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Since the day when the researches of Niebuhr opened men's eyes to the glaring falsehoods embalmed in the mummyfied tomes of ancient history, those who had looked hopefully for the time to come, when the despotism of canonised errors should be undermined and overthrown, beheld the bright rays of hope bursting through the leaden skies of stolid pedantry, and rejoiced to behold another of the many branches of the great tree of knowledge exhibiting signs of regenerated life. They saw the living sap ascending from the newly upturned soil, into which the enthusiasm of genius had the courage to dig deeply its delving spade, regardless of the jeers and scoffs of Dr. Dryasdust, and brother Professors, from beneath whose ancient wigs of erroneous judgment there fell heavy perspiration drops of horror and amazement, at beholding this great sceptical hobgoblin so ruthlessly demclishing dearly hugged prepossessions, and overthrowing timehallowed castles of classic erudition. Just as Marshal Blucher, surveying modern Nineveh from the summit of its great cathedral dome, spoke prophetically, “My God, what a city for a sack!” so, too, the Pope, and his cardinals of ancient history foresaw the plunder and ruin of their great citadel of traditional myths.
And as with history, the biography of human aggregates, so, in like fashion, in the lesser biographies of society's individual atoms, the same momentous change was predicted ; and truly, day by day, those doubts, that are the pioneers of progress, serve to disclose the fact, that the traditional histories of the world's chief actors are mainly legacies of misapprehensions. For never has a true representative of divine manhood acted the part assigned to him, but forth with there has sprung up a legion of book makers to use his name as a clothes peg, whereon to hang their philosophic and theistic creeds of seedy, worn-out rags.
Should any coming missionary of social progress desire to embody his ideas in written speech, and thus deprive these old clothesmen of their mystifying task, how may he expect any encouragement, or look for aid in elevating his small and solitary voice above the mighty din of the age's fierce contention, where in the war of Titans, smothering by voluminous scientific talk, threatens a rash intruder into the arena of trained gladiatorial combats?
Well, the thing that has been done, may be achieved hereafter, and that which now is caricatured in history shall be faithfully represented in the future, for to human perception, by means of phenomenal revelation of hidden realities, nothing is absolutely new under the sun.
Then back to ancient history, O, Dryasdust, -back to your sacred calendaring of the past, and to your diaries of the dead, to unriddle the sphinx of the living, the present, and the future, if you
But alas, your oracles are dumb, because your precious chronicles are of myths, and thus your present is darkness at midday, and the future a miserable blank.
Go back to the Noachian deluge. But there a mighty structure of theistical and mythical babblement interposes, and dreadful confusion of palavering precludes all hopo of your ever unravelling the tangled thread of those mighty events in the world's history, that were acted before this great babbling work began.
In those antediluvian eras, before that mighty flood which drowned historical records, together with every monument of ancient philosophy and civilization in the waters of oblivion, there existed giants upon this earth ; and so also in these last days, the great champions in the ranks of philosophy, in military, political, and commercial science, are men of gigantic mental calibre.
For some years past the world has resounded with the din of preparation for a mighty combat, and now, as the hour of conflict approaches, the noise is heard of hammers ringing upon the armour that is being riveted together, and the bugles are sounding and awakening the reverberating echoes in the chill morning air, summoning the opposing hosts to fall into the serried ranks of
For empire of the whole world it is that this struggle is preparing, and all the laboratories of destructive art have been exhausted to furnish weapons of slaughter for the combatants. Wars, and rumours of wars ; here a nation gathering itself up like a crouching panther, to make a swift and deadly spring upon a neighbouring nation and there a people preparing to exterminate another race ; federated States separating into ho:tile camps. Diplomacy at its wits' end ; intrigues, conspiracies, lies, frauds, and juggleries hopping about over the length and breadth of the earth like the swarming hosts of slimy frogs that plagued the land of Egypt; statesmen moving every force on earth to forward the unprincipled schemes of crowned despots, prepared to deluge the world in oceans of blood for the sake of terratorial aggrandisement, thinly veiled by hypocritical reverence for some purely speculative religious creed, such are the signs of these critical times. What do they indicate? And who, or what is coming ?
A war of conflicting interests, a war of contending principles and opinions, culminating into a vast religious war, the most dreadful and destructive that ever darkened the skies with the reek of bloodshed, fire, and blinding smoke. For to the judgmentseat of the power of brute might over right, mankind have ever appealed, and to this judgment so chosen, they may, and indeed must necessarily go.
The wars of the ancient Egyptians, we are told, were preeminently religious wars. So, ultimately, are all great wars, for no struggle reaches the final stage, of mutual exterminating frensy, until it has received the blessings and curses of its rival priests.
During many ages, the thinking, no less than the mere palavering world, has been divided into two hostile camps.
On the one side are arrayed the champions of sacerdotal super, or preter naturalism, who have contended doggedly for what they designate orthodox theism, or transcendental spiritualism of the absolute and unconditioned ; and on the opposite side are to be found marshalled, the men who maintain that material cosmology, the philosophy of the relative and conditioned, is alone available for human progress. If the spiritualists had confined their tactics to the employment of their postulated purely immaterial or moral (so called) force, the contest must, long ere this, have been decided ; but it is notorious that sacerdotal theism has never hesitated to make free use of physical or material force, and the Goliahs in the priest's spiritual battalions are armed with the best weapons that military science can invent.
Now, as Goliah, the prototype of sacerdotal support, fell, not by the sword, but by a stone slung into his brain, so in like manner must modern spiritualism fall, by aiming the stone of the shepherd at the brain, or mind of man himself, that is, at that false philosophy of the human mind which underlies all theological controversies, where the definite, finite, or fætal mind of man is assumed to be homogeneous with that of the great invisible and hidden source of life.