SPIRITUALISM:

 

Its Origin and Character.

 

 

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[Page 3]

 

WE cannot wisely pronounce that trivial which we have not yet thoroughly comprehended.  Today, amid all the perplexities, the passions, the prayers, the creeds and the counter-creeds, the conflicting cries which confuse the judgment of the most far-sighted, a body of opinion has arisen - a body of opinion quite foreign to the thought of its time, invoking, as it does, the aid of the supernatural; grotesque, ill-defined, and super-facially trivial, yet silent and very effectual in its working; either an infinite fraud, or a sign of unsurpassed significance.  For its conspicuous tenet is no less than a claim to be able to communicate with the dead.  It is a revival, backed by alleged experiment, of very ancient and practically universal opinion and practice.  If the claim be well founded, a revolution must follow in modern thought.  If there be revealed a deep and significant underlying relation, of a spiritual nature, between groups of similar phenomena that have appeared in every period of history, it is clear that the whole current of contemporary opinion must be not so much diverted as suddenly arrested and forced into a widely different bed.  The elaborate theses written to prove the growth of religions as ethical systems of various completeness out of the needs and terrors of man, with no more reality in their dreams than a disordered imagination could supply, or a critical science pronounce mythopoeic,- must become little else than a waste of speculation.

 

 

For it would be seen that whatever might have been the purpose in their working, or whatever the effect upon the untrained fancy of primal clans, supernatural powers set in motion, and winged with astonishing speed, the vast religious systems that have moved men like a convulsion. [Page 4] It would be seen why the belief of all ages recurred obstinately to the supernatural.  Once more our ears would catch the reverberations of deep meaning in the ancient title, the gods of the nations (Ps. 96: 5), and all anxious thought, all passionate inquiry, would centre once again in the greatest of human researches, directed to the finding of Him the Omnipotent, the only God.

 

 

TESTIMONY THE BASIS OF THE SUPERNATURAL

 

 

But, it may be said, the notion of the supernatural is but a dream whereby men cheat themselves into a belief in immortality.  It may be,” some one will say; “but I cannot conceive the idea of spirit; I cannot define it.”  Nor, friend, can I - wholly.  You believe in the activity of life, thought, force - kindly define them.  What can you rip out of the heart of these, so to speak?  Nothing.  You can show, partially, how they act; but you cannot prove what they are.  They are as hands moving over the key-board of life, but you cannot see the organist beyond.  One hypothesis props up all astronomy; “that the particles of the stars in the milky way give infinitesimal pulls to the particles on our earth.”  You call this Attraction, and spell it with a capital letter, for erudite appearance: do you destroy, or merely hide, your ignorance by the term?  You say natural phenomena inductively prove Attraction: so with the spiritual.  You can define a spirit, as you can define Attraction, only by the phenomena that are the results of its working.  You find intelligence in the spiritual phenomena; then the cause of them cannot be less than intelligent.  This intelligence you find to be like your own in kind.  But you know of no such intelligence which is separate from self-consciousness, and no self-consciousness which is separate from personality.  Your spirit, then, is a person; and you find that, though you cannot satisfactorily define spirit, you can conceive the idea of it.  When this has been conceded, the question becomes, not whether a spirit can exist; but whether it does exist; which can be proved, not by abstract reasoning, but by appeal to fact and testimony of fact.  Metaphysics will not show you that Caesar made Rome illustrious.  Observation and testimony [Page 5] must be the basis of all increase in knowledge; and simplicity in what is to be observed makes all honest testimony equally valid.  Integrity of conduct and habitual truthfulness are, to some extent, measurable quantities: also, evidence can be established by corroboration among witnesses, and by the indirect aid of the circumstantial.  Hence, whichever way we look at it, testimony - if it be forthcoming - is adequate to demonstrate the existence of spirits.  Nor will it do to assume a thing to be impossible, and thence infer that it cannot be proved.  Our inferences must flow from our facts, not our facts from our inferences; and to deny, a priori, the existence of spirits is to claim profounder knowledge of the infinite, and the possibilities of the infinite, than is possessed by more modest men of the finite, and the impossibilities of the finite.

 

 

THE EVIDENCES OF SPIRITUALISM

 

 

Around the phenomena alleged in modern times has grown up a religion.  Spiritualists1 are of all classes, all ranks; no land is devoid of them; numerous magazines in various languages embody their somewhat varying opinions; and it is certain that their numbers are considerable.2  Spiritualism is a force to be reckoned with; [Page 6] none the less so, because it works underground, and, owing to its present unpopularity, is often nursed in secret.  It is a religion that is an outgrowth of the alleged phenomena.  Thus inquiry must concern itself with two things: the alleged facts, and the superstructure which has been built upon them as a temple.  Both may be false; or one only; or neither.  Now the literature in which the facts are embedded is a large and remarkable one.  To excerpt its most striking features would be to fill many pages.  Some of the best evidence (in English) - elaborate, cautious, and ample when taken together - is to be found in the works of Professor de Morgan;1 the London Dialectical Society;3 Mr. R. D. Owen;4 Professor Zo1lner;5 Sir A. R. Wallace, F. R. S.;6 Sir W. Crookes, F. R. S.;7 Judge Edmonds;8 Mr. F. W. H. Myers;9 Professor W. F. Barrett, F.R.S.;10 Sir Oliver Lodge, F.R.S.;11 and Sir A. Conan Doyle.12 Almost without exception, this body of evidence is put forward by men of intelligence, integrity, courage, and sound sense, who began as firm sceptics, and fully aware that a decision in favour of the genuineness of the phenomena must result in loss of caste, and be declared, by authoritative men of science, a brilliant proof of their inability.

 

1 Spiritualism” is the specific term, where “spiritism” is the generic: as ill formed as “materialism,” it would be equally pedantic to discard it: usage has set it apart to express the intercourse with extra-mundane intelligences claiming to be the dead.

 

2 The numerical status of Spiritualism is difficult to ascertain.  Its birthplace - America, 1848 - has remained its home; but there is probably no country without representatives of the creed, and Paris alone contains 50,000. - Revue Philosophique, April, 1892.  No less than eighty-eight magazines, in many languages, were represented in the Spiritualistic Congress of 1889 in Paris.  More than four hundred Spiritualist ‘churches’ now exist in Great Britain, which in ten years - Sir Conan Doyle predicts - will be a thousand.  Many are of opinion that Spiritualists reach millions in double figures.  How universal are the phenomena may be judged from the words of Mr. Owen:-I have heard them [the raps] as delicate, tiny tickings, and as thundering poundings.  I have heard them not only throughout our own land, but in foreign countries - as in England, France, Italy.  I have heard them in broad daylight and in darkened rooms, usually most violent in the latter.  I have heard them in my own house and in a hundred others; out of doors; at sea and on land; in steamer and in sail-boat; in the forest and on the rocks of the sea-shore.” - Deb. Land, p. 265.

 

3 From Matter to Spirit, Preface; London, 1863.

 

4 Report of Committee on Spiritualism ; London, 1869.

 

5 The Debatable Land between this World and the Next,. London, 1871.

 

6 Transcendental Physics, translated by C. C. Massey; London, 2nd edition, 1882.

 

7 Miracles and Modern Spiritualism. London, 3rd. edition, 1896.

 

8 Researches into the Phenomena of Spiritualism. London, 1874.

 

9 Letters and Tracts on Spiritualism: London, 1874.

 

10 Human Personality: London, 1903.

 

11 On the Threshold of the Unseen; London, 3rd edition, 1920.

 

11 The Survival of Man; London, 5th edition, 19 11.

 

12 The New Revelation; London, 2nd edition, 1918.

 

 

EXAMPLE OF EVIDENCE

 

 

A brief example of the evidence may be useful; though it must be vastly less convincing than a perusal of a greater portion.  I do not know a report on a “trance-medium[Page 7] more full, accurate, and impartial than Dr. Hodgson’s on Mrs. Piper.  This lady is accustomed to pass into a trance - genuine, as was demonstrated by the application of ammonia to the nose without effect;1 and in that is “controlled” by what calls itself a deceased “Dr. Phinuit.”  We need not enter on the detailed narrative of how Dr. Hodgson fortified himself against fraud; how “sitters, wholly unknown to Mrs. Piper, received information outside her ordinary knowledge; how Phinuit’s intelligence appeared perfectly isolated from that of Mrs. Piper; nor how many various lights converged to establish these points.  After exhaustive investigation, Dr. Hodgson found himself “in entire agreement” with a former report by Professor Oliver Lodge.2 In trance she talks “volubly, with a manner and voice quite different from her ordinary manner and voice, on details concerning which she has had no information given her.  In this abnormal state her speech has reference mainly to people’s relatives and friends, living or deceased, about whom she is able to hold a conversation, and with whom she appears more or less familiar.  Occasionally facts have been narrated which have only been verified afterwards, and which are in good faith asserted never to have been known; meaning thereby that they have left no trace on the conscious memory of any person present or in the neighbourhood, and that it is highly improbable that they were ever known to such persons.  She is also in the trance state able to diagnose diseases and to specify the owners or late owners of portable property, under circumstances which preclude the application of ordinary methods.”  On her methods of obtaining unknown information, admittedly abnormal, Professor Lodge says: “I can only say with certainty that it is by none of the ordinary methods known to Physical Science.” Phinuit gave Dr. Hodgson himself references to a conversation, of a very private nature, held with a lady who had died eight years previously; references of a kind which the lady was very unlikely to have repeated before her [Page 7] death.3 Dr. Hodgson concludes that, in some of the incidents at least, the hypothesis of direct thought-transference from the sitter is inadequate;4 and when the possibilities of telepathy between the living are thus exhausted, would-be scientific explanations are dumb.

 

1 Proceedings, Society for Psychical Research, vol. viii., P. 4.

 

2 Proceedings S.P.R., vol. vi., P. 443.

 

3 Phinuit claimed to converse with several dead persons; but for various reasons - whether inability to spell their own names (vol. viii., p. 113), or ignorance of events perfectly known to them when alive (p. 70), or a huge mistake on the part of Phinuit as to who was dead (p. 15) - Dr. Hodgson finds no sufficient proof of converse with the deceased.  Twice detected in lies (pp. 49, 61), Phinuit disavowed any knowledge or interest in religious matters (p. 30). Mrs. Piper’s recovery from the trance state,” says a spectator, “was, perhaps the most shocking sight I ever witnessed” (p. 97).

 

4 Vol. viii., P. 23.

 

 

HYPOTHESIS OF FRAUD

 

 

But this evidence attempts to establish so much, and is so startlingly novel to modern tendencies of thought, that it is exposed, and rightly, to much doubt and to close criticism.  Spiritualism is said to have originated in fraud; to be aided by clever conjuring and ambitious imposture; and to be fed by the never-failing stream of popular superstition and credulity.  Mediums are classed as clever or dull, but all are taken for rogues at heart – miracle-mongers, who batten off our ignorant yearnings after knowledge of the unseen.  But this easy solution meets with great difficulties.  After all allowance has been made - and this must cover a generous margin - for clever imposture, credulity, superstition, it will be seen that certain evidence must still be accounted for, that observers like Mr. de Morgan ,and Sir Alfred Wallace may be dupes, but they are not knaves.  Apart from the spurious phenomena put forward for the purpose of raking in dollars, there is a body of apparent proof which some may conceive to be the result of the working of unknown, natural law, but which is certainly not explicable on the hypothesis of fraud.  It is with this residuum that the present pamphlet is concerned.  The pages of Sir Alfred Wallace and Mr. Owen, of Professor Zo1lner and Mr. Stainton Moses, are of a kind to make fraud alone an impossible hypothesis in the minds of those [Page 9] who have studied them.  This is rendered more certain by the admission of Mr. Maskelyne,1 and other experts in conjuring,2 that there is more in the phenomena than can be produced by consummate trickery.  It is through hypnotic phenomena that many suppose spiritism explicable.

 

1 Pall Mall Gazette, April 25, 1885.

 

2 See Massey, Trans. Phys., pp. 259, 265.

 

 

 

HYPOTHESIS OF HALLUCIATATION

 

 

We are not concerned here to determine how far hypnosis has been, on occasion, an instrument in the hands of spiritists, ancient or modem.  But, does it solve the problem of the preceding evidence?  Does it affect it as evidence? Certain of the physical phenomena it leaves untouched; the tying of Professor Zo1lner’s knot,1 for example, was no induced hallucination, for the knot remained.  In some experiments in Milan, a table was photographed suspended, without perceptible support, in mid air.2  For the rest, all turns on whether spectators of a séance can be, there and then, under hypnotic influence; if this is disproved, resort must be had to some other cause for the plentiful and varied effects of mediumship.  We observe that (1) the two classes of phenomena are distinct.  I need hardly say,” Dr. Lloyd Tuckey observes, “that medical hypnotism has nothing in common with spiritualism, and it is a curious thing that in this country some persons seem to think them associated.”3  In spiritistic manifestations is revealed something fitful, independent, intelligent; hypnotic phenomena, in the ordinary stages, are strictly under control, and are therefore experimental, and normal.  (2) It would seem that hypnosis without either a conscious hypnotiser, or a subject expecting to be hypnotised, is impossible.  For hypnotism is a purely experimental science; spontaneous phenomena, according to data so far gathered, seem to be exceedingly limited, and that to definitely diseased patients.  But, presuming the honesty of investigators, some such notion is required if [Page 10] hypnosis is to explain the séance.4 (3) Again, not more than one person in ten can be hypnotised at the first time;5 yet a successful first séance is by no means rare. (4) Hypnosis cannot be exercised on a body of people by a single operator, without individual attention being given to each, unless the company is in a condition expectant of hypnosis.  (5) It is not easy for a subject, much less a roomful of people, to be under hypnotic influence, and show no symptom of it.  Yet spectators at séance, in the words of Sir Alfred Wallace, “do not lose all memory of immediately preceding events; they criticise, they examine; they take notes; they suggest tests,6 - none of which things the mesmerised patient ever does.”7 Even were all hypnotised by self-suggestion, it is incredible that the hallucinations of all would be identical; for certainly not all expect the same phenomena, and, in at least every other séance not exclusively composed of Spiritualists, many are convinced of nothing beyond fraud.  Finally (6), the Dialectical Society made an experiment to elucidate the point.  While the manifestations under observation were in course of display, a neighbour was introduced on a sudden by members of the sub-committee. “He came immediately, the manifestations continuing without break or interruption, and presenting to him the same aspect that they did to ourselves, notwithstanding that he at any rate must have been free from any antecedent influence, mesmeric or otherwise.”8 Hypnotism, therefore, though doubtless often operative in mediumship, cannot be held to afford us a solution of the problem.

 

1 Transcendental Physics, p. 20.

 

2 Proceedings S.P.R., part xxiv.

 

3 Psycho-Therapeutics, p. 7; London, 1891.

 

4 Even hypnosis without the subject’s consent is only doubtfully possible. Accustomed patients of Dr. Tuckey informed him that “until they entirely give up their minds to the operation, no soporific effect is produced.” Psycho. Th., p. 56. Dr. Moll says – “I know of no well-authenticated case in which sense-stimulation has produced hypnosis by a purely physiological action.” - Hypnotism, p. 34; London, 1890.

 

5 Moll, Hypnotism, p. 42.

 

6 Compare with this, Dr. Moll:-But in hypnotic experiments the most absolute avoidance by those present of any sign of mistrust is necessary.  The least word, a gesture, may thwart the attempt to hypnotise.”- Hypnotism, p. 42.

