• 5fOuf

o

THE HOLY TRUTH ;


OB.

THE COM I XU REFORMATION.

ODE TO TRUTH.

“ The truth shall make you free.”

Oh Truth ! thou beauteous gem, thou pearl of all the seas, Visible throughout God’s works to men of all degrees,

Shine forth in all thy splendour, enlighten ev’ry mind, Extinguish cherish’d errors, emancipate mankind !

From bigotry and priestcraft the so ills of men release,

Let superstitious follies and false religions cease;

Then true worship by our acts shall senseless creeds displace, And base notions of our God no longer man disgrace.

Then shall thy simple teachings, by Jesus first proclaimed, Divested of all errors by which they’ve been defamed,

Shine as the second advent of enlightened truth,

And countless millenniums reign verily on earth.

THE HOLT TRUTH;

OR

'Cfje Coming Reformation

UNIVERSAL AND ETERNAL BECAUSE FOUNDED ON DEMONSTRABLE TRUTH.

SCIENCE ANI) RELIGION RECONCILED.

COMPILED BY

HUGH JUNOR BROWNE.

“ Time and space are twin sisters.”

LONDON:

PUBLISHED BY ARTHUR HALL & CO.,

25, PATERNOSTER ROW.

1876.

[ The Right of Translation is reserved. ]

PRINTED BY VIRTUE AND CO., LIMITED,

CONTENTS.

PAGE

Preface..... vii

Introduction ........... xi

The Holy Truth..... 1

The Spiritual Philosophy; or, Rational Christianity .    .    30

Science and Religion Reconciled ....... 233

Address to Thoughtful Christians ...... 301

Summary.......... .    .369

The Holy Truth, Part II.........380

Appendix No. I.    .    .    ........389

Appendix No. II. .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    . 404

Appendix No. Ill...........423

Addenda ............ 427
PREFACE.

As is stated in the Introduction, when I commenced to jot down the truths which had recently dawned upon my understanding, my object in compiling this book was not to gain distinction for originality of thought or expression. I have not written as an aspirant to literary honours, but solely for the purpose of imparting to those who are willing to receive the results of my researches after truth and the benefits thereof. From these I have derived such happiness, comfort, and joy, which words would fail me to convey, and which the wealth of nations cannot purchase; and I draw the public’s attention to the fact that the same are attainable by all whose desire for the truth will enable them to have the necessary patience and perseverance to investigate the subject for themselves without prejudice, if they are not deterred therefrom by their own superstitious notions, or by the taunts and derision of their ignorant, bigoted, or prejudiced friends. The history of pioneers of any newly-discovered truth is relatively the same, and for-

b

tunate indeed is tie who escapes from the sneers and ridicule of a sceptical world in the development and promulgation of a new discovery at variance with the popular notions or ideas of the day.

In order to save the hosts of critics who are ever ready to pull to pieces, misrepresent, and deride the writings of others the trouble of dissecting this imperfect declaration of the truth, and thereby exhibiting their own superiority in the art of composition, &c., I frankly admit for their satisfaction that this is the worst written book extant,— that the only readable portions are the extracts from the writings of others ; yea, even, if it will please them, that it is in many places ungrammatical as well as full of blunders in construction, &c., for if there are not already numerous mistakes in it, there will in the ordinary course of events be when published, as I shall not have the opportunity of revising the proof-sheets and correcting the inevitable printer’s errors which are sure to creep in, nor of inserting evidences received on many important points which, in treating a comprehensive subject like the present in a hurried manner, are certain to escape one’s memory at the time. On the other hand I boldly challenge the most learned professors of the day to disprove the correctness of my deductions from the facts related; for whilst the clergy preach wThat they believe, I state that which I know, and as knowledge is better than mere

belief, I claim the advantage, and am therefore more worthy of attention. At the same time I arrogate not infallibility, but with truth for my armour, reason for my shield, and experience for my guide, I feel I am invulnerable ; and in all humility personally, but otherwise in all boldness, from the impregnability of the cause I defend, like Ajax I defy the world (mentally), my knowledge coming from a higher source, presumptuous as this assertion may appear, not, however, claiming singularity in this respect.

As important information would not be rejected because of its being conveyed in broken English, so those whose interests I am most desirous to enlist in this momentous question will not despise the statements contained herein because coming from a plain man they are not decked in flowery language, or couched in scholastic jargon.

Allow me to request the reader not to condemn this book from one statement or argument, but to judge of it as a whole, for I am aware I have frequently treated of only one phase of the point under consideration, and led off to another matter, but in some other part or parts I have returned to the point referred to and commented on its various phases. I could greatly improve the whole by rearranging it, but prefer laying this before the public in its present crude state, as my spare time is fully

occupied in further investigating the subject. I reserve the right of amendment, not only in regard to arrangement, but also where my further investigation and experience point out I am wrong, should I at some future time publish another edition.

It has been suggested to me by several well-meaning friends to publish this anonymously, owing to the statements contained herein being opposed to the popular opinions of the day ; but I should feel myself unworthy of the cause I espouse if I were to follow their advice, so therefore subscribe my name and address in full.

Hugh Junor Browne,

Park House, Wellington Parade,

East Melbourne, Victoria. April 10, 1875.

INTRODUCTION.

u The simplest peasant who observes a truth, and from a fact deduces principle, adds solid treasure to the public wealth.”

In taking up a book to read, I generally like to know something of its Author, so without I hope being deemed egotistic, I may state I have seen life in all its phases both in Europe and abroad and have been behind the curtain in high and low, learned and unlearned, religious and irreligious society, and know human character much better than I can describe it. At the same time I find I am only at the A B C of the illimitable expanse of knowledge in the true light, which, thank God ! has lately dawned upon my understanding.

In my journey through life, I have generally experienced that amongst the people with whom I have come in contact, those who are most distinguished for their literary and professional attainments are the most devoid of common sense, and the least open to reason. Standing on a pedestal of their own building up, creditable enough perhaps so far as it goes, they look down, it may be, complacently, with an eye of disdain upon the statements of those who differ from them, and who, from circumstances, are not fortunate enoug-h to be so

distinguished as they themselves are. I have also found that those from whom the greatest amount of charity might, from their professions, be expected, are the most uncharitable to all who hold opposite views to themselves : this more especially in religious matters. This latter remark applies very appropriately to my own case and experiences in early life; but travelling and associating with others of all kinds of religions in time disabused my mind of such narrow and erroneous views. I now maintain that if that which we have been taught and believe to be the truth, can be demonstrated as erroneous, surely, in all reason, the sooner we learn the truth the better however much we may have been accustomed to revere and respect as truth that which is in fact error.

I am well aware that when once error has got a good start it takes a long time for truth to overtake it. In the case of religion it is well that it should be so, as the masses are not yet prepared to receive the truth all at once : like all other great things it will come slowly to its birth. I am also aware that any sudden change or convulsion in matters religious, as well as in matters social and political, is attended wuth injurious consequences at first, and that the pioneers of any new movement, however beneficial it may eventually prove, so long as it is an innovation on current opinion, are viewed in anything but a favourable light. If all were to shrink from duty on this account, there would be no progression, and the world would remain in comparative darkness.

Every one will admit that all great discoveries have been in advance of the age which saw their dawning. Copernicus, Galileo, Harvey, Jenner, and others were martyrs of science ; the wreaths that should have adorned their brows have yet to be gathered around their biers.

It is the amount of mystery with which truth, when first discovered, is naturally, and afterwards artificially, surrounded, that renders its separation, like that of fine gold from the ore, a process of so much difficulty. But for the toil, however severe, the smallest quantity will prove an ample reward, if it be but as “ three grains of wheat in a bushel of chaff.'’’ All rational and well-organized minds have an unquenchable thirst to search and inquire after future existence. This has been the case from the earliest ages. The great difficulty has been to obtain correct and reliable information on this important subject, owing to prejudice from man’s ignorance and false conception of the truth. As another writes, “It is obvious that the most indispensable requisite in regard to religion is that it should be true; no specious hopes or flattering promises can have the slightest value unless they be genuine, and based upon substantial realities. Fear of the results of investigation, therefore, should deter no man, for the issue in any case, is gain—emancipation from delusion, or increase of assurance. It is a poor honour to sequestrate a creed from healthy handling, or to shrink from the serious examination of its doctrines. That which is true in reli-

gion cannot be shaken, that which is false no man can desire to preserve.”

Truth is said to be stranger than fiction, and, having found it so it is my desire to prove the same to others, and I trust that they may experience as much pleasure on perceiving the truth of the adage as I had on finding it verified.

When we consider the number of religious sects in the world, each professing to have the truth, yet each disagreeing with the other in some of the most essential points, the thoughtful mind is struck with wonder and astonishment, how beings imbued with reason by the same Creator, can differ so widely in a matter of such vital importance to all, and one in which it is impossible, in reality, for the slightest variation to exist. Yet such is the case, and will continue to be until the human mind becomes emancipated from the thraldom of superstition which is mixed up with the truth under the name of religion and has been so from the earliest ages ; and must until man, exercising his reason, the highest gift bestowed upon him by his Creator, stands forth free.

It may be said by some, we have been taught not to judge of matters pertaining to religion by our reason. I ask by what else can we judge ? Think you an allwise Creator would endow us with reason, if we were not to make use of it in every case, more especially in that which is of the greatest importance to us all, comprising, as it does, not only our happiness here, but also through-

out eternity ? The man who uses not his reason in all things is unworthy of being called a rational being. The gift of reason is God’s original revelation of Himself to man ; by using it, he is led to knowledge ; without thought man is not superior to the beasts of the field. We should therefore cultivate these noble powers of reasoning and judgment given to us by our beneficent Father.

After many years of earnest research and prayerful theological study, having at last found the truth, that pearl beyond price, where I least expected to find it, I feel it my duty to proclaim the same to all who are open to receive it, requesting a fair and impartial consideration of the subject, and only the reception of that which commends itself to the unbiased reason of each individual, and which is congenial with the deepest interior promptings of the living principle within them. It is, however, those anxious inquirers after the truth who are open to conviction, and who are willing to make use of the talents with which their Creator has entrusted them, whom I more especially desire to address.

I do not assume to be a religious propagandist, but merely one who is anxious to assist in the great cause of the redemption of man from error. A labourer in the vineyard of truth, and one who has been for years a diligent searcher after it, I now desire to impart the results of my researches to those who are willing to receive the same, not expecting nor even wishing them to adopt my deductions, save so far as their reason after careful con-

sidération approves, unbiased by former teachings or preconceived ideas. This, I am aware, from personal experience, is by many difficult to do, from doubts and tears as to their liberty to use their reason in matters affecting their religious beliefs, which indeed has been diplomatically forbidden in all established religions, and has virtually had the effect of staying all progression in the most vital concern pertaining to man’s present and tutu re welfare. Men imbibe hereditarily the opinions of their forefathers, and venerate them because they were the first upon the mind, which circumstance produces a sort of conviction of their truthfulness. Such minds should be admired for all the noble qualities and faculties which they possess ; but if those faculties are encompassed by a wall of prejudice and sectarian affection, then evidence should be presented appealing to their more interior and unsophisticated qualities, and then they would become expanded and freed from bigotry, superstition, and unnatural prejudice. Make men love truth by causing their interest to correspond to it, and then truth will be received by a natural influx from its superior attraction. It will be admitted that the various religions of the day,/ differing as they do, yannot all be true in so many essential points ; yet in each one of them there is a certain amount of truth, otherwise the human mind would not receive them ; and it is this quantum of truth in each that misleads the unsuspicious and supports the vast amount of error and superstition comprised in the various religions of the world. From

these errors and superstitions have arisen all the dissensions and diversities of opinion amongst the various sects of religionists, and also to these are attributable the horrible persecutions and tortures of the past, and the immense amount of materialism, atheism, and hypocrisy of the present day. These must inevitably increase as the minds of the masses become enlightened by education and as man begins to use his reason, unless some more consistent and rational exposition of God’s laws and man’s future existence be promulgated, the attainment of which, thanks be to Him, is not wanting, if earnestly and perseveringly sought after.

In all religious sects, it is well known there are a large proportion who are only nominal adherents : those who do not believe all or many of the tenets of their various religions. They only adhere to the sects amongst which they have been brought up, or with whom they have allied themselves from policy or from their aversion to plunging into the vortex of doubt or atheism, as no religion appears to them to offer principles and teachings only which would merit their approval as rational beings. Why ? Because all are loaded down with error and superstition, whether designedly or not we will not now consider.

I am aware of the difficulty which exists of forming a correct and impartial judgment on this subject, owing to preconceived notions from early training, education, and life-long associations, and knowing full well how sensitive the feelings are in general to any statements (whatever

impress of truth they may bear), so long as they do not accord with one’s cherished belief. I shall, in setting forth the Holy Truth, treat as far as in my power with the greatest delicacy, consistent with efficacy, any doctrines which are generally held, but which are opposed to the truth, and consequently untenable, believing that the best antidote for error is the presentation of truth in its natural simplicity and purity.

I shall be as concise as possible, merely giving a general outline of the subject in the meantime, as detail, in a matter so opposed to ordinary opinions, only confuses and tends to mystify, instead of to elucidate. Should I diverge from these intentions, enthusiasm in the cause of truth must be accepted as my apology. I will put every statement in the plainest language, as truth requires no garnishing, being, like beauty, “when unadorned, adorned the most.” I am also aware of my inability to do justice to a theme so grand, so lofty, and so sublime, and must claim indulgence in this respect, as T arrogate no scholarly attainments, nor any special argumentative powers. I merely assume that with which I have always been credited, viz. a little common sense, with a good motive towards all mankind, and only desiring the same measure I mete to others in all things ; by no means perfect, yet striving and hoping to strive for ever to be nearer perfection, and to abide in the truth.

I may add that I shall appropriate quotations from the writings of others wherever I find they express in

forcible language that which I have ascertained to be the truth, without delaying to acknowledge the authors to whom I am indebted for each quotation, as I feel assured I shall be more than welcome to do so in such a cause as the dissemination of the truth ; this being my object, and not the gaining of credit for originality of thought or expression.

It has been said that those who speak truth, however discovered, have a right to be heard, and they who assist others in discovering it have the yet higher claim to applause. Light overcomes darkness ; truth annihilates error of creed; intelligence and its offspring science will eventually drown superstition and bigotry ; true religion requires the unity of faith, founded on reason, and the amalgamation of creeds on the basis of God’s truth and love. It is a vital principle which should rule and guide all our thoughts and actions. Man is socially, morally, and religiously a progressive being.

There are doubtless many who will denounce me as a sceptic, &c., because most of the truths I declare are at variance with what they have been taught; but let them remember that whilst they judge by what they believe, I state that which I know, and that if I am a sceptic in their opinion, the position was forced upon me in the first place from diligently reading and studying that book which I once held and which they still hold as infallible, and as containing the plenary inspiration, whilst I earnestly prayed to God to open my understanding to perceive the truth. “Happy he who suffers in the cause

of truth,” “The truth against the world.” “ Let God he true and every man a liar.”

When the president of the British Association publicly declares in favour of materialism, it is high time that further revelation, and that in accordance with science and reason, should be forthcoming. The learned professor says that “ matter is always and everywhere, in forms and conditions open to our ever increasing power of research; what is momentary and infinitesimal is the actions of human life, and all that belongs to ourselves as we fondly suppose. We come and are gone in an instant.” Yet he dtires not assert that there is no such thing as free-will in the world, and that we are what we are and do what we do as the atoms form and guide us. He dares not ascribe the course of history and all that are called human affairs to purely molecular agency. The most ardent and unflinching materialist may learn to suspect that there is something beyond his philosophy, and that in his theory the keystone is wanting to complete it. That keystone I assert is spirit, the grand ultimate of matter. This I maintain is the truth, against all the learned Goliaths of the world. “ Truth is my pebble ; reason is my sling.”

And truth alone, where’er my lot he cast,

In scenes of plenty or the pining waste,

Shall be my end and aim—my glory to the last.”

As the traveller lost in the dark gladly accepts the peasant’s light in a rough, home-made lantern to guide him on his way, so, I trust, these crude statements of the

truth will be received by every anxious seeker after light, with all their imperfections, coming, as they- do, from one whose mind is daily engrossed with the cares and anxieties of business necessitated by the exigencies of mundane existence, but whose heart is in the cause of truth.

INVOCATION.

0 Thou Eternal One! who in Thy wisdom hast created all things, in Thy mercy wisely provided for all Thy creatures, and in Thy love imbued man, the head of Thy creations, with reason, by which he is enabled to contemplate Thy wondrous works, and to receive evidences of the glorious immortality of his soul: I thank Thee, most merciful Father, for having opened my understanding to the dawn of this great truth. Grant, if it be in accordance with the decrees of Thine unerring wisdom, that the full noonday light of this Holy Truth may shine upon me, and that I may be enabled humbly, yet clearly, to demonstrate the same to my fellow-beings, so that they also may participate in the unspeakable joy which the knowledge of that Holy Truth brings with it, and that the universal brotherhood of man, as proclaimed by our Great Exemplar, may be established, not in name only, but in reality, when all shall know Thee as their heavenly Father, and will, one and all, strive to be nearer and nearer to Thee, abiding in the truth for ever. Amen.

“ Father of all, we bow to Thee, the Fountain of all Light,

Of Life, of Love, of Peace, of Joy, of Wisdom, and of Might.

From Thee, 0 Father, we receive Reason, the gift divine :

Oh ! may it not lay profitless, but in our actions shine.

In pleasant paths it will us lead, our brows adorn with crowns Unfading in the lapse of time, untarnished by earth’s frowns.

Too long it has remained unused by man in cause of Truth,

Which he, in his great arrogance, enslaved hath forsooth,

At last the morn begins to dawn; the darkness that surrounds The earthly pilgrimage of man shall break with joyous sounds. Man’s destiny shall soon be known, by countless millions blind To the light which God ha? given, to one and all mankind.

1 hen let us raise the voice of praise to Him from whom doth flow All mercies, and on each of us his blessings doth bestow ;

And in those realms of pure delight where angels sound his praise, When, o’er our earthly course we’ve run, our shouts of joy we’ll ra

THE HOLY TRUTH;

OR, THE COMING REFORMATION.

I.

THE HOLY TRUTH.

“The days of superstition are numbered.”

Truth alone will stand the test of science, reason, and time. That which will not abide this test must be deficient of the truth and cannot last, and will eventually be replaced by Holy Truth, which can only be properly conceived and comprehended by man’s unclouded reason when guided by the unbiassed love of light and truth. So certainly as day follows night, so purely shall this great, universal reformation succeed the current religions of the world, based, as they all are, on the superstitions of the dark ages, which must all (however refined and altered they may be to suit the enlightenment of the day) crumble before the light of unprejudiced reason. On their ruins shall be built that grand tower of truth which neither storm, tempest, nor time can shake, and which shall reach unto the heavens, yea, even unto the highest mansions thereof.

Already has the germ of the beautiful plant of truth

B

begun to spring from the decaying atoms of the old mass of error; and though comparatively obscure, little understood, and apparently of slow growth, when once its roots—which are now silently but surely stretching out in every portion of the globe—have got firm hold, it will bud and send forth blossoms of such surpassing excellence, that all else will pale and wither beneath the brightness and splendour of this now despised little plant, the emblem of purity which shall never fade. True, ere it blooms, the chill blasts and sharp frosts of spring may be expected for a time to check and retard its growth, but when once these have passed, and the summer arrives with its bright sun and balmy breezes, then shall this little plant shoot forth with such strength and vigour, that nothing can stay its progress and eventually it will cover the earth with its luxuriant growth.

When we consider the unjust and irrational conception of the Creator of the universe, and of his laws, as attempted to be described from the earliest ages, many of which conceptions are still endorsed hy the masses, notwithstanding that they are repugnant to their reason, no wonder such numbers, yea, even more than acknowledge it, are materialists, atheists, and disbelievers. W hat presumption on the part of man to attempt to depict or portray the Author of all things, when he is unable to comprehend the least of his mysteries. “ Who by searching can find out God P Even if man could conceive and describe an eternity of space and time, he

would then be as far off comprehending the Most High as he is now ; it is impossible for the finite to comprehend the Infinite.

I may here remark that the man who, because he cannot comprehend God, denies his existence, is unworthy of argument, for the very power by which that man dares to make such an assertion is, in itself, incontestable proof of the existence of a divine intelligence in man, derived from a superior source, namely, God. I might as rationally declare that whilst I speak there is no life in me. “ The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handiwork.” Go, study the skies, and the stars therein; mark the sun, the moon, and the planets, as they roll on, day by day, in their several orbits; meditate on the depths of the earth, with its stores of minerals; gaze on the vast expanse of waters, with their hidden treasures; behold the wonders of nature in the vegetable world; examine the birds, the beasts, the most insignificant insects; yea, read the wisdom of the Great Creator in the whole, his almighty power, his rich and varied goodness in all his works; and say if these things do not proclaim an all-wise Originator, and as the old familiar and beautiful words of the poet puts it—

“ The spacious firmament on high With all the blue, ethereal sky,

And spangled heavens, a shining frame,

Their Great Original proclaim.

The unwearied sun, from day to day,

Toes his Creator’s power display,

And publishes in every land The work of an Almighty hand.

Soon as the evening shades prevail The moon takes up the wondrous tale,

And nightly to the listening earth Repeats the story of her birth;

While all the stars that round her burn,

And all the planets in their turn,

Confirm the tidings as they roll,

And spread the Truth from pole to pole.

What though in solemn silence all Move round yon bright celestial hall,

What though no real voice nor sound Amidst their radiant orbs be found,

In Reason’s ear they all rejoice,

And utter forth a glorious voice,

For ever singing as they shine ‘ The Hand that made us is Divine.’ ”

If man’s intellect cannot grasp nature, which is the making1- of God’s laws manifest to man, how can he expect to comprehend the originator of those laws, much less define Him ? No substance or principle contains within itself the power of self-comprehension, much less that which as far excels it as beauty does deformity. There can be no thought sufficiently profound and expansive to comprehend the overwhelming idea of infinite power. Yet the consciousness that the human mind is capable of conceiving ideas and thoughts, transcending the power of expression, testifies to its owing existence to a power higher and beyond itself, and the teachings of nature, which are so plain that they cannot be misinterpreted, proclaim to the understanding of man the truth of the existence of a Great Originator ; the Omnipotent Mind or Soul of the universe, the Fountain of all things, in whom and by whom is life eternal. God is not a

personal deity, as man has, at various times, tried to portray his Creator, “for in Him we live and move and have our being.” Man’s conception of Deity must ever be far, very far, beneath the grand reality. All speech is inadequate to describe the Creator, who is unity, as comprehending all things, and multiform, as being the very essence of all things, the Great Universal Whole, the Great Central Soul of all things, one and undivided, containing all that has existed, does, or shall exist; yet quite distinct from, though revealed in, His works : the Germ of all things, the Great Fountain of Causation—matter and motion—producing the various intermediate stages, from earth to plants, plants to animals, of which man is the perfection, containing, as he does, the ultimate of creative spirit, the type of its creator, which will go on progressing throughout eternity, towards the perfection of its Originator; the connecting link between the beginning and the end of all things.

As the body of man contains his spirit, so the universe, which is also material, and consequently visible, contains the Infinite Mind or Divine Essence of wisdom and law, from the former of which springs unlimited power, and from the latter emanates unbounded mercy, as experienced daily by us all.

The Most High never having directly inspired any man, the order of creation is unknown for a certainty. The various accounts of it are merely conjectures, and the biblical descriptions are untenable beneath the light

of science. Had God intended that man should have known the order of his creations, there would have been no doubt respecting them, and instead of having various accounts we should have had but one, correct in every particular, and which, like truth, neither science, time, nor reason could assail. We do not even know for a certainty whether man sprang from one or more original families, and even if we did, what would it avail us ? Nor does it signify one iota whether man was originally an ape or other animal. In saying this I mean in comparison to our knowing what man is, and what his future state will be, not that I for one moment wish to disparage the deep researches of men of science, such as the author of the “ Vestiges of Creation,” IXuxley, Darwin, Wallace, &c. It is true, in temporal matters, past experience is the best guide for present and future action, but in eternal matters the experience of the past has but little to guide us in the knowledge of the future life, to which, and not to the past, we must look for the perfect fulfilment of the law of destiny.

Whilst some delight in examining into what is past, others take pleasure in advancing their study into the future, which latter I maintain is the most important, and therefore consider that it is sufficient for us to know that man stands at the head of God’s creation, and differs from all beneath him in the scale in being of a dual nature, physical and spiritual. The one temporal like that of the lower animals, the other spiritual and eternal like unto the Great Creator from whom it emanated.

“ There is a natural body and there is a spiritual body,” or rather, there is a material body and there is a spiritual body, for they are both natural bodies, one as much as the other. “The things which are seen are temporal, and the things which are not seen are eternal.”

Matter and motion are co-eternal principles existing in nature. It is impossible for the general and established laws of these principles to be changed or subverted. These laws are generally progressive, and are eternal, producing successive states of perfection. They consequently form degrees, series, and associations, as successive stages of development from the germ of existence to the highest point of material perfection. Cause is the beginning, effect is the end.

That which makes man the epitome of life is not the physical body, but the soul that expresses itself through that body. In man (if he be of a contemplative mind) an internal conviction is produced that there is an inherent and necessarily an intelligent principle existing. Hecause from the lowest point of unprogressed nature to the anatomical structure of the animal kingdom and man is perceived a united chain of harmonious development, displaying the principles of order and progression, and exhibiting an adaptation of all parts to produce a perfect system.

Man’s organization serves merely as an instrument to develop the principle of spirit, but such principle must have existed eternally, as emanating from the Great

Source and Fountain of Intelligence ; it could not be individualised and made manifest, however, without a vessel like unto man.

Matter is pervaded by certain inherent forces which we call laws, and which are eternally active and express themselves in the continuous unfolding and perfecting of its varied and inconceivable powers, as is imprinted in the transparent book of nature. A living and moving principle exists even in stones; this is rendered evident to the senses by the appearance on their surface of decomposition and decay. Where decomposition takes place, recomposition must also occur. There is a mutual affinity existing between all forms and substances throughout nature, including the mineral, vegetable, and animal kingdoms, and there is a constant fluctuation of all these, from, to, and through each other, acting fast or slow, according to the development of the matter sustaining their mutual actions. There is a constant and regular movement throughout all nature; composition, decomposition, recomposition, visible and invisible, are performing their natural and ceaseless work, according to established laws. Earth and atmosphere form and re-form, composing vegetable existence, and the three in their united and energetic forces compose their ultimates, viz., the higher degrees of matter known as animal existence ; whilst this last constantly gives and takes from all things below its existence. Here, then, is a ceaseless, endless chain of formation and reproduction, loss and gain, accumulation and dispersion, taking place throughout

the universe. The least substance in existence contains within itself the specific forces and essences that exist in the remotest sphere in immensity. Matter in its present not only represents matter in its ultimate state, hut it is typical of intelligence or spiritual ultimation throughout eternity. Motion is co-existent, co-essential, and co-eternal with nature ; all things are full of life and energy.

Plants are the products or ultimate of matter ; animals are the ultimate of plants ; and spirit is the ultimate of man, the head, of the animal creation : in fact, man is the summit, the crown of nature’s development, and must comprehend the essence of everything that has preceded him, even as the fruit contains within itself all the earlier developed parts of the plant. Man is the representative of the whole of the material universe ; he has the power of developing, but not of creating. Man is incompetent to investigate and properly comprehend the force and moving power of his own existence; he contemplates nature as the effects of God’s laws made manifest to man as invisibly and eternally producing results according to inherent qualities and forms ; but the principle, the substance, the inward reality, which constitute the ultimate existence of the contemplator, form the highest and most important subject, and the one most desirable to comprehend. Are there not inward convictions dwelling in the mind, corresponding to its desires for a future and eternal state ? Does not the internal constitute the substance of the

external ? Does not nature, as an external effect, point deeply and directly to the internal, or fountain of its original production. There is a close and connected order of development existing between the beginning and the end of all things. In the stone you may see the properties of the soil; in the soil the properties of the plant; in the plant the properties of the animal; m the animal you see man; and in the man you cannot see, but you can perceive, the immortal principle. Thus, in addition to man’s physical body, there is a spiritual or electrical body conjoined, the two forming a unity as to his individuality. This dual nature in man accounts for the existence of good and evil; his animal portion containing the passions and propensities of the lower animals, his spiritual portion that which is good and holy. God being the Father of the spirit, and earth the mother of the body, all that is good in man proceedeth from his spiritual nature, all that is evil from his animal nature. Man, therefore, is a free-will agent (within the bounds of nature’s laws) ; he can either heep his animal passions in subjection by his will-power \ and cultivate his spiritual nature as one of the sons of God, or he can so far ignore the latter, and give way to his animal lusts, as to become more brutish than the beasts of the field (as, unfortunately, is too often the case), by availing himself of his spiritual powers to assist his animal passions in consummating his own degradation. But even then he cannot stamp out the latent spark of divinity within him however much he

may have debased it, nor can be annibilatc his spiritual nature, which is destined to eternal progression.

Man’s life may he compared to a field, which, by careful cultivation, will produce beautiful and clean grain; by careless cultivation grain mixed with weeds; or, by neglect and want of cultivation, nothing but weeds. Man’s animal nature being grosser than his spiritual, and pertaining to the earth on which he is, has a tendency to predominate, unless his spiritual nature be carefully and unceasingly cultivated. Morality is the result of a perfect combination of man’s intellectual and animal natures. The spiritual man, as exemplified by the Great Reformer eighteen hundred years ago, was attained by the total abnegation of the animal passions and desires, and the cultivation of the spiritual or divine nature.

The physical portion of man having served its purpose here, as the husk of the spiritual, at its death returns to mother earth, and the spiritual or electrical portion, in which exists the soul or divine spark, and which is the source of man’s reason, being freed from its mortal incumbrance, but retaining its individuality formed when in the flesh, with all its characteristics and idiosyncrasies, ascends to a sphere suitable for its reception, and goes on, eternally progressing towards God its heavenly Father, from whom it emanated.

Life must exist before death can take place, and death must occur to produce and continue the progression of life.

As the earth, at the death of the physical portion of man, receives its own without an intercessor, so God, our heavenly Father, receives the spirit He gave into realms suited to its stage of progress, according to its life on earth, where it continues to progress eternally, towards perfection, hut not to perfection, as is generally supposed, for then it would he equal with the Most High, who alone is perfection, infinite and infallible. These grand attributes appertain to God alone and are altogether unattainable by spirits however pure and exalted they may be.

Spirits, or, as they are sometimes designated, angels, are as much finite beings as men. The former are but the ascended or progressed condition of the latter. There are no intermediate beings, with wings, as is frequently taught. It is true that many of these spirits, who were once in the flesh like ourselves, have, in the lapse of ages, become so pure as to have passed on to celestial realms beyond the reach of the spiritual spheres in which they first awoke from the sleep of death; whilst others remain for ages little progressed on some of the lower and inferior plains, from want of desire and mental energy to attain development. But there are no deteriorating influences surrounding them, as when on the earth plain, to induce retrogression. Moral excellence without the special intervention of a celestial tribunal, but from a natural law, is the standard by which the proper sphere into which a spirit at its new birth goes is determined; its progression afterwards solely depends on its desire for

development ; when once this desire is awakened, there are innumerable brighter and higher spirits willing and ready to teach and to lead the undeveloped upwards.

Intellectual progress commences in the body, or first individuality ; hence the mind goes onward through the many stages of knowledge, corresponding to the various stages of its ultimate progression. The higher the mind is exalted before it assumes its spiritual form, is so much progression towards its ultimate state, and it will be associated with knowledge which subordinate or less refined minds cannot appreciate or enjoy. Mind corresponds to a fulcrum upon which operates the lever of producing thought, which revolves in its action the principles and associations of ideas which thoughts seek to conceive.

It is impossible to analyze the principle of spirit, whilst all investigation and research is depending on the material organization ; when freed from this, and in a higher sphere, we shall be able to comprehend the compound existence here, but we will be unable to comprehend anything above the sphere we shall then be in.

From matter springs its ultimate, mind: from mind, springs its corresponding principle, spirit ; this has a natural desire to progress in knowledge and understanding, relative to the cause of which all things are the effects. Knowledge in its nature corresponds with truth ; truth represents light and peace ; and the acquisition of these two produces the enjoyment which a lover of truth appreciates in this sphere, while he anticipates

and receives the same enjoyment in tlie future life in a brighter form and in a higher degree.

The original Cause of all things must produce ulti-mates to correspond with its own nature. If the first be perfect, the end must tend towards perfection. If the Original Fountain was supreme intelligence by nature, it must produce intelligence as a legitimate result. If the First was divinely pure, the ultimate must tend to the same in all its specific qualities. If the First was eternal, the ultimate must be eternal also. If the Original contains within itself all the perfections of beauty and intelligence, infinitely beyond the comprehension of finite beings, must not the ultimate, the spirit of man, of necessity contain within it that which is in harmony therewith in all its specific essences and qualities F

The creeping worm that waits to emerge from its grosser state and soar joyously through the air, fluttering above every flower, appropriating its fragrance, attempting vast heights and scorning the grovelling condition which was the cradle of its existence, typifies man in his physical and spiritual states. He comes forth a worm, creeps over the material surface for a season, and then, like the winged insect, he emerges from his prison a free spirit, and soars at length whithersoever he will, exploring heights on heights of celestial wisdom, and sees beyond heights on heights stretching towards the Holy of Holies.

It will be admitted that the foregoing is more rational than the undefinable heaven and the still more undefin-

able future spiritual existence of old theology. I am aware that many will set my statements down as theoretical and hypothetical, and as merely the product of my imagination ; but I solemnly assure them they are not so, and that, moreover, most of them are capable of being corroborated by demonstration under certain conditions, strange and utopian as they may appear. I have confined myself to a mere plain outline of the principles set forth, as I have generally found that entering into detail has only a tendency to confuse rather than enlighten those whose contemplation and consideration of a subject one desires to enlist, and more especially is this the case when strong prejudices against the facts to be mentally analyzed already exist. I shall presently give my authorities for such statements, and the facts on which I have based my deductions, requesting merely in the meantime a suspension of decision regarding the foregoing until I have done so, whilst I, in the first place, set forth what the Holy Truth teaches man.

“ Come ye enthralled ones, wake from all errors,

Hearts which have hied ’neath their training so long, Let your glad spirits rise, free from all terrors,

To the rich measures of Truth’s holy song.

Truth, the Eternal Light, ever descending,

Fresh from the wondrous source of all power,

God the Omnipotent, tenderly blending Lessons of love in the growth of each Hoover.

Lead then the hallow'd page nature is holding,

Fair a3 a dream of life, pictured in youth,

And from those stories of wondrous unfolding,

Gather your Faith from the teachings of Truth.

“ If an offence come out of truth, better is it that the offence come than that tbe truth be concealed.”

God’s truth—not that which each religious sect designates the truth, to suit their own notions, but that which I have termed the Holy Truth—requires no ceremonial laws, with their sacrifices, fastings, feastings, and set days of observance to support them, no more than God requires the glory of man to maintain his glory, for all his works glorify Him.

It demands no faith but that which our reason approves after the fullest investigation. It denounces no religion as a whole ; on the contrary, it comprehends and upholds all that our reason points out as good everywhere and in every religion under the sun; and it even rationalises many things in them, which, to the casual observer, seems erroneous, debasing, and absurd.

The Holy Truth courts inquiry and investigation by science and by reason. It teaches that every truth is an inspiration from God, however simple it may appear; and it views every doubt as a prayer, because doubts are the result of man allowing his reasoning faculties to have full scope. The laws of God being perfect the more they are examined into the higher is man’s conception of his Creator elevated. It does not teach,

“ Believe ! and all your sins forgiven,

Only believe, and yours is heaven,”

but more rationally, that as man sows in this life so shall he reap hereafter ; and that a million crucifixions of the

animal body cannot affect man’s spiritual life hereafter, any more than the sacrifice of a thousand bullocks on a thousand hills can alter the effect of natural laws which are as fixed and as unchangeable as the Creator himself.

“ Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.”

The voice of the Lord, which is said to have uttered this, no doubt signifies reason, the only voice from God which calls aloud to man.

The Holy Truth teaches that superstition is a disease of opinion which accumulates fresh error and transmits it from age to age ; giving up the understanding to ignorance and the heart to insensibility.

The Holy Truth is as open to the unlearned as to the learned. It alone demonstrates man’s future individual existence as a rational and progressive one, dependent, in the first place, solely on his thoughts and actions in this embryo and probationary state. It requires no special interposition of Providence to mete out that just punishment or reward in the life to come which inevitably ensues from natural laws. It proclaims no physical torture or physical enjoyment to which a spiritual existence is not amenable, but mental anguish or felicity as the case may be, and which follows as certainly as effect follows cause—in the same way as in this life our conscience, if we do not stifle it, approves or disapproves of our actions according as they are good or bad.

The Holy Truth teaches of no judgment-seat or

c

judgment-day—of no elect or chosen people of the Almighty Creator of the universe, He being the heavenly Father of all, and a non-respecter of persons. It points to the disunion of our electrical form from the physical body at the death of the latter. This is the new birth of the spirit and of a future state of active, useful, progressive, intellectual enjoyment, where there is no retrogression, because there are no deteriorating influences, as in this life. But our progression may be slow; very slow indeed, if an earnest and constant desire is not felt by our spirits for development, and each individual has, and justly so, alone to expiate and atone for the wrongs and errors of bis probationary state on earth.

The Holy Truth teaches us of no book being kept by the Great Creator recording man’s every deed when on earth ; but that each thought, word, and action in earth life, the effects of which may be undiscernible here, leaves its own impress or effect on our spiritual forms. These, on being freed from the veil of fleshly surroundings, are not only open to the perception of our individual spirits, but also to that of every other spirit with whom we associate or meet in the future life, until the earth-stains are effaced by development and progression. Let us remember, therefore, that the hour cometh when every thought, every motive, which has existed in our minds when on earth will be known, even as we knew them here ; and that that which is visible is not the real, but that which is invisible is the eternal.

The body is transient, it is changeable; the soul is eternal and unchangeable. The man is the internal, the body is the external. Things which are visible and external are only tangible effects and ultimates of causes invisible. How inexpressible should be man’s delight to know that this which is visible is not the real. The body is merely the coating or casement of the eternal principle of the soul.

The Holy Truth teaches that God required no phenomenal manhood to make Him understand the weaknesses and ignorances of human nature; those very phases of man’s character having been foreseen and provided for in the beginning when God called matter into form by his self-existent powers, and therefore He must have been thoroughly cognisant of, and could thoroughly enter into, all the various phases of character that would spring up in the world He had created.

The Holy Truth teaches that all God’s laws are of universal application. Ho law of his was ever created for one special and exceptional act: they are immutable and unchangeable; the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever; and as unalterable as their Great Maker, who in creating the worlds gave them powers to work after laws which to put an end to would be to annihilate all his creatures. All things are endowed with a portion of divine intelligence which accumulates in force and independence as they advance from seemingly inert dumb matter through the more sentient phenomena of nature up to man, in wdiom alone it reaches to the dignity of

feonship; that is, of a power to come into rapport with and understand the works and will of the Deity, without being the victims of the force of circumstances and organization to the extent that all things below man are. The higher man rises in the scale of divine intelligence, the more is this the case. He becomes, indeed, a free son, and is no longer an abject slave; he obeys God’s laws as the heir of an Eternal Intelligence which shows him what benefits are to be derived from such obedience, in lieu of a rebellious, unwilling acquiescence in that which fear or interest compels him to, in opposition to those inclinations which prompt him so long as he continues a slave to those passions to which from his animal nature he inclines.

Each person having the divine nature or intelligence within him should cultivate it to its highest point and use it for the elevation of all who come within his influence, and in so doing, he should imitate his great Exemplar Jesus. The pursuit of science is a searching after a more intimate acquaintance with the infinite. The greater knowledge man attains of God’s works, the better conception he will have, imperfect though it will be, of God and of his attributes, the more faith will he have in the wisdom of all God’s laws, which are established for a sure purpose, and the less will he believe in impossible tales or fables which contradict God’s well-known and fixed laws.

Truth is a positive principle ; error is a negative principle. As truth is positive and eternal, it must subdue

error, which, is but temporal and artificial. As knowledge is power, and a direct and ever-unchangeable result of truth, it must overpower and subdue its opposites— ignorance, superstition, vice, and misery. The first is eternal, the rest are temporal. The more profound and extensive our knowledge of nature, the deeper becomes the conviction of the universality of God’s laws, and of the analogies which pervade every realm. Hence if the future state be unfolded to us as consisting of a series of spheres of life ascending successively in degrees of wisdom and perfection, yet analogous in many respects to the present, the reasons for believing such declarations are far greater than they would be to credit a description of future life totally different from our present conceptions.

It will be admitted that in society as it now exists the interest of nearly every one is opposed to that of his neighbour, but that all well-meaning men and communities are anxious for the establishment of a more intimate unity in the race. Each one, however, desires that this unity should be founded on the basis of his own peculiar religious system, believing that his is the one specially sanctioned by the Deity, thus showing the desirability of a universal religion to bring about the unity of the races. This the Holy Truth supplies, as it commends itself, if only earnestly investigated^ to the reasoning and thoughtful mind, of whatever nationality the individual may be. It may be said, if such is the case, how is it that it has not before this made more headway in the world. It might as well be asked how the teachings of Jesus, of

Mahommed, or any of the other founders of religious systems, were not made known to the world hundreds of years before they were, as to ask why these truths have not been made known to the world until within the last few years. I may state however, that until lately, ignorance, superstition, and bigotry, have wielded a tyrannical sceptre, and sectarianism has usurped the dominion over the human soul, and is still doing so in many parts of the globe. The interests of the clergy consisting in the prevalence of ignorance in psychological subjects, any progression, or the revealment of any new truths in theological matters, are denounced, discountenanced, and treated with intolerance. They have taught, and still teach, that such is impious and sinful. The consequence has been the establishment of the most confirmed and deeply-rooted prejudices. When men become free from the conventionalisms of the world, they will freely examine all phenomena and manifestations external, and by these means will arrive unbiassed at truth and will embrace it for its own sake.

At present, the generality of religionists merely give an unintelligent acquiescence to what is taught in the church or chapel they attend, forgetting that true religion consists not in creeds but in deeds. Man has not been permitted to enjoy the free and uncontrolled exercise of his powers and intellectual endowments. He has not had the liberty to express thoughts proceeding from the depths of his mind, but has been compelled to restrain and suppress them from want of an atmosphere of light

and liberty. Until lately, tbe few wbo bad dared to express themselves freely had done it at the immediate risk of their freedom, or even of their physical destruction. Truths that are external have been conceived of yet smothered by the hand of a tyrannical ignorance ; but the human mind cannot be chained for ever, and has begun to demand its rights, and will soon show the results of enlightened freedom. There is even now a diffusive process in respect of knowledge of all kinds going forward in the world. No one of any intelligence can pretend to be ignorant of the vast researches recently made in science and in biblical archaeology and its cognate branches, or of the results these are producing. The light that first illuminates the mountain tops \ gradually spreads itself into the deepest valleys. The wonderful discoveries of one generation are the common- * place facts of the next. Dread, doubt, vague fears and undefined terrors are the accompaniments of ignorance. Enlightenment and education alone will dispel them, more especially now that man is beginning to be allowed to express his thoughts and convictions on religious, scientific, and other matters, without fear of molestation.

On the other hand, error is not to be rooted out of the mind of man by reproaches or railings, flashes of wit or biting jests, loud acclamations or triumphs over a mistake ; such means only cause darkness and confusion in the minds of our opponents. We must remember that every man’s opinion is correct in his own eyes until disproved. Man has been cradled, nursed, reared and

lived in superstition. Therefore, until the light of reason dispels the darkness of credulity, advancement cannot be expected without some new influences being brought to bear. Know you not that there are tides and opportunities in human, or rather worldly, affairs P Even so there are times—peculiarly favourable moments of happy visitation—unexpected gales of spirit influence—which no amount of assiduity can command, yet which may do more than usual towards our spiritual progress. If it be of consequence in worldly concerns to embrace such opportunities, is it not a much greater point of wisdom to do so in spiritual matters ? We should watch, therefore, and wait for every influence of light. It was, doubtless, during one of these spiritual tides eighteen hundred years ago, that the greatest of all reformers proclaimed peace and good-will to man.

Full and unrestrained inquiry is necessary to moral and intellectual progress, and should therefore by all means be encouraged. Truth being an eternal principle, any institution, creed, denomination, or influence of a sectarian character, that in any way opposes the free and unrestrained investigation of truth, must evidently be founded on ignorance, superstition, and bigotry, and anything which tends to resist the spirit of inquiry openly manifests its own error.

Every principle opposed to free and unrestricted investigation shows distinctly the fear of light and knowledge. Light is come into the world and men choose the darkness of bygone ages and foster it rather than the light,

because tbeir institutions and actions will not stand before the light of reason.

Truth, in comparison to error, is as gold to the rock or earth in which it is found ; the one bears but a very small proportion to the other. A little book would contain the truth as yet known, but a million volumes would not suffice for all the error. Divest the Bible of all the historical, fabulous, and erroneous portions, and the residue would be small indeed, more especially if the repetitions of the same truth in different phraseology were eliminated or struck out. The great Messenger of Truth taught that love to God and man comprised the whole of the law and the prophets. When it was said, “ All shall know the truth,” it was meant as far as the truth could be learned in this life; for man, even in his spiritual state, will always have truths new to him to learn throughout eternity.

Physical slavery has now been abolished by all enlightened nations, but not so in the case of mental captivity where religious beliefs are concerned. Could we unveil the history of the dark ages and learn therefrom the undreamed-of horrors of the past, or could we even look into the destitution and misery of the present falsely called enlightened times, we would exclaim, It is too terrible to believe that God permits such suffering and crime! ” But there is no alternative; we must accept things as they are. Man’s finite conceptions measure justice as they conceive it, not as Infinite Justice wills it. “ All’s well that ends well,” is a saying amongst

men, and this must be accepted as the motto of the Supreme Director of events. Infinite power suffices to elicit infinite good from all that transpires, as well from that which seems to men to be evil as from that which seems to be good. The very harmonies of society, resulting as a necessity from the grossness of men’s natures as they are developed from the low plain of sensualism upon which they at first find themselves to a higher—where harmony is possible, overruled by Him who has ordered nature upon the present plan— is evidence of the wisdom and resources of the Divine Intelligence, and should satisfy the thinking mind that God wills only good to his people, and possesses the power to elicit good from the operation of every law of nature.

As the gem is not polished without friction, neither

is man perfect without trial. The philosophy of long-

suffering is the saviour of man from the degeneracy of

his dual nature, and God’s love is as much displayed

in the misfortunes which befall men, or which to them

appear to be misfortunes, as in their prosperity. All

things which happen to men are for their eventual good,

.    . i

and the experiences of this life are to them precious lessons which are to be studied in the future life, item by item, as the student cons his task. Let none imagine that they are to rest in the spiritual state with their imperfections upon them. Hay; they must work out their own future happiness by unceasing desire for further and higher intellectual development. Degene-

ration comes by individual effort stimulated by repentance, and it is possible for regeneration to commence in this life ; the sooner it does so, the sooner is the spirit destined to emerge into higher spheres.

The ultimate rest, the overwhelming tide of glory that awaits every soul of man sooner or later, is the compensation for all suffering. The few brief years wherein man can be said to be “ a child of sorrow,” are but as a fleeting moment compared to the eternities of solid pleasures that await him in the future life. As a beacon light to cheer the mariner on life’s dark tempestuous ocean ; as a glimmering star that breaks through the midnight gloom of man’s troubled night of trial; as a star of hope that cheers and sustains when the sinking spirit grasps after something to lessen its burden and lighten its way; the eternity of immortality and complete blessedness in the future is demonstrable to every one who will earnestly and without prejudice inquire after and accept it with the comfort it brings. Many may say, “We already believe in the immortality of the soul; ” but I ask, is not knowledge better than mere belief P In the latter case doubts at times toill arise, but in the former it is impossible to have doubts, for how can we have doubts of that which we know to be an ascertained fact to our own mind P The question will naturally arise, how is this knowledge to be obtained ? and I answer, through the spiritual philosophy which points to death as a benefactor, and enables man to exclaim, not hypocritically but from the heart,  0 death, where is thy sting ? O grave, where is thy

victory?” Yes! in that at which you probably, as well as I, have ridiculed and scoffed, is to be found the demonstration of the immortality of the soul, and of a glorious future existence, rational and progressive. You may smile at this assertion and doubt it, as I and many others have done, who have since had its truth incon-testibly proved; but facts are stubborn obstacles to surmount, although, if the courage to scale them be wanting, they may be passed by in this life; but the time will come to all when the truth of spiritualism will be revealed, and when, however much they may have shut their eyes and closed their ears against it here, it will be palpable and apparent to their spiritual vision.

The spiritual philosophy assures all men, the lowest as well as the highest, that the opportunities for advancement upon the moral and intellectual planes in the spiritual state are superior to those in the physical; and for this reason—the facilities for obtaining knowledge and practising virtue are greater in the second sphere than in the first. It teaches the gradation of the spheres, which signifies that spirit, which is super-refined matter, is progressive, and passes through stages, each stage being higher than that which preceded it. The gradation of spheres, moreover, signifies that all conditions of a higher are superior to corresponding conditions of a lower, and vice versa. Before, however, enlarging upon this subject, I must furnish you with my data and authorities for the same.

“ The man who dares to think, to live True to his soul’s divinest light,

Will to the world an impulse give For truth and right.

That which is crucified to-day,

The distant future shall adore,

And Truth which Error seeks to slay, Live evermore.”

THE SPIRITUAL PHILOSOPHY;

OE, RATIONAL CHRISTIANITY.

Facts are the basis of philosophy;

Philosophy the harmony of facts Seen in their right relation.”

When I call to my recollection the feeling of ridicule with which I used to associate the word spiritualism/’ I almost despair of enlisting the interest of others who view the matter in the same light as I did, until the time when, to my surprise and astonishment, I discovered there was more truth in it than in that which I had been taught to reverence as the truth. Let me, however, ask you to be indulgent efrough to bear with me whilst I relate my experiences, bearing in mind that I can have no motive in deceiving others, and shall myself feel only too grateful to any one who can account for what I am about to state. And who can explain it in any other way than through the medium of spirit influence P And I promise, on any other hypothesis being suggested to me which will fully account for all the phenomena which I relate, I shall publicly acknowledge my indebtedness to the party so doing. The

remark I made in respect to orthodoxy being equally applicable in regard to spiritualism. If it can be proved untrue, surely the sooner we are acquainted with that factand lay that which is false aside, the better; for the sooner are we then likely to fall into the right track, and to make headway in the proper direction. In order to show that on my discovering that the spiritual philosophy was true, I courted inquiry, and was earnest in having the delusion (as many of my friends called it) at once exposed, if it could be done. I append a copy of a note I had from the secretary of the church which my family had attended up to the time I discovered that there was truth in that which I had formerly looked upon as imaginary and absurd :—

Barkley Street, St. Kilda,

April Uth, 1874.

Dear Sir,—I beg to remind you that your subscription to the A-S-B--Church is now due.

“ Yours faithfully,

“ Gr-S--.

u H. J. Browne, Esq.”

To which I replied—

‘‘Park House, Wellington Parade, E. Melbourne,

April loth, 1874.

Dear Sir,—I have ceased to be a subscriber to the

■A---S—--B--Church for a considerable time

past, from conscientious motives. I am prepared, how-

ever, to pay five guineas, Mr. Foster’s fee for a sitting

with the Rev. C--C--, and four of the leading

members of the church, if you will name an early day to meet at his (Mr. Foster’s) rooms, Spring Street, next Old

White Hart Hotel; and on Mr. C--and his friends

accounting for the phenomena there exhibited, otherwise than by spiritual influence, I shall he happy to make a handsome donation to the church funds.

“ Yours faithfully,

“ H. J. B.

“ G--S-, Esq.”

I may remark that I did not receive even an acknowledgment of my letter, evidently showing that the reverend gentleman and his friends felt what they professed to believe would stand but a poor chance against demonstrable facts; inexplicable in any other way than through the source from which they profess to come, viz. spirit power.

I have carefully considered all the hypotheses yet advanced to account for the phenomena of modern spiritualism ; and whilst admitting that some of them may apparently be accounted for by mesmerism, electrobiology, &c., the majority, however, are only explicable through spirit influence ; and I confidently assert, after due consideration, that no other hypothesis has yet been, or ever can be, suggested which will cover all the phases of the phenomena of spiritualism.

Some of the wonders wrought by mediums, I admit, may have been impositions; that, however, does not

alter tlie fact that many intelligent men, such as Crookes, Wallace, Varley, E. D. Owen, &c., who have deemed the matter worthy of investigation, have met with phenomena which cannot be explained by the hypothesis of trickery. I may here remark that religionists in general are very exacting in demanding absolute demonstrations from men of science and others, when discoveries are stated which contradict or are opposed to what they believe. On the other hand, when asked to furnish proof in support of the dogmas they hold and inculcate, they expect others to be satisfied with some mere ipse dixit on their part, or with an allusion to an assumption as absurd as it is undemonstrable, such as “it is written in the inspired word of God,” or “we are there told.” The exponents of spiritualism may not always be reliable; but this is no proof that the spiritual philosophy is not true, no more than that the teachings of Jesus are false, because they have been perverted, or because at times some of those who have professed to be his followers have acted disgracefully. Spiritualism is no new religion; it is but the angel sent to trouble the waters into which we must plunge the spirit of division prevalent amongst all sects and parties before we can expect to see any cordial unity. Then, loving one another more, all will turn their attention to those fundamental points on which all agree. Tims, instead of trying to discover and overcome the defects of others, every one will earnestly desire to have his own vanquished by the truth, which would ere long

D

illuminate tlieir path, and insensibly draw them to their companions by ties of mutual attachment. If Christians will hut consider for a moment they will find that in denying the truth of modern spiritualism, they are actually denying the evidence on which their own belief is based. God’s laws being immutable and unchangeable, are the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever ; therefore, if the phenomena of the present day are not to be relied on, the phenomena related as having occurred in olden times are surely unreliable ; because in the one case it is within our reach to investigate and prove their truth or falsity, whereas in the other this is impossible, and we have only the evidence of others to rely upon.

In former times communications from the spirit world were set down as coming direct from the great Creator of the universe, instead of, as now, what they really are—communications from our guardian angels or spirit guides. And I ask you if it is unreasonable, in your opinion, for the spirits of those who loved us when on earth to communicate with us now ? Is it not much more unreasonable to suppose that the Infinite Spirit, the Huler of the illimitable universe, should ever have communicated direct with puny man ? Think over this.

Spiritualism is a philosophy which teaches man true religion. It requires no faith, being demonstrable ; when once its outline is understood its rationality is apparent, though I admit that even to one who has had

its truths demonstrated it at first seems utopian, from its conflicting with our former teachings and preconceived notions. It will, however, eventually annihilate all superstitions, and engulph the whole of the religions of the world,o though, like all other great and important discoveries it will meet with immense opposition for many years to come : but eternity will never make truth a lie.

History is said to repeat itself; and so it is in regard to religion. The early Christians were looked.upon contemptuously, and as a community of deluded fanatics ; the great Reformer himself being accused of being in league with that fabulous monster the devil. It is the same with respect to the spiritualists of the present day. They are regarded as infamous impostors, deluded fanatics, necromancers, and sorcerers ; hut their philosophy being based on demonstrable facts, which are open to the investigation of all, to he judged by the crucial test of reason, it must eventually triumph over all opposed to it. That it will take many years before that result is brought about I am aware, but, if slow, it will be sure. Those who profess to be spiritualists may even not be all of a character to bring credit on the teachings of spiritualism, but that will not render less true, or the less sublime and comforting, what spiritualism teaches. The demonstration of the immortality of the soul, of a rational future existence, with intellectual enjoyments of the most refined character, beyond the power of our language to describe, and the knowledge

that those loved ones who have gone before can still, under the necessary conditions, communicate with those they loved when on earth, will bring consolation and comfort to many a sad and aching heart, and lead the true followers of spiritualism to a higher state of existence even in this first sphere. A simple description of the summer-land is given in the old familiar lines—

“ There is a land of pure delight Where saints in glory reign,

Infinite day excludes the night,

And pleasures banish pain.”

There is nothing supernatural or miraculous, as is generally supposed, in the spiritual philosophy. All the phenomena of the past and present, extraordinary and wonderful as they may appear to us, owing to their being beyond the power of our limited knowledge to explain or account for, are the effects of natural laws. Spirits are equally amenable to the action of natural laws in the spheres as we are ourselves here, or as they were when on earth. It is from their increased and advanced knowledge that they are enabled to do that which, to our minds, seems miraculous. Savages, seeing an aeronaut descend in a balloon, woidd look upon his presence among them as a miracle, but that would not constitute it such. The words “ supernatural ” and “ miraculous are mere absurdities, for nothing can be above nature (the term or word we use to express the working of God’s laws), unless there is a Being above the Most High, which would be as ridiculous to assert as to say “after eternity has passed away.”

Investigators of the spiritual philosophy must not expect to mentally grasp it all at once. It is a subject far too deep for this ; and although at the first flash of its truth it may seem simple, the details, conditions, and concomitant circumstances attending its investigation are hut little understood as yet, even by the oldest and most advanced spiritualists ; but it opens up a grand, ennobling, and limitless field for investigation, with glorious and everlasting laurels to he won by those who are hold enough to enter thereon, and who will neither be deterred from the prosecution thereof by the many disappointments they are sure to encounter at first, as others have done, nor from the taunts and jeers of their bigoted and ignorant friends. “ Prove all things, hold fast to that which is good.” Dispel superstitious prejudices, use your reason, and show that you are worthy of being called rational beings.

Before relating what I have heard, seen, and witnessed since I was led to investigate the spiritual philosophy, with its various hearings on what I have learned orally, visibly, and by reading of similar facts and occurrences related by others, both friends and strangers, I may say I have been taught thereby not to judge too harshly of those who may differ in opinion from me, or who have opposite views. I, formerly, was quite as strongly prejudiced as they are against that which has since been clearly demonstrated to me to be true, and instead of my feeling any antagonism to them, from their not having been favoured with equal advantages and opportunities of

investigation as myself, I would rather sympathize with them in the same way as I should do were they suffering bodily ailment. The rule has, up to the present time, been that those who professed the greatest amount of piety have been the most bitter and inveterate in their denunciations against all who differed with them in faith or belief. My object in writing this, I may also state, is not so much to give an account of the phenomena of modern spiritualism, as to call the attention of all to the truth of the actual occurrence of some of these phenomena, and to show that many may have the requisite mediumship in their own family for testing the same without being aware of it, as in my own case. In fact, I feel it would he an act of presumption on my part, who have only been an adherent to the cause for such a short space of time, to attempt to give a comprehensive account of the spiritual philosophy whilst there are such a number of works on the subject, extant and obtainable, written by many well-known people, of undoubted talent and reliability, who have been convinced of the truth of modern spiritualism, and who have pursued the investigation of its philosophy for many years past. I shall confine myself almost entirely to the narration of facts which have occurred under my own observation (having already enough to fill many volumes if such were my desire), and which have taken place both before and since I discovered that “ the heavens are opened, and the angels of God are ascending and descending,” and that man can and does receive communications from the spirit

world as of old. “ Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.”

In stating the data upon which I have based my deductions, and the authorities for the statements which I have made and may make, it will be necessary for me perhaps to be rather egotistic. I must, therefore, ask indulgence in this respect. As before stated, I do not expect that readers will be convinced by my experiences, any more than I was by the statements of others equally sincere and worthy of credit before the truth dawned upon my understanding.

If, however, I am enabled to draw serious attention to the subject, and thus induce others to investigate this important matter for themselves, my object will be attained. I fear not the results of the most inquisitorial examination, if others have but perseverance, are favourably circumstanced, and can rid themselves of prejudice. Truth being like purity, the more minutely it is analyzed the more vividly does it shine forth. I may also add that it would be presumption in me to expect that I should be credited any more than those better known to the public, who have already attested facts that have come under their personal observation, which have been sufficient to convince themselves of the truth of modern spiritualism, but which have as yet made little impression upon the world at large. I feel assured that personal experience alone will force conviction on minds so strongly prejudiced, as most are, by precon-

ceived notions. Luckily, this experience is attainable under certain circumstances and conditions by the whole of the human family, all of whom are more or less mediumistic. One out of every seven, if only developed, are, I am informed, mediums, capable of demonstrating the truth of the phenomena to their fellows, in one or more phases, if only the necessary patience and perseverance for development and the investigation of the subject be applied.

On looking back I am truly amazed at my stubbornness in rejecting the evidences of others worthy of credit, and who had all to lose and nothing to gain in a worldly point of view in boldly setting forth their experience in this matter to the world, prejudiced as it is against the promulgation of new truths, or rather of the discovery thereof.

It was not until after the truth of the phenomena of modern spiritualism was clearly and unmistakably demonstrated to my senses that I gave in my adhesion to the cause; and I have since then had such numerous, clear, and distinct evidences, from my being favourably circumstanced (having discovered that my own children are mediumistic, more especially my eldest daughter, a girl of eleven years old), that it would be utterly impossible for me to doubt the truth of the spiritual philosophy unless I ignored the evidences of my own senses. Another grand lesson I have learned from it is never to ridicule any statements seriously made by others, however absurd and contrary to my views they

may appear, until I have fully investigated their merits, as every subject has two sides, pro and con.

From my once having belonged to the same flock, yea, to the very same p&iV; as some who may read this, I can well anticipate their feelings in regard to the very mention of the word spiritualism, associated, as it has been in their minds, with humbug, delusion, and imposture, and even falsely accredited with enunciating doctrines opposed to virtue and morality, as well as having its origin from the devil, a monster wdiich it demonstrates does not exist except in man’s imagination. But I pray such not to allow their feelings to get the better of their judgment, causing them to throw this book aside, until they have read to the end, and have learned what I have experienced in my own family, as well as from others, whilst investigating the truth of spiritualism, even if they do not give credence to my statements, all of which, however, I am prepared to prove.

