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Vanity Fair

William Thackery

The Bhagavad Gita


Esoteric Buddhism

A. P. Sinnett

Tao Te Ching

Lao Tzu, James Legge (trans.)

Mental alchemy; a treatise on the mind, nervous system, psychology, magnetism, mesmerism, and diseases

by B. Brown Williams



The twelve chapters comprising this little work, are the outlines of tho lectures which we have been delivering for the last few years upon the interesting subjects of nature and mind. They are merely our deductions, and are presented for the inspection of the world, in as plain a manner as it was possible for us to do under existing circumstances. All that we wish in relation to the new ideas respecting physical and mental absorption is, that they may be understood in the manner in which they are expressed. They are not intended for the purpose of taking precedence over the received philosophy of man's physical and mental nature, but for the purpose of presenting- the expressed relation and dependence of his being upon the elements of the universe.

We have nothing to do with the speculations and philosophy of other men, nor do we desire any thing from the world but a careful perusal of the following chapters, upon what we suppose to be the most interesting subjects that pertain to human existence. If the reader shall conclude that our deductions are in accordance with the finger-boards of nature, and shall see himself, by means of the lights presented, more plainly, it is all that we desire. It is clear, however, that the present exhibitions in mental alchemy cannot be properly analyzed by the rules of mental and physical philosophy which now obtain. The application of its rules already have made hundreds look wUh wonder and amazement, and exclaim they are supernatural, while others cry humbug and collusion at first, and after finding they are mistaken, speak of them as doing away with the miracles of better and former days.

Nature, therefore, should be sifted, as far as we are able to do so, in order to a proper understanding of the subject, that the facts connected therewith may become intelligible. To prove their untruth would be to prove that two parallel straight lines would ultimately meet.

It matters not if lecturers have presented the inferior departments of this subject in such a ridiculous light as to produce disgust. It is still a truth, and will remain so as long as man is in the possession of a nervous system, and is dependent upon external nature for his vitality. What others, however, have done and written, is a matter between them and the public, and they must stand or fall according as the strength of the platform which they have erected may be.

Without egotism on our part, we would state, that all the private classes we have ever taught have given us cards expressing their full satisfaction in every particular in the instructions received. We have now in our possession the cards of more than a hundred classes, some of which numbered from fifty to three Hundred gentlemen, among whom are many of the most learned men in the land. All, without an exception, speak the same language in relation to the instructions and the philosophy advanced in support of the astounding phenomena exhibited. Therefore, if the science of mental alchemy is not true, it certainly stands without a parallel in the history of the world.

The most learned have said, that the philosophy of this condition of things can never be explained. We do not say that it is explained in the following chapters; but the deductions which they contain are the fruits of an humble indigenous plant of the old north state, and they are respectfully presented to the reader for his approval or disapproval.



The relation of Mind to Matter—Action and Reaction of the Nervous System—Analogy between the Corporeal System of Man and the Universe—Man's Spiritual Nature an Emanation from the Spiritual World.

In taking a careful view of the past as well as the present, it is clear, that philosophers materially differ in their deductions in regard to the relation which mind bears to matter, and in regard to the legitimate action of the nervous system in the support of physical and mental operations.

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