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But since the war much study is being given to the subject, and apparently with no little success.
The part played by hypnotism in the history of world-thought is far greater than one would at first credit. Every ancient religion or superstition found its authority in its manifestations. Ignorant of its elementary principles, and its results are the miraculous itself. Whether some of its phenomena even now do not pass human experience is in debate. The imagination, hypnotically stimulated, seems to have the power not only of acting intensely on the mind in its conscious state, but also in its subconscious state. Hypnotized, his memory abnormally quickened in certain directions, and a person may recall things which in his usual state he has totally forgotten. So experiences unconsciously recorded may be drawn upon, and sometimes with startling effect, e.g. the servant maid who, when hypnotized, delivered lectures in Hebrew. Ultimately the explanation was found in her having been in the service of a professor who used to read his work aloud when she was tidying up his study. Whether any advance on this has been made; whether in an hypnotic stage any one has ever given out anything not definitely put into the mind previously by ascertained agencies, is a matter of keen controversy. Not understood, hypnotism has been attributed to occult agency, mostly evil, though now to a great extent it is recognized to be only the mind in a state of activity of an abnormal description. Life is consciousness; in an hypnotic state we have a perverted consciousness. But this does not end the matter-certainly not with some schools. Subject as hypnotism in general is to law and examination, yet undoubtedly we do seem to have phenomena which, going to extremes, transcend these bounds and melt into the mystic pure and simple. Such, for example, is clairvoyance. Of this, the marvels are too many and too well attested to be dismissed with merely a shrug or a sneer. Belief in clairvoyance under its many names has been a settled belief of the world through all ages, and is by some as implicitly credited to-day. The hits and misses of Bacon -the hits we recall, the misses we forget-may explain away many a wonderful tale; the long arm of coincidence, as it is termed, may explain many another; the art of the raconteur which is not going to spoil a good tale for want of a little embellishing and exaggeration, may necessitate the paring of numerous others; but yet for all that a residuum remains, seemingly founded on undoubted fact.
And here in hypnotism and such clairvoyance we have half-way house to that mystical state of the mind which is even more a closed book to us than its other phases which we have been considering. Rightly or wrongly, reasonably or unreasonably, we are all conscious of some relation with the infinite which we can neither justify nor explain. This we know as religion. It is not a matter of evidence : it is a matter of experience. Temperament and our cradle creed may account for much, but for all that experience, altogether personal, is for ourselves our final court of appeal. Naturally conclusions thus arrived at carry with them the limitation that they cannot possibly bind other people, who equally find their satisfaction in convictions similarly established. And thus it is that the higher truths in all beliefs are substantiated, and thus alone; they are all part of our mystical consciousness. They are not to be explained, by many not even to be talked about. They owe their authority to no man but to this illumination alone. And never can this experience be the same in any two human beings. God delights in abounding variety. And no two of us the same, we must each see God differently. And, above all, to each God speaks differently, in especial that each has different needs. Thus it is that one truth comes home to ourselves, another to our friend or brother. But the evidence of the truth is that it does so come home. And it is well argued, that exactly as earthly food nourishes our mortal body-how we cannot say-so does such revelation nourish our spiritual existencethough how we are equally at a loss to determine. It is enough—we find satisfaction. It is not in the miracle of their preservation, not in the miracle of the records—these may or may not be other than of purest human agency-but it is that truths in their very enunciation carry completest conviction. However derived, it is truths that are all in all, and not the machinery by which they have been preserved. And more particularly is this so as regards the truths we find in the books of the canon. It is the truths they contain that make us so intensely interested in the way that they have come down to us, and not the way that they have come down to us which establishes them as truths. Attacks are made on the Old and New Testaments. They abound in more such truths than all the other literature of the world heaped together; and they need no other vouching to command our unqualified allegiance and respect.
However, this part of our subject would take us too far afield, and is without the purview of this inquiry. Futhermore, for the present, we have far too few facts on which to base any conclusions of general authority. This mystic consciousness—this tie with the infinite--so far remains a matter of individual experience alone, and as to that experience, it is for no one, certainly not myself, to express any opinion upon it whatever.
THE PRESENT WAR.*
of the Philomathic Society,
When your Council did me the honour to ask me to fill the vacancy so sadly caused by the death of our esteemed President elect, the late Sir John Grey Hill, we little thought we were to resume our meetings in such a crisis of our history as now confronts us.
Our Society is very old, and with some little pride I think we are entitled to survey its record dating from 1825. And varied have been the occasions on which we have met. We have met in the friendly rivalry of debate; we have met to hear papers which are still a pleasure to read; we have met to do honour to our own members, many of whom have figured on the larger stage of civic and national activities; we have met to do honour to guests like Oliver Wendell Holmes, Russell Lowell, Herkomer, Irving, and others with reputations wide as the world itself; but never have we met as to-day, when in the midst of a life and death struggle we find that our very existence as a great empire is itself being challenged.
* An address read before the Liverpool Philomathic Society at the opening of the ninetieth Session, October 1914.
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The immediate facts leading up to the present conjuncture are well in the recollection of us all. They centre round the assassination of the Archduke Francis Ferdinand on June 28th of this year. For some time friction had existed between Austria and Servia. This was accentuated in 1908, when Austria incorporated Bosnia, and it was not lessened when, in March 1909, she compelled Servia to admit that the fait accompli had not affected her rights. Fuel was added when, at the close of the Turkish war, she prevented Servia securing a port on the Adriatic; and no doubt the “Greater Servia " movement, the ideal of the Balkan Serb, received further impetus from such action. Then the Archduke was murdered, and Austria resolved to make it the excuse for a general ending of this “Greater Servian " agitation, and she determined to hold Servia responsible for the murder itself. What Servia or the movement was to gain by such a colossal piece of stupidity she has not yet shown. Its only effect could be to enrage Europe, otherwise inclined to admire her for her plucky fight against the Turk, and, as an act of policy, could only be as disastrous as was the murder of Lord Cavendish to Home Rule. Even yet more devoid of reason does it seem to attribute it to the machinations of Russia. For Russia, at any rate, “the day” had not arrived, and she had nothing to gain and all to lose by being precipitate. Whatever her ultimate designs, Russia, for the time being, we know was not anxious for war but to consolidate her resources, and twenty years' peace from her war with Japan in which to grow and develop, we know was her policy. And had it been otherwise would she have resorted to so odious and foolish a pretext for hostilities as the assassination of one of the blood royal. Inconceivable! And yet again it has been suggested that the Archduke was sent to Bosnia as part of a deep-laid plan by Germany to cause trouble in the Balkans, and to afford her a plausible excuse for taking action. But surely we have no right to attribute such a crime to Germany more than to