Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 12.djvu/772

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London, he reviews the whole subject for the purpose of determining how the question stands at present. The problem is so important that we print an article giving a compact presentation of his reasonings and conclusions; but those who desire to become familiar with the complete inquiry will find the volume indispensable.

The Kabala: or, The True Science of Light; an Introduction to the Philosophy and Theosophy of the Ancient Sages, together with a Chapter on Light in the Vegetable Kingdom. By S. Pancoast, M. D. Pp. 304. Philadelphia: J. M. Stoddart & Co. Price $2.

There is an old mystical Jewish tradition in regard to occult meanings of Scripture which is called the Kabala. An amazing amount of learned ingenuity has been expended upon it, and many books written of kabalistic lore, designed to solve these enigmas, and bring out their mysterious meanings. It has been held, indeed, that the Kabala is nothing less than a profound science, which, if opened up, would explain numberless hidden things in regard to prophecy, Scriptural interpretation, theosophy, and the order of Nature itself.

Dr. Pancoast calls his book the Kabala, and says he has been working at it for thirty years, and has found the keys that open its mysteries; and he says, furthermore, that it is a great thing, and is all that has been claimed for it. Nor does he suppose that its benefits are to be confined merely to the explanations of old riddles, or the development of a fruitless philosophy; he holds its results to be of a very practical kind in influencing modern opinion. One of these important advantages is stated to be that "a just appreciation and knowledge of the Kabala would stop infidelity, that is defiantly stalking through the world, uprooting, tearing down, razing, actually burying faith in God and his salvation." So potent an instrumentality is certain to be well appreciated, but expectation is dampened when we are informed that this book is not designed to contain the presentation that will work such important effects. Dr. Pancoast proposes, therefore, to make another, saying, "We have in contemplation the publication of a large, full, candid exhibit of what the Kabala is, has done, is doing, and shall do for the world." If it is to be as efficacious in composing men's distracted beliefs as is here proclaimed, we say, let the doctor hurry up his big book with all dispatch.

But let nobody buy the present volume in the hope of getting any help from it in the direction indicated. It is in fact as remote as possible from any such end. It is nothing less than a kind of doctor's book on light, which the author proposes to substitute for pills. He is a collaborator in the curious field, cultivated with such brilliant but transitory results by General Pleasonton. He believes in the remedial efficacy of blue light, and prints his book in blue ink; but he goes further than General Pleasonton, and holds also to the therapeutic virtues of red light. He talks a great deal about the science of light, and his discourse is quite in the Pleasonton strain. That is, his science is his own, and is very much freed from the trammels and limitations of the common kind of science that goes current in the textbooks. His view of the luminiferous agent is thus stated: "Light is the original source of Life. Motion is Life, and Light is the Universal Motor. There is no force in Nature that is not directly derived from Light; the Physical Forces, Attraction and Repulsion, with all their modifications, are the positive and negative principles of Light, acting in matter—they are the objective Forces of Light as they operate in creating and dissolving inorganic material forms." The author has given us a book full of such kabalistic conundrums in the science of optics.

What was He? Or, Jesus in the Light of the Nineteenth Century. By William Denton. Pp. 259. Wellesley (near Boston): The Author. Price, $1.

The "light of the nineteenth century," in which the author studies Jesus of Nazareth, is the "new light" of spiritism. In this light, supplemented with scintillations of "psychometry," Mr. Denton proves (to his own satisfaction) that Jesus was a "medium" of considerable power—a clairvoyant, and a natural healer. In the latter capacity, however, he was hardly the equal, in this author's opinion, of a certain notorious "magnetic physician" whom he names, and whose "testimonials from the people" he reproduces.