and microscopic detail that makes Bergson great is opposed to Judge Troward's method of simplicity. He cared not for complexities, and the intricate minutiae of the process of creation, but was only concerned with its motive power—the spiritual principles upon which it was organized and upon which it proceeds.
Although the conservator of truth of every form and degree wherever found, Judge Troward was a ruthless destroyer of sham and pretence. To those submissive minds that placidly accept everything indiscriminately, and also those who prefer to follow along paths of well-beaten opinion, because the beaten path is popular, to all such he would perhaps appear to be an irreverent iconoclast seeking to uproot long accepted dogma and to overturn existing faiths. Such an opinion of Judge Troward's work could not prevail with any one who has studied his teachings.
His reverence for the fundamental truths of religious faith was profound, and every student of his writings will testify to the great constructive value of his work. He builded upon an ancient foundation a new and nobler structure of human destiny, solid in its simplicity and beautiful in its innate grandeur.
But to the wide circle of Judge Troward's friends he will best and most gloriously be remembered as a teacher. In his magic mind the unfathomable revealed its depths and the illimitable its boundaries; metaphysics took on the simplicity of the ponderable, and man himself occupied a new and more dignified place in the Cosmos. Not only did he perceive clearly, but he also possessed that quality of mind even more rare than deep and clear perception, that clarity of expression and exposition that can carry another and less-informed mind along with it, on the current of its understanding, to a logical and comprehended conclusion.
In his books, his lectures and his personality he was always ready to take the student by the hand, and in perfect simplicity and friendliness to walk and talk with him about the deeper mysteries of life—the life that includes death—and to shed the brilliant light of his wisdom upon the obscure and difficult problems that torment sincere but rebellious minds.
His artistic nature found expression in brush and canvas and his great love for the sea is reflected in many beautiful marine sketches. But if painting was his recreation, his work was the pursuit of Truth wherever to be found, and in whatever disguise.
His life has enriched and enlarged the lives of many, and all those who knew him will understand that in helping others he was accomplishing exactly what he most desired. Knowledge, to him, was worth only what it yielded in uplifting humanity to a higher spiritual appreciation, and to a deeper understanding of God's purpose and man's destiny.
A man, indeed! He strove not for a place, Nor rest, nor rule. He daily walked with God. His willing feet with service swift were shod— An eager soul to serve the human race, Illume the mind, and fill the heart with grace— Hope blooms afresh where'er those feet have trod.
THE LAW AND THE WORD
SOME FACTS IN NATURE
If I were asked what, in my opinion, distinguishes the thought of the present day from that of a previous generation, I should feel inclined to say, it is the fact that people are beginning to realize that Thought is a power in itself, one of the great forces of the Universe, and ultimately the greatest of forces, directing all the others. This idea seems to be, as the French say, "in the air," and this very well expresses the state of the case—the idea is rapidly spreading through many countries and through all classes, but it is still very much "in the air." It is to a great extent as yet only in a gaseous condition, vague and nebulous, and so not leading to the practical results, both individual and collective, which might be expected of it, if it were consolidated into a more workable form. We are like some amateurs who want to paint finished pictures before they have studied the elements of Art, and when they see an artist do without difficulty what they vainly attempt, they look upon him as a being specially favoured by Providence, instead of putting it down to their own want of knowledge. The idea is true. Thought is the great power of the Universe. But to make it practically available we must know something of the principles by which it works—that it is not a mere vaporous indefinable influence floating around and subject to no known laws, but that on the contrary, it follows laws as uncompromising as those of mathematics, while at the same time allowing unlimited freedom to the individual.
Now the purpose of the following pages, is to suggest to the reader the lines on which to find his way out of this nebulous sort of thought into something more solid and reliable. I do not profess, like a certain Negro preacher, to "unscrew the inscrutable," for we can never reach a point where we shall not find the inscrutable still ahead of us; but if I can indicate the use of a screw-driver instead of a hatchet, and that the screws should be turned from left to right, instead of from right to left, it may enable us to unscrew some things which would otherwise remain screwed down tight. We are all beginners, and indeed the hopefulness of life is in realizing that there are such vistas of unending possibilities before us, that however far we may advance, we shall always be on the threshold of something greater. We must be like Peter Pan, the boy who never grew up—heaven defend me from ever feeling quite grown up, for then I should come to a standstill; so the reader must take what I have to say simply as the talk of one boy to another in the Great School, and not expect too much.
The first question then is, where to begin. Descartes commenced his book with the words "Cogito, ergo sum." "I think, therefore I am," and we cannot do better than follow his example. There are two things about which we cannot have any doubt—our own existence, and that of the world around us. But what is it in us that is aware of these two things, that hopes and fears and plans regarding them? Certainly not our flesh and bones. A man whose leg has been amputated is able to think just the same. Therefore it is obvious that there is something in us which receives impressions and forms ideas, that reasons upon facts and determines upon courses of action and carries them out, which is not the physical body. This is the real "I Myself." This is the Person we are really concerned with; and it is the betterment of this "I Myself" that makes it worth while to enquire what our Thought has to do in the matter.
Equally true it is on the other hand that the forces of Nature around us do not think. Steam, electricity, gravitation, and chemical affinity do not think. They follow certain fixed laws which we have no power to alter. Therefore we are confronted at the outset by a broad distinction between two modes of Motion—the Movement of Thought and the Movement of Cosmic Energy—the one based upon the exercise of Consciousness and Will, and the other based upon Mathematical Sequence. This is why that system of instruction known as Free Masonry starts by erecting the two symbolic pillars Jachin and Boaz—Jachin so called from the root "Yak" meaning "One," indicating the Mathematical element of Law; and Boaz, from the root "Awaz" meaning "Voice" indicating Personal element of Free Will. These names are taken from the description in I Kings vii, 21 and II Chron. iii, 17 of the building of Solomon's Temple, where these two pillars stood before the entrance, the meaning being that the Temple of Truth can only be entered by passing between them, that is, by giving each of these factors their due relation to the other, and by realizing that they are the two Pillars of the Universe, and that no real progress can be made except by finding the true balance between them. Law and Personality—these are the two great principles with which we have to deal, and the problem is to square the one with the other.
Let me start, then, by considering some well established facts in the physical world which show how the known Law acts under certain known conditions, and this will lead us on in an intelligible manner to see how the same Law is likely to work under as yet unknown conditions. If we had to deal with unknown laws as well as unknown conditions we should, indeed, be up a gum tree. Fancy a mathematician having to solve an equation, both sides of which were entirely made up of unknown quantities—where would he be? Happily this is not the case. The Law is ONE throughout, and the apparent variety of its working results from the infinite variety of the conditions under which it may work. Let us lay a foundation, then, by seeing how it works in what we call the common course of Nature. A few examples will suffice.
Hardly more than a generation ago it was supposed that the analysis of matter could not be carried further than its reduction to some seventy primary chemical elements, which in various combinations produced all material substances; but there was no explanation how all these different elements came into existence. Each appeared to be an original creation, and there was no accounting for them. But now-a-days, as the rustic physician says in Moliere's play of the "Medecin Malgre Lui," "nous avons change tout cela." Modern science has shown conclusively that every kind of chemical atom is composed of particles of one original substance which appears to pervade all space, and to which the name of Ether has been given. Some of these particles carry a positive charge of electricity and some a negative, and the chemical atom is formed by the grouping of a certain number of negatively charged particles round a centre composed of positive electricity around which they revolve; and it is the number of these particles and the rate of their motion that determines the nature of the atom, whether, for instance, it will be an atom of iron or an atom of hydrogen, and thus we are brought back to Plato's old aphorism that the Universe consists of Number and Motion.
The size of these etheric particles is small beyond anything but abstract mathematical conception. Sir Oliver Lodge is reported to have made the following comparison in a lecture delivered at Birmingham. "The chemical atom," he said, "is as small in comparison to a drop of water as a cricket-ball is compared to the globe of the earth; and yet this atom is as large in comparison to one of its constituent particles as Birmingham town-hall is to a pin's head." Again, it has been said that in proportion to the size of the particles the distance at which they revolve round the centre of the atom is as great as the distance from the earth to the sun. I must leave the realization of such infinite minuteness to the reader's imagination—it is beyond mine.
Modern science thus shows us all material substance, whether that of inanimate matter or that of our own bodies, as proceeding out of one primary etheric substance occupying all space and homogeneous, that is being of a uniform substance—and having no qualities to distinguish one part from another. Now this conclusion of science is important because it is precisely the fact that out of this homogeneous substance particles are produced which differ from the original substance in that they possess positive and negative energy and of these particles the atom is built up. So then comes the question: What started this differentiation?
