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rjBRARY OF THI-:



University of California:



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Eetiirn in -a^ weely? ; or a week befoio the end of T,i\e terui.



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THE



UNSEEN Universe



OE



PHYSICAL SPECULATIONS ON A
FUTURE STATE

— The things which are seen are temporal, but the things which
are not seen are eternal



THIRD EDITION.




NEW YORK

MACMILLAN AND CO.

1875



B~r9of
S73



" . . . li^ OKOTTovvTuv Tj^uv TO, pieir6fieva^ d^/ld to, fif/ (32£Tr6/j,eva' to. yap
P^'nrd/isva, irpdaKaipa' to, 6e fx^ j3Aeir6fievaj altjvca. Upbg Kopivdlovg, B'. 6'.

Animula ! vagula, blandula,
Hospes comesque corporis,
Quae nunc abibis in loca —
Pallidula, rigida, nudula . . ."

3S'S3'p ^^■""^•'-

" God hath endowed us with diffei^ent faculties, suitable and proportional
to the different objects that engage them. We discover sensible things by
our senses, rational things by our reason, things intellectual by understanding ;
but divine and celestial things he has reserved for the exercise of our faith,
which is a kind of divine and superior sense in the soul. Our reason and
understanding may at some times snatch a glimpse, but cannot take a steady
and adequate prospect of things so far above their reach and sphere. Thus,
by the help of natural reason, I may know there is a God, the first cause and
original of all things ; but his essence, attributes, and will, are hid within the
veil of inaccessible Ught, and cannot be discerned by us but through faith in
his divine revelation. He that walks without this light, walks in darkness,
though he may strike out some faint and glimmering sparkles of his own.
And he that, out of the gross and Mooden dictates of his natural reason,
carves out a religion to himself, is but a more refined idolater than those who
worship stocks and stones, hammering an idol out of his fancy, and adoring
the works of his own imagination. For this reason God is nowhere said
to be jealous, but upon the account of his worship." — Pilgrim's Progress^
Part III.



PKEFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.



As a preface to our Second Edition, we cannot do bet-
ter than record the experience derived from our first. It
is indeed gratifying to find a wonderful want of unanimity
among the critics who assail us, and it is probably owing
to this cause that we have been able to preserve a kind
of kinetic stability, just as a man does in consequence of
being equally belaboured on all sides by the myriad petty
impacts of little particles of air.

Some call us infidels, while others represent us as very
much too orthodoxly credulous ; some cajll us pantheists,
some materialists, others spiritualists. As we cannot
belong at once to all these varied categories, the presump-
tion is that we belong to none of them. This, by the way,
is our own opinion.

Venturing to classify our critics, we would divide them
into three groups : —

(1.) There are those who have doubtless faith in revela-
tion ; but more especially, sometimes solely, in
their own method of interpreting it ; none, how-
ever, in the method according to which really
scientific men with a wonderful unanimity have
been led to interpret the works of nature. These
critics call us, some infidels, some pantheists,
some dangerously subtle materialists, etc.
(2.) There are those who have faith in the methods ac-
cording to which men of science interpret the



IV PBEFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.

laws of nature, but none whatever in revelation
or theology. These consider us as orthodoxly
credulous and superstitious, or as writers of " the
most hardened and impenitent nonsense that ever
called itself original speculation."
(3.) There are those who have a profound belief that the
true principles of science will be found in accord-
ance with revelation, and who welcome any work
whose object is to endeavour to reconcile these
two fields of thought. Such men believe that
the Author of revelation is likewise the Author
of nature, and that these works of His will ulti-
mately be found to be in perfect accord. Such
of this school as have yet spoken have approved
of our work.
Our readers may judge for themselves which of these
three classes of belief represents most nearly the true
Catholic Faith.

Many of our critics seem to fancy that we presume to
attempt such an absurdity as a demonstration of Christian
truth fj-om a mere physical basis ! We simply confute
those who (in the outraged name of science) have asserted
that science is incompatible with religion. Surely it is
not ice who are dogmatists, but those who assert that
the principles and well-ascertained conclusions of science
are antagonistic to Christianity and immortality. If in
the course of our discussion we are to some extent con-
structors, and find analogies in nature which seem to us to
throw light upon the doctrines of Christianity, yet in the
main our object is rather to break down unfounded objec-
tions than to construct apologetic arguments. These we
leave to the Theologian. The Bishop of Manchester has
very clearly described our position by stating that [from



PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION. V

a purely physical point of view, % 204] we " contend for
the possibility of immortality and of a personal God."