 

7 Mir. and Mod. Sp., p. 123.

 

8 Report, p. 18.

 

[Page 11]

HYPOTHESIS OF SUBCONSCIOUSNESS

 

 

The exactness and width of the investigations of the Society for Psychical Research, the ability of its leading researchers, and the time spent in the inquiry, all render its labours important; and in the Proceedings, if anywhere, we may expect to find the preceding observations and conclusions either modified or negatived. Perhaps we may single out Mr. F. W. H. Myers’ hypothesis on what he calls the “subliminal consciousness,” as indicative of the line of thought which, in the minds of many, may cancel, or at least defer, the necessity of resorting to the hypothesis of spirit.  But this hypothesis does not clash with much of the evidence, or, where it does, reveals itself - if it should be pressed as an explanation - as inadequate.  The physical wonders of the Dialectical Society and Professor Zollner; the writing in Sir Alfred Walface’s closed slates, not provably automatic;1 his photographs, from negatives not apparently tampered with;2 the planchette experiment of Professor Crookes;3 even the apparitions of Mr. Livermore;4 - it is difficult to suppose these properly attributable to subliminal agency.  Even were there a “telekinetic” force under subliminal control, by which matter could be moved without contact, it is extremely difficult to suppose that it could manufacture phantasms, and animate them with the aspect of life.  Nor is the theory sufficient to explain even such automatic script as that of Mr. Dean, 5 or such communications on identity as those of Mr. de Morgan 6 and Mr. Stainton Moses.7  For (1) is the subliminal consciousness, while replete with information never apparently gathered, and cognisant even to the borders of premonition,8 under a chronic and profound delusion on its own identity?  In cases such as I have referred to, it obstinately declares itself a spirit, and is [Page 12] angered by contradiction or doubt.9  Also (2), if the intelligence is subliminal, and it claims to be a separate spirit, it is guilty of falsehood; and, as it is, “the names of scholars and thinkers are affixed to the most ungrammatical and weakest of bosh.”10  Now, even if it should become established that telepathy from one uninfluenced mind to another does occur - even so, the conditions are rare, and the cases rarer- could we suppose that one subliminal consciousness could, or would, busy itself by imparting to another, or to the supraliminal, information, like Mr. Dean’s, wholly fanciful and untrue while calmly reasoned, or exercise itself in presenting falsehood, as to Professor de Morgan and Mr. Moses, shaped in a form at once ingenious and convincing? 11 But (3) Mr. Myers himself admits the presence and active operation of extraneous intelligence.  Indeed, his posthumous work Human Personality is probably the ablest presentment of Spiritualism yet issued, and by far the most likely to disarm the hostility of materialistic science.  So also Professor Barrett, a co-founder with Mr. Myers of the [Page 13] Society for Psychical Research, says:-I do not hesitate to affirm that a careful and dispassionate review of my own experiments, extending over a period of forty years, together with the investigation of the evidence of competent witnesses, compels my belief in Spiritualism.”12

 

 

12 On the Threshold of the Unseen, p. 10.

 

1 The Spectator, Oct. 6, 1877.

 

2 Mir. and Mod. Sp., p. 191.

 

3 Researches, p. 96.

 

4 Owen, Deb. Land, p. 400.

 

5 Proceedings American S.P.R., p. 556.

 

6 From Matter to Spirit, p. 43.

 

7 Spirit Identity, p. 53.

 

8 Proceedings S.P.R., vol. vii., p. 355 ; vol. viii., pp. 348, 381.

 

9 We may not assume that the intelligence is that of a dead person because itself asserts it, for obviously a spirit may simulate; but if in a thousand séances - and, if report be true, this is verifiable fact - a thousand mediums, supraliminally unconscious, give utterance to an intelligence that calls itself a separate spirit, is it not extravagant to suppose this the outcome of a thousand under-currents of consciousness?

 

10 Proceedings American S.P.R., p. 556.

 

11 Sir Alfred Wallace, who, as a Spiritualist, would not care to exaggerate the evil element in the communications, advanced the same objection to the Psychical Congress at Chicago.  The stupendous difficulty that if these phenomena and these tests are to be all attributed to the ‘second self’ of living persons, then that second self is ALMOST ALWAYS A DECEIVIXG AND A LYING SELF, however moral and truthful the visible and tangible first self may be, has, so far as I know, never been rationally explained.” Borderland, Oct., 1893, my italics.  This is an astounding admission on the character of the spirits to emanate from the author of Miracles and Modern Spiritualism.  A moral degeneration in mediums,” are the significant words of Prof. Barrett (Contemporary Review, Nov., 1922), “seems to set in.”  In the cases of Mr. Moses and Mr. do Morgan, the question whether they were told the truth turns on whether the departed were really present: the facts they obtained were correct, but were the personalities true?  If they were, there were no need, for our purpose, to discuss the subliminal consciousness further: if they were not, our contention remains in force.

 

12 On the Threshold of the Unseen, p. 10.

 

 

ATTITUDE OF INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATORS

 

 

If the explanation of the phenomena lay, as writers often assume, in a union of hypnotism, telepathy, and exceedingly clever fraud, it would be reasonable to expect to find this confirmed by leading investigators.  But this is not so, and the slow yielding of prejudice, and the sapping of the foundations of unbelief, are visible on every hand.  Professor James writes:-Of course, the great theoretic interest of these automatic performances, whether speech or writing, consists in the questions they awaken as to the boundaries of our individuality.  One of their most constant peculiarities is that the writing and speech announce themselves, as from a personality other than the natural one of the writer, and often convince him, at any rate, that his organs are played upon by some one not himself.  This foreignness in the personality reaches its climax in the demoniacal possession which has played so great a part in history, and which, in our country, seems replaced by the humaner phenomenon of trance-mediumship, with its Indian or other outlandish ‘control,’ giving more or less optimistic messages of the ‘Summerland.’  So marked is it in all the extreme instances that we may say that the natural and presumptive explanation of the phenomenon is unquestionably the popular or ‘spiritualistic’ one, of ‘control’ by another intelligence.  It is only when we put the cases into a series, and see how insensibly those at the upper extreme shade down at the lower extreme into what is unquestionably the work of the individual’s own mind in an abstracted state, that more complex and would-be ‘scientific’ ways of conceiving the matter force themselves upon us.  The whole subject is at present a perfect puzzle on the theoretic side.1  “It is quite impossible,” Professor [Page 14] H. Sidgwick assured the Society for Psychical Research, “to exaggerate the scientific importance of these phenomena, if only a tenth part of what has been alleged by generally credible witnesses can be shown to be true; and though I do not myself at present regard the ‘theory of un-embodied intelligences’ as the ‘only hypothesis which will account for known facts,’ I admit that it is the hypothesis most obviously suggested by some of these facts.”2 In both these opinions of skilled inquirers, a distinct leaning towards spiritism is manifest; an uncertainty, which only awaits more data; rather than a ready belief in the semi-scientific, semi-fraudulent make-up which is the popular conception of the phenomena.  It must be granted that the failure of the keenest critics to shake the evidence as a whole, or to discredit much of the phenomena that are of daily occurrence, is a fact that cannot be ignored with safety.  Is it credible that lapse of memory, or want of observation, will explain all the evidence; failing that, is it honest to presume dishonesty in the investigators?  Each reader must decide this for himself.  The tenacity with which the hypothesis of spirit is resisted in some quarters is seen in the comments of Professor Richet on certain séances in Milan, which, by reason of the distinguished savants concerned, form one of the groups of successful experiments that have periodically challenged public attention within the last quarter of a century.  What I saw is quite extraordinary,” he writes to Dr. Carl Du Prel, “and either a mechanical, normal explanation, or the hypothesis of fraud by which we were one and all deceived, appears to me absurd.  But the alternative, that is, the existence either of spirits or of a force which has escaped the observation of students of physical science through all time, is also absurd.”3 Yet I may point confirmed sceptics of spiritistic evidence to the words in which Mr. Podmore, who will not be charged with too ready a belief, summarizes his review of a report of these séances: “That after saying so much, we should admit that the things done remain inexplicable is the strongest tribute that [Page 15] can be paid to the skill and patience of the investigators.”4There is at least strong ground,” says Lord Balfour, “for supposing that outside the world (as we have, from the point of view of science, been in the habit of conceiving it) there does lie a region” in which the facts alleged by Spiritualism are true.

 

1 Proceedings American S.P.R., p. 555.

 

2 Borderland, July, 1893.

 

3 Borderland, July, 1893.

 

4 Proceedings S.P.R.., vol. 9., p 224.

 

 

ANCIENT AND MODERN PHEOMENA

 

 

Not the least noteworthy proof of the supernatural origin of the phenomena is their likeness to productions of the Divine power, or manifestations of magical art, occurring in times almost pre-historic, and now forgotten by all but the learned or the curious.  Conspicuous miracles, such as the raising of' the dead, are not reproduced or imitated; but many mysterious phenomena in Scripture, the force of which has been missed by expositors who have lost the ready perception of superhuman things, are abundantly explained by their modern reproduction or mimicry.  It is incredible that there should be a world-wide conspiracy of mediums to press on the attention of the public a revival of ancient errors and elaborate arts which that public has forgotten or never understood.  Nor can it be a chance resemblance.  It would be a very curious thing,” says Professor de Morgan, “if, in a country in which knowledge of antiquity does not flourish, persons of no information should have hit upon striking resemblances to old forms of delusion or fraud.” 1 To one who accepts the truth of the Biblical narratives, and the simple reality of the miraculous occurrences recorded in them, but one conclusion seems open; a conclusion which ascribes both the old and the new wonders to invisible intelligences, from whichever kingdom of light or darkness they may emanate.  I give here some of these remarkable parallel phenomena; by reference only, for economy of space.  Luminous points of light settle on the heads of men (Acts 2: 3).2  Cures are effected by laying on of hands (Acts 9: 17). 3 Spirit-forms [Page 16] are seen by some and unseen by others (Dan. 10: 7).4 Hands are impressed to write (1 Chron. 28: 19).5 Men speak in tongues unknown to them (Acts 2: 11).6 Cloudy phantasms appear (Job. 4: 13-16).7  Luminous hands write (Dan. 5: 5).8 Past events of a private nature are repeated (John 4: 17, 18, 29).9  Thoughts are read (1 Cor. 14: 25).10  Unknown persons are suddenly told their names (1 Sam. 28: 12).11  Men become clairvoyant (Acts 16: 9).12  Remotely distant objects are rapidly collected (Ex. 8: 7).13  Abnormal wisdom may be imparted by possession (Acts 16:  17).14  Crystal vision appears based on the principle of the oracular Urim. and Thummim. (Num. 27: 21).15 Persons are carried by invisible hands through air (Acts 8: 39).16  Certain mediums can pass through fire, unburned (Deut. 18: 10).17  Dreams foretell events, sometimes falsely (Jer. 23: 32).18  Also, old forms of sorcery are revived.  Divination is practised with water and mirrors, as of old with cups (Gen. 44: 5).19  Divining rods are used (Hos. 4: 12)20 Planchette and luck-boards are consulted, as of old the teraphim (Ez. 21: 21).21 Astrology is revived, and consulted for the telling of fortune (Dan. 5: 7).22  That these things occur in every country and every clime, and are historical to the verge where history becomes tradition, and tradition itself bears record of their frequent occurrence, must clearly diminish the necessity for a kind of evidence [Page 17] on the modern phenomena which is flawless and irresistible; nor do Christians, already resting on Divine revelations of a spirit-world, require the kind and degree of evidence which compelled Sir Alfred Russell Wallace, brought up a philosophic sceptic, and after four years’ investigation, to exclaim - “The facts beat me!”  That evidence may not be out of the reach of powerful and honest criticism; but when we recollect how universal and obstinately recurring are the phenomena to which it bears witness, and how emphatically the Divine Word has treated them as real, it is difficult to conceive how a believer in that Word and in the capacity of mankind to bear adequate testimony can regard them otherwise than at least genuine in part, and the latest chapter in the volume of human communications with the unseen.  Professor Hyslop, of Columbia University, goes so far as to say:-Any man who does not accept the existence of discarnate spirits and the proof of it is either ignorant or a moral coward.”

 

1 From Matter to Spirit, p. 11.

 

2 Crookes, Researches, p. 91.

 

3 Wallace, Mir. and Mod. Sp., p. 202.

 

4 Ib., p. 186.

 

5 Moses, Sp. Teach., p. 3.

 

6 EdmondsLetters, p. 67.

 

7 Owen, Deb. Land, p. 400.

 

8 Ib., p. 294.

 

9 Proceedings S. P. R., vol. viii., p. 64.

 

10 Ib., p. 14.

 

11 Borderland, Oct., 1893, p. 143.

 

12 Zollner, Trans. Phys., p. 51.

 

13 Olcott, Theosophy, p. 251.

 

14 Wallace, Mir. and Mod. Sp., p. 201.

 

15 Howitt, Dialectical Report, p. 184.

 

16 Davies, Mystic London, p. 358.

 

17 Hall, Use Of Sp, p. 57.

 

18 Borderland, July, 1893, p. 80.

 

19 Ib., Oct., 1893, p. 126.

 

20 Wallace, Mir. and Mod. Sp., p. 57.

 

21 Crookes, Researches, p. 91.

 

22 Review of Reviews, Dec., 1892, p. 571.

 

 

NATURE OF THE SPIRITS

 

 

The inquiry is not, as I take it, whether the inhabitants of the invisible spaces do really come hither or no, but who are they who do come?”1  I Who crowd the interstellar spaces, rank over rank, beyond man’s sightless vision?  The spirits of table and rap, of utterance and vision, claim to be the dead, who have discovered, it appears, methods of communication hitherto unknown.  But it also appears that their word is startlingly untrustworthy.  The power that writes,” says one experienced in automatic writing, “sometimes tells the truth, but often lies.”2Well we know,” write, Mr. S. C. Hall, “that evil spirits are perpetually about us.  Spiritualism brings only closer and more conclusive evidence that they are ever ready and eager to instil poison into heart and mind, to induce corrupt thoughts, to excite impure desires, to suggest wrongful acts, to palliate sin, and supply excuses for iniquity.” 3 We are told that “earth-bound” and “undeveloped” spirits, who [Page 18] have not yet risen into higher “spheres,” form the chief part of those with whom we have intercourse; and “guilty spirits,” says Mr. Owen, 4seem the most frequently to be earth-bound.”5 The spiritual air is thick with falsehoods.  Some spirits will assent to leading questions, and, possessed apparently with a desire to please, or unconscious of the import of what they say, or without moral consciousness, will say anything.”6 Such motiveless lying bespeaks a deeply evil nature.  Nor are the lies confined, as some Spiritualists assert, to those who shake the rooms in which they communicate, or betray themselves by paroxysms of anger or lust.  The spirits, though they continued to manifest whenever invited, and breathed nothing but kindness, goodwill, and affection, yet spoke so many falsehoods that he was disgusted with the exhibition.  On being asked for explanations as to their false statements, they could give no explanation.”7 Their word, therefore, cannot be held to decide their identity.  Their claim to be the dead, put forward with persistency, and in itself not unattractive to a sceptic newly convinced of the presence of unseen intelligences, must be sifted quite apart from their mere assertion, and ought to be susceptible of some proof.  The characters manifesting are thoroughly untrustworthy.  Still more embarrassing,” says Sir A. Conan Doyle, “is the fact that the same medium may upon one day deliver a message which proves to be absolutely true, and on the next day, or even in some cases at the same sitting, will deliver another which is a detailed fabrication.”  Moreover, we are perplexed by its inanity.  For what worth in itself has Spiritualism revealed?  The world has known modern Spiritualism for seventy years: yet not one enduring piece of literature has been produced by a spirit; not one discovery enriching science has been made [Page 19] by a spirit; not one criminal mystery in a great law case has been cleared up by a spirit; not one revelation from the other world that on the face of it is even probable has been made by a spirit.  All this was exactly true of the demons in the time of our Lord, and throughout all the ages of Paganism.  The history of Stainton Moses,” writes Mr. Frank Podmore, “will show us a man of good education, recognized social position, and unblemished repute, exhibiting to a circle of intimate friends feats which must pass for some of the cheapest and most paltry miracles ever offered to human credulity.”  It is true that nothing in Spiritualism is trivial that is really crucial: that is, however trifling a miracle may be, it remains a miracle, and establishes enormous facts: nevertheless, after intercourse is proved, what is revealed is a revelation of the revealer.  Paltry miracles backing a paltry message reveal a paltry character.  Intellectually inane,” says Mr. Charles Beecher, “their mediocre wares are all the cast-clothes of living minds of small calibre, or mummy-wrappings from the catacombs.”  As Mr. H. L. Hastings has said: - “These spirit-beings have talked and rapped, they have materialised and dematerialised, they have entranced and exhibited; they have told us many things which we knew before, many things which we do not know yet, and many other things which it was no matter whether we knew or not; but when we come to real instruction, reliable information, or profitable and valuable knowledge, Spiritualism is as barren as Sahara, as empty as a hollow gourd.”