The electronic theory which I have just mentioned takes us as far as a universal homogeneous ether as the source from which all matter is evolved, but it does not account for how motion originated in it; but perhaps another closely allied scientific theory will help us. Let us, then, turn to the question of Vibrations or Waves in Ether. In scientific language the length of a wave is the distance from the crest of one wave to that of the wave immediately following it. Now modern science recognizes a long series of waves in ether, commencing with the smallest yet known measuring 0.1 micron, or about 1/254,000 of an inch, in length, measured by Professor Schumann in 1893, and extending to waves of many miles in length used in wireless telegraphy—for instance those employed between Clifden in Galway and Glace Bay in Nova Scotia are estimated to have a length of nearly four miles. These infinitesimally small ultra-violet or actinic waves, as they are called, are the principal agents in photography, and the great waves of wireless telegraphy are able to carry a force across the Atlantic which can sensibly affect the apparatus on the other side; therefore we see that the ether of space affords a medium through which energy can be transmitted by means of vibrations.
But what starts the vibrations? Hertz announced his discovery of the electro-magnetic waves, now known by his name, in 1888; but, following up the labours of various other investigators, Lodge, Marconi and others finally developed their practical application after Hertz's death which occurred in 1894. To Hertz, however, belongs the honour of discovering how to generate these waves by means of sudden, sharply defined, electrical discharges. The principle may be illustrated by dropping a stone in smooth water. The sudden impact sets up a series of ripples all round the centre of disturbance, and the electrical impulse acts similarly in the ether. Indeed the fact that the waves flow in all directions from the central impulse is one of the difficulties of wireless telegraphy, because the message may be picked up in any direction by a receiver tuned to the same rate of vibration, and the interest for us consists in the hypothesis that thought-waves act in an analogous manner.
That vibrations are excited by sound is beautifully exemplified by the eidophone, an instrument invented, I believe, by Mrs. Watts-Hughes, and with which I have seen that lady experiment. Dry sand is scattered on a diaphragm on which the eidophone concentrates the vibrations from music played near it. The sand, as it were, dances in time to the music, and when the music stops is found to settle into definite forms, sometimes like a tree or a flower, or else some geometrical figure, but never a confused jumble. Perhaps in this we may find the origin of the legends regarding the creative power of Orpheus' lyre, and also the sacred dances of the ancients—who knows!
Perhaps some critical reader may object that sound travels by means of atmospheric and not etheric waves; but is he prepared to say that it cannot produce etheric waves also. The very recent discovery of transatlantic telephoning tends to show that etheric waves can be generated by sound, for on the 20th of October, 1915, words spoken in New York were immediately heard in Paris, and could therefore only have been transmitted through the ether, for sound travels through the atmosphere only at the rate of about 750 miles an hour, while the speed of impulses through ether can only be compared to that of light or 186,000 miles in a second. It is therefore a fair inference that etheric vibrations can be inaugurated by sound.
Perhaps the reader may feel inclined to say with the Irishman that all this is "as dry as ditch-water," but he will see before long that it has a good deal to do with ourselves. For the present what I want him to realize by a few examples is the mathematical accuracy of Law. The value of these examples lies in their illustration of the fact that the Law can always be trusted to lead us on to further knowledge. We see it working under known conditions, and relying on its unchangeableness, we can then logically infer what it will do under other hypothetical conditions, and in this way many important discoveries have been made. For instance it was in this way that Mendeleef, the Russian chemist, assumed the existence of three then unknown chemical elements, now called Scandium, Gallium and Germanium. There was a gap in the orderly sequence of the chemical elements, and relying on the old maxim—"Natura nihil facit per saltum"—Nature nowhere leaves a gap to jump over—he argued that if such elements did not exist they ought to, and so he calculated what these elements ought to be like, giving their atomic weight, chemical affinities, and the like; and when they were discovered many years later they were found to answer exactly to his description. He prophesied, not by guesswork, but by knowledge of the Law; and in much the same way radium was discovered by Professor and Madame Curie. In like manner Hertz was led to the discovery of the electro-magnetic waves. The celebrated mathematician Clerk-Maxwell had calculated all particulars of these waves twenty-five years before Hertz, on the basis of these calculations, worked out his discovery. Again, Neptune, the outermost known planet of our system was discovered by the astronomer Galle in consequence of calculations made by Leverrier. Certain variations in the movements of the planets were mathematically unaccountable except on the hypothesis that some more remote planet existed. Astronomers had faith in mathematics and the hypothetical planet was found to be a reality. Instances of this kind might be multiplied, but as the French say "a quoi bon?" I think these will be sufficient to convince the reader that the invariable sequence of Law is a factor to be relied upon, and that by studying its working under known conditions we may get at least some measure of light on conditions which are as yet unknown to us.
Let us now pass on to the human subject and consider a few examples of what is usually called the psychic side of our nature. Walt Whitman was quite right when he said that we are not all included between our hat and our boots; we shall find that our modes of consciousness and powers of action are not entirely restricted to our physical body. The importance of this line of enquiry lies in the fact that if we do possess extra-physical powers, these also form part of our personality and must be included in our estimate of our relation to our environment, and it is therefore worth our while to consider them.
Some very interesting experiments have been made by De Rochas, an eminent French scientist, which go to show that under certain magnetic conditions the sensation of physical touch can be experienced at some distance from the body. He found that under these conditions the person experimented on is insensible to the prick of a needle run into his skin, but if the prick is made about an inch-and-a-half away from the surface of the skin he feels it. Again at about three inches from this point he feels the prick of the needle, but is insensible to it in the space between these two points. Then there comes another interval in which no sensation is conveyed, but at about three inches still further away he again feels the sensation, and so on; so that he appears to be surrounded by successive zones of sensation, the first about an inch-and-a-half from the body, and the others at intervals of about three inches each. The number of these zones seems to vary in different cases, but in some there are as many as six or seven, thus giving a radius of sensation, extending to more than twenty inches beyond the body.
Now to explain this we must have recourse to what I have already said about waves. The heart and the lungs are the two centres of automatic rhythmic movement in the body, and each projects its own series of vibrations into the etheric envelope. Those projected by the lungs are estimated to be three times the length of those projected by the heart, while those projected by the heart are three times as rapid as those projected by the lungs. Consequently if the two sets of waves start together the crest of every third wave of the rapid series of short waves will coincide with the crest of one of the long waves of the slower series, while the intermediate short waves will coincide with the depression of one of the long waves. Now the effect of the crest of one wave overtaking that of another going in the same direction, is to raise the two together at that point into a single wave of greater amplitude or height than the original waves had by themselves; if the reader has the opportunity of studying the inflowing of waves on the seabeach he can verify this for himself. Consequently when the more rapid etheric waves overtake the slower ones they combine to form a larger wave, and it is at these points that the zones of sensation occur. If the reader will draw a diagram of two waved lines travelling along the same horizontal line and so proportioned that the crest of each of the large waves coincides with the crest of every third wave of the small ones, he will see what I mean: and if he then recollects that the fall in the larger waves neutralizes the rise in the smaller ones, and that because this double series starts from the interior of the body the surface of the body comes just at one of these neutralized points, he will see why sensation is neutralized there; and he will also see why the succeeding zones of sensation are double the distance from each other that the first one is from the surface of the body; it is simply because the surface of the body cuts the first long wave exactly in the middle, and therefore only half that wave occurs outside the body. This is the explanation given by De Rochas, and it affords another example of that principle of mathematical sequence of which I have spoken. It would appear that under normal conditions the double series of vibrations is spread all over the body, and so all parts are alike sensitive to touch.
I think, then, we may assume on the basis of De Rochas' experiments and others that there are such things as etheric vibrations proceeding from human personality, and in the next chapter I will give some examples showing that the psychic personality extends still further than these experiments, taken by themselves, would indicate—in fact that we possess an additional range of faculties far exceeding those which we ordinarily exercise through the physical body, and which must therefore be included in our conception of ourselves if we are to have an adequate idea of what we really are.