To vary the metaphor, we have merely stripped oif the
hideous mask with which materialism has covered the face
of nature to find underneath (what every one with faith in
anything at all must expect to find) something of surpass-
ing beauty, but yet of inscrutable depth. For indeed we
are entire believers in the infinite depth of nature, and hold
that just as we must imagine space and duration to be
infinite, so must we imagine the structural complexity of
the universe to be infinite also. To our mind it appears
no less false to pronounce eternal that aggregation loe call
the atom, than it would be to pronounce eternal that aggre-
gation we call the Sun. All this follows from the principle
of Continuity, in virtue of which we make scientific pro-
gress in the knowledge of things, and which leads us,
whatever state of things we contemplate, to look for its
antecedent in some previous state of things also in the
Universe. This principle represents the path from the
known to the unknown, or to speak more precisely, our
conviction that there is a path. ITevertheless it does not
authorise us to dogmatise regarding the properties of the
unknown lying beyond or at the boundary of our little
" clearing." We must go up to it and examine it often,
with long-continued labour, under great difficulties, before
we can at all say what its properties are.

Among those who recognise us as orthodox, and for that
reason attack us, there is one of deservedly high authority.
Our " brother," Professor W. K. Clifford, has published a
lively attack on our speculations in a recent number of the
Fortnightly Revieio, We are bound respectfully to consider
the arguments of an adversary of his calibre.

He appears to be unable to conceive the possibility of a



VI PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.

spiritual body which shall not die with the natural body.
Or rather, he conceives that he is in a position to assert,
from his knowledge of the universe, that such a thing can-
not be. We join issue w^ith him at once, for the depth of
our ignorance with regard to the unseen universe forbids
us to come to any such conclusion with regard to a possi-
ble spiritual body.

Our critic begins his article by summoning up or con-
structing a most grotesque and ludicrous figure, which he
calls our argument^ and forthwith proceeds to demolish ;
and he ends by summoning up a horrible and awful phan-
tom, against which he feelingly warns us. This phantom has
already, it seems, destroyed two civilisations, and is capa-
ble of ev^n worse things, though it is merely the *' sifted
sediment of a residuum." He does not tell us whether he
means Religion in general, or only that particularly objec-
tionable form of it called Christianity.

Our critic shows that he has not read our work, — has, \n\^
fact, merely glanced into it here and there. This is proved
by what he says of Struve's notions, on which we lay no
stress whatever, while he puts them forward as the main-
stay of our argument. "We are also made out to be the
assertorsof a peculiar molecular constitution of the unseen
universe, although with reference to this we say in our
work, page 170, "/or tlie sake of hr'inging our ideas in a
concrete form before the reader ^ and for this purpose onhj^
Ave will now adopt a different hypothesis." Of course it is
too much to expect a critic nowadays to read every word
of a book which he is content to demolish, hut we did hope
he might have noticed the italics.

Our critic too commits several singular mistakes due to
imperfections of memory. Why speak of the negative as
universal, which appears in such words as immortality, end-



PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION. Vll

less existence, etc., when the nlost common of all expres-
sions connected with the subject are the phrases, *^ eternal
life," '^everlasting life," etc., none of which involve the
negative ?

How the sun could go down upon " Gideon " is not
obvious. Had it done so it would certainly have occasioned
personal inconvenience (to say the least) to that hero. But
Avhat's in a name ? Our critic was evidently thinking of
Joshua and " Gibeon," and why should a critic care about
the difference between Amorites and Amalekites ? It is a
mere matter of spelling, — a trifle. Similar mistakes in a
previous article are apologised for in a foot-note appended
to that on the " Unseen Universe." Probably the author
designed the apology to extend to it also, but forgot to say
so ; again a trifle. But it is of straws, some even w^eaker
than these, tliat the imposing article is built ; so that when
we come forth to battle we And nothing to reply to.

To reduce matters to order, we may confidently assert
that the only reasonable and defensive alternative to our
hypothesis (or, at least, something similar to it) is, the
stupendous pair of assumptions that visible matter is eter-
nal^ and that it is alive. (See § 235.) If any one can be
found to uphold notions like these (from a scientific point
of view), we shall be most happy to enter the lists with
him.

June, 1875.



PKEFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION.



Forgetful of tlie splendid example shown by intel-
lectual giants like Kewton and Faraday, and aghast at the
materialistic statements nowadays freely made (often pro-
fessedly in the name of science), the orthodox in religion
are in somewhat evil case.

As a natural consequence of their too hastily-reached
conclusion, that modern science is incompatible with
Christian doctrine, not a few of them have raised an out"
cry against science itself. This result is doubly to be de-
plored ; for there cannot be a doubt that it is calculated to
do mischief, not merely to science but to religion.

Our object, in the present work, is to endeavor to show
that the presumed incompatibility of Science and Eeligion
does not exist. This, indeed, ought to be self-evident to
all who believe that the Creator of the universe is himself
the Author of Revelation. But it is strangely impressive
to note how very little often suffices to alarm even the
firmest of human faith.