 

1 De Foe.

 

2 Proceedings American S.P.R., p. 558.

 

3 Use Of Spiritualism, p. 39; London, 1884.

 

4 Deb. Land, p. 324.  So Sp. Teach., p. 236; and Drayson, Address before London Spiritualist Alliance, 1890, p. 13.

 

5 Spiritualism is, of all religions, the most materialistic; for only if it hears and handles the dead will it believe that they survive; and for the Word of God it substitutes a materialism so gross that God is denied unless He become physically visible.

 

6 Spirit Identity, p. 54.

 

7 Edmonds, Letters, p. 96.

 

 

PROOF OF THE PRESENCE OF THE DEAD

 

 

But it is admitted that the likeness of apparitions to the dead is valueless as proof.  The resemblance,” Mrs de Morgan informs the London Spiritualist Alliance, “seems never to be perfect, and to consist of fragments of similarity, or even identity, rather than of a strong general presentation of the whole being.”1 Imperfect presentation of the dead, so far from being proof of their presence, is not without implication of a drama played by imperfect actors; and it is deeply to be regretted that the careful [Page 20] analysis of phenomena, which delayed conviction in many eminent Spiritualists for years, should be cast aside when the investigation passes from spiritual presence to spiritual identity.  The shifts to which Spiritualists are reduced in meeting the baffling problem of identity would be amusing if they were not so tragic.  The almost total unfamiliarity with names and dates which the spirits reveal – “their estimate of time,” says Sir A. Conan Doyle,is almost invariably wrong.”2  - Sir Arthur frankly acknowledges.  The spirits have the greatest difficulty in getting names through to us, and it is this which makes many of their communications so vague and unsatisfactory.  They will talk all round a thing, and yet never get the name which would clinch the matter.”3  Such an imperfect grasp of detail, inexplicable if it be the dead themselves, squares perfectly with a drama imperfectly rehearsed.  In spite of their eager desire to enter into relation with us,” says Professor Lombroso, “the spirits show a strange aversion to revealing their names; in typological communications they almost always give false names, or refuse to give their exact appellation.”4  Nor do any present themselves but the contemporary dead.  Oliver Cromwell’s chaplain,” says Sir A. Conan Doyle,is the oldest spirit who is on record as returning”:5 that is, only personations likely to appeal to the living are presented, and whose cases can be got up by observation through recent decades.  Most mediums,” says Sir Oliver Lodge, “are able to convey a name only with difficulty.”6  It is manifest that the spirits shirk the trouble of assuming a personality which it will take infinite pains to sustain.  The enormous difficulty,” says Professor Barrett, “of verifying the identity of the intelligence with that of the deceased person it professes to be, is vastly increased when the claimant is invisible, when ‘personation’ seems to be a common practice, when telepathy is admitted, and when the evidence is of a fitful and fragmentary character.”7

 

1 Address, 1886, p. 9.

 

2 The New Revelation, p. 121.

 

3 Ibid., p. 118.

 

4 After Death-What ? p. 339.

 

5 The New Revelation, p. 95.

 

6 Raymond, p. 360.

 

7 On the Threshold of the Unseen, p. 171.

 

[Page 21]

Sir Alfred Wallace grants that Romish apparitions of shrine and grotto are false representations.  Spirits whose affections and passions are strongly excited in favour of Catholicism, produce these appearances of the Virgin and of saints, which they know will tend to increased religious fervour.  The appearance itself may be an objective reality; while it is only an inference that it is the Virgin Mary - an inference which every intelligent spiritualist would repudiate as in the highest degree irriprobable.”1 But this is just the inference drawn from what are apparently phantasms of the dead.  Nor is the evidence given by the spirits to prove their identity adequate.  It is significant,” are the startling words of Prof. W. F. Barrett, “that we seldom, if ever, receive any truth-telling messages from the many saintly souls who have passed to the unseen.”2 Sir A. Conan Doyle savs:-There is nothing more puzzling than the fact that one may get a long connected description with every detail given, and that it may prove to be entirely a concoction.”3  Mr. Moses, it is true, says that “some of those who so come I had known during their life on earth, and was able, not only to verify their statements, but also to note the little traits of manner, peculiarities of diction, and characteristics of mind, that I remembered in them while in the body.”4  But it is also Mr. Moses who admits elsewhere 5 that all the information ever given him in proof of the presence of the departed might, in harmony with his experience of the spirits, have been first obtained and then imparted by a false intelligence.  It must be obvious that among spirits capable of observing closely and reporting faithfully, many of whom are admittedly and flagrantly untruthful, minute verification of detail must, in common caution, be exacted, before their identity could be, by themselves, established. This verification is exactly what cannot be got.  Usually, in the writer’s experience invariably,” says Mr. C. C. Massey, “in these communications any attempt to pursue the test [Page 22] by further probing the memory and intelligence of the supposed spirit results in failure.”6  Mr. Owen admits that he has found “no proof of identity in the case of any spirit, once celebrated either for goodness or talent, returning, after centuries, to enlighten or reform mankind.”7

 

1 Mir. and Mod. Sp., p. 209.

 

2 Contemporary Review, Nov., 1922.

 

3 The New Revelation, p. 123.

 

4 Sp. ld., p. 50.

 

5 Sp. Id., p. 43.

 

6 Trans. Phys., p. 33.

 

7 Deb. Land, p. 324.

 

 

Nothing is more amazing than the credulity of the Spiritualist which survives his own complete exposure of the spirit-beings with whom he is dealing.  Occasionally,” says Sir Oliver Lodge, “there are direct impersonations.”1 The conditions of intercourse are so controlled by the unknown intelligence; “the intelligent operator at the other end of the line” is so isolated from our sphere of life; we are so simply recipients, and nothing more, that to prove the identity of the unknown communicator from evidence he chooses to produce is simply impossible.  It is as true to-day,” says Prof. W. F. Barrett, “as it was sixty years ago, that the messages are not what we should expect from our departed friends.”2  Meanwhile our inferences must drift against the hypothesis that these trivial, impish rappers are the departed when we find, by constant contradictions in the messages, failures of memory, instances of palpable hypocrisy,3 that deliberately misleading, personation is frequent and flagrant.  Spiritualists simply silence each other.  A devil,” says Mr. Myers, in the face of a1l this mass of evil in the séance, “is not a creature whose existence is independently known to science; and the accounts of the behaviour of the invading devils seem due to mere self-suggestion”:4 against which we put Sir A. Conan Doyle’s words,-we have, unhappily, to deal with absolute cold-blooded lying on the part of wicked intelligences.”5  Indeed the more powerful intelligences, apparently impelled to admit the fact of personation by the palpable failure of less skilled actors, warn against such, who, they say, delight in hypocrisy, and “have the power, under certain conditions, of carrying out elaborate deception.” [Page 23] Here is a remarkable admission from the same source: “Most of the stories current of such return of friends are due to the work of these spirits.  These are they who infuse the comic or foolish element into communications.  They have no true moral consciousness, and will pray readily, if asked, or will do anything for frolic or mischief.”6 Mons. Camille Flammarion, the eminent French astronomer, says:-The return of the dead is far from being demon strated; in the countless enquiries I have conducted for more than forty years, everything has proved to me the contrary.   So pitifully weak is the proof of the return of Sir Oliver Lodge’s dead son - proof presented in the usual chatty, rather silly, and studiously non-committal sentences, all perfectly consistent with the knowledge of non-human intelligences ever on the watch - and so laboured and constant the attempt to explain its puerile inadequacy by the difficulty of ‘getting through,’ that not only is the return of the dead unproven, but our belief in the possession by demons of any intimate knowledge of the dead (and therefore of the living) is considerably shaken.  It is probable that no thoughtful Spiritualist has been without uneasy suspicions against which he has battled in defence of a lifelong practice.”  The only alternative [to the return of the dead],” says Sir Oliver Lodge, “is to imagine a sort of supernormal mischievousness, so elaborately misleading that it would have to be stigmatised as vicious or even diabolical.”7  It is a Spiritualist who, writing on ‘test conditions,’ says: “THE SPIRITUALIST KNOWS THAT DECEIVING SPIRITS EXIST BY MILLIONS.”8

 

1 Strand magazine, June, 1917.

 

2 Contemporary Review, Nov., 1922.

 

3 See SP. Id., pp. 41, 45; Davies, Mystic London, p. 387, &c.

 

4 Human Personality, vol. ii., p. 199.

 

5 The New Revelation, p. 123.

 

6 Sp. Teach., p. 243.

 

7 Raymond, p. 347.

 

8 Dr. Nevius, Demon Possession, p. 328.

 

 

STATE OF THE SOUL IN HADES

 

 

From the quicksands of modern intercourse it is wise to pass to the sounder basis of Revelation; for in the Scriptures we obtain momentary glimpses, purposely given to inform, of the locality and conditions of the abode set apart for the use of the dead between death and resurrection; [Page 24] in these hints shed light on the identity of earth’s visitants.  Where are the dead and may they roam?  All go to one place (Eccl. 3: 20; 1 Sam. 28: 19), Sheol or Hades.  This temporary abode is separated into two compartments, which together bear seven names; the one is reserved for the spirits [and disembodied souls] of wicked men, the other for the blessed dead.  The evil side is called Death (a place; Rev. 1: 18; Prov. 5: 5, 7: 27; Rev. 20: 13), and Destruction (or Abaddon, Prov. 15: 11, 27: 20; Psa. 88: 11; Job 26: 6), the Abyss or bottomless Pit (Rev. 9: 1, 20: 3, &c.), and once Tartarus (2 Pet. 2: 4); and it shares the ultimate fate of the entire abode of the dead (Rev. 20: 14; cp. Hos. 13: 14, marg. R.V.).  Sleepers in Christ are also in Hades (a term sometimes confined to their compartment, Rev. 1: 18), in the upper portion or Paradise (Luke 23: 43), or - to use the Rabbinical phrase - the Bosom of Abraham (Luke 16: 22).  Sheol is deep (Job. 11: 8) and dark (Job. 10: 21, 22, 17: 13; Eccl. 11: 8), and is fastened by gates (Isa. 38: 10; Rev. 1: 18) and bars (Job 17: 16; cp. Jon. 2: 6).  Out of this springs our Lord’s promise to His Church, that the gates of Hades shall not, in the first resurrection, keep in the blessed dead (Matt. 16: 18). If this the place, what is the state of the departed?  It is revealed as a condition bordering on sleep.  Our Lord so regarded the death-slumbers of Lazarus (John 11: 11), and the ruler’s daughter (Matt. 9: 24); their resurrection is an “awaking” (John 11: 11).  In depicting the intermediate state, Jesus singles out a certain wealthy Jew under the law (Luke 16: 29); he, and the poor man at his gate, die, and ministering angels carry Lazarus into Paradise.  They see, and are seen, though between is a great gulf fixed, impassable to all but Christ.1 Conversation is possible.  Recognition is certain (5: 23; cp. Isa. 14: 9).  God’s retribution does not in all cases wait for the judgment (5: 24; cp. Jude 7).  Memory is still active (verse 27, Rev. 7: 10; though cp. Psa. 88: 12; Eccl. 9: 5).  But the [disembodied] soul is in a quiescent [Page 25] state; Samuel complains to Saul, “Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up?” (1 Sam. 28: 19).  Believers are said to “sleep” (Matt. 27: 52), to “fall asleep” (John 11: 11, 14; Acts 7: 60) in Jesus (1 Thess. 4: 14).  Unbelievers also “sleep” in death (Dan. 12: 2; Job 14: 12).  Light sleep, in which is vivid dreaming, appears the closest, though possibly an inadequate, analogy.  As in dreams, the spirit’s vision in Hades is fully alive, while action and reflection are exceedingly limited: “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in Sheol, whither thou goest” (Eccl. 9: 10).  Passivity reigns, not activity.  As life is the harmonious working of body, soul, and spirit, so is death their dissolution and consequent paralysis.  The body is the instrument of the human spirit’s action, and activity ceases when the body falls corrupt.  The affairs of earth are veiled from the sight of the disembodied: “His sons come to honour, and he knoweth it not; and they are brought low, but he perceiveth it not of them” (Job 14: 21; cp. Eccl. 9: 5, 6).  Not that the return of the dead to earth’s surface is revealed by the Scripture to be impossible.  The contrary is assumed in the prohibition of necromancy (Dent. 18: 11), and in God’s warning against seeking to the dead (Isa. 8: 19).2 But the departed do not swarm in earth’s atmosphere,3 as the Spiritualist asserts; and if any return, it is by aid of the powers of darkness, acting in antagonism to God.  Thus even if we grant the Spiritualist’s claim that he communicates with the dead, the admission is a boomerang: he escapes the guilt of sorcery, only to fall into the [Page 26] pit of necromancy.  Nor need his overthrow of Materialism be more than a cul de sac.  In the words of Bishop Butler:-Belief in a future state is as reconcilable with the scheme of Atheism as that we are now alive is.”

 

1 He was “free among the dead” (Psa. 88: 5, A.V.), and so both fulfilled his promise to the thief (Luke 23: 43), and descended lower to the imprisoned spirits (1 Pet. 3: 19) in Tartarus (2 Pet. 2: 4).

 

2 No return of a disembodied soul has been pleasing to God.  He suffered Samuel’s return; but Saul’s summons of the prophet was a sin.  Elijah never died (2 Kings 2: 11), and is still embodied; the burial of Moses was unique (Dent. 34: 6), a dispute took place over his body (Jude 9), and he probably appeared on the Mount in flesh.  Others have appeared, but in their bodies (Matt. 27: 52).  So far, therefore, as Spiritualism is what it claims to be, necromancy, it is offensive to God.

 

 

3 Do not these verses locate Hades with sufficient clearness? - Matt. 12: 40; Num. 16: 30, 32, 33; Dent. 32: 22; Job. 26: 5; Amos 9: 2; Eph. 4: 9; Psa. 63: 9.  So Scripture speaks of descending into it (Prov. 1: 12; Isa. 5: 14; Ezek. 31: 15, 16), and of rising up out of it (1 Sam. 2: 6; Psa. 30: 3; Prov. 15: 24; Rom. 10: 7).

 

 

ANGELIC MINISTRY

 

 

But, though we are thus led to believe that the dead rarely communicate, it may be asked, not without some reason, whether angels sent by God may not now hear His messages to men, as of old, and make their ministry

(Heb. 1: 14; Matt. 18: 10) visible.  If the influence in mediumship is exhilarating, and the tone of the communications, though unscriptural, is pitched in a religious key, many conclude that they are face to face with such.  Several prominent Christian teachers pave the way for this conception, and others actually endorse it.  Dr. Joseph Parker writes to Mr. Stead: “When inspiration, so-called, ends in nothing but amazement or amusement, it is not Divine inspiration: when it ends in high-mindedness, in sympathy, and in loving service to others, it is an inspiration which has come immediately from God.”  Dr. Parker further says: “The Church ought not to look upon Spiritualism when the processes are honestly conducted, with any but a friendly eye, because the Church well knows that every step in that direction means advancement towards the sublime fact that ‘God is a Spirit,’ and that He is willing to communicate every day with those who wait upon Him in faith and love.”1 But such an attitude ignores the Divine tests.  No apparition, or inspired utterance, can be of God which denies the Christ’s advent in the flesh (1 John 4: 1-3): and this denial is universal among the intelligences which speak through Spiritualism.  Other considerations are nearly equally conclusive in support of the belief that, whatever God may suffer in Apocalyptic days, no angels of His have yet manifested themselves.  (1) These declare themselves the dead.  If they speak truth, they are not angels; if they lie, they are not holy angels.  (2) I believe that Scripture records no instance of an angel appearing [Page 27] as a result of human invocation.  Angels are God’s messengers; only familiar spirits are at the beck and call of humanity.  (3) The substance of an angel’s message is wise and worthy; not weighted with the frailty and folly of human speech, or of demonic, that often ranks lower; nor does an angel resort to tables for the deliverance of a Divine message.  (4) Before our Lord had revealed His Father, angels frequently bore God’s word to man; but the Son, and the completed Word, now adequately reveal Him.  (5) Nor have angelic visits been frequent in the Gospel age.  The reason of this is clear.  God had promised to His people something infinitely superior to angelic communion; consequently, after Pentecost, at which this promise received fulfilment (Acts 1: 4, 8; 2: 16),2 the visible service of angels became rare.  The Church’s Comforter is the Holy Ghost, and to attempt to recall open angelic intercourse, so long as the day of grace shall last, is unbelief.  If angels persist in coming, they are not angels of good (cp. Psa. 78: 49).  It is of profound significance that, in the two tests of the occult given for our dispensation (1 John 4: 1-3; 1 Cor. 12: 1-3), the sole alternative to Powers of Darkness, named as possibly present, is the Holy Ghost.