SOME PSYCHIC EXPERIENCES
The preceding chapter has introduced the reader to the general subject of etheric vibration as one of the natural forces of the Universe, both as the foundation of all matter and as the medium for the transmission of energy to immense distances, and also as something continually emanating from human beings. In the present chapter I shall consider it more particularly in this last aspect, which, as included in our own personality, very immediately concerns ourselves. I will commence with an instance of the practical application of this fact. Some years ago I was lunching at the house of Lady —— in company of a well-known mental healer whom I will call Mr. Y. and a well-known London physician whom I will call Dr. W. Mr. Y. mentioned the case of a lady whose leg had been amputated above the knee some years previously to her coming under his care, yet she frequently felt pains in the (amputated) knee and lower part of the left leg and foot. Dr. W. said this was to be attributed to the nerves which convey to the brain the sensation of the extremities, much as a telegraph line might be tapped in the middle, and Mr. Y. agreed that this was perfectly true on the purely physical side. But he went on to say, that accidentally putting his hand where the amputated foot should have been he felt it there. Then it occurred to him that since there was no material foot to be touched, it must be through the medium of his own psychic body that the sensation of touch was conveyed to him, and accordingly he asked the lady to imagine that she was making various movements with the amputated limb, all of which he felt, and was able to tell her what each movement was, which she said he did correctly. Then, to carry the experiment further, he reversed the process and with his hand moved the invisible leg and foot in various ways, all of which the lady felt and described. He then determined to treat the invisible leg as though it were a real one, and joined up the circuit by taking her left foot in his right hand and her right foot (the amputated one) in his left, with the result that she immediately felt relief; and after successive treatments in this way was entirely cured.
A well authenticated case like this opens up a good many interesting questions regarding the Psychic Body, but the most important point appears to me to be that we are able to experience sensation by means of it. In this case, however, and those mentioned in the preceding chapter, the physical body was actually present, and if we stopped at this point, we might question whether its presence was not a sine qua non for the action of the etheric vibrations. I will therefore pass on to a class of examples which show that very curious phenomena can take place without the physical body being on the spot. There are numerous well verified cases of the kind to be found in the records of the Society for Psychical Research and in other books by trustworthy writers; but it may perhaps interest the present reader to hear one or two instances of my personal experience which, though they may not be so striking as some of those recorded by others, still point in the same direction.
My first introduction to Scotland was when I delivered the course of lectures in Edinburgh which led to the publication of my first book, the "Edinburgh Lectures on Mental Science." The following years I gave a second course of lectures in Edinburgh, but the friends who had kindly entertained me on the former occasion had in the meanwhile gone to live elsewhere. However, a certain Mr. S., whose acquaintance I had made on my previous visit, invited me to stay with him for a day or two while I could look round for other accommodation, though, as it turned out, I remained at his house during the whole month I was in Edinburgh. I had, however, never seen his house, which was on the opposite side of the town to where I had stayed before. I arrived there on a Tuesday, and Mr. S. and his family at once met me with the question:
"What were you thinking of at ten o'clock on Sunday evening?"
I could not immediately recall this, and also wanted to know the reason of their question.
"We have something curious to tell you," they replied, "but first try to remember what you were thinking of at ten o'clock on Sunday evening—were you thinking about us?"
Then I recollected that about that time I was saying my usual prayers before going to bed and had asked that, if I could stay only a day or two with Mr. S., I should be directed to a suitable place for the remainder of the time.
"That explains it," they replied; and then they went on to tell me that at the hour in question Mr. S. and his son, a young man of about twenty, had entered their dining-room together and seen me standing leaning against the mantel-shelf. They were both hard-headed Scotchmen engaged in business in Edinburgh, and certainly not the sort of people to conjure up fanciful imaginings, nor is it likely that the same fancy should have occurred to both of them; and therefore I can only suppose that they actually saw what they said they did. Now I myself was in London at the time of this appearance in Edinburgh, of which I had no consciousness whatever; at the same time the fact of my being seen in Edinburgh exactly at the time when my thought, in prayer, was centred upon Mr. S.'s house (which I had not then seen) is a coincidence suggesting that in some way my Thought had made itself visible there in the image of my external personality.
In this case, as I have said, I was not conscious of my psychic visit to Edinburgh, but I will now relate a converse instance, which occurred in connection with my first visit there. At that time I had never been in Scotland, and so far as I knew was never likely to go there. I was wide awake, writing in my study at Norwood, where I then lived, when I suddenly found myself in a place totally unknown to me, where stood the ruins of an ancient abbey, part of which, however, was still roofed over and used as a place of worship. I felt much interested, and among other things I noted a Latin inscription on a tablet in one of the walls. There seemed to be an invisible guide showing me over the place, who then pointed out a long low house opposite the abbey, and said: "This is the house of the clergyman of the abbey"; and I was then taken inside the house and shown a number of antique-looking rooms. Then I came to myself, and found I was sitting at my writing-table in Norwood. I had, however, a clear recollection of the place I had seen, but no idea where it was, or indeed whether any such place really existed. I also remembered a portion of the Latin inscription, which I at once wrote down in a note-book, as my curiosity was aroused.
As I have said, I had no reason at that time to suppose I should ever go to Scotland, but some weeks later I was invited to lecture in Edinburgh. Another visitor in the house where I was a guest there, was the wife of the County Court Judge of Cumberland, and I showed her and our hostess the part of the Latin inscription I had retained, and suggested that perhaps it might exist somewhere in Edinburgh. However nothing answering to what I had seen was to be found, so we relegated the whole thing to the region of unaccountable fancies, and thought no more about it. The Judge's wife took her departure before me, and kindly invited me to spend a few days at their residence near Carlisle on my return journey, which I did. One day she drove me out to see Lanercost Abbey, one of the show-places of the neighbourhood, and walking round the building I found in one of the walls the Latin inscription in question. I called Mrs. ——, who was a little way off, and said: "Look at this inscription."
She at once replied: "Why! that is the very inscription we were all puzzling over in Edinburgh!"
It turned out to be an inscription in memory of the founder of the abbey, dating from somewhere in the eleven-hundreds. The whole place answered exactly to what I had seen, and the long low parsonage was there also.
"I should have liked you to see it inside," said Mrs. ——, "but I have never met the vicar, though I know his mother-in-law, so we must give it up."
We were just entering our carriage when the garden-gate opened, and who should come out but the mother-in-law.
"Oh, Mrs. ——," she said, addressing the Judge's wife, "I am here on a visit and you must come in and take tea." So we went in and were shown over the house, much as I had been in my vision, and some portions were so old that, among other rooms, we were shown the one occupied by King Edward I on his march against Scotland in the year 1296, when the Scottish regalia was captured, and the celebrated Crowning-Stone was brought to England and placed in Westminster Abbey, where it has ever since remained—a stone having an occult relation to the history of the British and American peoples of the highest interest to both, but as there is already an extensive literature on this subject I will not enter upon it here.
I will now relate another curious experience. We had only recently taken up our residence at Norwood, when one day I was seated in the dining-room, but suddenly found myself in the hall, and saw two ladies going up the stairs. They passed close to me, and turning round the landing at the top of the stairs passed out of sight in a perfectly natural manner. They looked as solid as any one I have ever seen in my life. One of them was a stout lady with a rather florid complexion, apparently between forty-five and fifty, wearing a silk blouse with thin purple and white stripes. Leaning on her arm was a slightly-built old lady with white ringlets, dressed all in black and wearing a lace mantilla. I noticed their appearance particularly. The next moment I found I was really sitting in the dining-room, and that the ladies I had seen were nothing but visionary figures. I wondered what it could mean, but as we had only recently taken the house, thought it better not to mention it to any of my family, for fear of causing them alarm. But a few days later I mentioned it to a Mrs. F. who I knew had had some experience in such matters, and she said: "You have seen either some one who has lived in the house or who is going to live there." Then the matter dropped.
About a month later my wife arranged by correspondence for a certain Miss B. to come as governess to our children. When she arrived there was no mistaking her identity. She was the stout lady I had seen, and the next morning she came down to breakfast dressed in the identical blouse with purple and white stripes. There was no mistaking her, but I was puzzled as to who the other figure could be whom I had seen along with her. I resolved, however, to say nothing about the matter until we became better acquainted, lest she should think that my mind was not quite balanced. I therefore held my peace for six months, at the end of which time I concluded that we knew enough of each other to allow one another credit for being fairly level-headed. Then I thought, now if I tell her what I saw she may perhaps be acted upon by suggestion and imagine a resemblance between the unknown figure and some acquaintance of hers, so I will not begin by telling her of the vision, but will first ask if she knows any one answering to the description, and give her the reason afterwards. I therefore took a suitable opportunity of asking her if she knew any such person, describing the figure to her as accurately as I could.
Her look of surprise grew as I went on, and when I had finished she explained with astonishment: "Why, Mr. Troward, where could you have seen my mother? She is an invalid, and I am certain you have never seen her, and yet you have described her most accurately."
