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By Special Permission of Mrs. Wilcox,

I. said Life to Death, Methinks if I were you

I would not carry such an awesome face

To terrify the helpless human race.
And if, indeed, those wondrous tales be true
Of happiness beyond, and if I knew
About the boasted blessings of that place,

I would not hide so miserly all trace
Of my vast knowledge, Death, if I were you.
But like a glorious angel I would lean
Above the pathway of each sorrowing soul,

Hope in my eyes and comfort in my breath,
And strong conviction in my radiant mien,
The while I whispered of that beauteous goal.
This would I do if I were you, O Death!"

II.
Said Death to Life, If I were you, my friend,

I would not lure confiding souls each day

With fair, false smiles to enter on a way 80 filled with pain and trouble to the end. I would not tempt those whom I should defend,

Nor stand unmoved and see them go astray.

Nor would I force unwilling souls to stay
Who longed for freedom, were I you, my friend.
But like a tender mother I would take
The weary world upon my sheltering breast

And wipe away its tears and soothe its strife.
I would fulfill my promises, and make
My children bless me as they sank to rest,
Where now they curse-if I were you, O Life!"

III. Life made no answer; and Death spoke again: "I would not woo from God's sweet nothingness

A soul to being, if I could not bless And crown it with all joy. If unto men My face seems awesome, tell me, Life, why, then,

Do they pursue me, mad for my caress,

Believing in my silence lies redress For your loud falsehoods? (So Death spoke again.) Oh, it is well for you I am not fair, Well that I hide behind a voiceless tomb

The mighty secrets of that other place. Else would you stand in impotent despair While unfledged souls straight from the mother

womb Rushed to my arms and spat upon your face."

Ella Wheeler Wilcox.

("The immortality of the soul is a matter that concerns us so much, that affects us so deeply, that we must have lost all sentiment if its investigation leaves us indifferent.) All our actions and thoughts follow paths so different, varying according to the hope of gaining eternal blessings or not, that it is impossible to take any sensible or judicious step without regulating it from this stand point, which must be our final object."

Pascal,

INTRODUCTION

The Idea of the Book.

The facts, statements and expressions of opinion contained in this volume-THE PROOFS OF LIFE AFTER DEATH—are grouped under the several headings of Science, Psychical Research, Philosophy, and Spiritualism. This classification has been made in order to divide the work into parts; and for the purpose, too, of placing the various persons whose thought I have used under the standards they would perhaps prefer to be found. The grouping is not altogether correct; for all knowledge eventually comes under the broad head of Science. Psychical Research, for example, has become during its twenty years of systematic organization quite as respectable a branch of science as medicine or astronomy. Spiritualism, aside from its phenomenal aspect, is the highest kind of philosophy, and in its phenomenal aspect, according to Professor Alfred Russel Wallace, Sir William Crookes and other noted and conscientious scientists, one of the most enticing and important fields of scientific investigation. If it were not for the fact that among the conserv

ative, the materialist class of scientists, the theory is accepted that thought is a product or function of the pasty gray matter of the brain, it might well be said that philosophy had already definitely proven the immortality of the soul. This scientific doctrine that thought is a function of the brain seems, however, to be rapidly falling into the limbo of mistaken deductions, especially so, in the face of the introduction into our universities and colleges of the study of experimental psychology, and the more or less approved demonstrations furnished by the Psychic Research Society that certain marked phases of thought and intelligence exist independent of any brain whatever.

The idea, of which this book is the result, has been to bring together into a combined form and in accordance, I may add, with the modern commercial scheme of economy the various thoughts and reasons men possess for a belief in the continued conscious existence of the soul after death. In presenting such a symposium to the world of books, it has been the thought of the author, as well, to awaken in the minds of those before whose eyes it may pass, the hope, if not the conviction, that this profound problem is not unanswerable; that it is a practical question, open and demanding investigation and solution; that upon its issue rests the most stupendous results in civilization and the relations of man to man in all their varied aspects.

Full knowledge of the value of human life, its necessity in the evolution of an individual soul, and the essential worth to the whole of that spirit atom, if such it be, such knowledge would doubtless contribute more toward the relief of distress, the speedy and certain upbuilding of the race, its evolution and progress, than any or even all conceivable knowledge, other than this, to which the mind of man could aspire.

It might be, however, that an absolute, settled solution of the question of future life, without a corresponding knowledge and appreciation of the purpose of life, would mean, whatever the solution, the quick destruction of mankind. For, as in the midst of a journey when the voyager is hurried on with increasing speed to a destination he knows not of, there comes to him the knowledge, fixed, inexorable, implacable and unquestioned, of not only the utter fruitlessness of his journey, but of appalling annihilation at its end; would he bear the agonies, the failures, the storms and wrecks bestrewing his onward course? What conscious being does not live in anticipation of the coming hour, of the morrow, or in the hopes of fulfillment of the aspirations and ambitions of to-day? If his train were bound to destructions—there were no uncertainty, no hope, no future—the traveler, whether on life's journey or the Twentieth Century Express, would, with all his companions, leap, not for life, but for death, and

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