Until I was between thirty and forty years of age, I was what is termed an orthodox Trinitarian, bavin2* been brought up as a Presbyterian, of which denomination my father was a clergyman, one of the most conscientious, kind, and pure-living of men. All honour to his memory, notwithstanding that he spent the greater portion of his life here in disseminating error unknowingly, and which he is now desirous of counteracting through me by the declaration of the truth, as I am informed by his spirit through my daughter’s hand. At college I wras in religious discussions always on the

orthodox side, and used to be posted up with arguments in its favour by a very worthy Christian lady friend, now in spirit life, from whom I have had communications, and to whom I shall refer again. Prom my having been resident in various parts of the globe during the last five-and-twenty years, where there were no Presbyterian churches within reasonable distance from where I lived, and from other causes, I had, for longer or shorter periods, attended Episcopalian, Wesleyan, Baptist, and other churches, and had formed friendships with many members of their congregations, so I have had very good opportunities for judging of the merits and demerits of these various denominations. But I shall not enlarge upon this subject for the present.

It has been truly said that those who have associated with various classes of society, various religionists, and various races of people, with their diversified habits, views, and capacities, contract very different conceptions of humanity and its surroundings to those who have been brought up amidst, and associated all their lives with, people of similar views to themselves. In stating, as I have done, that I was an orthodox Trinitarian, it must not be understood that, even at that time, my mind was always free from the perplexities which will and do arise to all Trinitarians of thoughtful and contemplative minds. Like many others, I silenced the voice of reason, which would at times rise within me, and smothered all doubt by accepting that which I could not rationally reconcile to my understanding as being mysteriutrs,

which, from being taught so, I then thought it was sinful and presumptuous for me to attempt to elucidate. At length, however, my reason rebelled at being chained and cramped as a slave in this way in regard to a subject which, as time sped on, I became daily more interested in, and which engrossed all my leisure hours. I recommenced the study of that hook which I had read hundreds of times in blind faith, determined to analyze it with as unbiassed and unprejudiced a mind as possible. It was only at the end of three years, after much mental struggle, that I accomplished my purpose. Such passages as “He that doubteth is damned,” “He that helieveth not shall be damned,” &c., would frequently occur to me, until I got the shackles of superstition completely thrown off. During the next five years my spare time was devoted to the study of various theological works. The theory of spiritualism, as I then termed it, coinciding most with my views up to a certain point, came in for a fair share of my attention ; but whenever the assertion turned up that disembodied spirits communicated with those in the flesh, I ridiculed the idea as monstrous, absurd, and imaginary, forgetting that when I was a believer in direct Divine inspiration the truth and rationality of similar cases recorded in the Bible —as, for instance, Samuel’s spirit communicating with Saul through the medium ship of the woman of Endor—had never been called into question by me, being then, I suppose, so completely dwarfed by subjects therein of much greater incomprehensibility engrossing my atten-

tion. The spiritual doctrine of eternal progression, however, appeared to my understanding much more rational than that our spirits, at the death of our bodies, should be either so pure as to go into the immediate presence of the Great Creator of the universe, or otherwise so vile that they would be fit companions for the devil, if there existed such a monster, of which I was more than doubtful, having regarded it in this light—that if God created all things, He must have created the devil, and the creator of an evil, being worse than the evil itself, if the devil really existed, then the creator of that evil must be the greater demon of the two. This being-contrary to my conception and experience of the goodness of God, I argued that such a being as the devil does not exist, except in man’s imagination; and this has since been corroborated by higher intelligences, as I shall presently explain.

An American poet writes these beautiful lines :—

“ I may not look where cherubim And seraphs cannot see;

But nothing can he good in Him Which evil is in me.

‘‘ The wrong which pains my soul below,    .

I dare not throne above ;

I know not of his hate : I know His goodness and his love.”

As Saul of Tarsus persecuted the Christians physically before his conversion, so I mentally ridiculed the spiritualists in their assertions regarding holding communications with the spirits of those who once were in the flesh

like ourselves ; and I wondered liow any sensible person could believe in sucli imaginative nonsense, as it tlien appeared to me. The fact of my knowing many highly respectable men, occupying good positions socially, and generally credited with being shrewd, clear-headed, and not easily deceived in other matters, who openly gave their adhesion to the cause of spiritualism, seemed never to have struck me in the light it should have done, to say nothing of the attestations I had read by some of the most distinguished men and scholars of the day in Europe, America, &c., as to the truth of modern spiritualism. But I suppose, like the generality of people, I was wise in my own conceit; and these evidences, coming from enlightened men of the present time, instead of from some of the wise semi-savages, comparatively speaking, of the dark ages, were not held by me in the same esteem, owing to some of the results of my early teaching still lingering about me. It is wonderful what an effect the antiquity of a statement has on the human mind. It seoxns that distance lends enchantment to the view in this as well as in other matters. We are too apt to forget the fact that antiquity cannot make a lie a truth ; nor can eternity make truth a lie. Let me here remind you that, as a rule, because we have been taught in our youth and have continued to look upon certain statements as true, with a sort of reverential awe, we actually believe that which, if now it were for the first time attested by our nearest and dearest friends, who have our best interests at heart, we should

7HE HOLY TRUTH.

/

shudder at as being blasphemous in the extreme. Take, ior example, the doctrine of original sin, which implies that God, who we are told is Love, and who experience has taught us is an all-merciful Father, created the majority of mankind to suffer everlasting punishment, only electing very few to partake of eternal happiness. Or take the doctrine of atonement, by which He is represented as condemning all those to eternal misery who do not believe in that which is repugnant to their unbiased reason, and saving only those who, because they have been taught so, and have not used Ids greatest gift to man, blindly believe, or at least fancy they believe, what is in reality unreasonable, resulting, in most cases, in hypocrisy, mock piety, and deception. Look around and see if this is not the case. New ideas, however true they may be, are generally rejected at first, until they, like self-made men, win their way slowly to distinction by their own merits, when they become respectable, and are quietly adopted by those who were formerly loudest in their denunciation.

Take, for example, the discoveries of Galileo, Copernicus, and Iiarvey; so will it be in regard to the philosophy of spiritualism. Having truth for its foundation, and being under certain conditions clearly demonstrable, it must eventually triumph, individually and universally. When that glorious day arrives, and all have adopted truth as their standard, then will the heavenly Fatherhood of God and the universal brotherhood of man be realised, not in name alone, but in reality, as taught by

Jesus, tlie great Messenger of Truth, in whom the spirit world concentrated all the mediumistic powers, and whose spirit guides evidently were Moses, Elias, and Euphonias, whose spirit voice was heard saying, “ This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Then will God be looked up to as an all-merciful Father, instead of, as depicted for centuries past, a merciful God, whilst we are on this earth; hut so soon as we enter the future life we are to find Him an austere, exacting judge. Then shall all know the truth, and require no teachers or clergymen to instruct, for all shall know the eternal truth, from the least to the greatest; and the earth shall indeed blossom and bring forth her increase, not in discord, but in universal peace. Then shall we require no church establishments, no standing armies or peace conventions, no walled prisons wherein to manacle the sons of our heavenly Father ; hut all will, as a duty, lend their neighbour a brother’s or a sister’s willing hand. Pride, arrogance, deceit, and slander, will he unknown. Then will the good and pure in heart he regarded by all as earth’s true nobility ; then will be the veritable Millennium —not that which has been so much talked of by those whose bigotry, selfishness, and prejudice against advancement, from their having been cradled in superstition, are the greatest bars to its attainment. We should, as rational beings, and as the children of our all-wise Father, not only put everything we have been taught, hut everything we hear and read, to the crucial test of reason, appropriating all that commends itself as good,

whether popular or otherwise, and rejecting all that is had and unreasonable, whatever antiquity it may possess to give it weight.

I wrell remember, more than five-and-twenty years ago, reading in a newspaper an extract from a New York paper, headed, “ Spirit-rapping in America,” and remarking, “ Well, these Yankees have reached the end of their tether in absurdities at last.” The knowledge of

O

the truth emerges frequently from very obscured beginnings, and is often imparted in very unexpected ways. Little did I then think that in that which appeared to me as being so ridiculous, I should in after years discover that pearl without price, the Holy Truth ; and that from an American I should learn in a few minutes more of real truth than from all the clergymen I had heard preach during a quarter of a century. I am aware that this is a bold assertion, but nevertheless true, as I shall presently explain. During the period above referred to the subject of table-turning, &c., had frequently cropped up, and I had on several occasions sat round a table with friends, to try if we could get it either to move or rap, but without success; and, until the last nine months, notwithstanding all the evidence of which I had heard and read about the physical manifestations of spiritualism, I could not credit them as genuine, never having witnessed any of them myself, although, on the other hand, I could not wholly discredit the assertions of so many respectable parties, who had been more fortunate in their invest!-

gations of the subject than myself, and whose truthfulness was beyond suspicion. There were, however, several little incidents which had come under my observation during a period of some thirty years or more which bore out the assertion that the spirits of the departed did at times communicate with those on earth; but, although I admitted I could not account for these incidents, nor suggest an hypothesis equal to the spiritual theory to account for them, still I did not feel warranted in becoming a believer in spiritualism on what I considered too slender proofs or evidence. I shall state two of these incidents as briefly as possible.

About thirty years ago, the widow of a deceased army captain was on a visit at my mother’s house in Scotland. One of her sons was in the West Indies, and in good health when last heard from. I may remark that the lady referred to, an aunt of mine by marriage, was not of an imaginative turn of mind, but a sensible, middle-aged person. On her joining the family at breakfast one morning, she stated that whilst lying awake that morning her son before alluded to had appeared to her, and told her that he had died, &c. She was so impressed with what she had seen and heard, that she made a note of the date and hour upon which this occurred, notwithstanding that she was expostulated with by the elder members and ridiculed by the younger branches of the family for so doing. On the West Indian mail coming in, however, every particular mentioned regarding her son’s death was verified.

The other incident I shall mention occurred only about five years ago. The son of a relative residing in Scotland, a young man of twenty-four, being consumptive, was ordered abroad. He came to Melbourne for change of climate, and stayed at my house. Seeing me reading a spiritual book one day, he asked me several questions regarding spiritualism, and remarked, “ If anything happens to me, and I have the power to come back to earth to prove the truth of spiritualism to you, I shall do so, although I do not believe in it.” A week or two after this, when out in one of the suburbs, a small bloodvessel in his chest having burst, he was carried to the house of a medical man, who kindly invited him to remain until he was better. I used to go and see how he was progressing, at first daily and then every other day. The last time I called he said he felt a good deal better ; and that, although the doctor and his family were, one and all of them, exceedingly kind to him, he longed to be back at my house, where, of course, he felt more at home. I told him that owing to business engagements I could not come next day, but on the following day, should the doctor sanction his removal, I should drive over for him. The same night, after my family had all retired to bed, I was writing a letter in the dining-room, wdien I heard some one distinctly call me by name. I went up-stairs and asked my wife if she had called me. She replied, “Ho; it may have been some of the children.” I said, “Ho; it was a grown-up person’s voice.” On returning to my letter-writing, I

observed that the time was five minutes past midnight, and as I took the pen in my hand again my name was distinctly called out a second time. After going to the front door, opening it, and finding no one there, I sat down and finished my letter. I may here remark, that the voice I heard could not be that of any of the servants, as their sleeping apartments were detached from the main body of the house. In the morning, the worthy

doctor called and commenced by saying, I regret-”

when I interrupted him, stating that I knew all about

it. “ Poor J--P--died last night at five

minutes past twelve o’clock.’’ The doctor asked me how I came to know of it. I related what had occurred, and that as soon as I heard he (the doctor) was calling, the whole case flashed across my mind. Even with these and other proofs, as I now regard them, of the power of the departed to communicate with those in this life ( in the latter case related, as promised by my young friend), I did not feel satisfied; and it was not until between three and four years afterwards, on my going to see a test medium who had just then arrived from America, that I had such convincing proofs of the truth of spiritualism that I gave in my adhesion to the cause, and commenced a thorough investigation of the subject. I had, when reading of test mediums in English and American papers, often wished that some would come within my reach. Thus when the celebrated Charles TL Poster arrived in Australia, I lost no time in availing myself of the opportunity of testing the truth of

spiritualism, and examining it practically ; and I consider it only my duty to acknowledge here my great indebtedness to Mr. Foster for having been the medium through whom the glorious truth of the immortality of the human soul was first demonstrated to me beyond the possibility of doubt or cavil.

Years before this, when I was reading spiritualistic works, some of my friends told me that it was reported that I was a spiritualist. I replied, “ When I turn a spiritualist, all the world may do so too.” I have, unfortunately for my own mental ease, one of those searching and analyzing minds which examines not only the root, trunk, and branches, but every twig and leaflet of a matter, before resting satisfied and coming to a conclusion regarding it. And I now solemnly declare, after the most careful examination into the spiritual philosophy with, as you will have perceived, most sceptical impressions as to its reality, that disembodied spirits can and do communicate with those in the flesh. Yes ; it is as true as that God is greater than man, and truth better than falsehood. The spiritual philosophy, therefore, I maintain, is well worthy the attention of all thoughtful minds. It should be investigated earnestly and perseveringly, not allowing the many difficulties, disappointments, and apparent contradictions which are almost sure to be encountered at first in the examination of such a deep subject, to dishearten the inquirer. The assurance of its truth renders it well worthy the endurance of a little disappointment. Even the oldest and most

advanced spiritualists are as yet merely at the ABC of this grand philosophy, and there is in it an illimitable field for exploration. I have received innumerable messages of the most exalting and elevating character from relations and friends in the angel world, with proofs of the identity of the senders of these messages beyond dispute ; and from the fact of my knowing that my spirit friends can discern my thoughts, “ seeing that we ure compassed about by such a cloud of witnesses,” I feel ashamed now when even the slightest colourable thought involuntarily passes across my mind, as they will do sometimes to the best of men. Who so virtuous but has in his nature some weak point, where some sharp arrow from the quiver of vice is apt to enter, if he be not constantly on his guard ? Perfection pertains to God alone.

But to return to my experiences with Mr. Foster. This stranger to me gave me messages from relations and friends, some of whom had passed away before he, who was only about thirty-five years of age, was born. These messages were of such a nature that no other way than the actual communication of the spirit of the parties alluded to could account for. In many instances incidents were brought to my mind which had occurred in my boyhood, and some of which had escaped my memory till referred to in the communications. In other cases circumstances were related which I thought at the time were erroneous, but which I afterwards discovered were perfectly correct, showing thus that it was not the reading of my brain, as some have stupidly suggested, but an

external intelligence, invisible to me though visible to Mr. Foster, who described correctly many different friends in spirit life, whom I had known in various parts of the globe years before. On my first visit to Mr. Foster, he asked me if I knew anything about spiritualism. I replied that I had read a considerable number of works upon the subject, but had not seen any of the phenomena. He then asked me to take a slip of paper, write on it the name of the spirit with whom I desired to communicate, and fold it up without allowing him to see the name I wrote. This I did, and placed the folded paper on the table. Taking it up, but without opening it, Mr. Foster said to me, The spirit you desire to communicate with bids me say, he will signify his presence by making his initials appear on the back of my hand in letters of blood;” the hand being all the time on the table close to me. Presently I observed the letters A B gradually making their appearance below the cuticle on the back of Mr. Foster’s closed hand ; these were the initials of my father, whose name I had written on the paper which still remained closed; and these letters continued distinctly visible for several seconds, and then gradually disappeared. I thought to myself, "Well, that is a clever trick, to say the least of it; but how does he come to know the initials of my father’s name, even though he had the power to squeeze any letter of the alphabet on the back of his hand?” he never having heard the name, or opened the paper I had written on, and which I watched closely the whole time.

When Mr. Foster commenced to give me a message from my father, in the same measured language, with the same idiom and expression, which my father who passed41 away some thirty years before was wont to use, my astonishment was great indeed! Greater when Mr. Foster immediately afterwards said, “ There is the spirit of a little child here, with fair hair and blue eyes, who would hardly give me time to finish the message from your father, she is so anxious to tell you that she is very happy, and is often with you all at home. Her name is Ada. Have you any one in spirit life who answers that description ? ” I replied that I had lost a little child named Ada Victoria, hut that I had not even thought of the dear little one. Mr. Foster then continued by saying that I could ask any questions I wished, so I began questioning my father’s spirit upon his theological views. These, I was informed through Mr. Foster, were completely changed, especially in regard to the divinity of Jesus, the Trinity, &c., and stating that as my spiritual guide my father had been impressing me on such matters for many years, although I wTas not aware of it. I had always given my own reason the credit for my changed views. Our thoughts and inclinations can be affected by the influence of our spirit guides, but not so our reason, which is the divine spark within us, and is amenable only to the Great Creator from whom it emanated. Each child born has, in accordance with a natural law (no special intervention on the part of the Deity being necessary in any case), a guardian spirit or

angel. At the age of sixteen or thereabouts, when the mind begins to expand and we become more responsible for our actions, we have in most cases three spirit guardians, sometimes four, namely, a spiritual guide, a guide to knowledge, and a mundane guide, the fourth is in the case wdiere any special duty or work is undertaken by us. But I find I am digressing. On my return home from Mr. Foster’s I mentioned the details just related to my wife, who still clung to the orthodox side, and to a lady who was staying with us, and whose views on these subjects were similar to my wife’s. Both regarded spiritualism as nonsense, and used to ridicule me for reading books upon such a subject, but on hearing of my experiences they promised to go with me to Mr. Foster’s next day. We took some photographs of our children with us, one of which was the likeness of the little one we had lost, and whom Mr, Foster had described. On asking him, as I placed the photographs on his table, if he could recognise the likeness of a spirit he had seen, he said, “Yes, certainly, that is the likeness of the little one I saw here yesterday,” at the same time selecting the correct one without the slightest hesitation.

Mr. Foster then asked us to take slips of paper as before, and to each write the names of the spirits with whom we wished to communicate, and to fold them up while he left the room. This he did. My wife wrote the name of her grandmother, the widow of a clergyman of the Church of England, who was upwards of ninety years of age when she passed away. When

writing tlie name my wife, wlio was very dubious, was thinking that if the spirit of her grandmother could really be aware of her doing so, how astonished she would be to see her in such an unorthodox place. On re-entering the room, Mr. Foster taking the folded paper in his hand said, “ The spirit whose name you have written on this slip will write a communication through my hand.” Taking up a pencil, he wrote the following :—

“Dear Lizzie,—This is all true, I am your grandmother’s spirit, and come here to bless you. You will be happy through life.

“Your angel grandmother,

“Ann Teague.”

You will observe, my wife’s doubts at the time of writing the name on the paper, which still remained unopened, were distinctly referred to in the foregoing communication.

The lady, Mrs. G--, who accompanied us, was

a widow. Her husband’s spirit communicated facts unknown to her or to any one else in this life ; but which facts circumstances which were known proved to

be perfectly correct. Mrs. G--, who is generally

credited with having a pretty strong mind, said she would not believe unless her sister and sister-in-law, who were both dead, would demonstrate themselves to her. Her sister’s spirit then said, through Mr. Foster, that if she would throw her handkerchief on the floor

and a pencil, she would write her name on it as a

proof of her presence. Mrs. G--accordingly took

her handkerchief, crumpled up, just as it came from her pocket, and threw it down on the floor with a pencil. Mr. Foster then said, “ As soon as the spirit has written her name please rap three times on the table.” Immediately three raps were heard; and on picking up the handkerchief, which had been on the floor close

beside Mrs. G--all the while, or rather the second

or two it was down, the name of her sister in full was written distinctly on the handkerchief; and on comparing it with the signature on an old letter that Mrs.

Gr--- had of her sister’s, it was found to he almost a

facsimile. Mrs. G---had a still further test. The

spirit of her sister-in-law said, through Mr. Foster, that she would write her name on the medium’s arm. On Mr. Foster drawing up the sleeve of his coat and shirt, the name, a good long one too, both Christian and surname, could he seen coming out on his arm in red letters, until it became quite distinct, and then gradually faded away. I may add, it was correct in every particular.

On another occasion Mr. Foster gave me a message from an old friend in the Kaffir language. This I had learned to speak many years before in South Africa. In the message were connected names of Europeans with those of natives, in such a way, and referring to particular occurrences, that it was utterly impossible for any one hut the parties themselves or their spirits to

have described. Mr. Foster then asked me what kind of language it was that he had been speaking; and when I told him it was Kaffir or Zulu, he said he had never heard of such jp, language before.

The first time Mr. Foster called at my house he took up a photographic album, which contained about a hundred likenesses. He pointed out nearly a dozen different friends and relatives, the spirits of whom he had seen present with me at his rooms, naming each correctly. I may here relate a little incident which occurred in regard to the photograph of my young

friend J--P--, whom I mentioned some pages

back as having died from the bursting of a blood-vessel. Mr. Foster had passed this photograph without taking notice of it. On my pointing it out as the likeness of one of the spirits from whom he had given me a message at his rooms, he said, “ Yes; it is a little

like J--P--, but it is too stout for what he

was when he appeared to me; and besides, he had whiskers, while there are none in the likeness.” “ You are quite right,” I replied, “he was much thinner than he appears here before he passed away; and his whiskers grew after this photograph was taken in Scotland, which was before he was so ill.”

While at Mr. Foster’s one day, I wrote the name of an old and intimate friend of the family who had passed away some years previously; and on Mr. Foster taking up the slip of paper, unopened as usual, he said, “The spirit of your old friend, Colonel McD--, is present, and

is glad to be able to communicate with you.” My youngest son is named after him, and I bave since ascertained tbat be is tbe boy’s spirit guide. Tbe colonel and bis wife, wbo passed away a few years before bim, were both strict Presbyterians when in this life, tbe latter more especially so. It was this lady to whom I alluded a few pages back, as posting me up in orthodox arguments wben I was a youtb at college. I inquired wbetber tbe colonel’s views on religion were altered, and was answered emphatically in the affirmative. On asking if Mrs. McD--’s

views were also altered, I was told that they were to a certain extent, but tbat from tbe Trinitarian doctrine being so engrafted in her mind wben on earth, her spirit still clung to it in a measure but was gradually being enlightened. This served as an explanation to me of an anomaly which I could not comprehend before, bow one spirit was represented as giving a different account of religious views from another. It is tbat whilst some spirits see tbe error of tbe religious opinions they held wben on earth almost as soon as they discover tbe reality and rationality of spiritual existence, others wbo bave been so wedded in this life to their particular tenets cling tenaciously for a longer or shorter period to them even in spirit life until they progress in enlightenment.

On another occasion, wben I was at Mr. Foster’s, I wrote on a slip of paper the name of a baronet wbo bad been very kind to me wben a boy, and at whose bouse, while on a visit, I once met a celebrated Q.C. As soon

as I placed tlie paper on tlie table, Mr. Foster said, “ Sir

C--McK--’s spirit is here,” mentioning tlie

name in full, “ and is glad to see you. He desires me to say that bis old friend” (the Q.C. alluded to), “Sir

F. R. K--’s spirit is also present.” On my asking

Mr. Foster if be could describe tbeir appearance, be said, “Sir C--McK--is a stout, broad set, jolly-looking old gentleman; Sir F. It. K--is about tbe same

beigbt, or slightly taller, but is rather spare.” This exactly corresponded to tbe description of those two gentlemen according to my recollection of them. I may here mention that spirits, though very different in their actual spirit form in the spheres, have the power of assuming, and returning to earth in, the appearance of their old earth form, the same as they were when they passed away, so that they may be recognised by their friends here. I may also state that I have since found

that Sir F. R. K-- — is guardian spirit to one of my sons.

lie writes, through the mediumship of my eldest daughter, to whom I shall presently allude, to the effect that the boy, whom he calls his pupil, is like what I was when

he met me, as a youth, at B--House; and that,

although he only saw me once, he never forgot me, and that his spirit found an affinity in the boy, my third son. I could mention many other proofs equally convincing, received by others, as well as by myself, through Mr. Foster’s mediumship, but fear I should only tire by relating more. I may, however, state that Mr. Foster told me of several matters also which he said his spirit

friends desired him to tell me would take place, two of which have since been verified, and which I will relate. The first was that within six weeks my eldest daughter would see and describe our spirit friends. Just before that time elapsed she did so; and continues to describe, not only our own hut strangers’ spirit friends as well. The next was this. One day, at Mr. Foster’s, I met a gentleman, one of the members of the Ministry, whom I had known previously, but with whom I was not intimate. On his leaving the house, Mr. Foster said, “My spirit friends tell me that that gentleman will be at your house in regard to the subject of spiritualism before many months are over.” I replied, “ It may be so, but I don’t think there is much probability of such being the case.” About three months after this, when the gentleman referred to called, and was sitting in my drawing-room with a medical man of eminence, who had requested to witness my daughter’s mediumistic powers, I told them of Mr. Foster’s prediction, and remarked on its fulfilment within three months by that gentleman’s presence, as well as of the other prediction and its fulfilment.

Another day I wrote the name of a gentleman and placed it in an envelope which I fastened up, and handed to a party who was going to have a sitting with Mr. Foster. I asked this gentleman, who was a stranger to me, to see if Mr. Foster could tell him the name within the envelope without opening it. After the seance was over, he brought back the envelope to me unopened,

with the name distinctly written on the outside by Mr. Foster, corresponding exactly with the name which I had written and placed within the envelope, and of which the stranger had been totally ignorant, until I showed it to him on his returning it to me.

I was sitting at Mr. Foster’s one evening with several others, when a young man, a stranger, was present; after receiving some communications, Mr. Foster, addressing this young man, said, “ You are mediumistic ; ” he replied he had been told that before, but had not experienced it. Mr. F. then said, “I can tell you the reason, you cannot be sensual and spiritual together.” The young man denied this imputation rather emphatically. Mr. F., addressing him, said, Sir, I am not in the habit of using my powers to expose any one, but if you repeat that again I shall state the names of the parties and the circumstances I allude to, which are anything but creditable to you.” On this the young man got up and left the room abruptly.

I will now relate a few of the experiences I have had in my own family. One evening, soon after my first visit to Mr. Foster, a friend who had been dining with me (and who has since proceeded to Europe, through information received the same evening in a communication by the hand of my eldest daughter) proposed that we should sit round the table, to see if we could obtain answers to questions by raps. In this we were unsuccessful, as I had always been before, except when at Mr. Foster’s. My friend then said, “Let us take a pencil in

hand, and see if any of ns are writing mediums.” In this we were also unsuccessful, until it came to the turn of my eldest daughter, a girl of eleven years of age, to take the pencil in hand. Immediately on her doing so her hand was influenced to write, causing her to be considerably alarmed. She called out, “ Oh, mamma! I am so frightened, my hand is moving.” We all pacified her as much as possible, and on taking up the paper we found her hand had written on it quite legibly, though in rather tremulous characters, quite different from her ordinary writing, the following sentence: “ Helen, Grace, Browne—I am come to see you. Your beloved aunt. You will,” &c., &c., &c., the remainder of the writing was too faint to decipher. The name written above is that of my second daughter, between five and six years of age, who is called after two of her aunts, my sisters; one of whom, the wife of an officer in the Indian army, passed away many years ago, having died on her passage home from India, and whose spirit, we afterwards ascertained, influenced the girl’s hand to write this message to her little niece and namesake. We had a number of communications through the same source that evening from different spirit friends; and since that time, except on two occasions, when she said she felt no influence (a reason for which was afterwards given), whenever my eldest girl sits down for the purpose of communicating with our spirit friends, her hand is almost immediately influenced to write. Ilcr hand has written as many as forty pages of large note paper

within half an hour, which in her ordinary handwriting would take her several hours to copy. “And there came a writing to him [Jehoram] from Elijah the prophet, saying,” &c., &c. (2 Chron. xxi. 12). This was thirteen years after Elijah had passed to spirit life. Solomon says that there is nothing new under the sun.

My daughter is quite unaware of what she is writing, and describes the sensation of the influence as though electricity were running down her arm from the shoulder. This is what is termed mechanical writing—mediumship. She often writes far beyond her own powers of comprehension, on subjects of which she has not the least conception, spelling words correctly which she does not understand, and of which, when read over, she inquires the meaning—such words as clairvoyantly, physically, &c. ; at other times she spells small words incorrectly, which, in her ordinary writing, she would spell correctly. She has written in French, of which language she knows but the rudiments; she has written in Chinese characters, and also in the Kaffir language, of neither of which does she understand a word. She has written in blank verse, which, though it would not stand the scrutiny of a critic, is decidedly beyond her powers in this line, she being more of a romp than a student. I shall quote an example, together with its prose heading.

“ I am going to try and give you a little poetry, if I can. It will be put out of order on account of the medium not being developed. And it is this :—

F

“ When I awoke the morn was bright,

To welcome me above;

I live with angels, pure with love,

And I adore them much.

“ The path that leads to heaven’s not long,

For ’twas a little dream ;

And then, behold, I came within The presence of my friends.

“ Then as I thought, Can it he true I’m always to live here ?

A moment passed, and then I was Enlightened by my friends.

“ Tanner.”

This was from the spirit of my wife’s grand-aunt, a Miss Tanner, who was upwards of ninety years of age when she passed away, and who is her guardian spirit. My mother is my eldest daughter’s guardian spirit. At the time my daughter made the above communication she was quite ignorant of the spiritualist’s account of future life, for until within a few weeks before she wrote it she had been instructed in the orthodox notions of an undefinable future.

My daughter has frequently been influenced to write messages to strangers from their spirit friends, giving them particulars about things of which she could not possibly know anything, and signing correctly the names of their spirit friends in spirit life, of whom she never before heard. Iler mother and I have thought of a question to put to one of our spirit friends when she was not present, and calling her into the room, have given her a pencil and paper, and she has written a correct reply to the question mentally asked, and signed

the name of the spirit friend of whom we thought. She can write either looking away from or on to the paper. A difference can he seen in the writing from each of our spirit friends. If I see even the word “ yes ” written through her, I can generally tell what spirit is influencing the medium’s hand. I have seen her write the letters upside down, backwards, left-handed, and in various ways, quite impossible for the child to do herself; and sometimes so fast you can hardly see her hand join the letters, at other times slow; sometimes in very small hand ; at others in bold text-writing. My daughter has written part of a message which has been finished by Mr. Foster on my going over to his rooms, without the possibility, even were there a probability, of any collusion between him and the child.

Since Mr. Foster has returned to America, I have had letters from him in which he stated he had received messages for me from some of my spirit friends, which messages corresponded exactly with messages from the same spirit friends received through the hand of my daughter about the same time that Mr. Foster was writing these messages to me, or about two months before the receipt of the letters from Mr. Foster ; and I have at the time been informed through my daughter’s hand that such messages were being sent through Mr. Foster to me. Of these facts I have witnesses to corroborate my statements.

On one occasion it was written through my daughter’s hand that I was to take a bottle of a

specific I liave for rheumatism to a Mr. Reed, directing me to inquire at a shop in the next street to where he used to live, and I would he directed to where he then resided. I had formerly given a man of this name some of this mixture, which had relieved him of the pain, hut had not seen or heard of him for months, and I was not aware that he had removed from where he then lived. On calling at his former residence I found he had removed, and on calling, as instructed, at the shop indicated, I was told where Reed then lived. I found him confined to his bed, suffering acutely from rheumatism, and gave him the specific. I have not seen him since, hut he has called and received more of the same. (Acts ix. 11.)

“ If this he magic, let it he an art Lawful as eating.”

I may mention another incident which occurred. One day when out walking with my wife I met a black man whom I had never seen before, hut whom I recognised as a Kaffir from large holes made in his ears, peculiar to that race. I accosted him in his native tongue, at which he seemed rather surprised, and I gave him my address, telling him to call on me. Ibis he did one evening just as we were sitting down to investigate this subject. I told the servant to show him into the room, and on asking if any of his spirit friends were present, my daughter’s hand wrote out several Kaffir names, which on my reading out to him he recognised, and

which evidently caused him great astonishment. On asking if they had any message for him, a sentence was written in the Kaffir language, some of the words of which were beyond my comprehension. On my reading the message out to the Kaffir, he understood every word of it except one. This I pronounced in various ways to try to make him comprehend, but all to no purpose, when my daughter’s hand was influenced to write “ click with the mouth.” This reminded me of a peculiar click which frequently accompanies the sounding of the letter T in the Kaffir language, and on my pronouncing this word with the required click he understood the meaning of it at once. I may state my daughter does not know a word of Kaffir, having been born several years after I was last in that country. I inquired who influenced her hand to write, as the art of writing is generally unknown

to Kaffirs, and was informed my old friend IT--¡3--,

whose native name was “ Nonquambeen,” had written the message at the request of the Kaffir’s spirit friends. I

may add II--S--was a well-educated man, whose

memory I hold in regard, and who, when in this life, could talk the Kaffir language fairly, having been an old settler in Natal. I explained to my Kaffir visitor that the Insleseea or souls of his friends were present, at which he seemed rather terrified. I assured him there were numbers of my spirit friends present also, and that my children frequently described both the spirits of my friends and of some of his countrymen who were in my employ, and others whom I knew many years ago. This

only seemed to increase his fear. I reminded him of the Xlmtagaaty in his own country—witches, wizards, or mediums—who for a few shillings, if a slight clue is given to anything lost, can frequently tell where it is, or go and find it themselves, hut are looked upon by their neighbours very suspiciously, and in anything hut a favourable light, in the same way as mediums formerly, from superstitious notions, were persecuted as witches, &c., by our forefathers.

I think I have referred to Chinese having been written through my daughter’s hand imperfectly, and on my remarking that I did not think it was like the Chinese characters, I was informed by one of my Anglican spirit friends that it was the first time the Chinese spirit had influenced a medium to write, and that he would improve by practice. On showing it to a Chinese (there were thirteen or fourteen pages of it), he could not make out many of the characters, but here and there he said “That means sound,” “That means twenty,” and so on, and remarked, “ This like little China boy’s writing ; not know write good.” I may state I was informed there were some Chinese spirits belonged to my friend’s circle in the spheres previous to this, which has considerably toned down my views on the Celestials and other coloured races, who I find are the white man’s equals in the spirit world.

One day while receiving communications through my daughter’s hand, I observed written, “ Put down that balloon.” I remarked to my wife, “ What on earth have

they to do witli balloons in spirit life ? ” She smiled, and told me that our daughter bad in her left hand one of those pink india-rubber toy balloons, which she, childlike, had been trying to inflate with her breath whilst her right hand was writing the communications. I was sitting on the medium’s right-hand side, and was so interested in the communications as written, that I had not taken notice what she was doing with her left hand, on which side my wife sat. At another time, in reply to a query by me on some deep theological matted, through my daughter’s hand it was written, “How can you expect an answer to such a question through a child’s organization ? ” I have several reams of paper filled with communications received through my daughter’s hand.

My second daughter, a child five years old, who did not know^ her alphabet, on one occasion when holding a pencil in her hand wrote distinctly “ mesmeric medium,” and through her eldest sister’s hand was written in reference thereto, “ She will be very mediumistic, but is too young to be influenced; do not let her sit until she is older, or you will injure her health.” I may state she is healthy, but has the most delicate constitution of my family. This incident brought to my recollection the fifteenth verse of the seventh chapter of St. John, And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned ?; ’ Many who believe the latter will doubtless not credit my statements ; but as I can have no object in stating a falsehood, I claim from unprejudiced minds as much credence as if I had lived

and written eighteen hundred years ago, and been dubbed a saint instead of, as I am now, a sinner.

In regard to the medium’s gift of seeing the spirits, she sees them both in the dark and in the light, in the house and frequently in the open air. She has minutely described the spirits of friends, relatives, and strangers who have passed away lately and of those who passed away years before she was born, also of many who have been in spirit life for centuries, as distinctly as though they were present; giving their names and particulars regarding them, of which she was totally unaware; pointing out the likenesses of eminent men without the least hesitation, whose spirits have appeared to her ; and in other cases, where there was a resemblance, but not a perfect likeness, describing the features in the likenesses which were not correct. I have on several occasions tested the accuracy of her descriptions by getting other seeing mediums, strangers to the family, to come to my house and describe the spirits (of whom we have had, absurd as it may appear, as many present as upwards of three thousand), and have in each instance where they saw the spirits had her testimony corroborated, even to the dress in which the spirits appeared. I may here remark, that the number of spirits stated as sometimes being present is not ascertained by the medium counting them, but on asking our spirit friends how many of them are present they show the number by illuminated letters, as I shall presently describe.

hTo wonder it was said, “ Seeing that we are compassed

about by such a cloud of witnesses.” My daughter has in the same way described the spirit friends of strangers present whom she had never met before, giving their names and particulars regarding them that were correct, and in some instances, where thought to be wrong, have been afterwards found quite right. She reads the spirit names and messages from them in the dark and in the light. In the former case, she says the spirits bring their names and messages written in illuminated writing, as though written with liquid fire ; and in the latter case with dark letters, as if written on a board. I suppose it was in a similar manner that bfobuohcjdncgnar saw, as represented, the handwriting on the wall. She has often to stop to spell out words which she does not know, and which are beyond her comprehension. Occasionally she states that she has a difficulty in making out the writing, from being smutched or blotted. She has had to spell out nearly a whole message in the dark, from its being written in broad Scotch, which she does not understand, much to the amusement of some of my countrymen present; sometimes the messages are gentle rebukes to herself or some of those present. She has read in the dark poetry for an hour at a stretch. She is not, I may mention, poetically inclined ; and the subjects were not of a character to be found in poetical collections, but were the experiences in verse of various spirits, strangers as well as friends, on entering the spheres, and the songs with which they were greeted hy bands of spirits on awakening into spiritual existence, and being led to their

spirit liomes. In some cases tlie rhyme was perfect, in others not so, hut in all the language was beautiful, the landscapes described sublime, and the description of spirit life most enviable and charming, creating quite a longing desire in those present to be partakers of such peace and joy. All my children, four boys and three girls, varying from three to sixteen years, more or less see the spirits, and corroborate the descriptions of them given by their eldest sister.

I shall state a few examples. My wife, my eldest son and daughter, and myself were spending the evening at a friend’s house. Several parties, whom, as far as we knew, we had never seen before, were present. The subject of spiritualism came on the tapis, and it was proposed to endeavour to get some communications from our spirit friends. Upon a lady, who was an impressional medium, taking pencil in hand, she wrote, “ Go into dark circle.” On the lights being lowered, my little girl remarked she saw such a number of strange spirits present, and began to describe some of those who were standing near members of the company who were strangers to us, giving the spirits’ names, &c., much to the astonishment of nearly all present. The first, she remarked, was the spirit of a young girl of about sixteen, with light curls and blue eyes. Her name was Isabella,

and she was the daughter of Mrs. B---, a lady whom

she had never met before, and who was sitting opposite

to her. Mrs. B--at once said excitedly, “ Oh, that’s

my dear Isa!” a daughter whom she had lost some years

before, and wbo answered tlie description. The medium then said to me, “X see such a strange-looking spirit opposite to where you arc sitting, papa.” “And so do X,” said my eldest son immediately ; “ be lias one eye of one colour, and tbe other of another.” I guessed who it was from the description ; but inquired if the spirit could

give his name. My daughter read out J--L--,

the name in full. This was the best test X had experienced, as X had, when young, a very dear friend of that name, with one eye grey and the other hazel. He died from yellow fever, some twenty-six years ago, in Brazil. Of this circumstance my children were not aware. On another occasion they both, in my own house, described the spirit of a little Kaffir boy who was in my employ over twenty years before, and told me of a scar which disfigured his face, a circumstance which had passed out of my memory until mentioned by them. My little girl gave me also the Kaffir’s name, which she had never heard before, and repeated a few sentences in the Kaffir language, which she said she heard the spirit utter, and which X understood; but it was as Greek to her and the others present. On one occasion, when my daughter was speaking to a friend, and chatting away with childlike merriment, she suddenly stopped short, at the same time casting her eyes down and blushing. When X asked her what was the matter, she replied,

“ Oh! I see S--(naming one of our spirit friends)

standing beside you looking at me.” This was in broad daylight, and was done in such a manner that it was im-

possible for her to have acted it, to deceive either my friends, who also observed the occurrence, or me. I have had four of my children at one time corroborating the description given by each of them of our little spirit child, their sister, bringing spirit flowers, and decking first her mother and then myself with them, although the rest of us were unable to see anything. My daughter was at an evening party for children at the house of a neighbour, where she met a young friend of hers who is a (dairvoyant. One of the little girls of the house, addressing my daughter in a whisper, said to her, “ That

Miss S--you were talking to a little time ago is a

spiritualist; she hears the spirits speak; is it not very naughty of her ? ” She was not aware that my daughter was also a spiritualist, and that at the very time she w^as saying this my daughter was looking at a spirit friend of hers standing by her side. When once the fact that our guardian angels, or spirit guides, are constantly watching over us, and that our thoughts and actions cannot be hidden from them, is universally known to mankind, do you not think it will make them more careful of what they think, say, and do ? This is but one of the benefits that the knowledge of the truth will effect. I could fill volumes with our various experiences, but consider the foregoing sufficient. Any one desirous of investigating this subject can obtain at the booksellers’ any number of books written by others more publicly known than I am, and who have had longer experience with a greater number of more developed mediums. I may, however, add, that

I myself frequently see spirit stars or lights; on two occasions I have seen illuminated letters of the alphabet; and on three separate occasions I have seen spirit forms, and on one of these occasions so distinctly, and for such a length of time, in the broad daylight of morning, looking off and then back again to see if it were imagination. No, there it was, transparent, yet distinct, beautiful beyond my powers of description or conception, and surpassing as far as day does night all the works of art I have seen in the galleries of paintings in England and on the Continent. On my inquiring through the medium who it was, she wrote that it was the spirit form of our

physical guide, Dr. G---II--. I inquired why he

did not appear in his earth form, and was answered, that had I known him by sight on earth he would have done so. This leads me to an explanation. One day at Mr.

Foster’s, Dr. M--, an old spiritualist, called with a

lady to have a sitting whilst I was there. He kindly asked me to join them. On entering the seance-room,

before we took our seats, Mr. Foster said, “Dr. M-,

the spirit of your old friend Dr. II--is present. He

says he knows the lady and yourself, but though he knew the other gentleman [referring to me] by sight, he never had been introduced to him, and wished to be so now.” Dr. M--went through the ordinary form of introduc

tion, and I replied that I was proud to be introduced to one in spirit life, that it was the first time I had had that honour, and never conceived of such a thing before.

The first time we sat in family circles at home, my

little daughter wrote that Dr. G- H-, spelling

the Christian name in full, which none of us at the time knew, had always had a regard for me in this life, although he did not know me personally; that since, in the spheres, he found that there was an affinity between us; and that consequently he was now the physical guide of my family. I knew his carriage well enough when I went past it by his old hump-hacked coachman ; but I did not know its owner

(who was brother to Mr. W--H-, the writer of

several works, and, I believe, at one time the editor of the Spiritual Magazine in London). The spirit of Dr.

H-informed us, through my daughter’s hand, that

his earth name had been changed, since he went to

the spheres, from Godfrey to Geofrey H--, as the

first part of his original name was too sacred to be joined with the name of a man or spirit, and that he

should be known as Geofrey H--in future on earth,

though he, like all other spirits, had a spirit name by which he was known in the spheres. I have since had every reason to be proud of my first spiritual introduction.

We always commence our circles with prayer, as directed by our spirit friends. On asking my father, who is my spirit guide, to give us a simple form of prayer, he wrote through my daughter’s hand the following :—

“ We thank the Lord most merciful, and bless this Holy Truth. Our daily wants He doth supply; and

we pray that we may he nearer and nearer to Him ; and may we all for ever abide in the Truth. Amen.”

We have for some time past had a circle on Sunday evenings, consisting of five gentlemen and five ladies and my daughter; and on Thursday evenings our family circle sits. On Tuesday and Friday evenings we have Mr. Harris, a trance medium, a young man whose chief controlling spirit is Shakespeare. Mr. Harris, when in the trance state, gives lectures, couched in the most beautiful language, much beyond his capacity in his normal state, and on subjects of which he has not the most distant knowledge. I shall append some of the lectures referred to, which were delivered in my house, and written down in shorthand as uttered. On Monday evenings occasionally

another trance medium, Mrs. It--, comes, whose

principal spirit guide is the celebrated Dr. Mesmer. Any spirit can speak through Mrs. It—-—, but not through Mr. Harris, who is controlled by four or five spirits only. My second eldest son has lately been influenced to write by the spirit of a Mrs. Sampson. On first communicating, I inquired whether any of the circle were acquainted with her in this life; the reply was in the negative, hut stated that her maiden name

was--Warton, and that she was the wife of a

Dr. Sampson, and that she was acquainted with Willie— the familiar name by which Shakespeare is known in the circle, and which he tells us he prefers to his

surname.

Some of the members of the Sunday circle have been spiritualists for upwards of twelve years. One gentleman has been influenced by a Persian spirit to write what purports to be Persian for some years past, of which language he does not know a single character. My daughter, one evening when we were in family circle, remarked that she saw the Persian spirit who influences to write Persian the hand of the gentleman referred to standing behind my second son. She said she thought he was going to influence her brother’s hand to write, as he had one hand on the boy’s head and the other held his arm. All at once my son’s hand went off writing Persian (or what is stated to be Persian writing in the ancient character) as fast as a short-hand writer jots down, whilst at the same time the writing is generally as regular as copper-plate. I shall append a fac simile of this writing.

The Persian spirit to whom I refer informs us through another spirit friend that he was a prince, and has been six hundred years in spirit land. He appears, my daughter states, in a turban and eastern military costume. This leads me to another point, which before I was convinced of the truth of the spiritual philosophy used to appear to my mind a proof of the absurdity of spiritualism. I noticed that, as a general rule, the communications were mostly ascribed to some great person or notable individual when on earth ; and I find, without desiring it, that such is very much my own experience, for amongst my numerous spirit friends (with many of

o'1

0 Z «

^ 6’b

Ç3 ^ 3 Ss 7

-V Yv V

<7 \^ -4 ( 1 ^

\

^ <U

î-

f*

1t-^

V vît

° V/ 3 Y

; r

* V ' * \

'Ve ? <

-XP*

vy-

xV

Yr

Yr

OO

ar

B'V

Ifc

' kT y '»T*

Ta

OsIV

r?

%*r

V

3 N 3V

s- P /-V« JV

<3 ^

cv->

<r 4.“

rY

<^V

- th

p r Z'

Ni 1^

ri à

1 <5 ^y <•

V s V Ci

p rv <">

<< ¿> l'

O

:<r

ò ^

V""

'l'îr ^ ^ <

»i > a

! V-T3-

tÇr

><?

f\ o

^ '

*Ma

vi

0 r>

XC X^ ^

V c " CT 3

whom I am fully as intimate, from constantly communicating with them, as I am with my friends in the body) I have the Persian prince referred to, Homer, Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, Swedenborg, Sir Walter Scott, Sir Robert Peel, Robert Burns, George Peabody, &c., &c.

On my stating to the spirit of Ilomer (incredible as this may appear from the period when he is stated to have lived), when he first communicated, that there were doubts of his ever having existed on earth, and that he, Homer, was supposed by some of the commentators of the poems bearing his name to have been merely a mythical being, he assured me that such was not the case, and said he would bring his daughter Ada with him next time, which he did, and my daughter described them both. He, however, showed no signs of blindness in his spirit form, but looked old, and his head projected in a rather peculiar manner.

The remark that I am intimately acquainted with many in spirit life will no doubt seem Utopian, incredible, and absurd to most people, and presumptuous on my part; but it is, nevertheless, true. Time will prove the fact that spirits can communicate to all, “ impugn it whoso list.”

A telegraphic operator may be more intimate by constantly communicating with the operator at the other end of the wire, than he is with his office boy who may be all day at his side, although he may never have seen the operator to and from whom messages have been constantly passing. So I find it the case with spiritual

G

communications. Strange as it may appear, before half-a-dozen words are written or spoken by the medium present, I can generally perceive the individuality of the spirit communicating, in the same way as the sentiments and expressions of intimate friends or authors whose works we have read can readily be detected by most people, even if spoken or written by another, or when published under an assumed name. I consider when the individuality of the spirit communicating is clearly and unmistakably demonstrated through three or four mediums, strangers to each other, showing idiosyncrasies quite different from those of any of the mediums, and without any object or benefit to be gained by deception either by the spirit communicating or by the medium, I am justified in making the above assertions ; especially as I have tested the matter, not once, but dozens of times, and am proud to own the friendship of such exalted and valued acquaintances, whether of high or low degree when upon earth, commenced whilst I am on earth, and I trust and feel assured that these friendships will continue throughout eternity. Those who do not know me will, doubtless, charitably admit of my earnestness in the cause, but will consider it absurd of me to make such statements. I can only in this case appeal to the matter-of-fact style of my writing to prove their genuineness ; and I may say, moreover, that I am not generally credited with much jocularity, imagination, or romance.

To return to the point, however. In the case of Itobert

Burns communicating with us in our circle, I may state, that having met his sons, Major and Colonel Burns, in Cheltenham many years ago, I thought that this might be the connection which drew him to us, but wras informed that it was due to his friendship for Sir Walter Scott, who knew an old acquaintance of my father’s family, with whom the latter had first come to the circle at my dwelling, and had thus become acquainted with our circle. To Homer, Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, and Swedenborg I got introduced by becoming acquainted with mediums they controlled or influenced. On the other hand, I have had communications from old servants of my own, old servants of relatives and friends, and from people who were humble enough in this life, some of whom I knew and others I did not know. I shall give an example of the latter. One evening, at family circle, my daughter’s hand was influenced to write the name “ Poulton.” I tried to think of any one deceased I knew of this name, but failed to remember. Her hand then wrote “ the old man ; ” but this left me still in the dark. She then wrote, “ I will impress you.” Hext day I was driving along when it struck me there was an old man who used to nod to me as I passed his shop in an up-country township years ago. I remembered his name was Poulton, and that he had weak-looking eyes ; so I determined to see if this was the spirit who had communicated his name. On my getting my daughter to sit down with pencil in hand, she immediately drew an eye. I asked, “ Is it old Mr. Poulton of Castlemaine ? ” and she wrote, “ Yes.” “ Dear Mr. Browne, I am happy now, and hard times are past.” This I consider, having myself a fair share of business annoyances, to he one of the most comforting messages I have had, as I can fancy that the old man had enough to do to pay his rent and clear his way in this life. An old servant of mine, writing his name through my daughter’s hand, said, “1 respected you when on earth, and I have still more respect for you now.” This is one of the most complimentary messages I have had, and I trust it is merited.

To many these simple statements may appear on the part of one come to the years of discretion puerile, uninteresting, and insignificant; hut let me remind them that the simple sparks which emanate from an ordinary fireplace are frequently the initiators of great conflagrations, trivial as they at the time may appear. If my object in writing this was eclat in hook compilation, readers may rest assured I should not have inserted them. Those who appreciate the motives which hiwe induced me to write will view them in a different light. I shall further on give numerous communications on subjects of more general interest, but consider that the first rough chip-pings of the sculptor’s chisel are as necessary to the completion of the work as the finishing touches. The unchiselled blocks of stone which form the foundations of an edifice are no criterion of its finished design, although they are as necessary, or more so, than its finest sculptured portions.

Emanuel Swedenborg, on my questioning his spirit, acknowledged that his works were marred by jumbling Trinitarianism with Spiritualism; but added that tbe former was so deeply engrafted in bis mind tbat be could not get rid of it until after leaving eartb life. Shakespeare states tbat so little did be tbink of bis writings tbat they were not collected until after be bad passed away ; tbat tbey were written by bim under inspiration from a band of spirits, wbo he has since met in tbe spheres, and were corrected and improved by bis friends Bacon and Ben Jonson. They have since been so altered tbat be could scarcely recognise them; and be argues tbat wdien such is tbe case with bis works, after some two hundred and fifty years, what must it be in tbe case of tbe Bible.

Ben Jonson is tbe most jocular of my spirit friends. He says that spiritualism does not suit most people on eartb, being too open for them, as it demonstrates tbat all their thoughts are perceivable by their friends in the spirit world, so tbat their life here, which, from tbe false state of society as it exists, is frequently one continual course of deception, is apparent to tbe spiritual vision. He added tbat most people, on awakening in spirit life, find it too open for their liking, as they are then aware tbat their spirit form bears tbe indelible marks, not of tbe life with which tbey were credited on eartb, but of their real life, with all their bidden thoughts and purposes. He concluded by saying be himself found it too open when be awoke to tbe fact in spiritual existence, tbat be met many people whom be would rather not have seen—whom he had injured in thought, word, or deed when on earth.

One of my valued friends in spirit life is a Mr. Robinson, who is one of the spirit controls of Mr. Harris before alluded to, Shakespeare being termed his chief controlling spirit. This Mr. Robinson, from whom I have derived a great deal of information, was unknown to Mr. Harris when he first controlled him in trance. He, however, gave his name and other particulars regarding himself, which he stated through Mr. Harris could be verified by writing home to Harris’s father in England, who was an old schoolfellow of his. This being done, a reply was received corroborating every statement made.

Another spirit who has lately influenced Mr. Harris, and who takes the name of “ Time,” states that he has been four hundred years in spirit life ; that his earth name is unknown to fame, as he was merely one of the sons of toil, and passed away at a ripe old age ; that his reason pointed out to him when on earth the fallacy of the doctrines taught under the name of religion, but that the stringency of the laws at that time precluded him from declaring his sentiments and convictions to those around him. “ Time ” evidently was one of those naturally possessed of good common-sense when in the body, and his utterances prove he still retains it in spirit life, greatly enlightened by development and progression in the spheres, as will be seen when some of his communications, which are given further on, are read.

Our demonstrative physical spirit friend, as I call another of Mr. Harris’s controlling spirits—a Mr. Ilurst —was also a stranger to Mr. Harris. He, through Mr. Harris, stated that he had been a blacksmith, born in Somersetshire, as his dialect, through the medium, still clearly proves; that he was killed by a blow on the shoulder from a steam-hammer at a certain foundry in Sunderland where he was working. These statements were also verified. This spirit moves tables without contact, lifting even marble slabs, and knocks audibly all over the house at times. I may here relate a circumstance which occurred lately. The governess who teaches my two eldest girls, and who belongs to the Church of England, hearing knocks on the table one day when she was engaged teaching, and thinking they were caused by the children, sent the youngest to stand in a corner by way of punishment. The knocks still continuing, she made the eldest girl draw back from the table; but the knocks or raps did not cease. I asked the eldest girl what the governess said then. “ She only looked at the table,” was the reply. I had told the children not to allude to spiritualism to their governess, as, on her being engaged, the fact of our being spiritualists from conviction not having been mentioned to her. As I am more interested in intellectual communications than in physical demonstrations, I have not so much on the latter head to recount; but I may state that, although having read the reports of the committee of the London Dialectical Society selected to report on the phenomena

ot modern spiritualism, I could not credit tlie moving of a table without contact till I saw and felt a heavy, circular, walnut-wood table, about five feet in diameter, which we had had for the previous twelve or thirteen years, and which was thoroughly orthodox for some time after it was bought, moving about as though it were an animated being in the presence of seven or eight witnesses. This would appear miraculous if I did not know how it occurred. It is explained to me by my spirit friend, Mr. Robinson, in this way. When a number of people sit round a table with their hands on it, the magnetism which imperceptibly emanates from their hands in time charges the table. The spirits who move the table, I may mention, require to be of a physical nature, in the same way as some of those sitting round the table to charge it require to be mediums calculated to produce physical phenomena. They do not lift the table by their hands, for, being spirit, these would pass through the substance of the table, but by holding the hands over the table, and exercising their will-power. The attraction between the magnetism with which the table is charged and the spirit hand acts in the same way as a needle following a lodestone. The one is no more supernatural than the other, though the one may be mundane and the other supermundane. Our diningroom table, about ten feet by four feet six inches, has, after having been left on the square, been moved diagonally across the room, when no one, in the body at least, had been near the table or in the room. A man

who was in my employment, hearing that I was inquiring into spiritualism, came to me one day and offered to bring a little table to my house, which he said he, who had been a spiritualist for years, could not sit down to with his hands on for a few minutes without a hall of fire coming on it. I thanked him, but declined, as I was at that time too much engrossed with the demonstration of the immortality of the soul, which I did not consider that kind of manifestation would assist. I regret now, however, I did not witness the phenomena as offered. I told him I knew what it was he saw on the table, merely an electric ball—and inquired if his table was consumed. He replied, “ N0.”    “ Neither,” said I,

“was Moses’s burning hush consumed by the electric ball, which he mistook for the Almighty Creator of the universe.”

“ Occurrences which according to received opinions ought not to happen are the facts which serve as clues to new discoveries.” Some may say that their notion of the spirit’s vocation in the future life is a of a more exalted character than that which the spiritual philosophy unfolds. This is merely imaginary. Can anything be more noble and sublime than that, whilst advancing in intellectual development and progressing in purity, they endeavour to help, guide, and elevate those upon earth to whom they are bound by the endearing ties of affection and love, or to whom they are drawn by the bonds of affinity (a gordian knot eternity cannot sever), comforting them in sorrow, aiding them in the day of affliction and temptation, and guarding them from unseen dangers with angelic love and solicitude ? Surely this is more rational and ennobling than merely eternal anthem-singing to and glorifying of a God, who requires not the glory of men or angels, for all his works glorify Him.

Take for example the case of a loving mother called away from earth and leaving a darling child behind. Do you think that on awakening in the spirit land, where she finds all peace, joy, and love, it is reasonable to suppose that those ties of affection for the loved one on earth are to be suddenly annulled or severed, or that as soon as she has the power she will not return to earth to succour, aid, and influence for good the child of her love, in preference to gratifying her erroneous conceptions of exalted existence in singing continual hallelujahs to God, who is the loving and merciful heavenly Father of the fatherless and the orphan ? Ho ! the sleep of death no more alters for the worse our characters and our kindred feelings to those on earth than the ordinary sleep of night. It rather intensifies every good sentiment and feeling, refining them by the eradication of selfishness, and binding us together in the bonds of love with those with whom .we are in affinity, whether on earth or in the spirit world.

“Loving- spirits, guardian angels!

They are with us night and day,

Dropping flowers of love the brightest,

As they watch us on our way.

In our sorrows, in our troubles,

They with care around us throng,

Ever guarding us from danger,

Ever shielding us from wrong.”

With such clear and unmistakable demonstrations of the immortality of the human soul as I have experienced, only a small portion of which I have related in the preceding pages, and with such convincing evidences of the power of departed spirits to communicate with those still in the body, I have felt not only warranted hut constrained to declare to the world the glorious truths communicated to me, not claiming any merit for my own part nor from vainglory, hut from a duty I owe to my fellow-men. Whether they receive these truths and inquire into them or reject them is at their own option. My spirit friends inform me that I am not called upon to force this truth upon any one, any more than I would he to run after a beggar to give him a shilling, if he would not take the trouble to come for it when offered.

It is on the data stated, and on the authority of exalted spirits, that I have proclaimed the rudiments of the Holy Truth, frequently in the words of others, as recorded at the commencement of this hook. My object has not so much been to enter into the details of the spiritual philosophy, as to state my experiences, and to draw the attention of the public to the truth and importance of the spiritual philosophy, which has hitherto been held up to such contempt and ridicule by the masses. More especially has it been denounced by the clergy of all denominations; and for a very good reason too on their part. Spiritual philosophy aims a deathblow at their religions of forms and ceremonies, as well as at their fat livings, and their power over their unsuspicious hut deluded followers.

How I could up to within a few years past, and liow sensible people can still, be so blind as to lend themselves to the support of such palpable inconsistencies, is beyond my comprehension. The clergy, with a few honourable exceptions, preach a doctrine the very opposite to that which they act openly before our very eyes. They inculcate the necessity of following the teachings and example of Jesus, who had not where to lay his head, and in solemn mockery say to their hearers, Be ye lowly, as He was lowly ; condescend to men of low estate; take up your cross and follow Him ; if ye do not so, ye are none of His ; never mind what you eat or drink, nor what raiment you put on,” &c., &c., &c : whilst they follow Jesus’s example and precepts thus—they have the best residences they    can obtain, from    palaces downwards,    some    of them    fitted up in the    most gorgeous

style;    they    walk or    drive about, not    with the poor

of the    land,    but with    the greatest and    wealthiest with

whom they can associate; they eat and drink of the best, and the only cross they take up is the gout occasionally from rich living; they dress themselves, in many instances, like religious mountebanks, under the excuse that it is the rule of their church. Just for an instant, let your imagination picture the meek and lowly Jesus, whose example they profess to follow, dressed in a cardinal’s hat and cloak, a bishop’s robe, or even in a parson’s flowing gown ! Their inconsistencies are too glaring to require further comment. bio wonder that the Great Reformer stated that many should call to Him in the future life, and that He should not know them—

“ Who live in pomp, and wealth, and ease,

Whom Jesus never knew.”