Then I told her what I had seen. She asked what I thought was the explanation of the appearance, and the only explanation I could give was, that I supposed she was on the look-out for a post and paid us a preliminary visit to see whether ours would suit her, and that, being naturally interested in her welfare, her mother had accompanied her. Perhaps you will say: "What came of it?" Well, nothing "came of it," nor did anything "come" of my psychic visits to Edinburgh and Lanercost Abbey. Such occurrences seem to be simple facts in Nature which, though on some occasions connected with premonitions of more or less importance, are by no means necessarily so. They are the functioning of certain faculties which we all possess, but of the nature of which we as yet know very little.
It will be noticed that in the first of these three cases I myself was the person seen, though unaware of the fact. In the last I was the percipient, but the persons seen by me were unconscious of their visit; and in the second case I was conscious of my presence at a place which I had never heard of, and which I visited some time after. In two of these cases, therefore, the persons, making the psychic visit, were not aware of having done so, while in the third, a memory of what had been seen was retained. But all three cases have this in common, that the psychic visit was not the result of an act of conscious volition, and also, that the psychic action took place at a long distance from the physical body.
From these personal experiences, as well as from many well authenticated cases recorded by other writers, I should be inclined to infer that the psychic action is entirely independent of the physical body, and in support of this view I will cite yet another experience.
It was about the year 1875, when I was a young Assistant Commissioner in the Punjab, that I was ordered to the small up-country station of Akalpur, and took possession of the Assistant Commissioner's bungalow there. On the night of our arrival in the bungalow, my wife and I had our charpoys—light Indian bedsteads—placed side by side in a certain room and went to bed. The last thing I remembered before falling asleep, was seeing my wife sitting up in bed, reading with a lamp on a small table beside her. Suddenly I was awakened by the sound of a shot, and starting up, found the room in darkness. I immediately lit a candle which was on a chair by my bedside, and found my wife still sitting up with the book on her knee, but the lamp had gone out.
"Take me away, take me into another room," she exclaimed.
"Why, what is the matter?" I said.
"Did you not see it?" she replied.
"See what?" I asked.
"Don't stop to ask any questions," she replied; "get me out of this room at once; I can't stop here another minute."
I saw she was very frightened, so I called up the servants, and had our beds removed to a room on the other side of the house, and then she told me what she had seen. She said: "I was sitting reading as you saw me, when looking round, I saw the figure of an Englishman standing close by my bedside, a fine-looking man with a large fair moustache and dressed in a grey suit. I was so surprised that I could not speak, and we remained looking at each other for about a minute. Then he bent over me and whispered: 'Don't be afraid,' and with that there was the sound of a shot, and everything was in darkness."
"My dear girl, you must have fallen asleep over your book and been dreaming," I said.
"No, I was wide awake," she insisted; "you were asleep, but I was awake all the time. But you heard the shot, did you not?"
"Yes," I replied, "that is what woke me—some one must have fired a shot outside."
"But why should any one be shooting in our garden at nearly midnight?" my wife objected.
It certain seemed strange, but it was the only explanation that suggested itself; so we had to agree to differ, she being convinced that she had seen a ghost, and that the shot had been inside the room, and I being equally convinced that she had been dreaming, and that the shot had been fired outside the house.
The next morning the owner of the bungalow, an old widow lady, Mrs. La Chaire, called to make kindly enquiries as to whether she could be of any service to us on our arrival. After thanking her, my wife said: "I expect you will laugh at me, but I cannot help telling you there is something strange about the bungalow"; and she then went on to narrate what she had seen.
Instead of laughing the old lady looked more and more serious as she went on, and when she had done asked to be shown exactly where the apparition had appeared. My wife took her to the spot, and on being shown it old Mrs. La Chaire exclaimed: "This is the most wonderful thing I have ever heard of. Eighteen years ago my bed was on the very spot where yours was last night, and I was lying in it too ill to move, when my husband, whom you have described most accurately, stood where you saw him and shot himself dead."
This statement of the widow convinced me that my wife had really seen what she said she had, and had not dreamed it; and this experience has led me to make further enquiries into the nature of happenings of this kind, with the result, that after carefully eliminating all cases which could be accounted for in any other manner, I have found myself compelled to admit a considerable number of instances of what are called "ghosts," on the word of persons whose veracity and soundness of judgment I should not doubt on any other subject. It is often said that you never meet any one who has himself seen a ghost, but only those who have heard of somebody else seeing one. This I can entirely contradict, for I have met with many trustworthy persons of both sexes, who have given me accounts of such appearances having been actually witnessed by themselves. In conclusion, I may mention that I was telling this story some twenty years later to a Colonel Fox, who had known the unfortunate man who committed suicide, and he said to me: "Do you know what were the last words he said to his wife?"
"No," I replied.
"The very same words he spoke to your wife," said Colonel Fox.
This is the story I refer to in my book "Bible Mystery and Bible Meaning" as that of "the Ghost that I did not see." I do not attempt to offer any explanation of it, but merely give the facts as they occurred, and the reader must form his own theory on the subject; but the reason I bring in this story in the present connection is, that in this instance there could be no question of the physical body contributing to the psychic phenomenon, since the person seen had been dead for nearly twenty years; and coupling this fact with the distance from the physical body at which the psychic action took place in the other cases I have mentioned, I think there is a very strong presumption that the psychic powers can, and do, act independently of the physical body; though of course it does not follow from this that they cannot also act in conjunction with it.
On the other hand, a comparison of the present case with those previously mentioned, fails to throw any light on the important question whether the deceased feels any consciousness of the action which the percipient sees, or whether what is seen is like a sort of photograph impressed upon the atmosphere of a particular locality, and visible only to certain persons, who are able to sense etheric wave-lengths which are outside the range of the single octave forming the solar spectrum. It throws no light on this question, because, in the case of my being seen by Mr. S. in Edinburgh and that of Miss B. and her mother being seen by me at Norwood, none of us were conscious of having been at those places; while in the case of my psychic visit to Lanercost Abbey, and other similar experiences I have had, I have been fully aware of seeing the places in question. The evidence tells both ways, and I can therefore only infer that there are two modes of psychic action, in one of which the person projecting that action, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, experiences corresponding sensations, and the other in which he does not; but I am unable to offer any criterion by which the observer can, with certainty, distinguish between the two.
It appears to me, that such instances as those I have mentioned, point to ranges of etheric action beyond those ordinarily recognized by physical science, but the principle seems to be the same, and it is for this reason that I have taken the modern scientific theory of etheric vibration as our starting-point. The universe is one great whole, and the laws of one part cannot contradict those of another; therefore the explanation of such queer happenings is not to be found by denying the well-ascertained laws of Nature on the physical plane, but by considering whether these laws do not extend further. It is on this account that I would lay stress on the Mathematical side of things, and have adduced instances where various discoveries have been made by following up the sequence indicated by the laws already known, and which have thus enabled us to fill up gaps in our knowledge, which would otherwise stop, or at least seriously hinder, our further progress. It is in this way that Jachin helps Boaz, and that the undeviating nature of Law, so far from limiting us, becomes our faithful ally if we will only allow it to do so.
I think, then, that the scientific idea of the ether, as a universal medium pervading all space, and permeating all substance, will help us to see that many things which are popularly called supernatural, are to be attributed to the action of known laws working under, as yet, unknown conditions, and therefore, when we are confronted with strange phenomena, a knowledge of the general principles involved, will show us in what direction to look for an explanation. Now applying this to the present subject, we may reasonably argue, that since all physical matter is scientifically proved to consist of the universal ether in various degrees of condensation, there may be other degrees of condensation, forming other modes of matter, which are beyond the scope of physical vision and of our laboratory apparatus. And similarly, we may argue, that just as various effects can be produced on the physical plane, by the action of etheric waves of various lengths, so other effects might be produced on these finer modes of matter, by etheric waves of other lengths. And in this connection we must not forget that a gap occurs between the "dark heat" groups and the Hertzian group, consisting of five octaves of waves, the lengths of which have been theoretically calculated, but whose action has not yet been discovered. Here we admittedly have a wide field for the working of known laws under as yet unknown conditions; and again, how can we say that there are not ranges of unknown waves, yet smaller than the minute ultra-violet ones, which commence the present known scale, or transcending those largest ones, which bear our messages across the Atlantic? Mathematically, there is no limit to the scale in either direction; and so, taking our stand on the demonstrated facts of science, we find, that the known laws of Nature point to their continuation in modes of matter and of force, of which we have as yet no conception. It is therefore not at all necessary to spurn the ground of established science to spread the wings of our fancy; rather it affords us the requisite basis from which to start, just as the aeronaut cannot rise without a solid surface from which to spring.