Of course we cannot, in this small volume, enter upon
the whole of so vast a subject, and we have therefore con-
tented ourselves with a brief, though, we hope, sufficiently



X PREFACE.

developed, discussion of one very important — even funda-
mental — ^point. We endeavor to show, in fact, that im-
mortality is strictly in accordance with the principle of
Continuity (rightly viewed) ; that principle which has
been the guide of all modern scientific advance. As one
result of this inquiry we are led, by strict reasoning on
purely scientific grounds, to the probable conclusion that
" a life for the unseen, through the unseen, is to be re-
garded as the only perfect life." {Bee Chapter YII.) We
need not point out here the bearing of this on religion.
Incidentally, the reader will find many remarks and
trains of reasoning which (by the alteration of a word or
two) can be made to apply to other points of almost
equal importance.

We may state that the ideas here developed — very im-
perfectly, of course, as must always be the case in matters
of the kind — are not the result of hasty guessing, but have
been pressed on us by the reflections and discussions of
several years.

We have to thank many of our friends, theological as
well as scientific, for ready and valuable assistance. The
matter of our work has certainly gained by this, though it
is likely that the manner may have suff'ered by the intro-
duction, here and there, of peculiarities of style which
could not easily be removed without damage to the sense.



OOIsr TENTS,



CHAPTER I.



INTEODUOTOET SKETCH.

Object of the Book ....

Two classes of speculators

Why doubters of iramort9,lity have lately increased

Belief of the Ancient Egyptians —

Separation between priests and people
The abode of the dead .
Transmigration of souls
Embalming of the body

Belief of the Ancient Hebrews —
Position of Moses
His task

Belief of the Jews in an unseen world
Their belief in a future state
Their belief in a resurrection

Belief of the Andeiit Greeks and Romans-
Unsubstantial nature of Elysium
Transmigration introduced
Rise of the Epicurean school
Uncertainty of philosophic opinion

Belief of the Eastern Aryans —

TheRig-Yeda .

It inculcates immortality

Double source of corruption

Zoroastrian reformation and tenets

Reformation of Buddha

Meaning of Nirvawa
Observations on ancient beliefs



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Xll



CONTENTS.



Belief of the Disciples of Christ —
The resurrection of Christ
Future state taught by Christ
Perishable nature of that which is seen
The Christian Heaven and Hell
General opinion regarding the person of Christ
General opinion regarding the position of Christ

Spread of the Christian religion

Rise of Mohammed .....

Materialistic conceptions of the dark ages

Extreme scientific school ....

Points of similarity between this school and Christians

Varieties of opinions among Christians'

Believers in a new revelation

Swedenborg and his doctrines

Remarks on Swedenborg ....

Modern spiritualists .....



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. 48, 49


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CHAPTER II.



POSITION TAKEN BY THE AUTHOES — PHYSICAL AXIOMS.



Class of readers to whom the Authors appeal

-\ Position assumed by the Authors —
/ Laws of the universe defined

Embodiment of some sort essential
Materialistic position described . . .

Unjustifiable assumptions of materialists
Intimacy of connection between mind and matter

Essential requisites for continued existence —

An organ of memory ....
Possibility of action in the present

Principle of Continuity/ —

Illustrated by reference to astronomy , • ,
Breach of the principle illustrated
Extension to other faculties of man

Application of this principle to Christian miracles-
Erroneous position of old divines
Such opposed to the genius of Christianity
New method of explanation



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. 80-82


57



CONTEITTS.



Application of this principle to the doctrines of the extreme
scientific school —
The visible universe must come to an end in trans-
formable energy .....

It must have been developed out of the invisible
The Universe ......

Similar errors committed by the extreme schools of
theology and science ....

Application of this principle to Immortality —
Three conceivable suppositions
These reduced to two ....

Future course of our argument

The problem may be profitably discussed . ,



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CHAPTER III.

THE PEESENT PHYSICAL UNIYERSE.

Definition of the term " Physical Fniverse "

It contains something else besides matter or stuff

Grounds of our belief in an external universe

These in accordance with our definition of the laws of the

universe (Art. 54) ....

Meaning of conservation
Conservation of Momentum
Conservation of Moment of Momentum
Conservation of Vis Viva

Definition of energy ....

Newton's second interpretation of his Third Law
Friction changes work into heat
Historical sketch of the theory of energy
Transformability of energy constitutes its use
Case where energy is useless
Historical Sketch of Second Law of Thermodynamics —

Camot's perfect heat-engine .

Sir W. Thomson's definition of absolute temperature

Melting-point of ice lowered by pressure

Sir W. Thomson's rectification of Carnot's reasoning

Prof. J. Clerk-Maxwell's demons

Degradation of energy

Future of the physical universe

Past of the physical universe



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XIV



CONTENTS,



CHAPTER lY.



MATTER AND ETHEE.