I am well aware that clergymen cannot do without the filthy lucre, that root of all evil which they so much decry, and that they cannot subsist on faith nor exist unless they have the loaves and fishes. 1 agree also that the labourer is worthy of his hire, and that many of the clergy in private life are charitable, well-disposed men. It is on the ground of their inconsistency that I object. They are after all, however, not so much to blame as the dupes who lend their support and aid to continue their own deception. Yes, cruel as it may appear to say so, that formal religion which we were taught and have been accustomed to reverence, love, and cherish, with all its endearing associations, and have looked upon as unassailable and imperishable, is unreliable, deceiving, and a mere delusion. Like a romance, it is fiction founded upon fact; but the pure facts of truth have been so overlaid from the earliest ages with man’s attempts to improve the truths of the Almighty, that it now requires deep study, investigation, and contemplation to discern them (Horn. iii. 7) ; but when once found, the glorious brilliancy of these gems of truth stand out in bold contrast to the dimness of the mass of gaudy trinkets with which they have been surrounded. Look into this without prejudice, and see if it be not the case; but let not your superstitious feelings bias your judgment in tlie investigation. If your present views are right, and founded on the eternal truth alone, the inquiry will only strengthen them ; but if they are fallacious, surely you will admit that the sooner they are rectified the better. If it is proved to you that he whom you have always regarded as your dearest and truest friend is seducing you from the right path, surely the sooner you part company with him the better. Heaven is reached neither by faith nor baptism, but by a pure love of truth and goodness. Love towards God and our neighbour comprises all divine truth. Muller’s case of sustentation by faith having frequently been quoted to me by my clerical and orthodox friends, I may here state that similar cases of the reward of faith are exemplified when we see children, whose companions have sweetmeats, shut their eyes and open their mouths, and a sweetmeat is sure to be dropped in. Granting Muller all the credit for the good he does to those under his care, the credit must also be given him of seeing and taking advantage, in a beneficial manner no doubt, of the weak point in the Christian character, viz. credulity in everything connected with the particular views they hold, whilst they are the most stubborn unbelievers of all else not in accord with their superstitious notions. I maintain still further, that most of the clergy being highly educated men, must, if they have given their attention to the ancient records, be aware that the sacred writings have been perverted, altered, and added to, and that not many centuries back, notwithstanding the prohibition in Revelation regarding the adding to or taking away from tke words of the book. I challenge them, one and all, to refute this statement: that the seventh verse of the fifth chapter of First John, “ For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost : and these three are one,” the very rock on which the Trinitarian doctrine is built, is an interpolation, or forgery, in plain language, and is not to be found in the Codex Sinaiticus, the Codex Yaticanus, nor in the Codex Alexandrinus, nor in any of the numerous manuscripts before the tenth century. Just imagine that book you have looked upon as God’s Word containing even one glaring falsehood, and your respected clergymen or teachers (who are or should be well aware of it) not having the candour to point out this to you. It is truly the wilfully blind leading the blind. I am not ignorant of the fact that many are aware of the text quoted being an interpolation, but there are thousands upon thousands who do not know this. But I find I am digressing again.

The spiritual philosophy rationalizes the Bible in this way. It illustrates that the writers have been inspired, not by the great Creator of the universe, but by their guardian angels, or spirit guides, whom they mistook for God, who, as already stated, is not a personal Deity, and who has never communicated to man direct. The only voice of God that calls aloud to man is man’s reason, the divine spark within him which the spirit clothes, as the body clothes the spirit in this life. When the body has served its purpose here, or when from disease or injury the body dies, the spirit is made free, and is born into new life.

A clairvoyant, if present at the time of death, can frequently see the spirit leaving the body. A very fair description of this, with a drawing representing the spirit leaving the body, as seen by the clairvoyant and seer, A. J. Davis, is given in his work, called “ Death and the After Life/’ and is wrell worthy of perusal.

A friend of mine, who is a clairvoyant, described a scene of this kind as follows. One of two sisters, who were intimate friends of his, had been very ill. On calling to inquire for her, the sister asked him to come and see her sister, who she thought was dying. Soon after he entered the room the poor girl breathed her last in this life, and presently he observed a small cloud of yellow smoke in the shape of an egg issuing from the deceased’s forehead; it was not visible at all to the sister, she not being clairvoyant. This eggshaped ball gradually increased to the size of one’s head, and he stated that he could see, though indistinctly at first, but afterwards plainer, the features of the deceased form in this ball of semi-transparent yellow smoke, as it appeared to him; in this way the whole spirit, or electrical body, passed out at the forehead. It took two hours and a half before the feet of the spirit form were clear of the body. My friend then left to make the necessary arrangements with an undertaker, and on his return some time afterwards found that the body had been placed in the coffin, and beside it lay the spirit form, with its eyes still closed. Presently, it began to ascend, and as it did so, he spoke, but the spirit seemed quite unconscious, and passed through the ceiling. My friend, being a medium as well as a clairvoyant, said to the surviving sister, “Your sister’s spirit will most likely communicate with me as soon as she has gained sufficient strength to return to earth.” She begged him to let her know as soon as this happened. Some days after this, while sitting in his room, he saw the spirit of the deceased girl, and immediately sent for her sister, who lived close by. On her entering his room, the spirit commenced to communicate through the medium an old familiar hymn, which the medium repeated after her to the sister who had had a sealed envelope given to her by the deceased before her death. This she opened, and read therein the same hymn, stating that this was a test which had been agreed upon between the two sisters to prove the truth of spiritualism ; neither of them had believed the doctrine, and what was in the envelope was unknown to the other, until she there opened and read it, and found it to be the same hymn which the medium had just repeated. The spirit informed my friend that she had been aware of his presence as her spirit form left the body ; but did not hear him speak, nor had she power, then, to communicate. The foregoing account of the severance of the electrical form from that of the animal body is, I admit, only the evidence of another ; but it is quite in keeping with other points I know as facts, and is corroborated by A. J. Paris’s account, and

it

though I receive it as truthful myself, I cannot vouch for its accuracy.

My daughter has frequently stated that she has seen the spirit of a clairvoyant medium leave the body, and also return during the intrancement. She describes the spirit as the counterpart of the medium’s physical body, hut rather smaller. It must not from this be inferred that in the usual trance state the spirit leaves the medium’s body. If the foregoing had been recorded in a certain book as being the truth eighteen hundred years ago many who will deride it as nonsense would give it credence.

The spirit, after leaving the body, ascends to its proper sphere, guided by attendant spirits. Sometimes it retains its consciousness whilst passing from the one state to the other; at other times, it may remain unconscious for a considerable time, during which it is watched over by its spirit friends. Spirits, not from any special intervention on the part of the Creator, but from a natural law, gravitate to their proper sphere, or to where those are with whom they have affinity. The good or bright spirits can descend to lower spheres ; but the undeveloped spirits cannot, from a natural law, ascend to the higher, until they are fitted for the change by development. The earth is the first sphere; and there are six others, with immeasurable plains in each. i\s the spirit leaves its animal body behind it, in passing from the earth sphere, so it leaves a portion of dross behind from its electrical form, in each sphere from which it rises, becoming purer and brighter not only in its nature, but in its

99

appearance, tlie higher it ascends. The lower spheres can be lived out in this life. The third and fourth spheres are where the majority of spirits go to, after leaving this first sphere ; but if they had lived a pure and good life, they may pass almost immediately to the fifth    sphere. So my spirit friends tell

me. The spheres, as I stated, are divided into various plains. The lower plains in the second sphere are much below the higher plains in this first sphere. The various spheres, as well as indicating localities, also indicate various stages of development. Our starting-point in spirit life is determined by the purity and moral excellence of our characters in this life. Intellectual knowledge is a great acquisition ; but this, without the former qualifications, is like a title without the means to support it. Love and wisdom are the two ruling principles in the spheres; and of the two the former is the more prized. So great is the love of many of our spirit friends for us that they neglect their own advancement in the spheres for the attending, influencing, and elevating those they love on earth, although we may not be aware of it; and they are waiting for us to join them in their spirit homes, which they assure us are quite as substantial to them as our material homes on earth are to us, strange as this may appear. Advancement in the spheres is only attained by individual effort for improvement, assisted however by spirit teachers from higher spheres, who are ever ready to help those below them, as soon as desire for development is aroused.

There is no such thing as retrogression in the spheres, there being no deteriorating influences there, as on earth. Friendships formed on earth are renewed and continued in the spheres. Spirits can communicate upon any subject, through a medium ; but these communications are necessarily all more or less tainted with the mediums’ thoughts, and by the influence of the circle ; more especially so in the case of messages regarding mundane matters. Here let me particularly caution every investigator to be careful not to be led astray in discovering that he can obtain communications upon mundane subjects from his spirit friends. Although they may in some instances give correct information, they are, in most cases, apt to be erroneous. First, from our spirit guide’s sympathy with our wishes ; next, from passing through a mundane organization, by which the messages are tainted ; the various influences of the circle sitting also affect ; and, lastly, from the spirits themselves not being infallible, and sometimes, not in such a good position as regards the required knowledge as is the investigator himself. It is not that our spirit friends are not desirous to assist us in every way, but they are at times led by sympathy to try and do that which is beyond their power, or which, perchance, some natural law prevents, and are thus apt to mislead, rather than help us. Our mundane guides’ impressment is far better, and more to be relied upon, even though we may not be aware when they are impressing us, than their communications through another organization. It is a constant instruction forced upon us by the spirit world not to credit what is told you by a spirit, if your reason approves not of it. Spirits can influence our thoughts, but not our reason. In regard to bodily ailment, the messages received from our physical guides, if they were truthful in this life, may be confidently relied on ; as in this case they have an actual basis upon which to calculate, and make their deductions. With respect to information regarding spiritual existence, the same remark applies ; and as this class of information is beyond the medium’s knowledge, messages on this subject may be credited, so far as the views of the spirit communicating are correct, as perfectly reliable. I must also state that, as there are truthful men on this earth, and men who are untruthful, so there are in spirit life truthful and untruthful spirits—or lying spirits, as they are termed in the old book : “ Judge the spirits, whether they are good or bad : by their fruits shall ye know them.”

The change We call death causes the separation of the electrical form from the animal body, but alters the individuality no more than ordinary sleep does. As the truth of the philosophy of spiritualism becomes more widely known, more mediums will be developed to demonstrate the rationality as well as the reality of spiritualism. Hot that it may be expected to escape more than any other philosophy or religion from having false doctrines or theories tacked on to it. For instance, I have heard of the absurd idea of individual re-incarnation being foisted on to spiritualism, which I set down as being in keeping with the old orthodox belief in the resurrection of our old animal frames. When we see a lien get into the shell in which, when a chicken, it was hatched, or when we see a butterfly looking for its chrysalis to utilise it again, then we may give credence to the doctrine of the resurrection of the body, and to re-incarnation. There is an animal body and a spiritual body ; both of them are, however, natural bodies. iNh thing can be supernatural, as I have already explained. Spirits are not ubiquitous, but can travel almost with the speed of thought between us and our spirit friends. There exists, though imperceptible to our physical eyesight, magnetic lines or connections between us and them. By these, though even not present with us, they can know what passes in our thoughts. Beyond impressing us, spirits cannot communicate, as a rule, without the mediumistic qualities are present, in the same way as a telegraph operator cannot transmit a message without a wire or some means of conduction. Mediumship my spirit friends describe as like a plant, universally disseminated over the human family in a greater or less degree. Many have it, but so weak that it cannot be brought to the flowering-point, which is necessary, in order to be utilised. Others have it so strong, that even if they are averse to it, and resist it, are frequently influenced against their will; but in most cases, if not taken advantage of at the time of flowering, by giving it the opportunity of development, it passes off, and it takes a great deal of patience and perseverance to develop it again to tlie flowering -point.

We were told that if my daughter had not sat for writing on the very evening she did so, it might have been years before she could have been influenced again. I have been informed that had I sat for development when young I would have been fully as mediumistic as my daughter ; hut the flowering-time having gone past, it will take a long while before it can be developed again.

Young mediums, especially if not of strong constitutions, must not sit too frequently for development, as it is apt to injure their health and spoil the development of their mediumship ; but in moderation, sitting for development is frequently of benefit to the health of the sitters—the magnetism of the circle, if good, having a beneficial effect on those requiring it. For the information of those who desire to investigate the spiritual philosophy, but who may be ignorant of how to make a commencement, I shall, at the end of this volume, append a few simple rules, copied from the “ London Spiritualist” of “How to Form Spirit Circles.” “If facts you’d have which lead direct to the door of truth, you have them.” All spiritual manifestations are but modifications and diversified developments of one universal and unchangeable law of nature, as referred to in spiritual communications received eighteen hundred years ago :—

“How concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not

have you ignorant.....There are diversities of gifts,

but by the same spirit [or rather principle], and there

are differences of administration.....But tlie mani

festation of the spirit is given to every man to profit withal; for to one is given by the spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge, by the same spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another, prophecy; to another, discerning of spirits ; to another, divers kinds of tongues ; to another, the interpretation of tongues,” &c.

Science and religion, to most people, now stand at open variance with one another, yet both are necessary to the satisfaction of man’s higher nature ; and that which is necessary to him is the truth about both. Spiritualism demonstrates this—demonstrates religion based upon science, and science rising to the dignity and flowing with the warm life of religion. Spiritualism seeks to illuminate religion by the piercing rays of the exactest scientific system, and it seeks to verify science by leading it on from the investigation of matter to the equally accurate investigation of spirit. In such a quest as this there is nothing that true religion need fear to hail with joy— nothing that science need deride or decry—nothing that is not well worthy of the highest power of the greatest scientist—nothing that will chill the most devoutly-reli-gious sentiment; but everything to comfort, cheer, and ennoble man, and all that is rational and worthy of his highest aspirations.

“ Spirits bright are ever nigh,

Filling earth, and air, and sky ;

Bringing truth, and joy, and love,

From the fount of God above.”

I may mention one argument against the probability of the truth of spiritualism which I used to consider a potent one, hut the weakness of which is apparent on a little consideration. It is this: if it is true that spirits can communicate with their friends in the body, how is it they did not do so before the last quarter of a century ? Surely the same affection existed between the spirits and their earth friends before that period as since. True, the spirits had the same desires to communicate with their friends, but superstition and ignorance on the part of those on earth prevented the communications. Those who were mediumistic were termed witches, &c., and were in danger of being put to death if they encouraged the influence, or made it known that they possessed this power. Iron possessed the same property of conducting electricity before electric telegraphy was introduced, but it is only a few years since that property in iron wire was availed of by man.

Another argument against the reliability and truth of spiritual communications, which used to appear to me to bear considerable weight, was, that the communications purporting to be received from the spirits of those who had distinguished themselves when on earth for their poetic or literary attainments, contrary to the progressive theory, fell short, in point of merit, of their productions when in the body. The reason for this has, however, been, accounted for to me in a very simple but satisfactory manner. This I can best illustrate by stating what has been communicated to me by no less an authority than tliat of William Shakespeare, who acknowledges that his writings were merely the results of impressions on his organization by a band of poetic spirits in the spheres who controlled him, and whom he afterwards met there; and that by his own powers, when he was on earth, he conld not have written one stanza of his works. What he communicates now are his own composition, unaided and uninfluenced by the band of spirit poets referred to. It is the same with all other distinguished authors, &c. ; all men being inspired more or less, though unaware of it in most cases. A good clairvoyant can frequently-see the guiding spirit or spirits of those who excel in any branch, but who may be perfectly ignorant of the presence and influence of their guardian angels or spirits. My daughter, on going to see the performance of Blondin, observed a number of the chevalier’s spirit guides hovering around him when performing his feats on the rope in mid-air, and also saw almost a cloud of spirits over the heads of the crowd of onlookers. I inquired of my spirit friends if it was by spirit agency that Blondin performed his extraordinary feats, and through my daughter’s hand was written in reply, “ Ho ! his spirit guides, like those of others, assist him by their influence as much as possible. Blondin has naturally great powers of balancing, which with continued practice give him unusual confidence. Were he to make a false step, his spirit friends would be powerless to prevent his falling, though they might in a degree break the rapidity of his descent by partial levitation,” To produce complete levitation, as

107

asserted in tlie olden times, or as stated in tlie present day in tlie case of Mr. 13. Home and others, a peculiar and special organization, on the part of the medium to he levitated, is necessary. It is accomplished by the spirits substituting their angelic magnetism for the animal magnetism of the medium’s body. The former, being more rare or ethereal than the latter, causes the body to be lighter, and consequently to float through the air in the same way as does a balloon inflated with gas. I am well aware these statements will be ridiculed by many, because contrary to popular opinion ; but, as before remarked, all the ridicule of the world cannot make truth a lie ; and I may here state in self-defence, that the sneers and jests of prejudiced minds will have no more effect upon the writer than water has on a duck’s back. Truth is invulnerable, and its possessors also.

All innovations, however beneficial, suffer greatly at first from ignorance. This remark applies in a special degree to the spiritual philosphy. As an illustration of this I may mention, one evening a lady, whom a friend had introduced at a meeting at my house to listen to a trance lecture, asked me, with all seriousness, who did spiritualists worship ? being evidently under the impression we prayed to our friends in the spirit world. I replied, “ We worship the same God as our elder brother Jesus of Nazareth did, and still does in the celestial realms, his and our merciful Father, the only Euler of all, undivisible and eternal; not the very questionable man-made anthropomorphic Deity of orthodoxy. Every

day is a Sabbath, to us; every place sacred, none more so than others; all are our brothers and sisters, from the Pope to the criminal, however much we may abhor their wrongdoings or pity them for their errors. Our actions constitute our chief prayers, God not being a personal Deity, nor requiring the glory of man, as all His works glorify him.

to


“ Eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him ; but God hath revealed them unto us by the spirit, for the spirit searcheth all things, yea the deep things of God. What man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him ? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God, that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things we also speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Spirit teacheth, comparing spiritual things with spiritual; but the material man perceiveth not the things of the spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned, but he that is spiritual judgeth all things. Let us therefore use the divine gift Reason??

The laws of the Eternal One being like Himself, unchangeable, the same yesterday, to-day and for ever, require no amending as do those of men. Emanating from perfection they must of necessity be perfect. This is demonstrated in nature, therefore that which happened thousands of years ago, under similar conditions, is certain to occur now, and vice versa, and will continue to occur for thousands of years to come, or until the conditions are altered by development and progression. Hone of God’s creations have an ending, though incessantly changing and developing, and no law of His was ever made for one special and exceptional act, as recorded in the Bible. It follows, therefore, that no arguments can be brought against the phenomena of modern spiritualism which do not equally tend to overthrow the wonders related in the Old and Hew Testaments under the name of miracles. These are believed in by many who refuse to test or even admit the possibility of those that are occurring at the present time, not in one place

i

as of old, but all over the globe.

The accounts related regarding these recent phenomena were at first received in nearly every instance by those who are now convinced of their truth, not only with disbelief but with derision. It will be admitted, I think, that a belief in the supermundane certainly cannot be reckoned among the characteristics of the world m modern times, on the contrary, the predisposition is dead against such being received. But what are the facts of the case P Thousands, yea, tens of thousands of men and women, many of them of acknowledged ability, learning, and integrity of purpose, in all parts of the civilised world, who formerly neither read nor listened to the accounts of the phenomena of modern spiritualism, but who have at length been led to examine what was gradually gaining ground and making a noise in the world, this notwithstanding the opposition met with— these people, after mature, and for a time prejudiced examination, haye been led to the conviction of the truth of their reality and genuineness. This they have in many instances boldly acknowledged to the public at large, notwithstanding the ridicule they laid themselves open to for so doing from those ignorant on the subject, who have the consummate assumption to condemn that which they have not investigated, and consequently know nothing of; and also from those whose interests are opposed thereto, as well as to all other new truths brought to light by science which are at variance with their antiquated beliefs and teachings. Error must eventually, however, give way to truth in accordance with the eternal law of progression.

In a matter of mere opinion the most inquiring and cautious men may be and have been greatly deceived, but in the truth of the phenomena of spiritualism there is a question of facts and of the testimony of the senses, —of facts sensible to the sight, to the hearing, to the touch, as well as to the intellect; of facts and testimonies repeated over and over again in all parts of the globe, and recorded year after year. Had they been recorded as having occurred eighteen hundred years ago they would be believed.

John states he was caught up into the seventh heaven, thus showing he was a clairvoyant. I fancy he mistook

the second sphere for the seventh, and from his description of what his experiences were as a clairvoyant, I rather think he drew largely on his imagination, as modern accounts reveal nothing so unnatural as recorded by John. • Of all the wonderful things I have read of in modern spiritual accounts of the spheres, the absurdities related in Eevelation beat the whole hollow—animals with seven heads, swords made of fire, vials containing that which is impossible to exist, never did, and never can exist, &c. Doubtless there are some Johns amongst modern clairvoyants. Exaggeration is unfortunately too common even now.

A hand from out of the invisible did once appear and write upon the walls of a banquet-room ; and the form of another was put forth, and took Ezekiel by a lock of his head, and the spirit lifted him up between the earth and the heaven. When were the laws repealed by which such hands were formed, and did their work ? The same eternal and universal fluid or force which was the essential instrument in all past spirit communication, acts now in the production of the phenomena of modern spiritualism, not in Judea only, but in all other lands. The same power that could eighteen hundred years ago unlock doors or gates without a key, and roll away a stone or stones, can now move tables, chairs, or any other articles of furniture, not miraculously, but by a natural law, which exists now as then.

Spiritualism is a philosophy. Like most religions it inculcates morality, but does not consist in certain beliefs

and creeds. It teaches that spirits from the highest to the lowest are merely human beings removed from their clay bodies, or chrysalistic state; that the pure in heart on earth do not degenerate in the spheres, but on the contrary progress; that the wicked, violent man, on throwing off his material form, becomes a dark spirit or spiritual devil; that we should live the present life as related to the future, of which it is but a very small though important part, making it disciplinary for the future ; the transient for the permanent; the mortal for the immortal; the earthly for the heavenly. It also teaches that man is so constituted rationally and morally as to be competent and at liberty to devote himself to other and nobler purposes than that of living for self, and that it is this which distinguishes him from all beneath him.

Spiritualism is destined to become the one grand event of the world’s history. Founded on eternal truth it must supersede all religions, based as they are on fear, demoralising in their nature and productive of nearly as much harm as they are of good. No more important work has been offered to men of science than the verification of this grand philosophy, which is of greater moment to the human race than the realisation of the dreams of the elixir vitse, the philosopher’s stone, and perpetual motion. Once its truth is universally acknowledged it will not only reform all religions, but it will beneficially affect every department of human life and human thought, political, social, and domestic. “We are on the eve of

iJ3

some great change is the burden of most of the essays, lectures, sermons, and even poems of the day. That change will come through and by the at present despised and ridiculed spiritualism.

The spirit of truth in the hearts of true believers cannot rest until it manifests itself in thought, word, and deed, and is not satisfied till its message is carried to every human soul, and until what it knows to be the truth is accepted by the human family as the truth. He who boldly proclaims the truth that is in him, is richer, wiser, and happier far than he who gains a crown by compromise. Those to whom the knowledge of spiritualism has come and who are false to the work will be themselves the losers ; it will go on and prosper in other hands than theirs, being based on facts, and in harmony with the scientific spirit of the age, as well as springing from the very bosom of Christianity as Christianity sprang from Judaism. They who to-day ridicule the manifestations and teachings of spiritualism, would, eighteen hundred years ago, have stoned the apostles.

A question often asked by the adversaries of spiritualism, is, “ What good will it do ? ” I reply it will comfort, encourage, cheer, and soothe the mourner with a blessed knowledge that no theories or mere beliefs can possibly give. It will make life and its passing ills seem trivial in contrast with the boundless glorious hereafter. It will make death—which is to so many still the king of terrors, inspiring chill cowardice and panic fear—a beautiful angel of light, soothing all pain, remedying all

wrongs, and opening wide the way into the better life. It will make men and women less discouraged at life with its trials, less afraid of death and its imagined horrors, and more hopeful for the future, which is a rational, intellectual, progressive state worthy of man’s highest aspirations.

Spiritualism is based on the cardinal fact of spirit communion and influx. It is the effort to discover all truth relating to man’s spiritual nature, capacities, relations, duties, welfare, and destiny, and its application to a regenerate life. It recognises a continuous inspiration in man; it aims through a reverent study of facts at a knowledge of the laws and principles which govern the occult forces of the universe, of the relations of spirit to matter, and of man to God and the spiritual world. It is thus catholic and progressive, leading to true religion as at one with science and the highest philosophy.

The objection to the reception of the modem revelation of the truth arises in a great measure from the undue reverence to the authority of the past and the utter repudiation of the present, active, living principle of God’s overruling providence. The prejudice which exists against new revelation of truths from the higher spheres has always been characteristic of the living age, and was exhibited in Jesus’s time, when the unbelieving Pharisees exclaimed, “We know that God spoke unto Moses ; but as for this fellow, we know not whence he is.” The same has been exhibited in all ages of the

ii5

world, upon the revelation of any new truth, in science, philosophy, or religion. To the ignorant or bigoted mind any innovation, however beneficial it may be, is objectionable at first, but not so when once it becomes popularly adopted.

Truth comes and makes her receiver free—too free to be the satisfactory servant of designing and egotistic man, but not too free for a good servant of God. Spiritualism undermines the walls of sectarianism, strips off from the simple teachings of Jesus the monstrous and forbidding appendages which the intervening ages have added, and lets each and every man see that in every nation he that loveth God and worketh righteousness is accepted of Him. Spiritualism proclaims a revived and living ministry of angels. As surely as they did to the patriarchs and apostles of old, spirits come to us, unfolding, to those who welcome and entertain them, the laws for spirit life, teaching, in widely varied modes, the processes of wise preparation for usefulness and joy in the life above. They endorse and inculcate the fundamental principles of Christianity, the beauty of the simple doctrines and life of Jesus, the fact that we shall reap in the spiritual world as we have sown in this ; that love to God and love to man should be in the impulse to every act of life. These and other great truths contained in the Bible are re-preached by those teachers returned from the mansions in the Father’s house above. They encourage and enable us to say from the heart—

“ God is the treasure of my soul,    *

The source of lasting joy ;

A joy which want shall not impair,

Nor death itself destroy.”

They come not to condemn, but to fulfil, to illustrate, and to enforce the gospel and the truths of natural religion. They are welcome friends, wise and persuasive teachers, experienced guides, and efficient helpers. Sensible of the presence of ministering angels, one feels that the eyes of the pure and good look upon our heart, and that unless purity and love rule within and blossom out in active beneficence, sadness will shade the brows of the loving ones above, who surround and help. There is a restraining, cheering, and uplifting power in a faith, or rather knowledge, like this. Our guardian spirits are helpers between us and our and their merciful Father. They teach our souls to rise in steady progression, so that we may be nearer to Him. Aided by their presence, and by inflowings from them, the heart expands, love grows more all-embracing, charity enlarges her mantle, sympathy flows out more widely, and one feels the freedom of the heirship to life eternal, as proclaimed by our worthy exemplar and elder brother Jesus.

“ God that made the world and all things therein, seeing: that He is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands.”

“ Not in the church, by thousands trod,

Seek I, and find Thee, oh, my God!

Not where the swelling anthems rise,

And lifted eyes salute the skies;

Not where hired priests alone may dare The truth (?) to speak, to breathe the prayer,

And crowded congregations stand To talk with God at second hand.

For there come human pomp and pride ; t Fashion and vice stand side by side ;

The hypocrite, with shining face,

And the backsliding saint embrace ;

Dark hearts and blood-stained hands are there, Souls dead to truth, ears deaf to prayer ;

Men who their brethren buy and sell,

Who seek not heaven, who fear not hell;

Men who on gold their hopes have built,

Who covet gain, and wink at guilt;

Men who on sensual visions gloat,

While prayers and praises fill the throat;

And there the preachers (richly fee’d)

Their empty declarations read,

Set prayers pronounce, set forms go through, And talk the good they ought to do A

“ Not there, my God, I come not there,

Thy presence and its joys to share ;

Not there my spirit feels Thee near,

Not there Thy still small voice I hear,

Not there my heart with love swells high,

Not there I learn to live and die,

Not there the inward strength is given To conquer earth and enter heaven.”

“ But ’neath the broad, o’er-arching sky,

In the free winds that hurry by,

In the bright orbs that shine above,

In all things that have life and move,

In the deep sea’s resistless might,

In the still watches of the night,

In song of birds and laughing rills,

In cultured vales and wood-crowned hills,

In all that greets my wondering eye,

I feel, I own that Thou art nigh.”

No mediator there I need—

His child, will not my Father heed P Freely my spirit soars and glows,

Freely God’s love, descending, flows; Voiceless, before his shining throne,

I bend and pray in heart alone,

For words are vain, and speech is naught,

To Him who knows each inmost thought; Seraphs a fitting song might raise,

But silence is man's noblest praise !

I shall extract a number oi miscellaneous messages^ &c., received from the spirit world, in order that you may judge of the character of the teachings of spiritualism :—

Thoughts.—How precious, or how pernicious ! Therefore how careful you should he of every one you allow ta be formed in your mind ; for once formed or uttered it can never die; on, on it vibrates through all eternity, Avith its good or evil consequences. Statues, monuments, the noblest art of man must perish, leaA7ing scarce if any trace behind ; not so with a thought.”

“ Always avail yourself of the opportunity of doing good, for every good action has a fourfold advantage: it benefits the party to whom you do it; it sets a good example to him ; it affords you pleasure at the time ; and in spirit life you will reap the full advantage of it. A bad action has the very opposite effect fourfold.”

Quick perception of good, instinctive abhorrence of evil, form the chief characteristics of a pure and elevated mind.”

“ With love in your acts, do not shun your duty in remedying evil, no matter AA’liere you meet it. Always-do that wThich is right; have confidence, and look upwards. Let faith in the goodness of God support you through all the vicissitudes of life, let the knoAvledge of eternal life cheer you in all trials and soitoavs, and let charity govern all your thoughts and actions through life. It behoves us all to heed our highest and holiest

119

promptings, regardless of self and of the opinions of the world.”

“ Justice, mercy, truth, and righteousness are the fruits of true love; so also are gentleness and meekness.”

Gain wisdom, use and not abuse it; if knowledge is power, it may, by being* misapplied, be also a curse, in the true meaning of the term.”

“ Cultivate proper self-respect and true humility, for in them you will have safeguards against many real as well as imaginary miseries.”

“ Great effects are often the products of simple causes.”

It is far nobler for a man to strive with himself than with others.”

“Never wish yourself dead. I threw away my existence, and would have given worlds, had they been mine, to regain my earthly career, to expiate the unholy act

by years of self-sacrifice.”

“ It is hard, so hard, to regain the past. Oh ! be warned in time, all who read this; lay not up the worm of remorse to impede your progress.”

“ Head, watch, and pray. The spirit is ever willing, but the flesh is weak.”

“ Mourn no more over the j>ast. Little do those who despise spiritual gifts know of what happiness they are deprived; do not blame but pity them, and in every way in your power try to make them partakers in your knowledge. Heed not the old sayings, ‘ Cast not pearls before swine,’ ‘ Cast not that which is holy to the dogs ; ’

for none are swine or dogs in the estimation of our Father.”

“Have more confidence: not in your own powers, hut in God, and the aid He permits us to give you.”

“ By allowing us to influence you, the good is not confined alone to you and your earthly confreres, hut even extends to us who have passed away. Could we hut free some souls from their life-long misery of the fear of death, would it not he doing good? ”

“ Never forget how plenteous a harvest and how few are the labourers in the vineyard of truth.”

“ Learn to correct another day the faults of this.”

“ See God and his love in all and everything, working on to the great end, progression : on, on, never ceasing progression.”

“ Civilisation, withits refinements and complex desires, interfering, as it does, with the, even supposed, happiness of others, is not progression.”

“Honour and charity, for their own sakes, are human motives, and will ever he valued in proportion to the cultivation of the mind, which alone should be called civilisation.”

“ Laws founded upon religious beliefs are impossibilities, the true carrying out of which would as often lead to bad as to good results.”

“Dogma is and has been the curse of the world.” “Even with man’s small conception of God, how can he suppose Him subject to petty passions ?”

“ How much poor children have to suffer from the teaching and superstition of priestcraft, wliicli never ceases instilling into the minds of mankind that innate depravity is the basis they have to work upon.”

“ The human soul is good and noble ; wickedness is an aberration.”

“ Morality is innate in the human mind; the more civilised, the higher will he the standard of morality.”

“ Morality and religion are constantly confounded; whereas they are perfectly independent of each other.”

“ Unerring justice, as exhibited by nature, points the shaft alike to the seducer and his victim. But there is a deadly shaft, a poisoned arrow, that stings the vital nature of him who has betrayed trusting innocence, and lured to the sure path of folly his helpless victim.”

“It is by the power of free will that man excels the brute creation.”

“ However apparently foolish and superstitious a popular saying may appear, there is often pure truth concealed beneath it.”

“ Do not speak scoffing words about what is taught as religion ; but kindly point out the purer, happier way of love and truth.”

“We know only too well how difficult it is to divest the mind of long-cherished notions.”

“ Few can realise the extent to which selfishness abounds ; it is the most earthly passion you have.”

“ When hopes are strong, be humble ; for all things change ever and anon.”

“ The soul can never be purified by the sufferings of the body. The flesh profiteth nothing ; it is hut the clothing of the soul, which can gain nothing from it. If your garments are torn and filthy, they but injure your bodies ; and even so a diseased and degraded body but impedes and taints the soul.”

“ The spirit cannot be saved by matter. Christ’s bodily sufferings he himself never taught. His words were: ‘ The flesh profiteth nothing. The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.’ ”

“Paul always surrounded the Christian faith with curses and fears. Unconsciously he taught all the doctrines and prejudices of the Jewish religion, under which he had been brought up; and he is an example of the prejudices of early education. He had zeal, earnestness, and learning, but everything was tainted with his early education.”

“ Christ never was an ascetic. He is often styled ‘ The Man of Sorrows.’ He was never a man of sorrows, and was ever ready to join in the social circle; and what more natural in such social disposition than the Lord’s Supper, when seen in the light of such social disposition, and in saying, ‘ Ho this in remembrance of me ’ P "W as it Christ’s fault that men afterwards made it into a superstitious observance, and an act necessary to their salvation?”

“As Moses was the founder of Judaism, so was Paul the founder of the religion known as Christianity. Both were learned men, but both had bitterness in their hearts.”

“ Paul was born and bred a Jew, and bis religion was Jewish, full of sacrifices and fears.”

What the world has now to do is to cast away error in every shape, and cleave to the truth, wherever obtained. We can teach you nothing new. No purer and more soul-saving doctrines can ever be preached than those taught by Jesus.”

“Paul’s teaching was that ignorance was the most hopeful state for the reception of religious truth. Take nothing on any saintly authority of which your reason does not approve; which reason is cultivated by love to God, love to your fellow-men, and true self-love.”

If your faith be true, founded on reason, why be afraid of having it sifted and analysed P If it be such, it will come forth like genuine gold, doubly purified by the fire. On the other hand, if it be error and delusion, oh ! hasten to cast it from you, as not only mischievous to yourself, but, through your support and dissemination, dangerous to others.”

“ If you will sin, you must take the consequence, and seek not a victim in your stead. Is it not stupid to expect good from the death of another?”

In the whole heathen mythology there is not a grosser fable than the supposed birth of the Saviour of mankind. Far from Christ being God, he was not even a perfect man. As for himself, I do not believe for a moment that he was capable of falsehood ; but how could he be accountable for what his disciples said of him ? And you know that every man tries to glorify his leader.

I love and reverence his great fraternal love, liis uprightness and self-denial, and other virtues; hut I would root out the heathenish doctrine that he was God, as a doctrine most pernicious to mankind.”

“ Just once shake olf the bond of superstition, and see the beauty and rejoice in the freedom of being in the truth.”

Oh, for the great day when the veil of darkness shall be removed, and pure, untainted truth shall have its sway! ”

Considering the myriads upon myriads of worlds, and the spheres after spheres in existence, all the work of God’s hands, can we reduce Him down to a mere man, after the ignorant imagination of an uncultivated age and we calling ourselves enlightened beings ! Better to believe in no God at all than in the God of so-called Christianity ; such conceptions cramp our reason and our energies.”

“The day is drawing nigh when the whole religious system will become convulsed and shaken to pieces, as by an earthquake. Beason shall resume her sway, and man will learn to know God, the true God, and worship Him, and Him alone. We, still in the twilight of darkness, can hardly comprehend this vast conception ; hut once man’s intellect commences to throw oif the shackles of ignorance and superstition, he will soon go back to the days when he talked familiarly with the angels of light.”

“ Fiction can never wear the gracefulness of truth, which only requires permission to appear to show its superiority/’

“Paul, speaking of the God of Truth, says of Him, He sendeth a strong delusion, that they shall believe a lie.’ ”

“We boldly declare it to be the duty of every true believer in God to vindicate his faith and aid in redeeming his God from the blasphemous accusations brought against Him, not only in the Bible, but daily by the so-called preachers of the word of God ; for the only word of God possessed by man is the creation which he beholds.”

“ There is no consistency in believing that God’s blessings are to be received through sin, such as was the inhuman murder of Jesus.”

“Jesus declared, ‘I lay down my life for the truth.’ Oh ! turn your hearts, my friends, to the truth and love, as you see it in his life, in thought, word, and deed. Let your aim be to live the perfect life of love and truth, through which alone you can attain perfect joy and peace. Hever, oh never, can you love God as He should be loved whilst you believe Him to have been the stern demander of the death of his only son to redeem the world. It is impossible to do it.”

“Man, before he can become free, must bury his old reverence for antiquity.”

“ All laws, whether religious, moral, or social, must be based on the universal laws of nature, and until such a code comes into existence, there can be none which do not work as muck against as for tke universal good of mankind.”

“ Human nature, vicious as it may seem, is naturally neitker kase nor liypocritical. Tkese are tke effects of misdirected instruction. Tkese, like crime, misery, and even poverty, sliow kut too plainly tke rottenness of tke system by wliicli tkey are ruled. Tkus, wken you see darkness, superstition and kypocrisy amongst tke best fruits of any taugkt religion, it proves distinctly tkat tkere is some vital principle wanting, wkick would dispel tke ignorance of wkick tkey are too surely tke fruits.” “Take tke Bible for wkat it is really wortk—tke best account tkat could be given of tke conceptions of ignorant tkougk perkaps well-meaning men, too ignorant to give to tke world wkat tlicy did receive tkrougk inspiration untainted by traditions and prejudices.”

“ God is no respector of persons. Therefore He would never have given religion to one small portion of kis people and excluded tke millions. True religion, like science, must be older than any writings, and God is far, far beyond wkat tke best earthly conception of Him can ever be.”

“ Tke teachings of Moses are force and bloodshed; those of Jesus, love, mercy, and peace.”

“ Heaven is within, yea, within tke soul of the natural man, and on this rock build your faith. Within your soul is tke germ of law and spirit, tke principle of justice and equity, to show you the way, tke truth, and tke life, as no writings can ever do. Cultivate and nourish them, and then you will have a religion that will stand unshaken and immovable when ages upon ages have rolled by, with their tempests and battles, sweeping empires, kingdoms, generation after generation, before them.”

“ Man wants the incrustation of ages to be removed from his soul before the light of love can penetrate to illuminate it.”

“The love of God to man is the great truth for enlightening and elevating man. ‘ God is love.’ ”

“ Educate your heart and mind, that you may with a true, firm confidence speak the truth and be a guide to others. Never profess a belief for which you are not prepared to answer boldly before all men. Let all be surely founded on light and reason. Search the Bible, for in it, amid all its errors, are to be found the most elevating precepts and truest guides for your lives. What we condemn is the superstitious veneration with which it has been, nay, still is, regarded by thousands, who do not even profess to understand it, making it, instead of an aid in enlightening mankind, the most serious obstacle to his mental and spiritual improvement, shutting out the older, the wider, the nobler scripture written by God himself on the face of nature, demonstrating his existence and benevolence, his omnipotence and omnipresence open for the perusal of every nation and language. From it alone, hitherto, could men turn for the analogy to prove the immortality of the soul; and, aided by reason, it fully displays the doctrine of endless progression.”

“ Hites and ceremonies are necessary for the unbelievers to aid them in keeping up the decent forms of life, but are surely but clogs to those who have arrived at the light and truth.”

“ People’s minds must be startled into thinking and examining for themselves if their hearts cannot be opened by gentle means.”

“Any religion that impedes freedom of thought, mental development, or progress in happiness, cannot be one designed for you by your Heavenly Father.”

“It is not expiation that humanity requires, but reformation.”    *

“ Turn with trustful love to your and our God and Father, and accept, in their true and beautiful light, the teachings pure and unadulterated of our loving brother and great exemplar Jesus, the first-born of the gospel of love.”

“ The great duty of all is to purify and enlarge their souls, and, by thus rendering them more and more perfect, enabling them to approach nearer to God.”

“ Pe assured the laws of your nature are God’s laws ; therefore every faculty of your minds, every affection of your hearts, should be used, strengthened, and developed. He has given you the noble light of intellect; use it, then, to illumine your life path to happiness. He has given you the blessed power of love, let it be your guiding star till it leads you to rest in Him.”

“Why should man have been given reason, were he not to use it P God creates nothing in vain. Why should there he any unlawfulness in using your reason in matters relating to the welfare of your soul and to its Creator P What can you know of either, unless your reason directs you to accept the good and reject the evil? As you strengthen your reason, the more quickly will truth enter into your soul, of which it is the eye and ear. God is the God of light and truth, the God of reason and order.”

“ Reason dispels superstition, and will allow the true light to shine on your soul.”

“ The earth as well as the universe are governed by immutable laws.”

“ God has bestowed on man reason and intelligence, whereby he can elevate himself and progress in happiness and glory. The only devils against whom he has to contend have been engendered in himself by carelessness in using the light given to him, all turning on the pivot of selfishness, to which you can trace every falling away in social duties, every crime, even every grain or shadow of unhappiness.”

“ In the true Christlike principle, ever do good to allr love your enemies, those that despitefully use you or speak evil of you, melting their hearts, if possible, by gentle, loving words and acts, ever remembering they are your brothers and sisters in the love of your God and Father.”

“Our conscience is the only judge, and to it alone are we responsible ; that moment that conscience pronounces sentence, the moment of judgment is past.”

“ Your future is comprised within yourself, the same as

K

your present is the outgrowth, of the past. So must your future be of the present. Cultivate and ennoble your nature, and you will become identical witb us, who have bad to pursue and acquire the light presented to you now, wdth efforts and researches.

“We enter here intrinsically the same we leave the earth—principles, ideas, aspirations, and hopes, all just the same — and have to work and extend our knowledge and improve our faculties with still restricted powers, although with keener perceptions and a larger scope for their exercise and enjoyment, still analogous to our late sphere. All must he gradual progression, with you as well as with us.”

“ Souls do not lose their identity on leaving the earth.

‘ As a man soweth, so shall he reap.’ Oh ! the unspeakable misery we endure when first awakening to a sense of our wants ! Blessed are those who have been aroused to this feeling whilst yet on earth.”

“ The age of universal mediumship has not yet come, but many more could be developed did the spirit of doing good enter more fully into the education of youth. Aid, and watch for the end ; and judge not of our unfinished work. The old shall feel their youthful aspirations, long since forgotten, revived by our glad inspirations, until the crimson tide of early hopes shall come gushing to their hearts, tingling through every fibre, to be offered up in devoted service through immortality to our universal God ; while the young, no longer bowed down, struggling between principles and passions, customs and

desires, will drink in words of trutli and obedience to tbe true nature of their hearts, will throw off, as ropes of sand, all other bondage, and follow in the steps of Jesus, speaking from the depths of loving hearts the great truths of nature—truths vast as their soul’s comprehension of their God.”

“It is high time that teachers should arise, and boldly, unflinchingly declare the pernicious tendency of all theological teachings, be they Jewish, Buddhist, Christian, or Mahommedan—teachers who will use untiring efforts for their own development, casting from them all pride, all prejudice, in fact, all such stuff as so-called supernatural, miraculous, or infallible revelation.”

“ The true test of intellectual inspiration is its truth, as holiness and self-reliant integrity is of religious inspiration. Normal inspiration is the common heritage of all mankind. One may receive much, as the ten talents, while another may receive only one. Still, it depends on each whether he gains more, or loses that he hath.”

“No spirit can do you harm, or even wish to do so, after he has left the earth. Sin, or wrong-doing, ceases with the earth life ; the future must be given to redeeming the past and learning to progress.”

“ In doing good, you truly approach nearer to God. “The Jewish Bible was well suited to the age in which it was written. But as the mind of man expanded, a new gospel became necessary, and Jesus was sent to preach it. But human progress now requires a fuller, freer dispensation than that on which the Christian churches have so long fattened, with so little apparent pro fitableness.”

“ Support no theology that is founded on mystery, infallibility, and absurdity, but on the natural world and innate consciousness of being, demanding entire manliness, and the fullest development of man’s mind, soul, body, and spirit.”

“It is scarcely possible, through human language, to convey an idea of the relation of the Infinite God to man, so different is it from the too long taught idea of an imperfect God and a depraved humanity, all antagonistic, instead of his being the Infinite of the tenderest and purest affection, full of justice and benevolence.”

“Let your thoughts and your acts be judged by your own consciences, and obtain the freedom that will elevate you far above the laws of sin and death.”

“ Let not yours be the faith that fixes itself on the past, but such a one as gratefully and reverently acknowledges the uses of the past, setting its thoughts and face to the future.”

“ God will change your apparently greatest misfortunes to high and noble purposes. Will not this be a reward equal to all you suffer P ”

“ People may be great friends on earth, but their attractions when they go to the next sphere may be so different, although in the same plafe, that they may not meet each other for years after. The friends who meet and introduce you into spirit land, as soon as they see you safely landed there, may, and do, separate from you, and you may never meet them again, unless you have a strong attraction for each other.”

“ All spirits are not clairvoyant; those that are so can see whatever they wish.”

“ Although you may not and cannot see the consequence of your actions on earth, yet you may be assured that in the next world you will see their full consequences, and have to regret or rejoice accordingly. God is an ever-present Essence, pervading all things, animate and inanimate, in whom we live, and move, and have our being; from whose presence none can flee, as He is truly the very germ of our existence, forming the consciousness ingenerate in the human breast, which reveals to man the immutable, the unalterable laws of his nature, that become his heaven or his hell, according as he obeys or disobeys their voice—laws so beautifully just and so perfectly balanced, that the very slightest infringement of them must inevitably bring its own punishment, and from the consequences of which no prayer, no faith, no substitute, can save us, until we have paid the uttermost farthing, corporeally while on earth and mentally when we enter the spheres, where it is even more rigorously exacted ; and until it is paid we never lose the consciousness of being weighed down by a clog which is visibly impeding our upward progress. Ours is, in truth, a God in whom there is no variableness nor shadow of turning, and who therefore must be just and true in all his dealings with his children.”

“ Live not only for yourself, but for your fellow-beings. Endeavour to open tbeir eyes to tlie real condition of their natures. Show them how every breach of the laws of their natures or the law of divine love entails bitter consequences on their own heads.”

“ Think not that knowledge and wisdom are synonymous terms, for there is a wide distinction between them. You may gain the former by studying the thoughts of other men, the latter must be the fruit of self-study.”

“It is not uncommon for spirits to be able to appear soon after they leave the body, and who may not be able to appear again for years. The last anxiety in the mind is often the cause of the power of appearing soon after departure, and also of drawing other spirits, their friends, to appear with them.”

“ The weakness or decay of the body does not benefit but injures the mind. There are instances where the intellect seems to expand as the body decays ; but these appearances are fallacious, and in every case, the healthier the body is, the more conducive it is to mental vigour.”

“ Moderation in everything is one of the great rules of nature, and ought ever to be attended to.”

“ Love is our sun and our light.”    "

“ Woman’s. true sphere is her home, and the more enlightened and cultivated she is, the more she will know and feel this to be the case, and the more surely fulfil her mission. You see what are called virtuous women going into society, and spending their time and talent in such a way that they produce not one good effect. They

benefit no one. In fact, many a poor, deserted, squalid wretch does far more good in her sphere, despised as it may he, as was the ‘ widow’s mite.’ She will reap a far more abundant harvest of happiness. Even with the Christian’s idea of heaven, how can they suppose that by leading such lives as I have said they are fitting themselves for entering into the presence of God ? ”

“ What purifiers are gratitude and humility P ”

“ Pause and reflect on the glorious future, before you allow your soul to be disheartened by present sufferings.” “ In the darkest hour look upwards and have confidence, for daybreak is approaching.”

“ Hearts truly bound together in love will most surely meet again, and help on each other’s progress to higher happiness than mind can conceive or tongue can tell.”

“ Never had men such encouragement to bestir themselves and use every opening to increase their knowledge and to cultivate their intellect, as they now possess ; since the veil is being removed which illusion had cast over truth, and which had obscured the mental landscape. And it is so plainly demonstrated to them, that not one iota of their learning will be lost; all will go to aid their eternal progress and development.”

“ Man’s first step should be to reflect on his condition and the circumstances in which he is placed, and regard them as best fitted for him, or at least not so inimical to him as he has been accustomed to consider them. He would then soon commence to exercise his reason freely in the pursuit of truth, both moral and physical, clearing from his path the inveterate, ay the malevolent, prejudices of sectarianism and error; cultivating, in their stead, that civilisation and refinement so enlivening and gratifying to his soul during his earthly existence, essential as they are to the peace and welfare of all, and so beneficial in preparing him for his onward and upward progress in eternity. Let him cultivate his conscience by reason, truth, and experience, and then look to it alone for the sentence his actions require.”

“ There is no method so genuinely profitable in enlarging the sympathy, and encouraging an unselfish, virtuous spirit to arise within you, as by viewing and studying the sufferings of your fellow-mortals. Seek with thine whole soul the knowledge that will give thee the power to he an angel visitor to the afflicted in body and mind, studying to learn the (too seldom known) intimate connection there is between physical and mental pain. If you seek earnestly for this knowledge you shall never lack the aid and support of good spirits.”

“ Let your every thought and aspiration be, that your life and hourly actions he worthy of His sonship, and of the heirs of eternity.”

Be diligent in searching thine heart; it is, to thee, the source of good or evil. Thy most secret acts and thoughts shall be made known. You would never commit sin did you keep strict guard over your thoughts ; for the allowed thought of foolishness is sin.”

“ Man in the various stages of existence is the great problem that we present to you, analyzed so far as it lies in our power. Of those atoms and those forces that, through a long succession of toil, have moulden his corporeal frame ; of the immortal soul that occupies this domicile; of its relation to, and mode of action in, its envelope, and the world at large ; of the duties that belong to the corporeal existence—that is, to the union of soul and body; of the possibilities of the spirit, of its power, its destiny, and its future home. These are the variations of the one great theme, which we might treat systematically, hut, since the time at our disposal is limited, and the conditions in many cases unfavourable, we on the whole prefer to speak of those branches which appear to be most advantageous to you.”

“ Of the body of man, it suffices you to know that it has been developed through countless ages from the earth on which you tread—that is from matter, hearing always in mind that matter is only a name for something that man cannot comprehend. Of the immortal soul, all our teachings take as a basis, and in themselves are proof to you of, an existence after death. Its relation to the body may be briefly explained as being the action of microscopically refined matter, through various envelopes, increasing in density (though for the most part imperceptible) upon the visible and tangible nerves and muscles of your bodies, remembering still that you are only cognisant of appearances, and cannot know reality.

The duties of your existence are to develope yourselves and others to the full extent of your natures, exjmnding the inherent treasures of the spirit, love, hope, patience,

reason, and wisdom. Of the power and destiny of spirit, it is all contained in the one word progression. Its future home is an abode of beauty and happiness, at first resembling your birth-world, but gradually refining until it loses itself in light.

“These are our lessons; this is the framework of our faith, stated simply and concisely, yet containing in itself, and those other questions which arise from it, as of the nature and attributes of the God-principle, the law of material, mental, and spiritual nature, fields o’er which your spirit shall roam when your earth life shall seem a distant dream—a dark mountain peak far o’er the stream of time, shining not all ingloriously to you across the brightness of the sea of existence, sending up faint gleams and remembered lessons to those heights on which you shall then tread, seeing before you still a wider, grander ocean of unfathomable knowledge and boundless wisdom lit by Godlike love.”

“ Purge then yourselves, your beliefs, and surroundings of every taint of error. Strike boldly at the monster’s head (superstition and dogmatism), fearing not at any time for the result, since truth is of God.”

It behoves you to remember that all intercourse between the spirit and earth spheres is as yet unregulated by definite and well-ascertained laws. Neither ye nor we know as yet many of the causes which interfere with our orderly intercourse. We are not able to lay down laws for your guidance in all cases. Scarcely are we able to formulate regulations for ourselves, as yet. The space

during which, objective communications from our spheres have been possible is but short. Few of the years, by which you mark the lapse of time, have gone since the process by which material phenomena are produced was first discovered, and the process is little known even amongst that rank of spirits who most use it. We had been accustomed to convey our messages by less material means, and our chiefest difficulty was and is to find a ready and fit instrument, and to attune it to our purpose. That difficulty is so far from being lessened by the prevalence of objective physical manifestations, that that very fact has added to us a new difficulty. We have warned you that an undue devotion to the mere physical side of spiritual communication is fraught with risk. Spirits who are best able to communicate thus are little developed, unable to give you true and reliable information, tricky frequently, and on a low plane of intelligence, even where graver charges may not be brought against them. It is not from such that elevated and improving truths can be elicited. Yet too frequently their foolish words pass current for truth, and it is alleged against us that our information is contravened by some such utterance as theirs. This is to us a new cause of difficulty and embarrassment.”

Men have not yet learned to discriminate; and even by those who most interest themselves the subject of spirit communion is very little understood. Questions which concern the deepest mysteries, into which the most elevated spirits long to penetrate, are asked of some poor

soul but lately emancipated from a body of flesh which dwarfed and stunted his spirit, and he is expected to unravel divine mysteries known only to the highest and most progressed intelligences. Vain delusion, and foolish as it is vain! When men shall have learned wisdom they will wonder at the foolish curiosity which could prompt such questionings. Moreover, no proper care is taken of our mediums. The instrument is out of tune, and every jarring note is credited to us. The nervous system of the medium is overwrought, or his hodily health is weak. Rude contact with the world has upset the mental balance, and communications are disturbed. Or the atmospheric conditions may vary. That which is easy to-day becomes impossible to-morrow, we know not always why. Circles are not properly composed. No care is taken that they who meddle with holy things should be pure in mind, body, and intent ; that no base or unworthy motives intrude into that which should be free from the base and sordid atmosphere of your lower earth ; that no mere idle curiosity beset the path with difficulty and open the way to deceit; that no impure, untruthful soul be there to draw around it congenial spirits, and to taint the air with corruption. Men reck little of this.”

We wait with earnest longing for the time when men shall have learned wisdom, and shall be fit recipients for communications from the wise. Meantime we do what we can, hampered by many disadvantages, attacked on the one side by the ceaseless machinations of spiritual

foes,1 and hindered from advance on the other by the dead, cold faith of man, or by his undeveloped and unreceptive spirit. Be sure that one grand law at least is known to us and to you—Like where it is evil will draw like ; the converse being true where the pure and the good are fenced around and protected from assaults of evil. As is your spirit’s tone, so will be the tone of the messages you will receive : bad where bad; foolish where foolish ; good and pure where it brings a good atmosphere with it, save and except only where the soul is subject to assault as part of its necessary training. To the purest may come assault from the adversaries, which their guardians will enable them to repel. Saving this, the law is absolutely without exception—Like attracts like.”

“ The time will come when the cloud of dust will be blown away, but not till man has ceased to add to it. God does not force truth on unwilling minds ; and man must have reached a higher plane of progress than that which he now occupies before it can be possible for us to remove evils, many of wdiich are caused by himself. The time shall surely come when all shall be made clear.”

“The spirits you this evening so harshly chided only followed the law which is the eternal dictate of the dispensation through which God manifests his power on the balance of the universe, namely, perfect justice. By breaking the condition of your séance, you destroyed our

power to regulate the order of your sitting, and tlius enabled spirits of a minor class to enter your circle. In future we ask from you undivided trust and obedience, wbicb will forward your own progress and give us means of demonstration to a degree never yet achieved.”

uWatcb with the full force of your natural perceptions our wonderful expressions of character, displayed as it is by so many varying grades of minds and dispositions. Doubtless you may meet with much difficulty to comprehend in your inquiries; but let me promise you as one who, when on earth, has been equally perplexed and disturbed by the strange features of this study, that it will result in perfect conviction and entire satisfaction.”

“ There are various qualities within the nature of man that, combined, render him capable of receiving what is called “ inspiration,” and it very much depends on the phrenological formation of the brain how much or how far this knowledge may be received. All more or less possess this power of communion with the spirit world. In the olden time you have heard of the saints and prophets. Thought descending upon them made their powers more brilliant and forcible than in their normal state. When the human soul becomes elevated by this sunshine of knowledge, such is inspiration, which, like everything else in God’s universe, is subject to certain natural laws. These are dependent for their action upon the character of the individual to whom we seek to give this knowledge, for whenever the poet sits down to write he calls to himself beautiful inspiration from the spirit

world. By the law of sympathy the spirits have the power to concentrate into one focus, and give for the time being, all the intellect of that nature, force and strength requisite for the purpose desired. Whenever you are kind you attract the sympathy of your spirit friends; and it is this mystical and wonderful communion of spirit which enables us at all times to affect those whom we seek to inspire, not only by the spirit manifestations of to-day, but by influence; and the more purely developed the spiritual nature becomes, the more readily can be received inspiration from the higher life. Inspiration varies in character according to the natures through whom it is passed, and “ Like attracting like.”

“ Everything comes from inspiration, though not many are aware of it. To obtain perfection in any pursuit is the gift of all mankind. You carry with you this undying power of rising until you are face to face with the spirit world—or rather heart to heart and soul to soul, which is a great deal better than the tangible existence. Those who are desiring and earnestly seeking truth, obtain it without being able to define it; but as they advance, fresh power comes. We desire to assist all our brothers and sisters to a state of universal justice and harmony, but we cannot demonstrate without proper conditions. How often you suddenly say, ‘A thought has flashed through my mind; I cannot account for it, but it came to me, as it were, like a lightning flash from the clouds,’ carrying sudden inspiration with it. You

who understand what I say will perceive inspiration therein. When you ask for inspiration, it will come in time ; and when it comes you will receive it gladly, and not close the doors of your hearts. This is not tangible to your physical senses, but are you therefore to deny us the privilege of coming to you ? ”

“ Stupendous and transcendental scenes ! To the farthest verge of creation, where truth stands revealed, and where Wonder, abashed, is dazzled by the yet higher glories in the vision, and in the contemplation of Deity, the countless luminaries of unfathomed worlds are blendingin sweet accord, and everywhere the wisdom and love of the Great Father is expressed—not as told us in the olden time. The happy sons and daughters of one tender father rejoice in the matchless power he is ever scattering around them. Oh ! can it be, that man, so pitiful, so pitiful in his automatic impotence, may dare to set up faiths and decrees at variance with the mighty laws pervading the great universe ? And yet he dares to do it, puny in intellect and insignificant as he appears when compared to the immensity of creation—the illimitable source of glory and power that calls God ‘ maker/ Oh ! I have learnt the blessedness of truth, for, as I learn it, it tells me of God’s mercy to man—to me—to you—to all his creatures. Deep is the joy with which I have learnt to soar, and rich the reward I have reaped. In earth life I spent many anxious nights in learning something of the stretch of worlds which my tired brain sought to compass. Now ! I count immeasurable galaxies

of stars and systems—systems on systems—through the shining space, vaster and vaster in their grandeur, countless as dust, spangling space like unto the purest gems, and never feel oppressed. No more the night must close my happy study ! No more the day, breaking upon a sleeping world, end my vigils. I have gained those spheres where the entranced soul can revel in its glorious contemplations of infinity. Look around where 1 lead your thoughts ; look around where the wishes of God are fulfilled. How tenderly He has sought to give you beauty. The stars o’erhead express his love and power; all tell you this—everything so beautiful in design, that if you are asked for a creed or faith in which you seek to worship God, let nature be the happy scriptures you are acquainted with, and learn from her the secrets alphabetically given here, until you learn to read the deeper lessons she holds in her bosom, and, further, the chapter of life in which your Father tells you the principles of happiness—the destiny of mankind ; for all that is around you holds the same simple example of your higher life, and you know it not. Then learn, as I learned before I entered the happy, bright “ beyond/’ that in the plants and in the water are hidden some of the elements you have within yourselves. How strong the heart grows when you inquire into and comprehend these secrets. You wise men of science are happy in such strength ; you cannot fear a God so bright, so good; and in seeking to do your own part, you feel a consciousness that you have grown

L

spiritually from tire contemplation of tlie beautiful and true.”

“ Spirit of Life, Source of Being, cast down Thy blessing, and give us strength, that we may henceforth seek those laws of Thine, and ever follow up in purest language Thy mighty power. Send us strength, that Thy will, and that alone, may be done everywhere. Give us power to see, hear, and feel the mighty and ever-lasting joys Thou hast provided for us all. Lead each one in this earth-sphere to a higher conception of Thy sublime truth, and so order all our lives that we may approach nearer and nearer unto Thee, the Fountain of Light.”

Angels visits are not so few or far between as is generally supposed, for—

‘‘ Spirits bright are ever nigh,

Filling earth and air and sky ;

Bringing truth and joy and love,

From the fount of God above.”

