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Behind The Veil
by [?]

This is even more appalling than the reasoning of the biologist. But is there not a little flaw somewhere? We take a branch from a privet-hedge and shake it; some tiny eggs fall down. In time a large ugly caterpillar comes from each egg; but, according to the mathematical men, the caterpillar does not exist, since the egg has become naught. Good! The caterpillar wraps itself in a winding thread, and we have an egg-shaped lump which lies as still as a pebble. Then presently from that bundle of thread there comes a glorious winged creature which flies away, leaving certain ragged odds and ends. But surely the bundle of threads and the moth were as much connected as the body and the soul? Logically, then, the moth does not exist after the cocoon is gone, any more than the soul exists after the body is gone! I feel very unscientific indeed as we put forth this proposition, and yet perhaps some simple folk will follow me.

God will not let the soul die; it is a force that must act throughout the eternity before us, as it acted throughout the eternity that preceded our coming on earth. No physical force ever dies–each force merely changes its form or direction. Heat becomes motion, motion is transformed into heat, but the force still exists. It is not possible then that the soul of man–the subtlest, strongest force of all–should ever be extinguished. Every analogy that we can see, every fact of science that we can understand, tells us that the essence which each of us calls “I” must exist for ever as it has existed from eternity. Let us think of a sweet change that shall merely divest us of the husk of the body, even as the moth is divested of the husk of the caterpillar. Space will be as nothing to the soul–can we not even now transport ourselves in an instant beyond the sun? We can see with the soul’s eye the surface of the stars, we know what they are made of, we can weigh them, and we can prove that our observation is rigidly accurate even though millions of miles lie between us and the object which we describe so confidently. When the body is gone, the soul will be more free to traverse space than it is even now.

February, 1888.