At each sitting the speaker was first put into the deep hypnotic trance in which he was rigid and unconscious; but his sub-conscious or second self was active and lucid, and associated with the principles and knowledge which he needed and which he was to communicate. From this condition he came back to the somnambulic state in which he dictated that which he had acquired in the deep trance, or what he called the "superior condition"; and the transition from one of these states to the other took place many times during each lecture. Such were the conditions under which Andrew Jackson Davis produced the Principles of Nature - Her Divine Revelation - a book of nearly 800 pages, divided into three parts: - First, a setting forth of first principles, which served as a philosophical explanation or key to the main work. Second, a cosmogony or description of the method by which the universe came to its present state of development, and third, a statement of the ethical principles upon which society should be based and the practical working of these principles. It assumes to be thoroughly scientific and philosophical. It has literary faults, and there is plenty of opportunity for cavil and scientific fault-finding; but these remarkable facts remain.

A poor boy, thoroughly well known and vouched for by his neighbors for his strict integrity, having had only five months of ordinary district school instruction for his education, having never read a scientific or philosophical book, and not a dozen all told of every kind, having never associated with people of education except in the most casual way, yet in the manner just described he dictated a book containing the outlines of a thoroughly sound and reasonable system of philosophy, theology, and ethics, and a complete system of cosmogony representing the most advanced views in geology, which was then in its infancy - astronomy, chemistry, and other departments of physical science, criticising current scientific opinions, and in points where he differed from these opinions giving full and cogent reason for that difference.

On March 16th, 17th, and 20th, 1846, he announced the fact of the motion of our sun and solar system about a still greater centre, in harmony with the Nebular Hypothesis by which he explained the formation of the whole vast system. He also announced the existence of an eighth and ninth planet, and the apparently abnormal revolution of the satellites of Uranus. Neptune, the eighth planet, had not then been discovered and was not found until six months later. On the 29th of April he announced the discovery and application of diamagnetism by Faraday, concerning which none of his associates had any knowledge, and which I believe had not then been noticed in this country. He gave a distinct and vivid description of the formation of the different bodies constituting the solar system, of the introduction of life upon our planet, and of its evolution from grade to grade from the lowest to the highest - all in minute detail, in general accord with established scientific deduction and in scientific and technical language. In several particulars he differed from the received opinions, and gave his reasons for so doing. No claim was made to inspiration nor to the presentation of absolute or infallible truth, but when hypnotized and in what he termed the "superior condition," his perceptive faculties were vastly increased, and that which he then perceived he made known. He simply gave the truth as he saw it, and he commended it to the judgment and reason of mankind for reception or rejection. In other words, the subliminal self was brought into action by hypnotism, and then by means of its greatly increased perceptive powers he gathered knowledge from various sources quite inaccessible to him in his ordinary state, and seemingly inaccessible also to others.

Concerning the truth or falsity of the revelations beyond what was already known or has since been confirmed by science, I do not assume to pronounce judgment; but that this also, as well as the first chapter of Genesis, from either a literary or scientific standpoint, is one of the most remarkable productions of this or of any age, will not be denied by any competent and candid examiner; while the remarkable character of the book will be still better appreciated when the status of the theory of evolution and of the science of geology fifty years ago is taken into the account.

Here are presented two prominent examples of supranormal mental activity - one in the early ages of man's development, when everything was supernatural, the immediate work of a god - the other in man's later development when natural law is found intervening between phenomena and their cause, and when it is found possible for men to comprehend the fact that truth, extraordinary and even that which had previously been unknown or was beyond the reach of the senses in their ordinary state, may nevertheless be discovered or revealed by other means than direct communications from Deity.

It is seen, then, how various and how wonderfully important are the mental phenomena grouped under the general designation of automatism.

Many examples of this and other classes of unusual mental action have been given in previous chapters, not as cumulative evidence of their verity - that would require volumes, but simply to illustrate the subject and give some degree of definiteness to our reasoning regarding them. Not even all the classes of facts properly belonging to our subject have here been represented •, but taking them as they have been enumerated and hastily described, they constitute a body of well observed and well authenticated facts and phenomena of undeniable interest, and if received as true their importance is certainly to be compared with the greatest discoveries of modern science. They are, however, the very facts which the science and philosophy of to-day hesitates to accept. The only exception to this statement is found in the treatment lately accorded to hypnotism, which after a hundred years of hesitation, rejection and even ridicule, has at length been definitely received as regards its main facts. It is true, however, that in numerous other instances the evidence regarding unusual mental states and phenomena is equally weighty and unimpeachable; but because these phenomena are unusual, marvelous or seemingly miraculous, belonging to no recognized class of mental action, therefore it is argued, they cannot be genuine; there must be some flaw in the evidence and they cannot be accepted.