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is frequently accomplished in a brief space, without any apparent effort or labor of my own. The work which is here presented was written at intervals in this manner, the special periods of writing being selected as above stated, and the thoughts and expressions employed being breathed oil the opened senses of the spirit in the interior condition.
The grand design of this work is to afford a comprehensive survey of the laws, forces, and processes involved in the formation of the cosmical structure, without descending into the minute details that may be comprehended in the mighty work of creation. Accordingly it will not be just for the reader to anticipate more than a generalization of the prominent principles connected with this subject, though in these, it is hoped, will be found a broad and substantial ground-work, on which the investigating mind may erect its own superstructure. It is of the utmost importance that the principles to which I have just alluded, should be clearly comprehended by the human mind, inasmuch as they are the indices that point to all the innumerable avenues of truth in tire field of philosophical or theological inquiry. The fact will be easily recognized that the actuating and vitalizing forces, by and through which the Universe was born, are the natural and eternal movements of the Divine Thought; and hence, in case these forces are correctly conceived, the mind will have in its possession the meaua of searching into those divine and immortal treasures which are concealed in the deep recesses of Nature. On the other hand, it will be found that all existing error, both in philosophy and theology, derives its origin from a misunderstanding of the foundation-principles that relate to the primitive creation of existing forms; and accordingly the most effectual method of eradicating error, in whatever form it may exist, is to clearly unfold those principles to the reason and intuition of the soul. Considered in this light, the propositions which are made and defended in this work, may be regarded—should they pass the ordeal of critical inquiry—as having an evident bearing on the most important interests of man. R. P. A.
In obedience to certain interior influences and impressions, which have apparently emanated from an unseen intelligence, I have been moved to indite the volume which is herewith presented to the world. This fact is stated at the outset as a matter of individual consciousness, and as an act of justice to the invisible power of whose presence 1 am made distinctly conscious, and on whose gentle but impressive breathings I am dependent for much valuable instruction. Tet it should be understood that I have stated simply what I individually feel and know to be true with reference to the source of this work, without feeling any positive desire to convince the reader of the truthfullness of the statement itself, since it seems to me of far less importance to demonstrate the source of my impressions or the mode in which they were received, than to consider whether they are really true and useful in themselves. Indeed, truth requires no aid from a foreign and arbitrary authority; being in itself divine and immortal, it is able to stand on its own merits, and should be loved for its own intrinsic beauty. Hence, in the light of this principle, I am well assured that whatever truth may be contained in this volume, will naturally present its own claims and be sustained by its own intrinsic power, without the necessity of any external prop.
It is a lesson which has been derived from a personal experience, that all truth, like the wide-spread blessings of Nature, is universal and impartial in its application,—though by a natural necessity its appreciation must depend on the receptive capacity of the soul. Like the light which streams continually from the sun, truth is ever flowing from its primal fountain through the medium of the spiritual spheres; it is breathing around us in the still air—it is the soul of every ray that descends from the stars—it is the life of every pure thought that sparkles in the chambers of the mind. Yet truth, though thus impartially diffused, must, as before intimated, be received by the soul in a measure exactly proportionate to its own development. It would avail nothing that all the truth in Heaven were revealed to a single individual, if the soul were not sufficiently developed to admit of its interior appreciation; for precisely that amount of truth, and no greater, will be received as nutriment to the inner man, which is adapted to the degree of spiritual development and the expansion of the internal powers. Hence the desire is vain and unrighteous that seeks any extesual and arbitrary revelation to be established as authority, on which the soul may repose with an unquestioning faith. Even were it possible to embody all truth in a printed volume, which should be presented to the world as the universal basis of hope and trust, it. would occupy a position analogous to that of the heathen god, presenting rather an object of worship, instead of investigation—of a blind reverence, instead of an enlightened understanding. The truth therefore which the world can digest and appreciate, must necessarily be revealed in parts and fragments, corresponding with the degree of interior unfolding; and this truth, in order to be felt and realized, must be examined, analyzed and comprehended, by the powers of reason and intuition with which the soul is endowed.
All past history has demonstrated the fact, that the human race has been instructed wrongly with respect to ibose subjects which especially need to be understood. Man has been recognized chiefly as a physical being. The expansive powers of his spiritual nature have not been properly comprehended. Hence the education which he has received has been exceedingly defective, consisting mostly in the accumulation of external facts and the arrangement of crude ideas on the basis of a superficial authority. Systems of instruction have been established, relating to scientific disclosures aud^eological doctrines, but these systems are marked with the ignorance and error that existed in the undeveloped minds from which they proceeded. There has been but little power in the systems of popular education to expand and develop the spiritual being; but in these has been generated a repulsive and depressing force, which has tended to rivet the chains imposed by ancient superstition.
But the world is now rapidly advancing to a stage of progress, where it can comprehend and appreciate the truths that pertain to the interior life. Man is beginning to understand that he has a spiritual.as well as a material nature—that he is endowed with internal as well as external senses, and that the great realm of being is not confined to the visible forms whose beauty and vastness he admires. Therefore a more complete and rational system of educational training is being rapidly introduced. Imperceptibly to the minds of the mass, a change, silent but powerful, is passing over the sentiments and feelings of the world. The intellectual rubbish which has served as a barrier to human progress, is being removed by the efforts of the struggling soul to enter into the sphere of immortal truth. A time draws near when man will feel the need of something higher than mere external and superficial forms of thought—when . the accumulation of passing facts and phenomena will be regarded of less importance than the comprehension of divine principles; when, in short, the discipline of the spirit—the education of the soul—will be recognized as the basis of all true reform and the means by which the great ends of human life are to be attained.
It will be perceived that the volume here presented is an appeal to the reasoning and intuitive faculties of Man, and that it aims to present the grand fundamental principles on which the Universe itself is based. To those minds which yield a blind credence to the authority of the past, and rest their faith on the bare statements of ancient records, this work may appear entirely useless and vain; and to others which still linger in the shadows of an external sphere, perceiving no tjath but that which may reside in some visible phenomena, it