V 1 Jesus was a form of a pure and spiritual type. lie was born in an age and among people who were not very remarkable for their spiritual excellence, yet he possessed it. For his age and time Jesus was a most remarkable man ; yet he was far from perfect. He had a firmly fixed knowledge of the truth of his immortality, and was a medium of the first order, possessing medium-istic powers in a high degree, and having that rare combination of strength which enabled him to endure the hardships to which he was subjected. Jesus was

a mortal, the soil of Mary, but not of Joseph. As to his father, he was a man of high degree, and Jesus possessed from him those high attainments which marked his earthly career.**

* Euphonias, a Jewish rabbi or priest, was the father of Jesus ; but his reputed father was Pantheras a Eoman soldier. The latter is alluded to in the “Jewish and Heathen Testimonies,” vol. ii. p. 287, as follows: “ The mother of Jesus, being great with child, was put away by the carpenter who had espoused her, he having convicted her of adultery with a soldier named Pantheras.” This is an extract from the works of Origen in reply to Celsus, who, with Porphyry, the Emperor Julian, and several others, wrote exposing the absurdities of the doctrines of Christianity, but the priests of that time succeeded in consigning every copy of their works to the flames. (For further information on this subject see Dr. Lardner’s works.) I may also mention that many years ago, when I was thoroughly orthodox, I asked a fellow-passenger, when on a voyage to the Mauritius, who was the son of a Jewish rabbi in Germany, if there were any references to Jesus in the Hebrew records beyond what was written regarding him in Josephus ? He replied that his father had related to him an old tradition among the Jews to the following effect: That Joseph, on finding Mary had beeu untrue to him previous to their marriage, turned her away from his home ; that in her wanderings from Nazareth she was confined in a stable of a wayside house or inn at Bethlehem, whither she had gone for shelter; that Joseph afterwards relented and took her again to his home with the child; that when Jesus had arrived at puberty a rabbi took a fancy for him, and with the consent of Joseph and Mary sent him to a college or seat of learning to be educated for the piiesthood, where he so distinguished himself in his studies that he outstripped all his fellow-students, wdiose jealousy he thereby excited. Taking advantage of a rumour regarding his birth, they taunted him with being a bastard, which so stung him that he determined to leave and to devise plans for the founding of a sect in opposition to the Jewish religion; that his followers in their enthusiasm for Jesus designated him the King of the Jews. In consequence of this he was tried for sedition, and, in order to gratify the Romans, who were then the rulers over the Jews, he wras condemned to be crucified. That there were no records of miracles having been performed by him, nor of his having appeared after death, which the Jews looked upon as fabulous. I merely relate this as stated ' to me. Whether authentic or not makes little difference in my opinion, as I judge a man not by his birth, position, or teachings, but by his actions. Therefore, I say, all honour to him w7ho not only proclaimed the truth, but exemplified it by his actions ; and I feel proud to call him my elder brother.

v Jesus was not particularly liappy in his home surroundings. At the age of fifteen he left his home as a labourer, only to return again occasionally. He had, as you are aware, both brothers and sisters (half), but their feelings were not congenial to his own. With the exception of the love of his mother, which was mingled with reverence and awe, his home had little attraction for him. He joined a sect called Essenes— a school of students—and here he gained a great deal of knowledge. From this there developed a pure high nature that was all worthy of a true inspirer of truth, v-but no more.

Jesus was beautiful in form, with a mind that enabled him to grasp the highest attainments. He was strongly sympathetic, not only in his own small sphere, but in the world. He was the true and pure reformer of Nazareth ; but the times in which he lived were not in favour of advancement. Having been chosen, however, for a special work, he was surrounded by the best and most powerful influences and assistance. He was separated from the small circle to which he belonged, and was carried out among the wilds of the desert, where he held communion with the spirits, and saw and learned many things pointing out truths, and which told Him that God was the Deity, and his and our heavenly Father.

There has been so much superstitious error mixed up with truth, that it is necessary to explain that it was in a spiritual form that Jesus appeared^to his disciples,

and produced to them most striking manifestations. It was the spirit that was manifest ; hut they could not distinguish that it was not his mortal body they saw. Another error was this : the body of Jesus was not left in the tomb, it was removed by his friends ; it was his spirit that rose, and not his body.

The title Jesus lays claim to in spirit life is that of having been a true-hearted man. He left his impress on the times in which he lived ; but others have done the same—Plato in his calm philosophy, and Socrates, who was a man of even greater depth of thought than Jesus, whose pre-eminent quality was love. He wished every one to gain something that would assist them in their onward career. Does not this view of Jesus seem more natural—that he was mortal as you are mortal— than the orthodox view, or that which you have been taught to take of him ?

Jesus gave his life for his friends, and what have they done but erred ? He looks down with pitying love on all, and is trying to undo what ignorance and superstition have so long been doing ; his thoughts are still with us on earth, and the warm interest he took in mankind when upon earth is strengthened. He is endeavouring to counteract as much of the evil ignorance has caused as he can. Since my advent into spirit life I have felt the greatest interest in this subject. As I review the number of ages this superstition and ignorance have gone on, I can scarcely imagine that the errors of a little sect could have gone on growing ever

since. Oil, friends ! it is time that you turned over a new leaf. Jesus told you to judge for yourselves; he never intended that you should take everything you Avere taught as the truth. Fallible as are some of his sayings, you must remember that, cast about as he was in the world, he was sometimes not sufficiently able to resist the counter-influences with which he was surrounded. You cannot understand these things, but the spirits who hear me can. The most sublime utterances he gave forth were when he was surrounded by a chosen circle of friends.

There are in all ages, and in all ranks and conditions of life, certain qualities that fascinate and delight us more than those which are not so striking. The true cause of Jesus having been deified lies in his having really acted upon that which he had gravely studied. Had he lived in a quiet mode of life, had he married and settled down, and lived to a ripe old age, as I hope you will do, he might then have remained as an authority, but nothing more. You see, spirits, when free from all the errors of earth life, view the Christian faith in a very different light than those who are in the body. We can understand all the influences that have been brought to bear in this matter of Jesus’s divinity.

How few there are of you who obey the true teaching of Christ. Do you go through the world and give up all for Christ P Do you, by following him, allow it to interfere in any way with your worldly advancement ?

You do not; therefore such teaching is valueless. Oh, friends! there is a better time coming, when you will all know, as I do, and shall understand the great and glorious truths that so many of the bright spirits have come back to earth to tell you of. Jesus was a great reformer, beautiful in his day, but no more. You to-day are stronger in knowledge, greater in intellect, far more than Jesus taught in the time in which he lived ; yes, and you require more.

When Jesus spoke in trance, when his soul was lifted up, when he taught that beautiful philosophy, he had not the satisfaction that you have ; for you can, if you feel inclined, follow up every thought that is given here, because you possess the great advantages of education and spiritual instruction. I wish to tell you that the sooner you receive and recognise Jesus as he is, the sooner you will be in a position to advance. Lay not your conviction of folly at the feet of a dead man. Awake to the truth! Arise, friends, and receive the light that is flashed down from millions of spirit lights. You have gone on too long in selfish ignorance, and at the same time in intellectual development in other matters ; but now advance in the eternal light of truth.

Loog ago Jesus of Nazareth had to contend against superstition and ignorance ; but now let me ask you, why should it be necessary for God to oppress the world with sin, that for it lie should have to sacrifice his son, as you have been taught ? My friends, it is monstrous, most monstrous—X allude to tlie gigantic delusions tliat liave been built up on tbe trutb by superstition. Happily tbe time is approaching when superstition will be done away with. Go to tbe churches, go to the priests and preachers, and will they tell you of eternal progress? 1STo, my friends, they will tell you that by far the largest half of the people will be destroyed and eternally damned, as if spiritual bodies could be destroyed by material fire. There is eternal salvation and happiness for all mankind eventually !

Christ, in his knowledge of right and pursuance of it, followed the highest ideal of love, and followed it even to death itself. You are not asked to endure such hardships. You are simply required to endeavour, in your daily intercourse in life, to bear in mind that you are powerful for good, and strong to assist in the promotion of justice, and have always some influence with those among whom you live.2

O- Men are now learning, the same as the angels, the mighty secrets of the great future, and assisting those wondrous works which are so far beyond the comprehension of mortals; in neither thought nor language is it possible to convey for a moment one iota of their grandeur.

■' Truth in itself is the enlightening principle of all existence; it is so real and tangible that those who aspire to be its representatives and exponents should endeavour to fit their lives in accordance with the banner under which they seek to fight. Spiritualism in itself is so true, that no outward influence can injure it; but the cause is frequently injured by the conduct of those who profess to be its adherents.

“When I awoke in spiritual existence I could not realise that I had passed through the change called death. I thought it was a dream; and although I observed those who had passed away before me standing round me, I could not resist asking them if it was true that I had passed through death. They referred me to the incidents of my death-bed, and to the fact of their having passed away before me. I touched my sides and felt that my spiritual form was as substantial to me as my clay body. I moved my fingers, and found that they vibrated to my will the same as when on earth.

From the vague chaos of uncertainty,

Conjectures dark, and half-imagined truth,

I woke, to hear, to see, to feel, to know Myself a perfect man again :

Perfect in all those attributes that crown

Our human nature with nobility,

With the poor dross of earth cast back Into the world material, whence it sprang-.

Oh ! but for words to herald forth the joy That filled my being when I saw The glories of my blest inheritance.

The Wonders ! transcendental in their might;

The Beauty! all too rich for me to tell;

The radiant Hope sublime, callingme upwards Through the starry space “ ad infinitum”

In their majesty. The attributes

Of the great universe burst on my sight amazed,

Thrill’d my full heart with praise and love unutterable For the Great Giver of this glorious realm,

That I so late of earth should now enjoy.

[Pause.]

I only pause to lift ecstatic peans for the gift Of Life Eternal that so free is cast Among the multitudes of suffering men.”

“ Whenever souls have need of great reforms God gives it them. Spiritualism has come in answer to the needs of human souls, and out of spiritualism shall grow something diviner, grander, higher, purer than can at present be realised by those on earth.

The exercise of the various faculties in the spheres, in associations adapted for their development, is the most common means of spiritual growth.

“ If earth’s children were aware of the vast amount of good they are doing to spirits, especially to those to whom they are strongly attracted, and for whom they feel the deepest interest, they would be made happy by the knowledge that they are blessing their loved ones.

“ Divine truth will always flow more freely to minds where the love and practice of good already predominate.

“ Never believe even what an angel tells you, unless

i55

in consonance with, your reason and analogous to the results of your experience.

“ Spirits have not the power to throw their old traits away all at once, as you cannot throw away the had and good qualities within you.

There are spirits who have been hundreds of years in the lower spheres, and have not as much knowledge as many people on earth.

“ As the spirits of the higher spheres can come to earth, those in the lower are quite as able to come also ; the path is open to both. Why is this allowed P Because it cannot be stopped! The laws of the Supreme Being cannot he altered for good or had. They are there, and are open alike to the undeveloped spirits as well as to those who desire earnestly to do good.

“ These undeveloped spirits can deceive you by personating other spirits and relating to you facts, which they do by coming in strong rapport with you in sympathy. They do not read your brain, as often supposed, hut they catch, as it were, a thread of your thoughts, and can so bring strange circumstances up at times which you have entirely forgotten; but yet, then, those incidents of your past life lie like a stone under moss. The moss once stripped and the stone is bare.

“ Regarding spirits not having one belief in the spirit land, this is not to be marvelled at, for they pass away believing one particular faith, and awake in the sphere to which they have been brought still believing the same; and even in the spheres they preach and hold the

same doctrines as they did when upon earth. Take, for instance, a minister who stands up before you and teaches or rather tries to instil into you what he thoroughly believes. That minister passes away under the sleep of death, to awake in the spirit lands. Death being but a deep sleep, would he rise any different? ifo : the same faith he will cling to, for he cannot at once turn round and alter his opinions so soon. What does he do ? He remains in that state till light breaks out before him, and not till then can he change his creed. Now, supposing that spirit returns to earth in this state, and finds a medium through whom he can communicate, he will but confirm the views he held when upon earth.

“ Mediums are like the dry beds of brooks or pipes, open to receive whatever is passed through them—clean or foul water—therefore are irresponsible for the views or contradictions spoken or written through them, which will also be more or less tainted with the clay they come or pass through.

“ Always remember the channel, the difficulties, and the number of circumstances that have to be considered before these communications reach you. You are apt to look upon them in too much a spiritual light. They are not sacred ; they come through earthy lips. Why not look at them for what they are worth, and if your reason and common sense will not allow you to accept them, throw them aside and reject them at once?

“ Some of the biblical teachings are good ; but suppose, as is related in the case of Abraham, He, the Deity, calling for a child ! when millions of souls on earth lift up their voices to Him night and morn, when twice ten thousand million beings, and twice as many more, lift up their spiritual tongues to Him in those ethereal lands which you cannot see ! He, the Kuler of all creation, to call for a simple child, when He could call thousands of millions to.his presence ! A fig for them all, if these are the teachings they have brought to your hearts to believe. I have been in the spheres four hundred years. I have traversed space and time, have been through countless worlds, and yet, with all this vast experience I have gone through, I have not found that which was taught and so held up when I was on earth to be true in any shape or form.

“ I am here now standing a little on the right of the medium, and quicker than words can come from your mouth I could be thousands and thousands of miles away from you, and yet I have not one wing.*

“ There are many portions of the Bible that will give you strength in afflicting hours ; but, on the other hand, there are many that will worry and torment your earthly life    you banish all reason from your minds and

bow Jiown to superstition, thus trampling under foot God’s grandest gift—reason.

“Your life and salvation for eternity does not depend upon that book ; if it were so, they would be worth very little indeed ; but there is a spark of the living Deity in you, and you cannot press it out, you cannot kill it.

* This was in reply to a question, “Have angels wings?”

Believe in Clirist as your Saviour as you like, but all I ask you to do is to act up to the standard he set, when he lived on this earth. I adore his noble and godlike nature, and I wish that those on earth would copy the example he set, but many of your black or white robed clergymen preach him as a God and yet fail to follow his teachings. They do not even possess the slightest particle of his purity. Many who deck themselves with his truth are not fit to put a foot on the pavement he trod, yet they wrap and cloak him up in such a form that defies the penetration of men in general.

“ I do not ask you to believe, nor do I ask you to throw aside, what I tell you; but this opinion I will give: you cannot disbelieve the truth for ever, for remember you have sooner or later to leave this plane and traverse other spheres.

“ Man’s duty is to enjoy in moderation all the blessings a merciful Father has provided, materially and intellectually, and to assist in both these respects his neighbours, as far as in his power. Wines, beer, and spirits are frequently necessary, owing to the artificial state man now lives in. TJse but not abuse these, as well as all other of his blessings, with grateful hearts.

“Warn all persons, especially the young, against the beginnings of evil; it is these which open the flood-gates that in after life let down the rushing torrents of vice and crime which overwhelm the soul, and they may often be easily arrested in their early career.

“I would say to all earth children, be careful how you injure a brother or sister, for by so doing you will forge a chain that will bind you to them until you have made full restitution to them, and enabled them to stand where they would if you had not thus injured them.

I was in a hell inconceivably worse than the orthodox lake of fire and brimstone. The goadings of remorse that stung me as I looked upon one after another of my numerous victims, and experienced the agonies which they had suffered, multiplied ten-fold, can never be described.'

“ Selfish prayers, or those expressed for the benefit of an individual, sect, or nation, unless having a bearing on the universal good of mankind, are of no avail. Countless millions of prayers are daily offered on your earth wdiicli never rise higher than the ceiling of the edifices in which they are uttered. Prayer without corresponding effort, is like pity without the aid you can give to the sufferer. Prayer with inconsistency in one’s endeavours to good actions is mere mockery. In spirit life we pray in thought, word, and action, that we may be nearer and nearer to Him who alone is perfection.

“ You are not called upon to force the truth on your neighbour. If you point it out to him or to her, it is for him or her to receive or reject it; you have done your duty. But let your example confirm your teaching.

Those who have watched the motes in the sunbeam streaming in between the chinks of the door, and looked at the prismatic colours, have seen every colour of the rainbow, and beautiful tints blending harmoniously in the golden rays. It is tlie same with the human family; there is almost every variety of taste necessary to make a harmonious whole.

The progressive movement of free-thinkers and spiritualists now spreading over the earth’s surface must go universally and eternally forward—not stand still and retrograde, for that is impossible.

“ It must he the happy conviction of all who study this grand philosophy, how little after all life is made up for self. What can he more noble and worthy than to live for one another ?

Questions may be put to a spirit who cannot answer them, because he has had no experience in the subject referred to, and therefore does not possess the necessary knowledge.

“ Those persons who have obtained mediumship naturally, independent of a circle, are generally the best, and their mediumship the most reliable.

“ Never allow strange influences to come around, for in our spirit land there are as many peculiar spirits as there are men upon earth, and you have a large variety of them.

“ Many people erroneously imagine that directly the spirit departs from the body it leaves its old characteristics behind it; but it does not; it takes them with it. If it is deceiving here, it is deceiving there; if frivolous here, frivolous there.

“ Take, for illustration, a man who is going to be hanged for murder. Instantly the life or spirit is jerked out of him the world laughs, because they have sent him out of the world. Ay, fools ! that spirit can come back and be in their midst, and no one knows how many more he prompts to do the same deed.

“ Were a better class of men to rise on the earth, there would be a better class of spirits to inhabit and come to the spheres.

“ There is not a person who takes up the cause of spiritualism, either in Christian feeling or in a radical movement, who is not looked upon and branded ‘ Fool,’ if even the greatest intellect of the day. It is a common way of getting over difficulties by blasting a man’s character ; hut the truth must eventually prevail.

‘‘It is never the sensible act of a reasonable being to turn away from any serious argument without being perfectly convinced in his own mind on which side is truth.

“ When doubts arise, you cut them down without mercy, and healthy thoughts will spring up in their stead.

“ To our own conscience shall we each stand or fall.

“ Spirit life is existence in a higher and better form.

“ Small conception have the so-called great and learned of the earth, of the humble thankfulness with which they will, as I now do, place their feet on the first rung of the ladder of eternal progression in its true sense, and acknowledge their blindfoldedness in so positively opposing every innovation on their established opinions, which would, at best, draw them hut a link nearer t.ke plain from which we must all eventually start afresh. Doubly blessed the

M

spirit who lias so improved his opportunities and enlightened his intellect, that he can start, unshackled by prejudices and error obstinately persisted in, on the upward and onward course to pure light.

Truth is too precious to he trifled with, or for you to allow the slightest opportunity of sowing it to he lost. This is the light wherewith the world is to become enlightened.

“Life on earth, as it hath been truly said, is but a span; but, oh ! what an important step it is in the advance of the soul’s progression.

“ There are even now so-called dark spirits, who for ages have been roaming, and have not yet found the door through which they must enter on their advance to progression. But thejr are not lost. No, they will yet come out into the full blaze of the light that truth sheds abroad, and to them also shall it be given to be called the sons of God.

“ Work for immortality—it is a great and noble field. And how great your reward, when around you shall be gathered all those to whose development to light and wisdom your labour has opened the door more speedity. Accept your privileges as the pioneers of our cause ; for it is ever more blessed to give than to receive.

“ When spirits enter the progressive sphere they soon learn the beauty of receiving truth in its simplest guise. No learned sophistries, no technical terms, are necessary to convey to their hearts the knowledge of the greatness, the depths of the wisdom, and love of their all-wise

163

Father. And hence they, too, endeavour to clothe their instructions in the beautiful raiment of simplicity.

Pride mars all attempts at true investigation. “ Except ye become as little children, ye cannot enter the kingdom of light,” said our great prophet, Jesus.

“ It is not unbelief, so much as pride, that disturbs the harmony of a circle. An overwhelming opinion of our own judgment in all matters leads all far, far astray. Let all, therefore, use all diligence in casting it from them.

“ Fault has been found with some of the spiritual communications because their phraseology is not original; but it must be borne in mind that spirits make use of the language best suited to convey what they are desirous of expressing, no matter where it originated, in the same way as is frequently done by those in earth life.

“ Harmony in a circle is necessary before a simple manifestation can occur.”

The following communication was given through the organism of Miss C. A. Phillips, of Sandhurst. It was addressed more particularly to the workers in the local association and lyceum, but is applicable to all who desire to aid the progress of humanity.

“ Little band of Truth’s crusaders,

Bear your standard brave and true,    '

When oppressed by all invaders Who may strive to scatter you.

“From the brightness of advanced spheres glad spirits greet you. Brothers, sisters dear, kindred in being and in destiny, accept our loving counsel, and aspire to that fair birthright which a tender Father designs for each of you. Seek to be in all things true and holy, worthy, in thought and action, to be called ‘ The children of our God.’ Enjoy the beauties of your present state, and ever seek to render earth more lovely by your life* Win from the hallowed treasury of nature’s hoard full blessings for yourselves, and learn to read aright the wondrous lessons time has chronicled. Be earnest in a cause you find replete with every consolation, scattering day by day such blessings as you can bestow wherever your path may be. Bury sorrow, hope again ; turn tears to smiles ; refresh the weary; render balm to pain; nourish the hungry; give to others the draught your means allow; strengthening the erring with kind aid and counsel; and to those who feel the bitter sting of sin’s remorseful pangs, whatever solace you may render them give from your heart. Go bravely on, undaunted and serene, through the brief pilgrimage of earth, to those bright regions from which we return to aid your footsteps on the happy way. Progression is the portion of us all. Receive our teachings in the kindly spirit they are offered, but regard us only as faithful guides when we uphold the mighty laws which our God has given to lead us to himself. When we declare reason and justice, love and wisdom, the attributes of the Deity, which make men free—when we come freighted with kind intents, in deed and word, to win your souls to higher themes, your hearts to peace—believe us, and rejoice that spirit friends have come back to lead you on the way to heaven.”

165

The following are a few examples of various communications received by me through the organization of Mr. J. B. Harris when in deep trance, referred to in a former portion of this book. I may state, Mr. Harris’s entrancement is not effected by his will power, or by the mesmerizing or magnetizing of any one in the body, but solely by the influence of his controlling spirits, generally by his spirit guide Robinson, whom my daughter has frequently seen and described as waving his spiritual hands over Mr. Harris’s head previous to his being entranced, or in other words magnetizing him. Mr. Harris, who is an illiterate young man, is quite unconscious of what is spoken through him when in trance, and does not even understand the meaning of many of the words expressed through his organization.

The following was uttered through Mr. Harris, in trance, at Park House, Wellington Parade, Melbourne, on an evening that was set apart for one of a series of lectures which were being received descriptive of actual experience in the spheres, and which will form the second part of this work, the chief controlling spirit feeling unable to do justice to the above-named subject owing to the temporarily impaired state of the medium’s health:—

“ Good evening.3 In consequence of the medium’s

brain being disturbed by some external cause, we shall not be able to give the usual lecture to-night, but one will be delivered by the spirit ‘Time,’ who has been long waiting for such an opportunity as the present to deliver a discourse on a subject, in connection with which and spiritualism there is much misconception.”

(Time.) “ Good evening friends. Ladies and gentle-merb This is the first time I have had an opportunity of getting any of my lectures reported since I have been enabled to pass them through the medium’s organization. As you say upon earth, ‘ It is an ill wind that blows no one any good,’ so the impaired state of our medium, interfering to prevent the leading control continuing this evening the series of lectures in course of delivery, has presented a favourable opportunity to me for passing through the medium’s organization that which I have long desired to do, so that it may remain in print, where those who choose to read the pages may have the benefit of studying the subject—peering well into and criticizing it.

“ Ilundreds, yea thousands, of those cycles, or periodical spaces of time, which are termed years, may elapse, and be viewed by those spirits whose reminiscences can revert so far back by a different estimate to that of man; for the most extreme longevity of a human life upon earth seems to a spirit but an evanescent portion of time, a subject which spirits consider by the metewand of eternity. Among the rest of earthly troubles, time, as considered in connection with an individual’s existence here, seems to us but ephemeral; for eternity is indelibly engraven upon our minds—eternity encircled by a girdle immeasurable, unknown, and unaccountable by man or spirit.

“ Man is too apt to look upon existence here as the end of all, and that life terminates when he ceases to feel it in the earthly body. He has not been accustomed to recognise the distinction between that which is giving him life and that which supports the mere outward coating.

“ Under more favourable circumstances I might have been enabled to pass this discourse through the medium in more definite and appropriate language than that which is likely to emanate from him to-night. But rough and uncouth as it will be, with its, perhaps, mispronounced words and ungrammatical sentences, I present it to you, requesting that consideration and courteous attention which each of you would desire were von similarly placed.

“ To the study and consideration of this lecture I wish to call the particular attention of those who are in the habit of casting a stone, fulsome and dirty, at that cause called spiritualism.

“With this brief introduction I commence my messages, which will chiefly refer to that unjust slander against spiritualism wdiich has been so rife among its opponents. I allude to that abomination termed ‘ Free Love/ but which, in reality, infers ‘Free Lust/ It is said that the adherents to the philosophy wish to

*

abrogate the necessary law of earthly marriage. Now, i am sure it will be apparent to those who have read, however superficially, the literature and teachings of spiritualism, that this is, so to speak, the last resource of the enemy, who wishes to curdle and bring into a sour state that which is, beyond doubt, one of the most glorious gifts showered upon man, opening up the light, beauty, and truth of eternal life, which awakes in the vast echoes of time, surrounding and binding all in the bonds of truth and love.

“ The body of man is merely a substance, a coating or clothing to enwrap something more sublime, and which, having served its purpose, is doffed and thrown aside; for, as the body passes through time, so must it pass away. As the morning dawns upon the night, and the night steals in upon the daylight, so surely must this coating be divested and left for ever.

“Now, we will first examine the body in its physical state, and see what it is composed of. The learned philosophers of the day say that the body is composed of earthly substances, and that it changes entirely in every ten years, some say in every seven. We who possess clairvoyant or spiritual power estimate that it changes every ten years; but, for mere argument, assert that it alters every twenty years. In a matured man or woman there is not a particle of that which was wont to walk about twenty years ago ! Chemistry has taught, and rightly so, that the identity of the physical body consists, not in a sameness of particles, but in the

169

same kinds of elementary matter, combined in the sa'tne proportion, and having the same form and structure; for the particles of your bodies are often changed during your lives (supposing them to attain any degree of longevity), yet no one infers that the aged individual has not the same body as in infancy.

“There are certain affinities of the body which will account for the mastery of the mind by the latter, for the mind is controlled by this power of which I have spoken: the mind, the soul, the essence of divinity, being only as a babe or infant under the predominating power of the animal passions. It has not attained the strength of command, it has not been brought to a perfect mastership to control that which should always be subordinate to it, and the body, whose constituent principles are obtained from its mother earth, being allowed to assume licentious sway, unchecked by that authority which nature has implanted in the spirit, usurps dominion, and reduces to slavery the noblest part of the quality of the man, whose mind is retained in a species of thraldom, until it is enabled, by the force of its inherent power, to assert its true and natural position—the guidance of its bodily subject. The spirit may be willing, but the flesh is weak. Why so P Because, being composed of the different substances in chemistry to which I have alluded, it naturally leans, if unrestrained by its mentor, to the influence of those affinities wfliich Deity has placed in nature.

“ To the analytical mind—one who searches, investigates, and compares — man would seem, by tbe manifold qualities which, he manifests, the similarity of properties and passions which he indicates, to have been the joint product of the aggregate development of every animal that treads the earth; for in the demonstrations of his mind—in his anger, his revenge, and desires, his cunning, his ingenuity, his courage, hypocrisy, and other attributes—are evidences that he possesses something of almost every animal that breathes on your globe. These protean passions, allowed to run riot in any individual, create a most dangerous member of any community. To such an one, even if gratified in abundance with this world’s goods, a forbidden object instantly becomes the very crown of his wishes. Why ? Because he has not been taught to curb and restrain his appetites and passions, and to yield to the better influence of the divine spark which would render him master of what you might term the chemical particles of his physical nature, and he has been taught to believe all sorts of disreputable dogmas which have discoloured his spiritual frame. He has been taught to believe in this and that; but the important fact of the soul resting Avithin and independent of the fleshy particles with which it is encumbered has not been instilled into his mind.

“I will, in the next place, speak of what is termed ‘ Free Love.’ I abhor the sight of it, the name of it, the very mention of it. It is not a subject worthy of man’s consideration or study, and I repel with re-lV

doubled force and vigour tbe defamatory accusation which, has been levelled at spiritualists.

“ Untold numbers there are, victims of that ceremonial law designated marriage, which pompously unites man and wife, ‘ until death doth part them,’ who have lifted their voices against that principle which binds flesh to flesh, but which never could bind mind to mind, which never could cement soul to soul, which could never weld the chain of affinity and true love whose links none can sever.

“How true it is that the formal connecting links of man are prone to snap before a superior power, let myriads bear witness ! But they whose minds are linked together in true affinity are united for eternity— nothing can sunder them. All those laws which are made upon your planet for the ruling of man to bind him to one certain thing are but ephemeral, if the true and natural law or basis does not exist or rest there ; for upon that stone, and no other, can true and ineffaceable affinity and love be based. Oh, ye who have linked and tied so many !. how little do ye know the responsibility that rests upon your shoulders when pronouncing those religiously grave words of vain show which are said to be essential to consummate the conjugal state ! But, alas! how often has the frailty and inefficacy of such stultiloquent formality been verified ! How often have the links, ‘ which no man is to put asunder/ been severed! and that which was considered so sacred, and was surrounded at first with so much

pomp and ceremony, lias been annulled ; when, perhaps, the least guilty have to bear the weight of the culpable error that has been committed, and whose lives consequently become a misery, being nothing else but pains and sorrows during the remainder of their sojourn upon the earth.

Let us examine how we can alter this state of things, or, at any rate, our ideas of altering it. When once you have thoroughly realised a knowledge of the laws which govern your being, when you have become capable of controlling those manifold passions which are too apt to agitate you—when these can be restrained by the inherent force of the mind—then you need no law, you need no ritual tie, to bind two hearts in one, for an all-powerful attraction will suffice to draw them together, and indelibly cement that union which harmony is destined to perpetuate beyond the shades of death. They who truly regard each other are proof against any troubles that might arise if they could be borne in conjunction. All the world may come against them, but cannot push them asunder. Their hearts are drawn nearer and closer. The ties of affinity are wrought in such a manner, that the mere animal passions are subdued and crushed. How F Because the divine spark, the soul, the essence of the Great Creator, is there supreme master of the flesh, and it is not the laws of country or the particular locality in which the}” happen to reside that have effected such an union, but it has been realised by cherishing and

173

cultivating that pure and grateful essence of the Divinity which He has placed there. It is said that the laws of country demand you should do so-and-so: but we, and you also, know perfectly well that if jewels be exposed, and a command issued that they must not be touched, a desire instantly possesses many to surreptitiously seize upon the forbidden property. The mere command does not suffice to rule their minds and passions. Ho, because the propensities of the body have been allowed to assume supremacy over that which due culture would have made to assert absolute and just dominion.

“ Those who hurl such a rancorous missile as Free Love against spiritualism, should pause and ponder ere they descend to again demean themselves by any similar repetition. Although its injustice and untruth are too apparent to all but the most superficial observers, yet the ranks of the opponents to that philosophy are liable to be extended by those whose reasoning powers have been allowed to lapse into a state of imbecility, and who imbibe the topics of the day upon trust. Thev may well examine the case upon their own side, and analyze the doctrines that are taught with regard to marriage, and eliminate the stultifying principles which are continually being exposed by the innumerable examples of unhappy and ill-assorted unions which are patent to every ordinary observer. Can they not conceive of a time arriving in the history of the world when conjugal felicity will obtain thereon regardless of the futile trammels of ceremonious ritual, without

being bound by any laws or fixed rules other than those of affinity and love? Troubles, no doubt, will occasionally assail and disturb the calm of the most serene of nuptial lives; but a true harmonial couple, having overcome the passions of the flesh, and who are cemented in unison and concord, can steadfastly repeat to each other, ‘ I having taken thee, and thou having taken me,’ we will rest for ever in the great love which is animating our souls, bestowed upon us by the Great Father of all light and truth and goodness. Until such a sentiment, uttered from the depth of the soul, becomes of universal application among the children of earth, they fall far short of the ideal of love and truth. They have not obtained the mastery of their minds; their minds have not obtained dominion over the body. The spirit, which should adorn it, becomes a slave to the body. It is, for the time being, useless—it is worthless. The passions which develop within gain such an ascendancy over the vital faculties, that they henceforth are crowned as the idols of their lives. Such a state is the very antithesis of that where the mind is in the ascendant and rules the body in the better sense. To those who hurl the stones of ridicule I say, Beware! for all your false mummery, such I will term it, and they are the kindest words I can use, and all the rites and ceremonies in the world, cannot bind two hearts that are not affinities. If they had the power to blend two rivers running in opposite directions, they would be powerless to perform the other most unnatural feat.

\


I say, friends, tliat there is a vast responsibility attached to this subject and the results therefrom, in connection with those who are lending their energies to perpetuate this monstrous system, that does not terminate this side the grave, but which launches forth into all eternity !

“ Those whom you choose to elect and bring to your side as a life partner, try to cultivate with them the harmony of peace and love, and endeavour (these are words I wish to have carefully recorded) to cherish and wreathe it around your nature for the sake of the future existence, so that those who are of kindred natures may be reunited in the glorious worlds beyond, where those whose bonds here have been cast aside and broken, like spiders’ webs, will find more fitting companions to whom they will be united in such a manner that neither spirit nor nature’s laws will demand that they shall be separated, but they will bask in the vast expanse of love and amity, whose serenity shall not be disturbed by the slightest ripple of trouble.

“ The sooner you cultivate and respect these laws of affinity and love, and repeal the absurd customs of your day, the better will it be for the world in which you are sojourning, where all should learn to encourage that which is pure, good, and holy.

“To those, whether under the garb of spiritualism or otherwise, who calumniate spirits by propagating the atrocious libel that the latter recognise or support the principle of Free Love, I urgently say, with all the vehemence becoming a spirit, I deny it, I stamp it out as the basest lie, the most infamous untruth that could possibly be charged against those who have passed away. What we maintain (but which through ignorance and mistake has been misrepresented) is that the laws which are considered binding upon earth are as mere chains of sand, and never can keep you united in the coming existence if your hearts and souls are not blended in one. I have finished.

“ Having ended this lecture I wish to remark that I have been at the mercy of an uneducated young man, who, to a great extent, clothes in his own language those sentiments which I have passed through him. The brain of the medium I have utilized; but I have had comparatively little control over the language uttered. The faculty of expression in him is as yet undeveloped, but in time I am confident of securing to him the power of speaking inspirationally, and in a manner that will take many by surprise.

(Invocation.) “O Spirit! Thou Great and Eternal Maker of the Universe ! whose transcendent existence to man is little known ; whose glory is in all Eternity, reaching o’er the arched vaults of immeasurable space; shed abroad upon us the impress of Thy inexhaustible love, that we may rejoice in its mellow light for ever. Glory surrounds Thee as a girdle which naught can remove. The frown of the world is powerless against that man whose soul is supported by Thy tender care; whose eternal beauty and love have marked their presence upon his brow. We fall upon our knees, and lift up our eyes and voices to Thee, and call, ‘ 0 Father! Thou who

art so far above us, bestow Thy eternal love and truth upon mourning humanity !9 Thou viewest with no partial eye, for Thou knowest no difference in complexion or creed. Thou art not only marked with a coronet and crown that none can tear away, but Thy presence is evident in the smallest plant, as well as the least of the animal creation. Man—presumptuous man—however, will not allow that Thy presence is so manifest. The intelligence displayed by the minutest of insects is far beyond man’s conception. It is there, and by whom placed there is only indicated by that glory which none can truly estimate, though reflected in every man’s and every spirit’s soul. 0 God !    0 Deity ! The duty which

we tender to Thee falls immeasurably short of that which we should render; but Thou still continuest to pour upon us a never-ending stream of Thy pure love. Good night.”

Controlled by Spirit Robinson:—

Good evening. I have to convey a message with regard to the last lecture, viz. the one given by the spirit who has named himself ‘ Time.’

In passing the impressions through the brain, reference was made to certain gases or substances of which man’s body is composed. Owing to the unfavourable state of the medium’s mind, the lecturer was unable to express his ideas as clearly as he wished. You will, therefore, please append to that lecture the supplementary remarks which I am now deputed to make.

“ The body of man being composed of certain substances pertaining to this earth, has naturally an attraction earth-

N

ward ; and associated with, that body for the time being is an uncompounded principle with which nothing upon this planet can affinitise. This elementary principle should keep watch and ward oyer the animal nature—the less sublime portion of the duality—of man, who, when he cultivates those unworthy passions which become supreme in influence over the attributes of his more exalted being, whose impulses and aspirations are disregarded, does so because the flesh, bones, and blood are composed of those particles of earth compounded to clothe the spirit, which too often yields to the preponderating influences of its physical nature—a nature whose organic creation inclines it towards affinity with its origin, which seduces it into the degenerating propensities of those forms of life beneath it in sublimity.

“ This will partly account for the variable passions of men and women upon this earth; for while there are some who religiously guard the spirit portion—the pure emanation from the Deity—from all compromise with the impure inclinations of the material part of their nature, there are others who allow those inclinations unrestricted sway, leading them into all kinds of unworthy excesses derogatory to humanity.

“ Cases sometimes arise when nature is, to a certain extent, responsible for the eccentricities of individuals whom affinity has drawn together very much in the same way as the magnet attracts its affinity. Men who cultivate certain foibles and vices generally become in affinity with those who are of the same inclinations; they, as it were, row, or pull in tlie one boat upon the same stream, and verify the oft-quoted expression of ‘ Birds of a feather flocking together.’ ”

Utterances through Mr. Harris (in trance), at Park House, Wellington Parade, Melbourne, by the spirit of

William Shakespeare :—

“ Good evening, friends ! Some time ago I promised that I would address you upon the subject of Life, and impart thereon the spirit views I have acquired since passing away from this planet.

There is something beautiful in and something to be learned from life, which is not the boasted thing that man has held up to view so long. It is a subject little understood by him ; and if he would properly realise and fathom the beautiful secrets clustering about it, consideration and study during his whole existence would be absolutely necessary to enable him to attain such a consummation.

“ Life, in one sense, is like a flower, which throws out a fragrance grateful to man’s sense of smell; it is not to be grasped, it is not to be held between the fingers, as man thinks it is, nor is it to be found in the shape that man would wish it.

“ To attain a knowledge of Life—such a knowledge as man is capable of acquiring—will entail upon the student the necessity of a searching, observant inquiry, which, if duly carried out, will be rewarded with the satisfaction of having gathered those truths which nature’s great laws present to all.

“ Man, unnaturally, takes all for granted which is told him. He does not endeavour to seek those glowing beams of ever-sparkling light which are constantly bursting forth before his earthly vision. He is not, and never will he, fastened for ever, or throughout eternity, to any circumscribed sphere, but must constantly ascend higher and higher, till he reaches a loftier and brighter state than his most sanguine hopes could ever have offered to him.

“ Who, that has not realised it, woidd believe that life was contained within the cold husk of a seed-pod ? Yet place that inanimate-looking germ in the bed, and among the surroundings which nature demands, and it springs forth in due time a thing of life ! Man is a being that must develop gradually, as a flower (which, indeed, he resembles) that bloometh in all its beauty. If he endeavours to penetrate the source whence that flower springeth, he perceives nothing but cold and darkness around it. When, however, that once lifeless-looking source has become a sprouting germ, and, obedient to the tacit mandates of nature, has been succeeded by a matured and lovely flower, the vision of man is gratified by beholding the blooming rays of light which proceed from that thing of beauty. The fragrance coming from the flower is a mystery to him ; he can inhale it by one sense, but he cannot feel it by that of touch. Its sweet perfume is poured forth profusely, but it is unseen by man.

Life neither ends in perfect bliss nor endless torment, the alternatives so peremptorily dealt out by self-constituted and presumptuous teachers. But it rather brings

man, after lie lias passed away from this present state, to one he can more easily understand. He reaches a condition which enlarges his powers of comprehension. Ilis perceptive faculties are enhanced to such a degree that many things which he felt a yearning and longing desire to know are understood by him. A clearer knowledge of the mysteries pertaining to his present state will then have been opened to him.

“In my travels afar into beautiful regions I have searched and surveyed the scenes which have met my wondering gaze, and in all I have been gratified by the sight of life. I have travelled over hills and mountains in all their romantic grandeur, and rambled over nature’s verdant fields, and there I have seen life bursting forth in all its beauty. I have also stood upon the roaring billows of the mighty ocean, and there I could see life. I have dived into the bed of the deep, where the eyesight of man could not penetrate, and have beheld the various forms of life as vivid and strong in the fathomless ocean as I have in the dale. I have taken flight on eagles’ wings and flown through nature’s wide expanse, and everywhere have I seen the mystic finger pointing still. I have searched now for two hundred years and more into the vast mysteries that seem to surround nature, guarded in a frame of beauty, the arcana of whose lustrous gems bid defiance even to our powers of penetration. Into the bowels of the earth have I searched, and there I have discerned life.

“Simply because a thing is, to man’s vision, void of animation (or what lie erroneously terms such) he deems it destitute of life. But life is within, it is not dead ; the root still lives, though the flower may he taken off. It is the same with the life of man, whose few short years on the earth are not to he envied. The life of man is so little understood by its possessor that he deems life to he extinct when the body is dead; simply because the eyes do not flash with magnetic light, the fingers do not move as in the beauty of life, the feet no longer hold up the manly form they once supported, because action is lost. What has gone ? It is life, certainly; but life of the body merely ; and the spirit which animated that body has soared to regions better suited to its existence. That lifeless remnant lying there stiff and cold is on a par with the carcase of one of your lower animals. See you any difference beyond the shape and symmetry of the two P They are both dead, and will be taken and placed out of sight to prevent them becoming obnoxious to the senses of the living. But whence has the life flown that once inhabited the body of your fellow-man ? Ye gods of earth—ye learned mortals—tell us the destiny of that life ! I send the question back. In vain. You cannot tell; you cannot penetrate beyond the corpse of the man and of the animal which lies before you. The former has been cherished, and has felt the pulses of life beat through it; but the survivors know nought of the spirit which once did quicken it. The life of the dog, who follows liis master gently and kindly, when extinct, is so for all eternity ; it finds attractions in other vivid forms of life.

Not so with man, whose transference from earth is succeeded by a more superfine and sublime state, fitting it for higher lands. Man, very likely, has wasted a life which has been given to him only for a short time on earth—a life which, compared to eternity, is but as a drop in the ocean covering so large a portion of your world. Oh, ye hills! echo back.    Eternity—never ending! ever

budding ! ever pouring forth its growth of years.

“ Too long has man ignored the purpose of his being; too long has he been oblivious of the destiny of his existence. lie has lacked the faith of the faithful dog in following and obeying his master; but has responded merely either to the irrational dictates of his own selfwill, or the equally irrational and selfish commands of those whom he has allowed to become his teachers.

“ There has always been a dulness pervading the existence of man, engendered by a feeling of ignorance pertaining to the life beyond when he leaves his human form.

“ What is life, then ? Whence did it come ? I will tell you. Life is the spirit ! The spirit is a portion of the Deity, and, like the seed I spoke of, is surrounded with earth and air. It developes itself until it reaches the perfection of the flower : it is developed until the spirit has outgrown and burst the shell that held it, and then departs for other lands ; but is capable, subject to certain conditions, of returning to this and communicating with its inhabitants. This, then, is not the life which you have heard expatiated upon; this is not the life which has been held up for your belief. The life that lias been taught for your guidance I am here to contradict.

If has been told you that a credit and debit account is kept by the Deity for and against every one of his creatures in a book, where every action of a man’s life is noted down by a ‘ recording angel ’ ! I do not envy the duties pertaining to that angelic scribe. And I do not begrudge the greatest philosopher the time—if he would but attempt the task—of reckoning up the dimensions of this great book, that is said to contain the recorded actions committed by every man and woman, and see that everything they had done—good and bad, right and wrong—was there exactly recorded ! I rather think that that volume would be of a bulky form ! It would certainly occupy many years of the philosopher’s time ere he had accomplished the reckoning of such a book.

Man’s choice of abodes in the great hereafter has been limited to two localities—heaven and hell! This circumscribed choice has been constantly kept before his eyes, to the detriment of his happiness and progress as a spiritual being.

“ If he would but try and analyze this for a few short moments, the analysis must eventuate in the inculcation of a most debasing and derogatory estimate of the Creator.

Those who have professed to teach him have not opened out to man a path which he could tread with credit to himself and with just and worthy reverence towards Deity. Tlie path that has been presented to him has been a most deviating and erroneous way, unworthy all concerned. I ask how is it that, after the lapse of long ages of instruction, the mind of man is not in a better state of righteousness than it is at this day ? for it never was in a more wretched state than at this present period in some portions of the globe. I say unto those who are responsible for this, Behold the life that made the pulse to throb ! ’ It was the spirit that held the form, and it has gone ! Is life abruptly ended at this crisis P Ho. It rises gently, slowly, and surely; it has undergone no more sudden a change than nature is in the habit of practising. Have you pointed out that path to man ? Have you shown him that way which would enhance the value and happiness of life, that would make it worth living for, that would ensure the development of his spirit as he cultivates the helpful, advantageous, and worthy actions of this life ? Do this, and reap your reward.

“Many say that spiritualism is true, and, being weary of this life, are anxious to be released from the existence which retains them here. ‘ What would I not give to be released from this life! is the fervent ejaculation of such a one. To that man I say : What was your life given you for ? Have you no other inclination but your own selfish feelings to gratify ? There are many things for you to do before you pass away.

“ What is the cause of man’s having been kept in the dark for such a prolonged period as regards this life and the life hereafter ? Simply because he has been too culpably fond of accepting that which has been given him as truth, relying solely on so-called sacred writings/ traditions, and the asseverations of selfishly interested teachers, instead of exercising that God-like power which would enable him to infer consequences from premises. I allude to that divine endowment termed reason, which has been too long obscured, too long allowed to remain in abeyance. No one, with any pretence to conscience, can deny the just and absolute claims of reason, whose sun will one day burst through the clouds, shedding forth his glorious, lustrous light, and illumine the way for the emancipation of intellects hitherto shackled by iron chains, which have enslaved them during such a weary and lengthened duration. Too long have these iron fetters retained men’s intellects in bondage, making them say and profess belief in what they were taught. Too long hath man leaned on the merits of martyrs whom he hath not thoroughly understood. Too long has he been bound to the old stagnant standard of teaching, which he should disregard and throw with shame from his face. Too long hath man been the tool of others’ ingenious brains, who have held out specious hopes, flattering promises, or the dire alternative of endless torments if he deviated from the path marked out for him. But the day is coming—is not very far distant—when man will be enabled to wisely discern the gold of truth, and refuse acceptance of all metal below the true standard.

“But life is not the thing man deems it to be ; and this is what we want to do : we are desirous of throwing out a light of such brightness as will admit of his understanding the true importance of the life within him. This is the work we have taken in hand to accomplish; and we are anxious to impart to man a knowledge of the fact that, apart from the physical body, lie will appear in the next world the exact counterpart of that which lie was ere passing away.

“A true conception of life, then, is not what man has heretofore, or even in these modern days, realised or comprehended; and his ideas concerning the spirit—the most important £>art of his dual nature, and which is a portion and a sample of Divinity—have even been more vague and confused.

“ As taught in the Christian religion, man has, in a certain degree, the likeness of his Maker in one light; but never yet having come face to face with Him, I cannot vouch for the truth of this, although I sought for Him—not in church, in kirk, nor in chapel, but in nature’s works; and there have I seen, there do I know, beyond all the dispute of your great and scientific brains (even giving them due honour for what they know), that I, William Shakespeare, have found the living monument of Deity.

“ When upon earth, the running stream, as it poured with precipitancy down the ravines in its pellucid and sparkling garb, was to me a scene of inexpressible beauty. To me the thrill of the blackbird and thrush, as they sent forth their wild and untrained notes of music, and the song of the soaring lark towering high above the common limits, were emblems of the Deity. And I fain would have aspired to emulate that lark, and taken wings with which to revel in nature’s beauties. Yes, I felt how great, how unutterably great, is the Deity, whose consistency is reflected in the fixed and immutable order of nature—how great, indeed, are his works ! And thus my mind would take flight, and fly to higher scenes than any I had witnessed. Then would it aspire to something beyond the ken of earth, and enjoy visions of brightness, transporting my mortal senses from the sphere to which my body was confined. I soared to scenes and expansions such as were not ordinarily indulged in by the mortal mind ; so high, indeed, that upon quiet and grave reflection I deemed many of these visions but as wild flights of the imagination ; but since then those visions have burst with truth upon my spiritual eyesight, endorsing the conceptions I had formed of the Deity, whom I saw robed in beauty, innocence, and truth. JNo traitor to a cause ; no king reigning on a throne; nor crowned with jewels so sparkling.

“ 0 Deity ! like Thy works, Thou art truly simple; and Thy truth and simplicity wrap Thee in an armour which cannot be penetrated. Thou, having placed us here and those there, know full well the countless kingdoms beyond the physical eyesight, all revolving with precision in their illimitable orbits and grandeur unspeak-189

able. Speak Thou, with all Thine eloquence, to the heart of man, and raise in him the torments that will not let him rest until he hath worshipped Thee in verity, and wiped the stain away from Thy name. Make him to feel how small—how comparatively insignificant—within himself he is; that something more than a mere dependence upon the form which clothes his spirit is necessary to fit him for his new and deathless state. Impress, 0 Deity ! upon his mind the inevitable fate hereafter awaiting him, when he cannot escape the alternative of some kind of reckoning ; but not the reckoning of either eternal flames or eternal bliss as he has been taught.

u Life Hereafter.—We feel it difficult to place words through the medium’s organization that can bring your mind in contact with things that are invisible to you. We feel it hard indeed to leave the work undone, knowing how anxious some of you are to have descriptions of scenes in the spirit world. We realise the difficulty of our task when attempting to portray these scenes with words in your language, which is utterly inadequate to convey to you what we would wish. You, in your earthly career, cannot imagine the glory of these lands— these worlds—from which we come. To picture them to you is fraught with difficulty; indeed, ’tis an impossibility for human speech to do justice to them.

aWe will take you to a spirit that has passed away from a life of which it had no need to be ashamed ; and also to one who, having passed away, has almost every thought and action of his past career to be ashamed of.

“When the first-mentioned spirit awakes it rises by strong currental tides of magnetic power, and is gently wafted to a land that suits it in both affinity and. mind. He is then gently taken by the hand, and safely led to that which he never understood and could not embrace. In some cases the spirit is not brought to spiritual life so quickly as your imagination, perhaps, would lead you to suppose; but as a star in a distant sky becomes more vivid-looking the nearer it is approached, so the spirit, as its faculties become gradually developed, understands the beauty and the power which leads it on far into time and space. How sublime to witness the birth of such a spirit—to see it cast from itself matter which held it so long ! Bursting from the earthly form, expanding in beauty and in grace, it feels that unbounded inquiry is opened out to it. It has to contend, however, with the attractions of those ties which bound it to earth: their total severance is not so easily effected, for they stir within the spirit occasionally a longing desire to return to its birth-sphere.

“ How, he who passes on the other hand—see him ! Behold his dark frown of bigotry and prejudice, as he gathers his magnetic force around! Witness the sullen silence in his face ! His form is stunted, small of growth, deformed in look; for his actions on earth had made him so. Like the flower that has been so long kept pruned down, he cannot, like the other pure spirit, rise to nature’s crown, so beautifully pendent above it. How is this? Because the spirit in its crude state was cramped, and

could not on its emergence expand as did tlie other, to the natural development of an unsullied spirit. See, as it rises, what a marked difference between its form of ascension and that of the chaste soul. He finds, when he awakes to consciousness, that there is no hell, that heaven is a myth. Think you that he who is like this can have affinity with beauty P No ; for when he has attained his limit of ascension, he is drawn to companions of the same state of mind, whom earthly influences had blinded to all perceptions of moral beauty, and whose corrupt influences require stringent and severe measures to eradicate, to cleanse their possessor of the impurities which impede his development to a better state.

“ The clouds burst asunder with magnificence and grandeur ! Behold yon angel in brightest glory coming from the silvery regions beyond ! See how she shines ! Ay, watch yonder clouds giving way beneath a tide of beauty and magnetic ray. She ascends and descends, hovering above and around him, wafting into his spiritual being a flood of celestial light, which emanates spontaneously from her pure form, controlled by the laws of love and affinity. She gently strikes with magnetic influence his spirit. Then he beholds the real state of his life as it was, which he can read as from an open book; and he clearly perceives that each action of his life, by an invariable law of nature, assisted to mould that saturnine reputation of personal qualities with which he entered his spirit abode. She awakes within him a kindred feeling of love, and bursts the chain with a touch by the influence of her purity and truth; and he finds that he has indeed awakened to the sincere reality of spiritual life.”

The medium then, after a pause, spoke the following in a low, soft yoice, resembling that of a young child :—

“ They told me, as the wind came rustling by with mournful tale (and the song of the birds, even, seemed to say), ‘You must die.’ I, in my symplicity, did not know, or did not feel the fear that those 'words expressed. They hung about my bed, and as I saw the tears trickle down their sorrowful faces, they still said, ‘ You must die.’

I could not understand,

When they took me by the hand,

And often thus did say,

‘ You will die and fade away/

A little time upon this earth indeed was mine, and, though young, it seemed hard to die. Those around me

in grief bade me adieu, as they thought, for ever......

But they were in error; for ’twas but a sleep, from which I awoke, with kind and gentle beings around me once again.

Oh! the beautiful blossoms about my bed,

When I awoke and found I was not dead ! ”

Shakespeare then proceeded :—

“ First when I existence or spiritual life did feel, it was not like that which you describe. Mine was one of utter, blank despair, when consciousness came to my mentality. It was an existence I could not comprehend.

“ Before my advent in the spirit world I felt a sensation, sinking, deepening, as the moment slowly but surely drew nigh. ’Twas not the fear I had to die, but it was the uncertainty attending the life beyond, from which no news had been brought to me. This uncertainty, coupled with a dim belief in the doctrines which had been instilled into my mind (and which I could not wholly shake off), awoke in me a dread of what might follow the sleep of death, and a fear of Him whom I should love ; for if those doctrinal indignities which had been so carefully and incessantly impressed upon me regarding the wrath and vengeance of the Deity had been truth,

My spiritual form would, then and there,

Have inhaled confusion and brimstone air.

A thousand torments swept o’er my fancy’s maddened brain Until I woke and found myself alive again.

There seemed to be worlds coming from the beautiful sky,

and I saw peopled worlds in the planets afar.....

I heard the sweet chords of a thousand voices softly stealing through the pliant air, awaking within me the spiritual principle.

“ When spiritual vision first dawned upon me I found myself surrounded by many of the friends who had preceded me, and whose love and attention then were most grateful.

“ When I had become thoroughly conscious, I studied well my spirit state, and found that it was neither heaven nor hell; but a halcyon calm seemed to permeate around, and I uttered a sigh of relief to find that which I had considered worthless had gone to eternal life.

o

“Ye spirit children—all those who are here—it is your work to arouse within yourselves every feeling of energy (and you who are on earth help us to carry out our work), and deliver to the perishing, thirsty mouths that spiritual water which will slake the craving, agonising doubt which exerts such a parching influence upon humanity here below. Wc will gradually succeed ; we will snap the bars that limit the exercise of man’s reason, and which have held it so long; we will point to the path which leads to brilliant, beaming truth, whose price no man can estimate by earthly gems—

And whose radiant diadem, crowning each human brow,

Shall all release from every superstitious vow.

Array thyself in robes of truth, for truth lives a life eternal. The so-called pleasures and enjoyments of life fade and pass away like a flower ; they are but ephemeral; you seize the flower and the bloom is shed. But truth never can be altered ; truth never can fade; truth never can be shaken. Man’s whole soul within tells him that he has a spirit destined for an endless state, and that he must, at some time or other, know the truths which surround his being. Good night ! ”

Utterances by the spirits of Shakespeare and Gr. Y. Brooke, through the trance-medium Mr. J. II. B. Harris, at Park House, Melbourne :—

Shakespeare.—“ Good evening, friends! Once more wc arc among you. Ah ! this is better, much better. The

influence around us is good and friendly to-night. Would that ’twere always so.

“ You would hear, I presume, some truths from us about the spirit world. Yours would be bright and happy enough did every heart upon it beat more in unison with its fellows.

“We, who stand on high, have heavenly joy such as you cannot, until you join us, know. The path we tread is the path of truth, of thought, and of knowledge—thought far, far beyond the reach of your ideas, knowledge which is as superior to yours as are our heavenly scenes to those which are to be found on the face of this planet which you inhabit. Yes, that world on which we once trod seems to be lost, seems to be passed away. All time has gone ; the sun has risen, and everlasting light floods our spiritual eyesight. We have awakened into a world beaming with the flooding light of eternal morning, radiant with beauty and happiness, full of enchanting scenes and celestial landscapes—oh, how beautiful and happy! The past is the past and gone. It is to me a thing ungraspable as a phantom.5

Brooke.—We will give you a subject ourselves tonight—the subject of spiritualism, as you are wont to call your knowledge of us. And we will likewise give you our ideas upon mankind at large. And I wish to tell you that what will be said upon these matters I take no credit for, as I am but the operator to-night, while another speaks, or rather finds the substance or matter.*

* The other referred to is Shakespeare.

“ I will divide those of mankind whom we meet while pursuing our objects into three classes—for think you we cannot read their minds ? We can—ay, and penetrate their inmost thoughts. We know their hopes, their fears, their doubts, and the ends which their secret hearts would attain.

“ I have seen in your midst the leer of disbelief; I have seen the proud lip of egotistic pride gather too ; I have seen those who, after having received every evidence and proof it was in our power to give them, still have lingering doubts—nay, they would not be convinced. Oh, shallow minds and darkened intellects! if this be the cause which you have embraced, if this be the unbiased judgment which you have professed, if this be the fair and open spirit of inquiry of which you have boasted, it is but the momentary sparkle of thought, and we want it not; for have we not, in our love to you, offered you that which in your darkness you never could have conceived F and have we not given you hopes of a character beautiful and happy—hopes not for to-day or to-morrow, but for all time and for all eternity ?—and you have scoffed at what we told you. Go, then, in your own way; for not being developed or advanced for that knowledge which we offer you, you must wait until your spiritual organs are unfolded to receive evidence which you cannot resist nor contradict.

“ Others we have seen who, even to us, are an enigma —verily, a curiosity. I mean those who acknowledge all that we can demonstrate, either physically or intellectually, and yet deny aloud that these things are brought about by the spiritual world, accounting, or rather attempting to account, for them in ways which neither they nor their hearers could at all understand. Ay, friends! I have over and over again heard our spiritual manifestations tried to be explained and accounted for by means which were utterly impossible and absurd, and yet have I seen these attempts at explanation received with credence, whilst those who knew full well, and endeavoured to demonstrate the correct truth, were received with jeers and ridicule. Oh, man, man ! when will you turn from your old dark ways and look upon the vivid light of truth ? when will you turn from those errors which have been handed down to you from generation to generation, and cast your glance upon that which the incredulity and scorn of the world’s united people can never shake one atom ?

“Yes, we who once inhabited that clay like yourselves have been released; we can soar higher than you, and can see the evils that have been brought about by man’s pride and egotism, and contrast them with the grand and unerring truths of nature. We deplore the fact that, by your own stubbornness of heart, you keep yourselves back, when you might be ages in advance of what you are, if you would but hearken to our teachings.

“In man there are two sorts of pride—the one pitiable, the other detestable and lamentable ; the first cows the spirit down, it permits no frankness of thought nor opinion, no loftiness of mind, but is one life of unbroken stolidity and. falsity, induced and trained by the erroneous teachings of generations back, and nursed in your breasts because you will not advance and grasp the truth. This is the pride I wish you to strip off, and throw aside as useless and dangerous. The other is the pride of man’s heart when he has risen by his own works until he has reached the apex of his desires. Step by step has he formed a ladder for himself until he has attained the summit, and. when he looks back and sees the height which he has gained, he almost forgets that he is clay; in his own vainglory he loses his identity, he is all-in-all to himself, yet with all his pride he has not one solitary idea save self-reliance. Self-reliance—thou boasted pillar ! Selfreliant as thou canst be, 0 man ! thou hast lost thyself in the mist and the thick darkness which thou hast gathered about thee; but mark! that which thou hast built up for thyself shall topple down at last, when greater things than these shall concern thee, and in vain will you seek for that which is lost. Such, indeed, are all your emulations upon earth, on earthly objects—yea, empty and vain are they ; and at the end you will find them as the merest dross, they will tumble down round about you after all the trouble you have taken in raising them up ; and it is only at the very close, at the last hour of your earthly existence, that you will be able to see how your life has been spent in nursing your own obstinacy and stubbornness of heart, and the pursuit of those pleasures which are everlasting and beyond description has been sacrificed to the following up of those which are not only uncertain and evanescent, but when attained are empty and superficial, and when you have them in your grasp your own spirit tells you that they are but vanity. Not, however, wishing to dash away all such thoughts of arriving at or attaining earthly position, but, when you have secured that position which you so much coveted, and have acquired the riches with which you have desired to surround yourself, I would ask you to look around and see if you could not do something towards elevating those of your fellow-creatures whom untoward circumstances have placed in a lower scale ; and, having gained those things which you desired upon this earth, you should shower forth both in deeds and words a portion of the blessings which you have received, that those who have not been so successful may be benefited by your good actions and elevating example amongst men—knowing that these treasures of earth (of which I would not wish to deprive you, but value them at what they are worth) are but transient, and entail inevitably a corresponding responsibility upon the holders thereof.

“ The third class are those who come to us in an inquiring spirit, and with a true desire to meet us in all reason. These are they whom we wish to see in your circles, for they have, at the least, a sympathetic current for us, and are prepared to hear what we would say and see what we would demonstrate. Alas ! few such there are as yet; and when we find them amongst you we prize them more than I can tell, prize them as a jewel of the greatest brightness, for sympathy and reason are the two strongest links by whose means we are enabled to communicate with those whom we await.

Once more. I would say, when you attend a circle at any man’s house, no matter who or what he may be, if you cannot be convinced of the truth, restrain at any rate the curl of the lip and the sneer, for they become you not, and cannot affect the cause. I say to all those who bring into your circles the spirit of doubt and fear, let not your judgment run too high, let it not go beyond itself, for there is but a step between righteous judgment and bigotry ; but keep yourself in proper balance of mind, that you may judge well, that you may discern good from evil, and keep that judgment within proper bounds, lest it rise even beyond your reason; for, O man! great is your self-esteem, and wondrous is your faith in your own capacities until you find them wanting. Would that you could perceive your capacities as we see them, great then would be the fall of }mur self-esteem.

[Pause.]

