original Hebrew text of Chapter XXIV of Leviticus is full of it.
Instead of the verses 17 and 18 as translated in the Bible:
"And he that killeth a beast shall make it good, beast
for beast" in the original it stands:--"life
for life," or rather "soul for soul,"
nephesh tachat nephesh.3 And if
the rigour of the law did not go to the extent of killing,
as in Sparta, a man's "soul" for a beast's "soul"--still,
even though he replaced the slaughtered soul by a living one,
a heavy additional punishment was inflicted on the culprit.
But this was not all. In Exodus (Ch. XX.
10, and Ch. XXIII. 2 et seq.) rest
on the Sabbath day extended to cattle and every other animal.
"The seventh day is the sabbath . . .
thou shalt not do any work, thou nor thy . .
. cattle"; and the Sabbath year .
. . "the seventh year thou shalt let it
(the land) rest and lie still . . . that
thine ox and thine ass may rest"--which commandment,
if it means anything, shows that even the brute creation
was not excluded by the ancient Hebrews from a participation in
the worship of their deity, and that it was placed upon
many occasions on a par with man himself. The whole question
rests upon the misconception that "soul," nephesh,
is entirely distinct from "spirit"--ruach.
And yet it is clearly stated that "God breathed into
the nostrils (of man) the breath of life and man became
a living soul," nephesh, neither more
or less than an animal, for the soul of an animal is also
called nephesh. It is by development that the soul
becomes spirit, both being the lower and the
higher rungs of one and the same ladder whose basis is the UNIVERSAL
SOUL or spirit.
This statement will startle those good men and women who,
however much they may love their cats and dogs, are yet
too much devoted to the teachings of their respective churches
ever to admit such a heresy. "The irrational soul
of a dog or a frog divine and immortal as our own souls are?"--they
are sure to exclaim but so they are. It is not the humble
writer of the present article who says so, but no less
an authority for every good Christian than that king of the preachers--St.
Paul. Our opponents who so indignantly refuse to listen
to the arguments of either modern or esoteric science may perhaps
lend a more willing ear to what their own saint and apostle has
to say on the matter; the true interpretation of whose
words, moreover, shall be given neither by a theosophist
nor an opponent, but by one who was as good and pious a
Christian as any, namely, another saint--John Chrysostom--he
who explained and commented upon the Pauline Epistles,
and who is held in the highest reverence by the divines of both
the Roman Catholic and the Protestant churches. Christians
have already found that experimental science is not on their side;
they may be still more disagreeably surprised upon finding that
no Hindu could plead more earnestly for animal life than did St.
Paul in writing to the Romans. Hindus indeed claim mercy
to the dumb brute only on account of the doctrine of transmigration
and hence of the sameness of the principle or element that animates
both man and brute. St. Paul goes further:
he shows the animal hoping for, and living in
the expectation of the same "deliverance from the
bonds of corruption" as any good Christian. The
precise expressions of that great apostle and philosopher will
be quoted later on in the present Essay and their true meaning
The fact that so many interpreters--Fathers of the Church and
scholastics,--tried to evade the real meaning of St.
Paul is no proof against its inner sense, but rather against
the fairness of the theologians whose inconsistency will be shown
in this particular. But some people will support their
propositions, however erroneous, to the last.
Others, recognizing their earlier mistake, will,
like Cornelius a Lapide, offer the poor animal amende
honorable. Speculating upon the part assigned by nature
to the brute creation in the great drama of life, he says:
"The aim of all creatures is the service of man. Hence,
together with him (their master) they are waiting for their renovation"--cum
homine renovationem suam expectant.4
"Serving" man, surely cannot mean being tortured,
killed, uselessly shot and otherwise misused; while
it is almost needless to explain the word "renovation."
Christians understand by it the renovation of bodies after the
second coming of Christ; and limit it to man, to
the exclusion of animals. The students of the Secret Doctrine
explain it by the successive renovation and perfection of forms
on the scale of objective and subjective being, and in
a long series of evolutionary transformations from animal to man, and upward. . . .
This will, of course, be again rejected by Christians
with indignation. We shall be told that it is not thus
that the Bible was explained to them, nor can it ever mean
that. It is useless to insist upon it. Many and
sad in their results were the erroneous interpretations of that
which people are pleased to call the "Word of God."
The sentence "cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants
shall he be unto his brethren" (Gen. IX,
25),--generated centuries of misery and undeserved woe
for the wretched slaves--the negroes. It is the clergy
of the United States who were their bitterest enemies in the anti-slavery
question, which question they opposed Bible in hand.
Yet slavery is proved to have been the cause of the natural
decay of every country; and even proud Rome fell because
"the majority in the ancient world were slaves,"
as Geyer justly remarks. But so terribly imbued at all
times were the best, the most intellectual Christians with
those many erroneous interpretations of the Bible, that
even one of their grandest poets, while defending the right
of man to freedom, allots no such portion to the poor animal.
God gave us
only over beast, fish, fowl,
Dominion absolute; that right we hold
By his donation; but man over man
He made not lord; such title to himself
Reserving, human left from human free
But, like murder, error "will out,"
and incongruity must unavoidably occur whenever erroneous conclusions
are supported either against or in favour of a prejudged question.