 

1 Morning newspaper, Dec. 31, 1892.

 

2 Those whose thoughts turn, in this returning cycle of the supernatural, to the manifested presence of the Holy Ghost (1 Cor. 12: 7; Mark 16: 17, 18; Acts 2: 33, &c.), might consult Irvingism and the Gifts of the Holy Ghost and Earth’s Last Pentecost (Thynne).

 

 

PROOF OF THE PRESENCE OF DEMONS

 

 

If the séance room is crowded neither with good angels nor with the departed, in whose hands is this elaborate network of intercourse?  So far back as the eighteenth century Swedenborg, the progenitor of Spiritualism, warned of the perils of personation.  Spiritualists themselves have not been without suspicion of an agency wholly evil.  Sir A. Wallace writes:-When the influence [on the medium] is violent or painful, the effects are such as have been in all ages imputed to possession by evil spirits.”1 Of the votaries of Spiritualism “there are few who have not at some time felt impelled to leave it alone and have nothing [Page 28] more to do with it.”2  There are more plausible reasons than many imagine,” once wrote Mr. Owen, “for the opinion entertained by some able men, Protestants as well as Catholics, that the communications in question come from the Powers of Darkness, and that ‘we are entering on the first steps of a career of demoniac manifestations, the issues whereof men cannot conjecture.’”3 Finally, “we are either of God or of the devil,” say the spirits themselves .4 Darkness is helpful to most manifestations - these then are spirits of darkness (Eph. 6: 12); lies abound - they are lying, spirits (1 Kings 22: 22); they possess men, as in the time of our Lord (Matt. 12: 43, 45); they lead away from faith in Jesus, and are thus seducers (1 Tim. 4: 1).  All these are characteristics of demons.  This, I admit, is an inference of appalling gravity.  It led Mr. Gladstone, who became profoundly convinced of its Satanic origin, to pronounce it “far the most important work being done on the planet to-day.”  But further considerations support it forcibly.  The tests given of God (1 John 4: 2, 3; 1 Cor, 12: 3), when applied, reveal evil spirits.5 Amid much that is vague and trivial, the underlying motive of the communications reveals an organised design.  Mr. Moses writes:-Ever since I became intimately acquainted with the subject, I have been deeply impressed with some serious questions respecting it.  One is, that there is an organised plan on the part of spirits who govern these manifestations - of which all that we can get is but a fragmentary view - to act on us, and on the religious thought of the age.  Another is, that as soon as we escape from the very external surroundings of the subject, we are brought in some way into relation with this plan, or some phase of it.”6  It is a movement directed by the hands of active, cautious and militant intelligence. Spirits, good and bad alike, are subject to the rule of commanding intelligences. 7 Why the dead should be thus drilled and aggressive is not obvious.  If demonic, the habitual deception in mediums, so puzzling to the investigator, is explicable; for the medium, handled in an unclean grasp, becomes at once dupe and knave?8  Spiritualism, born in ill odour, has never been able to free itself from charlatanry and fraud: nevertheless it is certain that it embodies an enormous movement launched from the unseen, charged with incalculable consequences to the human race, and using the ablest men as mere puppets.  My activities in Spiritualism,” says Sir Conan Doyle, “have passed beyond my control; I may head a movement, but there is something ahead which is leading me.”  Isolated efforts at intercourse culminated appropriately in our modem organised and predicted (1 Tim. 4: 1) sorcery.  The rapping demon of Wesley; the utterances of Camisards and Shakers; the violent outbursts of demonism at Morzine; - such were only foreshadowings of the quieter, far more extensive, more intelligent approach that has shaped itself into Spiritualism and Theosophy – an approach quiet with the stillness of death, and white with the pallor of spiritual leprosy.  An experienced Spiritualist, possessed of a wide acquaintance with his sect, says: “For a long time I was swallowed up in its whirlpool of excitement and comparatively paid but little attention to its evils, believing that much good might result from the openings up of the avenues of spiritual intercourse.  But

during the past eight months I have devoted my attention to a critical investigation of its moral, social, and religious [Page 30] bearings, and I stand appalled before the revelations of its awful and damning realities, and would flee from its influence as I would from the miasma which would destroy both soul and body.”9 Eminent doctors add their warning.  Three of my friends,” says Dr. Beattie Crozier, “men of eminence who really believe in Spiritualism, have told me they have forbidden the very name of it in their homes, as if it were a thing accursed; because by the ‘black magic’ which is always a part of it, it so often leads to insanity and death.”  Science has no more right to transgress the laws of God than Adam had to discover, experimentally, the exact qualities lodged in the Forbidden Tree, and so to learn that God’s prohibition was wise; knowledge which destroys the investigator, temporarily or eternally, it is wickedness to acquire.  No gain to science,” Professor Barrett acknowledges, “would ever justify experiment heedless of a risk so great”; and he acknowledges that the prohibition of “all psychical inquiry by the Jewish prophets” was “most wise and rational”: nevertheless he stultifies himself with the conclusion that “the perils which beset the ancient world in the pursuit of psychical knowledge do not apply to scientific investigation to-day.” 10

 

1 Mir. and Mod. Sp., p. 202.

 

2 M. and Dr. Thcobald, Address before L. S. A., Nov., 1888.

 

3 Footfalls on the Boundary of Another World, p. 18 “It seems not improbable,” says Professor Barrett (On the Threshold of the Unseen, p. 113), “that many of the physical manifestations witnessed in a Spiritualistic séance are the product of human-like, but not really human intelligences - good or bad daimonia they may be, elementals some have called them, which aggregate round the medium.”

 

4 Sp. Teach., p. 136.

 

5 I have been present when a spirit has solemnly denied our Lord’s appearance in the flesh.  1 John 4: 2, 3, is to be applied to the spirit; 1 Cor. 12: 3, to the prophet, or inspired person, while demonstrably speaking in the ‘power.’  I have never heard of a right answer being given by the Spiritualistic utterance when thus put to proof.  See Tests for the Supernatural (Thynne).

 

6 Spirit Identity, p. 30.

 

7 Sp. Teach., p. 14.

 

8 Dr. Tylor notes the same of all sorcery; Primitive Culture, vol. i., p. 134.  Scarcely any famous medium has escaped, if not the proof of fraud, at least a circumstantial allegation of it: as Eglinton, exposed by Professor Lewis; Slade, and Professor Lankester; Blavatsky, and Dr. Hodgson; the Davenports, and Mr. Maskelyne; Eusapia Palladino, and the Cambridge investigators, etc.

 

9 Dr. B. F. Hatch, quoted by Miles Grant, Spiritualism Unveiled, p. 38.  In a more alluring, and widely influential, communication, Spirit Teachings, all turns, as Mr. Moses recognised, upon the identity of his familiars; and, after continued endeavour to ascertain it, he admits his complete failure.  Admitting that they dominated his mind with a kind of hypnotic sway (pp. 72, 80, 244), and were at pains to root from it all distinctly.  Christian precepts (pp. 101, 198), he is yet satisfied to say, in confessing that he was ignorant who or whence were his new teachers, “I did not then know, as I do now, that the evidence of conviction is what alone is to be had” (p. 92).  They betrayed their origin by denial of our Lord’s return in person (p. 151; 2 John 7).  You will see,” they said “that we have preached to you a nobler gospel revealing a diviner God than you had previously conceived” (p. 207); nor does Mr. Moses seem to have recalled the words of Paul – “But though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach unto you any gospel other than that which we preached unto you, let him be anathema” (Gal. 1: 8).  Beings whom he does not trust for a moment concerning their own identity or character, the Spiritualist trusts without hesitation when they tell him that God is a myth and Christ an imposture.

 

10 On the Threshold of the Unseen, pp. 32, 261.

 

[Page 31[

DOCTRINES ON DEATH AND RESURRECTION

 

 

If we are to trust constant and unvarying reports from witnesses competent and the reverse, from palace and hut, alike in centres of culture and haunts of barbarism, an active, independent consciousness guides the manifestations; sometimes welcome and sought after, at others disliked and mistrusted, or even exorcised.  The body of teaching put forth, wholly independent as it is of the religious environment in which the medium has been educated, not only confirms this, but points to a unity of underlying thought amid much diversity of detail.  It seems,” says Professor James, “exactly as if one author composed more than half of the trance messages, no matter by whom they were uttered.”1 On minor points there is infinite contradiction; and this alone is sufficient to disprove that the source of the inspiration is Divine.  But on such matters - vital in the light of Christianity - as death, resurrection, the future state, the incarnation and atonement, inspiration of Scripture, the personality of the Holy Ghost and of Satan, and the accessibility of God, the pronouncement is unanimous.2  We need not enlarge upon these; 3 to prove both the extraneous source of the [Page 32] medium’s utterance, and the antagonism of Spiritualism to the faith of Jesus, it is sufficient to show that into the very fibre of spiritistic teaching enters some single doctrine universally enunciated, and irreconcilable with our Faith.  In trance utterances on death and resurrection we obtain this dual proof.  In strictness, “there is no death.”4 The spirit is the man, the body is a clog, a prison, a garment to be cast away.  Man is a spirit, “temporarily enshrined in a body of flesh.”5 At death the spirit “quits the body for ever.”6 Death, therefore, is the “gateway of life.”7 Hence death is resurrection; or, since it is the casting off of the perishable part of man, and the severance is final, there is no resurrection.  The humanity is dead, and the spirit alone survives.  The soul thus liberated roams the air at large, and starts on the first rounds of an endless progression. “Even the worst are surely if slowly progressing.”8 This doctrine is universal among Spiritualists.*Throughout the manifestations - in every form and in every language - whatever the discrepancies, uncertainties, and contradictions on other topics, on this of the nature of man’s future existence, all coincide and harmonize.”9

 

1 Principles of Psychology, vol. 1., p. 394.

 

2 Dr. A. C. Dixon says:-Do you believe in the atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation?  Do you believe that the atoning blood removes the guilt of sin from the sin-stained soul?  Ask the medium that. I have been asking that question all over the world for forty years: if there is any Spiritualist under the stars who believes that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from all sin, and if I can find one who does, I am willing to apologize for all that I have said.  I have never met one yet.”  And here is the answer of Sir A. Conan Doyle:-The whole doctrine of original sin, the Fall, the vicarious Atonement, the placation of the Almighty by blood - all this is abhorrent to me.  The spirit-guides do not insist upon these aspects of religion.”

 

3 It is in strict accord with Paul’s prophecy (1 Tim. 4: 1-3) that flesh and wine are widely prohibited, especially for aspirants to mediumship; as also among sects founded on alleged intercourse with spirits, as Shakers, Mormons, American Perfectionists, Theosophists, Mohammedans, and Buddhists.  Marriage also is frequently superseded either by celibacy or by free love.  For these are seducing spirits.  Of evil spirits other than human,” says Mr. Myers (Human Personality, vol. 2., p. 203), “there is no news whatever.”  Masked burglars do not lay their visiting-cards on the table.

 

4 Owen, Deb. Land., p. 123 ; S. C. Hall, Use of Sp., p. 86.

 

5 Moses, Higher Aspects, p. 83; Sp. Teach., pp. 77, 154, 245; Kardec, Heaven and Hell, p. 126.

 

6 Wallace, Mir. and Mod. Sp., p. 109 ; Sp. Teach., p. 249.

 

7 Edmonds, Letters. p. 32.

 

8 Wallace, Mir. and Mod. Sp., p. 109.

 

[* And also among many regenerate believers today! – Ed.]

 

9 Edmonds, Letters, p. 212; so Wallace, Mir. and Mod. Sp., p. 218; Kardec, Heaven and Hell, p. 98. “Above all,” says Viscountess Grey (Fortnightly Review, Oct., 1922), “Spiritualism establishes our faith upon the Immortality of the Spirit rather than upon the Resurrection of the Body; and it teaches the inefficacy of substituted atonement, and rejects the idea that man may escape the consequences of his past by faith in the forgiveness of another.”

 

 

Now is all this in consonance with Scripture?  (1) The definition of man is not; nor the definition of death. God’s Word regards man, not as a spirit temporarily incarnate, but as a composite being made up of body, soul, and spirit, the separation of which is temporary, abnormal, a terror to man himself, and a punishment inflicted by God.  Life is the harmonious working of the three; death is their [Page 33] decomposition into two.1 Death, Scripture regards as a temporary dissolution (2 Cor. 5: 1), an unclothing (verse 4), a taking down of the tent (2 Pet. 1: 13, 14), a departure (Phil. 1: 23; 2 Tim. 4: 6).  So resurrection is the becoming incorruptible (1 Cor. 15: 42, 53, 54); a re-clothing (2 Cor. 5: 4); a building again (John 2: 19-22); a return (John 5: 28, 29) - that is, of the body.  Death is a punishment for primal sin (Gen. 2: 17; Rom. 5: 12).  To say there is no death is to repeat the serpent’s falsehood :Thou shalt not surely die.”  The spirit [i.e., the disembodied soul] is incarcerated in Hades, and the body sees corruption; thus, not until the resurrection is death robbed of its sting, and Hades vanquished (1 Cor. 15: 54, 55).  (2) Scripture asserts, to the contradiction of the Spiritualist, that the body which was dissolved is to come together again, and be re-united with soul and spirit (John 5: 28, 29).  Christ’s resurrection is the type of ours (2 Cor. 4: 14; Phil. 3: 21).  The wounded body, that lay in Joseph’s tomb, left it empty on the resurrection morn, still marked and scarred (Luke 24: 3).  It was a body of flesh and bones, such as a [angelic] spirit does not possess (Luke 24: 39).  The animal body - that is, the body fitted for animal purposes and ruled by animal appetites, is cast as seed into earth and after lapse of time, possibly many ages, springs up a spiritual body - that is, a body adapted to spiritual environment and ruled by the spirit in place of the soul (1 Cor. 15: 44).  The moment of casting into the ground need not be, by many ages, the moment of up-springing.  The moment of death is not the moment of resurrection.  Thomas knew that the imprinted body of the risen Lord was that which had been laid in the sepulchre; the same, yet now suited to new purposes; eating (Luke 24: 43), yet capable of visibility or invisibility at choice (Luke 24: 31, 36).  The chrysalis is the source and substance of the butterfly; yet how different!  So shall it be when corruption has put on incorruption, the mortal immortality.  Jesus Christ has taken the manhood into God.  He redeemed man, not only the spirit of man, and so will present believers, body, soul, and spirit, to His Father (1 Thess. 5: 23).  Not unclothing [Page 34] to die, but clothing on for eternal life, is the Christian’s sure hope (2 Cor. 5: 4).  On the resurrection of Christ, which is earnest of our own, rests our faith; and the Spiritualist denies it: “His body has not indeed been raised;”2 were it so, our faith were futile, our sin unforgiven (1 Cor. 15: 14).  Thus, as Mr. Myers says, corroborated by all Spiritualists, - “We do not find that support is given [by the spirits] to any special scheme of terrene theology;”3 for this unanimous voice, on resurrection, negativing the whole Christian Faith, is demonic; “AND I WOULD NOT THAT YE SHOULD HAVE FELLOWSHIP WITH DEMONS” (1 Cor. 10: 10).

