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The psychical experience of the writer has induced him to believe that the human world is, and always has been, at least to some extent, under the control and guidance of invisible or superior intelligences. And furthermore it has been deeply and thoroughly impressed upon his mind, that the thoughts, purposes, and actions of individuals have been, in numerous cases, molded and directed to certain definite ends, which may be entirely different from those that were recognized in their own mental determination. This was undoubtedly true with reference to the inspired prophets of ancient times ; and it is not too much to suppose that the great philosophers, poets, and orators of all ages, have been blessed with the divine aflatus that descends from the spheres of celestial being. Therefore it is not surprising or incredible to me, that numerous individuals in this age should be operated upon and influenced directly by spiritual beings, in such a manner as to walk, write, or speak under their control ; for this is only what might be supposed to naturally follow from the rapid advancement of the world and its growing intimacy with the immortal sphere.
In the course of an exceedingly interesting experience, the reality which is here referred to has become so far interwoven with my own individual consciousness, as to be rendered almost as apparent and sensible as the fact of existence itself ; and on appropriate occasions, while in a passive and abstracted state of mind, I am enabled to converse freely and familiarly with what appear to be the intelligences of another sphere, as with the friends by whom I am surrounded on the earth. I do not refer, however, to this portion of my experience for the purpose of claiming any personal superiority with reference to others, or even to claim an equality with those whose names have been reverenced in the past, but simply to furnish an intimation of the peculiar mode in which this volume was produced. It is a fact wbich I may properly state, though it may not be fully credited by some readers, that, for many months, I have been unable, after repeated attempts, to write any thing with the use of my own mental faculties, in opposition to the will of the invisible powers,—while, on the other hand, when it seems to be in accordance with their desire, a vast amount of writing