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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 afflatus 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 influeuced 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 which 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 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 on 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 forma* 'tion 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 the 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 means 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.