 

1 The second death is a lake (Rev. 20: 14, 21: 8) in which the wicked are plunged after resurrection.

 

2 Sp. Teach., p. 245.

 

3 Human Personality, Vol. 2., p. 287.

 

 

MIRACLE AND DOCTRINE

 

 

So this modern peril, incalculably great, has had a safe-guarding revelation all to itself.  If a prophet arise in the midst of thee - the first mention of false prophets actually within the people of God - “and he give thee a sign or a wonder” - real miracles actually performed; ‘signs’ of an unseen presence ‘wonders,’ for they surpass the possibilities of the natural – “and the sign or the wonder come to pass whereof he spake unto thee” - a miracle deliberately given to authenticate a doctrine - “saying, Let us go after OTHER GODS” (Deut. 13: 1) - miraculous support of apostasy.  Our Saviour warns, not only of false Christs, supported by false prophets, working great miracles (Matt. 24: 24), but of prophets who are “wolves in sheep’s clothing” (Matt. 7: 1-5) - demon-led or demon-inspired men who, claiming to be [regenerate* and] Christian, bankrupt the Faith.  So Jehovah says:- “THOU SHALT NOT HEARKEN TO THE WORDS OF THAT PROPHET” (Deut. 13: 3).  That is, doctrine confirms, or disproves, miracle, as surely as miracle, doctrine.  God’s body of truth has already been established by miraculous proofs (at Sinai and by Christ and the Apostles) overwhelmingly greater than any Satan can or does show: any counter-revelation,1 therefore, [Page 35] cannot conceivably be from God: its miracles, however real or marvellous, are necessarily Satanic.  God has not only given evidence, but a kind and amount of evidence, finally decisive.  For the Lord your God PROVETH YOU to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul” (Deut. 13: 3).  Miracle, which was designed to be an aid to faith, Hell transforms into a peril to faith, and Heaven again over-rules into a test of faith.  False prophets, working real miracles, are a touchstone of the Church; and their enormous increase at the end reveals the deep dissatisfaction of the Most High with His Churches: he who truly loves God will choose the truth rather than the miracle, the Scripture rather than a Satanic cure.

 

[* See 1 Kings 13: 18: “… I also am a prophet as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the Lord…” R.V.  cf. 2 Tim. 2: 18.  How many are misleading the Lord’s people astray today, as regards the time of our Resurrection, and of Messiah’s promised inheritance in the ‘Age’ yet to come, (Psa. 2: 8; 110: 1-3, etc.)?]

 

1 Spiritualism,” says Sir Conan Doyle, is “a new revelation which constitutes by far the greatest religious event since the death of Christ.”

 

 

NATURE OF THE DEMONS

 

 

Scripture reveals the nature and, to some extent, the work of the demons, though their origin, unlike their destiny, is wrapped in the deepest shade.  They are all unclean spirits;1 varying, however, in depths of guilt (Matt. 12: 45).  They are not the fallen angels.2 These probably supervise demonic work, and inspire the wide intelligence of the so-called wisdom-religions, which affect to despise the inanities of “elementary” spirits; but, when mentioned alone, appear engaged in a conflict vaster in kind and different in locality (Rev. 12: 7; cp. Job 1: 6; 1 Kings 22: 19).  Their evil work extends to other spheres, and even to the throne of God.  The time of their casting down and confinement to our firmament is not yet (Rev. 12: 7-10).  The demons appear in quite different character.  They are trivial, malicious, impish.  Tables become facetious under their hands, spell communications of the lowest intelligence, and turn to jesting with a clownish [Page 36] wickedness.3 Their Puck-like tricks may have been the germ of truth in much of mediaeval folk-lore. They appear to take a delight in possession (Matt. 12: 44).  We have no record of such a desire in an angel: he appears capable of sudden appearances in strict bodily form (Heb. 13: 2), not requiring the ominous aid of darkness to fashion it; (with a capacity of eating and drinking: Gen. 19: 3; cp. Psa. 78: 25); perhaps his own body in quick condensation, clearly not the hollow phantasmagoria of demonic manufacture.  The demons love desert places (Matt. 12: 43), and perhaps the neighbourhood of tombs (Luke 8: 27).  They recognised Christ immediately on His appearance (Mark 1: 11, 34).  They had sinned before He appeared, and their punishment had been announced (Matt. 8: 29).  They are beyond repentance (1 Tim. 4: 2).4 Knowing the just and inexorable nature of an offended God, they await torment with shuddering hearts (James 2: 19).  Such is their lost nature, this but spurs them to wider effort of evil, [Page 37] foreshadowing the death-flicker of final energy in Beelzebub, prince of the demons (Rev. 12: 12).  Beside great strength (Mark 5: 3) they display great cruelty (Luke 9: 39), and it is only by Divine sufferance that they haunt earth, rather than are plunged in the horrors of the abyss (Luke 8: 31).  In anticipation of the end (Isa. 24: 21), we see them, both in Scripture records and in modern phenomena, drowning terror in errands of evil involving ceaseless activity.  All the evil hosts thus confront us.  For our wrestling” - our wrestling-bout, our pitched battle - “is not against flesh and blood, but against” - fleshless, bloodless enemies far more difficult to fight – “the principalities, the powers, the world-rulers” - no vulgar horde of fiends, but invisible princes, world-lords - “of this darkness” - the heavy moral night that rests on mankind - “the spiritual hosts of wickedness” - in trained and aggressive ranks - “in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6: 12).  Spiritualism proves Heaven by disclosing Hell.

 

1 (Luke 8: 33), (8: 29), and (Matt. 8: 31) are all applied to the possessors of the Gadarean.  Devil is confined in Scripture to Satan (Rev. 22: 2) and Judas Iscariot (John 7: 70).

 

2 This distinction was recognised by the Jews (Acts 23: 8, 9).

 

3 This triviality is frequently used as an argument against the genuineness of modern communications.  But neither in our Lord’s day was discovery anticipated, nor dignity displayed, among demoniacs; yet are we therefore to deny that His exorcism was real?  The teasing, mystifying ‘controls,’”says Mr. Myers, “suggest - nor can we absolutely disprove the suggestion - a type of intelligences inferior to human.”  It is exceedingly improbable that this low mentality, occasionally bordering on idiocy, is God’s original creation: rather, the habitual sin which in human beings is found to disintegrate the intellect as surely as it rots the body, prolonged over thousands of years, is sufficient to account for the pitiful wrecks that haunt the séance.  The intelligence of these discarnate personalities,” says Professor Lombroso (After Death - What? p. 347),is but fragmentary and incoherent.”

 

4 For proofs that 1 Tim. 4: 2 applies to the spirit-seducers, see Govett’s Future Apostasy (Thynne): How horrible a forecast of Rev. 13: 15 Spiritualism can be is revealed in this description of ‘materialization’ by Sir A. Conan Doyle (Strand magazine, Nov., 1920):-  When Eva is at her best, there forms a complete figure; this figure is moulded to resemble some deceased person; the cord which binds it to the medium is loosened; a personality which either is or pretends to be that of the dead takes possession of it; and the breath of life is breathed into the image so that it moves and talks and expresses the emotions of the spirit within.”

 

 

DEMON POSSESSION

 

 

The descent of one or more spirits into a human personality - which has come to be called ‘possession’: an invasion, that is, involving some measure of ownership - whether the Holy Ghost or other spirits, is a fact full of mystery, but full of certainty.  The whole scheme of Christian redemption is based upon it.  The Holy Spirit of God enters in, to possess; the human then becomes a sanctuary of God, an abiding temple of the Holy Ghost; and the transforming powers of God - from simple regeneration, up through sanctification, and including the highest forms of inspiration - all move on this cardinal pivot alone.  And the consequent truth revealed throughout the Bible, of an importance utterly impossible to exaggerate, is a truth (so far as I know) never stated.  All entrance of one spirit into another, all invasion of one personality by another, save only by that of the Holy Ghost, is not only wholly forbidden, but is charged with evil of infinite power.  And the reason is obvious.  The sanctities of our inmost life the exquisitely delicate mechanism of our Godlike parts: can safely be entrusted only to Him who made them; Who [Page 38] is Love; and Who, when He enters, enters only to perfect the marvellous instrument he has made.

 

 

It is exceedingly remarkable that psychology and psychical research, as it studies “multiplex personality,” frankly reaffirming the ancient belief, now boldly uses the word “possession.”  Mr. F. W. H. Myers says:- “The result broadly is that these phenomena of ‘possession’ are now the most amply attested, as well as intrinsically the most advanced, in our whole repertory: the evidence does in the end insist on all that the ancient term implies.  The man’s own consciousness is absolutely in abeyance, and every part of his body is utilized by the invading spirit or spirits; so far as the man’s organism is concerned, the invasion seems complete.” It is exceedingly impressive that psychical research, while totally differing in interpretation from our Lord, arrives at an identical conclusion in fact.  We are standing at a crisis,” Mr. Myers says, “of enormous importance in the history of life on earth.  The spiritual world is just beginning to act systematically upon the material world. A change seems to be impending, of a type not known until now.”1

 

1 Human Personality, vol. 2., pp. 190, 196, 274.

 

 

So also Spiritualism reports such facts that Spiritualism itself acknowledges what for six thousand years has been known as devil-possession.  Professor Barrett says:-Experience shows that there is a very real danger of an invasion by alien and often malignant intelligences, sometimes resulting in what appear to be genuine cases of obsession.  I am convinced that some cases of the demoniacs recorded in the New Testament cannot be explained away as due to insanity, epilepsy, or dissociation of personality.  In fact, our body can become the temporary, or intermittent, tenement of more than one soul.”1.  Demon Possession is thus frankly acknowledged by Spiritualism itself.  When I hear people talk of evil spirits as a figure of speech, or as diseases,” says Charles Kingsley, “I cannot help thinking how pleased the Devil must be to hear people talk in such a way.”

 

1 Contemporary Review, Nov., 1922.

 

 

Now one key unlocks the whole problem of possession.  Possession can be voluntary; when it is called [Page 39] mediumship, or (in Scripture) false prophecy: or it can be involuntary; when the resistance of the human spirit, in conflict with the malignant possessor, produces the horrible convulsions of the demoniac.  Sir A. Conan Doyle says:-It is not I - it never is I.  It is always the compelling power which is working through me, giving that message which, sooner or later, is going to alter the whole world.”  On the other hand, it can be a violent collision of wills.  For about three months,” says Mr. H. M. Hugunin, “I was in the power of spirits, greatly tormented.  I could not get rid of them.  Their blasphemy and uncleanness shocked me.  They tempted me to suicide and murder, and to other sins.  I was fearfully beset and bewildered.”1 Scripture profoundly differentiates between the false prophet and the demoniac.  It is exceedingly remarkable that our Lord exercised no exorcism when Satan, entered into Judas at the Last Supper.  The demoniac is to be pitied: the medium is to be dreaded.  Both possessions have common characteristics.  (1) Demon possession always reveals a new personality radically distinct from the occupied human, acting simultaneously.  It is always the spirit, not the medium or demoniac, that insists on his own separate personality, and is angered by contradiction or doubt.  (2) Demon possession constantly betrays a knowledge of facts altogether outside the horizon of the medium or the demoniac.  This often takes the form of speaking in languages totally unknown to the man possessed.  (3) Demon possession always involves a change of character, accompanying the change of personality, and always a change of character for the worse.  In the amazing admission of the Italian criminologist, Professor Lombroso:- “If the medium is not specially wicked, he becomes so in the trance.2  Voluntary possession, or mediumship, can easily pass, [Page 40] and often does, into involuntary and hopeless demon possession.3  Mr. Reader Harris, K.C., accompanied his father (a lawyer) to the deathbed of D. D. Home, England’s greatest medium, to draw up his will; but, Mr. Harris says, “it was impossible to proceed, because of the rapping of spirits, and general turmoil among the furniture of the room.  Demons were already there in all their power to claim their victim, who had long yielded to them.

 

1 J. G. Raupert’s Modern Spiritism, p. 178.

 

2 After Death-What? p. 121.  Dr. B. F. Hatch, the husband of a medium in the front rank, says (J. G. Raupert’s Modern Spiritism, p. 180):- “I have known many whose integrity of character and uprightness of purpose rendered them worthy examples to all around, but who, on becoming mediums, and giving up their individuality, also gave up every sense of honour and decency.”

 

3 Very awful, but deeply instructive are the words of one once a medium, then a lunatic, and finally delivered (J. G. Raupert’s Modern Spiritism, p. 166):- “The entry of the spirit into the human body is so subtle in its action that it is not noticeable by any but the developed medium, who knows the sensation of entry and leaving.  Even where the possessed one is ignorant of being possessed, the obsessing spirit can, by suggesting thoughts, order the action of the victim, so that he or she will act quite differently to their normal manner - indeed, act against their own nature.”

 

 

But there comes a sudden burst of sunshine with the tremendous power and infinite grace of Christ.  In the solemn words of an old divine:-It is easier to keep Satan out than to cast him out”; and Mr. Coulson Kernahan, after an observation of forty years, says,- “I do not know of any who, having entered upon the road of Spiritualism, have turned back.”  Nevertheless it is certain that exorcism is as surely a fact as possession; and exorcism by no incantation, or magic enchantment - for if so attempted, it fails (Acts 19: 13) - but through simple command, in faith, through the name of Christ.  The common term for the command to the demons to come out, used by our Lord, is one in which the idea of severe reproof is implied” (Olshausen).  For the Lord Jesus came to “destroy the works of the Devil” (1 Jn. 3: 8): the very first promise in His departing commission was that His disciples should “cast out demons” (Mark 16: 17); and the sole disciple faithful in the greatest crisis the world has yet known was one out of whom had gone seven devils.  For the best evidence yet accumulated on modern possession thus sums up the missionary experience of the world:-Many cases of demon possession have been cured by prayer to Christ, or in His name, some very easily, some with difficulty. So far as we have been able to discover this method of cure has not failed in any case, however stubborn and long [Page 41] continued, in which it has been tried.  And in no instance, so far as appears, has the malady returned, if the subject has become a Christian, and continued to lead a Christian life.” 1

 

1 Dr. J. H. Nevius’s Demon Possession and Allied Themes, p. 145: London, 1897, the standard work on devil obsession.  See also Dr. W. M. Alexander’s Demonic Possession: Edinburgh, 1902.

 

 

THE TESTIMONY OF THE SPIRITS

 

 

No question could be more thrilling or momentous than this:- What does the evil spirit-world think of Christ? who do they say that He is?  These unseen powers have scanned human faces for thousands of Years; their information is as vast as the continent and oceans; their knowledge is the knowledge of another world:- what do they think of the Lord Jesus?  And straightway- the moment the Lord opened His mouth in the synagogue: the mere magnetism of Christ rouses Hell and throws the other world into a tumult, without His having addressed to them a word; the mere presence of Christ unmasks demons - “there was in their synagogue” - for a devil can be inside the church - “a man with an unclean spirit” - a spirit that had lost its first purity; ‘the spirit of an unclean demon’ (Luke 4: 33): “and he cried out, saying, I KNOW THEE WHO THOU ART1 - these visitants from another world knew Christ perfectly in that other world; and had learned the secret of the Incarnation - “the Holy One of God” (Mark 1: 23).  At this time our Lord’s Messiahship was almost totally unknown, and His Godhead (probably) absolutely so: moreover, the words of the Gadarean demon are utterly strange on Jewish lips: “the Holy One of God” is never applied to our Lord before Pentecost; and “the Son of the Most High God” is an expression confined to the spirit-world, from which we hear it again in the ‘spirit of Python’ in Philippi (Acts 16: 17).  All Hell witnessed, spontaneously and throughout His ministry, to the Divine Sonship: “the unclean [Page 42] spirits, whensoever they beheld Him, fell down before Him and cried, “THOU ART THE SON OF GOD” (Mark 3: 11).2

 

1 During my thirty-five years connection with Spiritualism,” says Dr. J. M. Peebles (Jesus, Man, Medium, Maryyr, p. 30), “I have met fully 3,000 mediums: and not so much as one intelligent spirit has denied the existence of Jesus Christ.”

 

2 The nature of these unclean spirits is betrayed by their effects on mediums, thus described by a physician, once himself the president of a Spiritualist society (Dr. C. Williams’ Spiritualism and Insanity, p. 31): - “Sometimes, when the lights are turned up, the medium is found with mouth drawn, lips and cheeks perfectly livid, quite unconscious, and yet breathing so heavily that to the eye of a medical man, he or she presents all the symptoms which are present in an apoplectic fit.  In what is called ‘a developing circle,’ I have over and over again seen this condition, although more often still the somewhat similar condition where the person, also unconscious, grinds his teeth, foams at the mouth, and presents almost every symptom of a true epileptic seizure.  To those who have witnessed this process, and seen the repulsive bodily contortions, muscular twitchings, frightful grimaces, and horrible, unnatural sounds which so frequently accompany the process, the thought must surely occur that this, even by itself, is highly corroborative of a Satanic nature and origin.”

