Dr. Vignal’s Essay
What is the benefit of Astronomy and why does it matter the time taken by a bullet to travel from Earth to the Sun? That is how very dignified persons think, people who do not see in Science any other application but that of industry or their self-serving wealth. However, without Astronomy, how could you adopt the remarkable system which we are developing now, instead of any other introduced by ignorant and jealous spirits? If Earth was, like it was formerly thought, the central point of the Universe; if the numerous suns which populate space were not but simply shiny dots hanging on a crystal dome, which arguments would you have to make you admit the past and future of the spirit? Astronomy, on the contrary, comes to demonstrate that the planetary life around our Sun is reflected back into everything that composes the nebula that encompasses our world; that all these planets are organized differently from each other and consequently life condition is not the same on each of them. You are then led to ask if God creates instantaneously and the spirit which must animate each body; what would be the reason then for its creation here and not elsewhere, on Earth and not in another world, in this particular condition and not in another! Thus, a stern logic leads you to admit the plurality of the worlds, the pre-existence of the soul and the reincarnation as expressions of the greatest truth. Astronomy is then useful since it gives you the necessary conditions to receive the sublime truths that shall unfold to you by the inexorable progress of Spiritism and Science. Helped by industry, Astronomy is meant to lead you to the discovery of other wonders beyond those that you only had a glimpse so far. From now on Astronomy and Theology are sisters and shall march hand in hand.
Vignal, by Arago