The opponents of Eastern philozoism thus offer their critics
a formidable weapon to upset their ablest arguments by such incongruity
between premises and conclusions, facts postulated and
It is the purpose of the present Essay to throw a ray of light
upon this most serious and interesting subject. Roman Catholic
writers in order to support the genuineness of the many miraculous
resurrections of animals produced by their saints, have
made them the subject of endless debates. The "soul
in animals" is, in the opinion of Bossuet,
"the most difficult as the most important of all philosophical
Confronted with the doctrine of the Church that animals,
though not soulless, have no permanent or immortal
soul in them, and that the principle which animates them
dies with the body, it becomes interesting to learn how
the school-men and the Church divines reconcile this statement
with that other claim that animals may be and have been frequently
and miraculously resurrected
Though but a feeble attempt--one more elaborate would require
volumes--the present Essay, by showing the inconsistency
of the scholastic and theological interpretations of the Bible,
aims at convincing people of the great criminality of taking--especially
in sport and vivisection--animal life. Its object,
at any rate, is to show that however absurd the notion
that either man or brute can be resurrected after the life-principle
has fled from the body forever, such resurrections--if
they were true--would not be more impossible in the case of a
dumb brute than in that of a man; for either both are endowed
by nature with what is so loosely called by us "soul,"
or neither the one nor the other is so endowed.
What a chimera is man! what a confused chaos, what a subject
of contradiction! a professed judge of all things, and
yet a feeble worm of the earth! the great depository and guardian
of truth, and yet ad mere huddle of uncertainty!
the glory and the scandal of the universe!
WE shall now proceed to see what are the views
of the Christian Church as to the nature of the soul in the brute,
to examine how she reconciles the discrepancy between the resurrection
of a dead animal and the assumption that its soul dies with it,
and to notice some miracles in connection with animals.
Before the final and decisive blow is dealt to that selfish doctrine,
which has become so pregnant with cruel and merciless practices
toward the poor animal world, the reader must be made acquainted
with the early hesitations of the Fathers of the Patristic age
themselves, as to the right interpretation of the words
spoken with reference to that question by St. Paul.
It is amusing to note how the Karma of two of the most indefatigable
defenders of the Latin Church--Messrs. Des. Mousseaux
and De Mirville, in whose works the record of the few miracles
here noted are found--led both of them to furnish the weapons
now used against their own sincere but very erroneous views.5
The great battle of the Future having to be fought out between
the "Creationists" or the Christians, as all
the believers in a special creation and a personal god,
and the Evolutionists or the Hindus, Buddhists,
all the Free-thinkers and last, though not least,
most of the men of science, a recapitulation of their respective
positions is advisable.
1. The Christian world postulates its right over animal
life: (a) on the afore-quoted Biblical texts and
the later scholastic interpretations; (b) on the
assumed absence of anything like divine or human soul in animals.
Man survives death, the brute does not.
2. The Eastern Evolutionists, basing their deductions
upon their great philosophical systems, maintain it is
a sin against nature's work and progress to kill any living being--for
reasons given in the preceding pages.
3. The Western Evolutionists, armed with the latest
discoveries of science, heed neither Christians nor Heathens.
Some scientific men believe in Evolution, others do not.
They agree, nevertheless, upon one point:
namely, that physical, exact research offers no
grounds for the presumption that man is endowed with an immortal,
divine soul, any more than his dog.
Thus, while the Asiatic Evolutionists behave toward animals
consistently with their scientific and religious views,
neither the church nor the materialistic school of science is
logical in the practical applications of their respective theories.
The former, teaching that every living thing is created
singly and specially by God, as any human babe may be,
and that it finds itself from birth to death under the watchful
care of a wise and kind Providence, allows the inferior
creation at the same time only a temporary soul. The latter,
regarding both man and animal as the soulless production of some
hitherto undiscovered forces in nature, yet practically
creates an abyss between the two. A man of science,
the most determined materialist, one who proceeds to vivisect
a living animal with the utmost coolness, would yet shudder
at the thought of laming--not to speak of torturing to death--his
fellow man. Nor does one find among those great materialists
who were religiously inclined men any who have shown themselves
consistent and logical in defining the true moral status of the
animal on this earth and the rights of man over it.
Some instances must now be brought to prove the charges stated.
Appealing to serious and cultured minds it must be postulated
that the views of the various authorities here cited are not unfamiliar
to the reader. It will suffice therefore simply to give
short epitomes of some of the conclusions they have arrived at--beginning
with the Churchmen.
As already stated, the Church exacts belief in the
miracles performed by her great Saints. Among the various
prodigies accomplished we shall choose for the present only those
that bear directly upon our subject--namely, the miraculous
resurrections of dead animals. Now one who credits man
with an immortal soul independent of the body it animates can
easily believe that by some divine miracle the soul can be recalled
and forced back into the tabernacle it deserts apparently for
ever. But how can one accept the same possibility in the
case of an animal, since his faith teaches him that the
animal has no independent soul, since it is annihilated
with the body? For over two hundred years, ever since Thomas
of Aquinas, the Church has authoritatively taught that
the soul of the brute dies with its organism. What then
is recalled back into the clay to reanimate it? It is at this
juncture that scholasticism steps in, and--taking the difficulty
in hand--reconciles the irreconcilable.
It premises by saying that the miracles of the Resurrection of
animals are numberless and as well authenticated as "the
resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ."6
The Bollandists give instances without number. As Father
Burigny, a hagiographer of the 17th century, pleasantly
remarks concerning the bustards resuscitated by St.
Remi--"I may be told, no doubt, that I am a
goose myself to give credence to such 'blue bird' tales.