Now if we realize that the ether is an infinitely subtle fluid, pervading all space, we see that it must constitute a connecting link between all modes of substance, whether visible or invisible, in all worlds, and may therefore be called the Universal Medium; and following up our conception of the Continuity of Law, we may suppose that trains of waves, inconceivably smaller or greater than any known to modern science, are set up in this medium, in the same way as the electro-magnetic waves with which we are acquainted; that is, by an impulse which generates them from some particular point. In the region of finer forces we are now prospecting, this impulse might well be the Desire or Will of the spiritual entity which we ourselves are—that thinking, feeling, inmost essence of ourself, which is the "noumenon" of our individuality, and which, for the sake of brevity we call our "Ego," a Latin word which simply means "I myself." This idea of spiritual impulse is quite familiar to us in our every-day talk. We speak of an impulsive person, meaning one who acts on a sudden thought without giving due heed to consequences; so in our ordinary speech we look upon thought as the initial impulse, only we restrict this to the case of unregulated thought. But if unregulated thought acts as a centre of impulse, why should not regulated thought do the same? Therefore we may accept the idea of Thought as the initial impulse, which starts trains of waves in the Universal Medium, whether with or without due consideration, and having thus recognized its dynamic power, we must learn to make the impulsions we thus send forth intelligent, well defined, and directed to some useful purpose. The operator at some wireless station does not use his instruments to send out a lot of jumbled-up waves into the ether, but controls the impulsions into a definite and intelligible order, and we must do the same.
On some such lines as these, then, we may picture the desire of the Ego as starting a train of waves in the Universal Medium, which are reproduced in corresponding form on reaching their destination. As with the electro-magnetic waves, they may spread all round, just as ripples do if we throw a stone into a pond; but they will only take form where there is a correspondence able to receive them. This is what in the language of electrical engineers is called "Syntony," which means being tuned to the same rate of vibration, and no doubt it is from some such cause, that we sometimes experience what seem inexplicable feelings of attraction or repulsion towards different persons. This also appears to furnish a key to thought-transference, hypnotism, and other allied phenomena.
If the reader questions whether thought is capable of generating impulses in the etheric medium I would refer him to the experiment mentioned in Chapter XIV of my "Edinburgh Lectures on Mental Science," where I describe how, when operating with Dr. Baraduc's biometer, I found that the needle revolved through a smaller or large arc of the circle, in response to my mental intention of concentrating a smaller or larger degree of force upon it. Perhaps you will say that the difference in the movement of the needle depended on the quantity of magnetism that was flowing from me, to say nothing of other known forces, such as heat, light, electricity, etc. Well, that is precisely the proposition I am putting forward. What caused the difference in the intensity of the magnetic flow was my intention of varying it, so that we come back to mental action as the centre of impulsion from which the etheric waves were generated. If, then, such a demonstration can be obtained on the plane of purely physical matter, why need we doubt that the same Law will work in the same way, in respect of those finer modes of substance, and wider ranges of etheric vibrations, which, starting from the basis of recognized physical science, the Law of Continuity would lead to by an orderly sequence, and which the occurrence of what, for want of a better name, we call occult phenomena require for their explanation?
Before passing on to the more practical generalizations to be drawn from the suggestions contained in this chapter, I may advert to an objection sometimes brought by the sceptical in this matter. They say: "How is it that apparitions are always seen in the dark?" and then they answer their own question by saying, it is because superstitious people are nervous in the dark and imagine all sorts of things. Then they laugh and think they have disposed of the whole subject. But it is not disposed of quite so easily, for not only are there many well attested cases of such appearances in broad daylight, but there are also scientific facts, showing that if we are right in explaining such happenings by etheric action, such action is more readily produced at night than in the presence of sunlight.
In the early part of 1902 Marconi made some experiments on board the American liner Philadelphia, which brought out the remarkable fact that, while it was possible to transmit signals to a distance of fifteen hundred miles during the night, they could not be transmitted further than seven hundred miles during the day. The same was found to be the case by Lieutenant Solari of the Italian Navy, at whose disposal the ship Carlo Alberta was placed by the King of Italy in 1902, for the purpose of making investigations into wireless telegraphy; and summing up the points which he considered to have been fully established by his experiments on board that ship, he mentions among them the fact, that sunlight has the effect of reducing the power of the electro-magnetic waves, and that consequently a greater force is required to produce a given result by day than by night. Here, then, is a reason why we might expect to see more supernatural appearances, as we call them, at night than in the day—they require a smaller amount of force to produce them. At the same time, it is found that the great magnetic waves which cover immense distances, work even more powerfully in the light than in the dark. May it not be that these things show, that there is more than a merely metaphorical use of words, when the Bible tells us of the power of Light to dissipate, and bring to naught, the powers of Darkness, while the Light itself is the Great Power, using the forces of the universe on the widest scale? Perhaps it is none other than the continuity of unchanging universal principles extending into the mysterious realms of the spiritual world.
MAN'S PLACE IN THE CREATIVE ORDER
In the preceding chapters we have found certain definite facts,—that all known matter is formed out of one primordial Universal Substance,—that the ether spreading throughout limitless space is a Universal Medium, through which it is possible to convey force by means of vibrations,—and that vibrations can be started by the power of Sound. These we have found to be well established facts of ordinary science, and taking them as our starting-point, we may now begin to speculate as to the possible workings of the known laws under unknown conditions.
One of the first things that naturally attract our attention is the question,—How did Life originate? On this point I may quote two leading men of science. Tyndall says: "I affirm that no shred of trustworthy experimental testimony exists, to prove that life in our day has ever appeared independently of antecedent life"; and Huxley says: "The doctrine of biogenesis, or life only from life, is victorious along the whole line at the present time." Such is the testimony of modern science to the old maxim "Omne vivum exvivo." "All life proceeds from antecedent life." Think it out for yourself and you will see that it could not possibly be otherwise.
Whatever may be our theory of the origin of life on the physical plane, whether we regard it as commencing in a vivified slime at the bottom of the sea, which we call protoplasm, or in any other way, the question of how life got there still remains unanswered. The protoplasm being material substance, must have its origin like all other material substances, in the undifferentiated etheric Universal Substance, no particle of which has any power of operating upon any other particle until some initial vibration starts the movement; so that, on any theory whatever, we are always brought back to the same question: What started the condensation of the ether into the beginnings of a world-system? So whether we consider the life which characterizes organized matter, or the energy which characterizes inorganic matter, we cannot avoid the conclusion, that both must have their source in some Original Power to which we can assign no antecedent. This is the conclusion which has been reached by all philosophic and religious systems that have really tried to get at the root of the matter, simply because it is impossible to form any other conception.
This Living Power is what we mean when we speak of the All-Originating Spirit. The existence of this Spirit is not a theological invention, but a logical and scientific ultimate, without predicating which, nothing else can be accounted for. The word "Spirit" comes from the Latin "spiro" "I breathe," and so means "The Breath," as in Job xxxiii, 4,—"The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life"; and again in Ps. xxxiii, 6—"By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth."
In the opening chapter of Genesis, we are told that "the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." The words rendered "the Spirit of God" are, in the original Hebrew "rouah AElohim," which is literally "the Breathing of God"; and similarly, the ancient religious books of India, make the "Swara" or Great Breath the commencement of all life and energy. The word "rouah" in Genesis is remarkable. According to rabbinical teaching, each letter of the Hebrew alphabet has a certain symbolic significance, and when examined in this manner, the root from which this word is derived conveys the idea of Expansive Movement. It is the opposite of the word "hoshech," translated "darkness" in the same passage of our Bible, which is similarly derived from a root conveying the idea of Hardening and Compressing. It is the same idea that is personified in the Zendavesta, the sacred book of the ancient Persians, under the names of Ormuzd, the Spirit of Light; and Ahriman, the Spirit of Darkness; and similarly in the old Assyrian myth of the struggle between the Sun-God and Tiamat, the goddess of darkness.
This conception of conflict between two opposite principles, Light and Darkness, Compression and Expansion, will be found to underlie all the ancient religions of the world, and it is conspicuous throughout our own Scriptures. But it should be borne in mind that the oppositeness of their nature does not necessarily mean conflict. The two principles of Expansion and Contraction are not necessarily destructive; on the contrary they are necessary correlatives to one another. Expansion alone cannot produce form; cohesion must also be present. It is the regulated balance between them that results in Creation. In the old legend, if I remember rightly, the conflict is ended by Tiamat marrying her former opponent. They were never really enemies, but there was a misunderstanding between them, or rather there was a misunderstanding on the part of Tiamat so long as she did not perceive the true character of the Spirit of Light, and that their relation to one another was that of co-operation and not of opposition. Thus also St. John tells us that "the light shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehended it not" (John i, 5). It is this want of comprehension that is at the root of all the trouble.
