I will suppose three persons standing over a sick person who, as they all believe, is dying. First let us sum up what there is of the man. He knows that he is in bed and that he is about to take his departure to the world of spirits. This is knowledge; let us examine his belief and see what there is of him independent of it. He believes he is now going to die, that his body will die, and that he must leave all that is near and dear unto him (for life is his belief) and he believes that he shall lose that. So accordingly, he is entirely gone at death, mind, body and soul, for he believes his soul is his life, so there is not one particle of him outside of his belief.
His Christian friend looks upon what is his belief. He sees the man wasting away, he sees his life dying out like a candle, and at last it is gone. All this he knows to be a fact, yet he believes his soul has gone to God who gave it. The Atheist and the Spiritualist both see the light of life burn out and they return to their peculiar belief which neither can prove. The Atheist says, “Well the poor fellow has got through with his troubles.” The Christian and Spiritualist assent, but the latter insists he still lives and to prove it, he goes to a medium and gets a communication from the dead, giving the particulars of the death, precisely as they all believe. To the other, this is all a humbug, for each holds to his belief. I have seen many such scenes, have attended the sick and dying man, have told him at various times how he felt, and I know that death as it appears to these classes and to the dying man is only the phenomenon of their religious belief.
Then what is my belief of man. I have none to myself, but to those who are looking on, my wisdom is a belief, for if I cannot bring any more proof than my word to them, my wisdom must be a belief. I will compare their belief with my wisdom and give some proof of the latter so that the reader may judge between them. All the aforesaid persons make the man just what they see of him; his life is in his body and like the life of a plant grows with the body and dies with the same. They have no life that cannot be seen by the natural eye so death closes their life. All the life that I admit is my wisdom and what a man knows contains no mind nor matter. So it is not life but a truth. Wisdom is eternal with no beginning or end. My senses being in my wisdom are myself. Memory also belongs to my senses. My belief is what I do not know and that is attached to matter, for when wisdom comes, our belief is at an end. According to my wisdom, man does not die for so long as he has the belief that he shall die, so long he is not dead but going to die. So when he says through a medium that he is dead, he does not tell the truth, for the very fact of his saying so proves that he is alive.
Wisdom has no life for it has no death. It is the parent of life. So when a person attaches his senses to wisdom, he then lives in what never had life or death and he becomes a progressive being. This is what I know to be a truth. So as I sit by the sick man, I look upon him as a chemist looks on and sees a lump of gold dissolve. The friends of the sick man not being chemists see the value or life depart with the gold, having placed value in the gold as it circulates among men. They never think that the value was in them, while the gold is only a representative of value, but the chemist knows that he can condense the gold into form again. They weep to see the gold waste away, their hope is gone, for they have lost the value that they have put in it; so they mourn just according to their loss, not knowing that the gold still lives in wisdom or science.
The spiritualist expects the gold to assume a new body and they all reason according to their belief. But the chemist says you grieve for your ignorance. The gold still lives, with all its qualities, as it did when you carried it with you, although your ignorance cannot see it; the real value that you put into the gold was in yourself and the gold was the shadow of it and was only a representative of value, never knowing any in itself. The value is the wisdom you can reduce to practice, so you can dissolve the metal and speak it into a solid at pleasure and teach the same to others.
I will now show you a miracle. The gold is dissolved and held in solution, so that no one would know it from pure water. Then applying his wisdom, he restores the gold to a solid form. To them this is a miracle, but to him it is a science. This is done to show that although they see the gold decomposed, it still exists in that wisdom that numbers the hairs of our head. This is the way with the sick man. I know that the value is not in the matter; it is in the individual. Ignorance weeps because he has seen the matter in a form like the gold and as he could not see the owner, he supposed life or value to be in the matter. But like the chemist, I saw the owner outside the matter or his belief, and as I saw the matter dissolve and their opinions and hope disappear, I could see the person living as though nothing had happened to him.