I shall answer the joker, in such a case, by saying
that, if he disputes this point, then must he also
strike out from the life of St. Isidore of Spain the statement
that he resuscitated from death his master's horse; from
the biography of St. Nicolas of Tolentino--that he brought
back to life a partridge, instead of eating it;
from that of St. Francis--that he recovered from the blazing
coals of an oven, where it was baking, the body
of a lamb, which he forthwith resurrected; and that
he also made boiled fishes, which he resuscitated,
swim in their sauce; etc., etc. Above
all he, the sceptic, will have to charge more than
100,000 eye-witnesses--among whom at least a few ought
to be allowed some common sense--with being either liars or dupes."
A far higher authority than Father Burigny, namely,
Pope Benedict (Benoit) XIV, corroborates and affirms the
above evidence. The names, moreover, as eye-witnesses
to the resurrections, of Saint Sylvestrus, Francois
de Paule, Severin of Cracow and a host of others are all
mentioned in the Bollandists. "Only he adds"--says
Cardinal de Ventura who quotes him--"that, as resurrection,
however, to deserve the name requires the identical
and numerical reproduction of the form,7
as much as of the material of the dead creature;
and as that form (or soul) of the brute is always annihilated
with its body according to St. Thomas' doctrine,
God, in every such case finds himself obliged to create
for the purpose of the miracle a new form for the resurrected
animal; from which it follows that the resurrected brute
was not altogether identical with what it had been
before its death (non idem omnino esse.)"8
Now this looks terribly like one of the mayas of magic.
However, although the difficulty is not absolutely explained,
the following is made clear: the principle, that
animated the animal during its life,. and which is termed
soul, being dead or dissipated after the death of the body,
another soul--"a kind of an informal soul"--as
the Pope and the Cardinal tell us--is created for the purpose
of miracle by God; a soul, moreover, which
is distinct from that of man, which is "an independent,
ethereal and ever lasting entity."
Besides the natural objection to such a proceeding being called
a "miracle" produced by the saint, for it is
simply God behind his back who "creates" for the purpose
of his glorification an entirely new soul as well as a new body,
the whole of the Thomasian doctrine is open to objection.
For, as Descartes very reasonably remarks: "if
the soul of the animal is so distinct (in its immateriality) from
its body, we believe it hardly possible to avoid recognizing
it as a spiritual principle, hence--an intelligent one."
The reader need hardly be reminded that Descartes held the living
animal as being simply an automaton, a "well wound
up clock-work," according to Malebranche. One,
therefore, who adopts the Cartesian theory about the animal
would do as well to accept at once the views of the modern materialists.
For, since that automaton is capable of feelings,
such as love, gratitude, etc., and is endowed
as undeniably with memory, all such attributes must be
as materialism teaches us "properties of matter."
But if the animal is an "automaton," why not
Man? Exact science-- anatomy, physiology, etc.,--finds
not the smallest difference between the bodies of the two;
and who knows justly enquires Solomon--whether the spirit of man
"goeth upward" any more than that of the beast? Thus
we find metaphysical Descartes as inconsistent as any one.
But what does St. Thomas say to this? Allowing a soul (anima)
to the brute, and declaring it immaterial, he
refuses it at the same time the qualification of spiritual.
Because, he says: "it would in such case
imply intelligence, a virtue and a special operation
reserved only for the human soul." But as at the fourth
Council of Lateran it had been decided that "God had created
two distinct substances, the corporeal (mundanam) and
the spiritual (spiritualem), and that something
incorporeal must be of necessity spiritual St. Thomas had
to resort to a kind of compromise, which can avoid being
called a subterfuge only when performed by a saint. He says:
"This soul of the brute is neither spirit, nor body;
it is of a middle nature."9 This is a very
unfortunate statement. For elsewhere, St.
Thomas says that "all the souls--even those of plants--have
the substantial form of their bodies," and if this
is true of plants, why not of animals? It is certainly
neither "spirit" nor pure matter, but of that
essence which St. Thomas calls "a middle nature."
But why, once on the right path, deny it survivance--let
alone immortality? The contradiction is so flagrant that De Mirville
in despair exclaims, "Here we are, in the presence
of three substances, instead of the two, as decreed
by the Lateran Council!", and proceeds forthwith to
contradict, as much as he dares, the "Angelic
The great Bossuet in his Traité de la Connaissance de
Dieu et de soi même analyses and compares the system
of Descartes with that of St. Thomas. No one can
find fault with him for giving the preference in the matter of
logic to Descartes. He finds the Cartesian "invention"--that
of the automaton,--as "getting better out of the difficulty"
than that of St. Thomas, accepted fully by the Catholic
Church; for which Father Ventura feels indignant against
Bossuet for accepting "such a miserable and puerile error."
And, though allowing the animals a soul with all its qualities
of affection and sense, true to his master St. Thomas,
he too refuses them intelligence and reasoning powers.
"Bossuet," he says, "is the more
to be blamed, since he himself has said: 'I foresee
that a great war is being prepared against the Church under the
name of Cartesian philosophy'." He is right there,
for out of the "sentient matter" of the brain of the
brute animal comes out quite naturally Locke's thinking matter,
and out of the latter all the materialistic schools of our
century. But when he fails, it is through supporting
St. Thomas' doctrine, which is full of flaws and
evident contradictions. For, if the soul of the
animal is, as the Roman Church teaches, an informal,
immaterial principle, then it becomes evident that,
being independent of physical organism, it cannot "die
with the animal" any more than in the case of man.