The reader should note, however, that I am here speaking of that Primeval Substance, which necessarily has no light in itself, because there is as yet no vibration in it, for there can be no light without vibration. We must not make the mistake of supposing that Matter is evil in itself: it is our misconception of it that makes it the vehicle of evil; and we must distinguish between the darkness of Matter and moral darkness, though there is a spiritual correspondence between them. The true development of Man consists in the self-expansion of the Divine Spirit working through his mind, and thence upon his psychic and physical organisms, but this can only be by the individual's willingness to receive that Spirit. Where the hindrance to this working is only caused by ignorance of the true relation between ourselves and the Divine Spirit, and the desire for truth is present, the True Light will in due course disperse the darkness. But on the other hand, if the hindrance is caused by unwillingness to be led by the Divine Spirit, then the Light cannot be forced upon any one, and for this reason Jesus said: "This is the condemnation, that light is come into the World, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God" (John iii: 19-21). In physical science these things have an exact parallel in "Ohm's Law" regarding the resistance offered by the conductor to the flow of the electric current. The correspondence is very remarkable and will be found more fully explained in a later chapter. The Primary Darkness, both of Substance and of Mind, has to be taken into account, if we would form an intelligent conception of the twofold process of Involution and Evolution continually at work in ourselves, which, by their combined action, are able to lead to the limitless development both of the individual and of the race.
According to all teaching, then, both ancient and modern, all life and energy have their source in a Primary Life and Energy, of which we can only say that IT IS. We cannot conceive of any time when it was not, for, if there was a time when no such Primary Energizing Life existed, what was there to energize it? So we are landed in a reductio ad absurdum which leaves no alternative but to predicate the Eternal Existence of an All-Originating Living Spirit.
Let us stop for a moment to consider what we mean by "Eternal." When, do you suppose, twice two began to make four? And when, do you suppose, twice two will cease to make four? It is an eternal principle, quite independent of time or conditions. Similarly with the Originating Life. It is above time and above conditions—in a word it is undifferentiated and contains in itself the potential of infinite differentiation. This is what the Eternal Life is, and what we want for the expansion of our own life is a truer comprehension of it. We are like Tiamat, and must enter into intelligent and loving union with the Spirit of Light, in order to realize the infinite possibilities that lie before us. This is the ultimate meaning of the maxim "Omne vivum ex vivo."
We see, then, that the material universe, including our own bodies, has its origin in the undifferentiated Universal Substance, and that the first movement towards differentiation must be started by some initial impulse, analogous to those which start vibrations in the ether known to science; and that therefore this impulse must, in the first instance, proceed from some Living Power eternal in itself, and independent of time and conditions. Now all the ancient religions of the world concur, in attributing this initial impulse to the power of Sound; and we have seen, that as a matter of fact, sound has the power of starting vibrations, and that these vibrations have an exact correspondence with the quality of the sound, what we now call synchronous vibration.
At this point, however, we are met by another fact. Cosmic activity takes place only in certain definite areas. Solar systems do not jostle each other in space. In a word the Sound, which thus starts the initial impulse of creation, is guided by Intelligent Selection. Now sounds, directed by purposeful intention, amount to Words, whether the words of some spoken language or the tapping of the Morse code—it is the meaning at the back of the sound that gives it verbal significance. It is for this reason, that the concentration of creative energy in particular areas, has from time immemorial been attributed to "The Word." The old Sanskrit books call this selective concentrative power "Vach," which means "Voice," and is the root of the Latin word "Vox," having the same meaning. Philo, and the Neo-Platonists of Alexandria who follow him, call it "Logos," which means the same; and we are all familiar with the opening verses of St. John's Gospel and First Epistle in which he attributes Creation to "The Word."
Now we know, as a scientific fact, that solar systems have a definite beginning in the gyration of nebulous matter, circling through vast fields of interstellar space, as the great nebula in Andromeda does at the present day. AEons upon aeons elapse, before the primary nebula consolidates into a solar system such as ours is now; but science shows, that from the time when the nebula first spreads its spiral across the heavens, the mathematical element of Law asserts itself, and it is by means of our recognition of the mathematical relations between the forces of attraction and repulsion, that we have been able to acquire any knowledge on the subject. I do not for an instant wish to suggest that the Spiritual Power has not continued to be in operation also, but a centre for the working of a Cosmic Law being once established, the Spiritual Power works through that Law and not in opposition to it. On the other hand, the selection of particular portions of space for the manifestation of cosmic activity, indicates the action of free volition, not determined by any law except the obvious consideration of allowing room for the future solar system to move in. Similarly also with regard to time. Spectroscopic analysis of the light from the stars, which are suns many of them much greater than our own, shows that they are of various ages—some quite young, some arrived at maturity, and some passing into old age. Their creation must therefore be assigned to different epochs, and we thus see the Originating Spirit exercising the powers of Selection and Volition as to the time when, as well as to the place where, a new world-system shall be inaugurated.
Now it is this power of inauguration that all the ancient systems of teaching attribute to the Divine Word. It is the passing of the undifferentiated into differentiation, of the unmanifested into manifestation, of the unlocalized into localization. It is the ushering in of what the Brahminical books call a "Manvantara" or world-period, and in like manner our Bible says that "In the beginning was the Word." The English word "word" is closely allied to the Latin word "verbum" which signifies both word and verb. Grammarians tell us that the verb "to be" is a verb-substantive, that is, it does not indicate any action passing from the subject to the object. Now this exactly describes the Spirit in its Eternity. We cannot conceive of It except as always BEING; but the distribution of world-systems both in time and space shows that it is not always cosmically active. In itself, apart from manifestation, it is Pure Beingness, if I may coin such a word; and it is for this reason that the Divine Name announced to Moses was "I AM." But the fact that Creation exists, shows that from this Substantive Pure Being there flows out a Verb Active, which reproduces in action, what the I AM is in essence. It is just the same with ourselves. We must first be before we can do, and we can do only to the extent to which we are. We cannot express powers which we do not possess; so that our doing necessarily coincides with the quality of our being. Therefore the Divine Verb reproduces the Divine Substantive by a natural sequence. It is generated by the Divine "I AM," and for this reason it is called "The Son of God." So we see that The Verb, The Word, and The Son of God, are all different expressions for the same Power.
Creative vibration in the Universal Substance can, therefore, only be conceived of, as being inaugurated by the "Word" which localizes the activity of the Spirit in particular centres. This idea, of the localization of the Spirit through the "Word," should be fully realized as the energizing principle on the scale of the Macrocosm or "Great World," because, as we shall find later on, the same principle acts in the same way on the scale of the Microcosm or "Small World," which is the individual man. This is why these things have a personal interest for us, otherwise they would not be worth troubling about. But a mistake to be avoided at this point, is that of supposing that the "Word" is something which dictates to the Spirit when and where to operate. The "Word" is the word of the Spirit itself, and not that of some higher authority, for the Spirit being First Cause there can be nothing anterior to dictate to it; there can be nothing before that which is First. The "Word" which centralizes the activity of the Spirit, is therefore that of the Spirit itself. We have an analogy in our own case. If I go to New York the first movement in that direction is that of my Thought or Desire. It is true that in my present state of evolution I have to follow the usual methods of travel, but so far as my Thought is concerned, I have been there all the time. Indeed, such a case as the one I have mentioned, of my being seen in Edinburgh while I was physically in London, seems to point to the actual transference of some part of the personality to another locality, and similarly with my visit to Lanercost Abbey; and the reader must remember, that such phenomena are by no means uncommon—they are the natural action of some part of our personality, and must therefore follow some natural law, even though we may at present know very little of how it works.
We see, therefore, both from a priori reasoning, and from observed facts, that it is the Word, Thought, or Desire of the Spirit, that localizes its activity in some definite centre. The student should bear this in mind as a leading principle, for he will find that it is of general application, alike in the case of individuals, of groups of individuals, and of entire nations. It is the key to the relation between Law and Personality, the opening of the Grand Arcanum, the equilibrating of Jachin and Boaz, and it is therefore of immediate importance to ourselves.