“ As thus upon the deck I stood,

And watched the billows rise,

Each mountain wave seemed towering higher In conflict with the skies.*

“ Ah ! from that spot no saving hope, no sail, no land, nought but that dark oblivious gulf of raging waters; higher rose the billows, seeming to leave no hope for life to those hundreds of mortals of whom I was one; naught

* Brooke describes the loss of the s.s. “ London.”

between us and those horrid leaping waves but a dismantled, foundering barque. Ah ! I see them now; wives and mothers clasping their husbands and children to their bosoms in the last wild pangs of despair, for all knew that a few brief moments must part them that side of the grave. Hardy seamen, who had weathered a hundred tempests in their time, waited their turn to go in sullen silence and with looks of blank despair. Some fought with others for a spar or boat; some railed and cursed with dire invective at the maddened elements ; some I saw whose minds gave way to the excitement of dread, who seemed incapable of realising their sudden fate in all its horror. Ah ! then too I saw those who in their religion boasted; they knelt and prayed aloud, but what avail their prayers? Others tried to pray, and found no utterance—words dried in their parched mouths. Some raved with maniacs’ blank hope, for fear had conquered them, and the brain and tongue alike refused to act, and they were stupefied. Ah ! sad and awful sight! I saw the waters rise around her, bearing along in dreadful force, and dashing in her bulwarks. Masses of souls were swept away without the time to gasp farewell! The sea around was covered with the struggling beings, grasping at nought, and wrestling with the waves in the vain hope ot life. Alas ! no hope was theirs, nor ours, who were still left. Our turn came full soon ; the foundering ship, heavier and less buoyant every moment, now refused to rise to the inpouring billows ; lower and lower, nearer and nearer to death. All watched the foaming waves with eyes outstanding, and with every nerve strung to its utmost tension. On came another mountain of the flood thirsting for life: one piercing shriek of dread from its

devoted victims, and we were gone.....I well

remember my death-struggle in those relentless waves, the fight for life for one brief moment, all dark, all stifling.

.    .    .    , I was in a dream as ’twere.....I

saw the souls of thousands bright and beautiful gathering around me, and many others who came with me; they welcomed us with kind and heavenly words, and pointed out to us the world we were to live in. Oh, how beautiful! what sights! what landscapes! what companions ! and, more than all, what piercing joy of heart to look around and know that it was ours for all eternity ! Would I could describe these things to you, but they are too glorious and too perfect to bear description in earthly language. Good night! ”

Communications through Mr. Harris, in trance, received Jan. 1, 1875, at Park House, Wellington Parade, Melbourne:—

I may mention that I had asked Mr. Harris’s controlling spirits if they had any objection to address (through the medium) a few friends I intended asking to my house on Hew Year’s evening, “to see the old year out and the new year in.” Through Spirit Ptobinson it was told me that such an arrangement would be quite agreeable to them, limiting, however, the number of such friends.

As eight o’clock was the usual hour for commencing our “sittings/’ I naturally concluded that the same hour would be adhered to on this occasion. But no; a mistake—which on subsequent explanation satisfied me had originated through my hasty conclusions—of the hour intended by our spirit friends for initiating the proceedings of the evening entailed upon us an exercise of patience, for we sat from eight o’clock until midnight ere any manifestation o£ entrancement occurred. Then, exactly as the clock struck twelve, Mr. Harris, who was in the act of speaking to one of the company, became entranced. In the meantime, some of the sitters, who lived at a distance, were compelled to leave, so that they mig’ht be in time for the last train home, their departure having been preceded by many conjectures hazarded as to the cause of the somewhat severe trial to which their patience had been subjected. But, as I have already stated, I alone was in fault for the misunderstanding; and, en passant, I may here remark, in justice to our spirit friends, that I have ever found them punctual to a degree, and most courteous on all occasions, showing that they retain some of those qualities—culture and refinement more especially—which are so charming to those able to appreciate them, presenting thereby a favourable contrast to what I have witnessed, as a rule, in my colonial career of five-and-twenty years. As, however, “exceptions are found in every rule,” so in this case, for I have met with exceptions who have been the very antithesis of the rule.

The sonorous tones of the distant town clock had

scarcely subsided from chiming the midnight hour, when Spirit Robinson bade us “ Good evening.”

I may remark that those of us who are accustomed to hear the utterances of our unseen friends (unseen by all except my daughter), can identify their individuality by the tones of the voices; each speaker, in this respect, presenting a most marked and distinguishing contrast. Spirit Shakespeare,'^ for instance, speaks through Mr. Harris in quite a stentorian voice, modulated very pleasingly when the sentences or words of his subject require the inflection. Spirit Robinson’s voice is not so well adapted for declamatory utterances, lacking this characteristic in the vocal tones of his spiritual colleague, Shakespeare. Yet he possesses a voice whose tones sparkle with euphony and courtesy; and the countenance of his wonted hearers in the circle at Park House, when the dulcet tones of “ Good evening ” greet them, speak volumes for the popularity of Spirit Robinson, whose delightful communications, imparted conversationally and didactically, are anticipated by his old and admiring auditors, who readjust themselves on their seats with faces beaming with pleasure for what is to come from the much-esteemed spirit.

After greeting us with “ Good evening,” apparently forgetting that the first few moments of the morn of 1875 had been ushered upon us, Spirit Robinson spoke as follows:—

“ I am very sorry that you should have been so disappointed, but the disappointment has not been caused by any error on our side. I have never yet broken a promise made to you ; our arrangements were to see the old year out and the new one in. I have stood here close to the medium during the last four hours, but I did not receive the sanction of my brother spirits to infringe the pre-arranged programme/“and control the medium, for the purpose of terminating the dilemma in which you all have been placed. I can only say, for those who were compelled to go away, that it has been a disappointment to us as well, as we were desirous that there should have been among our auditors those friends of our chairman with whom they are not of the same spiritual mind.

“You will recall to your memory, when the subject of meeting for the purpose which now detains us here was first spoken of, that it was agreed to welcome the new year by holding a seance. You asked me particularly whether I had any objection against a few strangers * being present. To this I replied, through your daughter’s hand, that I should not like to have present more than a certain number, which limitation I stipulated for to provide against the possible contingency of any antagonistic influence arising from strange sitters ; for you are well aware that we have great difficulties to encounter sometimes in our attempts to successfully combat adverse influences. We could wish that each sitter were en rapport with his or her neighbour in our circles. I will now give place to the leading control, but will return before the termination of the seance.”

Shakespeare then spake and said: “Good evening.

Years have elapsed since I returned to earth at this particular period of the year in your calendar. Years have expired since I passed away. In one sense I have deviated 1 rom the line of conduct X had laid down for myself in regard to controlling the medium for certain subjects only; but I could not forego the pleasure of joining your invisible friends in wishing you a “ Happy new year at the time which is considered most apropos for such a greeting—at the opening of that year. I have stayed here to-night to breathe forth the hope that the new year will usher in upon you every blessing that will eventually culminate in true enjoyment surrounding you.

Grand are the laws which govern this world—far greater, far more beautiful, than you have any comprehension of. Grand has been the progress of the world, in connection with its people ; but more marked will be the progress of the future. Progress flaps her wings around every man. As each year rolls on, many are they who have passed from your eyesight, many who have sojourned with you a too brief space (as you thought), and gone to that bourn from whence, however, travellers do return, but not in the same garb as you were wont to recognise them. At this particular time, thoughts of those who have gone from you, and who were bound to you by the ties of love and affinity, are prone to arise within you ; and here you are to-night upon the plane of earthly existence, knowing not when the voice of nature will call you forth from the coil which encircles you—ignorant of the momentous period when the great change (so needlessly dreaded) will transfer you into eternity.

“As I said, many have gone ; but they have neither died nor have they forgotten you. Never will they cease to remember those who were connected with them here by the pleasing bonds of affinity. Time, which to you seems to pass away with such rapid strides, is to spirits, as it were, in a state of suspension, and hence dates, which with you are of such importance, are not recognised with us—that is, apart from this earth.

“This world is but the seminary for the great university of the spheres, where all pupils, without exception, must graduate, where eternal fountains of everlasting light and beauty glow, showing to man that there is a higher state than his present being.

“ The sun, that glorious orb of fire, will expand and stretch forth his light again in 1875 as he did in 1874, which should arouse and awaken within each breast feeling of inquiry, like the waters of a torrent long pent up, but at last released. Thou, 0 Earth! wilt open thy beauties on 1875 as sweetly as thou didst on 1775, and all the preceding and succeeding years. Ay, earth meets each year as pleasantly as ever. The sun’s light beams upon the earth as benignly one year as another, being the secondary cause of the sustenance which sustains your bodily organization. But the great first cause is yet incomprehensible to man’s understanding, which cannot conceive Him disrobed and uncrowned of the vestments and diadem with which his creatures here for so long have encumbered Him. Man must coop Him up in a circumscribed locality termed heaven, decorated in the questionable splendour of human invention, and there have Him dealing out the inhuman justice too often dealt out in this his earthly dominion. Ho, Deity—as He is—is, as yet, inconceivable to man’s limited comprehension of anything beyond what he designates as matter. Man must have something palpable, something definite, ere he can realise its purport, it must be of a material substance to enable him to grasp and measure it. But to conceive the attributes of Deity, or the existence of incorporeal, imperspicuous spirit (which man himself is destined to become) is utterly, at present, beyond his powers, owing, chiefly, to the superstition and ignorance brooding over his education. But a time will come, is already beginning to dawn, when the Deity, through his works, will be better understood. At present He is concealed by the mists of ignorance and superstition.”

Shakespeare then gave a comparative illustration of the heavenly spheres with our earth, after which Spirit Robinson returned, and spoke as follows :—

“How I have returned to finish my remarks. Let the cause of the misunderstanding which eventuated in such an infliction upon you this evening, or, rather, last evening (I had forgotten that the hands of the clock point to the small hours of the first morning of 1875), be a salutary warning to you to thoroughly comprehend any arrangement into which we may enter in the future.

It is far more satisfactory to us, as well as yourselves, that such things should be better understood, to ensure an agreeable termination to our proceedings. If we could speak to jmu without our channel of communication, if you could see us, then we might properly understand each other; but as you have to make use of your tongue to pronounce your syllables and words, so we have to make use of the organization of the medium before we can be understood by you.

“ Whenever you have any questions, pertaining to any subject upon your mind, which you are desirous of having answered, ask them at once, do not hesitate. If it is in our power we will respond to them without delay.

“ With this morn dawns another year, and if we are to work in the same path together, I should very much like to meet you all, if possible, in twelve months hence, and then we may compare the strides our philosophy has taken in the year upon which we have entered during this past hour. To us it will afford the greatest satisfaction to behold the advancement of progress, and we will not fail to register that due meed of praise to which I hope each of you may be entitled in furthering that advancement. We look upon the cause of spiritualism as the foundation on which rests the soul and happiness of man, and no matter how its enemies try to lop the limbs of this great tree, they never will succeed in denuding it, or bringing it down, nor can they ever root it up, despite

p

the many false communications and absurdities which are mixed up with it. But on those who profess a belief in this philosophy depends greatly the progress it will make so far as converts is concerned, and before you heave the anchor and set sail, be sure that your ship is safe, ere you put to sea.”

(An interruption here took place, caused by a band of music passing the house, and during its passage Spirit Robinson ceased controlling the medium, who was taken possession of by Ben Jonson, who appeared in his usual jocular mood, and who communicated with us in the facetious and interjectional manner by which he is characterized.)

In reply to a question regarding matter, Spirit Time (who succeeded Ben Jonson in the control of the medium) said: “ Matter, or what you term substance, and we term matter, is soluble to us. If I say to a spirit, ‘ pass through that wall,’ it can do my behest, simply because it is spirit, and not material, for it has thrown away its foul particles, and left them to earth, becoming thereby more superfine or sublimated, and the fine can pass through the coarse. But matter belongs to the earth, brought into it by particles, existing under natural laws ruled by the omniscient supervisor of both spirit and matter.

“ In respect to this same matter or substance, if I were to request you to do the same as I asked the spirit, ‘pass through the wall,’ you would deem it an unnatural bidding, and say, ‘ ’tis impossible.’ Yes, ’tis impossible, and for a reason as simple as that which enables the spirit to perform such a task, for that which stops you is substance.

“ When your vision and thoughts do not soar beyond it, you are apt to think this a great and beautiful world, totally regardless of the fact of an infinitude of orbs as great, and infinitely greater, revolving through space inconceivable by you. Go to the sea-beach and take up a handful of dry sand (which will be a little difficult, owing to its mercurial nature), and then, with a difficulty equally great, pass it grain by grain between your fingers until the last has passed away, and then, taking a rough estimate of the number, say 20,000 grains, compare it with the sand-drift from which the handful was taken, and you have a slight measurement of His dominions.

“ I heard you make use of the word ‘faith.’ Now, if any person can analyze to me the meaning of faith I shall be much pleased. I have been four hundred years in the spheres and in places of all descriptions, yet could never meet with any one who could give a rational definition of what faith absolutely meant. How can mankind have faith in something which is not natural? No doubt it is a very useful little word to many, who use it as a kind of loophole ; and who find it very easy to say, ‘ I have faith: ’ a belief in which they are brought up and perhaps think —poor simple, credulous souls !—is alone essential to ‘ salvation.’ How absurd—and of what avail would it be—were a man to stand by another watching him drowning, and say to him, Have faith, and yon will live !If a man does not possess faith in what he has seen, can it be supposed that he should, in reality, cherish it for that spiritual light of which he knows so little ? Faith, without an exercise of reason, is an offering of a tacit stigma to the Deity—the Creator of such who profess it. Good night.”

Invocation uttered by Mr. Harris, in trance, controlled by the spirit of Mr. Robinson, impressed by another spirit, at Park House, Wellington Parade, Melbourne :—

“We lift our hearts to Thee, Thou fountain of light and love; and feel how unworthy we have been, when upon earth, to call Thee Father, we not knowing then Thine eternal love, so constantly flowing, so truly bedewing us all with Thine eternal glory. Rich Thou art in Thy gifts; loth are we to receive them. Beautiful are Thy realms, the magnificence of which expand around Thee, countings Thee such a glorious being, that it is only in the spiritual existence that we really can find in our minds a place for the imagination of Thee. Oh ! Thou glory, who seekest not to glorify Thyself through man’s weak agency, but rather pointeth with Thine hand of love, saying,

‘ Man, awake ! and see how my works glorify me. Still my laws are fixtures, pointing so firmly that even as thou lookest at them they would awake within thee a mysterious thinking, to try to know me ; but there was I among them, the same as I was ten thousand years gone oy ; all creation lifts its voice towards me ; and man can only realize the ruler of that universe, a small portion only of which, he sees through my works. Oh ! let truth be thy motto; let love be thy staff; let goodness be thy crown ; and they will wear longer than all the jewels thou canst gather upon earth/ ”

“ Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. I am Ben Jonson ; and when upon earth precision was one of the most noted traits of my character. I will here tonight show you precision.* The positions which I have indicated I beg of you to retain hereafter during the continuance of the succession of lectures now in course of delivery.

“ I have controlled the medium to-night for the purpose of arousing him from his depressed state,! and also to convey an errand to you,! in connection with something pertaining to what I have witnessed on two or three occasions recently.

“ Would you feed swine upon the precious jewels of the earth P No ! Well, my friend, you are occasionally perpetrating something similar, for you are offering pabulum to those who, in a certain sense, are worse than swine, who do use the instruments with which nature has endowed them. But those bipeds to whom I allude are gifted with something superior to the grimting quadrupeds,

* Here he walked the medium round the table to some of the sitters (his eyes closed all the time), directing them to adjust their chairs in an equidistant position from each other.    .

t We have been informed by Spirit Eobinson that the control of the medium by Ben Jonson acts in a beneficial manner—performs the part of an emollient—upon the system of Mr. Harris when disorganised.

X Myself.

who do mil) muv the,It scitisfact ion cind yrcititude when tiny attention is shown their swineships; hut these lively feelings are wanting in the breasts of those to whom, at times, you pay superior attention. I am not constantly with you, but still am occasionally within hail; and I have heaid you read portions of your book to a person with whom you are intimately acquainted. There is no need to mention his name ; if there were I could do so as well as I can speak yours. Take advice, and do not do it again. Your good intentions, upon that particular individual, are absolutely thrown away, and I know it. Take our advice in this matter : will you ? Good night.” Spirit Robinson then said—“ Good evening, friends. I have to address you to-night upon some very particular matter relating to this circle. It is this: that a fortnight from this day there will be an interval of one month, during which the lectures on the spheres will be discontinued ; and we wish you to inform the medium that it is our desire he should abstain from attending any other spirit circles, and his friends will please see that he does not do so. During the intermission I will attend at this house on any one evening of the week you choose to name. In the meantime let the medium partake of all the recreation possible, but keep him away from seances. Unless an urgent case should arise during the interim we do not wish him to be entranced for healing purposes ; but should a necessitous case occur I shall be happy to entrance him if he will comply with my wish of placing one of his hands in the hand of the patient, for we are desirous that the stone* sliould be thrown on one side during this particular time. I wish it to be fully understood that he must not be subjected to enhancement for other than urgent and particular cases.

“ Two or three times a week he should, if convenient, be taken out to enjoy any amusement for which he may entertain a predilection. The medium requires rest. He is too [anxious for the cause ; and so are you,f too, my friend. You are attempting too much on behalf of the philosophy of spiritualism. Your father is aiding you as he best can in the work upon which you are engaged ; and he desires me to say that if you will be content wTith devoting three hours out of the twTenty-four to that work which is exercising your best energies, he will be most happy to continue his influence and assistance. Beyond that he will not, for the extreme tension to which your mind has been subjected for some time past will not admit of any further intensifying without the risk of serious detriment to your health. It is therefore absolutely essential you adhere to this advice.

“This subject which has so enlisted your sympathies • and enthusiasm is not one that can be grasped or understood and drawn out at once. Its solution will afford you constant work for years. Fear not for that upon which you have set your heart. Its success will exceed your most sanguine expectations. Do not, by excessive and

* For therapeutic purposes Mr. Harris has been accustomed to entrance himself by the aid of a magnetised crystal, the stone to which allusion is here made.

t Myself.

needless anxiety, injure your outward frame as well as the spirit which is enclosed.

14 You have witnessed of late your spirit manifestations m your ‘ home or private circle? gradually but surely growing weaker. This decadence has been owing principally to the injudicious treatment of yourself. .Anxiety and over-work are chiefly responsible for it, and unless you modify your eagerness and anxiety that decadence will continue to increase. The medium, too, is everlastingly thinking of these things; so much so as to prey upon his spiritual power: decreasing it, as well as subtracting from the physical power. We are anxious that both yourself and the medium should take care of your health, if not for your own sakes, at least for those of the members of the circle and other spiritualists who are awaiting the completion of these lectures. We wish you to confine your studies within the time mentioned; and if the wish is complied with you are assured that the assistance of him who is near and dear to you, will be continued towards the consummation of that upon which you have of late so concentrated your energies. The endearing and familiar terms which have characterized our acquaintance have emboldened me to speak so freely ; and knowing you as I do you will not, I am certain, deem an apology necessary.

“In a fortnight from to-day we will adjourn the circle for one calendar month. You need not give up your family circle, in which, if you wish it, the medium will, I doubt not, also sit; but do not expect too much. Sleep quiet and passive, and do not overtax tlie body or brain, and your manifestations will return ere long with redoubled force. Now I have no desire to dictate to tbe medium, or others; but my anxiety for bim urges me to suggest that he should have his attention diverted as much as possible during the coming intermediate space spoken of. Therefore try and draw him away from the scenes and thoughts with which he has of late been connected.

“ You may depend upon the Spirit Time and myself during the month ; either of whom, if it should become necessary, will control the medium for healing purposes. I will now bid you good night.”

Communications through Mr. Harris in trance.

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.” (This greeting was from Ben Jonson, who, as on the previous evening of meeting, walked around to some of the sitters of the circle—to one of whom, who had not placed his chair in the exact spot indicated at the seance preceding this, he addressed himself thus: “ Did you ever know a time when the displacement of half an inch would have been your death P ” After the utterance of which he left the medium, who was then controlled by Spirit Bobinson, who spoke to my daughter, by the side of whom he stood while addressing her.) “ I have a little message for you, my child. You do not experience the spirit influence as strong as you formerly did. But despair not, for it is for a good purpose that the powTer has lessened. On resuming the pencil for spirit control, never be in a hurry to write, but always wait patiently until you find your hand guided by tlie spirit intelligence. The less inclination you have to write the more true and perfect wdll be your manifestations. Never put yourself out or become flurried because, as may happen, one or more onlookers should manifest impatience ; but allow your hand to remain at rest, with the pencil firmly held ; and in good time, if the conditions are favourable, the influence will be felt. Banish any overweening wish to please any one, as far as the communications are concerned. Never mind who may be present in a state of expectancy, but quietly await the movement of your hand. Do not be cross or vexed because you are not influenced to write, but patiently and passively remain seated until the power comes to you. When expecting to be controlled, a serene state of mind is very requisite. Therefore, if all the world were assembled around you on such an occasion, do not allow your serenity to be disturbed ; for the more serene, patient, and trustful you are the more true and genuine will be the tracings of your pen or pencil/’

Then addressing the other sitters, he said: “The reason I have thus spoken to her is because I have observed that her young mind is rather prone to anticipate the intercourse. She is too ardently desirous of pleasing those around her, for she is too apt to imagine they become impatient if the invisible influence does not manifest itself immediately. Any extreme feelings like these exert a disastrous influence upon her medial powers. Good night/,

“ Good evening, friends. This evening I* once more take control of the medium, for circumstances have again favoured me.

“ In those two subjectsf there is matter for two lectures. Indeed, to do them justice, a series of lectures, extending over many evenings, would be required. Tonight I shall take what is termed ‘ Mesmerism,’ and defer, until another opportunity permits me to again possess the medium, the subject of Psychometry for a subsequent lecture.

“ To trace back to the time when mesmerism, or the influence of magnetism, to speak more comprehensively (for the origin of the term ‘ mesmerism ’ is of very recent date), was made subservient by created beings, I should lose you in the vista of the remote past; when, almost coeval with the occupation of the spirit spheres, when intellect made itself manifest, magnetism was made instrumentally useful.    1

“ Mesmerism, as comprehended by man, is the utilisation of vital magnetism wThich is generated in the substance of the human brain and spinal marrow. Mesmerism plays a prominent part in our intercourse with yourselves. By its means the minds of our various media are placed in a state of oblivion, or are made modifiable for the time being, as the case demands.

“ Numerous and various phases of mediumship in connection with spiritualism are the offshoots of mesmerism.

* The spirit named Time.

f Mesmerism and psychometry—subjects which I proposed should be treated by the spirit.

“ The human frame, or rather the faculties which are the attributes of that frame, are not generally understood by its possessor. The outward manifestations of that which walks, speaks, and takes delight in those things around it, are alone comprehended ; but very little knowledge beyond that has been attained. To penetrate deeper than the surface of the material structure man is unable, unless his interior and superior perceptions, a condition known as clairvoyance, be made manifest. Doubtless there are many of the friends and acquaintances of your chairman who fancy they are able to read the character of their friend from the mere superficial knowledge which they have acquired of him in his business and social relations. But how wide are they of the mark in such a conception ! They know nothing of him beyond the appearances which hang around him ; further than this they have no penetration. His surface character—if I may be allowed the expression—the characteristics which float on the surface, they may have gained a knowledge of ; but the profound and deeper mysteries of that assemblage of qualities which the term character embraces they are as far from delineating as the ocean is from sweeping over and submerging the earth on which they live. They fall as far short of rightly conceiving the true man as I do from presenting to your sight my spiritual form. You who are engaged in scientific and commercial business are accustomed to judge of character from mere external appearances ; but you are ignorant of the mystic passions which may be animating the interior of the physical frame. You are like the child who peers into the rippling brook in its attempt to look beyond the laughing waters of the surface, which covers it knows not what. In your attempts to fathom the arcana of man’s character you are as powerless as the child whose sight is unable to penetrate further than the agitated portion of the rippling element in the brook.

“ Now, it so happens I am intimately acquainted with this person of whom I have been speaking; I mean the presiding member of this circle. So let us start on this foundation, and familiarly handle the subject of mesmerism.

“ There is around you and permeating your physical organs a spiritual ether which performs an influential part upon those organs whose functions are healthily or otherwise (according to the physical state of their possessor) instigated to discharge their appropriate duties. This subtle and sublime element, abounding in every place where light penetrates, is magnetism—the so-called animal or vital form 4 of which may be either healthy or diseased, a fact well known to all sensitive and medium-istic temperaments. The skin of a human being incessantly exhales this aura, which in a diseased state is the secret cause why other persons become infected with the distemper. By the divine influence of magnetism man is constantly controlled. In one light he is a free agent, but in another he is not. There are some who are very voluble when speaking of free agency.’ But I dispute that man is a free agent in the most extended sense. He is so in certain things, I grant; but that he is a perfectly free agent I immediately and emphatically dispute. If he is, let him attempt one of the attributes of a fish, and sojourn in the profundity of the ocean’s briny waters, where his free agency will be extinguished. Let him walk into a glowing fire, and his free agency becomes extinct. Free agency, as cherished by the imagination of a certain class of orators, is merely a shadow that has flitted before their mental vision. Man is no more a free agent than we are, who, with him, are governed by natural laws—laws equally as natural ruling the spirit in the body and the spirit out of the body. The essence of these laws, for the most part, is unknown to man. Indeed, when a spirit, after having been freed from bone and flesh, fails to thoroughly master them, ’tis no surprise that man is ignorant of them.

“ What is the cause of one man possessing or exercising a certain power over another ? Behold the leading statesman of a nation, the general of an army, and many more, who are able to lead to a grand head thousands of their fellow beings ! And if you watch minutely and closely you will be enabled to perceive that over every mind there is a master-mind, who can draw the inferior into the same track of thinking as himself. There are some, a very small minority, who, of an adamantine density, or, say, like the giant rock .of Vesuvius, defy penetration. But such minds are master-minds, who control thousands for good or bad influence. Having premised the lecture by the foregoing explication, I will now turn to the subject of mesmerism.

“ There are minds, as I have before said, who can by certain inherent power bring others into the same groove of thinking as themselves, and even influence their actions.    Can man discover    the    cause of    this secret ?

We will    attempt to throw    a light upon    the subject.

Between    this medium and    that    person *    there is an

influence    which you cannot    see.    I, however, can per

ceive it. Let me try to describe it. Around that individual there is a strong magnetic influence, which, however, powerful as it is, yet is unable to influence my medium when the latter is surrounded by spirit aid; for we, having superior magnetic powers, are enabled to repulse it. Leave the tender twig to its own resources, and see what becomes of it. That person, possessing an ascendant and influential power, bringing the whole of his faculties to bear upon this subject, who is of a weaker stamp or natural organism, is drawn in by the overpowering influence, as the ship is into the whirlpool. Gradually the circling eddies come around the stately barque, which is soon sucked into the vortex. In like manner the weaker subject becomes subordinate to the control of the superior power.

“ Upon this fact of superiority and inferiority of minds is based the structure of mesmerism, from which

* Myself, who sat on the right hand of the medium, who alternately sits and stands beside one end of the long table around which the sitters are assembled.

emanates electro-biology, and wliicb leads to the development of the medial powers for spirit communion.

“ IN ow let us examine what is termed mesmerism, which has, for thousands of your centuries, been known and practised in the spheres, but which did not become utilised on earth for many reasons, one of which is that the faculties of the human family, all through the multitudinous generations, have been invariably influenced in an all-powerful manner by a certain thing called gold, which almost every one has tried to heap up by the shortest and speediest means. Mankind is united or related by flesh and blood, yet one brother would, by artifice and fraud, supplant and ruin another; one sister would deceive and even calumniate another.

“ The principle of intrinsic goodness inherent in this science termed mesmerism has been converted by many to most degrading purposes, not the least of which is the amassing of riches. Mesmerism is a wealth in itself if cultivated aright ; it is a natural acquisition which is destined to be of the greatest efficacy in improving the race.

“ The accumulation and hoarding of superfluous wealth is very foolish ; for you are pownrless to take with you, when you leave this world, the smallest particle. Behold !—but you cannot see, otherwise you would perceive my hand to pass through the table, the least part of which, if it were composed of a mass of solid gold or studded with the precious gems of your earth, I could not take, no matter how covetous I might be.

“ Fleshly desires intruding“ upon the faculties have prevented the proper development of this enlightened and divine movement. Historical pages teem with accounts of similar retardations ; and they will further teem with analogous recitals, until man rises superior to the inordinate and unworthy feelings which have so degraded his being, and lifts his eyes to higher things—until he takes an elevated stand, and carefully overlooks the whole prospect of life, here and hereafter, and thrusts from his mind those thoughts which cloud the prospect and dim the brightness of the future.

“Mesmerism is ruled by, and subject to, natural laws. It has been given to man to make a worthy use of, and many of the most wonderful things have been called forth by it. Its mysteries have spoken to thousands and thousands of beings who have been benefited by them. The little star that beamed upon your sky where all was dark and drear, pointed to truth, and gave a glimmering of those laws of which, as yet, man has a very remote conception. Its rays have penetrated to the spot of earth where the box, supposed to contain all that was near and dear of some sorrowing friend, has been consigned, and revealed the fact that the mere skeleton alone is there, and that the better part had ta’en its flight to other regions. Its rays have facilitated a recommunion of that better part, with its late mourning companion. They have been like the steps to a grand fountain, which sends its sweet perfumes to the breeze. To the fountain all can gain access, for it is written : Here are the waters of

Q

eternal life ! Drink ye tliat are thirsty, and may ye be satisfied, and may the laws of love and harmony be made more apparent to you as you imbibe of its living stream.

“ Let us examine mesmerism upon mesmeric grounds. In tbe first place, when its mysteries appeared among the benighted of the earth, they were rejected as of diabolical origin, and laws were fabricated to check their practice. Why was such a prohibitive measure adopted ? It was necessary, because, in that uneducated and ignorant age, when a man discovered that he possessed the powers pertaining to mesmerism, he began to exert them for the purpose of gratifying his animal passions. The time had not arrived when it was properly understood that the power was a pathway leading to higher and more sublime things. Those who in those clays possessed the gift, set about with alacrity to use it, for the purpose of placing in their power many of their fellow-creatures. Hence, laws were enacted by the rulers of the country, prohibit* ing that which was in reality the effect of magnetism. I remember well the religious edicts, and the laughter and scorn of the learned and scientific, which were exercised at the expense of mesmerism, a science known in the spheres ages before its properties were thought of on earth. When ultimately it did dawn upon man’s intellect, it was assailed by him with all the vandalism of his nature. He who was clothed in the rough coating of flesh, attacked that which spirit looks upon as sacred. He scouted the idea of a natural law sanctioning the ruling of one mind over another. They who believed in such a law (and they

were few, very few) were instantly cast down, and looked upon as maniacs or fools. Such have been the rewards to the benefactors of their kind, who have endeavoured to foster truths to enlighten the world ! Your forefathers have had to bear the brunt of the battle, fighting, inch by inch, for many of those benefits which now you enjoy. But you will not have been solely dependent upon them for everything. I say you are fighting the battle of life now ! You are travelling a road that myriads after you will follow. The contentions for truth are not so desperate as they were in times more remote, when it was considered the wisest and most salutary method to extinguish the animal life of him who, by his good deeds, or otherwise had become obnoxious to those dressed in authority. T||hey eidently ignored the fact that animal form possessed a spirit destined for eternity. I repeat that the spirit is everlasting—never ending; therefore, how impolitic to think of exterminating it ! Destroying the life of the animal body merely hastens the birth of the spiritual.

“ To those who are ignorant of the laws pertaining to mesmerism, as well as to -those who are students of those same laws, I address myself. Mesmerism influences by the strong force of the will, which is brought to perfection by cultivating it when young, and it will have been remarked by those who have studied its tendencies, that the mesmeric power has beneficial influence over those who practise it. No man is void of adequate will-power (exercised aright) by which he can intelligently control

the passions of his animal life. He can with this power exorcise many of the ills to which he is prone. By the adoption of a dietary scale, combined with a study of the science of mesmerism, every one will be enabled to cultivate those faculties which, in the majority, would otherwise lie dormant. A due cultivation of the mesmeric powers will facilitate the comprehension of the bodily and mental state, and act as beacons to illuminate the sea of life. It will enable every one to avail himself of his own self-healing attributes, and become his own doctor, through the prime minister, Will. There are not two persons but can, in some way, influence the other by an exercise of the magnetism permeating the system. The most natural, as well as the most congenial, treatment for many or most of the maladies which afflict mankind, lies in the employment of manual magnetism, or, to he more expressive (humanly speaking), in the exercise of the mesmeric powers. Two separate magnetic influences judiciously blended together, will frequently be found to exert such a power, as to expel the most obstinate diseases. The skilful blending together of certain influences, will achieve a victory over a sickness which would defeat the remedies of all other earthly methods. The knowledge gained from a few simple secrets of nature, confers a diploma, or privilege upon all, the possession of which is surely destined to create a thorough reformation in medical jurisprudence.

“ By the operator concentrating his mind upon the subject before him, and exercising the approved method of

manipulations an effect, very often surprising to the patient, will be produced, tending to impart a confidence to the latter (if he he a novice to such a mode of treatment), which will increase with each repetition. It is absolutely essential for an operator, if he wishes himself to become en rapport with the aura of the subject, to fix his whole mind and attention upon what he is engaged. By placing his hands lightly upon the chest or shoulders of his patient, he abstracts that which leaves the latter at his control. He concentrates his gaze upon the eyes of the subject, he will interlace the sympathies, and bind the affections and thoughts together, that is, they will be on the verge of being placed in a state of abeyance. When he perceives the eyes to falter, by making a few passes over the brain of the subject, the mesmeric slumber will quickly supervene.

“ Such is a brief description of mesmerism, a science that has been laughed and scoffed at, and one of the results of that science you now see in the medial powers of this individual through whose organization I am speaking to you. To enlighten you thoroughly upon all the various phases of mesmerism would occupy many hours. The most important branch of the science will be conceded to the healing department, and the utilisation of vital magnetism by mesmerism will surely replace, and that ere long, the moribund medical system which has maintained such an undue longevity. The mesmeric remedy for healing will assuredly become the universal panacea, and the mesmeriser, or healing medium, will be enabled to impart an influence which will regulate the nerve forces, and harmonise the functions, thus restoring the health, irrespective of the cause of the inharmony, and imparting a vigorous magnetic life into the form which has been affected.

“ It is well known that the pores of the human skin are very numerous. The epidermis of the human frame may be likened to the surface of an exceedingly fine sponge. TYhen a subject is completely controlled by the mesmeric power, these pores are extended to their utmost limits, and exude the dregs which have had a baneful influence. These dregs, of diseased magnetism, are of various colours, according to the nature of the disease wdiich has afflicted the patient from whom they emanate. You may wash to know how the operator rids himself of the diseased aura which his skin absorbs from his patient. There are two remedial measures open to him. One, the speediest, is by demagnetising, and the other by submitting himself to the rays of the sun, which are all-powerful to effect the desired remedy, for they will absorb the injurious particles as a sponge will water if placed in its immediate neighbourhood.

“ This power of mesmerism is one of the grandest and most important ever revealed to man, and some most remarkable cures have been performed by its means. Those which have been deemed confirmed cripples have been made whole and sound, and paralysed limbs have been restored to their normal state of utility by mesmerism, a science which has been made useful in cases that have defied the skill of the orthodox medical faculty. T have no hesitation in saying that upon earth, ere long, mesmerism will be esteemed as it is in the spheres, where, for ages past, it has been made subservient to good ends. There are other powers beside mesmerism connected with magnetism, such as clairvoyance, &c., which I will glance at upon another occasion.”

(Invocation.) “0 Spirit of all light, that draws us eternally towards Thee, that beautifies our lives, and imbues us with feelings of love for Thee, we feel Thy grand and loving impulses around us : impulses that should bind and interlace our souls in perfect harmony and true love. 0 Thou Eternal Jehovah, thou Great and Noble Deity, who art flooded with an everlasting golden light! Thou art the Life of lives, the God of gods, the Father of Fathers! Thou art within us: Thou art ever close to us, creating those inspirations which should impel us towards Thy Divine Light, which none can possibly know without looking up with devotion to Thee, Father of all love. By whatever name the tongue of man hath designated Thee, or in whatever form he hath pictured Thee, Thou ever dost remain the same infinite, perfect Being. Thy gates are ever ajar for the admission of all to Thy celestial sphere. Thy tabernacles are ready for all, no matter how darkened, how low they now may be. Thy Soul is within their souls: Thy Heart is within theirs, for Thou being a Spirit of transcendent love hast infused into them the vital spark direct from Thy Omnipotent Being. In the hidden secrets of Nature, throughout the infinitude of space, Thy breath hath endowed each atom with life. Good night.”

“We cannot say this life is real,

It is but for a day ;

A shadow only it is like,

Which soon will pass away.

’Tis spirit-life alone that’s real,

It will for ever last;

As now, will live the spirit, when Ten thousand years are past.

We cannot say this life is real,

When, have an end it must.

The body always changing is,

And turns at last to dust.

We cannot say this life is real,

Though real it may seem,

For when we quit this mortal part This life appears a dream.

But we can say that life is real Which will for ever be,

The happy spirit-life, which is To all eternity.”

SCIENCE AND RELIGION RECONCILED.

“ Time and space are twin sisters.”

Curious enough, that which above all else should hail truth as its greatest friend, and cherish it as its chief support, viz., religion, or rather what passes under the name of religion, dreads and discards truth as its greatest antagonist and worst enemy, and treats it as an unclean, leprous thing, which should he avoided, shunned, and despised whenever it is at variance with the particular tenets held as correct. Take, for example, the truths brought to light by astronomical and geological investigations and research, which have not coincided with or corroborated some of the superstitious conjectures of some wise semi-savage but well-meaning men, recorded in the biblical accounts of the creation; causing the adherents to the infallibility of the Bible to resort to all sorts of devices to try to disprove ascertained facts by antiquated beliefs ; or to reconcile barbaric fables with demonstrated truths, which, like oil and water, will never blend, the very weakness of their arguments proving the untenable character of the position they assume. The

spiritual philosophy, on the other hand, is in accord with science. They both stand on the same base—namely, truth. But the one is higher than the other ; for whilst science reduces one’s knowledge of things material to a system, spiritualism demonstrates that spirit, the grand ultimate of matter, is governed by laws as natural as those which regulate material things ; which fact is, as yet, almost unknown to mankind, there being, comparatively speaking, only a few who understand the rudiments of these laws. It is as futile for scientists, with all their learning, to attempt to ignore and to treat with contempt the facts brought to light by modern spiritualism as for theologians, with all their piety, to ignore and disregard the scientific discoveries of later times, which upset many of the statements contained in that book which they hold as being infallible, and as the divinely inspired word of the Creator of the universe, thereby proving its fallibility. Evidence is the rock on which the impregnable castle of science is erected, and truth is the food on which science lives. Truth, spiritual philosophy, and science may be termed the universal Trinity; and reason, which is the reflex of the Great Originator of all the Unity.

Though science annihilates the man-created God of so-called orthodox theology, it does not necessarily follow that it denies the existence of Deity, as some assert. On the contrary, science quickens our perceptions and enlarges our sphere of observation, enabling us to form grander conceptions of Deity than can be obtained by the utmost straining of orthodoxy. Science rests not satisfied by demonstrating that the foundations of popular theology are mere baseless assumptions: it goes further, pointing out facts and demonstrating truths, thus strengthening the basis of true religion, which has nothing to dread from advancing science, or from enlightened human reason, because it will advance with science, and demand acceptance from no man unless in harmony with his individual reason. Such a religion must of necessity be progressive, not only in the abstract, but also with each individual. It requires no atonement, no intercessor, no church to save the souls of its believers from the supposed wrath (of an all-merciful Father) which is to come (according to the biblical account), for with the downfall of the foundations of dogmatic theology will disappear all its harrowing details. True religion founded, as it must be, upon positive knowledge, constitutes each man’s conscience his own high priest, and renders him totally independent of outside mediation between himself and his conception of Deity. It teaches that the phenomena which at one time were thought to result from God’s immediate volition, are now known to occur by the action of his natural and fixed laws : or, in other wrords, by the invariable properties which all bodies manifest when brought into certain specific relations with each other. The first and most important postulate of popular theology is therefore untenable, and, consequently, all that depends upon it is untenable also. In the majestic Bible of the universe, that book which alone images forth the perfect thought of the Great Fountain of Causation^ we discover no discord, no inconsistencies: all is perfect harmony. It is common, however, to find those who have given their attention to science turn materialists, simply because they find facts in science which incontrovertibly disprove some of the doctrines they had been taught as infallible ; instead of examining the matter carefully, and separating the chaff of error from the grains of truth, they jump at the conclusion that all is false; some even denying the existence of the Creator because they find that the discoveries of science render the notion of his being a personal Deity, seated on a great white throne, untenable. They, in many cases, imagine themselves so compensated by the acquisition of important scientific knowledge, that they do not feel the loss of a stay and support beyond the material, until at last, when their physical strength begins to fail, and they feel that their days on earth are about numbered, they then find that what they have looked upon as the real was only the shadow ; and that which they neglected to search after was the everlasting reality, the spirit. This is what I term foolish wisdom.

The stifling of free enquiry in matters of religion is one of the still lingering relics of a barbarous age, and a manifest sign of the weakness of the beliefs or faiths of those who have the presumption to oppose the same. It is characteristic of no other branch of human knowledge

o

except in the case of politics in a country under despotic rule, where might is right. The attempt to silence the voice of reason, enlightened by advancing education and progressive knowledge, shows the weakness and sophistical nature of the doctrines of those opposed to true wisdom. No man who is thoroughly convinced beyond all doubt that what he believes is the absolute truth, unassailable by adverse arguments or actual demonstration, would shirk or attempt to stifle enquiry. On the contrary, he ought to court investigation as a thing most to be desired, so that in giving “ a reason for the hope that is in him ” he might have the opportunity of showing how clear, how reasonable, and how impregnable it is. Who ever knew truth to be put to the worst in a free and open encounter ? Truth cannot suffer by enquiry, and he who feels that he has it beyond all possibility of doubt or cavil never dreads enquiry.

The clergy of nearly every religion throughout the world arrogate to themselves the right to denounce all those who hold opinions opposed to their own as infidels, unbelievers, and wicked people, and this without even the slightest investigation by them of the data on which the knowledge of their opponents is founded. This is the very height of presumption. How can they judge of that of which they are totally ignorant P In the present age of the progress of human knowledge, of the gradual appreciation and acknowledgment of individual human rights, and, above all, of the irresistible impulse of critical enquiry into all matters, and into every subject whatever that affects the welfare of man, the system of mental slavery is happily doomed. It may linger for a time, but, as sure as the sun shines in the heavens, it will eventually vanish away, and a hundred years hence the fact that those professing to be enlightened rational beings in the nineteenth century believed in the Mosaic fables, apostolic superstitions and absurd ritualistic dogmas in preference to the eternal truth borne out by science, experience, and reason, will be looked at with amazement, and as part of the monstrous delusions of the past.

In matters of thought, every man should be an independent sovereign in his own right. Common sense tells us that every man has an undoubted unalienable right to think for himself, and he who has the effrontery to deny this right to his fellow man, is guilty of presumption. The act of thinking contrary to popular opinion does not constitute presumption. If this were so, Galileo was guilty of the grossest presumption wThen he pronounced that the earth revolved round the sun, and not the sun round the earth. Yirgilius was guilty of gross presumption when he said that the earth was globular, and not flat as the multitude maintained; Columbus was guilty of presumption when he persisted in affirming the existence of a western continent. Harvey was guilty of presumption wrhen he affirmed that the blood circulated; and so on wdth thousands who have thought for themselves, and have spoken or written what they thought, irrespective of the multitude and of the numbers of the traditionally-learned arrayed against them. Socially it may be a misfortune to think with the minority, but it is not, never was, and never can be a fault or a presumption to do so.

The number, variety, and force of evidences which impel so many thinking men towards scepticism in the old faiths are very great, much greater than at any previous age of the world, and have been evolved by many new and powerful influences, one of the most potent of which is the facility afforded for the acquisition of general information by the many easily accessible libraries over the more civilized portions of the globe. Another, the vast amount of cheap literature on all and every subject issued from the press and spread among the masses, favouring mental development. Another is the increased communication of nation with nation, of sect with sect, and the consequent increased observation of each other, and the interchange of thought between them. These have led multitudes, who at one time in their simplicity believed as they had been taught in childhood, that their religion was the only one upon earth worth calling a religion; that there were two or three others, but they were false, and the votaries heathens, evil-disposed, insincere, and bad men. The effect of much reading and frequent intercourse with the people of other creeds has, however, disabused the mind of multitudes of these first but false impressions. It has demonstrated to them the startling and telling fact that the men of every creed throughout the earth, of which there are a dozen principal ones and thousands of sectarian divisions, are equally earnest and sincere with themselves. That the believers in each creed have their own peculiar sacred scriptures, generally containing some history, moral precepts, and rules for the conduct of life. These they teach, and honestly believe they were given by direct divine inspiration and written by men at the dictation of the Deity; and they each and all believe that theirs is the only true religion, teach that all others are wrong, call those who do not believe with them infidels, and affirm that they will be punished most fearfully in a future life for their unbelief. The observation of these striking similarities in the various religions of the world is now beginning to have its legitimate weight with numbers of men, who, bending to the influences of the times, have just commenced to think freely and in earnest.

Another important fact is, that the increased reading and observation of the multitude is gradually forcing upon their minds that a man’s faith is purely and solely an accident of his birth. That in one country millions are born to one faith and believe it, and in another millions are born to another and believe it equally—that even the high and the learned, as well as the low and the ignorant, that the monarch and the beggar alike, of every country, believe the religion of the people amongst whom they happen to be born. This remarkable fact is destined to force itself, and is now forcing itself, upon the minds of multitudes, and throwing them back upon an examination of the real claims of their own faith in particular, and, more or less, of all other faiths whatever.

Another cause that has an immense influence in compelling men towards scepticism, especially to doubt the direct divine inspiration of the Bible, is the great progress of the physical sciences of late years, more especially of geology, astronomy, and geography. The evidence which these sciences supply is almost invariably of such a nature that it cannot be doubted by reasonable men, and when it happens to disagree—and it frequently does—with statements contained in the Bible, and which were evidently expository of the notions held by the writers thereof, men are compelled, many times contrary to their most earnest wishes, to decide in favour of the correctness of the modern physical demonstrations over that of the Bible statements.

Another powerful cause of scepticism in the divine authority of the Bible, is that in many parts it sanctions, and even commands, the most flagrant wrongs, and the most revolting cruelties. Man there finds taught as right that which his own conscience and the moral sense of mankind tell him to be utterly wrong, and unworthy of even a good man, far less of the great Creator of the universe, who in other parts of the Bible, we are told, is a God of love, and the merciful Heavenly Father of man. Take, for example, the Biblical statement that Moses, acting as the inspired servant of God, at one time commanded ten thousand helpless captive women, and twenty thousand innocent children, to be slaughtered in cold blood (Hum. xxxi. 17, 18) ; also, that human slavery, that most diabolical of all crimes against our common nature, is expressly sanctioned by the Deity (Lev. xxv.

R

44-46; arid Deut. xx. 10—16). Even the most rigidly orthodox man is compelled in such cases to virtually condemn the Bible teachings.

Another great stumbling-block to the thoughtful man is that respecting eternal torments. The Bible teaches that God is a God of infinite goodness and compassion, and yet on the other hand it teaches that He has created countless millions ol mankind with the certain foreknowledge

o

that they would sin, and, as a consequence, he doomed to writhe in eternal torments for ever. Multitudes who profess to believe that the Bible is the direct inspired \\ ord of God, openly disclaim a belief in this, as revolting to their reason, and as contrary to their conception of the Supreme Buler of all; virtually thereby admitting the fallibility of the word of Him who is infallible, and leaving them in the dilemma of being blasphemers. Then, again, the teaching that on a certain day the whole of mankind that ever breathed shall be gathered together into one vast assembly, that they shall then be divided into two companies—the one going to suffer the eternal miseries of hell, and the other to enjoy the never-ending happiness of heaven—is too absurd and inconsistent for even the most credulous to believe. Multitudes of men feel that such a mode of action would be wrong and utterly unjust. They feel that such an arbitrary line of demarcation cannot be drawm between men, a little better or a little worse, in a moral sense. Mankind cannot be divided into the totally good and the totally bad; there are an infinity of grades of moral character—no man is

all bad, no man is all good ; but every man is bofcb good and bad, more or less.

“ Virtuous and vicious every man will he—

Few in the extreme, but all in their degree;

The rogue and fool, by fits, are fair and wise,

And e’en the best, by fits, what they despise ! ”

Strict justice demands tbat the punishment should invariably be proportioned to the guilt. The disproportion of the punishment for the crimes committed, according to the doctrine of eternal torments, the monstrous excess of punishment to the guilty, even in the case of the most depraved sinner, is apparent to the most casual observer. How can a finite being, however wicked, possibly commit in a few short years sins, the equitable punishment of which would be an infinity of excruciating torments ? It is a base libel against One whom the very fact of our existence, after having professed to believe in such, is proof positive of the fact that wrath does not constitute one of His attributes. The writings of the Old and New Testaments comprise much that is good, much that is beautiful, sublime, instructive, and elevating, much also that is in strict accord with the deductions of the purest reason. Yet they comprise much that no unbiassed reasonable being can acknowledge to be good or true, and in their varied character resemble the communications received through mediums of the present day, which, whilst some are true and elevating, others are unreliable and questionable, and all require sifting through the sieve of man’s reason. This is stated by the spirits themselves.

The orthodox doctrine of death-bed repentance securing salvation and eternal felicity, is another glaring absurdity, and altogether untenable. It is perfectly monstrous to suppose that the cold-blooded murderer, who has repented during his short reprieve, will go to heaven, while his perhaps comparatively good but unprepared victim goes to hell. Another absurdity is the belief in the plenary and direct inspiration of the Bible: the vast amount of glaring contradictions and inconsistencies in its doctrines and statements, demonstrate it to be the writings of fallible men, inspired by fallible spirits.

The position of the clergy is a false one. It is utterly subversive of the advance of truth, and consequently of human welfare. They are as a body looked upon by multitudes of thinking men as the dogmatic conservators of the old but now exploded doctrines and traditions of an ignorant and superstitious past, viewed with a feeling half of respect, half of pity, tolerated and supported, to some extent, as a species of moral police over the ignorant and bigoted, and a solace to the afflicted who are superstitious ; but to a greater extent, as a genteel incumbrance, bequeathed by the old order of things, and difficult to shake off; still listened to with affection and trust by many who are too superstitious to think for themselves, more especially the female portion, but regarded more or less as confirmed, irredeemable sophists by great numbers of men. The bulk of the people are gradually feeling more and more, though few may give expression to it, that the present position of the clergy of Christendom is a false one. Frequent recurring indications, sensible and insensible, from all sides, demonstrate to tbem. in language plainer than words, that the narrow-minded* ness, and dogmatic conservatism of the clergy is utterly opposed to the progressive and essentially truthful genius of modem thought.

Superstition has been, and still is, systematically used by numbers of calculating and often well-intentioned men as an engine of religious, civil and social government, and it certainly has served the purpose to some extent. But at what a fearful cost! At the cost of menfs mental and moral degradation, making them superficially honest from fear, not from principle, and the irresistible dictates of their own enlightened conscience. To superstition and selfishness may be ascribed nearly all the hypocrisy, deceit, and humbug in the world.

Natural Theology.

Of all pursuits most dear to me,

I love to search for truth;

And looking round that I may see Of God, comuncmg proof.

Creation’s wondrous works and laws Display His love and care ;

The Infinite, the Eternal cause, itevealing everywhere l

A wondrous chain through nature runs Which shows one grand design

Through mind and matter, worlds and suns,

Proclaiming power divine.

But what is God F perhaps you ask;

I answer, I don’t know !

But were I to attempt the task I would describe Him so,—

He’s Light, and Life, and Truth, and Power, Perfection, Goodness, Love;

And other attributes that tower Our faculties above !

Enough I witness to admire In Nature’s works around ;

In tracing which I never tire,

So perfect—so profound !

They prove His presence everywhere,

And make me feel Him near ;

Believe that I His mercies share,

And free me from all fear.

Perceiving every happiness Since first life’s path I trod,

Each pleasing thought, each hope of Miss, Proceeded from my God.

I therefore trust my Father’s love,

And in His care rely ;

Believe I’ll in progression move,

And higher spheres enjoy.”

It is an undisputed fact, tliat never since the earth was first peopled with an intellectual race, has there been such an amazing development of the human intellect as in the present age. Since the commencement of the present century, there has been more of thought, more of developed intellect in the human race, than during the five previous centuries. The man who now keeps abreast with the science of his time, with its wonderful discoveries, revelations, and speculations, lives a grander intellectual life than a Caesar or an Alexander. This is the attitude of mind with which to approach an examination into the claims of modern philosophy and science. The man of science, working boldly with the new powers at his command, powers transcending in their strangeness and grandeur tlie wildest fables and dreams of antiquity, and working under the hypothesis which extends to the very confines of human intelligence in material matters, obtains results which almost startle the very imagination by the inroads they make 011 the mysteries beyond. Science has produced immense changes, and vast and sweeping alterations, both in the supposed origin and cause of the government of the universe. The spirit of modern science is more disposed to decry than to admit, if there be doubt in the subject introduced; taking nothing for granted, regardless of consequences ; but at the same time, as a rule, ignoring all else besides the material and plrysical; although offering proofs and tests equally capable of demonstration under certain conditions as the substantial.

There is no such thing as dead matter or inert vis existent in nature. No molecule or atom of any element exists without force within itself, or is so interwoven with its minutest imaginable essence or condition, as not alone to enable but compel it to act, and to be acted upon by the internal forces of other particles or masses of particles. Force is inseparable from matter, and immanent in it: they are correlatives. Chemical researches into the nature of the elements and laws of atoms demonstrate not only their existence but the positive and unalienable presence in them of active energy. Matter exists and is endowed with force which is inherent and indestructible. Force cannot exist and be sensibly active without matter ; matter cannot exist nor be in any way active without force ; neither can it exist and still be inactive or dead. Whatever the shapes of atoms, or the extent of their divisibility, they never lose their indivisibility, nor their capacity to embrace and identify themselves with force. Force, therefore, like matter, is permanent and indestructible.

The form changes, but not so the quantity. Hence results the grand doctrine of the correlation of physical forces, which are mutually and constantly convertible into each other. All known forces are not alone convertible into each other, but are all modifications of one primal force; therefore, all the mighty forces which play incessantly through the infinitude of creation are essentially one.

In nature there is no repose, its entire existence is but a circular movement in which each motion is exactly equivalent to its cause. There is neither blank, nor defect, nor excess. The universal life is a circle in wdiich causes and effect link themselves together without any discontinuity,—light, heat, colour, and sound, and motion. Light and heat are identical, though the one is perceived by the optic nerve, and the other by the sensation of touch ; they are merely different forms of motion. Life is only a higher order of this force; a purely mechanical force could not, of itself, produce the phenomenon of organization of living tissue. Every living being is subject to the laws of birth, growth, decay and death, for which no purely mechanical action of force, though ever so multiplied and diversified, could account.

When a living being dies, there is no galvanizing life again into the body ; the vital force, the living power, in that body has fled; and though the body remains the same, it is clear that the vital force was a higher order of force, which, while it was present, preserved the particles of the body harmoniously, and after it has fled, the atoms dissolve into other forms. As life is a higher order of force than the purely mechanical, so the intellectual is a still higher order of force than life. There are, therefore, three degrees of force,—mechanical, vital, and intellectual; having the same progressive relations to each other as the mineral, vegetable, and animal kingdoms, as they are termed, have to each other. In a rational man the three forces are combined ; take away the intellectual and we have the living idiot; take away the life, and we have the dead body, with its mechanical force causing dissolution.

Mind is the animating principle of everything we behold, the invisible, impalpable, incorporeal essence of the living substances around us. Matter is the garment, the vehicle by which it manifests its existence to our senses, and motion is the sign of its activity, and the evidence of its vitality. What each of us looks at as his neighbour, is not the man himself, is not the indwelling mind, which remains unchanged in point of identity from the cradle to the grave, but the house of flesh, its incessantly changing abiding-place, which is being taken to pieces and reconstructed every instant of our lives. Every particle of our body is renewed, it is asserted, once in seven years, the softer parts much oftener. What is it that moulds them to the same shape and pattern ? AVhat is it gives to the voice its peculiar tone P to the body its instinctive carriage P to the brain its special faculties ? to the frame its characteristic height and build ? It is the indwelling mind, the permanent inhabitant of this marvellous mansion, while it lasts, which we do so much to injure and destroy. In the animal, vegetable, and mineral kingdoms, or rather, those progressive orders of one kingdom, it is mind, and mind only, which obeys this universal law, God being the author and legislator of that law. All law pre-supposes and implies intelligence and free will on the part of the being who renders it his will.

The earth and the atmosphere are composed of sixty-three elements ; these combine in what chemists call definite proportions, and in no others. Here we have intelligence and voluntary obedience to a law which is universal in its operations, and here, therefore, we have an irresistible demonstration of the existence of mind, because mind, and mind only, can obey a law, and from all we perceive around us on this earth, and within that extremely minute portion of the universe which the most powerful telescope has brought within our knowledge, we have abundant reasons for concluding that uniformity pervades, as order and harmony mark its divine government. The spectrum has revealed to us that the constituents of the sun and of the planets are identical with those of the globe to which we belong, and that they vary only in regard to the modes and conditions of their sensible mani-festations, just as the elements of water, ice, and steam are identical although the states and consistencies under which they present themselves may be those of fluidity, solidity, or of vapour respectively. But we need not travel outside the earth for testimonies of the existence and operation of mind.

The blood which circulates in our veins is composed of globular corpuscles, so infinitesimally small, that were the head of the smallest pin to be evenly covered with a pavement of the little red bodies, it would take no less than 30,000 of them to connect the covering. In the minutest droplets of blood that can be lifted 011 the point of the finest needle, there are contained thousands of these wonderful little forms, each of them a living being, the habitation of mind, and that mind is just as indestructible as the material garment. It will be transformed, it will seem to pass away, but it cannot be destroyed or lost. Why are these things so hard of comprehension to us ? Why do we resolutely close our eyes and ears to that great Bible, the only Bible intelligible to man, which God has written for our instruction and delight in the book of Nature P Simply because, in the exercise of man’s preposterous pride and arrogant self will, he has in general become so grossly material that he cannot see beyond and beneath the outward forms of things, he cannot discern that the whole visible world and all that it comprehends is but the external symbol and transitory expression of an invisible idea, an enduring mind within. This is the only reality ; all else is a shadow, an illusion of the senses. The idea is the enduring reality, the permanent possession, and our minds are eacli an individual aggregation of these ideas, bestowed upon but not created by us during our slow, gradual, and beautiful ascensional progress through innumerable organic structures for millions of ages past, of which we are incapable of being conscious until we attain a certain stage of progression in our present organization, capable of comprehending the essences of all beneath us.

In the phenomena of nature, as they are hourly presented to us for our edification and enjoyment, there will be found unbounded employment for every faculty of the most active mind. Few men ever reflect upon the marvellous beauty, the admirable adaptation and the manifold uses of the human body, the temple not made with hands. It is a museum of curiosities, a gallery of art, a mechanical workshop, a chemical laboratory. In it the architect finds the dome, the arch, the pillars, the buttress, and the girder. The brain is an electric telegraph, and the different nerves are the wires along which the messages are conveyed to and from the organs of sensation. The heart is a double-action force-pump, the lungs are a furnace, the stomach an elaborate apparatus for distillation. The liver is an alembic, the eye is a stereoscopic camera obscura, the larynx and vocal cords a musical instrument of exquisite delicacy, and the ear an seolian harp, containing some three thousand sensitive strings, which vibrate in response to the impressions produced upon them by the undulations of the air. Within

our bodies are to be found every description of mechanical agency. The ball and socket, the lever and fulcrum, the valve and hinge, the door and shutter, the cord and pulley, the corn-mill and the threshing-machine, the tube and cylinder, the sieve and strainer, and scores of other instruments and appliances which it would be wearisome to enumerate. And yet men who know so little of the earthly houses they inhabit, and still less of the laws by which they might maintain them in perfect repair until, having served their purpose, they become worn out, and the change called death renders them unnecessary, presume to arraign the Most High, to sit in judgment upon Him, to condemn what they cannot understand, or to dictate with unhesitating confidence that He does not exist. Ah ! men and brethren, the one thing which we require to learn before all others is our own ignorance. If we only knew that, we should stand on the threshold of true wisdom ; and yet our helplessness might teach us something in this respect. If we are so physically feeble in infancy and in old age as to be entirely dependent upon others, we might infer from that, that we must be no less dependent, as regards both our minds and our bodies, upon a Power infinitely higher, and incomparably greater than ourselves. The materialist affirms that mind is brain force, that it is just so much grey substance stimulated into activity ; he does not know and cannot state how, why, or wherefore, he mistakes the organ for the organist, the instrument for the musician, the electric telegraph for the invisible operator who controls the

battery and the wires, in tbe same way as, 1800 years ago, the messenger of light was mistaken for the light Himself.

Man is a representative of the whole of the material universe, and the laws which he constantly develops correspond with the motion of matter, and its producing effects, according to the law of nature. Man first germinates, until finally the original cause develops in his maturer condition the principle of spiritual life, while he again, as a material substauce, reproduces his like; consequently he forms one great circle of united action. Naturalists, anatomists, and physiologists are aware that these general principles are established as irresistible truths, and as such they are made to subserve the purposes for which they are here used.

It being established that matter possesses motion inherently, and that the whole contains the substance and properties to produce all things, by admitting this, the belief in the possibility of future progression is adopted. If nature displays universal motion, such as is manifest in all substances and forms which are known to exist, does not this prove progression ? Progression develops the various spheres which each substance and particle passes through. If universal association exists, does there not exist a corresponding future, invisible principle P This must of necessity exist as the result of motion and progression. Nature represents things which exist in an original condition, and that which is to he in an ultimate sphere, and all are established by her eternal laws. The beginning and ending form one eternal circle of movement, development, and progression. Representations of this great principle are seen in the movements of nature, the whole of which is formed of concentric circles, from the smallest particles in existence to the united and perfect form of all things. Astronomy, geology, anatomy, physiology, are all in perfect harmony with each other, forming a general and undeniable proof of the united chain of existences, and binding the whole together as one grand book, treating upon all proper subjects of investigation, contemplation, and aspiration, the only authentic and eternal book of truths which is directly inspired by the great original Designer and Author of all. From this book, properly interpreted, should be derived the text of every sermon. In this true theology has its foundation.

In the process of natural development each particle, substance, and form enters into the composition of vegetable, animal, and all else existing, by which process the substance or essential principle becomes individualised, but not until man is made the instrument, and by each individualisation. This substance becomes the future corresponding principle of spirit, representing in a second condition the instrument of its individualisation. As matter contains the essence and properties to produce man as a progressive ultimate, so motion contains the properties to produce life and sensation,—these together, and perfectly organized, develop the principle of spirit. This is not a production consequent on organization, but is the result of a combination of all the elements and properties of which the organization is composed. The organization merely serving as an instrument to develop the principle of spirit. But such principle must have existed eternally as emanating from the great source and fountain of intelligence, but could not be individualised and made manifest without a vessel like unto man, whose body progresses in size and symmetry until it attains the ultimate of its progression, according to the inherent properties which the germ contained, and from childhood to youth, from youth to manhood, and from manhood to old age, and therefore spheres through which the organization passes.

Accompanying these various spheres of the organization are corresponding spheres of knowledge and experience ; hence there is an accumulation of various essences and properties legitimately belonging to the individual. This corresponds to spiritual progression only as the same is developed in the visible and material form, is developed invisibly and in future, the principle of spiritual life. The whole forms one chain of progressive correspondences; for as the human embryo contains an essential principle and quality to produce the perfect organization of man, so does the germ in all existence possess the essence and quality to produce its corresponding result and ultimate, which is spirit. This forms one infinite and eternal circle. Finite circles are correspondences to those which are eternal. There is a commencement and an end to every particle visible ard invisible, and each one possesses the same essential power and motion which the whole contains. Therefore the whole is composed of parts, and the parts compose the whole, and all these combinations in nature are producing designedly that principle which seems so vague and indefinite to the mind ; which is the subject of much contemplation, but not a substance which can be proved to exist by external investigation, though it is known to exist as an eternal ultimate, of which proof, mathematical demonstration, exists in nature. It is demonstrated by those known laws which are constantly producing and developing corresponding principles, ascending in their degrees of perfection, for these laws exhibit an infinite chain of progression, and, as the whole forms one great circle, it comprehends and combines all other circles and corresponding motions and developments that exist in subordinate spheres ; and so the great original cause uses nature as an instrument or a means to produce the ultimate, which is spirit.

“ Nature is one tremendous whole,

And God its great eternal soul! ”

The material universe is a vortex from which all forms, material and immaterial, are unfolded to the external, or to the surface. The forms assume the force and form of the vortex, while the vortex possesses the form and force of the whole, and from it new particles and developments are constantly and successively emanating; each is in immediate juxtaposition with every corresponding part or particle. Consequently nature forms an arch, and as such, to sustain itself, requires parts to form the whole. If any part should become disunited, the whole would become prostrate and disorganised. Instead of this, each part performs its specific office as an end in the great arch composed of them all. It even requires an ultimate to join the great chain or circle of united motion, as the keystone is required to unite and perfect the whole arch of existence. The geologist forms his speculations concerning the inner structure of the earth from the general appearance of the external surface, Observing the upper strata, he is led to the conclusion that there are corresponding ones, and by investigation relative to the primitive formation, he penetrates deeply into causes and the primitive condition of all matter, and then, reversing the order of his thoughts, he traces primitive formation to the surface, which is the ultimate development and progression of the inner principle, which the former contains. Therefore, by observing the various strata and layers of earthy formation, and with them the remains of the mollusca, radiata, articulata, and vertebrata, he perceives that each forms a successive link, developing from the centre to the outside various appearances and forms which the earth has produced; and at each geological epoch there are also seen corresponding productions of the vegetable and animal kingdoms. Geological investigations thus correspond with those of physiology.

The atmosphere which surrounds this globe has corresponding strata of formations, each one holding a

position in relation to the earth according to its specific rarity. The earth possesses an attractive force over the same, the influence of which counteracts the expansive force, and prevents the formation of an atmospheric connection with the other earths or planets in existence. Consequently, the atmosphere terminates but a few miles from the surface of the earth ; hence it forms strata or layers, and each exerts a pressure on that which is beneath it, and the whole produces a weight which is confining to every particle or substance existing upon the surface of the earth. Hence the atmosphere corresponds with the earth ; each contains strata equal to its primitive force of successive development; the whole consequently forms concentric circles of atmospheric and natural formation.

The progression from the lower stages of the radiated to the vertebrated animals forms also a corresponding circle of development, and from the lowest stages of the vertebrated to the perfect organization of man forms another circle of physical progression. The motion of original matter towards the life existing in the lower spheres of vegetable and animal existence and to sensation in man produce another circle or chain of development from internal to external motion, life and sensation combined and perfected in man, and the purification of matter as united with these forms a compound fitted to produce spirit individualised. This is the beautification of all beneath and inferior to its sphere of existence, and consequently it completes one united chain or circle of progression from the germ of the vegetable existence to its own development. Therefore it is an expansion, an opening of the invisible principles and properties in existence to an ultimate or more perfect state.

Nature must also of necessity contain and form that which is analogous to what minimum particles contain and form, and if nature manifests a principle of motion, life, and sensation, one law of progression and reproductive development, it must of necessity, according to an eternal law, operate as an effect or secondary cause to produce higher and more perfect spheres of material existence. It was the object, then, for the earth to gradually progress in its material perfection, to produce plants, animals, and man. It is also the object for motion, life, and sensation to combine with the perfection of the former to develop the principle of inner life. Each form and substance in existence therefore is constantly operating as cause, effect, and end, and the object of each is to produce higher and corresponding results. So the first, the originator, the great positive mind, operates as a cause through nature as an effect to produce spirit as an ultimate.

If Nature, in a particular sense, manifests unchangeable productions, having so many and so various forms, complications, and correspondences, does not this amount to an absolute demonstration of her inherent and eternal operations in a general process of development ? As the germ of the herb produces body as an effect, and seed as an ultimate, so the great essence and spiritual fountain of all existence produces nature as an effect and spirit as an ultimate. Is there not internal and external evidence of this, which transcends the mere force of words to express ? Are there not inward convictions dwelling in the mind corresponding to its desires for a future and eternal state ? Does not the internal constitute the evidence of the external ? Does not Nature, as an external effect, point deeply and distinctly to the internal or fountain of its original production P Is it not a chart, whose various lines lead directly, and with mathematical certainty, to a future and higher state ? Do not the inseparable truths which each science unfolds, constitute paths which terminate at one common focus ? Man contains all this evidence combined within his own physical constitution ; therefore, he contemplates nature as invisibly and eternally producing results according to their inherent qualities and forces. And yet the highest and most important subject, and the one most desirable to comprehend, is the principle, the substance, the inward reality, which constitutes the ultimate existence of the contemplator—“Here we see but through a glass darkly ; ” but in the future state we shall, with our spiritual vision, perceive the works of nature, or the effects of God’s invariable laws, in a clearer and more comprehensive light, and be enabled to contemplate, as well as more appreciably to understand, the boundless love and wisdom of their Great Author, our Merciful Father, to whom alone we owe the powers of contemplation and judgment we now possess through

His divine gift, viz., reason, which as rational beings, let us use in all things, giving Him the praise and thanks which are due; praying that we may be nearer and - nearer to Him, and that all mankind may be led to the truth, and abide therein for ever.

‘‘Nothing makes men more drunk than prejudice:

It shuts their ears and seals up both their eyes;

Reason it drags in fetters from its throne ;

Truth it expels, and error reigns alone.”

The world is enveloped in aura, organized in part from the earth itself, and partly from its distant surroundings. Of this substance, matter, mineral and metallic, is prominent; and the combination forms a subtle fibred strata or spiritual sensatised condition, which is truly the breath of the world that sustains life in all living things, of whatever nature. It is also the medium in connection with the genial influence with the parent Sun, by which the world is united to, and works in harmony with, the entire planetary system. In the construction and make up of every living being, mineral, or what may be called electro-magnetic substances, are also most prominent, and the subtle spirit or eternal germ, commingled with the material system of every mortal, so closely fibres to it, that it represents its part to a greater or less degree in the entire volume of earth’s breath of all life. A science of the visible is being rapidly upbuilt; but beyond, and erected upon this, there stretches away into infinity, the myriad times greater, grander, and more awe-inspiring realm of the invisible, which we must also conquer. The mind of man cannot rest, but must still advance, widening the circle ol knowledge. Having attained to the certainty of a future eternity, stretching beyond this earth, the next step is to examine and reduce it also to mathematical fact, whose conditions shall be as completely known as those of other continents. This new field is truly inexhaustible; but we can look forward to the time when the earth, and spheres far beyond our present conception, shall be contained within the boundaries of science, whose domain comprises all time and all space. At present, the generality of scientific men can find no language sufficiently contemptuous to express their opinions of the spiritual philosophy ; which opinions are founded on as complete ignorance of its facts and its discoveries as ever orthodox theologians indulged in towards the facts and discoveries of science. The facts which spiritualism seeks to classify and investigate are as widespread as is the human race ; as undeniable, whatever may be the laws which govern them, as the evidence of the rocks themselves ; and those who can fully and fearlessly seek to read their meaning by the light of a more extended knowledge and more accurate reasoning, are no more deserving of the contumely and ridicule which the scientific world bestow on them, than were the first investigators into geology, or the first supporters of the Copernican system of astronomy. Even if time and further examination should prove many of the theories of spiritualism to be erroneous, and therefore necessarily to be abandoned, that does not invalidate their claim to respectful attention. All progress in knowledge is accompanied by occasional mistakes. The difference in the rapidity of progress has depended, not on the absence of error, but on the readiness and capacity of the enquirers to throw aside all theories which will not bear the test of experience, and to receive and investigate into all facts, however adverse they may seem to be to favourite theories. When the men of science are prepared to deal thus with spiritualism—and it is but the extension of the treatment they bestow on any new thing within their own domain—we shall hear less of the broad improved assertion so easily made and so readily believed by the ignorant, that the facts of spiritualism are mere matters of phantasy—

“ Some men there are (I have known such) who think That the two worlds—the seen and the unseen—

Are like two hemispheres upon our maps,

And touch each other only at a point.

But the two worlds are not divided thus,

Save for the purposes of common speech.”

“ The spiritual world Lies all about us, and its avenues Are open to the unseen feet of phantoms That come and go, and we perceive them not,

Save by their influence; or when at times A most mysterious Providence permits them To manifest themselves to mortal eyes.”

Man is a microcosm—an image on a small scale of the great universe—that is to say, he contains in miniature all that constitutes the great system of which he is a part. He is not, however, totally independent of nature around him ; if he were he would be an abnormity, at variance with the usual plan of the great Artificer, who connects all His works by subtle laws of interdependence upon each other and Himself. But the higher we go in the scale of being the less abject dependence we find on gross material nature. The plant is totally dependent upon the seasons, and the earth on which its seed happens to drop. The insect—the butterfly, for instance—lives its brief existence or summer day of joy, succumbing to the first chill shower, or the next rude Borean breath. But in man we behold material existence struggling for emancipation, the finite merging into the infinite—his brain is finite, his thought and imagination are infinite.

Man is the ultimate of all organic life, represented on this earth, that is, the requisite composite parts necessary to complete the whole. Man forms the apex, and the complete representation of all things else on earth, and has graduated from the fundamental principle called magnetism. Man's origin sprang directly from the various perfecting and combining influences that are below him in design and qualifiation. It dates back many years prior to that story of creation, and quaint description of God and man ; where Deity is represented as being of a very unsatisfactory nature, and where man is represented as being more unworthy and childish than he has ever demonstrated himself to be. Out of the physical growth man became the immortal soul he now is; step by step was he evolved. How bright must be man’s eventuality, when from the first cells of existence he has risen so far in the state of progression as to he an heir of eternity !

Through the entire realm of nature, we see that under certain conditions forces are convertible one into another. Thus heat is convertible into mechanical motion; chemical affinity into electricity, and so on; and every operation and phenomenon in nature is attended with some such change or series of changes. The entire and ever varying phenomena of vegetable and animal life, from the development of a germ cell to the evolution of a thought, are based on the correlation and transmutation of forces.

Nothing is lost in nature, but everything is continually changing. For instance, although the life of the lower animals at their death has no continued individual existence, it is disseminated into higher forms until it reaches the stage of progression suitable for the highest order, namely, man, the apex of all beneath him, and in whom it is fitted for the reception of the divine spark.

Science has admitted that biological force has its correspondent in electricity, not only uniting man by a living sympathy, but associating him with every living organism, and displaying itself universally in its incomprehensible magnitude of sympathetic flight. This is exemplified by the sensitive plants, one of which contracts, and the other expands, at the approach of the human hand, thus showing the close nervous sympathy, or positive and negative polarities in the vegetable as well as the animal kingdom. This universality of like forces throughout nature is clearly suggested in the sixth verse of the fourth chapter of Ephesians, where it is stated, “ One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”

There are spiritual laws which xnan is meant to obey, but those spiritual laws must be in perfect harmony with every fresh physical law which we discover ; they cannot be intended to compete self-destructively with each other ; the spiritual cannot be intended to be perfected by ignoring or crushing the physical, unless God is a deceiver, and his universe a self-contradiction. By this alone must be tried all theories, dogmas, and spiritualities whatsoever. Are they in accordance with the laws of nature? Egotism, tempered with humility, is a necessary concomitant to a knowledge of the Holy Truth, and the possessor of this knowledge can complacently smile with feelings of pity on those who sneer at or ridicule him or his statements.

Clairvoyance has been denied by the generality of scientists, in defiance of the most overwhelming evidence, and with the same unphilosophical argument as used against other spiritual phenomena, that it is impossible, because there is no other known means by which the mind obtains perceptions than their importation by the senses, arrogantly limited to five,—an argument based, as the like have ever been, on the assumption that all the forces of nature, and all the laws that govern them, and all the powers and capacities of the mind as well as of the body, are already so perfectly known that nothing new can be learned, and we are therefore to reject whatever is apparently inconsistent with anything assumed to he known. “ Oh ! shallow brains and darkened intellects.” Physiology proves it to be impossible to see without eyes. Physiologists, therefore, reject without trial of the fact, declaring to be fraud or delusion, the assertion that not one person but hundreds have done so, as recorded from the earliest age and attested by thousands. The fallacy of the scientists consists in the use of the term  see.” They forget that the mind perceives what the eyes see. It is quite true that we cannot see without the eyes, but it is quite another question whether perceptions of external objects might not be conveyed to the mind by some other medium than the sense of sight, namely, the sense of intuition, admitted by the French Academy as the sixth sense. The alleged facts of clairvoyance having been proved, it is certain that perceptions are so conveyed, although we are as yet comparatively ignorant of the process by which the idea of the unseen object is obtained. I shall take an early opportunity of asking for information on this subject through spiritual communication. I may here relate a fact in connection with clairvoyance stated to me by a friend in whose truthfulness I have every confidence, and who said he had witnesses who could attest the accuracy of his statements. He was expecting a letter regarding business matters by the mail on its way out from England to Australia. He was anxious to know the contents of this letter so as to write regarding the matter by the outgoing mail; so he went to a lady clairvoyant, Mrs. C., to see if she could give him the information required. She asked for some clue to the expected letter, and on his handing her the envelope of the last letter he had received from the party from whom the expected letter was coming, she went into a clairvoyant state. Her first remark was, “ I have got to the mail steamer, but cannot see the letter. Stop ; I have got it.” She then commenced to state its contents as if she were reading it. A companion who was with my friend, wrote down as the clairvoyant read or professed to read the contents. This he took to a lawyer, who made out the documents which were named as being necessary in the supposed copy of the letter “en voyage.” These documents, with a reply, my friend forwarded by the outgoing post, and some weeks after when the mail arrived from England, it brought almost an exact counterpart of the copy taken, the statements of Mrs. C., the lady clairvoyant, who knew nothing regarding my friend’s business matters, and who, if she had, could not possibly have guessed the contents of the coming letter.

The small progress made by psychology when other sciences have been advancing with such giant strides, is in consequence of the prejudice which exists against investigating that which cannot he brought within the reach of chemical tests, or the scope of telescopic observation. Phrenology, however, has supplied to psychological inquiry a great impidse by reducing the study of mind from metaphysics to physics ; from inner consciousness to observation; from conjecture to fact. The psychologist cannot seize and confine, carve and torture tlie soul or spirit, he can only ascertain their existence, qualities, and functions, by studying their manifestations, their substance being imponderable, and to the physical eyesight imperceptible. Progress in psychology, the noblest of sciences, can only be made by the gathering together of facts, attested by good and sufficient evidence, trying them by experiments carefully conducted, rejecting nothing on merely a priori argument, nor because of its apparent impossibility or improbability, or seeming inconsistency with some fact or law already assumed to be true. A fact can only be proved or disproved by experiment, it cannot be answered by argument. Whenever there is something to be known, it is our right and our duty to make search for it. There is no dangerous truth nor desirable ignorance, nothing is unworthy of being known. A new fact of any kind, however seemingly small, is a substantial addition to the sum of our knowledge ; trifling as it appears, it may be the pioneer to a whole territory of new learning. Scientists may sneer at psychology as being visionary, based upon mere assumption, and dealing with that the very existence of which they deem problematical; but its subject-matter is as real as that with which they deal. Existence can be proved by manifestation of effects as well as by palpable substance, as, for instance, gravitation and electricity, the nature and qualities of which are only learned by observing their manifestations upon the matter that is perceptible.

The spirit or electrical portion of man’s dual nature

permeates the whole body, and is shaped like the body, but is rather smaller. Under certain rare conditions the spirit, during its earth life, has the powder of passing beyond the boundaries of the body. It survives and exists after death, and has the power to manifest itself to those in the body under certain conditions. This has been attested in all ages, by people of all countries, of all creeds, and of all states of civilisation. The manifestations of spirits to those on earth have been ridiculed by the term of  ghost story ” being applied to them ; but ridicule can never disprove a fact. The evidence for the existence of spirits of those who once lived upon earth is stronger than for any event in history. There is hardly a family without some tradition of the spirit of the departed having been seen. The literature of every land teems with references to ghosts or spirits. Seers and believers in the existence of spirits are found among all peoples, of all ages and climes, equally among the civilised and the savage, the ancient and the modem. There is no known religion, however rude or however advanced, which has not for its foremost article of faith, if not at its very foundation, not merely the existence of spirits, but the reappearance of the spirits of the dead. It is not the Christian creed only, it is that of Buddhism and of Mahomedanism. All who believe the Bible must believe in ghosts, for it is full of them ; and if it is allowed that the spirit of one dead person has at any time or anywhere presented itself, and been seen by any one mortal, the being and future existence of the soul is proved, and the whole controversy that has troubled preachers and philosophers, and upon which materialists and psychologists are contending, is settled at once. This is a question of fact, not a matter for argument, disprove it who can.

Man in the physical state is possessed of only imperfect powers ; his range of perception is limited. His mind, imprisoned in a narrow, fleshly cell, looks upon all things from his own standpoint, through five or six dim loopholes (there are six senses), and even these small avenues of intelligence are not availed of by myriads of mankind. The impenetrable haze of ignorance shrouds almost the entire system of things without them from intelligent apprehension ; and as a rule, owing to prejudice, even the most advanced scientist’s field of vision is limited. The inquiry into the final causes in nature is discredited by science ; for from a purely material point of view, by no power of conception or subtlety of reasoning can we discern through the wall which divides us from the knowledge of things in themselves—our knowledge being in fact but a mere endless classifying, and our perceptions of even these secondary qualities are radically imperfect, as we are never sure that what we do know of any object corresponds exactly with the reality of that object. There exists, however, externally to us a reality, of which all phenomena whatsoever are knowable manifestations. All that relates to the being, attributes, and moral government of this reality belongs exclusively to the spiritual.

Every object and every movement that we perceive in the universe around us is the effect of some cause or combination of causes ; and although at first sight everything appears multitudinous, complex, and confused, still there is a simple avenue of knowledge by which the earnest investigator can learn that there is simplicity of means, uniformity of action, regularity of law, and the dominance of a marvellous central unity for ever developing itself, under infinite varieties of manifestation, throughout the boundless universe, in which all is harmony and beauty, and all works towards the greater perfection of every part. This is a thought to illumine the mind of man or angel throughout eternity. The supreme delights of knowledge attainable by reading creation’s open book, and drawing thence the lessons it conveys—lessons which fairly raise the mind, which is enabled to grasp them, whole stages nearer to the supreme intelligence that works in all and through all. Thus the apparent antagonism between science and religion, which is to timid or prejudiced minds an abiding terror, is utterly and for ever swept away :—

“ The selfsame law which moulds a tear,

And bids it trickle from its source,

That law preserves the earth a sphere,

And guides the planets in their course.”

Marvels in every age have been produced in obedience to some universal law or laws. As far back and as widespread as the sweep of human history there are distinct accounts of many phenomena, the nature and character of

T

which imply some other cause than any which science has satisfactorily defined. To the question, “ Who or what produces these strange works P ” the learned have as yet given no satisfactory answer ; but spiritualism points out the direction in which the true answer lies, and throws light upon the processes by which the marvellous phenomena have been produced, not only in the past, but in the present age. Magnetism is and has been the secret key at the root of all, whether utilised in ignorance or otherwise by mind or spirit, in the body termed mesmerism, or out of the body termed spiritualism ; the one is just as natural as the other.

Through mesmerism, or magnetic somnambulism, we learn that some men, by a concentrated application of their mental forces, aided often by the eye or the hand, or by both, can either take from or impart to certain persons (not to all) some property or fluid which enables the operator to become master in the subject’s house or body. Through that other body he manifests himself, but he does this only imperfectly. He has power there, but not equal to that which he can display through his own organs. A man is cramped when he has to take a borrowed body. It is the same with a spirit. A medium or person sensitive to magnetic influence can not be impressed much beyond his own mental powers. Therefore, in judging of spiritual communications, the education and the development of the power of expression in the medium should be considered.

Mesmerism is the action of the magnetiser, with his rough greatcoat on ; spiritualism is the action of the magnétiser when he has cast off or thrown aside this rough coating, which was necessary for his protection whilst he was a denizen of the winter land. Mesmerists cannot magnetise every person ; some are much more easily and thoroughly brought under the influence than others ; and it is the same with spirits—it is only those who are susceptible to certain influences whom they can control. All men are to a greater or less extent, in their normal state, imperceptibly influenced by their guardian angels or spirits. How often has man been warned of impending danger by his unseen spirit friends ? As all men are not efficient magnetisers, so it is with spirits ; some can control a medium, others cannot.

In mesmerism the magnétiser can only operate through the living subject ; but in spiritualism the spirits can also operate through inanimate matter. Many of the physical manifestations revealing intelligence which certainly cannot be ascribed to the inanimate wood or other material through which the raps or movements are made ; they are merely the instruments through which one mind imparts intelligence to another. The most powerful embodied magnétiser cannot by his will-power cause inanimate matter to move or give out sounds ; neither can magnetism nor electricity impart or generate a mind therein ; and it will be admitted that the most intelligent magnétiser, with the most susceptible subject to operate on, cannot give correct information on matters outside and beyond the knowledge, separate or combined, of the operator and his subject. This is frequently done by spiritual mediums to the sitter or sitters present.

Magnetism, and electricity baye always existed, but it was only recently that man has become much acquainted with their properties, and learned how to subject them in any degree to his control. By his discoveries in electricity and steam within the last half-century man has become able to convey his thoughts and his person much more speedily to people and places on the earth than formerly. Spirits in like manner progress in knowledge, and in this wray have discovered the means by which they can return to earth more easily and definitely, and make themselves more distinctly felt and better understood by us than in past times, when, from ignorance and superstition, man wras in general too frightened to hold communion with the spirits of those he loved when they returned to earth.

Magnetism differs from electricity in that it is more refined and ethereal. Electricity can be confined in a Leyden jar. Not so with magnetism, wrhich penetrates through the densest substance in the material universe. It is through this refined electricity that spirits have been able to communicate with man. Spirit communication is as strictly natural as is man’s telegraphing through iron wire. It is subject to nice laws, to difficulties, to interruptions, and often to absolute failure. Science is often more fanciful than scientific in its conjectures. The marvels recorded in the Bible, and the repeated manifestations of disembodied intelligence in all ages, have a deeper foundation and a broader basis in tbe nature of things than the science and theology of our times are accustomed to recognize.

The aura or animal magnetism which is constantly though imperceptibly emanating from the body, is affected by and affects everyone, not only with whom we come in contact, but also with those we come near, and that to a much greater extent than is generally credited, even by those who admit the fact. It is principally by this aura that infection is carried from the diseased to the apparently healthy person. On the other hand, by the demagnetising of the afflicted ones, or the abstracting of the impure aura, and substituting pure magnetism by a healthy magnetiser, cures can be effected without other treatment, and this will be found effectual after all other remedies have failed. When once this subject is thoroughly understood, the application of the curative powers of vital magnetism will supersede almost entirely the present mode of treatment by which the sufferer is stuffed with nauseous drugs, the general tendency of which is to diminish the vital force. In fact, it will completely revolutionise the therapeutic art.

Whatever is ascertained by experiment to be true in nature will bear testimony to the existence of a Creator. Creation and true revelation will never clash ; how can they ? Man’s interpretations may and do frequently clash. But the more we know, the more will these be found to harmonise with each other—a lesson taught us by experience in numberless instances. Let us then wish all success to the honest searchers after truth. They can do no harm, but the very reverse. It is only those who work with prejudiced minds, and a predetermined intention of proving theories, which may or may not be founded on facts, or which may only represent a portion oi the truth, that do harm, and that only for a time. The progress of real discovery sweeps away their cobwebs of the brain as surely as the morning sun disperses the mists of night.

“ Go on, oh friends ! explore with eagle’s eye,

Where wrapp’d in night retiring causes lie :

Trace their slight hands, their secret haunts betray,

And give new wonders to the beam of day ;

Till, link by link with step aspiring trod,

You climb from nature to the throne of God.

—So saw the patriarch with admiring eyes From earth to heaven a golden ladder rise ;

Involv’d in clouds the mystic scale ascends,

And brutes and angels crowd the distant ends.”

From the lowest geological stratum up to the highest and most recent we have conclusive proofs that the order of succession of life on the earth has been from humble, simple, rudimentary organisms up to higher and more perfect forms ; and the essence of the idea of creation is that there never was at any time or at any place in the universe a particle of matter without the Divine mind in it. Think ourselves back as we may into the remotest ages of past time, the changes then occurring throughout all existences everywhere are being directed and controlled by a mind above all and in all, giving to each separate thing its limits, its functions, its method, and its order of succession. Throughout the whole ascent of being, from nomad to man, nature is but a prophetic bvmn heralding the advent of an immortal soul!

Cultured reason is led to adore and admire the arrangement and the adaptability of matter, and in contemplating the wisdom of the Creator revolts at the idea of absolute intelligence erring, sinning, or repenting, as has been attributed to tbe Supreme Being, who is represented as first having created a devil to destroy man’s peace, and then introducing a very questionable scheme of atonement, showing it to be the creation, or rather the concoction, of erring and subtle men. Reason fettered by the routine of scholasticism deals in metaphors, and stigmatises the honest search after truth as the pursuit of lunatics and infidels, whilst it practically desires little more than theory. Hence it can use no other weapons but metaphor and idea to contend with the earnest and honest searcher after truth.

Science states one half truth, the other half which is ignored by scientists constitutes the vitality of science. The expression of a system without a soul is like a body wuthout life. The French Academy have declared that, in order to account for the various faculties that mankind possess, there must be admitted another sense in addition to the five physical senses generally credited as controlling humanity, namely, the sense of intuition. This other sense means the other half of man’s existence; it means that spiritual nature which, acting upon the atom and the molecule and other various forms of existence between man and the atom, produces the final result of humanity. The source of man’s creation must be found in the mind that governs the universe, in the spirit that imbues each atom with life, in the power that directs and guides the atom. Every separate epoch and every separate type of existence the world has known are results of divine, conscious, creative power. If this be not so then the wrorld is a mistake, the earth a chance, the creation of man an accident, and the whole history of philosophy a sublime failure. This must be the case if it be not true that intelligence planned, executed, and has developed, in various and distinctive ages or epochs of time just the life upon earth that was required according to the age, and that each period known to geology, the carboniferous, the upper and lower sandstone, and the silurian, all represent distinctive epochs of creative power, w^herein the impulse of the divine mind, acting through matter and upon every atom in the earth, causes the types of existence to be formed, and that each type has been sacredly, distinctly, and absolutely preserved for its own use and age, and that every succeeding age has made it possible for a higher order of existence to be caused to come forth, and that these orders of existence, as well as the variety and number, are specific creations, as are also the types in existence. It follows that the physical body of man, the head of the animal kingdom, the husk or shell of the ultimate of all matter, namely, spirit, was the direct creation of divine intelligence from the laws that she works by, and that wherever creation takes place there is not only a conscious but a distinctive purpose of the divine mind in that creation, and that from the beginning of the earth’s foundation from the state in which it first was formed to the present, and from the present to the future time, when human beings shall be more and more perfect, there is an ultimate and palpable design running through every form of creative life which produces the various geometrical lines in the diamond, which makes the properties of the crystal, which has fashioned the blade of grass and the leaves of the rose, which makes it possible for all the varieties of existence in nature to express the variety and oneness of thought in the infinite mind; and that man physical was not the accident nor evolution of the previous orders beneath him, though comprehending the essence of everything that has preceded him, but a direct and palpable impulse of the divine mind in the latest epoch of geological development; and that every existing type of bird, fish, and beast belonging to the orders of life found on the earth to-day, and capable of reproducing their species, are the result of the same impulse of creative power, and that prior and primal to these the soul of all life is spirit, which is therefore the beginning and the end of all.

“ The world is seldom what it seems To man, who dimly sees ;

Eealities appear like dreams,

And dreams realities.”

It is evident that the existence of God is the foundation on which all true religion, all sound morality, must be based. If there be no God, there can be no true religion, no moral laws, no soul, future state, reward or punishment. Every candid and unbiassed scientist must acknowledge that the more nature is studied, the more its laws and wrorks are examined, the more convincing are the evidences of a sole Supreme Eternal Euler of the universe, every department of which is governed by fixed laws, so that nothing happens by mere chance. That benevolence is the ruling principle of these laws is evident, for they are so constructed that obedience to them produces happiness and progress, while the result of disobedience is suffering retrogression and destruction.

God’s laws being immutable, the same yesterday, today and for ever, in Him there is no variableness nor shadow of turning. The same law which caused the seeds to germinate, the flowers to bloom, and the birds to sing thousands of years ago, acts in our day, and if this is true with regard to outward or physical nature (and who dares question this?), is it not absolutely unreasonable to doubt that the same laws now govern the spiritual element in man, which have ever governed it since he was first created ? There are, it is true, among modern spiritual manifestations, many phenomena of which there is no mention made in the Bible or other ancient records, but these occur not through any new law, but in accordance with the eternal law of progression.

To one who has had the truth of modern spiritualism clearly and unmistakably demonstrated, the absurd, contemptible, and impossible hypotheses suggested, and attempts made to explain away the phenomena are ludicrous in the extreme, such as unconscious cerebration, brain-reading, odic force, mediomania, witchcraft, sorcery, diabolism, &c., &c. ; there is some excuse for the mentally enslaved bigot, and -the weak superstitious ignorance; but I fail to perceive any for professed scientists or literati, unless it is their dread of unpopularity and public ridicule for a time, or their profound self-conceit in their own knowledge and acquirements. “Murder will out,” is an old saying, and so it will be with truth, it cannot be kept hidden from the world for long1, once its light has been disclosed to a few. The scorn and ridicule of the earth’s united people can never stamp out the truth of spiritualism, which will in time stem the adverse torrent, and nail the flag of victory to eternity’s mast.

I have just perused a pamphlet kindly forwarded to me by a friend, a disbeliever in the truth of spiritualism, written by a learned American professor, a son of Aesculapius, who, whilst admitting that there are “a few phenomena which actually occur, and are more or less wonderful,” ascribes what is not the result of imposture to madness on the part of the media, more especially in the case of females, and terms it mediomania. It occurs to me, though I do not write it offensively, that lunatics generally consider every one insane but themselves. Had this M.D. lived cotemporary with the great reformer, he doubtless would have advocated his being placed in an asylum for medical treatment, or if he had lived in the days of Saul he no doubt would have treated the woman of Endor for amenorrhoea and retroversion of the uterus.” In the latter case this may be the effect, hut not the cause. If the acceptation of proof ot the immortality of the soul is insanity, what constitutes sanity ?

Being told that a Mr. II--■, who is a professor of

phrenology and magnetism, and a disbeliever in spiritualism could account lor the phenomena otherwise than by spiritual agency, I called on the professor, and introduced myself by requesting a chart of my head, explanatory remarks at the bottom of which explain that  relative strength and activity of the phrenological conditions is indicated on a scale of degrees ranging from one to seven,” one being the lowest, and seven the highest indications. Whether deservedly or not is not for me to say, but the learned professor, as he manipulated my caput, put me down nearly all at sixes and sevens. This finished, I opened up by an enquiry regarding mesmerism. He replied by reading a discursive article on the subject out of some pamphlet he said he had written. I then put the poser, How do you account for a medium or subject without being magnetised by any visible agency at least, speaking or writing on subjects they have not the slightest idea of, and in languages one word of which they do not understand ? Without the slightest hesitation, he replied, “ Ah, that is easily accounted for, they may be en rapport with some person in New York or elsewhere, and be influenced to speak or write their thoughts.” Had he said that the man in the moon magnetised all the susceptible dwellers upon this planet, causing them to be moonstruck, and spoke or wrote bis thoughts through their organizations, I should have considered it a much more ingenious hypothesis. As it was, I saw it was useless to expect enlightenment on the spiritual phenomena in that quarter, or I should have enquired from the learned magnetiser if he could magnetise tables and chairs, and make them move about at his will without contact, &c., &c.

Should any of the readers of this be ignorant of the fact that there are occurring in our day, and in our very midst, equally astounding phenomena as are recorded in olden times, they may easily inform themselves on the point by reading the report of several committees of respectable men, appointed by the London Dialectical Society, to investigate the truth of the occurrence of these wonderful modern spiritual phenomena, most, if not all, of whom entered upon the investigation with the full belief that the manifestations reported as having taken place, and as genuine by spiritualists were the results of deception, humbug, or imagination. But notwithstanding their thus prejudging the matters to be investigated, they had to give in and admit, under the severest tests, the truth and reality of these manifestations, I need not say, much to their own astonishment, as well as to that of thousands who have read their reports. A cheap edition of these reports is published, I believe, for five shillings.

What am I P has been asked. I reply briefly, a living man possessed of a dual nature, material and spiritual, both natural, a free agent within the laws of nature, with powers, by study and research, of comprehending all that is beneath me, but only comparatively that which is above my condition. Less in size, and weaker in physical strength, than many of the animals helow me, but their superior in other respects, through the intellectual faculties or powers I possess. The summit of the material creation, containing the ultimate of matter spirit, mortal as regards my body, immortal as regards my spirit, possessing the propensities in the aggregate of all beneath me, but at the same time having within me an emanation from Deity—the Divine spark. A rational being whose thoughts, words, and actions, should be the reflex of his reason.

The biblical account of man’s origin limits his existence upon earth to some 6,000 years, whereas, through modern spiritual communications we are informed that man existed on earth long anterior to this date. This is borne out by geological research. From the same source we learn that man at one time possessed only the animal nature—that it was not until his organization was developed sufficiently to receive the divine spark, that he became a spiritual being. The biblical account may therefore refer to this epoch in the history of man, and thus geology and the Bible be reconciled. The term pre-Adamite man may therefore be applied to the state of man’s existence anterior to his organization having evolved sufficiently to receive the divine influx, and before man possessed tbe dual natures which constitute his individuality, viz.: animal and spiritual, as explained in a former chapter. We are further informed that the time will come in the lapse of ages, when by development man will be so spiritualized upon this earth that the now seemingly immeasurable and incomprehensible gulf or distance between man in his physical body and those in the spiritual form, will be bridged over as it were, and a universal union between man and angels or spirits shall exist; thus bearing out in all respects the eternal law of progression. However chimerical and impossible this may in the meantime appear to man’s short-sighted vision, if we consider the vast changes and progress in many ways which have taken place even in the lifetime of most of us, for instance, the improvements in the application of steam power, the utilization of the power pertaining to iron of conducting electricity, the rationalizing power of those in the spirit world to communicate with those in earth life, instead of as formerly superstitiously denouncing this glorious source of knowledge as witchcraft, sorcery, &c., what may we not expect reasonably in the lapse of ages, with such increasing advantages at our command P The last instance of progress referred to will, however, outshine all other discoveries. The world mi£ht have been hundreds of years in advance of its present state, had not the mentality of the human race been restricted by those who should have been its teachers, and even now those who are termed the learned, are, as a rule, so narrow-minded that they contemptuously ignore that which is the very dayspring of true knowledge, and through which, great and learned as they may think themselves, they might ascertain that they are mere babies at the alphabet of wisdom, and have yet to commence the rudiments of the eternal truth.

“ Oh no ! it is no flattering lure,

No fancy weak or fond,

When Hope would hid us rest secure In better life beyond.

Nor loss, nor shame, nor grief, nor sin,

Her promise may gainsay ;

The voice divine hath spoke within,

And God did ne’er betray.”

Scientists as a rule denounce phenomenal spiritualism, which they in their arrogance superciliously decline to investigate, assuming that it is beyond the pale of natural phenomena. This is as reasonable as if they were to assert that all the planets of our solar system have been discovered, and that it is impossible for there to be any more, or if they were to assume that there are no other worlds than the one we live on inhabited. These scientific dictators devote themselves to the investigation of what they arbitrarily assume, comprise the totality within the limits of natural phenomena, tracing effects to causes with the greatest assiduity, dissecting mother earth to ascertain her history, and lingering as lovingly over the debris of defunct fauna as over the beautiful petals of the most fragrant living flora. Yet—marvellous inconsistency! — these same giants of our day turn up their precious noses at phenomena which, if

spiritualism does not account for them, are unaccounted for. Therefore we should not place our trust in (scientific) princes, but should bear in mind that their education, like that of the clergy, to a certain extent unfits them for taking unbiassed views outside of their speciality. Let scientific men hold on their praiseworthy course of analysis and generalization, but distrust their deductions whenever they dogmatise. I am well aware that it will be deemed presumptuous on my part as a plain business man, claiming only a little common sense, to state, for the information of the learned Goliaths referred to, that spiritual phenomena actually occur, and that they do so not through any suspension of the laws of nature, but in accordance with certain constant laws, requiring, however, like everything else in nature, suitable conditions for their manifestation. I at the same time admit that we are as yet very imperfectly acquainted with the operations of these laws.

The mental and physical phenomena of modern spiritualism are as old as man; they have been manifested in all countries, and at all times. Whatever novelty appears to attach to any of them is due to more careful observation, with more unprejudiced eyes and minds. What was formerly superstitiously ascribed to magic, oracles, witchcraft, miracles, or supernatural agency, is now, through the spiritual philosophy, explained as occurring by laws as natural, though less understood, as are the ordinary events of every-day life. For centuries the soul was a theme prohibited to scientific

u

inquiry, and even forbidden to thought. The soul, its structure and qualities, and its relationship to body and mind, were held to be subjects not for science, but for theology alone. It was impiety to approach them ; they were mysteries to be accepted by faith, not to be examined by reason. Psychology has been but recently emancipated from this mental thraldom. Within the memories of many now living, the very existence of soul was treated as a faith to be swallowed, and not as a fact to be investigated. This is why it seems a new science ; but it is new in seeming only.

Many scientists object to investigate the phenomena of modern spiritualism unless under certain conditions which they dictate, and to which they are aware these phenomena are not amenable. Religionists in general are afraid to investigate the spiritual philosophy for one or more of the following reasons. First the fear of the ridicule of their bigoted neighbours, then loss of social position, the condemnation of their priest or parson, or the avenging wrath of an all-merciful Father for making use of the talent with which He has so graciously entrusted them, namely, the divine gift of reason. They prefer resting their hopes of a future existence, undefined, delusive, and chimerical, on the popular but unseaworthy barque of orthodoxy, instead of boldly striking out for the solid rock of eternal truth, within the reach of all.

“ The astronomer with patient, searching gaze Doth with his tube the depths of space explore ;

Shows Neptune’s orb, or, ’neath the solar blaze,

Reveals a world by man unseen before.

Justly the world rewards his arduous toil,

And claims to share the glory of his fame ;

Beyond the boundaries of his native soil From land to land the breezes bear his name.

But he who doth a spirit-world reveal,

Not far in space but near to every soul,

Which nought but mists of sense and sin conceal (Would from men’s sight these mists at length might roll!),

He is with incredulity received,

Or with a slow, reluctant faith believed.”

In ridiculing the phenomena of modem spiritualism, critics never seem to be conscious that their explanations of the facts demonstrated are more improbable than the facts themselves, and the source to which spiritualists ascribe them and which they attest. When scientists can produce raps similarly to those caused by spirit power through mediums, without machinery or the electric battery, and in any place and position, they will then have some grounds for ignoring one phase of modern spiritual manifestations. When they can by will power, or any means save mechanical force, under similar circumstances cause inanimate pieces of furniture to move about without contact, they will have grounds for ignoring another phase of these manifestations ; and when they can make individuals speak fluently or write on subjects of which they are totally ignorant, or in languages of which they don’t know one word, without magnetising them, then scientists will have further grounds for ignoring another phase of spiritualism. But were they even able to accomplish the foregoing, which I think is more than doubtful, there would still be many other phases to explain away.

No one who at the present time watches the state of the intellectual atmosphere of civilized communities can fail to see that we are on the eve of a great change, which will shake the oldest convictions of the world and upset everything that is clouded with impossibilities and the superstitions of the dark ages. The change which is coming, yea, even is begun, is not in the nature of a convulsion, it is not as a thunderstorm which rages and terrifies for a few hours at most, and then passes away leaving the atmosphere purer than it was before. On the contrary, the change which can be traced through all the present century but which has become more visible in the latter quarter of it, is rather like those slow but mighty forces which form continents by the incessant wearing away of the high lands. The most enlightened portions of the earth are slowly advancing towards higher knowledge and more philosophical views of Nature, and what are commonly called her works. The progress is not as often assumed from light into darkness and then into light again, but from partial into greater light, from obscurity into a dim perception at best of the methods by which all that we are able to perceive by our senses grows from more to more. We know that there is and must be incessant change. What we seek is to discover the laws by which the change is effected and governed. Men are now entering upon a series of inquiries wonderfully advanced from old conceptions of the forces of nature and the mysteries of being ; the world is beginning to discover that the explanation of the phenomena which were once looked for in the skies lies close around us.

Religion, or what assumes the name of religion, the conservative force of the intellectual state, opposes all this because it is a change, no matter what benefits may be derived therefrom so long as it is likely to interfere with cherished dogmas, founded on barbaric superstition and antiquated nonsense, claiming infallibility and direct divine authority. Consider for one moment the changes that have taken place in regard to the conception of Deity! The demoniacal Jehovah of the Jews, the mythical three-headed monster of the Romanists and Protestants, and the all-merciful Heavenly Father of the spiritual philosophy proclaimed by the great medium, Jesus of Nazareth, eighteen hundred years ago in the first advent of truth, and now endorsed and corroborated by this second advent of truth, spiritual enlightenment, and say which is the most rational and most worthy of His creatures’ respect and reverence P Religion was once, and properly so too, considering the views then popularly held, regarded as being involved in the solar system, and the church stood in the way of astronomical progress-We have, however, ceased to burn for heresy, and no longer bring about conversions by means of the rack and thumbscrew. But we have not all ceased to regard innovations on what are considered orthodox opinions as disadvantageous and unadvisable, whatever impress of truth these innovations bear on their very face. Yet the oldest convictions of the world are being shaken without cessation ever since men began to inquire for themselves. The same doctrines are generally held to-day as were held five hundred years ago, but they are beginning to be held with a difference. It is not too much to say that every man’s conception of the universe and the world in which he lives has been totally changed by the discoveries of science, and that it is impossible for any churchman, no matter how firm he may be, to become in mind a monk of the middle ages. He cannot get away from the time in which he lives, and the spiritual philosophy will eventually rub off the last vestiges of the incrustation of superstition with which the truth in its simplicity, as proclaimed more than eighteen hundred years ago by the Great Reformer, has been overlaid and disfigured. Great changes are slowly brought about, and the revolution of thought is peaceable because it extends over a long period of time. Knowledge is only slowly appreciated, and only changes opinions wdien it has had time and space to work and spread. Conviction comes slowly and therefore comes safely. The truth learnt in this life is certainly more advantageous than after disappointment in the future existence. Better trae knowledge than false hopes, however enchanting, of a future life which is as certain as it is everlasting and rational.

That any soul shall exist for ever for an evil purpose only, or that any soul is compelled by God’s decree to go on treasuring up wrath against the day of wrath is the deepest, blackest, and most calumnious falsehood that could well obscure and distort the character of God. All things are to God. But what! is God a tyrant ? A merciless despot ? A trafficker in creature agony P The eternal God forbid!

By reason only can man test all things. That which cannot come under his reason must of necessity be visionary, it is therefore only a kind of mania or selfdelusion, on which millions of pages have been written all of which tend to confuse reason and substitute a kind of make-believe, which a few may think they understand, and many more try to think they comprehend, and which millions profess to believe for the sake of position, and don’t believe at all. They look on the future and everything associated with it as a plaything ; the present and self is their practical deity. Educated reason can feel a glowing aspiration after the truth, and a fervent thirst after goodness, whilst imbecile reason feels a lurking after passion, display and selfishness, and a craving for absolution. Educated reason can realize the feasibility of man as he is, being developed by a chain of events which have been co-eternal with matter in its present form, and that mental and physical pain are essential to and concomitant with man in his present state; it also feels a consciousness without which man is little better than the beasts of the field.

Personal religion must rest on personal conviction. Authority would base it on the conviction and dictation of others; and yet our own convictions were or ought to be more reliable than those of others. The convictions of no one man, or body of men, can be substituted justly, 01 made a rule for another’s convictions. To pursue such a course is to relinquish our moral identity by mergingit in that of others. Thus the province of conscience is to judge and determine between contending moral and religious claims, to yield to those producing conviction, and to resist or waive those failing to produce conviction. In its own proper province conscience is supreme. It is man’s sole final interpreter and guide as to truth and duty, it is susceptible of improvement and deterioration, therefore, as a duty we owe to ourselves as well as to the Merciful Giver of that conscience, we ought to try to improve and obey it at all times. Happiness is the result of obedience to conscience, and misery of rebellion against it. It is the only monitor between God and His creature man. Heaven and hell are states of conscience. The fiercest battle religion has yet to wage is the battle of conscience against authority, and in every struggle between two opposing powers one or other of them must become the victor. The restoration to conscience of its lost dominion will secure to it the exercise of active supremacy and freedom, bring it back to itself and to God, and give to it an immediate spiritual relationship to the divine mind, as vital and as real as that of the prophets and seers of past ages.

Every one, whether religionist, scientist, or materialist, is justified in investigating this important subject, and this for many cogent reasons. Of these I may mention the frequent reference to similar phenomena of a spiritual nature, not only recorded in the Hebrew and Christian

Scriptures, but in every known religion in the history of mankind, whether regarded as races, tribes, or nations, civilized or barbaric ; showing most clearly that what is now called spiritualism, has been well known in all ages of the world, historic or traditional, and is thoroughly attested, solemnly and sincerely, in forty-eight different languages now spoken. Also the entire absence of any conceivable motive for perpetual “ fraud ” or incessant falsehood ” on the part of distinguished scientific men, as well as others, in England, France, Holland, Italy, Kussia, Germany, the United States, &c. ; who have publicly attested the truth of the occurrence in their presence of these modern spiritual phenomena ; and the utter absurdity of supposing that all those referred to were engaged in the vile immoral work of propagating an egregious wilful imposture, and still continue to forge the basest testimony on behalf of a delusion, a mockery, and a snare, for no benefit to themselves or others, either present or prospective. On the other hand, if we in modern times as well as those in all ages, have been and are still being deceived, surely the religionist, scientist, and materialist would be justified in investigating these phenomena in order to point out to us an hypothesis which would account for them other than the spiritual one.

The periods in history specially marked by great changes are those termed transitional. Old civilizations disintegrate, and new ones form. They are the sceptical periods, in which men having lost faith in the old, have not yet learned to believe in the new. They are the periods in which established codes of morals are abolished, and ancient idols dethroned, preparatory to the establishment of purer morals, and idols more worthy of greater enlightenment, and consequently more rational ideas. Such periods have generally been marked by wild crusades, fierce wars, and fiendish cruelties; but let us hope that the days for such barbarities are past, and that the coming reformation will be distinguished for its peaceful and rational reception, resting assured that if its progress is slow it will be sure and perpetual.

“ Oh ! Thou Eternal One ! whose presence bright All space doth occupy, all motion guide,

Unchanged throughout time’s all-devastating flight,

Thou only God ; there is no god beside!

Being above all things ! mighty One !

Whom none can comprehend and none explore ;

Who fill’st existence with Thyself alone,

Embracing all—supporting, ruling o’er ;

Being whom men call God ; and know no more.

“ In its sublime research, philosophy May measure out the ocean deep—may count The sands, or the sun’s rays. But God, for Thee There is no weight nor measure; none can mount Up to Thy mysteries. Reason’s brightest spark,

Though kindled by Thy light, in vain would try To trace Thy counsels, infinite and dark ;

And thought is lost ere thought can soar so high,

Even like past moments in eternity.

“ Thou, from the primeval nothingness, didst call First chaos, then existence. Lord, on Thee Eternity has its foundation ; all Spring forth from Thee;—of light, joy, harmony,

Sole origin. All life, all beauty Thine ;

Thy word created all, and doth create;

Thy splendour fills all space with rays divine;

Thou art, and wert, and shall be glorious ! great!

Life-giving, life-sustaining potentate.

Thy chains the unmeasured universe surround, Upheld by Thee—by Thee inspired with breath ; Thou the beginning with the end hast hound,

And beautifully mingled life and death.

As sparks mount upward from the fiery blaze,

So suns are born ; so worlds spring up from Thee; And as the spangles in the sunny rays Shine round the silver snow, the pageantry Of Heaven’s bright army glitters in Thy praise.

“ Millions of torches, lighted by Thine hand, Wander unweary through the blue abyss ;

They own Thy power, accomplish Thy command, All gay with life, all eloquent with bliss.

What shall we call them ? piles of crystal light,

A glorious company of golden streams,

Lamps of celestial order, burning bright—

Suns lighting systems with their joyful beams ;

But Thou to these art as the sun to night.

Yes! as a drop of water in the sea,

Adi this magnificence, in Thee, is lost.

What are ten thousand worlds compared to Thee ? And what am I then ? Heaven’s numbered host, Though multiplied by myriads, and arrayed In all the glory of sublimest thought, .

Is but an atom in the balance weighed Against Thy greatness—is a cipher brought Against infinity. What am I then ? Nought.

Nought! But the effluence of Thy light divine, Pervading worlds, hath reached my bosom too ; Yes, in my spirit doth Thy spirit shine,

As shines the sunbeam in a drop of dew.

Nought! but I live, and on hope’s pinions fly Eager towards Thy presence; for in Thee I live, and breathe, and dwell; aspiring high, Even to the throne of Thy divinity;

I am, O God ! and surely Thou must be.

“ Thou art! directing, guiding all. Thou art! Direct my understanding, then, to Thee ;

Control my spirit, guide my wandering heart, Though but an atom ’midst immensity ;

Still, I am something fashioned by Thine hand;

I hold a middle rank ’twixt heaven and earth,

On the last verge of mortal being stand,

Close to the realms where angels have their birth, Just on the boundaries of the spirit land!

The chain of being is complete in me,

In me is matter’s last gradation lost;

And the next step is spirit—Deity.

I can command the lightning, and am dust!

A monarch and a slave—a worm, a god!

Whence came I here, and how ? so marvellously Constructed and conceived ! Unknown! This clod Lives surely through some higher energy ?

For, from itself alone, it could not he !

“ Creator ! Yes; Thy wisdom and Thy word Created me. Thou Source of life and good !

Thou spirit of my spirit, and my Lord !

Thy light, Thy love, in all their plenitude,

Filled me with an immortal soul, to spring O’er the abyss of death—and made it wear The garments of eternal day, and wing Its heavenly flight beyond this little sphere,

E’en towards its source—to Thee—its author, Thee.

“ Oh ! thought ineffable ! 0 vision blest!

Though worthless our conceptions all of Thee,

Yet shall Thy shadowed image fill our breast,

And waft its homage to Thy Deity.

God! thus alone my lowly thoughts can soar,

Thus seek Thy presence, being wise and good, ’Midst Thy vast works, admire, obey, adore;

And when the tongue is eloquent no more,

The soul shall speak, in tears, its gratitude.”

ADDRESS TO THOUGHTFUL CHRISTIANS.

“ Reason is a flower of the spirit, and its fragrance is liberty and knowledge.”

“ Seek, and ye shall find. Knock, and it shall he opened unto you.”

Have you ever seriously considered the actual grounds upon which your faith or belief is based ? Haye you proved all things? or have you ever attempted the contemplation of the rationality of the hope that is in you ? Do you prefer slumbering in error, and resting your trust on fiction and delusion, rather than stirring your mind up to examine into facts which are within your reach, and by which the truth can be demonstrated to you ?

Is belief in improbable fables and perverted truths, in your opinion, better than knowledge obtainable by demonstrable facts ? Comparatively few have considered that whatever may have been the religion of their parents it is carefully riveted upon their minds, and becomes so deeply rooted through education, early prejudices, habitually hearing one side commended and its opponents condemned, together with the conviction that it is the faith of those they esteem, and whose goodwill it is their

interest to retain, and the prejudices they feel against all antagonistic faith, that not one in twenty who have been thus educated have forsaken the faith of their youth, however irrational, for one of a more advanced character. Thus most of the religions of the world, originating in the superstitions o± the dark ages, founded no doubt by men of more than ordinary wisdom and piety in their day, and who had the benefit of mankind at heart, holding out to them inducements for good, and threats to deter them from evil, each professing to be the only true religion, and their advocates to be divinely commissioned, have from age to age been accepted as genuine by nearly the same proj)ortion of the human race. I admit the general effect of all religions is of a moral tendency, and that each in its time has served a purpose, but that as the new dispensation introduced by the Great Reformer was necessary to supersede the old Mosaic ritual, so now is a more rational religion required to meet the advanced enlightenment of the day, especially in the more civilised nations. Take, for example, Christians of all denominations. Though they still nominally adhere to their various sects, many are now beginning to shake themselves free from the old doctrines concerning the fall, the atonement, the relations of mankind to God, and the ultimate destiny of our race. Some are beginning to hold altogether aloof from churches wdiich offer them the stone of dogma and tradition when they are seeking the bread of life. Others are still sitting under divines of the most undoubted orthodoxy, outwardly conforming to tlie rules of the sect to which they ostensibly belong, but secretly cherishing new ideas and brighter hopes which have sprung out of the religious controversies of these latter days. There is a vast differ-ference between the Christianity of Jesus and that of all subsequent times. The mind of man has been quibbling with the Spirit of God, and substituting human doctrines in place of the simple and really divine doctrine which Jesus taught. Many grow up surrounded by certain forms, accustomed to certain doctrines and formalities, and pass through life without ever questioning the propriety of the one or the truth of the other. But to the thoughtful, the day comes sooner or later, when their beliefs, inculcated into them in childhood, receive a rude shock, and doubt having been once cast on the “ gods in whom they trusted,” they set to work to “ prove all things,” only to find, alas! that many of their cherished idols are cast down and broken in the attempt to ascertain their worth. If, after the mind is freed from early prejudice, men will but look around, they must acknowledge the truth that nothing can be more unlike the religion of Jesus than the orthodox Christianity of the present day. All thoughtful students and honest critics of the New Testament admit that the current orthodoxy bears but little resemblance to the doctrine preached by Jesus ; and further, that that Gospel has been but very imperfectly set out.

Immediately after its first propagation it fell from its high ideal, and has never regained it. No doubt

there was a partial return to the teachings of Jesus at the time of the Reformation, and a small portion of the crust of human error, which concealed the truth, was then removed. But the reformers, in their eagerness to free the world from the swaddling hands of superstition and tradition, took the readiest weapons that came to their hands, and when, through these instruments, they achieved their purpose, their followers unduly exalted these weapons, until they, in their turn, came to he looked upon as essential truths, instead of being merely instruments, means only to an end, and good only in so far as by those means men have been brought out into clearer light and a purer atmosphere.

A slavish and unnecessary belief in these personal views of the reformers, who did some good in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, has imposed a grievous burden upon the shoulders of orthodox Christians of the present day, and led to an uninquiring adherence to rigid creeds and dogmas of human invention, instead of a loving and filial trust in that living God and Rather, who is ever revealing to us more and more of his truth and love, by invisible hands and influences, drawing us, his children, nearer to Him.

We see, in the recent upheavals of religious thought, that revolt against the teachings of orthodox theology which has gladdened the hearts of many. Old things and error must pass away, with the age to which they were suited ; but all that is good and true in Christianity will survive and remain. The simple religion which was taught eighteen centuries since, in the cities and on the hillsides of Judaea, has been so overlaid with cunningly devised fables of man’s invention, that it is difficult to recognise the original in the modern travestie. For years and years men have gone on shutting their eyes to the manifest divergence between the teachings and the prac-tisings of the Churches, and the teachings and doings of the Master; but the day has come when it is useless any longer to cry “ peace, peace; when there is no peace,” or to endeavour to satisfy the hunger of the newly-awakened soul of humanity with the husks of scholastic theology and lifeless creeds. Who that has ever thought of these things with a mind free from bias, will deny this truth—that, day by day, Christians are driven back to rest upon Jesus and his teachings ? It is said that people are giving up Christ, that Christ is more than ever a stumbling-block. What is repelling honest minds and true hearts ? It is not the teachings of the meek and lowly Jesus, but the God-dishonouring doctrines and dogmas preached in his name. Christians are required to believe in, and subscribe to, dogmas that depict Him whom Jesus taught to call Father as a bloodthirsty and cruel Moloch. They are told they must credit the never-ending torment of unbelievers in metaphysical disquisition on the nature of God (couched in scholastic language), or else take their place among infidels. They are told that they must believe in doctrines attributing to our Father such unjust and impossible actions as the pouring out of the unrestrained measure of his wrathful fury upon the son of his love instead of upon us, or be consigned to eternal perdition. Is it any wonder, then, that men stand out and say, better no religion at all than a religion which would call upon us to kneel down and worship one who acts as no good man would act ? Men will not worship this god of human invention, hut will answer to the divine spark within them, and worship Him whom Jesus called his Father and our Father; his God and our God.

Infidelity is making alarming progress. Hot only the truth of the Bible, but the very existence of God is doubted,—and what is to stay this hut a new dispensation ? Ho man deliberately wishes to be an infidel. In nine cases out of ten, infidelity is the result of honest doubt, of honest inquiry unsatisfied. Those who have known what it is

“ To falter where they firmly trod,”

to find all the supports on which they were accustomed to lean for years giving way, one after another, and leaving them to

“ Stretch lame hands of faith, and grope And gather dust and chaff,”

without any prospect of comfort in time, or any grounds for hope in eternity, will readily acknowledge the truth of this statement.

It has been said that the churches are responsible for one half of the infidelity in the world; and certainly nothing is more calculated to make people turn away in disgust from any religious system than being denounced as infidels when they are merely seekers after truth. It is this seeking for truth in religion, coupled with the earnest labours of truth-seeking, scientific men, that is bringing about the present state of unbelief, and the larger and more enlightened views which, as a rule, are commending themselves to the minds of the more thoughtful. This, though to some the sign of the cloven hoof, and utter depravity of human nature, is to others, on the contrary, a sign that a new dispensation is necessary, and one in accordance with man’s enlightened reason, one which will reconcile science and religion.

As we mark humanity, tossed on a sea of doubt and uncertainty, with every landmark fast receding from the view, who shall say that this is not the time for holding out to it a fresh light, to impart new vigour to the decaying belief in the immortality of the soul, to bring that immortality home to our senses as a realised experience, to satisfy the wants and console the sufferings of human nature ? This surely might be thought a work not unworthy of Divine interposition.

While the longing after immortality exists in the soul of man, he wfill always be seeking for some solid foundation for his hopes, and this, happily, the spiritual philosophy fully supplies. It not only is in accordance with many of the facts related in the Bible, but it actually rationalises that book in many parts, and accounts for the innumerable contradictions and errors the Bible contains. The spiritual philosophy appears, however, foolishness to those who refuse to investigate it, and are wise in their own conceit, in the same way that Christianity was to the Greek philosophers of old. There is no unreasonableness in the assertion that, in the present age, when the creeds and dogmas of the past have lost their influence and vitality, and man has attained a degree of development unfolding new wants and feelings, and higher sentiments; and when his faith in the immortality of the soul has become weakened, and almost annihilated, by his struggles with material nature, and his purely analytical and inductive modes of obtaining knowledge, a new revelation suited to his more enlarged views and more spiritual needs, should be vouchsafed. We are, in fact, on the verge of an era when this mysterious and mediatorial element between mind and mind, the magnetic fluid, will open up a meahs of intellectual acquisition and physical experience more commensurate with our yet unfolded capacities and our houndless desires. I am aware that those who are strongly attached to hereditary customs and modes of thought, and who are averse to the unfolding of any new truths in the departments of science and theology which conflict with those which they have been taught to believe and cherish as sacred, will not deign to investigate the spiritual philosophy, even though one from the spiritual world manifested himself to them ; but will oppose it, not by manly argument, but, in their stolid ignorance, by the most unqualified denunciations, representing it as most revolting in its teachings and dangerous in its tendencies, and cautioning all not to investigate it, lest they be led astray. Ml will, however, experience the truth of spiritualism in the future, whether they learn it in this life or not. Others are beginning to regard new truth as more sacred than old error; and hereditary impression, which has, from the infancy of the race, led almost all the world astray, is beginning to be abandoned as an unstable foundation. Everything betokens the approach of a mighty revolution in the affairs of the social and religious world, and the influence of old and venerated customs and forms of thought in obstructing the progress of any truthful principles which are demonstrable, can last but for a day. Some may object to this term “demonstrable ” as applied to the phenomena of spiritualism, because certain conditions for their manifestation are required, whilst they credit phenomena of a similar character recorded as having taken place thousands of years ago, designated, through ignorance, as miracles or supernatural events, which are utter impossibilities, as I have before explained.

I maintain there is no antecedent incredibility in spiritual manifestations. On the contrary, there is every probability in favour of their occurrence at any time, founded on what we learn in the Bible ; the experience of all nations, both civilised and savage, and the fact that spiritualism supplies a want in human nature. There is a body of evidence in favour of spiritualism stronger than can be alleged on behalf of any other religion, the phenomena of which have occurred in our enlightened and inquiring

age, and have been submitted to scientific tests. If God’s laws are immutable and unchangeable, and spiritual manifestations were experienced during fully four thousand years, is it not rational to suppose that they must continue to be experienced ? If tbe Egyptians, Canaanites, Chaldeans, and Philistines were in possession of the power of communicating with the unseen world, is it not rational to suppose that the same power is extended to some people in the present day, unless we are to conjecture that God, whose laws are unchangeable, committed a faculty to man which He afterwards entirely withdrew ? An instance of which cannot be found in the history of the race. Almost every people of whom we have any record have believed in spirits, good and evil, and in the powers of communicating with them. Is it probable, therefore, that a belief almost universal in spiritual manifestation should be implanted in the human mind, and that there should be nothing in human nature corresponding to it ?

If all those who have been spiritualists hitherto are set down as impostors, that will not affect the truth of spiritualism, any more than the forms and ceremonies of the churches affect the simple truths taught by Jesus. If there be a sufficient body of contemporary testimony to lead to the belief that Jesus walked upon the waters, there is very much stronger testimony to the fact that Home and a variety of other persons floated about in the air. A large proportion of those who have given in their adhesion to spiritualism have been men of education and good powers of reasoning, and many of acknowledged eminence in these qualifications, who could have no object ia lending themselves to fabrications, or joining so unpopular a cause, which is, by the majority of people, from ignorance, branded with ridicule and imposture. The testimony as to the truth of the phenomena of spiritualism, however, has been so abundant and consentaneous, that either the facts must be admitted to be such as are reported, or else the possibility of certifying facts by human testimony must be abandoned. These phenomena have occirred in all parts of the world, and the witnesses have chalenged investigation under the watchful eye of science, and under the full noonday glare of publicity, at a time whei the narration of any event which seemed to be out of tb range of ordinary events woidd be regarded with immediate suspicion ; whereas the miracles (as they are terme*) related in the Bible, occurred during an age when he exploits of magicians were viewed as heavenly portent, and miraculous and impossible births were acceptet by the greatest historians as of almost constant occurrence. I maintain that the evidence of one educated person i: an age of criticism is worth that of five hundred semi-savges in the dark era. The Christian miracles were floaed into the world on a wave of credulity, while the spirital phenomena have to force their way against an opposa g tide of scepticism. No Thaumaturge or wonder-weker of former days ever courted scientific investigations spiritualists of the present day have done. Spiritualise may be said to be the recovery by natural means of crtain powers enjoyed by the early Christians, which, for some reason or another (perhaps the worldlines? and corruption of the Christian world) had fallen int) decay and disuse, but traces of which are most distinctly to be found scattered through history from the days of Jesus to our own time. There is nothing in the BiUe to render this view untenable. We are told to “ try ‘he spirits ; by their fruits ye shall know them.” Thousanls of materialists have been convinced of the immortalityof the soul through spiritualism, whom orthodox preaclers had failed to convert; and who had, by the inconore-hensible doctrines they preached, in many instances >een the very cause of turning their hearers into materiaists. Admitted that the spiritual philosophy is at variancewith orthodox Christianity, it is only where the tenets or teachings of the latter are contrary to reason and expeience, that they disagree ; in all that is true, and good, andeleva-ting, they are at one. Could the teachings of spiriualism be shown to be of a debasing character, or calcuated to produce retrogression in a moral point of view, 1 could understand the repugnance against its investigatia. The mere assertion that they are so disposed, made by interested parties, is too apt to be accepted as proof by may. The simple denunciation of a subject by a clergynan is frequently looked upon by a certain class of minds ¡j sufficient evidence against it; and once a bad name fo anything gains a footing, it takes an immense amount oi proof and argument to overcome the same, however umerited it may have been. The fact of those in spirit ii? communicating with those in the body, is not a mereffictrine or opinion, nor a new law of nature, but the re-discovery of a natural law as old as tbe human race, hidden from man for centuries by the rank growth of superstition cultivated by designing priestcraft and its dupes, and now only coming to light as superstition fails to find nourishment where ignorance and bigotry are becoming exhausted. ‘‘Behold, old things are passed away, and all things are become new.” Yet not new in creation is this great and holy truth, which I seek, as a duty to my fellow men, to convince you of. Yew only to us is this philosophy, which, like all other grand facts that have existed since the creation of this world, and the myriad worlds around us, has been buried and hidden beneath the mass of ignorance and error which has prevailed over the face of the earth, and has been trodden down and made solid and difficult to upheave by hundreds, yea, thousands of designing men, whose interests were opposed to its promulgation, and man’s hitherto want of mental culture and mental force has doomed the great majority to remain in darkness until a very few years back. But as God has decreed that man’s destiny is progressive throughout eternity, yea, from the beginning and for ever ; so, from the beginning, as far as our annals carry us back, do our histories of races show us that that great law of progression is being constantly and faithfully carried out; for as year by year has rolled on, new discoveries of old truths have been made ; and notwithstanding all the opposition which each has in its turn received from the blindness of the masses, these masses, great and powerful as they have ever proved, have all been compelled to succumb to the holy cause of truth, which has, after each struggle, unfailingly risen supreme over ignorance and superstition ; for is not the cause of truth the cause of God ? Is not God the essence and the spirit of all truth ? and who can withstand Him ? And so will this, the to us new discovery of the grandest of all truths, viz., the demonstrable and palpable proof of the immortality of the human soul, or of eternal life, force its way against all odds. And in the inevitable course of man’s progression in intellect and thirst after knowledge will it eventually take its rightful place among the nations of the earth, as the grand universal religion of the whole human race. Then shall men worship God alone as a God of love and of truth, whose love is boundless as space, and whose truth is as fixed as nature’s laws. Yea, a God who in His infinite mercy has fixed a habitation for His creatures in the midst of illimitable space.

From the miscellaneous messages, &c., from the spirit-world, given in a previous portion of this book, it will be observed that the teachings of spiritualism are not of the debasing character generally ascribed to them, though they may not be in accordance with orthodox views. But in all candour I ask you, are they not much more rational ? The truth is, that spiritualism declares a future existence too natural and rational for the majority of people to accept. They prefer believing in a chimerical future, a sort of fairyland, where they expect to become a kind of heavenly poultry, flapping their wings with angelic felicity, crowing or singing eternal anthems ; while many of those they loved, and were loved by, when on earth, are supposed to he suffering* excruciating torments in a lake of fire and brimstone, condemned to eternal misery by a merciful and loving Father ! Many professing to be orthodox on all other points openly admit that they do not believe in an everlasting lake of fire and brimstone, or in eternal punishment. I must remind such that once they do away with the literal hell, as set forth in that which is assumed as the inspired Word of God, the foundations of the heaven depicted in the same are swept away, and they have neither eternal roasting nor perpetual hallelujah-singing to fall back upon, consequently their future existence is a blank, as much so as that of the atheist. Orthodox Christianity is in reality refined superstition, and is the offspring of ignorance and crafty design, cradled and nourished by bigotry and prejudice, and the enemy of reason and progress. Reason is a universal gift, possessed by all, but unfortunately exercised by few.

I again ask men, as rational beings, is not the belief in eternal punishment superstitious nonsense P It is, however, I admit, in keeping with many other of the tenets of orthodoxy ; for instance, direct divine revelation, plenary inspiration, &c., to which I may now briefly refer.

Revelation does not consist of an emanation of truth direct from God, but is transmitted from intelligences in a more exalted sjrhere than ours, and who have therefore comprehended more of the divine intuition, and of the laws established by tbe Omnipotent Creator, but wbo are, nevertheless, finite, and, consequently, liable to error. Such a conception of revelation at once removes the doctrine of the Bible being the infallibly inspired Word of God. In fact, it rationalises the whole, accounting for the contradictions, errors, and incongruities contained therein.

The writers of the Bible received their impressions from beings who once inhabited mortal bodies, and wrho communicated their knowledge and profounder insight into the laws of nature to tbe various writers, having themselves been enlightened by higher intelligences, the communications coming through the organizations of men living in a semi-barbaric age, and frequently tainted with the superstitious views of the mediums through whom they came, in the same way as spiritual communications of the present day are sometimes tinged in a degree by the medium’s thoughts.

The moment that any teachings are forced upon the mind as infallible, that moment reason and nature are thrown aside, and the standard of belief becomes entirely arbitrary. Belief, in this case, is nothing mure than superstition, and those who are sufficiently frank and dignified to avow a rejection of the infallible standard from the incoherence of its teachings with the dictates of enlightened reason, are subjected to the indignation of the faithful, who demand an unconditional credence in that which they supposed to be of more authority than all reason and natural consistency, and which if the mind receives it cannot either comprehend or practically apply: thus has arisen all the superstition, bigotry, and sectarian hostility that have ever cursed the human race, and it is impossible that the Deity could ever have designed the establishment of an infallible standard that could tend to such results.

Anything which detracts from the goodness, justice, or mercy of God, whether in the Bible or otherwise, is blasphemy, and the virile or anthropomorphic character of the representations of the Creator in the Bible prove the fallacy of its being inspired by an infallible Deity, although, as a literary work, it contains a collection of magnificent poems and passages of masterly eloquence, whilst its religious or doctrinal aspects are decidedly superstitious, owing, no doubt, as I before stated, to its having been communicated through mediums who lived in a semi-barbaric age.

INTo spiritual insight can discover a historical Saviour as essential to religion. It is simply dramatic to suppose all the blessings of God bestowed in the form of one man, even allowing that he wTas the greatest Reformer the world has ever seen, and one in whom all the medium-istic powers were combined, together with the possession of a disposition more than usually good and beautiful. The truth is, that the messenger of light was taken for the Light Himself—for “ Him whom no man hath seen or can see,” the Infinite Creator of the universe.

The followers of Jesus were so carried away by their leader's character and powers, that in their enthusiasm

they deified the man who would not allow himself to he called even Good Master, saying there was none good save One, that was God—his God and our God, his Heavenly Father and our Heavenly Father.

As I stated before, the 7th verse of the 5th chapter 1st John, the rock on which the Trinitarian doctrine stands, is not generally known to he an interpolation, or an inserted forgery; but it is so. Just imagine a book, looked upon as God’s infallible Word, containing a deceiving lie—“ For there are three that bear record in Heaven; the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one.” Hot one word of this passage is to he found in the Codex Sinaiticus, the Codex Yati-canus, or in the Codex Alexandrinus. Luther, who made his translation from the Greek, has not this passage, for he could not translate what did not exist, yet the indomitable Reformer was scarcely in his grave before the Trinitarians wickedly inserted the forgery into his Bible. In a translation of the Hew Testament from the original Greek, by Doctors Campbell, McKnight, and Doddridge, it is not to be found. Dr. Adam Clarke informs us that one hundred and thirteen Greek MSS. are extant, containing the first epistle of John, and the text in question is wanting in one hundred and twelve of them: it exists only in the Codex Montfortii, a comparatively recent MS., and that not an accredited one. All the Greek Fathers omit the verse. The first place where it appears in Greek is in the Greek translation of the Acts of the Council of Lateran, held a.d. 1215. Though

found in many later copies, it does not appear that any written previously to the tenth century contains it. It is wanting in all the ancient versions, the Vulgate excepted, hut the oldest copies of the latter have it not, and those which have it vary greatly among themselves. The passage referred to is repudiated by Milton, Locke, Newton, Luther, Zwinglius, Calvin; Archbishops New-come, Tillotson, Whately; Bishops Lowth, Marsh, Blomfield; Dr. Daniel Clarke, and a host of other biblical examiners. Bishop Watson has truly observed that “ Christianity has been so corrupted, that it will be a work of ages to restore it to its original purity,” which corresponds with the quotation of another, that “a great part of the religion of the world has been made by the lies of men.” I may add, it was not until the middle of the second century, that “the Word”’ became identified with the Son of Man, adding another to the many pious corruptions of the doctrines of Jesus, but the Romish Church is credited with justifying the means to an end, however false.

Consider this fact, that the Council of Nice, convoked by Constantine a.d. 325, decided out of numerous writings which of them were, and which were not, the Word of God, rejecting many that were then held as genuine, and retaining many that were held as spurious. A lot of fallible men deciding which were fallible writings and which were not; in other words, sitting in judgment on that which is held as the Word of God. How this fact (of which I was aware) did not strike my

understanding long before it did, is now an enigma to myself. It is said an obstinate man does not hold opinions, but they hold him; for when he is once possessed of an error, it is like a devil, only cast out with great difficulty: his understanding is hardened, like Pharaoh’s heart, and is proof against all sorts of judgment whatsoever, nor would he be convinced if one rose from the dead—rather a difficult thing to do, seeing that man’s spirit never dies, and consequently is not buried with the body, so as to enable it to rise from the grave.

Only a very small portion of the Bible is devoted to the spiritual concerns of mankind. It is not one book, but many books, formed by various gifted writers, during a period of nearly sixteen hundred years, containing histories, codes, policies, psalms, songs, prophecies, proverbs, biographies, parables, &c., communicated in poetry as well as in prose. No doubt much of it was received inspirationally from the spirit-world, and the writers evidently, in their ignorance, mistook their guardian spirits who sent the communications for the Omnipotent Ruler of the universe. I may here ask, is it not more rational that the communications were inspired by the spirits of the writers’ departed friends and guides, in the same way as many are receiving in the present day communications from their spirit friends, than that they were communicated direct by the great Creator of millions of worlds, in wThom there is no variableness, nor shadow of turning, and wffio does not now communicate with man direct, except by that which can be read in the transparent book of nature F

If we assume the Bible to be divinely inspired, we must imply that the Great Creator of the universe directly conveyed his will and purposes to man ; but, from its containing so many contradictions and incongruities, it is impossible for it to have emanated from an infallible source.

It is evident to the unprejudiced mind that the Bible contains a large amount of error, blended with truth, and not unfrequently displays a spirit beneath the solemnity and dignity of a revelation from the divine mind. Deity would not be likely to reveal truths by extraordinary means, which already lay within the scope of human intellect to unfold ; and if the result of divine inspiration, the Bible would have contained only truths hitherto totally unknown, without any vestige of error.

An anonymous writer on the divine design of revelation puts it tersely thus:—“ The considerations involved in the assumption of the necessity and reasonableness of such a revelation, however, are antecedently incredible, and contrary to reason. We are asked to believe that God made man in his own image, pure and sinless, and intended him to continue so. Nevertheless, scarcely had this, his noblest work, left the hands of the Creator than man wras tempted into sin by Satan, an all-powerful, persistent enemy of God, whose existence and antagonism to a Being in whose eyes sin is an abomination are not accounted for and are incredible. Adam’s fall brought a

Y

curse upon the earth, and incurred the penalty of death for himself and for the whole of his posterity. The human race, though created perfect and without sin, thus disappointed the expectations of the Creator, and became daily more wicked—the evil spirit having succeeded in frustrating the designs of the Almighty, so that God repented that lie had made man, and at length destroyed by a deluge all the inhabitants of the earth, with the exception of eight persons, who feared (not loved) Him. This sweeping purification, however, was as futile as the original design, and the race of man soon became more wicked than ever. The final and only adequate remedy devised by God for the salvation of his creatures, become so desperately and helplessly evil, was the incarnation of himself in the person of ‘ the Son ’—the second person in a mysterious trinity of which the Godhead is said to be composed (who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, and born of the Virgin Mary), and his death upon the cross, as a vicarious expiation of the sins of the world, without which supposed satisfaction of the justice of God his mercy could not possibly have been extended to the frail and simple work of his own hands. The crucifixion of the incarnate God was the crowning guilt of a nation whom God himself had selected as his own peculiar people, and whom He had condescended to guide by constant direct revelations of his will, but who from the first had displayed the most persistent and remarkable proclivity to sin against him, and in spite of the wonderful miracles wrought on their behalf, to forsake his service for the

worship of other gods. We are asked to believe, therefore, in the frustration of the divine design of creation, and in the fall of man to a state of wickedness hateful to God, requiring and justifying the divine design of a revelation, and such a revelation as this, as a preliminary to the further proposition that in the supposition of such a design miracles would not be contrary to reason. Antecedently, nothing could be more absolutely incredible or more contrary to reason than these statements, or the supposition of such a design.

“ Incredible assumptions cannot give probability to incredible evidence. Tertullian’s audacious paradox, ‘ Credo quia impossible/ of which such reasoning is illustrative, is but the cry of enthusiastic credulity.

“ The whole theory of the abortive design of creation, with such impotent efforts to amend it, is emphatically contradicted by the glorious perfection and invariability of the order of nature. It is difficult to say whether the details of the scheme, or the circumstances which are supposed to have led to its adoption, are more shocking to reason or moral sense. The imperfection ascribed to the divine work is scarcely more derogatory to the power and wisdom of the Creator than the supposed satisfaction of his justice in the death of himself incarnate—the innocent for the guilty—is degrading to the idea of his moral perfection. The supposed necessity for repeated interference to correct the imperfection of the original creation, the nature of the means employed, and the triumphant opposition of Satan, are anthropomorphic conceptions, totally incompatible with the idea of an infinitely wise and almighty Being.

“ The constitution of nature, so far from forming any hypothesis of original perfection and subsequent deterioration, bears everywhere the record of systematic upward progression.”

It has frequently struck me, in reading various works, how often truth is found blended with error ; the investigator of truth being actually led up to its very citadel, yet is unable to discern the truth. Another, to whom the latter remark also applies, writes grandly thus :—“ The whole story of the world, of all its successive races, as far as we can investigate, is but one flake of the froth cresting the billows in the ocean of eternity. This earth and the whole solar system is but a grain of dust, a mote in the sunbeam, compared with the visible universe ; and the visible universe, including the furthest telescopic star, is not as even one grain of dust, for it is simply nothing compared with infinity.

“It is equally true that not only the six thousand years of the orthodox chronology, but the aeons of untold millions of years assumed by the geologists, are but a flash or a flicker compared with eternity.” Yet the writer of these impressive lines just quoted is, in his own words, just as a traveller in a fog without a compass, who wanders long, imagining he is making way, but finds himself after hours of toil at his starting-point. And so it is with all scientists who build up a dead body out of matter, perfect to look at, but wanting in the main point—viz. life—to crown their handiwork ; and that point is only to be supplied by spirit, the grand ultimate of all matter. In our study and research after truth we should adopt or reject what is presented to the mind according as it coincides with reason or contradicts it, no matter if it is assumed that Jehovah himself is the author of the work. The supernatural systems of religion of the past are becoming increasingly alien from the everyday life of the world. Ritual is not, as has been stated, a legitimate accompaniment nor effect of the religious life ; it is in reality solemn mockery. Even the Bible must of necessity give way wherever it clashes with experience and science, which have won immortal victories for the human race. Reason is the highest and noblest faculty of man. He who will not reason is a bigot; he who cannot reason is a dunce ; he who dares not reason is a slave; and he who does not reason is unworthy of being called a rational being. Man is the only animal capable of voluntary crime ; and Christianity is the only religion that teaches of eternal punishment.

Man is led into the apprehension of an invisible intelligent power by the contemplation of the works of nature, and that power is one single Being, who bestowed existence and order in the universe, and by laws transcending man’s power of comprehension adjusted all points to one regular system.

When this grand thought of one God acting as a unit upon the universe is seized, the connection of things in accordance with, the laws of cause and effect is not only thinkable, hut it is a necessary cause of the assumption. Matter is merely the outward and visible sign of an inward invisible principle of life. The soul is the ennobling part of man; even beauty without understanding partakes of animalism. The pleasure of the body is that of the moment, while the spirit can draw from the future and from the past. Life cannot be developed save from demonstrable antecedent life. There is no solution of the mystery in which we dwell and of which we form part except through the spiritual philosophy. This teaches that experienced spirits state propositions to men in the flesh, as they would state them to each other, expecting and hoping that they will not be taken for granted because uttered by a spirit any more than they would be if uttered by one in the flesh, but will be fully weighed in the light of all the reason and experience possessed by those who receive their instruction.

With reason for his guide man need not stumble over the apparent contradictions which are seen in the Bible, and as now, occasionally, come from the spirit world, he may, through them, become wiser, more self-reliant, and at the same time retain the fullest confidence in the integrity of the motives of those who communicate to him from the other life; because his spirit guides will educate his reason and develop his self-reliance, at the same time that they reveal truths to him which reason cannot gainsay.

The naturalness of spirit life, the fact that the disembodied live on after the manner learned in the physical state, was entirely misunderstood until after the late advent of the spiritual dispensation. Spiritual phenomena have been observed and noted from time to time in the past, yet not taken for what they were really were—• occurrences under law. The works of Jesus and his disciples, mistaken by the Jews for miracles, effectively arrested the attention of a semi-barbarous age, incapable of appreciating the intrinsic value and moral beauty of the doctrines taught; and the appearance under our eyes of powers and gifts more or less similar to those of apostolic time? is not unlikely to be the means employed to draw oar more enlightened minds to the beauty of those simple truths as taught by Jesus, not as they have since been oerverted and inculcated. The occurrence amongst us of :piritual phenomena under law naturally tends to reconcile Scripture and sound philosophy. It not only helps to attest he doctrine of the universal reign of law, but it does more han this—it supplies a struggling religious minority, greatly in want of aid, with the means of bringing to Ight, even before unbelievers in Scripture, the great tuth of immortality, and it furnishes to that same ninority, contending against greatly superior numbers, ‘ther powerful argumentative weapons urgently needed n the strife, and is of unspeakable value and importance n the interests alike of science and Christianity.

Spiritualism affords phenomenal proofs of a life to some which is far more convincing than historical svidence. Had the electric telegraph been invented and employed for a brief period two thousand years ago, and had telegraphy then become one of the lost arts, the old records of its temporary triumph, however well attested, it unsupported by modern examples, would have commanded but feeble belief to-day. The simple religion as taught by Jesus, though sure to prevail in the end, is yet, for the time being, hard pressed, on the one hand by the hosts enlisted under the banner of infallibility, oil the other by the vigorous pioneers of science; and in this strait experimental evidence of the existence of modern spiritual phenomena comes to the rescue.

Experience teaches that it does not enter into God’s economy as manifested in his works, to operate, except mediately, through the instrumentality of natural laws, or to suspend or change those laws on special occasions to make temporary laws for a certain age of the world and discontinue them throughout succeeding genera tions. In other words, the civilised world is gradually settling down to the assurance that natural law is uni' versal, invariable, and persistent. If natural law bt invariable, then, either the wonderful works ascribeq by the evangelists to Jesus and his disciples weri not performed, or else they were not supermundane If they were not performed, then Jesus, assuming ti perform them, lent himself, as Renan and others have said, to deception. This theory disparages his persoij and discredits his teachings. But if, on the other hand, they really were performed, under natural law, and if natural laws endure from generation to generation, then, inasmuch as the same laws under which these signs and wonders occurred must exist still, it follows that similar phenomena may he expected at any time. If we admit supermundane events as having occurred, we must deny the uniform reign of law, and thus come into direct conflict with modern science; hut if we recognize the reign of law, and admit that the spiritual powers and gifts of the first century existed under law, then, as law is continuous as wrell as uniform, spiritual phenomena of a similar character ought to be found (as they are) still occurring. In point of fact, the teachings of Jesus have been supplemented, as He promised they should be, by revealings bringing truth and comfort from that sphere of being towards which we are all fast hastening, and that this happens, not miraculously, but in accordance vTith intermundane laws, which it behoves us to study. These modern revealings, bringing immortality to light, are essential to arrest the growing scepticism of the day. Christianity, divested of alien scholasticisms which its author never taught, is a progressive science, destined to become the religion of civilisation.

Already hundreds of thousands of the inhabitants of the earth, in various portions of it, of different languages, religions, and habits, have had the immortality of the soul demonstrated by the clear and irresistible evidence of spiritual phenomena. Think of such a living conviction, and consider how it stands out above all that wealth, fame, and every earthly good fortune can bestow; the blessing of blessings, which the world can neither give nor take away. Yes, I assert, with all confidence, that the immortality of the soul of man can be demonstrated through spiritualism, despised and ridiculed as it has been, by evidence as strong as is daily admitted in our courts of justice to decide the life or death of men, and that without violation or suspension of the great law of mediate agency. God brings immortality to light, affording man perennial aid in educing conceptions of the next world, as He has guided him, from discovery to discovery, in the arts and sciences of this one.

Belief in infallibility is equally mischievous whether held by Episcopalian, Calvinist, or Spiritualist. It is almost as unsafe for a dogmatic infalliblist, as for a confirmed fearer of the devil, to engage in spiritual research. Most people, from their preconceived notions of spirits and spiritual existence, are apt to suppose that because a message or a lesson comes to us from a denizen of the other world, it must, on that account, he infallibly true. Death procures for us higher powers and clearer perceptions, it opens to us a wider horizon, and opens up to us much that we can but dimly surmise here below, but it does not confer on us infallibility. There is, doubtless, in the next world, a more elevated range of thought and sentiment, but there is the same variety of character as here; there is diversity of opinion, too, though perhaps not to the same extent as amongst us. It is not desirable that the belief in spiritualism should spread, except in the proportion as the belief in infallibility dies away. In this we may discern one of the reasons why the appearance of spiritual phenomena in their modern phase, as a universal religious element, has been so long delayed. Let investigators of the truth of modern spiritualism remember that they seek enlightenment from another world in vain, unless they enter the spiritual school, not only in a reverent spirit, but in a fit frame of mind. It is with the teachings of the spiritual philosophy as with the prayers of men, they are but mockeries, unless approached in a becoming spirit. Levity and fear act unfavourably; a cheerful inquiring spirit is the best. Communications are reliable and valuable, or mischievous and misleading, according as the inquirers are spiritual or sensual, like attracting its like from the spirit world ; but, it must always be remembered, that spirits parted from the earth form, are wise or foolish, truthful or untruthful, just the same as are spirits in the body, and vary in their opinions, especially in mundane matters, the same as they did when in the flesh. The future state is neither, on the one hand, so immediately exalted, nor on the other so demoniacal as orthodoxy teaches. It is more just, more rational, and more worthy of the Great Luler of the universe.

We search pyramid, cathedral, and vaulted catacomb, in quest of hieroglyphics and sepulchral sculpture or lapidary epitaphs, little thinking that by a simpler process we may obtain the fullest information direct from the individuals referred to, who are more truly alive than we are, notwithstanding that we have been accustomed to regard them as dead celebrities of the past. It may occur to some that if this he the case, how do not spirits inform the world of some great unknown scientific fact, to convince the people at large of the truth of spiritual communications r The reply that my spirit friends give me, through my daughter’s hand, to this very question, is, that there are many scientific discoveries which the angel world could make known to man, but thev were precluded from so doing by the higher intelligences ; and wisely so, for, were they to impart such knowledge, they would interfere with man’s incentive to active, energetic, intellectual improvement, and would deprive him of that field for research which is so conducive to his happiness and pleasure. Further, that if man could fall back at all times upon all subjects on his guardian spirits for instruction, he would become like a child, and would cease to use his reason, thus retrograding to the level of the lower animals instead of carrying out the natural law of progression. Our spirit guides impress and influence us when we are little aware of it, but in their communications, whether by writing or trance mediums, always, in my7, case at least, they advise to test everything from spirit or man through the sieve of reason before applying it.

Spiritualism endorses what is true and good in all religions. It frees humanity from those foul aspersions with which a false theology has too long disfigured it. It vindicates the omnipotent Fuler from those horrible things which the Bible and Christianity, both distorted as they are, have attributed to Him. It asserts the supremacy and immutability of natural law against tlie capricious freaks of supernaturalism. It exalts reason over superstition, science over faith, individual sovereignty over ecclesiastical authority, and it unfolds a future state alike worthy of God and man ; while it demonstrates by incontrovertible evidence the immortality of the human soul, the eternal fatherhood of God, and the universal brotherhood of man !

It follows that man should be educated in a rational doctrine of a future existence in harmony with the requirements of his future state, that his aspirations after knowledge and purity may be quicker, and that he no longer trembles in dread of “ the grim monster, death,” as the inevitable and beneficent change has been denominated, which ushers immortal man into the inner temple of Nature, where her glories are revealed to him, which in the flesh man cannot perceive. Reasoning men must know, that as God is “the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever,” so He lives in nature the same : that is, He exhibits himself by the same method throughout the spheres of spiritual life. He must also know that, as man is in but the dawning of his existence, so he is to be throughout his eternal existence : that is, his real nature is established with the establishment of his being1, and what changes await him are those which pertain to his higher intellectual development.

I cannot help here noting a thought which has just passed my mind to the effect that man since the days of Solomon lias made great progress in the arts and sciences, but has retrograded in common sense. The old sage said “ all is vanity and vexation of spirit; ” I say all is for our good and the development of our spirits.”

The human reason is a God-given attribute, and in accordance with the development of that attribute by exercise, by inward aspirations, and by influx from the higher spheres of spiritual existence, will truth come as a messenger of light to the soul. Spiritualism is a natural awakening of the masses to the doctrine of the immortal life taught by Jesus. The increasing materialism of society from education, and the researches of science demonstrating the unreliability of that book in many parts, which they were taught to look upon as the infallible word of God, has brought the popular faith to a very low ebb. The Christian world will of necessity, ere many years pass by, be compelled to acknowledge the truth of modern spiritualism as the promised second advent.

How true it is, as has been written, that any grand thought, any great poem, or noble song is adverse to the abuse of the passions. For all that is great in idea, that insists upon men’s attention does so by an appeal, expressed or implied, to the infinite within him and around him; but for want of general cultivation how much individual excellence is crippled ? Of what avail (comparatively), for example, is it for any one of us to have surmounted any social error or any superstition, while his neighbours lie sunk in it ? All suffering is experience. The mind, like water, passes through all states till it shall be united to what it is ever seeking. There is a secret belief amongst some men that God is displeased with men’s happiness, and in consequence they slink about creation, ashamed and afraid to enjoy anything. Doing good is the most certain and direct road to true happiness here and hereafter, for both old and young.

The Great Spirit that pervades the universe, the God eternal, immortal, and invisible, the only wise God, whom no man hath seen or can see, who cannot lie, who changeth not, can only be known by his works, by the study of nature, which few of the Old Testament prophets or mediums attended to ; their descriptions, therefore, of Dim and his laws are comparatively valueless. Astronomy, above all other sciences, convinces our understanding of the inconceivable immensity of the universe ; geology of the overwhelming duration of the ages it has existed ; living organisms of the wisdom and benevolent design of the Creator.

Jesus evidently studied God’s moral attributes more than any other man, and, what is more, He exemplified them by his actions as well as inculcated them by his precepts. How sublime were his teachings !    “ If ye

being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to them that ask him.”

“Let your light so shine before men, that they seeing your good works, may glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

“Love your enemies; bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you, that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven, who maketh the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust.”

How very different are Paul’s incomprehensible conceptions, hard to be understood as stated by Peter.

Many who acknowledge the perfection of Deity, in order to try and reconcile the teachings of that book they look upon superstitiously as the Word of God, with their reason, and their experience of his universal goodness and mercy, assume that He, like man, amends, alters, or suspends his laws to suit certain circumstances of more than doubtful occurrence related in that book. These are mere baseless assumptions, from man in his ignorance picturing, as he has been taught, the great Creator and Puder of the universe as an anthropomorphic personal Deity. They seem to overlook the fact that being perfection, all His laws must of necessity be also perfect, and as fixed and unalterable as their Maker, who, in making these laws by which He works, and as witnessed throughout nature, provided in His unerring wisdom for all contingencies and circumstances that by these same laws were and are possible to arise. But because man, with all the intellect with which a merciful Father has endowed him, owing to the eternal lawT of progression, cannot do likewise, they in their arrogance limit the powers of the Almighty in like manner, whose laws are as is the great Lawgiver—the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. Oh! that man would learn to look upon the Great Giver of all good in a more rational light, and one more worthy of Him from whom proceedeth all mercies and blessings, and give over trying to reconcile the childish barbaric fables of the ignorant past with the great universal laws of nature, to alter or suspend one of which would be to interrupt all, and to annihilate every living being.

Regarding the efficacy of prayer, in order that I may not be misunderstood on this point, it may be as well to state that instead of, as is the rule, prayer being placed primary to actions, its proper place is to follow actions, which I may best illustrate in this way. If one prays that he may not fall into temptation (not as usually rendered “ lead us not into temptation,” “ for God tempteth no man”), and still go where the opportunity will offer to tempt him to indulge in some besetting passion, his prayer is mere solemn mockery ; or if one prays that he may be led to the truth as declared by Jesus, at the same time is determined not to receive the truth unless it corroborates his preconceived views, and prejudiced notions of the truth, instead of leaving his reason free and unbiassed, so that the light of the eternal truth may shine uninterruptedly upon his understanding, this also is a mockerv and a delusion, prevalent among all classes. In fact, the general ideas regarding prayer are very erroneous and absurd. The Great Creator has established certain fixed laws which are open to man’s investigation in the transparent book of nature, by obeying which we are

z

benefited, and by disregarding which we are injured. It is monstrous to suppose that to suit each person’s peculiar views and prayers, God will alter or suspend these great laws which are founded on a higher standard than man’s puny conceptions can grasp, or even contemplate. By man making himself acquainted with these laws, and following out what they point out, he is then in a position to invoke God’s blessings on his endeavours. If in presenting a petition to an earthly potentate we have to comply with rules and laws laid down by him or his advisers, is it not reasonable that we should do likewise in approaching in thought the King of Kings, the Great Maker and Kuler of all ?

Man may be compared to a boat floating on the ocean of time, and prayer to a silver cord by which the boat is connected with the immovable Kock of Ages, wherein is no cleft. Before the boat is drawn nearer to that great rock, the natural law of muscular action must be put in force to pull upon the cord, so as to bring the boat nearer to the rock ; the mere strain of the rope will never draw the boat nearer. Prayer elevates man’s thoughts and aspirations, but, without coinciding actions, is foolishness, and unworthy of intelligent beings. It is perfectly outrageous for any one to pray to God as a Merciful Father, whilst he believes that the majority of his creatures will be consigned to eternal punishment, or that the murder of Jesus on the cross was necessary to appease God’s wrath and vengeance on his creatures, whom He will laugh at in the day of their calamity. Oh ! man, awake to truth and reason, and blaspheme your Maker no longer !

Some sixteen years ago, when resident in an up-country township, where I was one of the board of management of the local hospital, a clergyman of the Church of England, now an archdeacon, came to me one day in a great state of perturbation to complain of a case of breach of the rules of the hospital—viz., that some Methodist parson had had the audacity to speak on religious matters to a patient, a member of the Church of England, who was supposed to be dying. My reverend friend evidently seemed greatly put about in case the dying man should be directed to heaven by the wrong road, or what he assumed to be not the right way thence. Yes, absurd as it may appear, there are a few bigoted priests and parsons who would actually rather their parishioners go to perdition, as they term it, than be converted or won over to another opposing sect. Competition in the Churches is truly the life of their trade.

About three years back I called to see an old gentleman of the Jewish persuasion who was in his eighty-sixth year, and who was so ill that no hope of his recovery was held out for him by three medical men who had just had a consultation on his case. On taking leave of my old friend he kissed my hand, thinking it was the last time we should meet on earth, and I did the same to his. Next door, in the same terrace, lived a clergyman whose church I formerly attended for several years, on whom I also called. He enquired how his neighbour was, and on my informing him, and asking if he thought that, because my worthy old Jewish friend did not believe in the Christian faith, he would be eternally lost, he replied,  Yes ! for we are told so by the Word of God.” I said to him, “ I think that is very good proof that what is termed the Word of God is not so.”

Just imagine the Word of God, as the Bible is held to be by millions, containing an account of the scandal by Aaron and his wife- Miriam, spoken against Moses for marrying the negress or Ethiopian woman, and of her (Miriam) in consequence becoming “ leprous, white as snow.” Also of the Great Creator of the universe saying to Moses, If her father had but spit in her face, should she not be ashamed seven days? Let her be shut out from the camp seven days, and after that let her be received in again.” The account of this disreputable affair is given as stated above in the twelfth chapter of Numbers. Were such a communication to be received in the present day through spiritualism, what would be thought of it, oh ye that swallow camels and strain at gnats ?

The apostle John declares “ That no man hath seen God at any time.” Paul says, “ He dwelleth in the light, which no man can approach unto; Whom no man hath or can see.” Yet it is recorded in the Old Testament that Moses, Aaron, Nadab, the seventy elders, and the nobles of the children of Israel, all saw God. Doubtless it was a spirit they saw, which they mistook for the Great Creator of the universe, in the same way as John did in the Isle of Patmos, when he fell at the feet of the bright spirit of one of his brethren the prophets, and was about to worship him; but the angel, stating who he was, forbade John, and told him to worship God only. Abraham in like manner mistook an evil spirit, which told him to offer up his only son for a burnt offering, to the Great Creator of the universe. “ God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth He any man.”

In Acts vii. 5, Stephen, speaking of Abraham, said that God gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on ; yet He promised that He would give it to him for a possession,” &c. There is scarcely a chapter of the Bible but contains some irregularity, confusion, or contradiction. The more it is investigated, the more do doubts and fears arise concerning its genuineness in the mind of the anxious enquirer after truth, who, if unbiassed by preconceived notions, eventually perceives that it is actually impious to ascribe or attribute a book so full of inaccuracies to the same Divine Author as that of the book of nature, whose transparent pages display to the meanest intellect the wonderful combination of harmony, beauty, accuracy, wisdom, and perfection everywhere, filling the mind of the student of nature with admiration, awe, and amazement.

By the orthodox account, it is to that fabulous monster of man’s creation, who is represented as the generally victorious antagonist of the Great Creator, and the arch enemy in other respects of man, that we owe our knowledge of good and evil. By it also human investigation and searching after the eternal truth have been stamped as Satanic, and the Deity held up for worship has been represented as delighting in ignorance and continuance therein. It will only be by man’s renouncing infallibility in books and men, and casting aside the pernicious doctrine of fixity of conception in their aspirations, leaving each age free to form its own, on its acquired wisdom, that the impediments in the way of the advance of the race towards fuller knowledge and superior conditions of existence will be got rid of. Men must learn to have faith in the goodness of God, rather than in the need of a sacrifice to appease his anger, and must trust in human nature as formed and inspired by Him, and not malign and slander it as totally depraved, before progress can be attained or expected.

The biblical account of the Great Creator of the universe is not only debasing, but contemptible. I shall quote but two examples to illustrate these assertions, although I could fill pages with quotations corroborative of what I state. AVrath, vengeance, cruelty and jealousy are ascribed to God, which are attributes of man, springing alone from his animal nature, and opposed to his spiritual nature derived or emanating from the only perfect Spirit of all spirits. Is not this debasing ? And what can be more contemptible than the depiction of Him as one sitting on a throne, with four beasts round about Him, saying night and day, “ Holy, holy,” &c.; and four-and-twenty elders with crowns of gold on their heads, in white raiment, continually falling down before Him, saying, “Thou art worthy, 0 Lord, to receive glory,” &c., to God, who requires not the glory of men nor angels, as all his works glorify Him ? How, suppose some friend whom you esteemed on earth as a sensible man was reported to you as in spirit-life seated on a great white throne, with four monsters with six wings each, and full of eyes within, resting not day and night saying, “ Holy, holy,” &c., and with four-and-twenty elders dressed in white, with gold crowns, falling down before him continually, saying, “Thou art worthy,” &c. (see Lev. iv.), would you not be inclined to say, “ Well, I thought him a sensible man when on earth, and I cannot believe he would encourage such tomfoolery as stated of him in an exalted state of existence ?” Yet you are willing to believe this of the Great Creator of the universe, which you would despise your fellow man for, because it is written in a book you look upon as the inspired Word of God! Oh, awake from such folly !

Some may consider, as a clerical friend said with whom I was conversing on this subject, that I have assumed erroneous views of the teachings of that book which is looked upon as the directly inspired Word of God. I can only remark that my views have been formed of what is stated therein from a plain rendering in English of its statements, in the same way as I would understand communications in similar language in a business letter. It would be perfectly impossible for me to adapt my conceptions to the various renderings of the meaning of each passage in that book, as I have heard propounded by many who assume to be its correct expositors. If I read of a lake of fire and brimstone, I take it as meaning suck, not as a warm bath ; if I read of a great white throne, I do not take it as meaning a small ebony footstool, and so on. Others may say, as a Greek scholar remarked to me, that the Bible is in many places improperly translated; I can only add, I read if as authoritatively published in the ordinary vernacular. In the laws of God, as seen in nature, there is no ambiguity.

On speaking to a clergyman one day upon religion and the Bible, he informed me I wanted faith. I asked him if he had faith, to which he replied in the affirmative. Then I said, “ 1 If ye have faith as a grain of mustard-seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, remove hence to yonder place ; and it shall remove and nothing shall be impossible to you/ When by faith you can remove even a molehill, I shall have faith also.” “Ah!” said said he, “ but it means mountains of doubt.” I rejoined, “You are adding to the Word of God, as you call it; remember what St. John says, 4 If any man shall add unto these things God shall,’ &c.” He admitted that he had known for thirty years that the seventh verse of the fifth chapter of 1st John, regarding the three heavenly witnesses being one, was an interpolation, or inserted lie, on which I said, 44 Then, if you did, you never informed me of it during the five years I sat under your ministry, and all subscriptions received from me during that time were monies received under false pretences.”

Thoughtless people, criminals, fools, and madmen allow their feelings, inclinations, and beliefs to govern their reason; but the wise keep these under subjection to their reason, which they hold as paramount to all else. It follows that reason should govern our faith, and not our faith subjugate our reason, as blind superstition wTould have us do. Reason, enlightened by experience, tells us that the Great Creator of the universe is a non-respecter of persons, and that his laws are unchangeable and fixed. Faith would have us believe that in remote times God chose a few favoured men called prophets, whom He specially inspired to write a book or books for the instruction of succeeding ages, but that He does not now inspire any one ; consequently, according to those styled the faithful, we are wrong in looking upon God as a non-respecter of persons, and in supposing that He and his laws are the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever, wrho sends his sun to shine, &c., &c. Faith in rational occurrences, and grounded on experience, is right enough; but faith in impossibilities is as absurd as that faith will directly affect our spiritual existence in the future. The clergy preach that “ by faith are ye saved,’3 and that if we have faith we can remove mountains ; yet they themselves cannot remove even a molehill by faith. How long will people otherwise sensible allow themselves to be fooled in this way ? But I must not forget that up to some few years back I was deluded as they are in this respect. However, of the innumerable current delusions, the doctrine of absolution outstrips all. Just fancy the thousands of unsuspicious, confiding creatures who confess their errors to presumption personified, in the shape of fallible humanity like themselves, and who in many cases are the greater sinners of the two. God forgive them, if there had been such a fiery lake as they preached. They will not, however, escape retributive justice in the future life.

I may here state, as I omitted to do so before this, that the knowledge of the effects of spiritualism was the magic key (although I believe not generally known outside the Pope and his cardinals) which the Church of Rome claims to have received from Peter. It is by this spiritual power, kept secret to the present day, that the Romish Church has, at various times, by such wonderful transformations as the liquefaction of St. Januarius’s blood, so maintained its unity and existence, and has won over to its ranks such men as Dr. Newman, and others. The Stigmata, which caused such a sensation of late years, and drew hundreds of pilgrims from England, was merely a phase of the mediumistic powers, similar to the letters in blood underneath the skin of Mr. Foster’s arm, already mentioned.

“ I love tlie man who scorns to he To name or sect a slave;

Whose soul is like the sunshine, free—

Free as the ocean wave;

Who, when he sees oppression, wrong,

Speaks out in thunder tones ;

Who feels with truth that he is strong To grapple e’en with thrones.

“ I love the man who shuns to do An action mean or low;

Who will a nobler course pursue,

To stranger, friend or foe ;

Who seeks for justice, not for gain,

Is merciful and kind ;

Who will not cause a needless pain In body or in mind.”

Having written rather freely in a former part of this book regarding the inconsistency of the clergy in preaching and inculcating doctrines the very opposite to what their common sense dictates and their lives exemplify, I feel it is only fair, on the other hand, to remark that they are not wholly to blame or responsible for this state of affairs, as the articles or rules of the churches they belong to require an unconditional declaration by them to adopt and adhere to certain absurd doctrines and formulas regardless of their convictions thereon, under pain of dismissal from office, allowing them no freedom of thought nor action, and thus almost enforcing hypocrisy and deception, and leaving them open to the charge of “ 0 ! ye hypocrites f ” by those who have escaped from mental bondage. Another injustice the clergy labour under is that they are held by the public morally responsible for the actions of their children, even when grown up to manhood or womanhood. “Clergymen’s sons are always the worst,” is a very common saying. Why ? Because, in the first place, children are more observant than they are generally credited with being, and this enforced hypocrisy on the part of the fathers, which in time merges into mannerism, and becomes like a habit, second nature, acts as a rule in the long run upon those to whom it is daily apparent. Another reason for the currency of this saying is that too much is expected from the sons of the elergy, whom it is foolishly supposed should inherit from their fathers some of their acquired sanctimonious demeanour : in other words, that they should be young saints. Neither clergymen nor others can alter the natures of their offspring, and no respectable men would countenance evil or wrong-doing in their children. It is enough that they frequently have to bear with the sorrow and annoyance caused through their children’s indiscretions, without being taunted as responsible for the same. Medical men might as justly be held culpable for their children catching the infection of a contagious disease, as the clergy or others for their children, or those connected with them, being led away by the evil example surrounding them in the world.

It would he as reasonable to suppose that God the b ather of our souls is responsible for the misapplication of the reason He has graciously endowed us with as to hold the earthly father of the animal man responsible for his child’s prostitution of his bodily functions, provided that by example and precept he has shown the right path to that child, and warned him or her of the danger of diverging therefrom, in the same way as our merciful heavenly Father hath given us power to discern between right and wrong, by that reason, if cultivated, unbiassed by preconceived notions or teachings, and unshackled by the popular superstitious notions inherited from our semibarbaric forefathers, and totally unworthy of educated rational beings.

Spiritual enlightenment disabuses the mind of the idea that attending a religious ceremony in a particular edifice, presumptuously termed sacred to a God who “ dwelleth not in houses made with hands/’ entitles one to a line of credit in the ledger of God’s service. This orthodox believers appear to think may be thus easily obtained. The attendance at such ceremonies to listen to some already well-known truth re-served up for the thousandth time, with perhaps a slight variation in the language used to express it, is a solemn mockery, mere waste of time on the part of the speaker as well as on that of the listeners. If the amount of time and money yearly expended in this way were devoted to the cause of true charity, not the encouragement of improvidence and thriftlessness by gifts of cash, but by both priests and people going into the highways and bye ways, teaching and explaining to the debased ignorant outcasts in our midst, that religion consists not in forms and ceremonies, hut in utilising the divine gift of reason, possessed by all though exercised by few, which points out, if only listened to, the advantages, both here and hereafter, of morality, cleanliness, sobriety, purity, and intellectual enlightenment over degradation of all kinds, such as immorality, debauchery, filth, and misery. Great indeed would be the results, and more in keeping with the teachings and examples set by their worthy Master, whom they outwardly profess to follow, but in many things do so merely in name, as their consciences, unless stifled, must tell them, and no doubt oit in their silent moments upbraid them. Let us hope the days of ceremonial hypocrisy are near a closer to be succeeded by practical religion, and be able to say, “ Dawn approaches, error is passing away, men arising shall hail the day.” Has not the name of Christ been in every age the watchword, not of an all-embracing charity, but of self-conceit and bigotry, excommunication and persecution ? IIow different to his simple teachings ! Among all the heroes, prophets, poets, philosophers, where will you find the true demagogue—the speaker to man simply as man—the friend of publicans and sinners, the stern foe of the Scribe and the Pharisee, with whom was no respect of persons—where is he ? Where will you find him but in Jesus of Nazareth, the people’s friend? In order to stay the current of infidelity of the day, some explanation of the facts of Christianity more in accordance with known truths is necessary, and this is to be arrived at alone through the spiritual philosophy, the second advent of enlightenment, which is destined to restore Christianity to its pristine simplicity, for at present, as said of old, “ The world by its wisdom knew not God.”

Love to God and our neighbour comprised all the law and the prophets, said Jesus, supposing He was addressing rational beings. He omitted to add, use vour reason in all things. We are told in the New Testament that He impressively admonished his disciples to pray in secret, and to use a very simple form of words. If, however, his servants, as the clergy style themselves, think they know better than their Master, the humble Nazarene, and consider public preaching, in addition to private prayer in tlie closet or anywhere else, necessary, why cannot they, instead of harping continually on some threadbare subject, already known by heart by their hearers, expound the laws of nature, so little understood or considered by the majority of mankind, and take for their text some one of the myriads of beautiful objects by which we are surrounded, or some of the sublime laws by which the universe is governed, and in the study and exposition of which we obtain glimpses of the infinite mind from which they emanated P

It is a fact patent to all, that owing to the gradual enlightenment of the masses, the influence of the clergy is steadily and surely on the wane. They might yet, however, retain a partial hold upon the intellect of the age, and usefully carry on a mission, were they to explain to their fellow-men about the laws of their being, the laws of health and disease, of social and political economy— whatever regards human interests and welfare. What higher aim could religion have for her loftiest aspirations, what purer setting for her noblest ideas ? The days have gone past for inculcating the barbarous notions of the superstitious in regard to the wrathful vengeance of an anthopomorphic Deity, as for example 2 Samuel xxi. 1 ; better for them to teach their hearers sensible homely truths such as Providence helps those who help themselves,” or as the great Napoleon put it, he always found Providence on the side of him who had the strongest and best equipped battalions. I say, Providence is always with those who use the Divine gift a merciful Father has graciously bestowed upon all mankind.

Christian is an appellation assumed by millions of people who have never once considered what the term really implies. In an experience of nearly half-a-century I have never met with a real Christian, according to the definition given in that book looked upon as infallible. I have met with a few partial Christians, and a great many hypocrites assuming the name. Have you ever met one who gave up all for Christ’s sake, who has left father and mother, sisters and brothers, who had sold all and given to the poor ; who by faith could remove a mountain into the sea, &c. &c. No ! and, what’s more, you never will. When in the south of Africa last time I met with a Moravian missionary (and Colenso too). This missionary, who was leaving Natal, where he had lived some thirty years, told a friend of mine, who asked him if he had made many converts, that he had thought that he had made one Kaffir a true Christian, and another nearly so, but that in distributing between them some little things when leaving, they fought over them like two devils, so found he was mistaken even in them.

To any one who has been fortunate enough to escape from and rise above the stupifying sulphurous fumes of superstition, dogmatism, and sectarianism, with their stifling effects on man’s reason and judgment, it appears absurd in the extreme to see or read of otherwise sensible men squabbling and arguing over such ridiculous nonsense as whether pieces of bread or wafers are actually portions or not of the body of a good man murdered some eighteen centuries ago—whether a gentle sprinkling with water in childhood, or complete immersion when full grown, is necessary for the salvation of immortal souls—or whether a lot of senseless dumbshow and ceremonies performed by men dressed as religious mountebanks are of necessity concomitants to religion ; reminding one of two men fighting on a railway line, each trying to have the last blow, while an express train is approaching that would knock them both into eternity; or of the two wTho continued their argument as to the best means of extinguishing fires, whilst the house they were in was at the time enveloped in flames.

It may he asked why I have assailed the belief of others, and not confined myself to the mere statement of the truths which have been demonstrated to me. My reasons for so doing are the same as if I saw the foundations of a house in which a friend lived were unsound and dangerous, and I found a new description of dwelling, which I occupied, advantageous and comfortable. Before I could induce my friend to leave his house and build one on the principle of the one I advocated, I should require to point to him where the foundations of his dwelling were insecure, and then demonstrate to him the advantage of adopting the improvements which I experienced in the construction of the house in which I resided. If any of my remarks are deemed offensive by my readers, they are not meant as such ;

A A

but the cleverest surgeon frequently has to inflict pain in order to give relief.

The notions generally held respecting man’s future state are as absurd as they are erroneous, and remind me of a story in regard to an honest but ignorant country lad, who had been brought up all his life on a nobleman’s estate, where he had been accustomed to hear of the great and distinguished visitors from town to the country mansion of the lord of the manor. The first time this lad went to town he was observed, as he entered the city, to take his hat off, and on being asked why he did so, he replied his father and mother had instructed him always to take his hat off in the presence of ladies and gentlemen, of whom alone he thought the town consisted, but lie found out his mistake before he was there long-, and that thieves were more numerous there than the predatory tramps were in the country, though kept in check by more efficient police regulations. Yes, incredible as it may appear to you, there are as great vagabonds in the spheres as on earth. Death does not alter the individual characteristics, but in spirit life they have not the opportunity of indulging in their evil inclinations, so they have to return to earth to give vent to their depraved inclinations through the organizations of those still in the flesh of similar vitiated propensities to themselves, like attracting like, as I have before stated. But you must not understand from this that these dark spirits will be outcasts for ever,—no, by the law of eternal progression, our merciful Father has decreed that all,

however v^ile and depraved, shall eventually be bright and pure; the divine spark cannot be stamped out.

Infallibility is an attribute which pertaineth to God alone; it is not claimed by spirits, however exalted, nor for spiritual manifestations; perfection also belongeth to God alone, and must not be looked for in the believers in spiritualism, many of whose hearts remain hard and apparently indifferent to the great importance of the truth, and others who are only partial believers use spiritualism as a cloak to cover up their many iniquities, as it has ever been with Christianity since its worthy founder first proclaimed the truth. It is, however, unjust and absurd to condemn either Christianity or spiritualism as untrue merely on this account. They are, in reality, one and the same, but the former has got so smothered and perverted with superstitions, dogmas, and ceremonies, that the latter is necessary to clear away the rubbish, and restore the truth to its pristine purity.

The Bible of nature is the only direct revelation of God to man, and is stated so by that other book inspired by fallible spirits, which has set all Christendom by the ears for the last eighteen centuries. “Ask now the beasts and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air and they shall tell thee; or speak to the earth and it shall teach thee; and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee, who knoweth not in all these, that the hand of the Lord hath wrought this? ” What little we do know about these things, we owe not to preachers of religion, but to Aristotle and Pliny primarily, and subsequently to men of science, who have been discountenanced, proscribed, and persecuted by the Church in all ages. The words in Job are repeated with greater emphasis and conciseness by Paul, who writes, “ The invisible things of God from the creation of the world, even the eternal power and godhead, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, so that men are without excuse” for their ignorance of the Great Creator, inasmuch as He is to be clearly seen reflected in the laws and operations of nature, which is His garment, the visible presentment and manifestation of the invisible and allinforming Mind.

It is mere waste of time for preachers to dilate upon the w'ords, “ Your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost” or spirit, familiarly known to all; they would do much more good if they would explain to their hearers the structure of that body and the laws of health by which that temple may he kept sweet and wholesome, and maintained in healthful and happy activity, until it is worn out, having served its purpose, the primary development of the spirit or ghost reality.

The way to reach truth is by obeying fearlessly the truth you know. How many millions are there in the present day who have ceased to believe in the infallibility of the Bible, yet dare not act up to the manhood of that belief ? How few dare prohibit the degradation of their children’s minds by teachings which they themselves know to be fallacious P Many continue to surrender themselves to maxims in place of being loyal to truth. Free thought is the natural enemy of infallibility; the very act of thinking is resistance to it, and in the act of thinking, how the world and all else open out to the studious mind! How needless and useless appear all rules, regulations, and fetters to the thoughtful! All are comprised in the one word, “ Love.” The man who cultivates a kindly feeling towards his fellow-man in his heart, is sure to translate the feeling into action. There is no necessity for him to be told that he shall not murder, nor steal, nor act deceitfully.

How frequently the term “ infidel ” is applied by Christians to those who differ from them in religious belief, as a reproachful epithet for their having investigated the eternal truth of God by the light of that divine gift wuth which all are endowed, but which, as I have already stated, so few exercise in this important subject. It is generally overlooked that all religious have arisen in the domain of free thought, and have so far borne the impress of divinity, but all of them have speedily, after their rise, become the virulent oppressors of free thought, departing further and further from the spirit which originally inspired them, and, to the extent of their power, dominating over intellect. Jesus opened his mind in nature freely, thought for himself, and, with the clear eye of a seer, pierced the hollow shams and surface respectability of the pharisaism and priestolatry of that day; but he was crucified by his contemporaries.

The brilliant glimpse of freedom shown by Christ was, however, soon obscured, and the change from Judaism, and Greek and Roman oracle, was but a nominal change, the only difference being that the spirit which had murdered Jesus went on murdering others in his name.

The principal merit of the Reformation, as regarded free thought, was not so much in what it achieved as in what it promised. Although the unfortunate sceptics who differed from Luther, Calvin, and other of the early reformers, fared little better with these reformers than others had done with the Pope, the Reformation, to a certain extent, unloosed thought, although it could not open the door of freedom to Christendom, and from that time to this there have been free souls perpetually thrusting at the portal, and their numbers will augment until the gates are open wide for all.

.    “AN INFIDEL.”

“ An infidel!—how easy said;

Bat wherefore comes the name ?

What is ‘ infidelity ’ ? I ask,

And is it cause for shame ?

“Is it to take for truth and right What reason has weighed well ?

To prove all things—hold fast the good P Then am I ‘infidel.’

“ Is it to trust with fearless faith The light wdthin the soul;

Heeding the voice that speaks within, Spurning all false control ?

“ Trusting in inspirations past,

In inspiration now,—

Selecting wheat from out the chaff, Where’er it comes, or how ;

u Believing Heaven oft fills our souls With promptings pure and high,—

Tf this be ‘ infidelity,’

Then ‘infidel’ am I.

“ Unflinchingly I face the scorn,

Freely accept the shame ; (P)

For if ‘ an infidel ’ mean this,

I glory in the name.

“ With angel breathings round me oft,

With hopes most bright and clear,

With earnest soul-pants aher truth,

I cannot stop to fear.

“With love to God, and love to man,

To justice, truth, and right,

Heaven grant I ne’er be ‘ infidel ’

To past and present light.

“To creed-bonnd dogmas, false, though old,

I’ve bid a last adieu ;

Your fetters ne’er can bind my soul,—

I’m ‘ infidel ’ to you.”

Oh.! ye self-constituted saints, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest the foregoing simple verses.

The seemingly impossible, once demonstrated to be possible, is possible to all. All new truths, or rather the discovery of and promulgation of any truth, for Truth is coeval with the universe, are not appreciated at first. We are told that in face of all the terrors of Mount Sinai, the Jews turned a deaf ear to the proclamations of Moses, and preferred worshipping a golden calf. It is a fact that the Jews of the present day view the maxims of Moses with more reverence than did those to whom they were delivered, and it is the same with all religions. It was through the priests that sacredness came to be attached to the words of the poets and seers of the past. Out of the human love and self-sacrifice of Jesus sprung into being the most dogmatic, overbearing, persecuting faith the world has seen. Yet in his life and* sayings there is a stamp of originality and profundity of insight, which, even in the estimation of those who look upon his deification as blasphemy, places Him in the very first rank of men of sublime genius. Jesus never made the smallest pretension to the character since imputed to Him. On the contrary, in his humility, He would not allow himself to be called Good Master.

It is asked frequently, when creeds are cast away what will he left P God will be left, man will be left, and reason, man’s noblest gift from his Maker, will be emancipated in regard to religion, as it is in everything else. When Christianity becomes free of priestcraft, when men cease to trade in it, its true mission will begin, its mission of brotherly love, social liberation, and universal peace. It is only so long as men are weak in mind and afraid to look in the face of the glorious nature which surrounds and inspires them, that they require certain fixed forms of support upon which to lean. Men accumulate experience only gradually, and the knowledge derived from it but slowly.

One day lately a lady, the mother of a former schoolmaster of three of my sons, accosted me in the street, asking me if it was true that a clear-headed business man like myself (for which compliment I raised my hat) believed in spiritualism. I replied, no, for the same reason that I did not require to believe that I had liad my breakfast that morning, as I knew it was true. She then wanted me to explain this great philosophy, and to state my reasons for giving my adhesion to the cause. I rejoined by asking her if she could there and then teach me the German language, of which I only know a few words, for the latter was easier of accomplishment than the former, the very first letter of the alphabet of this grand philosophy, which is destined to enlighten mankind, being scarcely known, as yet, to the oldest and farthest advanced investigators of spiritualism. It is a subject so vast, so deep, and so comprehensive that it will take generations to master the mere rudiments of its philosophy.