 

 

A profound and complete revelation is now made by the demons of their own exact relationship to Christ, “What have we to do with Thee, Thou Son of God?” literally, “What is common to us and you?”; that is to say, a moral gulf, unbridgable, so yawns between them and Christ that, on their own statement, they have nothing in common: Christ and these unclean spirits are mutually exclusive, mutually destructive, without any community of interest or character.  But that does not exhaust the relationship.  The demons continue:-ART THOU COME HITHER TO TORMENT US BEFORE THE TIME?”  With the Gospel, and all the grace and salvation of the First Advent, they have nothing to do: in the Second Advent, and the judgment of all worlds, they are profoundly and fearfully involved.  In this spontaneous cry lies a whole revelation of the future, published by the mouth of Hell itself.  The demons also believe and shudder (Jas. 2: 19): they expect torment; they know that the date of it is fixed, while they themselves are ignorant of the date; they judge, and rightly, that the Lord’s First Advent is not that date; and they are perfectly aware that the Lord Jesus is their judge - the judge, that is, of all worlds, as well as of all men.  Not only is their empire in jeopardy, but it is already doomed, and doomed at the hands of Christ: “art Thou come to destroy us?” (Mark 1: 21).  Moreover [Page 43] they were in dread of immediate apprehension by Jesus, human as He was.  I adjure Thee by God, torment me not” (Mark 5: 7): do not touch me now! so confessing their complete and instantaneous subjection to Him.  Inexpressibly solemn is it that they do not ask never to be tormented, but not to be tormented yet; nor do they see salvation for any demon – “Art Thou come to destroy us?”  Liable to be dismissed to the Abyss at any moment, where Dives was already in torment, torment sooner or later, by their own confession, is their only future.  It is little wonder that our Lord says:-Rejoice not that the spirits are subject unto you” (Luke 10: 20): as we behold their horrible wickedness, and dread doom, we stand on the brink of an ancient, unutterable tragedy; and we hear (in spirit) what Mr. Stainton Moses heard in fact, - “a most weird sound, of unrest, wailing, and woe: we all felt awestruck; we had never heard so awful a sound.”1

 

1 Proceedings, S.P.R., part 37., p. 62.

 

 

But the most wonderful revelation yet remains.  The maniacal fury of these Gadarene demoniacs made the road impassable; exorcism can be most dangerous to the exorcist: nevertheless, neither these powerful demons, nor any our Lord met afterwards, ever attempted a direct physical assault on Him: strength which snapped steel like thread never dared to touch Christ.  Still more impressive, when the Lord spoke to the most powerful Princes of the unseen, they invariably OBEYED.  He cast out the spirits with a word” (Matt. 8: 16): He made them inarticulate; when He said - Silence, quit, begone, “crying with a loud voice, he came out of him” (Mark 1: 26): He even controlled a spirit’s future action “and enter no more into him” (Mark 9: 17).  In one of the exorcisms of Blumhardt, we read:-a fearful outcry was heard by hundreds of people penetrating to a great distance, as the demon yelled, ‘Jesus is victor!’ and departed.”  For attempting to cast out one demon, seven Jews were driven out naked and wounded (Acts 19: 16): yet our Lord mastered two thousand (for they “entered” two thousand swine); and when He says even to Satan, “Get thee behind me,” he does.  The Jews were deeply [Page 44] startled, as well they might be, at the instant obedience of the unseen world to Christ.  They were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What is this? a new teaching! with authority He commandeth even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him” (Mark 1: 27).  The wonder sprang not so much from the substance of what He taught, as from its effect; a new dominion over the unseen world disclosed a fresh revelation from God: a conclusion which our Lord also Himself definitely drew:-If I, by the Spirit of God, cast out demons, THEN IS THE KINGDOM OF GOD COME UPON YOU” (Matt. 12: 28).

 

 

Why did our Lord refuse the testimony of the unclean spirits?  “He suffered not the demons to speak, because they knew Him” (Mark 1: 34): “rebuking them, He suffered them not to speak, because they knew that He was THE CHRIST” (Luke 4: 41).  The testimony was inopportune: an almost identical command the Saviour made two years later, to the Apostles, the same reason operating: Jesus had to reveal Himself sufficiently to save individuals, but not so overwhelmingly as to defeat Calvary.  Indeed a premature testimony from Hell may actually have been purposely designed to upset God’s plans, and to thwart Christ; either by conferring on Jesus the crown instead of the cross, or by compromising the Saviour’s character through appearing to be in collusion with Him.  More probably, however, it was because testimony, even if it be true, is worthless from lying lips: proved perjury, in a law court, invalidates even correct witness: only after the truth has been established by Divine Apostles and Prophets is it permissible to dwell on the statements thus suddenly surprised out of the unclean spirits as they recoiled in tumult before the Lord.  The demons have rarely, if ever, attested our Lord’s Deity since.  With an authority which brooks no contradiction, and a power that meets no resistance, Jesus speaks; no protest is heard, no refusal allowed; and even the direction of their departure (Matt. 8: 31) is under His absolute command: and the response of the demons is as absolute and unquestioning - for they confess that Christ controls the legions of Hell; that He can send them anywhere He chooses; that He can compel the Abyss to [Page 45] receive whom He will; and that He can dismiss souls of angels or men into the Eternal Torments.  Devils would make us doubt Christ, but they never doubt Him themselves: they deny Hell, yet they know it.  And with their headlong departure, the veil drops again: our further curiosity is left ungratified: the less we know of Hell, once it has been revealed, denounced, expelled, the holier and safer for us and for all mankind.

 

 

SORCERY

 

 

So are thousands of inquirers pushing a path, regardless of consequences, and out of sight of old landmarks, into phenomena declared to be produced by spirits, confessedly beings of unknown character and undiscovered design.  Hundreds of thousands to-day are being lured on to rocks which they do not see, and conducted to a goal from which their opened eyes would recoil in horror.  For it is written:-Woe unto him that saith to the wood, Awake; to the dumb stone, Arise, it shall teach! (Hab. 2: 19).  How extraordinary is this admission by Mr. C. C. Massey, a confirmed Spiritualist:-I have come to the conclusion that there is extramundane opposition to the lifting of the normal veil between the seen and the unseen; that the lifting of the veil in the way of external manifestations is disorderly, and cannot expect furtherance from divinely spiritual powers.”1 For the law of Jehovah stands forever athwart the path of the Spiritualist; and though we are not under the Law - or else we should have to put the medium to death (Ex. 22: 18) - we find God’s mind on spirit-intercourse in the Law.  One that practiseth augury, or an enchanter, or a sorcerer, or a charmer, or a consulter with a familiar spirit, or a wizard, or a necromancer (that is, an invoker of the dead), whosoever doeth these things IS AN ABOMINATION UNTO THE LORD” (Deut. 18: 10).  In the [Page 46] words of Hugh Benson: “To go to séances with good intentions is like holding a smoking concert in a powder-magazine on behalf of an orphan asylum.  It is not the least protection to open the concert with prayer: we have no business to be there at all.  We are blown up just the same.”  The final Apostasy will enter through spiritism; for “the Spirit saith expressly that in later times some shall fall away from the faith, GIVING HEED TO SEDUCING SPIRITS” (1 Tim. 4: 1) – “a religious scheme,” as Sir Conan Doyle says, “founded upon human reason on this side, and upon spirit inspiration upon the other.”2 It is exceedingly remarkable that Isaiah’s great Immanuel chapter reveals (as Paul does in 1 Tim. 4: 1-3) that, immediately before our Lord’s return, there will be a vast revival of the Black Arts.  Blackstone, the greatest of commentators on the laws of England, declares that “to deny the possibility, nay, the actual existence of witchcraft, is at once flatly to contradict the revealed Word of God.”  So also a shrewd and widely experienced man of the world, Sir Walter Besant, says:- We are now” - this was written thirty years ago, when the evil was far less developed -“the verge of another outbreak of belief in magic to which, perhaps, all the preceding outbreaks will be mere child’ play.”  Thus the world itself asserts that Witchcraft is an absolute certainty of the Bible, and that mankind are on the verge of a vaster outbreak of it than in all the preceding ages of human history.  So Isaiah says:- “They [the unbelievers] shall say unto you [the disciples of Messiah, whether Christian or Jewish], ‘Seek unto them that have familiar spirits’”- that is, an attendant spirit peculiar to each medium, and familiar to his beck and call - “and unto the wizards (Isa. 8: 19); that is, in days of gloom and sorrow and judgment, the people are foreseen flocking to the consulting rooms of the Sorcerer and seeking to take the people of God with them, to inquire into an ominous future.  Never perhaps in modem days has Witchcraft been more boldly and unblushingly endorsed than it has been recently by one of the first of modern writers, Oliver Madox Hueffer.  Unimaginative people [Page 47] are proud that they live in ‘an age of enlightenment.’  Did they but realise it the age of Witchcraft had very great advantages.  The witch herself was emphatically a person to be envied.  She had - what other women at all times have wished above all else - power.  She was the ally and intimate friend of the second most powerful potentate in the universe.  That she believed in her own powers is a fact undeniable, and in so believing she believed also that she would in due course reap the reward promised her by her friend and partner, the Devil.  As one who has long hoped for it a new lease of life, I am grateful to the author of The Witch for leading the way towards what may be a renaissance of the black arts.3

1 Contemporary Review, Nov., 1922.  It is a portent of the end that, perhaps with the exception of Dr. Nevius’s Demon Possession, Mr. G. H. Pember’s Earth’s Earliest Ages is the only adequate work, almost the only work, countering Spiritualism for the last three quarters of a century.  See also Mr. Coulson Kernahan’s Black, Objects and Spiritualism (Religious Tract Society), for some vivid and pungent criticism.

 

2 The New Revelation, p. 129.

 

3 The Times, Nov., 12, 1913.

 

 

NECROMANCY

 

 

But it is not only Sorcery which Isaiah foretells, but especially its allied art, Necromancy, or the invocation of the dead: they “seek unto THE DEAD.”  At the present moment the great questions of the world beyond the grave are pressing upon us from every side; and myriads are seeking their loved and lost in the consulting-rooms of the Necromancer.  Even before the War an office was opened, some years ago, at Mowbray House, near the Strand, for a regular exchange of messages with friends beyond the grave.  Of this so-called “bureau” Miss Stead remarks:-In all, over 600 persons received help and consolation during the three years of the bureau’s activity, and were confident that they had been brought into communication with their loved ones who had passed on before.”  It is exceedingly striking that Sir Oliver Lodge has discovered the atmosphere of tragic gloom that fills this world of the reputed dead, but of actual demons, who, without compunction, trifle with the most sacred emotions of bereaved souls by personating their dead.  I should judge,” Sir Oliver says, “that remorse is rather a notable feature of the discarnate mental state, and that the feeling may be akin to that sadly felt by us in the night-watches.”1 Even if and when it is a genuine communication with the dead, then it [Page 48] is necromancy, and an abomination to God.  For the doom of the Necromancer is assured - if unrepentant - because of what he is.  There shall not be found with thee a consulter with a familiar spirit, or a wizard, or a necromancer; for whosoever doeth these things is an ABOMINATION unto the Lord” (Deut. 18: 11).  The terrible Day of the Lord awaits the Necromancer.  For Isaiah continues: “They shall fret themselves” - be deeply angry; “and they shall curse their king” - as anarchists - “and their God” - as blasphemers; the lawlessness and blasphemy of to-day spring from the unseen; “and turn their faces upward” - hurling blasphemies at the rapt saints (Rev. 13: 6), in rage and defiance; “and they shall look unto the earth and behold, distress and darkness” - dizziness produced by calamity; distress of circumstance, and despair of heart - “the gloom of anguish”; for, as in Egypt, the judgment boils burst out on the magicians themselves; “and into thick darkness” - darkness of darkness, like the felt pitch of Egypt - “they shall be driven away.”  Not only is Sorcery named as one of the great sins of the last (Rev. 9: 21), but one of the eight classes occupying the Lake of Fire are Sorcerers also (Rev. 21: 8).

 

1 Strand magazine, Dec., 1919.

 

 

For what is their peculiar sin?  It is leaving the Word of God to seek the dead.  On behalf of the living should they seek unto the dead?  To the law and to the testimony!  If they speak not according to this word” - the Word of God - “surely there is no light in them.”  When faith departs, superstition always enters like a flood; of the false prophets - the “mediums” - the Apostle John says: “They are of the world: therefore speak they as of the world, and the world heareth them” (1 John 4: 5).  It is the sin of Saul, who, when he left God, became a necromancer; he turned his back on the Divine Word, and in the day of his desperate sorrow, invoked Samuel from the grave.  For all wounded hearts, who yearn for “the touch of a vanished hand and the sound of a voice that is still” there is a better way.  Should not a people seek unto their God?”  Shall the living seek unto the dead, instead of to the living God?  Is it not a colossal blunder to seek life among the dead, and to invoke sinners like ourselves whose day of probation is over, rather than the Lord of all life? [Page 49] (See Isa. 38: 18).  Moreover, in all defences of necromancy there is a studied ignoring of the perils of wicked spirit-beings, whose activity is nevertheless fully acknowledged; our power to withdraw in time is assumed, contrary to appalling evidence; and the will and word of the Most High are completely ignored.  For a long while,” says Mr. Myers, “one of Mr. Stainton Moses’ main stumbling blocks lay in the lofty and un-provable claims” of his familiars, so lofty that they have never been divulged: “ultimately he came to believe even in these identities.”  Yet “the ‘guides’ themselves expressly state,” Mr. Myers adds, “that spirits can refer to books for their own biographies: this admission of course leaves us with nothing more than their word to prove that the persons represented were in reality present.”1 All that David Brainerd - one of Professor Barrett’s evidential cases - is concerned about, on returning, is the exact location of a gold mine!2  The Devil dead can be a more dangerous foe than the Devil alive.3  Spiritualism,” says Dr. T. L. Nichols, a distinguished Spiritualist, “meets, neutralizes, and destroys Christianity.  A Spiritualist is no longer a Christian.”

 

1 Human Personality, vol. ii., pp. 227, 229.

 

2 On the Threshold of the Unseen, p. 215.

 

3 A Christian worker says (The Warfare with Satan, p 59):- “I had been a Christian for many years, and knew experimentally conversion and consecration.  One day I found that letters of the alphabet would form themselves before my eyes into remarkable revelations, messages purporting to come from my dear one in Paradise.  I prayed all the time not to be led into error.  I believed in the Blood of Christ, and I prayed under the shelter of the Blood.  At first, in the revelations, there was not a shade of anything to reveal dangers, until one day a message came about Satan, saying that he had repented, and that every soul or spirit created by God would eventually be saved.  This disturbed me greatly, and the next few ‘messages’ were tinged with questionable suggestions.  Just then a devoted servant of Christ was used of God to save me.  There was only one explanation!  The wicked spirits must personate the holy dead.  This was a terrible shock to me.  Was it possible that the true love of the one left behind had been used as a decoy?  But then I saw I had been disobedient, and laid myself open to deception.  Satan’s power to fashion himself as an angel of light, able to counterfeit Father, Son and Holy Ghost, had never dawned upon me.  For a long time the ‘writing’ returned, and hard was the conflict to be true - but prayer brought me victory.”