If we admit that it subsists and survives, in what respect
does it differ from the soul of man? And that it is eternal--once
we accept St. Thomas' authority on any subject--though
he contradicts himself elsewhere. "The soul of man
is immortal, and the soul of the animal perishes,"
he says (Summa, Vol. V. p.
164),--this, after having queried in Vol.
II of the same grand work (p. 256) "are there any
beings that re-emerge into nothingness?" and answered himself:--"No,
for in the Ecclesiastes it is said: (iii. 14) Whatsoever
GOD doeth, it shall be for ever.
With God there is no variableness (James I. 17)."
"Therefore," goes on St. Thomas,
"neither in the natural order of things, nor by means
of miracles, is there any creature that re-emerges into
nothingness (is annihilated); there is naught in the
creature that is annihilated, for that which shows
with the greatest radiance divine goodness is the perpetual conservation
of the creatures."l0
This sentence is commented upon and confirmed in the annotation
by the Abbé Drioux, his translator. "No,"
he remarks--"nothing is annihilated; it is a principle
that has become with modern science a kind of axiom."
And, if so, why should there be an exception made
to this invariable rule in nature, recognized both by science
and theology,--only in the case of the soul of the animal?
Even though it had no intelligence, an assumption
from which every impartial thinker will ever and very strongly
Let us see, however, turning from scholastic philosophy
to natural sciences, what are the naturalist's objections
to the animal having an intelligent and therefore an independent
soul in him.
"Whatever that be, which thinks, which understands,
which acts, it is something celestial and divine;
and upon that account must necessarily be eternal,"
wrote Cicero, nearly two millenniums ago. We should
understand well, Mr. Huxley contradicting the conclusion,--St.
Thomas of Aquinas, the "king of the metaphysicians,"
firmly believed in the miracles of resurrection performed by St.
Really, when such tremendous claims as the said miracles
are put forward and enforced by the Church upon the faithful,
her theologians should take more care that their highest authorities
at least should not contradict themselves, thus showing
ignorance upon questions raised nevertheless to a doctrine.
The animal, then, is debarred from progress and
immortality, because he is an automaton. According
to Descartes, he has no intelligence, agreeably
to mediæval scholasticism; nothing but instinct,
the latter signifying involuntary impulses, as affirmed
by the materialists and denied by the Church.
Both Frederic and George Cuvier have discussed amply, however,
on the intelligence and the instinct in animals.l2
Their ideas upon the subject have been collected and edited by
Flourens, the learned Secretary of the Academy of Sciences.
This is what Frederic Cuvier, for thirty years the Director
of the Zoological Department and the Museum of Natural History
at the Jardin des Plantes, Paris, wrote upon
the subject. "Descartes' mistake, or rather
the general mistake, lies in that no sufficient distinction
was ever made between intelligence and instinct. Buffon
himself had fallen into such an omission, and owing to
it every thing in his Zoological philosophy was contradictory.
Recognizing in the animal a feeling superior to our own,
as well as the consciousness of its actual existence, he
denied it at the same time thought, reflection,
and memory, consequently every possibility of having thoughts."
(Buffon, Discourse on the Nature of Animals,
VII, p. 57.) But, as he could
hardly stop there, he admitted that the brute had a kind
of memory, active, extensive and more faithful than
our (human) memory (Id. Ibid., p.
77). Then, after having refused it any intelligence,
he nevertheless admitted that the animal "consulted its master,
interrogated him, and understood perfectly every sign of
his will." (Id. Ibid., Vol.
X, History of the Dog, p. 2.)
A more magnificent series of contradictory statements could hardly
have been expected from a great man of science.
The illustrious Cuvier is right therefore in remarking in his
turn, that "this new mechanism of Buffon is still
less intelligible than Descartes' automaton."l3
As remarked by the critic, a line of demarcation ought
to be traced between instinct and intelligence. The construction
of beehives by the bees, the raising of dams by the beaver
in the middle of the naturalist's dry floor as much as in the
river, are all the deeds and effects of instinct forever
unmodifiable and changeless, whereas the acts of intelligence
are to be found in actions evidently thought out by the animal,
where not instinct but reason comes into play, such as
its education and training calls forth and renders susceptible
of perfection and development. Man is endowed with reason,
the infant with instinct; and the young animal shows more
of both than the child.
Indeed, every one of the disputants knows as well as we
do that it is so. If any materialist avoid confessing it,
it is through pride. Refusing a soul to both man and beast,
he is unwilling to admit that the latter is endowed with intelligence
as well as himself, even though in an infinitely lesser
degree. In their turn the churchman, the religiously
inclined naturalist, the modern metaphysician, shrink
from avowing that man and animal are both endowed with soul and
faculties, if not equal in development and perfection,
at least the same in name and essence. Each of them knows,
or ought to know that instinct and intelligence are two faculties
completely opposed in their nature, two enemies confronting
each other in constant conflict; and that, if they
will not admit of two souls or principles, they have to
recognize, at any rate, the presence of two potencies
in the soul, each having a different seat in the brain,
the localization of each of which is well known to them,
since they can isolate and temporarily destroy them in turn--according
to the organ or part of the organs they happen to be torturing
during their terrible vivisections. What is it but human
pride that prompted Pope to say:
Ask for whose end the heavenly bodies shine;
Earth for whose use? Pride answers, 'Tis for mine.
For me kind nature wakes her genial power,
Suckles each herb, and spreads out every flower.
For me the mine a thousand treasures brings;
For me health gushes from a thousand springs;
Seas roll to waft me, suns to light me rise;
My footstool earth, my canopy the skies!
And it is the same unconscious pride that made Buffon utter his
paradoxical remarks with reference to the difference between man
and animal. That difference consisted in the "absence of reflection, for the animal," he says,
"does not feel that he feels." How does Buffon
know? "It does not think that it thinks," he
adds, after having told the audience that the animal remembered,
often deliberated, compared and chose!l4 Who ever
pretended that a cow or a dog could be an idealogist? But
the animal may think and know it thinks, the more keenly
that it cannot speak, and express its thoughts.
How can Buffon or any one else know? One thing is shown however
by the exact observations of naturalists and that is, that
the animal is endowed with intelligence; and once this
is settled, we have but to repeat Thomas Aquinas' definition
of intelligence--the prerogative of man's immortal soul--to see
that the same is due to the animal.
But in justice to real Christian philosophy, we
are able to show that primitive Christianity has never preached
such atrocious doctrines--the true cause of the falling off of
so many of the best men as of the highest intellects from the
teachings of Christ and his disciples.
O Philosophy, thou guide of life, and discoverer
Philosophy is a modest profession, it is all reality and
plain dealing; I hate solemnity and pretence, with
nothing but pride at the bottom.
THE destiny of man--of the most brutal,
animal-like, as well as of the most saintly--being immortality,
according to theological teaching; what is the future destiny
of the countless hosts of the animal kingdom? We are told by various
Roman Catholic writers--Cardinal Ventura, Count de Maistre
and many others--that "animal soul is a Force."
"It is well established that the soul of the animal,"
says their echo De Mirville,--"was produced by
the earth, for this is Biblical. All the living
and moving souls (nephesh or life principle) come from
the earth; but, let me be understood, not
solely from the dust, of which their bodies as well as
our own were made, but from the power or potency of the
earth; i.e., from its immaterial force,
as all forces are . . . those of the sea,
of the air, etc., all of which are those
Elementary Principalities (principautés élementaires)
of which we have spoken elsewhere."l5
What the Marquis de Mirville understands by the term is,
that every "Element" in nature is a domain filled and
governed by its respective invisible spirits. The Western
Kabalists and the Rosicrucians named them Sylphs, Undines,
Salamanders and Gnomes; christian mystics, like
De Mirville, give them Hebrew names and class each among
the various kinds of Demons under the sway of Satan--with God's
permission, of course.
He too rebels against the decision of St. Thomas,
who teaches that the animal soul is destroyed with the body.
"It is a force,"--he says--that "we are
asked to annihilate, the most substantial force
on earth, called animal soul," which,
according to the Reverend Father Ventura, isl6
"the most respectable soul after that of man."
He had just called it an immaterial force, and now it is
named by him "the most substantial thing on earth."l7
But what is this Force? George Cuvier and Flourens the academician
tell us its secret.
"The form or the force of the bodies," (form
means soul in this case, let us remember,) the former
writes,--"is far more essential to them than matter
is, as (without being destroyed in its essence) the latter
changes constantly, whereas the form prevails eternally.'
To this Flourens observes: "In everything that has
life, the form is more persistent than matter; for,
that which constitutes the BEING of the living
body, its identity and its sameness, is its form."l8
"Being," as De Mirville remarks in his turn,
"a magisterial principle. a philosophical pledge of
our immortality,"l9 it must be inferred
that soul--human and animal--is meant under this misleading term.
It is rather what we call the ONE LIFE
However this may be, philosophy, both profane and
religious, corroborates this statement that the two "souls"
are identical in man and beast. Leibnitz, the philosopher
beloved by Bossuet, appeared to credit "Animal Resurrection"
to a certain extent. Death being for him "simply
the temporary enveloping of the personality" he likens
it to the preservation of ideas in sleep, or to the butterfly
within its caterpillar. "For him," says
De Mirville, "resurrection20 is a general
law in nature, which becomes a grand miracle, when
performed by a thaumaturgist, only in virtue of its prematurity,
of the surrounding circumstances, and of the mode in which
he operates." In this Leibnitz is a true Occultist
without suspecting it. The growth and blossoming of a flower
or a plant in five minutes instead of several days and weeks,
the forced germination and development of plant, animal
or man, are facts preserved in the records of the Occultists.
They are only seeming miracles; the natural productive
forces hurried and a thousand-fold intensified by the induced
conditions under occult laws known to the Initiate. The
abnormally rapid growth is effected by the forces of nature,
whether blind or attached to minor intelligences subjected to
man's occult power, being brought to bear collectively
on the development of the thing to be called forth out of its
chaotic elements. But why call one a divine miracle,
the other a satanic subterfuge or simply a fraudulent performance?
Still as a true philosopher Leibnitz finds himself forced,
even in this dangerous question of the resurrection of the dead,
to include in it the whole of the animal kingdom in its great
synthesis, and to say: "I believe that the
souls of the animals are imperishable, . .
. and I find that nothing is better fitted to prove our
own immortal nature."2l
Supporting Leibnitz, Dean, the Vicar of Middleton,
published in 1748 two small volumes upon this subject.
To sum up his ideas, he says that "the holy scriptures
hint in various passages that the brutes shall live in a future
life. This doctrine has been supported by several Fathers
of the Church. Reason teaching us that the animals have
a soul, teaches us at the same time that they shall
exist in a future state. The system of those who believe
that God annihilates the soul of the animal is nowhere supported,
and has no solid foundation to it," etc. etc.22
Many of the men of science of the last century defended Dean's
hypothesis, declaring it extremely probable, one
of them especially--the learned Protestant theologian Charles
Bonnet of Geneva. Now, this theologian was the author
of an extremely curious work called by him Palingenesia23
or the "New Birth," which takes place,
as he seeks to prove, owing to an invisible germ that exists
in everybody, and no more than Leibnitz can he understand
that animals should be excluded from a system, which,
in their absence, would not be a unity, since system
means "a collection of laws."24
"The animals," he writes, "are admirable
books, in which the creator gathered the most striking
features of his sovereign intelligence. The anatomist has
to study them with respect, and, if in the
least endowed with that delicate and reasoning feeling that characterises
the moral man, he will never imagine, while turning
over the pages, that he is handling slates or breaking
pebbles. He will never forget that all that lives and feels
is entitled to his mercy and pity. Man would run the risk
of compromising his ethical feeling were he to become familiarised
with the suffering and the blood of animals. This truth
is so evident that Governments should never lose sight of it.
. . . as to the hypothesis of automatism I should feel inclined
to regard it as a philosophical heresy, very dangerous
for society, if it did not so strongly violate good sense
and feeling as to become harmless, for it can never be
"As to the destiny of the animal, if my hypothesis
be right, Providence holds in reserve for them the greatest
compensations in future states.25 . .
. And for me, their resurrection is the consequence
of that soul or form we are necessarily obliged to allow them,
for a soul being a simple substance, can neither be
divided, nor decomposed, nor yet annihilated.
One cannot escape such an inference without falling back into
Descartes' automatism; and then from animal automatism
one would soon and forcibly arrive at that of man" .
Our modern school of biologists has arrived at the theory of "automaton-man,"
but its disciples may be left to their own devices and conclusions.
That with which I am at present concerned, is the final
and absolute proof that neither the Bible, nor its most
philosophical interpreters--however much they may have lacked
a clearer insight into other questions--have ever denied,
on Biblical authority, an immortal soul to any animal,
more than they have found in it conclusive evidence as to
the existence of such a soul in man--in the old Testament.
One has but to read certain verses in Job and the Ecclesiastes
(iii. 17 et seq. 22) to arrive at
this conclusion. The truth of the matter is, that
the future state of neither of the two is therein referred to
by one single word. But if, on the other hand,
only negative evidence is found in the Old Testament concerning
the immortal soul in animals, in the New it is as plainly
asserted as that of man himself, and it is for the benefit
of those who deride Hindu philozoism, who assert
their right to kill animals at their will and pleasure,
and deny them an immortal soul, that a final and definite
proof is now being given.
St. Paul was mentioned at the end of Part I as the defender
of the immortality of all the brute creation. Fortunately
this statement is not one of those that can be pooh-poohed by
the Christians as "the blasphemous and heretical interpretations
of the holy writ, by a group of atheists and free-thinkers."
Would that every one of the profoundly wise words of the Apostle
Paul--an Initiate whatever else he might have been--was as clearly
understood as those passages that relate to the animals.
For then, as will be shown, the indestructibility
of matter taught by materialistic science; the law of eternal
evolution, so bitterly denied by the Church; the
omnipresence of the ONE LIFE,
or the unity of the ONE ELEMENT,
and its presence throughout the whole of nature as preached by
esoteric philosophy, and the secret sense of St.
Paul's remarks to the Romans (viii. 18-23
), would be demonstrated beyond doubt or cavil to be obviously
one and the same thing. Indeed, what else can that
great historical personage, so evidently imbued with neo-Platonic
Alexandrian philosophy, mean by the following, which
I transcribe with comments in the light of occultism, to
give a clearer comprehension of my meaning?
The apostle premises by saying (Romans viii. 16,
17) that "The spirit itself" (Paramatma) "beareth
witness with our spirit" (atman) "that we are
the children of God," and "if children,
then heirs"--heirs of course to the eternity and indestructibility
of the eternal or divine essence in us. Then he tells us
"The sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be
compared with the glory which shall be revealed."
The "glory" we maintain, is no "new Jerusalem,"
the symbolical representation of the future in St. John's
kabalistical Revelations--but the Devachanic periods and
the series of births in the succeeding races when, after
every new incarnation we shall find ourselves higher and more
perfect, physically as well as spiritually; and
when finally we shall all become truly the "sons" and
"the children of God" at the "last Resurrection"--whether
people call it Christian, Nirvanic or Parabrahmic;
as all these are one and the same. For truly--
"The earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the
manifestation of the sons of God." (v. 19.)
By creature, animal is here meant, as will be shown
further on upon the authority of St. John Chrysostom.
But who are the "sons of God," for the manifestation
of whom the whole creation longs? Are they the "sons of God"
with whom "Satan came also" (see Job) or the "seven
angels" of Revelations? Have they reference to Christians
only or to the "sons of God" all over the world?26
Such "manifestation" is promised at the end of every
Manvantara27 or world-period by
of every great Religion, and save in the Esoteric interpretation
of all these, in none so clearly as in the Vedas.
