From Whitla’s introduction to Isaac Newton, Observations Upon The Prophecies Of Daniel and The Apocalypse Of St. John – Back to Table of Contents of the Introduction
AT no period in the history of Christianity since Pentecostal days has there been such a widespread spirit of unbelief as exists at the present time. In passing, let me remind you that this has been foretold as an unmistakable sign of the ” latter days ” which are to terminate the present dispensation. Alongside of this unbelief there has arisen, because of the late war and its aftermath of unrest and sorrow, an earnest desire upon the part of many thoughtful people to look more deeply into the problems of life and of the hereafter. It is perhaps true to say that at no period in the history of the human race has there been manifested a more intense longing to pierce the veil which divides us from the spirit-land, and to catch a glimpse if happily we may find it into the future destiny of the world on which we live.
We see these longing desires manifested in the remarkable activity in thought and in research directed to the domains of Spiritualism and Prophecy. In the present stage of our knowledge, or rather of our ignorance, both of these are commonly regarded as belonging to the sphere of the supernatural. Though it is with the domain of Prophecy that the following pages have to deal, a brief word may be permitted in passing on the present position of the socalled science of Spiritualism. The current literature of the day is teeming with reports some of which are emanating from men eminent in science and literature about researches and investigations in the realm of the spirit world. A much larger proportion of these however owe their origin to untrained and unscientific minds which are bringing the entire subject into ridicule and even obloquy, just as the past and present prophecy-mongers have brought derision upon those devout scholars who have attempted to illuminate the field of unfulfilled prophecy.
Upon the whole the results of experimental research in the spirit sphere must be regarded at the present stage of investigation as disappointing, a careful sifting out of the facts already discovered when separated from the mass of theories and assumptions regarding thought-reading, thought-transference, telepathy, suggestion and other functions of the subconscious mind should compel the searcher after truth to adopt the attitude of “an open mind ” till conclusive proof of communication with the spirits who have passed over has been demonstrated. This cannot be said to have been proven by the results so far achieved.
If we can ever hope to arrive at the final haven of truth it can only be by steering straight between the whirlpools of credulity and scepticism; it is difficult to estimate which is the more formidable peril a gross state of superstition which greedily accepts every marvel or a selfsatisfied rationalism which scornfully rejects every fact and problem not susceptible of solution by the unaided reason. We shall deal at length with these mental peculiarities or configurations later on. Our present purpose is to deal with that form of unbelief which tends towards the rejection of Divine inspiration as revealed in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments.