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The Blossom of the Century

Originally Published: 1898

by The Foote & Davies Co. Atlanta, Ga.

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To working men and women everywhere, the fuitage of whose toil is small; to those who would, but cannot toil because refused; to you now near the top of that great ladder climbed by brawn, who long to use your brain; to you now toiling in the mental world, who would buld better than you have; to all who long for greater wealth of purse and poewr and self, I dedicate this book. Remeber as you read it, that you, sir, are a man; you, madam, are a woman. Conditions cannot be your masyter when you know yourselves. The buds of wondrous promise are within us all.
Man! Woman! These are words of mighty power indeed when understood. Eahc human body ist he temple of its god within. Turn on the light of selfhood as you read this book and let the light be strong. Discover Self! If search be short or long, I say discover self! Then, know thyself, and then record a solemn vow and let it be, I can--I will--I dare--I do.

--The Author


In looking back I now see that a belief in death as a fixed and unalterable fact never had full possession of me. I doubt whether, in the true sense, it really has full possession of any one; for, while it seems real enough, so far as the dying of other people is concerned, we rarely think of it as being an inevitable reality for ourselves. It always seems a far off and shadowy psosibility, but not an irresistible fate such as a man feels it to be who is under sentence of death for some crime. If man accepted death all over, in his inner as well as his outer consciousnes, he would feel about it very much as this condemned felon does. It would occupy his every thought and render him unfit for any effort in life except a preperation for death. In short the certain knowledge of coming death would be quivalent to present death so far as the uses of life are concerned. But men are not expecting to die; their lives prove it; they are deeply interested in a thousand schemes of activity, and they are happy in their efforts to better their conditions and to surround themselves with pleasing things. "Death is inevitable," they say, but their words do not touch them; they do not excite them in the least. It is only when they feel its icy touch that they begin to have even the slightest realization of it as accplicable to their own cases. As soon as men begin to feel that death is impending, their fear is then arouded and they seek to escape from it. That they do fear it and seek to escape from it. That they do fear it and seek to escape from it, is proof conclusive that there is a way of es- cape from it ; for there is no truth in the cosmic growth of the race more true than that every hope is the sure prophecy of its own fulfillment The dread of death is the hope of life, Hope — which is an expression of the Law of Life in man — cannot possibly point to that which does not exist. It always streams forth in the direction of that which is correlated to it ; of that which is its complement, and the acquisition of which fixes it in living substance as a new creation.

The idea that projects life beyond the grave does not altogether allay the fear of death ; nor does the promise of heaven, with all its attractions, reconcile it to us. So long as even a modicum of the old vitality lasts, we prefer this troublesome and poverty-stricken world to the " spheres of the blest." It is only when the vitality is too low for resistance that men, as a rule, become reconciled to go. To be sure, there are abnormal instances where men's imaginations have been so stimulated by descriptions of the next world, they have let. go the frail hold they had upon this one, and have seemed anxious to go. But we all admit that men in such conditions are unbalanced. We do not want to die ; this is the plain fact. We do not want to die, no matter how hard life seems, or how enchanting the future is painted for us. We not only do not want to die, but we do not expect it. It always comes upon us as a surprise. The race believes that it believes that an implacable and inexorable God has passed sentence of death upon it; it also claims to justify God in having done so ; but its position is self-deceptive, and its actions contradict its as- sumed belief in God's power and wisdom. It is constantly seeking remedies by which it can thwart God's purpose in killing it; and down deep in the soul of it, it vests more hope in the power of a pill than in the power of God. It has its body tinkers and its soul tinkers ; and it clings to its body tinker until hope deserts it; and then in despair it turns to its soul tinker. And when a loved one has passed through the veil out of sight, though we say, " He is happy now, he is in the bosom of God, and sorrow, sickness and death shall touch him no more," we weep and refuse to be comforted. And I say that it is not the mere pain of separation that wrings our souls, for he might have gone to another country or even to another planet, and if he had gone alive we would not have felt as we do. And this feeling we have for him ; what is it ; and why is it what it is?

Again I say, as I intimated before, it is the intuitive perception of a truth that has not yet been made apparent to the reasoning faculties. It is because death is a violation of some natural principle with which we are not yet familiar. And because it is a violation of some natural principle, even though the principle is hidden at -present from our dwarfed perceptions, we are rent asunder by it, and cannot reconcile it with our long accepted belief that death is a blessing in disguise. It is human nature overturning human religion. It seems to me, judging by myself, that if a man actually knew that death was to be his doom, from which there was no possibility of escape, that he would so dread the event as to make life one prolonged horror, and would be prompted to hasten the thing in order to relieve himself from it; just as men condemned to hang will hang themselves in their cells in order to get the fearful catastrophe off their minds. The fact is, men do not anticipate death for themselves whatever they may do for others. Undefined in their own minds there remains fixed forever that intuitive perception of immortality which belongs to the unchanging and undying Life Principle, of which they are the expression, or visible manifestation. Undefined by themselves, I say. So unde- fined is it, BO misunderstood by them, and yet so potent, that out of it, out of this simple intuitive perception, this vague feeling of immortality, has arisen every theological scheme ever yet projected for the perpetuation of individual life in another state of existence. Thinkers and reasoners on this subject actually believe they have accepted as inevitable the death of the body ; and so, as a last resort they hold fast with unswerving tenacity to the feeling of immortality which they find implant- ed within all men ; and they have therefore en- dowed each individual of the race with a spirit that lives beyond the death of the body ; and this spirit they have provided out of their am- ple imaginations with many and various modes of escape from annihilation. Religion offers another world to the race as a substitute for its unconquerable desire to live. It is the best thing that couid be done in the world's past and perhaps even in its present state of intelligence. But the entire reasoning of religion, based as it is upon the inborn sense of man's immortal- ity as an individual, belongs to the awakening intelligence of an infant race not yet grown to a knowledge of its own power to conquer death here and now, and to project a life of unbroken progression for itself. Religion is but the pointing finger of infalli- ble intuition indicating the fact that there is a road through the untrodden wilderness of fast coming thought which experience must traverse, but which has never yet been traversed, and which when once traversed, will put an en- tirely new face upon our implanted belief in our individual immortality. Man may possess a spirit that lives beyond his body, and I hope and believe that he does. But we have no absolute and indisputable proof of it.

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