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reason, others have contended that our souls must sleep until the morning of the resurrection, when we shall regain our bodies. That which I witnessed for myself, pushed me (willing or unwilling,) in a different direction. Before I relate these facts, I must offer something which may illustrate, to a certain extent, the thoughts toward which they pointed.
If we were to stand on the edge of a very deep ditch, or gulf on the distant verge of which a curtain hangs which obstructs the view, we might feel a wish to know what is beyond it, or whether there is any light in that unseen land. Suppose we were to let down a ladder, protracted greatly in its length, and ask a bold adventurer to descend and make discoveries. He goes to the bottom, and then returns, telling us that there he could see nothing: that all was total darkness. We might very naturally infer the absence of light there; but if we concluded that his powers of vision had been anni. hilated, or that there could surely be no light in the land beyond the curtain, because, to reach that land, a very dark ravine must be crossed, it would have been weak reasoning : so much so, that, if it contented us, we must be easily satisfied. It gave me pain to notice manynay, many physicians, who, on these very premises, or on something equally weak, were quieting themselves in the deduction, that the soul sees no more after death. Suppose this adventurer descends again, and then ascends the other side, so near the top that he can reach the curtain and slightly lift it. When he returns, he tells us that his vision had been suspended totally as before, but that he went nearer the distant land, and it was revived again : that, as the curtain was lifted, he saw brighter light than he had ever seen before. We
would say to him,-—"A certain distance does suspend; but inaction, is not loss of sight. Only travel on further, and you will see again.” We can understand that any one might go to the bottom of that ravine a thousand times; he might remain there for days, and, if he went no further, he could tell, on his return, nothing of the unseen regions.
Something like this was illustrated by the facts noted during many years' employment in the medical profession. A few cases must be taken as examples from the list.
I was called to see a female who departed under an influence which causes the patient to faint again and again, more and still more profoundly, until life is extinct. For the information of physicians, I mention, it was uterine hemorrhage from inseparably attached placenta. When recovered from the first condition of syncope, she appeared as unconscious, or as destitute of activity of spirit as others usually do. She sank again and revived : it was still the same. She fainted more profoundly still; and, when awake again, she appeared as others usually do who have no thoughts which they can recall.
At length she appeared entirely gone. It did seem as though the struggle was forever past. Her weeping relatives clasped their hands and exclaimed, “ She is dead !” but, unexpectedly, she waked once more, and, glancing her eyes on one who sat near, ex. claimed,—“Oh, Sarah, I was at an entirely new place !" and then sunk to remain insensible to the things of the place we live in.
Why she, like others in fainting, should have no thoughts which she could recall, when not so near death as she afterwards was when she had thought,
I could not clearly explain. Why her greatest activity of mind appeared to happen during her nearest approach to the future world, and whilst so near, that from that stage scarcely any ever return who once reach it, seemed somewhat perplexing to me. I remembered that, in the case recorded by Dr. Rush, where the man recovered, who was, to all appearance, entirely dead; his activity of mind was unusual. He thought he heard and saw things unutterable. He did not know whether he was altogether dead or not. St. Paul says he was in a condition so near to death, that he could not tell whether he was out of the body or not; but that he heard things unutterable. I remembered that Tennant, of New Jersey, and his friends, could not de. cide whether or not he had been out of the body; but he appeared to be so some days, and thought his discoveries unutterable. The man who cuts his finger and faints, recovering speedily, has no thoughts, or remembers none: he does not approach the distant edge of the ravine. These facts appeared to me poorly calculated to advance the philosophical importance of one who has discovered from sleep, or from syncope, that there is no other existence because this is all which we have seen. They appeared to me rather poorly calculated to promote the tranquillity of one seeking the comforts of atheism. For my own part, I never did desire the consolations of everlasting nothingness; I never could covet a plunge beneath the black wave of eternal forgetfulness, and cannot say that these observations in and of themselves gave me pain, but it was evident that thousands of the scientific were influenced by the weight of a small pebble to adopt a creed: provided that creed contradicted Holy Writ. I had read and heard
too much of man's depravity and of his love for dark. ness, not to see that it militated against my system of deism, if it should appear that the otherwise learned should neglect to observe, or, if observant, should be satisfied with the most superficial view, and, seizing some shallow and questionable facts, build hastily upon them a fabric for eternity,
In the cases of those who, recovering from yellow fever, thought they had enjoyed intercourse with the world of spirits, they were individuals who had appear. ed to be dead.
The following fact took place in recent days. Similar occurrences impressed me during years of observa. tion. In the city of St Louis, a female departed who had a rich portion of the comforts of Christianity. It was after some kind of spasm that was strong enough to have been the death struggle, that she said, in a whis. per, (being unable to speak aloud,) to her young pas. tor,—“I had a sight of home, and I saw my Saviour !"
There were others, who, after wading as far as that which seemed to be the middle of the river, and, returning, thought they had seen a different world, and that they had an antepast of hell.
But these cases we pass over; and, in the next chapter look at facts which point along the same road we have been travelling.
THE SUBJECT CONTINUED.
I was surprised to find that the condition of mind in the case of those who were dying, and of those who only thought themselves dying, differed very widely. I had supposed that the joy or the grief of death, originated from the fancy of the patient; (one supposing himself very near to great happiness, and the other expecting speedy suffering,) and resulted in pleasure or apprehension. My discoveries seemed to overturn this theory. Why should not the professor of religion who believes himself dying, when he really is not, rejoice as readily as when he is departing, if his joy is the offspring of expectation? Why should not the alarm of the scoffer, who believes himself dying and is not, be as uniform and as decisive as when he is in the river, if it comes of fancied evil or cowardly terrors? The same ques. tions I asked myself again and again. I have no doubt that there is some strange reason connected with our natural disrelish for truth, which causes so many physicians, after seeing such facts so often, never to observe them. During twenty years of observation, I found the state of the soul belonging to the dying was uniformly and materially unlike that of those who only supposed themselves departing. This is best made plain by noting cases which occurred.
1. There was a man who believed himself converted, and his friends, judging from his walk, hoped with him. He was seized with disease, and believed himself with.