 

[Page 50]

SUMMARY

 

 

So, to sum up, any indirect value of Spiritualism as proof demonstrating an unseen world is far out-weighed by the peril and the terror of that world.  Even the least enlightened theologian,” says Professor Barrett,must surely recognize that the work in which psychical research is engaged is destroying the very foundations on which materialism has built its shallow and discredited philosophy.”1 But it destroys all Christian foundations also.  It merely takes us back into the demon world.  Mr. Myers frankly admits it.  Now this seems a strange doctrine to have reached after so much disputation.  For it simply brings us back to the creeds of the Stone Age.  We have come round again to the primitive practices of the shaman and the medicine-man; - to a doctrine of spiritual intercourse which was once ecumenical, but has now taken refuge in African swamps and Siberian tundras and the snow-clad wastes of the Red Indian and the Esquimaux.”2

 

1 Contemporary Review, Nov., 1922.

 

2 Human Personality, vol. ii., p. 191.

 

 

But in one Bible character there stands forth a golden solution of the Spiritualist’s problem.  Manasseh is unique in the record of his extreme wickedness, his deep repentance, his thorough reformation, and his experience of amazing grace; and Manasseh is the outshining Spiritualist of the Bible.  He “practised augury, and used enchantments, and practised sorcery, and dealt with them that had familiar spirits, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger” (2 Kings 21: 6).  One curious phase of his sorcery - “he also made his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom” (2 Chron. 33: 6) - is practised to-day in demon-ridden lands.  Mr. G. E. Hall, Turkish consul-general in America, while aboard a French cruiser in the Society Islands, reports as follows:-Then out came the two sorcerers, each armed with a big bundle of leaves of the sacred ti.  They set up an incantation, a weird chant that started the tremulous little quivers in the spinal marrow, and began beating the edge of the fire with ti [Page 51] leaves.  The people stopped all their laughter and chatter - there was no sound save the chanting of the sorcerers, who moved slowly and with rapt faces.  I began to feel a strange impression in it all, and if one of the old woodland gods had stepped out of the cover in response to the incantations, I should not have felt great surprise.  Then, still moaning and muttering, those two sorcerers started across the hot stones with bare feet, beating ahead of them with long ti leaves.  There was no trace of hurry in their steps; Milton’s Satan, walking across the burning marl, could hardly have been more majestic.  Then some of the natives, men and girls, prepared for the test.  The sorcerers walked over the stones ahead of them, beating the way with ti leaves.  And then the interpreter announced that the Commodore and myself would walk over the hot stones; all the company shouted in great joy.  We stripped off our shoes, rolled up our duck trousers, and took our places behind the chanting sorcerers, who went on ahead of us, again beating the stones with ti leaves.  Then I wished I had not been so bold.  All the heat I ever experienced was nothing compared to that.  My moustache and hair curled up so that I could not get them straightened for days; my hands seemed cooking; in my ears was a feeling as if fires had been kindled against the drums, my eyeballs seemed to boil out the water that ran from them.  I felt like hurrying, but that would never have done in the presence of that company and with those two sorcerers marching on so majestically ahead - and I would not have looked back for half the world, such a hold had the earnestness of those heathen priests taken on me.  But all this time my feet were cool, and we passed the ordeal un-singed and unharmed.  I cannot explain how it was that I was not blistered in walking over the stones.  There were scientists of some note among the officers; of the Protet, but they could not explain.”1

 

1 Journal, Society for Psychical Research, Nov., 1901.

 

 

Then the crash came.   The Lord brought upon [Israel] the captains of the host of the King of Assyria”: Manasseh, with upper or under lip perforated, a ring hooked through and dragged by a thong, arrives in Babylon; “and when [Page 52] he was in distress, he besought the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers” (2 Chron. 33: 12).  It is a cameo of grace: man sinning - God warning; man persisting - God punishing; man repenting - God restoring; man obeying - God enthroning.  And God brought him again into his kingdom: then Manasseh knew that the Lord he was God.”

 

 

So one of the greatest of the medieval Occultists, Cornelius Agrippa (1529), renounced his arts, and says:-As a young man I composed a fairly large work in three books on magic, which I entitled ‘Occulta Philosophia.’  In that book my too-curious youth propounded many erroneous opinions, which I desire, now that I have gained a riper experience, to withdraw in this recantation.  I have spent upon these vanities only too much time and money.  Still, I have attained a knowledge, through which I am able to warn others against misfortune.  He who dares to prophesy and foretell events, not through the truth and power of God, but as a plaything of demons, and with the aid of evil spirits; he who, by magical delusions, exorcisms, adjurations, love-potions, invocations, and other demonic works, practises heathenish abominations, or creates dream-images, phantasms, and swiftly-passing miracles, is destined, like Jannes and Jambres, and like Simon Magus, for the fire of Hell.”  One thing alone remains.  And not a few of them that practised curious arts brought their books together” - occult parchments steeped in hellish influences and aura - “and BURNED THEM in the sight of all: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver” (Acts 19: 19) - if in Jewish coinage, £7,000.  In other sins we deal with impulses which grace can master: in sorcery we deal with persons who can follow us: every bridge between must be destroyed.  Ye cannot partake of the table of the Lord and of the table of demons.  OR DO WE PROVOKE THE LORD TO JEALOUSY?” (1 Cor. 10: 21).

 

 

*       *       *

[Page 53]

 

1. NOTE ON THE GOSPEL AND

THE DEAD

 

 

The dead Patriarch’s answer to a dead man (Luke 16: 25) closes all hope for him: so Dives exclaims, - But if Lazarus cannot be sent to me, let him be sent to my brothers; if he cannot cross the impassable gulf, he can at least return to the earth he so lately quitted.  In other words, only let the dead preach the gospel; let one warning of solemn testimony as to the fact of hell-fire be given by one who has felt it, and a message arrive from one actually in it, and men will believe.  Thus, clearly, it is the heart of an unbeliever still, who is speaking; for the implication is, If only I had had sufficient evidence that such a place of torment exists - if only I had been warned clearly enough of the awful consequences of impenitence, I should never have been here; even the ulcered beggar at my gates would be a preacher good enough for my brothers and me if only he had actually come back from the dead.

 

 

Now let us first thoroughly grasp what Abraham in reply does not say: he does not say that no occupant of Hades can ever return.  Between the saved and the lost in Hades, a gulf is fixed, yawning, fathomless, bridgeless, which cannot be overleaped, either by pity on the one side, or lawlessness on the other; but no impassable barriers are stated to exist between Hades and the earth.  The way the [disembodied] soul went, it can come back.  Moreover, Abraham does not say that no intelligent communication could be established; or that if a spirit returned, it would be unrecognizable.  On the contrary, of beheaded martyrs whose disembodied souls were in the other world, John, himself in the body, says: “I saw the souls of them that had been beheaded” (Rev. 6: 9); and when the discarnate spirit of Samuel reappeared, “Saul perceived that it was Samuel”(2 Sam. 28: 14).  The [disembodied] soul is an exact counterpart of the body, and the body is the physical manifestation of the soul - there is no physical impossibility in the dead returning and communicating with the living. Necromancy is a real and forbidden sin (Deut. 18: 11).

 

[Page 54]

What then does the dead Patriarch say?  He says: “They have Moses and the prophets, let them hear them.”  How remarkably this comes from Abraham!  Abraham, who lived before a single book of the Bible was written, testifies, in the other world, that it is the Book of God; and that salvation is through it alone.  Sir Conan Doyle utters the very sentiment of Dives: “In recent years there has come to us from Divine sources a new revelation which constitutes by far the greatest religious event since the death of Christ.  When one knows, as I know, of widows who are assured that they hear the loved voice once again, or of mothers whose hands, groping in the darkness, clasp once again those of the vanished child, and when one considers the loftiness of their intercourse and the serenity of spirit which succeeds it, I feel sure that a fuller knowledge would calm the doubt of the most scrupulous conscience.”1 But the Book itself has come from the other world; therefore I need no apparition from the dead, the Book came from heaven, not hell - a message from God, not a message from the dead; they may lie, God never.  Even if, with Paul, we could return from Paradise with knowledge known only to the dead, these are “unspeakable words, which IT IS NOT LAWFUL FOR A MAN TO UTTER” (2 Cor. 12: 4).  And of what sort is the spiritistic revelation that does come?  Maeterlinck, commenting upon the astounding triviality of “spirit-talk,” exclaims: “Why do the spirits come back with empty hand and empty words?  Is that what one finds when one is steeped in infinity?  Of what use is it to die, if all life’s trivialities continue?  Is it really worthwhile to have passed through the terrifying gorges which open on the eternal fields, in order to remember that we had a great-uncle, called Peter, and that our cousin, Paul, was afflicted with varicose veins and a gastric complaint?  At that rate, I should choose for those whom I love the august and frozen solitudes of the everlasting nothing.”  And if a dead spirit did come back, he would have no new and unheard-of principles to reveal, but could only remind us of the old: so heaven is silent, and Hades is silent, because God has spoken.  Some [Page 55] 200 years ago someone opened the tomb of Charlemagne.  He sat upon a marble stone, clothed in his kingly array, and he held in his hand a symbol of power; and on his knee lay a copy of the New Testament, as his finger pointed to the words, “For what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8: 36).  All that remained of human arrogance, pride, power and greatness, sat with a dead finger pointing to one of the grandest texts of the ages.  The dead, at their highest (like Abraham), can only point to the Book.

 

1 Daily Express, Oct. 31, 1916.

 

 

To the second appeal of Dives Abraham now makes a stronger statement.  He says: “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, if one rise [out] from the dead.” God is appealing to the consciences of men, not to their astonishment: God has laid out the future, including this very scene which Dives begged might be sent to the world, in His Holy Word; and with it has given ample directions, so that no mortal need ever arrive at the place of torment.  Not only do we need no fuller revelation, but the revelation Dives suggests would not effect his purpose.  Am I likely to believe in the under-fires reported by a wandering spirit, when I will not believe in them at the mouth of God?  And if I did believe it, can a messenger from Hades cleanse my soul, or purify my life, or pardon my sin, or open to me the gates of Paradise?  A far mightier miracle than that you ask, O Dives, would produce a far less effect than that you dream.  They will repent”? they will not even be persuaded: not at the visitation of a ghost? nay, not even though they saw a breaking tomb, and a rising body.  Moreover, there is a very solemn mercy in this silence of God.  If all the ordinary and sufficient means of conviction have failed, it is only cruelty to add more; if sufficient light fails to convert, because men hate the light, then more light will only increase the hate, and deepen the damnation.  When a man rejects the Holy Scriptures, his case is desperate, and the dead are helpless.

 

 

Dives prayed that Lazarus might revisit the earth as a departed spirit, to witness to men that there is a place of torment: now the return of Samuel is the solitary case, in the whole Bible, of a God-sanctioned return such as [Page 56] Dives prayed for;1 not the return of a person risen from the dead - we have the records of eight such; nor the return of the living rapt, such as Elijah to the Mount of Transfiguration; but of the spirit of the dead man, returning again to witness to the living.  Nor could any case be imagined more favourable to the contention of the modem Spiritualist.  Of all the recent dead Samuel was the holiest; he was one of the great prophets of God; his counsel, when alive, had been Saul’s richest asset; and the king’s position was now desperate:- if the dead could ever help or save, it must be in such a case as Samuel’s.

 

1 It is as certain as language can make it that the inspired writer asserts the actual return of Samuel; and “the more modern orthodox commentators are unanimous in the opinion that the departed prophet did really appear, not, however, in consequence of the magical arts of the witch, but through a miracle wrought by the omnipotence of God” (Keil and Delitzsch).

 

 

Let us therefore attend the midnight séance on the mountains of Gilboa, enveloped in a darkness which has been significantly essential to the most powerful séances ever since.  Saul says: “Seek me a woman” - the great majority of mediums have been women down all the ages that hath a familiar spirit: and his servants said, Behold there is a woman at Endor” (1 Sam. 28: 7).  Endor” means “the well of the circle”; and the very first instructions given to Spiritualistic inquirers is on how to “form a circle” - that is, a séance.  Now look closely at the prototype of all Spiritualists of all ages.  Saul is a [Holy] Spirit-abandoned man.* The Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul”; and “the Lord answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets.”  The Holy Ghost had fallen finally silent, because there was no heart-cry in Saul after holiness or heaven or God.  We hear the wail of sorrow - “I am sore distressed” - but that is the only wail we hear.  This is how a séance is born.  Necromancy is a counsel of despair, and is born of a great silence; not the silence of the desert, nor the silence of midnight, nor the silence of the sea; but a far more awful silence - the silence of God: not a silence because God cannot hear; but because, through persistent and impenitent sin, He will not hear.  It is when heaven’s door is shut that man [Page 57] begins to knock at the door of hell.  The Rev. W. H. Clagett, himself an ex-medium, says:- “I have yet to meet the first Spiritualist of whom I did not find one of two things to be true - either they were renegade church members who had given up their faith, or they were persons who at one time had been under deep conviction from the Holy Spirit, and had driven away their convictions.  I do not say it is true of all Spiritualists; but I have never met one (and I have met a great many) of whom it was not true.”1  Saul had received the Word of God through Samuel again and again, and he had finally abandoned it: he consulted the dead only when he was deserted by God.  God is departed from me,” he cries to Samuel; “therefore I have called thee.”  He is perfectly conscious that he is doing a forbidden thing: cloaked and disguised, that for which he had himself inflicted capital punishment is the practice to which he now resorts.

 

[* See G. H. Lang’s – “The Personal Indwelling of the Holy Spirit” and “The Rights of the Holy Spirit in the House of God”.]

 

1 The Mask Torn Off, p. 5; 5th ed., St. Louis, U.S.A., 1892.

 

 

Now see the act of necromancy from the side beyond the grave.  And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up?”  It is not said that any incantation of the witch evoked the prophet: her sudden cry of alarm revealed her own surprise that Samuel, but Samuel in the midst of a sudden splendour of angels, and not her familiar demon, had appeared: God (since the Lawgiver has power to make exceptions to His own laws) had sent back the instructor of the king to announce his doom.  So Samuel’s words are a revelation to all who would harass and disturb the dead.  Death, for the child of God, leaves the [disembodied] soul conscious but quiescent, and the body asleep; a holy quiescence which, as Samuel complains, should not be broken.

 

 

Now in this solitary example of an invocation of the dead which God has sanctioned 1 as a warning and instruction for after ages, what message does the dead man bring, [Page 58] who himself, when alive, was the channel of God’s revelation to his generation?  He says:-The Lord hath as He spoke by me”: it is the Scriptures you should have regarded; and it is the Scriptures which are your doom: “because thou obeyedst not the voice of the Lord, hath the Lord done this thing unto thee this day.”  The utmost that even a dead prophet can do is to point to the Living Oracles; and he who rejects the Scriptures will have all the holy dead against him; for, as saith the Holy Ghost, “though an angel from heaven” - much less a disembodied [soul or] spirit from Hades - “preacheth unto you any other gospel than that which ye received, let him be anathema” (Gal. 1: 8).  It is only the wicked dead who will tell the living wicked what they want to hear.  Why should the dead have any spiritual knowledge - as apart from a knowledge of Hades itself - not accessible to the living?  They that go down into the pit cannot hope for Thy truth” (Isa. 38: 18).  Saul heard no new doctrine from the dead; he was told only what he already knew or feared; he had asked Samuel what he was to do, but on that Samuel is as silent as God; no effort for his conversion is made by the dead prophet; and the fresh revelation he receives is only the exact date of his doom.  We may appeal from God to man, but if it be a holy man, the answer will be the same; we may turn from living prophets to dead prophets, but we shall only find all the prophets against us: there is only one Bible in heaven or on earth or under the earth.  Saul’s whole sin had sprung from disregard of what Samuel had said - that is, disobedience to the Word of God, a sin in which, in his very necromancy, he still persisted: so the messenger from the other world has no pity or mercy in his voice: the apparition leaves the soul as lost as it found it.

 

1 Two acute modern problems are solved by Saul and Dives.  Invocation of Saints - (of which these two cases stand alone in the Bible) collapses under the point blank failure, in both cases, of the invocation; so also prayers for the dead, for the dead man himself is told that prayer is now too late.  Christ prayed for the yet unborn (John 17: 20) but he never prayed for the dead.