For there it is said that at the end of each Manvantara
comes the pralaya, or the destruction of the
world--only one of which is known to, and expected by,
the Christians--when there will be left the Sishtas,
or remnants, seven Rishis and one warrior, and
all the seeds, for the next human "tide-wave of the
following Round."28 But the main question
with which we are concerned is not at present, whether
the Christian or the Hindu theory is the more correct;
but to show that the Brahmins--in teaching that the seeds of all
the creatures are left over, out of the total periodical
and temporary destruction of all visible things, together
with the "sons of God" or the Rishis, who shall
manifest themselves to future humanity--say neither more nor less
than what St. Paul himself preaches. Both include
all animal life in the hope of a new birth and renovation in a
more perfect state when every creature that now "waiteth"
shall rejoice in the "manifestation of the sons of God."
Because, as St. Paul explains:
"The creature itself (ipsa) also shall be delivered from
the bondage of corruption," which is to say that the
seed or the indestructible animal soul, which does not
reach Devachan while in its elementary or animal state,
will get into a higher form and go on, together with man,
progressing into still higher states and forms, to end,
animal as well as man, "in the glorious liberty of
the children of God" (v. 21).
And this "glorious liberty" can be reached only through
the evolution or the Karmic progress of all creatures.
The dumb brute having evoluted from the half sentient plant,
is itself transformed by degrees into man, spirit,
God--et seq. and ad infinitum! For says St.
"We know ("we," the Initiates)
that the whole creation, (omnis creatura or
creature, in the Vulgate) groaneth and travaileth
(in child-birth) in pain until now."29
This is plainly saying that man and animal are on a par on earth,
as to suffering, in their evolutionary efforts toward the
goal and in accordance with Karmic law. By "until
now," is meant up to the fifth race. To make
it still plainer, the great Christian Initiate explains
"Not only they (the animals) but ourselves also, which
have the first-fruits of the Spirit, we groan within ourselves,
waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption
of our body." (v. 23.) Yes, it
is we, men, who have the "first-fruits of the
Spirit," or the direct Parabrahmic light, our
Atma or seventh principle, owing to the perfection of our
fifth principle (Manas), which is far less developed in
the animal. As a compensation, however, their
Karma is far less heavy than ours. But that is no reason
why they too should not reach one day that perfection that gives
the fully evoluted man the Dhyanchohanic form.
Nothing could be clearer--even to a profane, non-initiated
critic--than those words of the great Apostle, whether
we interpret them by the light of esoteric philosophy,
or that of mediæval scholasticism. The hope of redemption,
or, of the survival of the spiritual entity, delivered
"from the bondage of corruption," or the series
of temporary material forms, is for all living creatures,
not for man alone.
But the "paragon" of animals, proverbially unfair
even to his fellow-beings, could not be expected to give
easy consent to sharing his expectations with his cattle and domestic
poultry. The famous Bible commentator, Cornelius
a Lapide, was the first to point out and charge his predecessors
with the conscious and deliberate intention of doing all they
could to avoid the application of the word creatura to
the inferior creatures of this world. We learn from him
that St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Origen and St.
Cyril (the one, most likely, who refused to see
a human creature in Hypatia, and dealt with her as though
she were a wild animal) insisted that the word creatura,
in the verses above quoted, was applied by the Apostle
simply to the angels! But, as remarks Cornelius,
who appeals to St. Thomas for corroboration, "this
opinion is too distorted and violent (distorta et violenta);
it is moreover invalidated by the fact that the angels,
as such, are already delivered from the bonds of corruption."
Nor is St. Augustine's suggestion any happier; for
he offers the strange hypothesis that the "creatures,"
spoken of by St. Paul, were "the infidels and
the heretics" of all the ages! Cornelius contradicts the
venerable father as coolly as he opposed his earlier brother-saints.
"For," says he, "in the text quoted
the creatures spoken of by the Apostle are evidently
distinct from men:--not only they but ourselves also;
and then, that which is meant is not deliverance from
sin, but from death to come."30
But even the brave Cornelius finally gets scared by the general
opposition and decides that under the term creatures St.
Paul may have meant--as St. Ambrosius, St.
Hilarius (Hilaire) and others insisted elements (!!)
i.e., the sun, the moon, the stars,
the earth, etc. etc.
Unfortunately for the holy speculators and scholastics,
and very fortunately for the animals--if these are ever to profit
by polemics--they are over-ruled by a still greater authority
than themselves. It is St. John Chrysostomus,
already mentioned, whom the Roman Catholic Church,
on the testimony given by Bishop Proclus, at one time his
secretary, holds in the highest veneration. In fact
St. John Chrysostom was, if such a profane (in our
days) term can be applied to a saint,--the "medium"
of the Apostle to the Gentiles. In the matter of his Commentary
on St. Paul's Epistles, St. John is held
as directly inspired by that Apostle himself, in other
words as having written his comments at St. Paul's dictation.
This is what we read in those comments on the 3rd Chapter of the
Epistle to the Romans.
"We must always groan about the delay made for our emigration
(death); for if, as saith the Apostle, the
creature deprived of reason (mente, not anima,
"Soul")--and speech (nam si hæc creatura
mente et verbo carens) groans and expects, the more
the shame that we ourselves should fail to do so."3l
Unfortunately we do, and fail most ingloriously in this
desire for "emigration" to countries unknown.