We may take, then, as a starting-point for further enquiry, the maxim that Volition creates Centres of Spiritual Activity. But perhaps you will say: "If this be true, what word or words am I to employ?" This is a question which has puzzled a good many people before you. This "Word" which so many have been in search of, has been variously called "the Lost Word," "the Word of Power," "the Schemhammaphorasch or Secret Name of God," and so on. A quaint Jewish legend of the Middle Ages says that the "Hidden Name" was secretly inscribed in the innermost recesses of the Temple; but that, even if discovered, which was most unlikely, it could not be retained because, guarding it, were sculptured lions, which gave such a supernatural roar as the intruder was quitting the spot, that all memory of the "Hidden Name" was driven from his mind. Jesus, however, says the legend, knew this and dodged the lions. He transcribed the Name, and cutting open his thigh, hid the writing in the incision, which, by magical art, he at once closed up; then, after leaving the Temple, he took the writing out and so retained the knowledge of the Name. In this way the legend accounts for his power to work miracles.
Jesus, indeed, possessed the Word of Power, though not in the way told in the legend, and he repeatedly proclaimed it in his teaching:—"According to your Faith be it unto you"—"Verily, I say unto you, whosoever shall say to this mountain, 'Be thou taken up and cast into the sea'; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that what he saith shall come to pass, he shall have whatsoever he saith" (Mark xi, 23). And similarly in the Old Testament we are told that the Word is nigh to us, even in our hearts and in our mouth (Deut. xxx, 14). What keeps the Word of Power hidden, is our belief that nothing so simple could possibly be it.
At the same time, simple though it be, it has Law and Reason at the back of it, like everything else. The ancient Egyptians seem to have had clearer ideas on this subject than we have. "The name was to the Egyptians the idea of the thing, without which it could not exist, and the knowledge of which therefore gave power over that which answered to it." "The idea of the thing represented its soul." This is the same conception as the "archetypal ideas" of Plato, only carried further, so as to apply, not only to classes, but to each individual of the class, and, as we shall see later, there is a good deal of truth in it. Put broadly, the conception is this—every external fact must have a spiritual origin, an internal energizing principle, which causes it to exist in the particular form in which it does. The outward fact is called the Phenomenon, and the corresponding inward principle is called the Noumenon. The dictionary definition of these two words is as follows: "Phenomenon—the appearance which anything makes to our consciousness as distinguished from what it is in itself." "Noumenon—an unknown and unknowable substance or thing as it is in itself—the opposite to the Phenomenon or form through which it becomes known to the senses or the understanding" (Chambers' Twentieth Century Dictionary). Whether the dictionary be right in saying that the "noumena" of things are entirely unknowable, the reader must decide for himself; but the present book is an attempt to learn something about the "noumena" of things in general, and of ourselves in particular, and what I want to convey is, that the "noumenon" of anything is its essence, in terms of the Universal Energy and the Universal Substance, in their relation to the particular Form in question. Probably the Latin word "Nomen," a Name, is derived from this Greek word, and in this sense everything has its "hidden name"; and the region in which Thought-Power works, is this region of spiritual beginnings. It deals with "hidden names"—that inward essence which determines the outward form of things, persons, and circumstances alike; and it is in order to make this clearer, that I have commenced by sketching briefly the general principles of Substance and Energy as now recognized by modern science.
If I have made my meaning clear, you will see that what is wanted is not the knowledge of particular words, but an understanding of general principles. At the same time I would not assert that the reciting of certain forms of words, such as the Indian "mantras" or the word AUM, to which Oriental teachers attach a mystic significance, is entirely without power. But the power is not in the words but in our belief in their power. I will give an amusing instance of this. On several occasions I have been consulted by persons who supposed themselves to be under the influence of "malicious magnetism," emanating in some cases from known, and in others from unknown, sources; and the remedy I have prescribed has been this. Look the adverse power, mentally, full in the face, and then assuming an attitude of confidence say "Cock-a-doodle-doo." The enquirers have sometimes smiled at first, but in every case the result has been successful. Perhaps this is why AEsculapius is represented as accompanied by a cock. Possibly the ancient physicians were in the habit of employing the "Cock-a-doodle-doo" treatment; and I might recommend it to the faculty to-day as very effective in certain cases. Now I do not think the reader will attribute any particularly occult significance to "Cock-a-doodle-doo." The power is in the mental attitude. To "cock-a-doodle-doo" at any suggestion is to treat it with scorn and derision, and to assume the very opposite of that receptive attitude which enables a suggestion to affect us. That is the secret of this method of treatment, and the principle is the same in all cases.
It matters, then, very little what particular words we use. What does matter is the intention and faith with which we use them. But perhaps some reader will here take the role of cross-examining counsel, and say: "You have just said it is a case of synchronous vibration—then surely it is the actual sound of the particular syllables that counts—how do you square this with your present statement?" The answer is that the Law is always the same, but the mode of response to the Law is always according to the nature of the medium in which it is operating. On the plane of physical matter the vibrations are in tune with physical sounds, as in the experiments with the eidophone; and similarly, on the plane of ideas or "noumena," the response is in terms of that plane. The word which creates "noumena," or spiritual centres of action, must itself belong to the world of "noumena," so that it is not illogical to say that it is the intention and faith that counts, and not the external sound. In this is the secret of the Power of Thought. It is the reproduction, on the miniature scale of the individual, of the same mode of Power that makes the worlds. It is that Power of Personality, which, combined with the action of the Law, brings out results which the Law alone could never do—as the old maxim has it, "Nature unaided fails."
This brings us to another important question—is not the creative power of the Word limited by the immutability of the Law? If the Law cannot be altered in the least particular, how can the Word be free to do what it likes? The answer to this is contained in another maxim: "Every creation carries its own mathematics along with it." You cannot create anything without at the same time creating its relation to everything else, just as in painting a landscape, the contour you give to the trees will determine that of the sky. Therefore, whenever you create anything, you thereby start a train of causation, which will work out in strict accordance with the sort of thought that started it. The stream always has the quality of its source. Thought which is in line with the Unity of the Great Whole, will produce correspondingly harmonious results, and Thought which is disruptive of the great Principle of Unity, will produce correspondingly disputive results—hence all the trouble and confusion in the world. Our Thought is perfectly free, and we can use it either constructively or destructively as we choose; but the immutable Law of Sequence will not permit us to plant a thought of one kind, and make it bear fruit of another.
Then the question very naturally suggests itself: Why did not God create us so that we could not think negative or destructive thoughts? And the answer is: Because He could not. There are some things which even God cannot do. He cannot do anything that involves a contradiction in terms. Even God could not make twice two either more or less than four. Now I want the student to see clearly why making us incapable of wrong-thinking would involve a contradiction in terms, and would therefore be an impossibility. To see this we must realize what is our place in the Order of the Universe. The name "Man" itself indicates this. It comes from the Sanscrit root MN, which, in all its derivatives, conveys the idea of Measurement, as in the word Mind, through the Latin mens, the faculty which compares things and estimates them accordingly; Moon, the heavenly body whose phases afford the most obvious standard for the periodical measurement of time; Month, the period thus measured; "Man," the largest of the Indian weights; and so on. Man therefore means "The Measurer," and this very aptly describes our place in the order of evolution, for it indicates the relation between Personal Volition and Immutable Law.
If we grant the truth of the maxim "Nature unaided fails" the whole thing becomes clear, and the entire progress of applied science proves the truth of this maxim. To recur to an illustration I have employed in my previous books, the old ship-builders thought that ships were bound to be built of wood and not of iron, because wood floats in water and iron sinks; but now nearly all ships are made of iron. Yet the specific gravities of wood and iron have not altered, and a log of wood floats while a lump of iron sinks, just the same as they did in the days of Drake and Frobisher. The only difference is, that people thought out the underlying principle of the law of flotation, and reduced it to the generalized statement that anything will float, the weight of which is less than that of the mass displaced by it, whether it be an iron ship floating in water, or a balloon floating in air. So long as we restrict ourselves to the mere recollection of observed facts, we shall make no progress; but by carefully considering why any force acted in the way it did, under the particular conditions observed, we arrive at a generalization of principle, showing that the force in question is capable of hitherto unexpected applications if we provide the necessary conditions. This is the way in which all advances have been made on the material side, and on the principle of Continuity we may reasonably infer that the same applies to the spiritual side also.