 

 

Thus we arrive at the final answer, out of an actual historical experience, to the plea of Dives.  “If one go to them from the dead, they will repent.”  What was the effect of this embassy from the dead?  Then Saul fell straightway his full length upon the earth, and was sore afraid;” and the next day, “Saul took his sword, and fell upon it” (1 Sam. 31: 4).  With neither repentance nor [Page 59] remorse; without fear or cry; with no sorrow for disobedience, no sign of even a wish for a better life, he falls into a dead swoon through terror, and passes into the other world* a suicide.  If we force God to break the silence of His wounded Spirit, His response can only be judgment.  How significant that there is no more tragic dirge in the whole realm of music than the Dead March in Saul!  And what is the epitaph the Holy Spirit writes upon the tomb-stone of this great prototype of the Spiritualists of all ages ?  So Saul died, because of the Word of the Lord, which he kept not; and also for that he asked counsel of one that had a familiar spirit: THEREFORE THE LORD SLEW HIM” (1 Chron. 10: 13).  A genuine communication from the dead (the very claim of the Spiritualist) was one of the two sins for which Saul lost his life at the hands of God and at his own.  For the mocker will die mocking; as Henry Labouchere, when a lamp was accidentally upset beside his dying bed, and he saw the sudden flare, exclaimed, “Flames? not yet, I think”; and with this pitiful joke he passed into the awful silences of eternity.  Saul, in spite of a messenger sent direct from the dead, died as he had lived - an unrepentant, unpurged, unvitalized soul.

 

[* That is, into “Hades / “Sheol” - the Underworld, containing the disembodied souls of the dead in “the heart of the earth” (Matt. 12: 40; 16: 18): “For David ascended not into the heavens”(Acts 2: 34); and “Hymenaeus and Philetus; men who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already, and overthrow the faith of some:” (2 Tim. 2: 17b, 18, R.V.).]

 

 

How pathetically is the Rich Man’s family like myriads of families to-day!  It was a family one of whom was a lost spirit: it was a family in which all the surviving brothers were unbelievers*: it was a family which had all the power to be saved in its hands, and did not use it: it was a family whose lost brother in hell [Hades] would have saved them if he could, but he could not.  No special crime is charged against Dives and his brothers; what he had been, they are simply worldlings; and now he discovers that a time comes when soul-winning work is too late.  And what is it that the dead man is trying to get to the hearts of his brothers?  That the [scriptural] doctrines he had slighted in life, are now found to be actually true beyond death; that the Bible is effective for salvation only among the living; that the terrors of hell are no fictions of designing ecclesiastics, but tremendous and appalling realities; that a man may die an infidel, but that he wakes up - too late - a believer; and that the faith to which he wakes is the [Page 60] faith of the devils - who “believe and shudder (Jas. 2: 9).  The tragedy is that men do not know: the criminality is that they will not believe.1

 

[* That is, unbelievers of God’s place reserved in the Underworld for the disobedient and unrepentant disembodied souls in Hades.  There is nothing in Scripture to suggest they were unregenerate!]

 

1 How remarkable also is it that the very thing which the Spiritualist says that the dead constantly do - return to help their relatives - is the very thing which Dives finds impossible.

 

 

Nor is it less impressive to learn what the message of a dead man is on the salvation of a soul.  Dives, unconsciously laying bare his soul, gives us a diagnosis of the lost.  He says: “Nay, father Abraham” - the Scriptures are not enough, for they never influenced my own life; and thus he confesses tacitly that the Book was in his hands, and yet he is in the place of torment: “but if one go to them from the dead” - a ghost [i.e., an evil spirit] will do what the Bible never did, which reveals what he thinks of the Bible, and its power - “they will repent” - which is a frank confession that he never repented.  But what a world of instruction for the living is here!  What does a dead man think the living need?  Repentance.  What does a lost soul say can alone deliver the living from the place of torment? Repentance.  What gospel does a man already in hell-fire preach? Repentance.  Dives knows that [wilful]* sin alone brought him there; that nothing but a clean cut with sin can ever save; and that no such repentance is now possible for him.  It is to the living only that the words are addressed: “God commandeth all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17: 30); and the sobbing soul gets home.  O fellow-preachers, Lazarus was not sent to tell the awful truth of [Hades and] hell** because you and I are!

 

[*For” - in God’s book it is written to believers - “if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of Judgement, and of fierceness of fire which shall devour the adversaries. 28 A man that hath set at nought Moses’ law dieth without compassion on the word of two or three witnesses: 29 of how much sorer punishment, think ye, shall he be judged worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him that said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense.  And again, The Lord shall judge his people. 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God:” (Heb. 10: 26-31, R.V.).

 

Those who teach that we can ascend into the presence of God immediately after the time of death; and appear in His heavenly presence, as a disembodied spirit, void of a resurrected soul, clothed with an immortal and glorified body (like that of our Lord’s resurrected and glorified body of “flesh and bones,” Luke 24:39, R.V.) are being deceived!  Which begs the question: “Deceived by whom?”  Certainly not by the Holy Spirit!

 

Furthermore, we learn that there is more than one judgment mentioned in the Scriptures!  In Heb. 9: 27 it is written: “… it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this {i.e., after the time of death} cometh judgement.”  This future judgment will determine who, from amongst the dead in Hades, will rise in the “First Resurrection,” to reign with their Lord in His coming Kingdom.  Rev. 20: 4-6. cf. Rev. 20: 15, R.V.]

 

** See FOOTNOTE on the word “Hell.”  

*       *       *

[Page 61]

 

2 NOTE ON THE

DISCRIMINATION OF SPIRITS.

 

 

The profound importance of rightly discriminating on the threshold of the spirit-world Paul (1 Tim. 4: 1-3) has indicated once for all.  For the spirits who will approach us at the end, the originators of the Apostasy foretold, “are described as seductive in the manner and effect of their approach.  Their real character is concealed.  They accommodate themselves to the known belief and disposition of men.  A form of demonic activity to which the heathen were always, and are still, subject, would, in time, show a new outbreak among people who had become identified with the Christian Faith.”1 What adepts at deceptive personation modern demons can be Professor Lombroso bears witness:-incarnaters, who rapidly impersonate by word and look, etc., one or more deceased persons, one after the other.  Such a medium is Randone, of Rome, who impersonated for us the face and gestures successively of an idiot, a church orator, a professor affected with general paralysis, etc.2

 

1 Dr. Nevius’s Demon Possession, p. 415.

 

2 After Death-What? p. 125.

 

 

No case of wilful deception is more impressive, nor more fully acknowledged by Spiritualists themselves, than the ‘familiars’ of Swedenborg - the prince of spiritists, - to the Spiritualist, as Mr. F. W. H. Myers admits, “a uniquely gifted, but uniquely dangerous, precursor.”  The great bulk of his teaching” - that is, of his ‘revelations,’ his intercourse with innumerable ‘angels,’ and their own entire exposition of the Bible - “has undergone a singularly unfortunate downfall.  Swedenborg’s wildness’s were based upon a definite foundation which has definitely crumbled away.  And yet, on the face of it, was not all this error more amply accredited than any of the utterances of possession or the recollections of ecstasy which I shall be able to cite from modern sensitives?  Swedenborg was one of the leading savants of Europe; it would be absurd to place any of our sensitives on the same intellectual level.  If his [Page 62] celestial revelations turn out to have been nonsense, what are Mrs. Piper’s likely to be?1 So the Spiritualist himself demonstrates the colossal precariousness on which these ‘revelations,’ ancient and modern, rest.

 

 

 

Moreover, claims the most daring, and the loftiest assumptions, are inevitable as the Church is confronted with demonic seductions under cover of the last shadows.  “For such men are FALSE APOSTLES, deceitful workers, fashioning themselves into apostles of Christ.  And no marvel; for even Satan himself fashioneth himself into an ANGEL OF LIGHT” (2 Cor. 11: 13). “People talk of Pentecost,” says Sir A. Conan Doyle, “as something mystical.  I and my wife have been in an upper room in Glasgow, with twelve citizens of Glasgow, and we all saw the flames of fire flickering around and settling on our heads.  We all felt a mighty moving wind, and we heard a great voice speaking to each one of us in tones rolling and sonorous.  The churches must come to us for the spirit power they have lost.  We do not want an amalgamation.  We are far bigger than they.  If the churches will come to us humbly, we will help them.2 On all hands movements are thus pressing in upon us claiming to be restored Pentecost’s, revelations of angels, gifts of healings, and embodied resurrections of the miraculous Church of the Apostles.

 

1 Human Personality, vol. ii., 218: my italics.

 

2 Daily Express,- Oct. 16, 1922.

 

 

The crisis, therefore, is critical and grave.  Thus confronted, it is both useless and dangerous to take refuge in the averted face, or in a cultivated ignorance; and much more dangerous to accept any ‘revelation’ whatever on its surface claim.  We cannot be sure where these messages come from,” as even Professor Barrett assures the Church Congress (1922); “the Apostolic warnings are well to remember.”  Moreover, it is the direct command of God - “PROVE the SPIRITS” (1 John 4: 1): thus we have no option: no spirit-movement or spirit-action must ever be accepted without submission to, and authentication by, the Divine Tests.  These Tests, therefore, rule the situation: shorn of miracle, as the Church has been for seventeen or eighteen centuries, and therefore unpossessed of any present [Page 63] miraculous gift of ‘discernings of spirits’ (1 Cor. 12: 10) - and, much more, wholly incapable of discerning un-miraculously - we depend absolutely on the applied Word of God, prescribed for the purpose in an ungifted Church.1

 

1 It is remarkable that evil intercourse can be suppressed by prayer.  Bishop Wilberforce, of Oxford, staying at a Spiritualist’s home in Torquay, as he entered the séance, mentally banned it in the Name of the Sacred Trinity; and all communication ceased (Daily Telegraph, April 18, 1906).  In this way,” says an experienced Christian, “I have myself put an end to séances, both in public and private.”

 

 

For it must be carefully observed that spirit-visitants can be directly challenged.  That a spirit can be so isolated from the person ‘controlled’ that the spirit-being, and not the human medium, both receives the challenge and gives the response, a summary of mediumship by Professor Lombroso will reveal:- “there are speaking mediums; pneumatographers, who call forth direct writing without making use of a pen; evokers of phantasms; photographers, who print the forms of invisible spirits upon photographic plates, even in the dark; glottologues, who speak unknown tongues; intuitive writers, who hear in the brain a voice dictating to them what they shall write; and acoustic mediums, who hear with their ears the voice of spirits.”1

 

1 After Death-What? p. 124.

 

So we arrive at the main Test.  If I myself find some personality other than myself employing my vocal chords, to utter words intelligible or unintelligible - or employing any other member of my body to manifest himself - I must at all costs test him thoroughly by God’s appointed tests, before I sanction his further use of my members.  If I find no supernatural answer in plain, straightforward terms, then I am to hold the fortress against him; for I know that God will answer without shuffling or circumlocution.  And if a fellow-Christian should be the agent of a spirit, I must also test this spirit; and the Christian speaking in ‘tongues’ ought to co-operate with us to let the spirit establish his identity.  A Spiritualist sits before a planchette, he asks the spirit a definite question, and he gets a definite answer; and he takes every care he can imagine to prevent any living human personality supply in [Page 64] the information he seeks from the spirit.  So in table-rapping: Spiritualists succeed in isolating the spirits they communicate with, without troubling at the outset who the spirit is.  Alas, it is not so with Christians!1  A Christian, of his own volition, will always give a correct answer to the test; but no spirit, except the Holy Spirit, will. 2 If we are not absolutely satisfied that we have attained this clear separation, by means of question and answer, between the spirit and the person he is using, we ought to regard it as revealing an enemy.  The failure to convey certainty to our honest judgment is itself the working of the test” (G. H. Ramsay).

 

1 None of us,” a prominent adherent of the Tongues Movement writes to me, “could do it [put the Test], for it would be false and ridiculous for us to do so.”

 

2 Or good angels.

 

 

EVERY SPIRIT WHICH CONFESSETH THAT JESUS CHRIST IS COME IN THE FLESH IS OF GOD: AND EVERY SPIRIT WHICH CONFESSETH NOT JESUS IS NOT OF GOD” (1 John 4: 2).  It would seem that Gnostic demons, Swedenborgian demons, Irvingite demons, and overwhelmingly so demons in the Tongues Movement, have made the profession but not the confession: that is, an evil spirit can, of his own accord and when untested, state a perfectly correct theology; but when confronted with this specific challenge by the disciple of Christ, strategy or hate or Divine embargo compels a self-revelation.  BELOVED, TRY THE SPIRITS.”3

 

3 See Tests for the Supernatural (Thynne).

 

-------

 

 

TWO FOOTNOTES

 

1

 

 

Hades occurs eleven times in the Greek Testament, and is improperly translated in the Common Version ten times by the word HELL.  It is the word used in the Septuagint as a translation of the Hebrew word Sheol, denoting the abode or world of the dead, and means, literally, that which is in darkness, hidden, invisible, or obscure.  As the word Hades did not come to the Hebrew from any classical source, or with any classical meanings, but through the Septuagint as a translation of their own word sheol, therefore, in order to properly define its meaning, recourse must be had to the various passages where it is found.  The Hebrew word sheol is translated by hades in the Septuagint sixty times out of sixty-three; and though sheol in many places - such as Gen. 35: 35, 42: 38; 1 Sam 2: 7; 1 Kings 2: 6; Job 14: 13, 17: 13-16 - may signify keber, the grave, as the common receptacle of the [bodies of the] dead, yet it has the more general meaning of death -a state of death, the dominion of death.  To translate hades by the word hell, as it is done ten times out of eleven in the New Testament, is very improper, unless it has the Saxon meaning helan, to cover, attached to it.  The primitive signification of Hell, only denoting what was secret, or concealed, perfectly corresponds with the Greek term hades, and its Hebrew equivalent sheol; but the theological definition given to it at the present day by no means expresses it.(The Emphatic Diaglott.)

 

Dr Seiss, doubtless the ablest expounder of the Book of Revelation that has written in this country or this age, says on Hades in Revelation:

 

There is a word used sixty-five times in the original Hebrew of the Old Testament which our English translators in thirty-one instances render hell, in thirty-one instances grave, and in three instances the pit.

 

That word is Sheol, uniformly rendered Hades in the Greek of the Old Testament, and wherever the New Testament quotes the passages in which it occurs.  By common consent the Greek word hades is the exact equivalent of the Hebrew sheol.  It occurs eleven times in the New Testament, and always in the same sense as the Old Testament SHEOL.

 

To all intents and purposes, therefore, sheol and hades denote one and the same thing.  But sheol or hades is never used to denote the hell of final punishment.  Neither is it used to denote the mere receptacle of the body after death - the grave.  Nor yet is it ever used to denote the mere state of being dead as to the body, and still less to denote the ‘pit’ or ‘abyss,’ as such.

 

A careful inventory of all the passages conclusively proves that sheol or hades is the name of a place in the unseen world, altogether distinct from the hell of final punishment, or the heaven of final glory.  Its true and ONLY MEANING isthe place of departed spirits* - the receptacle of souls which have left the body.  To this place all departed souls, good and bad went.  In it there was a department for the good - called paradise by the Saviour on the cross - and another department for the bad.  Thus, both the rich man and Lazarus went to hades when they died; for the word is ‘in hades he lifted up his eyes, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.’  Lazarus was then, too, in hades, as well as Abraham, and the only difference between them and Dives was, that the good were separated from the bad by an impassable gulf, and that Lazarus was comforted and Dives tormented.

 

“So we plant our feet on rock in the words of Professor Max Miller: ‘No one who watches the intellectual atmosphere of Europe can fail to see that we are on the eve of a storm which will shake the oldest convictions of the world.  What, then, is our position?  The only philosophy that will bear the strain is the system based on the Jewish Scriptures, culminating in the words and works of the Lord Jesus.’  We have Moses and the Prophets: we are based on Christ and the Apostles. (J. R. GRAVES.)

 

 

2

 

 

[How history keeps repeating itself!  The intellectual atmosphere of Europe,” has not changed, and cannot change, until Satan, the Antichrist, the false Prophet, and all his dupes are put down!  So says the divinely inspired Apostle, (2 Thessalonians chapter 2.)

 

There will be those, who question why God has not, before now, intervened and returned to stop the ever increasing evil.  But, the fact of the matter is, our world is not yet bad enough: and God is still patiently waiting – not wanting anyone to perish.  His Grace and Love are presently available for all (Matt. 5: 45): and until our Lord Jesus returns (in bodily presence) to claim His inheritance here (Psa. 2: 8), and establish His reign of righteousness and lasting world-peace (Dan. 2: 44; Rom. 8: 21, R.V.), world events will continue as prophesised: “The Spirit saith expressly, in later times some shall fall away from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons, through the hypocrisy of men that speak lies…” (1 Tim. 4: 1, 2, R.V.).]