Inquiry regarding structure and material of the universe,
Varioii* hypotheses regarding matter —

(1.) Greek notion of the Atom
Speculations of Lucretius

(2.) Theory of Boscovitch (centres of force)

(3.) Theory of infinite divisibility

(4.) Vortex-atom theory

Remarks on these theories
Relative quantity of matter associated with energy

Universal gravitation —

Is a weak force ....

Two ways of accounting for it
Le Sage's hypothesis

The Ethereal medium — y

Its principal properties apparently incongruous

Analogy of Prof Stokes

Distortion and displacement of ether

Inferior limit of its density

Its supposed imperfect transparency

Remarks on ether
Remarks on the speculations of this chapter
Modification of the vortex-ring hypothesis
Possible disappearance of the visible universe



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. 149, 150


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. 151, 152


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110



CHAPTER V.



DEVELOPMENT,



Nature of inquiry stated

Chemical development —

Changes in lists of elementary substances

Prout's speculations .

Experiments of M. Staa

Family groups

Mr. Lockyer's speculations



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. 158, 159


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CONTENTS.



XV



AETICLB PA6B



Globe

Hypothesis of Kant and Laplace
Tendency to aggregation of mass
Process cannot have been going on forever

Peculiarity of products developed inorganically



Life development —

Morphological and physiological species

Species regarded physiologically

Position of a certain class of theologians

Tendency to minor variations

Artificial selection

Natural selection

Unproved point in the Darwinian hypothesis

Remarks of Mr. Darwin

Development of the Darwinian hypothesis

Mr. Wallace's views .

Prof. Huxley's remarks

Position assumed by the authors





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CHAPTER yi.



SPECULATIONS AS TO THE POSSIBILITY OF SUPEEIOR INTELLIGENCES IN
THE VISIBLE UNIVEESE.

Position of life in the present physical universe
Two kinds of equilibrium ....

Two kinds of machines or material systems
Two respects in which a living being resembles a machine
A living being resembles a delicately constructed machine
The delicacy is due to chemical instability
Delicacy of construction derived from the sun's r ays
Delicacy of construction in atmospheric changes .
Worships of powers of Nature — mediaeval superstitions
Theory which attributes a soul to the universe
Real point at issue stated ....

Man presents the highest order of the present visible uni
verse ......

The same idea pervades the Old Testament
And it likewise pervades the New Testament



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. 190, 191


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XVI



CONTENTS,



CHAPTER VII.



THE UNSEEN U N I V E E S



Decadence of the visible universe .

Its arrangements apparently wasteful

Explanation of this

Memory of the universe

Connection between seen and unseen

Physical explanation of a future state •

Dr. Thomas Young's conception of the unseen

Objections to the proposed theory of a future state
Religious ....

Theological ....
Scientific ....



Miracles and the Resurrection of Christ —

Objections of extreme school stated .

Development has produced the visible universe

Its atoms resemble manufactured articles

Development through intelHgence

Idea clothed in concrete form

Christian theory of the development of the universe

Life-development — Biogenesis

Life comes from the unseen universe

Christian theory of life-development .

Position of life in the universe discussed

Meteoric hypothesis implies Discontinuity

Position reviewed , . . .

Miracles possible without breach of Continuity
Peculiar communication with the unseen in the case of
Christ ......

Apparent breaks are concealed avenues leading to the
unseen ......

Probable nature of present connection between seen and
unseen ......

Angelic intelligences ....

Remarks on God's providential government

Our argument may be very much detached from all con

ceptions of the Divine essence .
Christian conceptions of heaven . » •



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CONTENTS, xvii

Two ideas in all Christian hymns ....

Possible glimpse into the conditions of the future life

Darker side of the future .....

Plato on the markings of the soul

Christian Gehenna .....

Mediaeval idea of hell .....

The process in the Gehenna of the New Testament appar-
ently an enduring one

Personality of the Evil One asserted by Scripture .

Brief statement of the results of this discussion

The scientific conclusion is directly against the opponents

of Christianity ...... 257 196

Criticism invited from leaders of scientific thought or of

religious inquiry ..... 258 196



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THE UNSEEN UNIVEESE.



CHAPTER I.

INTRODUCTORY SKETCH.

" L'immortalite de I'^me est une chose qui nous importe si fort, et qui
nous louche si profondement, qu'il faut avoir perdu tout sentiment pour etre
dans Findifference de savoir ce qui en est." — Pascal.

" For he should persevere until he has obtained one of two things ; either
he should discover or learn the truth about them, or, if this is impossible, I
would have him take the best and most irrefragable of human notions, and let
this be the raft upon which he sails through life — ^not without risk, as I admit,
if he cannot find some word of God which will more surely and safely carry
him." — Plato's " Phsedo ; " translated by Jowett.



1. The great mass of mankind have always believed in
some fashion in the immortality of the soul; but it is


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