We may generalize the whole position thus. When we first observe the working of the Law under the conditions spontaneously provided by Nature, it appears to limit us; but by seeking the reason of the action exhibited under these limited conditions, we discover the principle, and true nature, of the Law in question, and we then learn from the Law itself, what conditions to supply in order to give it more extended scope, and direct its energy to the accomplishment of definite purposes. The maxim we have to learn is that "Every Law contains in itself the principle of its own Expansion," which will set us free from the limitation which that Law at first appeared to impose upon us. The limitation was never in the Law, but in the conditions under which it was working, and our power of selection and volition enables us to provide new conditions, not spontaneously provided by Nature, and thus to specialize the Law, and disclose immense powers which had always been latent in it, but which would for ever remain hidden unless brought to light by the co-operation of the Personal Factor. The Law itself never changes, but we can specialize it by realizing the principle involved and providing the conditions thus indicated. This is our place in the Order of the Universe. We give definite direction to the action of the Law, and in this way our Personal Factor is always acting upon the law, whether we know it or not; and the Law, under the influence thus impressed upon it, is all the time re-acting upon us.
Now we cannot conceive any limit to Evolution. To suppose a point where it comes to an end is a contradiction in terms. It is to suppose that the Eternal Life Principle is used up, which is to deny its Eternity; and, as we have seen, unless we assume its Eternity, it is impossible to account either for our own existence or that of anything else. Therefore, to say that a point will ever be reached where it will be used up, is as absurd as saying that a point will be reached where the sequence of numbers will be used up. Evolution, the progress from lower to higher modes of manifestation of the underlying Principle of Life, is therefore eternal, but, in regard to the human race, this progress depends entirely on the extent to which we grasp the principles of the Law of our own Being, and so learn to specialize it in the right direction. Then if this be our place in the Universal Order, it becomes clear that we could not occupy this place unless we had a perfectly free hand to choose the conditions under which the Law is to operate; and therefore, in order to pass beyond the limits of the mineral, vegetable and animal kingdoms, and reach the status of being Persons, and not things, we must have a freedom of selection and volition, which makes it equally possible for us to select either rightly or wrongly; and the purpose of sound teaching is to make us see the eternal principles involved, and thus lead us to impress our Personality upon the Law, in the way that will bring out the infinite possibilities of good which the Law, rightly employed, contains. If it were possible to do this by an automatic Law, doubtless the Creative Wisdom would have made us so. This is why St. Paul says: "If there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law" (Gal. iii, 21). Note the words "a law given," that is to say, imposed by external command; but it could not be. The laws of the Universe are Cosmic. In themselves they are impersonal, and the infinite possibilities contained in them, can only be brought out by the co-operation of the Personal Factor. It is only as we grasp the true relation between Jachin and Boaz, that we can enter into the Temple either of our own Individuality, or of the boundless Universe in which we live. The reason, therefore, why God did not make us mechanically incapable of wrong thinking, is simply because the very idea involves a contradiction in terms, which negatives all possibility of Creation. The conception lands us in a reductio ad absurdum.
Therefore, we are free to use our powers of Personality as we will, only we must take the consequences. Now one error we are all very apt to fall into, is the mistaken use of the Will. Its proper function is to keep our other faculties in line with the Law, and thus enable us to specialize it; but many people seem to think that by force of will they can somehow manage to coerce the Law; in other words, that by force of will they can sow a seed of one kind and make it bear fruit of another. The Spirit of Life seeks to express itself in our individuality, through the three avenues of reason, feeling, and will; but as in the Masonic legend of the murder of Hiram Abif, the architect of Solomon's Temple, it is beaten back on the side of reasoning, by the plummet of a logic based on false premises; on the side of feeling, by the level of conventional ideas; and on the side of will, by the hammer of a short-sighted self-will, which gives the finishing blow; and it is not until the true perception of the Principle of Life is resurrected within us, that the Temple can be completed according to the true plan.
It should be remembered that the will is not the Creative Faculty in us. It is the faculty of Conception that is the creative agent, and the business of the Will is to keep that faculty in the right direction, which will be determined by an enlightened Reason. Conception creates ideas which are the seed, that, in due time, will produce fruit after its own kind. In a broad sense we may call it the Imaging Faculty, only we must not suppose that this necessarily implies the visualizing of mental images, which is only a subsidiary mode of using this faculty. An "immaculate conception" is therefore the only means by which the New Liberated Man can be born in each of us. The sequence is always the same. The Will holds the Conception together, and the idea thus formed gives direction to the working of the Law. But this direction may be either true or inverted; and the impersonal Law will work constructively or destructively, according to the conception which it embodies. In this way, then, will-power may be used to hold together an inverted conception—the conception that our personal force of will is sufficient to bear down all opposition. But this mental attitude ignores the fact, that the fundamental principle of creative power is the Wholeness of the Creation; and that, therefore, the idea of forcing compliance with our wishes, by the power of our individual will, is an inverted conception, which, though it may appear to succeed for a time, is bound to fail eventually, because it antagonizes the very power it is seeking to use. This inverted use of the Will is the basis of "Black Magic," a term some readers will perhaps smile at, but which is practised at the present day to a much greater extent than many of us have any idea of—not always, indeed, with a full consciousness of its nature, but in many ways which are the first steps on the Left-hand Path. Its mark is the determination to act by Self-will, rather than using our will to co-operate with that continuous forward movement of the Great Whole, which is the Will of God. This inverted will entirely misses the point regarding the part we are formed to play in the Creative Order, and so we miss the development of our own individuality, and retrograde instead of going forward.
But if we work with the Law instead of against it, we shall find that our word, that is to say our conception, will become more and more the Word of Power, because it specializes the general Law in some particular direction. The Law will serve us exactly to the extent to which we first observe the Law. It is the same in everything. If the electrician tries to go counter to the fundamental principle, that the electric current always flows from a higher to a lower potential, he will be able to do nothing with it; but let him observe this fundamental law and there is nothing that electricity will not do for him within the field of its own nature. In this sense, then, of specializing the general Law in a particular direction, we may lay down the maxim that "The Law flows from the Word, and not vice versa."
When we use our Word in this way, not as expressing a self-will that seeks to crush all that does not submit to it, but as a portion, however small, of the Universal Cause, and therefore with the desire of acting in harmony with that Cause, then our word becomes a constructive, instead of a destructive power. Its influence may be very small at first, because there is still a great mass of doubt at the back of our mind, and every doubt is, in reality, a Negative Word warring against our Affirmative Word; but, by adhering to our principle, we shall gradually gain experience in these things, and the creative value of our word will grow accordingly.
THE LAW OF WHOLENESS
It may seem a truism to say that the whole is made up of its parts, but all the same we often lose sight of this in our outlook on life.
The reason we do so is because we are apt to take too narrow a view of the whole; and also because we do not sufficiently consider that it is not the mere arithmetical sum of the parts that makes the whole, but also the harmonious agreement of each part with all the other parts. The extent of the whole and the harmony of the parts is what we have to look out for, and also its objective; this is a universal rule, whatever the whole in question may be.
Take, for instance, the case of the artist. He must start by having a definite objective, what in studio phrase is called a "motif"; something that has given him a certain impression which he wants to convey to others, but which cannot be stated as an isolated fact without any surroundings. Then the surroundings must be painted so as to have a natural relation to the main motif; they must lead up to it, but at the same time they must not compete with it. There must be only one definite interest in the picture, and minor details must not be allowed to interfere with it. They are there only because of the main motif, to help to express it. Yet they are not to be treated in a slovenly manner. As much as is seen of them must be drawn with an accuracy that correctly suggests their individual character; but they must not be accentuated in such a way as to emphasize details to the detriment of the breadth of the picture. This is the artistic principle of unity, and the same principle applies to everything else.
What, then, is the "Motif" of Life? Surely it must be, to express its own Livingness. Then in the True Order all modes of life and energy must converge towards this end, and it is only our short-sightedness that prevents us from seeing this,—from seeing that the greater the harmony of the whole Life, the greater will be the inflow of that Life in each of the parts that are giving it expression. This is what we want to learn with regard to ourselves, whether as individuals, classes or nations. We have seen the cosmic workings of the Law of Wholeness in the discovery of the planet Neptune. Another planet was absolutely necessary to complete the unity of our solar system, and it was found that there is such a planet, and similarly in other branches of natural science. The Law of Unity is the basic law of Life, and it is our ignorant or wilful infraction of this Law that is the root of all our troubles.
If we take this Law of Unity as the basis of our Thought we shall be surprised to find how far it will carry us. Each part is a complete whole in itself. Each inconceivably minute particle revolves round the centre of the atom in its own orbit. On its own scale it is complete in itself, and by co-operation with thousands of others forms the atom. The atom again is a complete whole, but it must combine with other atoms to form a molecule, and so on. But if the atom be imperfect as an atom, how could it combine with other atoms?