Were people to study the scriptures of all nations and interpret
their meaning by the light of esoteric philosophy, no one
would fail to become, if not anxious to die, at
least indifferent to death. We should then make profitable
use of the time we pass on this earth by quietly preparing in
each birth for the next by accumulating good Karma. But
man is a sophist by nature. And, even after reading
this opinion of St. John Chrysostom--one that settles the
question of the immortal soul in animals forever, or ought
to do so at any rate, in the mind of every Christian,--we
fear the poor dumb brutes may not benefit much by the lesson after
all. Indeed, the subtle casuist, condemned
out of his own mouth, might tell us, that whatever
the nature of the soul in the animal, he is still doing
it a favour, and himself a meritorious action, by
killing the poor brute, as thus he puts an end to its "groans
about the delay made for its emigration" into eternal glory.
The writer is not simple enough to imagine, that a whole
British Museum filled with works against meat diet, would
have the effect of stopping civilized nations from having slaughter-houses,
or of making them renounce their beefsteak and Christmas goose.
But if these humble lines could make a few readers realize the
real value of St. Paul's noble words, and thereby
seriously turn their thoughts to all the horrors of vivisection--then
the writer would be content. For verily when the world
feels convinced--and it cannot avoid coming one day to such a
conviction--that animals are creatures as eternal as we ourselves,
vivisection and other permanent tortures, daily inflicted
on the poor brutes, will, after calling forth an
outburst of maledictions and threats from society generally,
force all Governments to put an end to those barbarous and shameful
Theosophist, January, February, and March, 1886
l De la Resurrection et du Miracle. E.
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2 De la Resurrection et du Miracle. E.
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3 Compare also the difference between the translation
of the same verse in the Vulgata, and the texts
of Luther and De Wette.
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4 Commen. Apocal., ch.
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5 It is but justice to acknowledge here that De Mirville
is the first to recognize the error of the Church in this particular,
and to defend animal life, as far as he dares do so.
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6 De Beatificatione, etc., by Pope
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7 In scholastic philosophy, the word "form"
applies to the immaterial principle which informs or animates
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8 De Beautificatione. etc. I,
IV, c. Xl, Art. 6.
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9 Quoted by Cardinal de Ventura in his Philosophie
Chretienne, Vol. 11, p. 386. See also De Mirville, Résurrections
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10 Summa--Drioux edition in 8 vols.
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11 St. Patrick, it is claimed,
has Christianized "the most Satanized country of the globe--Ireland,
ignorant in all save magic"--into the "Island
of Saints," by resurrecting "sixty men dead years
before." Suscitavit sexaginta mortuos (Lectio I.
ii, from the Roman Breviary, 1520).
In the M.S. held to be the famous confession of
that saint, preserved. in the Salisbury Cathedral
(Descript. Hibern. I.
II, C. 1), St. Patrick
writes in an autograph letter: "To me the last of
men, and the greatest sinner, God has, nevertheless,
given, against the magical practices of this barbarous
people the gift of miracles, such as had not been given
to the greatest of our apostles--since he (God) permitted that
among other things (such as the resurrection of animals and creeping
things) I should resuscitate dead bodies reduced to ashes since
many years." Indeed, before such
a prodigy, the resurrection of Lazarus appears a very insignificant
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12 More recently Dr. Romanes and Dr.
Butler have thrown great light upon the subject.
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13 Biographie Universelle, Art.
by Cuvier on Buffon's Life.
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14 Discours sur la nature des Animaux.
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15 Esprits, 2m. mem.
Ch. XII, Cosmolatrie.
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17 Esprits--p. 158.
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18Longevity, pp. 49 and 52.
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19 Resurrections. p. 621.
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20 The occultists call it
during a series of lives and the final, nirvanic Resurrection.
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2l Leibnitz. Opera philos.,
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22 See vol. XXIX of the Bibliothéque
des sciences, 1st Trimester of the year 1768.
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23From two Greek words--to be born and
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24 See Vol. II Palingenesis. Also,
De Mirville's Resurrections.
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25 We too believe in "future states" for
the animal from the highest down to the infusoria--but in a series
of rebirths, each in a higher form, up to man and
then beyond --in short, we believe in evolution
in the fullest sense of the word.
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26 See Isis, Vol. I.
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27What was really meant by the "sons of
God" in antiquity is now demonstrated fully in the SECRET
DOCTRINE in its Part I (on the Archaic Period)--now
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28 This is the orthodox Hindu as much as the
esoteric version. In his Bangalore Lecture "What is
Hindu Religion?"--Dewan Bahadoor Raghunath Rao, of
Madras, says: "At the end of each Manvantara,
annihilation of the world takes place; but one warrior,
seven Rishis, and the seeds are saved from destruction.
To them God (or Brahm) communicates the Statute law or the Vedas
. . . as soon as a Manvantara commences these
laws are promulgated . . . and become binding
. . . to the end of that Manvantara.
These eight persons are called Sishtas, or remnants,
because they alone remain after the destruction of all the others.
Their acts and precepts are, therefore, known as
Sishtacar. They are also designated 'Sadachar'
because such acts and precepts are only what always existed."
This is the orthodox version. The secret one speaks of
seven Initiates having attained Dhyanchohanship toward the end
of the seventh Race on this earth, who are left on earth
during its "obscuration" with the seed of every mineral,
plant, and animal that had not time to evolute into man
for the next Round or world-period. See Esoteric Buddhism,
by A. P. Sinnett, Fifth Edition,
Annotations, pp. 146, 147.
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29 . . . ingemiscit et parturit
usque adhuc in the original Latin translation.
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30 Cornelius, edit. Pelagaud,
I. IX, p.114.
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31Homélie XIV. Sur l'Epitre
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