If human beings, with all their vices, have a future life, assuredly animals, who in character so often equal, nay, excel human beings, have a future life also.
Those who in the Scriptures find a key to all things, can find nothing in them to confute this argument. There is no saying of Christ that justifies one in supposing that man is the only being, whose existence extends beyond the grave.
Granted, however, merely for the sake of argument, that we have some ground for the denial of a future existence for animals, consider the injustice such a denial would involve. Take, for example, the case of the horse. Harming no one, and without thought of reward, it toils for man all its life, and when too old to work it is put to death without even the compensation of a well-earned rest. But if compensation be God's law,—as I, for one, believe it to be—and also the raison d'etre of a hereafter, then surely the Creator, whose chief claim to our respect and veneration lies in the fact that He is just and merciful, will take good care that the horse—the gentle, patient, never-complaining horse—is well compensated—compensated in a golden hereafter.
Consider again, the case of another of our four-footed friends—the dog; the faithful, affectionate, obedient and forgiving dog, the dog who is so often called upon to stand all sorts of rough treatment, and is shot or poisoned, if, provoked beyond endurance, he at last rounds on his persecutors, and bites. And the cat—the timid, peaceful cat who is mauled, and all but pulled in two by cruel children, and beaten to a jelly when in sheer agony and fright it scratches. Reflect again, on the cow and the sheep, fed only to supply our wants; shouted at and kicked, if, when nearly scared out of their senses, they wander off the track; and pole-axed, or done to death in some equally atrocious manner when the sickening demand for flesh food is at its height.
And yet, you say, these innocent, unoffending—and, I say, martyred—animals are to have no future, no compensation. Monstrous! Absurd! It is an effrontery to common sense, philosophy—anything, everything. It is a damned lie, damned bigotry, damned nonsense. The whole animal world will live again; and it will be man—spoilt, presumptuous, degenerate man—who will not participate in another life, unless he very much improves.
Think well over this,—you who preach the gospel of man's pre-eminence;—you who prate of God and know nothing whatsoever about Him! The horse, dog, cat,—even the wild animals, whose vices, perchance, pale beside your own, may go to Heaven before you. The Supreme Architect is neither a Nero, nor a Stuart, nor a clown. He will recompense all who deserve recompense, be they great or small—biped or quadruped.
It is to testify to a future existence for animals and to create a wider interest in it that I have undertaken to compile this book; and my object, I think, can best be achieved in my own way, the way of the investigator of haunted places. The mere fact that there are manifestations of "dead" people (pardon the paradox) proves some kind of life after death for human beings; and happily the same proof is available with regard a future life for animals; indeed there are as many animal phantasms as human—perhaps more; hence, if the human being lives again, so do his dumb friends.
Be comforted then, you who love your pets, and have been kind to them. You will see them all again, on the soft undying pasture lands of your Elysium and theirs.
Be warned, you—you who have despised animals, and have been cruel to them. Who knows but that, in your future life, you may be as they are now—in subjection?
My task in writing this book has been considerably lightened by the extreme courtesy and kindness of Mr. Shirley, Mr. Eveleigh Nash, and the Proprietors of the Review of Reviews, in allowing me to make use of extracts and quotations from their most valuable works.