The unconscious agency of the mind or instinct in repairing the body, healing its hurts and guiding its growth, is recognized by most scientists. Plato but expresses the same idea when he says, “The soul always weaves her garment anew.” This thought is well worded by Giordano Bruno when he says, “The soul is not in the body locally, but as its intrinsic form and extrinsic mould, as that which makes the members and shapes the whole within and without. The body, then, is in the soul, the soul in the mind (spirit). The Intellect (Spirit) is God.”
Hermann Lotze, the German philosopher, in his magnificent Microcosm, argues that the idea of a transmigration of souls remains a dream of the fancy, nor has anyone yet succeeded in giving it a higher moral significance for the order of the universe.
“The idea of a transmigration of souls has hitherto remained a dream of the fancy, nor has any one yet succeeded in giving it a higher moral significance for the order of the universe” writes Hermann Lotze, the German philosopher, in his magnificent “Microcosm,” expressing the common feeling of Christendom. If this little book achieves its purpose it will show the strength and value of that dreamy idea.
The present perplexity of all Christendom upon the deepest problems of life, the sense of blind fate oppressing mankind, the despairing restlessness of many leading poets, the absence of sublime ideals in art, the prevalence of materialism and agnosticism (if not in philosophy, in the most vital form of practical life), all feed a flood-tide of dissatisfaction which Christianity tries in vain to resist, and indicate that the West deeply needs some new truth. Not only the wavering masses of men, but many of those uncompromising devotees of truth who dare surrender themselves, like St. Christopher, to the mightiest, are yearning after a larger revelation. A portion is contained, we believe, in the doctrine variously termed as Reincarnation, Metempsychosis, Transmigration. By this we do not mean the theories concerning rebirth of men in brute bodies, which are attributed to oriental religions and philosophies because popularly accepted by their followers. These are crude caricatures of the true conception. They represent the reality as absurdly as ordinary life in Europe and America illustrates the teaching of Jesus. But we mean the inner kernel of that husk, which in protean forms has irrepressibly welled up in every great phase of thought, which is an open secret lying-all around us and not simply a foreign importation, and which Christendom cannot afford to lose.
For those who are content with the usual creeds this little work will have no attraction. They may be pleased to regard it as a heathen invasion of Christendom. But for truth-seekers it may prove useful, though it claims only to be an earnest investigation of what seems an indemonstrable proposition. Its doctrine was first met as the declaration of the profoundest students of the mysteries enveloping humanity—coming with authority but no proof of weight to most western thinkers. Its violent antagonism to current ideas compelled the writer to dispose of it by independent methods. If true, there must be some confirmation of it such as will impress any candid mind. If false, nothing can force it to live. This led to a careful study of the subject, which was summarized in a brief essay read and published to a small circle of Theosophists. A continuation of that study has resulted in this volume. Some readers will regard it as a waste of energy, except as a diverting curiosity, the truth or falsehood of reincarnation being to them of little consequence. But a sincere motive underlies it. For reincarnation illuminates the darkest passages in the murky road of life, dispels many haunting enigmas and illusions, and reveals cardinal principles which, if apprehended, will steady the shambling gait of mankind. Virtue, kindliness, and spirituality may thus be seen in their unveiled splendor as the only proper modes of action and thought. The noblest life is discerned to be the only sensible kind, and not abandoned to the accidental expression of impulse or sentiment. The cause of all the evils of modern society, the parent of the revolutions of Europe, the source of the labor disturbances aggravating America, is the arch-enemy of the race—materialism. Reincarnation combats that foe by a most subtle and deadly warfare.
The sincere thanks of the writer are due to a number of kind friends, whose assistance has largely facilitated the collection of materials for this book, and also to the authors who have kindly permitted the use of extracts from their writings, (in Chapters IV and V.)
E. D. Walker