3. If we depart now from the circle of things purely material, and if we enter by thought into the domain of spiritual life, we will see this phenomenon produced upon a grander scale. The dematerialized spirits are like the man of the mountain. Space and duration of time are to them no more; but the extent and penetration of their sight are in proportion to their purification and to their elevation in the spiritual hierarchy. They are in connection with inferior spirits, like the man armed with a powerful telescope beside him who has only his eyes to see with. With the latter their view is circumscribed, not only because it can only with difficulty go far away from the globe to which they are attached, but because the coarseness of their perispirit veils distant things, as the fog does for the eyes of the body.
One understands then that, according to the degree of perfection to which a spirit has attained, it can foretell the events of a period of a few years; for what is a century in the presence of infinitude? The events do not successively unroll themselves like the incidents on the route of the traveler. He sees simultaneously the commencement and the end of the period.
All the events, which in this period are the future for the man of the Earth, are for him the present. He will be able to tell us with certitude: such a thing will happen at this epoch, because he sees this thing, as the man of the mountain sees that which awaits the traveler on his route. If he does not inform him of it, it is because the knowledge of the future would be hurtful to the man; it might trammel his free will; it might paralyze him in the work which he must accomplish for his progress. The good and the evil which await him, being unknown to him, are the trial for him.
If such a faculty, even in a limited state, can be one of the attributes of the creature, to what a degree of power must it not be elevated in the Creator, who embraces infinitude? For him time does not exist; the commencement and the end of worlds are the present. In this immense panorama, what is the duration of the life of a man, of a generation, of a people?