The taking of the usual oaths by witnesses in courts of law I hold to be a perfect farce in most cases, and consider the signing of a statutory declaration by witnesses, that they will tell the truth, with the general penalty clause for perjury, much preferable. I am induced to make this remark from what I experienced in regard to this matter when chairman of a bench of magistrates in a country district some years ago. I have heard the most palpable falsehoods told by witnesses when on their oath with the most barefaced impudence, but against which there was no proof at the time obtainable. The reason for this state of affairs is evidently that although professing to be Christians, and to believe in a future existence, the old orthodox evidences are so vague, and so out of date, that the generality of witnesses do not in reality believe in a definite future life with its rewards and punishments.

The fact is, the whole organization of Christendom, with its boasted civilisation and enlightenment, is a perfect farce from beginning to end, in its various religious, social, and political systems. Whilst professing to believe in the universal brotherly love taught by the Great Reformer eighteen centuries ago, look, for example, at the enormous standing armies of legalized murderers ready to be let loose against each other at a moment’s notice ; consider the public rejoicings held on the receipt of the news of the achievement of some great victory, where thousands of souls have been almost instantlv sent into

«y

eternity before their appointed time, in the natural course of events, and the tens of thousands of relatives bereaved thereby in their desolate and sorrowing homes; view the extravagant luxury of the rich, and the squalid misery of the poor, and say if these are in accordance with the teachings of Jesus or the dictates of reason. Contemplate the foregoing, and say if there is not a necessity for a new dispensation, one that will have the effect of altering and ameliorating the present anomalous state of affairs. It is no use—like the Jews who looked for a great king and conqueror in the promised Messiah or Saviour, one who would in a material sense deliver them from the thraldom of the Romans—looking for the return to earth of the great messenger of the truth personally, but let us like rational beings accept the second advent of the simple truths TIe taught, and so beautifully exemplified when on earth, in the wonderful spiritual manifestations now taking place among thousands of family circles all over the civilised world, the fruits of which are destined by a merciful Father eventually to bind the nations together in the bonds of brotherly love, and to usher in the great era of eternal peace, joy, and happiness.

“ That a better day is coming, when the nations will unite In the brotherhood of peoples, in the commonwealth of right.”

Modern spiritualism I admit has not developed any astounding evidence to corroborate the man-invented creeds and dogmas which appear to be considered by the orthodox Christian more important than the simple teachings of Jesus. It however endorses the pure teachings of the great exemplar, and makes the true Christian religion a real living fact, clothed in the beautiful garments which Jesus gave it, of love, charity, and benevolence, instead of a dead faith, decked with the gewgaws of pompous ceremonies, and the tinselled trappings of man-invented creeds. When, like the few, the masses come to see, or rather to realise, the absolute nonsense they have been taught, and believed in, they will feel the necessity for the second advent of the spirit of truth, which must abide, not for a thousand years, but for ever.

There may be noticed in the examples of communications given in a former portion of this book, disparities of opinions expressed in minor points, which to those who have been accustomed to look upon the change called death as transforming man suddenly from fallible into infallible beings may appear anomalous. This is just what might be expected when it is considered that each spirit until enlightened carries the peculiar views imbibed in earth-life with it, and only gradually gets rid thereof, as has been explained. It may also he observed that some of the communications referred to explain points which the writer in the early portions of this book mentions as not being known by scientists, and of which at the time of writing he was not enlightened on. From the foregoing the absurdity of a definite and infallible creed will be apparent to the most casual observer, and bears out the assertion that science, philosophy, and religion, as -well as everything else both here and in our future state, must of necessity be eternally progressive.

That there may have been instances of deception and imposture among the many wonders related as having occurred through spiritual agency, I will admit, but I ask, is it possible that with such a cloud of witnesses as have attested their truth, every one of them should be deceived ? I am well aware of the validity of the old adage, “ convince a man against his will, he’s of the same opinion still; ” but the rational, and those who are open to conviction, may be led by simple straightforward arguments to investigate that which, until proved otherwise, may appear imaginary and absurd to them. I may here state that I have never yet met with any one who has seriously and earnestly examined into and investigated the-spiritual philosophy, but who was thoroughly convinced of its truth, though I have met with some who, because they could not master the whole of the subject at once, have given over the investigation, resting satisfied with, the demonstrations of the immortality of the soul received through the phenomena witnessed by them. I have heard also of a few, I regret to say, who know the truth of spiritualism, hut disclaim it in public, from policy and worldly interests, owing to the unpopularity of the cause; better would it he for such had they not known the truth.

There are many phases of the spiritual philososphy which I have not even alluded to, as I have endeavoured to confine my statements to the phenomena which have occurred under my own observation, and to the truth and reality of which I feel justified in bearing testimony.

— “ Words are things; and a small drop of ink

Falling, like dew, upon a thought, produces

That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.”

“ When distributive justice pervades the social world, virtue and morality will bloom with an immortal beauty; while the sun of Righteousness will arise in the horizon of universal industry and shed its genial rays over all the fields of peace, plenty, and human happiness.”

“The spirit-world around this world of sense Floats like an atmosphere, and everywhere Wafts through these earthly mists and vapours dense A vital breath of more ethereal air.”

It will be admitted that from the artificial state civilised man now lives in, he would have little relish for the plain but wholesome food on which his forefathers subsisted. So in like manner those who have been accustomed from infancy to hear and read pretty tales and affecting anecdotes appealing only to their feelings, will not at first appreciate many truths declared herein, which appeal direct to their reason and their common sense. But, in time they will come to see that the rough reality of the truth is very much better than the plausible affecting tales of falsity which have been palmed on them as the eternal truth, in the same way that a quiet virtuous life is far preferable to a giddy one of debauchery and excess. Wholesome truths are not generally at the time appreciated, as are false and flattering tales. Knowledge from direct information is surely better than misplaced confidence and false hopes in antiquated tales, rusted over with superstition, even though embellished in flowery language.

I sincerely regret that I did not know this Holy Truth wrhen young, for if I had, I feel my early days would have been spent in a very different manner than they were ; and although in later years not much given to the gaieties of the world, still I have spent much valuable time in attending useless ceremonies under the name of religion, and in frivolous amusements wherein was no profit, either bodily or mentally. Another reason for regretting my not having known the holy truth earlier

is,    that I should have brought up my family more for the culture of the spiritual than for the enjoyments of the usual bodily pleasures, especially the elder members of

it.    With these I am aware the change in my theological views is for the present anything but advantageous, though I have little doubt of the beneficial results ultimately. Like the diversion of the bed of a river, until the new course is worn smooth, all is turbid and confused at first.

From personal experience of the real benefits derived from the knowledge of the holy truth, I exhort you to allow no book to enslave your reason and conscience; to permit no man, by virtue of an assumed office, to dictate to you a religious belief and practice; to accept no doctrine on mere authority, however venerable and imposing ; to investigate the claims of Christianity and other religious systems free from educational bias and superstitious pious prepossessions ; and above all things to make truth wherever found, and at any price, the supreme object of all your pursuits; and thus develop your divine manhood, and fulfil a noble destiny, glorious as it is everlasting. As personal investigation of the spiritual phenomena alone will force conviction on the prejudiced mind, so the joy and happiness of freedom from the thraldom of superstition and bigotry can only be realised by personal experience. “ The truth shall make you free.”

TRUTH MUST CONQUER ERROR.

“ Arise from your slumber, and onward, oh ! man,

The hour has arrived for your waking,

The bright sun of truth is now beaming on high,

And a glorious day is just breaking.

“ Too long have you wandered in darkness and doubt,

In that valley of night you’ve heen treading,

And hard were your tights through those teachings so wrong, Which your pathway with error were spreading.

“ Bat error and darkness are always in vain,

When for truth and progression you pray;

For there’s always a hand that straight onward will lead Safely past all the snares in your way.

“ Arise from your slumbers, and leave far behind you The load which has made you so weary ;

That load of doubt, error, and teachings so false,

Which have e’er made life’s journey so dreary.

“ Arise ! yea, arise! and look onward afar,

At yon beautiful goal you are making;

Oh ! how could you slumber in darkness so long ?

Oh ! why, only now, are you waking ?

“ Hark! hark ! to the joy-shout of friends who are there,

AVhen on the right track they now find you;

For they know you will mount to their sphere quicker far Than by that you have just left behind you.

“No faith is now wanting in mysteries dark,

To mistrust which was worse than high-treason ;

No more shall you conflict, and battle, and strive To put ‘ faith’ in creeds out of reason.

“No more is that horrible bottomless pit Belching forth its sulphureous fume ;

No longer those monsters, imagined by man,

Go about seeking souls to consume.

“No longer are howlings and gnashings of teeth,

And heartrending agonies dread,

In that hell5 which man’s own dark invention has made,

Such belief has all vanished—’tis fled.

“ But the future beyond is progressive and bright,

For a merciful God reigns o’er all;

Then proclaim this grand truth, which is radiant with light,

For error and darkness must fall.”

y.

SUMMARY.

The conclusions to be arrived at from the foregoing statements, and from tbe attestations of a host of living witnesses, in all parts of the world, are as follows :—

That we have in our very midst demonstrable evidences of the immortality of the human soul, so that we no longer require to merely believe that there is a future existence from the testimony of others, however pure and worthy of our respect and admiration, who lived some eighteen hundred years ago.

That retaining all we have been taught that is good and which commends itself to our reason, and rejecting all that is superstitious, incomprehensible, and contrary to reason, inculcated under the name of religion, we ought to look upon all things as equally sacred, all having proceeded from natural and fixed laws instituted by Him who alone is holy, and therefore that no place or day consecrated by man in his presumptuous superstition is more sacred than another. Man’s body, however, being the house in which his soul dwells, is, as has

B B

been truly named, the temple of the Holy Spirit, containing as it does the Divine spark, or emanation from Deity, which no act on our part can stamp out, hut which, even in the most debased, will eventually be cleansed of its earth stains (accumulated in this mundane existence from allowing the animal nature to predominate over the spiritual), and will go on developing intellectually towards perfection during an eternity of progression in the illimitable expanse of God’s boundless universe, beyond not only the contemplation of man in the physical state, but also beyond the contemplation of exalted spirits or angels in the spheres.

That the Great Creator of the universe is not, as generally inculcated, a personal Deity, seated on a great white throne, a merciful Father while man is on earth, and an austere, exacting judge as soon as the future existence is entered, but that He is invisible in the spiritual life, where He is only reflected in his works as He is to man on earth; and that as in the future state spirits occupy a more exalted condition than when in the physical body (they are still, however, fallible as when on earth), it follows that, as finite beings, it is impossible for us, even in the spiritual existence, to be able to see or comprehend the Infinite, whose ways even “ are past finding out.”

That our future state as now unfolded, is a rational, progressive, intellectual one, with joys and pleasures transcending our mundane conceptions, and is far more rational, as well as one more worthy of our merciful, heavenly Father, and of man’s aspirations, than the undefinable heaven, and still more undefinahle future existence of orthodoxy.

That the just mental punishments which retributive justice metes out to us with unerring precision for the errors committed and wrongs done by us in this probationary state of existence, and following from natural law as certain as effects follow causes, without the special intervention of Providence, are more in accord with the reason with which an all-wise Creator has endowed us, than the horrible and eternally burning lake of fire and brimstone, with its supremely powerful mythical demon and his assistants, which that book professing to be the directly-inspired Word of God sets out.

That the Bible, with its superstitious fables, errors, contradictions, lewd passages, and blasphemous and absurd accounts of the attributes, works, and laws of the Great Creator of the universe, is not directly inspired by the Deity, who is “ the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever,” whose laws are fixed and invariable, and who does not now communicate direct with man, except as always through the great transparent book of nature, but is the writings of media, influenced by their spirit guides, whom, in their ignorance, they mistook for Deity, and is analogous to the spiritual communications now being received from similar sources, and through like channels, containing many beautiful truths and precepts, but tainted with the superstitious notions of the writers, in the same way as the spiritual communications of the present day are frequently tinged by the views held by the media through whose organizations they are transmitted.

That the variable character of the communications contained in the Bible prove that they did not emanate from one individual, far less from the Great Creator himself, for notwithstanding the Bible’s many excellencies, it contains many passages unworthy even of a good man, It is the same with the spiritual communications of the present day, for whilst some receive messages from the spirit world breathing the tenderest affection, manifesting the warmest interest in the welfare of mankind, inculcating the highest morality and the purest religion, unfolding the most just and exalted views of God, and exhibiting the profoundest love and reverence for Him as the Eternal Father, others receive communications that are trivial, puerile, and unworthy of sensible men, far less of angels; but if they were all correct in grammar, sound in logic, sedate in tone, lofty in spirit, rich in knowledge, and transcendent in moral excellence, that very fact would suggest grave suspicion as to their genuineness and authenticity. Spirits, it must be remembered, are but human beings divested of their earthly habiliments, and transferred to another province of God’s boundless empire. Both reason and analogy forbid the idea of the transition called death having made any radical or extensive change in their character and attainments ; and as many spirits were low, poor, frivolous, and debased creatures here, such they must necessarily be there for a time. Personal progress cannot be otherwise than gradual, though more rapid in some cases than in others. In proportion as rational views of the future state prevail, so it will be found that the foregoing is just what might be expected in the very nature of things.

That Jesus, instead of being a sort of nondescript, a lusus natural, born out of the ordinary course of the unchangeable laws of nature, a man-god, was a great medium, and good man, who would not allow himself even to be called “good master.” He was chosen as the messenger of truth and light to proclaim the immortality of the human soul, the eternal Fatherhood of God, and the universal brotherhood of man, with peace and goodwill to all, in whom the spirit world concentrated the whole of the mediumistic powers then known, in order to demonstrate him as the promised Messiah, the world’s great Reformer and emancipator from the bondage of material ignorance and superstition, whom his followers in their enthusiasm and admiration of his beautiful example and teachings, mistook for the Light Himself, in place of the messenger of the Light, in the same way as his promise of the second advent of spiritual enlightenment has been mistaken for his personal reappearance on earth. The same power or gift to which, eighteen hundred years ago, Deity was ascribed, has been frequently termed witchcraft, and is now more rationally called mediumship.

That Jesus’ teachings were pure, simple, rational, and well worthy of being followed by all men, not only at the time they were promulgated, but also throughout successive ages, by tbe most learned as well as bv the ignorant. They bave been perverted and made incomprehensible and irrational by his enthusiastic followers and biographers, and still more so by a designing and. interested priestcraft, for no age or nation has yet seen Christianity practised in the simple form of the religion of Jesus.

That reason, the divine gift to man from his merciful heavenly Father, is the only voice of God that cries aloud to man, and that if we do not use our reason in all matters concerning our present and eternal welfare we are unworthy of being called rational beings, for as reason exalts man above, so the lack of it degrades him beneath, the animal consciousness.

That God’s laws are perfect, fixed, and unchangeable. By them all things in the past have been, in the present are, and during all eternity shall be regulated, both in the material and in the spiritual worlds, and that unless there can be demonstrated a power superior to that of the Most High, the words supernatural and miraculous are fallacious, being in fact merely terms employed by man to vindicate his own ignorance. Nature being the results of God’s laws, nothing can be above nature, and a house divided against itself cannot stand.

That the signs of the times point to the days of superstition, with its creeds and dogmas, and its undue reverence for antiquity, as numbered. That man is beginning to throw ofi* the mental bondage of supposed infallible tradition in which he has been so long enslaved by the teachings and threats of priests and parsons, who have audaciously usurped and exercised a tyranny over his conscience, and is beginning to demand his birthright, free thought, free investigation, and free judgment.

That science and religion, instead of as at present conflicting with each other, are, as they must be, in unison, resting as they do on the same base, namely, eternal truth, and that it is only where man’s superstitious error is substituted for the eternal truth of God that they are at variance, and where the simple teachings of the Nazarene Prophet have been vitiated by dogmas and creeds, as contemptible as they are absurd and impossible.

That as the Holy Truth was introduced by our noble elder brother and exemplar, Jesus, the great medium, through his beautiful and simple teachings and actions, so the second advent of that Holy Truth is now being proclaimed universally, as promised, by the world-spread spiritual phenomena of the present day, the effect of which will, in due time, reinstate the simple teachings of the meek and lowly Jesus to their pristine purity, divesting them of the incrustations of error and superstition, the accumulation of centuries, by which the Holy Truth has been so perverted and disfigured.

That modern spiritualism being true, which, as I have stated, any one with ordinary patience and perseverance in the investigation can have demonstrated and proved, then it follows that most of the forms, ceremonies, &c., required by the current religions, and gone through as necessary for the soul’s salvation, are mere waste of time, and all the money expended annually for tlie keeping °1 them up, except what is devoted to charitable purposes, is worse than thrown away. It is squandered, it may be through ignorance in most cases, in perpetuating what is very dear to many, hut which is in reality solemn mockery, a snare and a delusion, the outcome of dogmatism founded on barbaric superstition. Therefore the sooner people are awakened to the fact, and commence to investigate the Eternal Truth with . the reason with which a merciful Father has endowed them, the better.

1 hat with nature as our Bible, experience as our guide, reason as our interpreter, a loving God as our merciful heavenly Father, living truthful, pure, and honest lives, assisting our fellow-creatures as far as in our power, we need not dread “ the grim monster, death,” as it has been termed, but with the fullest confidence look forward to it as a beneficent change, the new birth of the spirit, whereby we shall be ushered into a more exalted sphere of existence, rational, intellectual, and progressive, where we shall meet those loved ones gone before, and where

“ Eternal day excludes the night And pleasures banish pain.”

Having quoted extensively from the writings of various authors, to all of whom I must express my indebtedness, though I have not stopped to give their names, &c., I shall conclude the present part of the Holy Truth ” with the sentiments expressed by another, which I can fully endorse and have added to. The evidences which I have received from time to time of the reality of spirit intercourse have been overwhelmingly convincing, and to doubt them would be tantamount to the ignoring of my own existence. I have made the investigation of spiritualism my special study, and I have found it what I little anticipated it to be, a grand fact, and I have been well repaid for the time and the perseverance I have devoted to it. It has produced quite a revolution of my sentiments and feelings ; it has destroyed the fear of death ; it has removed the pernicious errors of dogmatic orthodoxy, or at least the last lingering doubts regarding them ; it has given me more ennobling and elevating thoughts of the Great Creator of the universe ; and it has brought me into closer sympathy and contact with those (to most of us) unseen messengers who are ever present to succour in weakness, to comfort in sorrow, to aid us in the day of affliction and temptation, and, by words of kindness and goodly counsel, encourage us to persevere in our earth pilgrimage amid the buffetings of unreasonable and unreasoning men, until, having finished our allotted task, having accomplished in us and by us the purposes of creation, we shall lay aside the mortal man, while the glad spirit, escaped from the earthly tenement, shall soar up the shining path to meet those dear and loved ones gone before, who wait to greet and welcome us to the summer land.

“ O happy is the man who hears Instniction’s warning voice ;

And who celestial Wisdom makes His early, only choice.

For she has treasures greater far Than east or west unfold ;

And her rewards more precious are Than all their stores of gold.

She guides the young with innocence In pleasure’s paths to tread,

A crown of glory she bestows Upon the hoary head.

According as her labours rise,

So her rewards increase ;

Her ways are ways of pleasantness,

And all her paths are peace.”

And now I would courteously ask the question of those who may read this, Have you investigated spiritualism P If your reply he in the negative, let me ask you to suspend your judgment; for to express an opinion on a matter of which you absolutely know nothing is to exhibit consummate assumption and profound ignorance, which those who have a knowledge of these things can only regard with feelings of pity. Be slow to judge, be not hasty to condemn ; be like the noble Bereans, commended by Paul, who, having heard him, searched if these things were so. Emulate their manly example with reference to this grand philosophy. I ask you to take nothing for granted, nothing upon credit; search all things ; try the spirits, and hold fast only to that which is good ; treasure the golden grains of truth; discard the chaff of error and falsehood, trample them under foot, and, entering upon the investigation of that which a great cloud of witnesses can testify to be a glorious fact, in the spirit of sincere inquiry to know what is truth, your perseverance and efforts will in due time be amply rewarded and crowned with success. A ou will have the abundant consolation of knowing that your dear friends who, in their physical bodies, have passed from your presence, are hovering near you—that they are exercising over you, unconsciously to you, a potent influence for good, leading you by a way you know not of, joying in your joys, sharing in your sorrows, sympathising in your conflicts, and endeavouring to guide you with unerring footsteps to that blissful abode of many mansions into which they wait to receive and welcome you.

Therefore, ye mourners for the dead (but who live, and that eternally), dry up your tears, and turn your lamentations into songs of praise to our all-merciful Father, who, in His infinite love and unerring wisdom, hath prepared unspeakable and everlasting joys for all who act aright in this life according to the reason He has graciously endowed us with.

“ And oh ! in that future and lovelier sphere,

Where all is made right which so puzzles us Imre, Where the glare and the glitter and tinsel of time Shall fade in the light of that region sublime,

W’here the soul, disencumbered of flesh and its sense, Unscreened by its trappings, and shows, and pretence, Must be clothed for the life and the service above With purity, truthfulness, meekness, and love.”

Part II.

This part will consist of communications illustrating the real state of existence in spirit life by means of a course of lectures received through, the organization of Mr. J. II. B. Harris when in deep trance, and taken down by shorthand writers as uttered. ^Some of Ihem—are the experiences of William Shakespeare during the two hundred and fifty odd years he has been in the spirit world, delivered to a circle of six persons (nominated by the spirit lecturer through the medium), consisting of Mrs. Harriet Grace, Mrs. Harris, Mr. Arthur Devlin, junior, Mr. Richard Moorfield, my wife, and self, meeting at my house two evenings a week for the purpose. Mr. Harris, as I have already stated, is an illiterate young man, quite incapable, in his normal state, of delivering these lectures, and not even understanding many of the wTords used in conveying the spiritual lecturer’s experiences, &c., therein. I may also state Mr. Harris goes off in trance entirely through the agency of his spirit guides, whom my daughter has seen and described

as magnetising him. He is quite unconscious of what is spoken through his organization when in trance, and I know him to be thoroughly reliable, and a very worthy-young man.

The following is an extract from one of the Shakespearean lectures referred to :—

“ (Guide.) ‘ Come, friend, I will lead you forth into such scenes as you could never imagine to have existed.’ Then all the old sensation of curiosity arose within me, and my whole being was overcome with awe. He conducted me to what seemed like an open pavilion, and from that pavilion we descended white and glistening steps. Having concluded the descent, I there met spirits of different grades, some of whom had lived upon earth in my time, but with whom I wras unacquainted, and others who had passed away from earth before I had appeared upon it. We passed on until we came to a balcony, which was suspended by beautiful wires, interlaced and drawn over each other. As I said before, in reference to the towns, cities, and worlds being apparently founded upon something of a nature soft and beautiful, so this pavilion, of a nature so velvety that it imparted a lightness to my step. Upon each side there were magnificent specimens of sculpture, and pictures of the grandest scenes. At last we stopped, and nowr I beheld a scene that riveted my attention. It was here that the noble Reformer first trod with his spiritual feet; it was here that loud peals of music sounded, which reverberated from sphere to sphere; it was here that the loud rumbling was beard when be passed away ; it was here that the weary and forlorn one sped ; it was here the new-born spirit was brought to rest ; it was here, into this glade of flowers, he was first brought after death. We were taken a little further into the garden, of which I will try and give you a description. I shall merely take a rough estimate, and say it was, by your earthly measurement, about forty miles in length, and about thirty miles in width. I noticed that in various parts of this garden different kinds of old carvings were suspended, and among others I observed those of the Jews. Everything that was most precious seemed to have been collected in this garden, the decorations of which were most beautiful. The lovely flowers were entwined with each other, and fell over in beautiful idleness, appearing to rest for support on their neighbours. Into this enchanting place we entered hand-inhand. I noticed that the houses were of diversified colours, and were grouped about in different parts of the garden. Wreaths of plants and flowers embellished the houses by entwining themselves around and over, imparting an aspect of inexpressible beauty. These houses appeared as if built of pearl and ivory. We were allowed to ramble about these delightful parterres, without any restriction being imposed upon us. As we sped along I noticed a large adornment in the form of a cross, upon which was inscribed, Jesus of Nazareth.’ This was the spot to which they brought him when the agony of the cross was o’er. I little thought to find this in such a place. This is where the sad mistake has been made by many spirits, who have just had a glimpse of this, and, without receiving any explanation, have rushed off to their companions in the lower sphere, and recounted the fact of having seen this cruciform memento ; and thus it is that Christ is worshipped by many as Deity when he should be merely looked upon as one who devoted himself entirely to his Father’s works. I noticed also that upon the lower part of this cross was written (inscribed, I was informed, by Jesus’ own hands), ‘ Pie that worshippeth me, worshippeth me wrongly, but should rather worship the Father through his actions.’ The cross was surrounded by a fountain whose waters prevented it being touched or destroyed. There it remains, and its brief history I will give you as given to me. There was an old sage who had been for many hundreds of years the ruler of this place. I met him as he came forward towards us, and I said, ‘ Friend, of all the scenes I have beheld in the spheres, in the different grades I have passed through, of all the sights which have enraptured my spiritual senses, this monument has left the most lasting impression. Canst thou tell me how it was placed there ? or is it placed there as an emblem of the Great Reformer’s sufferings ? ’ Thus he spoke to me : ‘ When Jesus was upon the earth, full well you know he accomplished more acts of justice and selfdenial than ever man did before, or is likely to do again, lie, in passing away, suffered a death by which nature’s laws were violated ; his death was murder, and you are well aware that the spirit must suffer from such consequences. "When he arrived upon this ground, there was the lazar-house to which he was brought. His spirit was destitute of light; all seemed dark and cloudy. For weeks were they trying to bring him into spiritual existence, to animate his spiritual form. Thousands of the noblest martyrs graced this spot where thou didst stand, many of whom had left imperishable monuments behind, and felt small indeed when they looked upon the face of him who had been so gentle and so kind. They stood with awe upon this mount, and sorrowfully thought of the unjust and cruel treatment of earth’s inhabitants, perpetrated towards this exemplary man. As you visit the old battle-fields and think of your ancestors,

Whose valour was made plain

To defend their country’s name,

whose swords were drawn, and who freely shed their blood for you ; when you are reminded of this you reverence the memory of those ancestors. And I say to you, that this very ground, which is the most sacred in the spheres (where all is sacred), is reverenced, not because the Deity was brought here, but because it was the first resting-place of the Great Exemplar of mankind after quitting that earth whose inhabitants were so unworthy of him. It was here that thousands of spirits watched and waited ; it was an anxious watching, an anxious waiting. I shall never forget that time of our solicitous watching. Every sign of restoration was critically examined, and the result telegraphed (for so I will term it) from sphere to sphere, so that each spirit in the vast realms might know how the Worthy One progressed. His spirit at last shone forth with resplendent beauty, and he recommenced those teachings for the promulgation of which upon earth he was so outrageously treated. It was here he again spoke volumes in the language which, when upon earth, he was so accomplished in. It was here that many thousands gathered, determined to bring these efforts into every spirit’s recollection. Oh my friend, contemplate for a moment the actions—even as recorded only—of this peerless man, and say was he not entitled to the esteem which resulted in the erection of this monument ? Had you and I performed any action at all commensurate with those of the man for whom this monument has been raised, then, indeed, would we have been paid most grandly. But, behold that cross ! twenty years of earthly time were occupied in erecting it. It was carved out of jasper, as you can see; and those words, by Christ’s own hands, were placed upon it, as you read. It was determined that this monument should be placed there, so that each one might know where Jesus stood ; not as a God, however, but in the power of a spirit purer than many who have been thousands of years in the spheres. It is there for you to look at, that you may be incited to good actions, and reverence it for what it is worth.”

This was the first time that Jesus of Nazareth had ever come across my spiritual thoughts. I had been too busily engaged studying the works of nature to pay much attention to such a subject, and when I found that all

c c

things were not true that I had been believing in, I did not give the biblical teachings much time or thought. I was sanguine of finding a Bible in nature’s works ; the starry firmament for a God, instead of Christ, martyrs, or any thing else similar. Here, however, I found the Nazarene a pure, simple, poor, lowly mind, with a monument that was worth all that I could count upon earth. I found that his name here was a lisp upon every child’s mouth/’ “In this sphere I perceived that everything was of a divine and holy perfectness, and of a childlike simplicity and innocence; no outward fight or inward wrangle was perceivable, but all being in a most beautiful form. I endeavoured to learn what was good and what was bad, but how was I to start ? No little difficulty seemed to be in my way. The old sage was the only one who appeared to cling to this spiritual ground, and to him I had recourse. ‘ Spirit! thou hast been here so many years, centuries seem to have rolled over thy hoary head ; the staff in thy hand resembles a magic wand: canst thou tell me if the teachings which Christ left behind on mother earth were all true ? Or were there not some faulty passages which eventuated in his being installed as a God ? ’    ‘ Oh ! man,’ he replied, ‘ what wert thou

upon earth but a mere gathering of the fragments left of atoms! From atoms are substances produced, such as sandhills and mountains; and this earth becomes a man and they worship him ! Jesus I saw here, and for many years I was in his company ; nought did He teach here, friend, from which any one could infer that He con-

sidered himself Deity, or above bis fellows. But in bis life bere, as well as upon eartb, He bas left traces of bis sublime character. See bere, friend, badst thou exercised tby understanding, as was expected of thee, when upon eartb, thou wouldst have known Christ by bis works, divesting him of that which be never contemplated of assuming. The mistake is a wondrous mistake ! They made him what be never claimed to be; crowned him with a crown, made three in one, placing them band in hand; and this, instead of being understood by your earthly brothers and sisters, only tended to mystify and degrade them. The laws that God your Father teaches you from bis works are simple, and where in them can you perceive that which leads you to draw the inference that either “ Son ” or “ Holy Ghost ” enjoys a copartnership with him ? Deity is one, and therefore can claim no relationship with three/ ” &c.

Note.—From the foregoing it will be observed that this first volume, containing my crude statements regarding the Holy Truth, is but the rough foundation on which the sculptured edifice is to be raised. Judging by even the few lectures already delivered, of which the foregoing is an example, I promise the thoughtful world a rare intellectual treat wThen they are published.

EVERMORE.

1.

“ I beheld a golden portal in the visions of my slumber,

And through it streamed the radiance of a never-setting day,

And angels tall and beautiful, and countless without number,

Were giving gladsome greeting to all who came that way:—    .

And the gate, for ever swinging, made no grating, no harsh ringing, But was melodious as the singing of One whom we adore,

And I heard a chorus swelling, grand beyond a mortal’s telling,

And the burden of that chorus was Hope’s glad word

Evermore.

ii.

An(l as I gazed and listened came a slave, all worn and weary,

His fetter-links blood-crushed, his dark brow cold and damp,

His sunken eyes gleamed wildly, telling tales of sorrow dreary,

Of toilsome struggles through the night, amidst the fever swamp.

Ere the eye had time for winking—ere the mind had time for thinking, A bright angel raised the sinking wretch, and off his fetters tore.

Then I heard the chorus swelling, grand beyond a mortal’s telling, ‘Pass, brother, through our portals, thou art a free man

Evermore.’

hi.

“ And as I gazed and listened came a mother, wildly weeping,

‘ I have lost my hopes for ever—one by one they went away ;

My children and their father the cold grave hath in keeping,

Life is one long lamentation, I know no night nor day.’

Then said the angel (softly speaking),4 Stay, sister, stay thy shrieking, Thou shalt find those thou art seeking beyond that golden door.’

Then I heard the chorus swelling, grand beyond a mortal’s telling,

Thy children and their father shall be with thee

Evermore.

IV.

“ And as I gazed and listened, came a cold, blue-footed maiden,

With cheeks of ashen whiteness, eyes filled with lurid light,

Her body bent with sickness, her lone heart heavy laden,

Her home had been the roofless street, her day had been the night; First wept the angel sadly, then smiled the angel gladly,

And caught the maiden madly rushing from the golden door.

Then I heard the chorus swelling, grand beyond a mortal’s telling,

4 Enter, sister, thou art pure—thou art sinless

Evermore.’

v.

“ Then I saw the toiler enter to rest for aye from labour,

The weary-hearted exile there had found his native land;

The beggar there could greet the king as equal and as neighbour, For the crown had left the kingly brow, the staff the beggar’s hand ; And the gate, for ever swinging, made no grating, no harsh ringing, But was melodious as the singing of One whom we adore;

And the chorus still was swelling, grand beyond a mortal’s telling, While the vision faded from me with the glad word

Evermore.”


APPENDICES.

APPENDIX I.

The following chapter contains a portion of what I wrote some years since, under the title of “ Rational Christianity,” by “ Common Sense,” showing the views I then held, both in regard to orthodoxy and spiritualism, and before the Holy Truth had dawned on my understanding, to which I have made a few trilling additions, “For I have learned to look on Nature, not as in the hour of thoughtless youth,” &c.

“ Reason is a divine gift.”

After many years’ experience I have arrived at the conclusion that everything must be judged by results only; and should the results not be in accordance with our expectations and deductions, we should, if possible, inquire into and examine the causes affecting such results.

Now in my experiences with people of all classes and creeds, in various parts of three continents of the world, I found that there was very little difference when one came to have intimate and continued dealings with them, though at first, outwardly, a great disparity appeared.

It seemed to me that, notwithstanding our boasted superiority, we Christians in general were, in reality, no better than the pagans, when judged by the crucial test of experience.

The results of Christian instruction and example, after upwards of eighteen centuries, appearing to me so unsatisfactory, I began to inquire into the cause or reason for such, and, not claiming any exception for myself from this sweeping affirmation, I asked myself, Does the fault lay in the teachings, or in our not carrying out the same, or in both ?

Notwithstanding my being pretty well versed in the Bible, I began a fresh study of the same, praying to God that He would enlighten my mind, so that I might receive the truth, and that He would grant me understanding, that I might learn heavenly wisdom, through the influence of the Holy Spirit,rand asking all in the name of Jesus Christ, my Saviour.

While so engaged it occurred to me to inquire of myself, Is what is written in the Bible, and what I have been taught from my youth, in accordance with the reason God has given me But as often as this presented itself to my mind, such passages as, “He that doubteth is damned;” “He that believeth not, shall be damned,” would crop up to prevent my allowing my thoughts to sift this momentous question. At last, after much mental conflict, reason overcame my superstition, and the following are a few out of the many queries and answers thereto that occurred to my mind.

Q. What is the meaning of the Bible being the inspired Word of God ?

A. That God, in His mercy, for the benefit of mankind, had, in olden times, communicated His will to a few favoured good men called prophets. But then it struck me, Why the very same book asserts that God is a non-respecter of persons, an impartial God, and that His laws being immutable and unchangeable, how came men in olden times to be so favoured, and those of the present day not so ? How comes it that in the Old Testament we are informed that there is but one God, who is represented as saying, “I am the Great Jehovah, and there is none else;” “I am the Great Jehovah, and my glory shall I not divide with another,” and in the New Testament we find, on the contrary, “ There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one,” by which we are led to understand that there are three persons in the Godhead. How can these contradictions be reconciled ? (I was not aware at the time I wrote this, that the seventh verse of the fifth chapter of the first Epistle of John was an interpolation, and not in the original MS.) If the Bible be the inspired Word of God, how comes it to state that the Sun stood still, when we know it never (at least visibly) moves ? Also that there were four corners to the earth, when it is proved to be spherical ? Was the Great Creator ignorant of the nature and form of his own creations ? or are we to suppose that He promulgated falsehoods to man ?

These, with many other contradictions, too numerous to mention, forced me to abandon my long-cherished belief that the Bible in its entirety was the inspired Word of God. The more I read it, scanning it now with the eye of reason, the less of it I held as inspired. When I came to the commandments, which are prefaced thus,—“ And God spake all these words, saying,”—I said to myself, ‘‘these surely must be' inspired,” as in the preceding chapter, where the Almighty is represented to have communicated with Moses, it merely states, “And the Lord said unto Moses,” but on my reading and thinking over that part of the second commandment, which states, “ For I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth generations of them that hate Me, &c.,” I was forced to give up even the commandments as being inspired by God, as I could not reconcile this with my conception of the Great Creator of the universe, and my own experiences of His boundless mercy. I reasoned with myself thus : if one of my children were to commit the greatest of crimes, which would bring the greatest disgrace on me and my whole family, would I punish my child’s children, had I the power to do so, for their father’s acts? Reason answered, “No, certainly not;” and tlie corollary followed, Is, then, the Almighty Creator of the universe less good and less merciful than man ? Reason again replied, “ No.” Thus it was that I came to the conclusion, though not without great reluctance at the time, that the Bible was not inspired by God; the contradictions and imperfections contained in the Bible prove that it is of man, not of God, whose works are always perfect and consistent.

The Bible I look upon as containing in the Old Testament a true account of the history and superstitions of the Jews, the contemplations and deductions of many good and wise men who meant well, but were influenced by the credulity of their day; and in the New Testament, superstitious accounts of the births, doings, and death of the greatest Reformer the world has seen, whom his followers, in their enthusiasm and admiration of His character, represented as Deity; but who would not allow Himself even to be called Good Master, saying, there was none good, save one, that was God.

I accept, admire, and respect the teachings of the Bible, wherever they coincide with the reason God has given me, but reject them in all else. I still look upon it as a wonderful old book, containing in many parts the purest code of ethics promulgated to the world, and the sublimest of poetry; but in other parts containing superstitious and absurd fables, and even disgusting passages, unfit to be read in refined society. To this latter remark perhaps some might suggest, “ to the pure all things are pure; ” but they might as well quote “ honi soit qui mal y pense; ” the fact stated of many impurities being contained in the Bible remaining the same. I therefore take the Scriptures as my guide not as my master ; and reason as my interpreter, retaining all that commends itself to my understanding as good, and rejecting all else. (“ What is nonsense on a principle of reason, will never be sense on a principle of religion ; and whatever renders religion more rational, renders it also more credible.”) True religion is to do good, and to act aright at all times, without taking any credit for so doing, but thanking God for being enabled to do so.

In reading various controversies between orthodox Christians and others, I have observed with regret that the former generally display less charity in the enlarged sense of the word, than any other class of religionists; those as a rule who conscientiously differ from them being stigmatized as infidels, atheists, unbelievers, or some other like epithet. May I request the reader to be more lenient with me until I have stated all my reasons for arriving at different views to those which I formerly held perhaps in common with themselves, and to endeavour, during the perusal of my statements, to disabuse the mind as much as possible of that superstitious dread of taxing their reason in examining into matters concerning religion, as has been diplomatically inculcated by all religious teachers. I say “ as much as possible,” from having myself been three years in getting entirely rid of this sort of superstitious feeling from impressions instilled into me from childhood.

In everything else but religion, it is admitted that we should use the reason God has so graciously given to us, and should make all advancement in our power, but on the contrary, in matters of religion, we are admonished not to attempt or encourage progression, but in blind faith to receive all the teachings, however absurd, promulgated in the writings of a semi-savage age. Now, I ask you, is this reasonable ? Can you suppose for an instant that an all-wise Creator endowed man with reason, and did not intend that he should make use of it in matters concerning religion, as well as in everything else ? No, man’s intellect tells him otherwise.

Let us briefly examine what orthodox Christianity of the present day teaches. In the first place, let us take the doctrine of original sin ; this implies, that from the weakness of our first parents, as they are termed (but let me here remark, I look

upon the garden of Eden, Adam and Eve, as figurative, not literal), yielding to the temptation of doing that which was forbidden, a curse fell upon all the human family yet unborn ; even the serpent, which is represented as having spoken to Eve the truth in regard to her not dying if she ate of the fruit, is said to have been condemned to go on its belly all the days of its life. Did it ever occur to you, how did the serpent go before ? On its head ? on its tail ? or on its back ? The curse on the man is severe enough for such an offence, but that on the woman is worthy a demon of the darkest dye. Suffering is painful enough to endure under favourable circumstances, but still worse when considered as a curse sent by one whom we are taught “is Love,” and whom we ought to regard as an all-merciful Father. It were better to have no idea of God at all than such an opinion as is unworthy of Him ; for the one is unbelief, but the other is contumely. The story of Adam, Eve, and the serpent is only an imperfect ver sion of Prometheus. If the Bible tale of our being indebted to the serpent for knowledge were true, we ought to be serpent worshippers. Orthodox Christianity regards credulity as a theological virtue, instead of an intellectual vice, and may be described as refined superstition. The blasphemy involved in orthodox dogmas is commensurate with their inconsistency.

Let us next take the doctrine of salvation by faith. This implies that if we believe in that which is contrary to our reason, contrary to our experience, and contrary to natural laws, our souls will enjoy eternal bliss, singing hallelujahs for evermore ; but if we use the reason that God has given us, and which will impel us to disbelieve such glaring absurdities, we shall be burnt in a lake of fire and brimstone, not for a few hundred years, but for all eternity.

Diodorus tells us that the fable of hell was invented by Orpheus, a Grecian, about one thousand two hundred and seventy-five years before Christ; it having suggested itself when he was

viewing a ceremony in Egypt, called the trial of the dead.” Hell is, in reality, a moral suffering, sorrowing over sin, and severance from God. The orthodox Christian religion is the only one that teaches of the never-ending existence of the wrath of God, i.e., eternal punishment.

The doctrine of the Trinity was taken from the heathen mythology, which taught a tripod god, and is the only way in which orthodox Christians can get out of their dilemma of their three Gods, entailed by their belief in the supposed three persons in the Godhead. This belief was first introduced into the Western world by Timceus of Locris. The humble, meek, and lowly Jesus never claimed to be deified; on the contrary, He taught the Fatherhood of God, and of his own and our dependence on the Father of all. He was merely a great messenger of truth, whose mission was to enlighten the world. When asked by his followers to teach them how to pray, Jesus is represented to have said, “ Our Father, which art in heaven,”—not my Father and your God, which art in heaven. Again, He said, “ I go to my Father and to your Father ; to my God and to your God.” He claimed only, in doing the will of the Father, to be one with God; and He prayed that as He was one with God, so also might his followers be one with Him in this respect.

If the orthodox Christian’s hope is in the atonement by the crucifixion of Jesus, then that arch traitor Judas Iscariot is the one to whom they owe their redemption, as he was the prime mover in the matter; Jesus having three times prayed that the cup might pass from Him, or in other words, that He should not be put to death. And very naturally so ; although we have instances of other martyrs boldly seeking death, whose names are scarcely ever mentioned, far less are they deified. Not that I would detract in the slightest from the beautiful and sublime character of the life of Jesus and his example; all honour to the memory of our elder brother and exemplar.

Now this leads to another consideration. If Jesus was our elder brother, and at the same time our God, as our orthodox brethren have it, then it follows that we creatures claim the Creator of the universe as our brother. How presumptuous and impious on the part of man ; and how profane and blasphemous towards God. What ?    “ Brother to Him who

chargeth the angels with folly, while the heavens are not pure in his sight! Brother to Him whom no man hath seen, nor can see, neither hath any man heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape ; and whose ways are past finding out! ” Comment is unnecessary.

We are told that Jesus had brothers and sisters (Matt. xiii. 55, 56), and that they did not believe in Jesus (John vii. 5); and at verse 12 of the same chapter it is written : “ Some said, He is a good man; others said, Nay; but He deceiveth the people” (as is frequently said of the mediums of the present day). Evanson remarks, “ A virgin daughter producing her father, and a creature giving birth to her Creator, is a blasphemous impiety.” Beltham says, “ The miraculous conception of Jesus is an equally absurd picture as that of Jupiter and Danae.” Sir Isaac Newton remarks, “ The incarnation of God is not less absurd than the impanation of God ; or God in a piece of bread.” The orthodox Tertullian, glorying in the principles of the Christian faith, even as taught in his day, enthusiastically exclaims,—

“ I reverence it because it is contemptible.

“ I adore it, because it is absurd.

“ I believe it, because it is impossible.”

No doubt he was referring to the vicarious sacrifice doctrine, a Son co-eternal with his Father, and the immaculate conception of a virgin mother.

It is a curious fact, that in all systems of religion are introduced the same Trinity, the same Eden, the same serpent and apple, the same expulsion and redemption, and the same incar-

nation of the Deity. The same types and theories are found in the Vedas of India, the Zendavesta of Persia, the Sagas of Scandinavia, the writings of the Chaldees and of the Egyptians, the theology of Hesiod, and the mythology of the Romans, as in the Jewish superstitions.

But to return to the doctrine of atonement: the punishment of the innocent to excuse the guilty is equivalent to asserting that two acts of injustice make one act of justice in the sight of a God of love and mercy. Jesus is not represented as having taught the doctrine of vicarious sacrifice ; it is not even alluded to in his grand Sermon on the Mount; nor is it to be found in the Gospels. Paul only is responsible for this absurd doctrine; and he, be it remembered, never saw Jesus (except in spirit form), whose gospel is simple, pure, and lovely ; while Paul’s gospel is full of incongruities, and replete with intricacies—such as the doctrines of original sin, atonement, deity of the humble Jesus, Trinity, predestination, justification by faith, &c.—“ hard to be understood,” as remarked by Peter, and none of which doctrines are to be found in the teachings of Jesus. The grand problem in Paul’s time was to separate religion from the forms of the Mosaic ritual; in the time of Luther, to separate it from the forms of the Church; in our own time, it is to separate it from the letter of Scripture, and all personal authority. Lessing remarks with great truth, “Christianity has been tried for eighteen centuries ; the religion of Jesus has yet to be tried.” In plain language, orthodox Christianity is a solemn mockery. Yes; eighteen hundred years have passed since Jesus, the great messenger of peace, who sought not his own glory, but ascribed all to his and our heavenly Father, sealed his mission on Calvary, yet more than half the inhabitants of the earth are ignorant of the great truths rHe inculcated; and even those who know them are misled, owing to those truths having been misunderstood and misrepresented by his admiring and enthusiastic followers, and so perverted during the lapse of years, by a superstitious, designing priestcraft, leading mankind to place their trust of future happiness in the efficacy of the blood of Jesus, and his death, instead of on their following the beautiful precepts taught and examples set by Him during his life.

“ Lo ! Calvin, Knox, and Luther cry,

‘ I have the truth,’ ‘ and I,’ ‘ and I.’

‘ Puir sinners ! if ye gang’ agley The de’il will hae ye,

And then the Lord will stand aheigh,

And will na save ye.’

“ But hoolie, hoolie! na sae fast;

When Gabriel shall blow his blast,

And heaven and earth awa’ have pass’d,

These lang syne saints Shall find baith de’il and hell at last Mere pious feints.

The upright, honest-hearted man,

Wha strives to do the best he can,

Need never fear the church’s ban,

Nor hell’s damnation;

For God will need na special plan For his salvation.

“ The One who feels our deepest needs Kecks little how man counts his beads,

For righteousness is not in creeds,

Nor solemn faces;

But rather lies in kindly deeds And Christian graces.

“ Then never fear; wi’ purpose leal,

A head to think, a heart to feel For human woe and human weal,

Na preachin’ loon

Your sacred birthright e’er can steal To heaven aboon.

“ Tak’ tent o’ truth, an’ heed this well,

The man wha sins maks his ain hell;

There’s na warse de’il than himsel’,

But God’s the strongest;

And when puir human hearts rebel He haulds o’ot longest.”

Judging by my own experience, when I began with great difficulty to release mj^self from the chains of superstitious slavery in which I had been trained—if you have arrived at the first stage of freedom of thought, the following question may occur to you, as it did to me. In the event of our allowing our minds to be guided by reason in religious matters, what substitute, if any, are we likely to acquire for our long-cherished, though they may be delusive hopes ? I reply, a rational and real confidence in God’s goodness and kindness to us in a future state, fully warranted by our experiences of his mercies in this life.

Protestants are apt to look upon the infallibility of the Pope as absurd, forgetting that it is equally absurd to look upon the Bible as infallible, a book written as certainly as it is printed by man; not that I condemn the Bible as a whole, but only such parts of it as are repugnant to my reason, and derogatory in the attempts to depict the character of that all-merciful Being who has so wisely and kindly given us all things in this life so richly to enjoy. On the contrary, I uphold all that the Bible contains which commends itself to my reason, and is not contrary to my experience. I admit that it contains, in parts, more true sublimity, more exquisite beauty, more pure morality, more important history, and finer strains both of poetry and eloquence than any other book; but at the same time, it contains the most childish fables, the most debasing character of the Great Creator of the universe, and the most gross superstitions and absurdities that can be found in any book in the wide world. In fact, viewed in the light of reason and sense, although I admit the good greatly exceed the bad passages in the Bible, it is but a conglomeration of history, poetry, theology, superstition, absurd fables, &c., &c., jumbled together. I could fill pages with contradictions, errors, and absurdities contained in the infallible book, as it is termed, but the following will suffice for examples. In Gen. i. 27, it says, “ So God created man in

His own image, male and female created He them.” Now if you turn to ii. 18, you will find, “ And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone, I will make him an helpmeet for him.” In the first quoted, God is represented as making man male and female, and in the second he is said to be alone, and to require a mate. One Evangelist has the time of the day when Jesus was crucified as the third hour, another has it the sixth, and another the ninth.

The Hebrew Pentateuch has 1656 years to the deluge, the Samaritan 1807 years, the Greek Septuagint 2242 years. All of these cannot be correct. Also regarding the chronology from the birth of Adam to the flood ; Hebrew 292 years, Samaritan 942, and the Septuagint 1072.

Matthew, Mark, and Luke place the Last Supper and the Passover on Thursday, whilst John states that the Last Supper was on Friday, and the Passover on Saturday.

Matthew and Mark state Galilee as the place in which the disciples should see Jesus, whilst Luke and the Acts state that they were to tarry at Jerusalem.

Matthew, Mark, and Luke state that Simon, a Syrenian, carried the cross; John xix. 17 states that Jesus carried it himself.

Matthew and Mark state that both thieves reviled Jesus. Luke states that one did, and the other did not.

Matthew states that Judas returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests, and went and hanged himself, and that the priests purchased the potter’s field with the money; whilst in the Acts it is stated that Judas himself bought the field with the reward of iniquity, and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and his bowels gushed out; how could he go and hang himself after this ? I think this will puzzle the wisest philosopher to explain. Luke xxiv. makes the ascension on the day of the resurrection ; whilst Acts i. 8 states he was seen for forty days after his resurrection by his disciples. Just imagine the infallible Jehovah making or allowing such mistakes to remain in His Word, or Holy Book as it is termed!

In regard to the Bible being the inspired Word of God, it is in many parts unworthy of a good intelligent man’s writing, far less that of the Omnipotent Creator of the universe. This leads me to another point, which is, if the assertion of the spiritualists of the present day regarding the communications of the souls of the departed with the living be absurd,* is it not much more so to suppose that the infinite eternal Spirit, by whose power and wisdom the universe was created, should ever have communicated with puny man ? and if He did so at one time, is it not reasonable to suppose He would continue to do so now ? No doubt Moses and the rest believed they were inspired by God in the same way as the spiritists of the present day believe the mediums are inspired by some departed soul, but does this make either a fact ? You may perhaps meet me with, How do you account for the prophecies and their fulfilment ? My reply is, I do not profess to be able to explain this to your satisfaction, more than I could the marvellous thmgs related of spiritualism by spiritists hi our own time, though I have given both subjects a considerable amount of study. I may, however, mention, that I have satisfied my own mind in regard to the Bible prophecies in this way. On examining into them, and their fulfilment, I found in the first place, they are as a rule worded so vaguely, that we might make a dozen occurrences that have taken place in the ordinary course of events, since they were recorded, fit into them, also, that some of the occurrences said to be fulfilments are quite contrary to the prophecy. Take for example Isaiah ix. 6, which foretells that the everlasting Father was to come, whereas Jesus, the Son, was said to have fulfilled this prophecy. For my own part, I neither believe in prophesying, sooth-

* I was unaware of the truth of modern spiritualism at the time I wrote this, as may he observed.

D D

saying, nor clairvoyance, and should an apparent fulfilment oi a prediction of one of these take place, I can only admit it as a curious coincidence, or that the party foretelling formed his conjecture of what would happen in the future from his experience of the past. For instance, I do not profess to be either a prophet, soothsayer, or clairvoyant; but feel as sure as that I am now writing this, that before many centuries are over, those cathedrals, churches, and chapels which are-venerated now as so many of God’s houses, will be pointed out as the monuments of the superstitious times when people considered that religion consisted of forms and ceremonies on certain days of the week, instead of a principle influencing and affecting our every action, thought, and word through life.

From the foregoing it will be observed that when I wrote the preceding chapter, I neither credited the inspirational writings of the past or present day. I neither admitted the miracles, as they were termed, of old, nor the phenomena of spiritualism of these times. When my orthodox friends used to meet me in argument with a quotation from the Bible, saying, “It is written,” I used to reply, “It is written that the cow jumped over the moon, but until I see it, I cannot believe it; ” and to my spiritualist friends, when they talked of spirits communicating with those in the body, I used to say, “ Bring one with you next time, and let me see a spirit, and I shall then believe it to be true that spirits can return to earth,” not at that time being aware that the fault lay not in the absence of their spirit friends, but from the blindness of my own spiritual vision, and my material arrogance and ignorance.

The first evening Mr. Harris was entranced, after I had completed this first volume of the Holy Truth, I took the opportunity of asking the opinion of his chief controlling spirit, W. S., on its contents. He replied, through the organization of Mr. Harris, “ Well, it is very strong meat, and will be difficult of mastication by those who have been accustomed to swallow their food ready chewed for them ; but when once they get it down, and properly digested, they will appreciate its strength from the sound nourishment it will impart.”

I may add in addition to the assistance of my spiritual and mundane guides, I have had in the compilation hereof the help of many other spirits interested in the propagation of the truth on earth; one in particular I may mention, the late Rev. Peter Menzies, whom I once heard preach, but did not know, whose spirit my daughter has often seen by my side when I have been writing.

“ When all thy mercies, 0 my God! my rising soul surveys,

Transported with the view, I’m lost in wonder, love, and praise.

O how shall words with equal warmth the gratitude declare That glows within my ravish’d heart, hut Thou canst read it there.

Thy Providence my life sustain’d, and all my wants redrest,

When in the silent womb I lay, and hung upon the breast.

To all my weak complaints and cries Thy mercy lent an ear Ere yet my feeble thoughts had learn’d to form themselves in pray’r. Unnumber’d comforts to my soul Thy tender care bestow’d Before my infant heart conceiv’d from whom these comforts flow’d. When in the slipp’ry paths of youth with heedless steps I ran,

Thine arm, unseen, convey’d me safe, and led me up to man.

Through hidden dangers, toils, and deaths it gently clear’d my way, And thro’ the pleasing snares of vice, more to be fear’d than they.

W hen worn with sickness oft hast Thou with health renewed my face; And, when in sins and sorrows sunk, reviv’d my soul with grace.

Thy bounteous hand with worldly bliss hath made my cup run o’er ; And, in a kind and faithful friend, hath blessed all my store.

Ten thousand thousand precious gifts my daily thanks employ ;

R°r is the least a grateful heart, that tastes these gifts with joy. Through ev’ry period of my life Thy goodness I’ll proclaim;

And after death, in distant worlds, resume the glorious theme.

Through all eternity to Thee a joyful song I’ll raise;

For oh! eternity’s too short to utter all Thy praise.”

Note. I have inserted the foregoing hymn, which has been from my youth and still is a special favourite of mine, in order to demonstrate the fact that spiritualism does not, as generally supposed, do away with what is good, true, and rational in the teachings of the Bible, on the contrary, it supports and strengthens them; but, on the other hand, it condemns all that are superstitious, fabulous, and irrational.

A FEW WORDS IN FAVOUR OF THE SPIRITUAL

PHILOSOPHY.

Being an Extract from Dr. Dexter’s “Introduction to Spiritualism,” published twenty years ago.

Spiritual gifts and their outer manifestations continued to exist and to be universally recognised for some two or three centuries after the crucifixion of Jesus, indeed, so long as professed Christians remained sufficiently faithful to the heavenly light; and it is presumable that they never would have ceased had it not been for the moral decadence of the professed receivers of the Christian faith ; but as the pure waters of the spiritual truth of life flowed out from their fount in Jesus and his apostles, among the nations of the earth, and thence down through the subsequent ages and generations of mankind, they became more and more commingled with the corruptions and sensualisms of man, until in these latter ages they have been comparatively lost, and those whose sacred office it should be to administer them to a thirsting world, are now, alas ! found denying their very existence, except as confined to the deep wells of traditional antiquity. They would have us go to the New Testament records, and to them alone, for evidences of the outpouring of the Spirit of God and of the reality of an immortal state of existence beyond the grave, discouraging all ideas of a present and direct intercourse with the spiritual world, as necessarily savouring of infidelity. How strange

that the professed conservators of the spirituality of the world should ignore the present existence of that apparent divine law, by which, according to the most reliable history, spiritual influx was kept perpetual from the earliest ages to comparatively recent times, and that they should suppose, in the absence of all spiritual and philosophical proof, that that law was entirely and for ever suspended when it came to the climax of its development in Christianity. It is fairly admitted that to those who are already sufficiently spiritualised to appreciate the fact and philosophy of the New Testament records, these may in some degree serve as a satisfactory source of proof in respect to the doctrine of immortality and the reality of ancient revelations from the superior world ; but to the countless multitudes who constitutionally and habitually depend for convictions of truth upon the exterior and tangible facts of the present, rather, than upon the (to them) apparently mystical relations of the past, this source of evidence has, by actual experiment, proved to be totally inadequate ; hence, within the last two centuries, each succeeding year has added to the number of deniers of all spiritual existences and spiritual and divine revelations. Professors and teachers of Christianity have endeavoured to arrest this widespread defection from spiritual and religious faith, by all the means which they have deemed it legitimate to employ, not recognising present spiritual demonstrations, however, and finding the simple presentation of Scripture testimonies inadequate to produce the desired conviction, they have in too many instances become impatient, and resorted to dogmatic and dictatorial means of enforcing them; by these means the weak-minded have been crushed into an unreasoning assent to the dicta of their teachers, and with this exclusion of their rational powers from all participation in the formation of their religious convictions, they have been made the willing slaves of whatever forms of superstition an ambitious and bigoted priesthood chose to impose upon them.

Whilst one class of mankind has thus been led to divorce religion in a great measure from rationality, and become the devotees of an imperious dogmatism, alike unfavourable to their own spiritual growth and restructure of the religious and intellectual progress of the race, another class, provoked by the tyranny of the church and priest, have not only been confirmed in previous scepticism, but have engaged in a methodical opposition to every form of religion and spirituality. They denounce all these as unfounded figments of a superstitious fancy, or cunningly devised fables, invented to subserve a priestly domination. In a tone of free inquiry, recognised as legitimate in every other department of thought (and which the world cannot much longer think out of place when applied even to this subject), they have asked, “Whereis the evidence of your spirit world ? of your God ? of your religion ? ” And as this class of men, for the most part, is unfortunately closed against the light of Bible testimony, their queries have been left without satisfactory answers, and the querists have thus been left without any spiritually-redeeming power, except it arise out of the Church, and even outside of the Bible.

Moreover, under the influence of this general denial of present intercourse between the mundane and spiritual spheres, it is not to be wondered at that the faith even of the Church itself has grown cold and languid, and that its moral power has become as nothing in comparison to what it was in its primitive ages, when the gifts of the spirit were everywhere recognised; facts known and seen of all men render it daily more obvious that the functions of the Christian ministry are falling into a mere mechanical round of ceremonies, performed mainly from the impulse of time-honoured custom, and that all the existing forms of religious worship are fast degenerating into meaningless mummery, from which all spirit life and power have departed. The really religious, the really spiritual-minded (of whom there are still a few in the Church) see and acknowledge this, and are constantly sending forth their lamentations from the pulpit and the conference-room at this great decline of spirituality amongst those who should be the world’s spiritual exemplars and teachers ; this moribund condition of spiritualism in the Church is becoming more and more conspicuous, and the hope of its being remedied from resources within itself is constantly diminishing.

Such then is the tendency to an utter extinction of all spiritual faith both out of the Church and in it, and it would seem that nothing could arrest this tendency short of a renewed and tangible interposition of power and intelligence from the spiritual world. It would seem that for every evidence of an interposition of this kind, the true mind, he who seeks the unfoldings of divine wisdom and love rather than to sustain the barren creeds of men, would spontaneously thank God from the depths of his soul, instead of opposing or denouncing it as a delusion or device of the devil.

There is, then, warrant for the assertion that all the evils of supercilious and reason-crushing dogmatism, and of consequent spiritual slavery and sectarian intolerance, on the one hand, and of a weakened or totally annihilated faith concerning a spiritual world, a God, and His divine revelation, on the other hand, are the legitimate concomitants of that mistaken idea of sectarian religionists whereby the great doctrine of immortality and of spiritual manifestations has been put forth in the form of a mere theory, resting only upon the evidence of alleged facts occurring in a remote and obscure age of the world. Had the professedly Christian fraternity remained in that moral simplicity and spiritual devotedness which would have secured to it a continuance of its original spiritual gifts, and had it constantly pointed the world to the fact of its own celestial communings as the demonstrations of its professions of faith, there would now have been but little room for a crushing spiritual dogmatism and its resultant evils, and the word  infidelity would scarcely have attained a place in our vocabularies. But since the “ salt ” of the Church has, in respect to these matters, “lost its savour,” “and is henceforth good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under foot of man,” it hath pleased Divine Providence to develop the form of what is now termed “ spiritualism.”

It is not to be denied, that in this infantile stage of its unfolding, spiritualism has exhibited many erratic, and some unpropitious, features. Appealing, as it does, to people of every diversity of mental calibre and development, and being necessitated to adapt itself to their different capacities of reception, its specific manifestations have assumed all possible grades of dignity, from highest to lowest. Yet, notwithstanding this fact, we think that these modern demonstrations, when studied in all their variety, exhibit to the honest sceptic every requisite illustration aud presumptive proof of the spiritual phenomena, revelations, and resultant moral precepts found in the true history and traditions of all ages, the Bible records included. Nay, we think they even furnish new and brilliant illustrations of the profound interior significance of many of the ancient revelations, and throw a light upon the future destiny of man which prophets and sages of old sought, but found not; and at the same time they seem to put an end to the long existing conflict between material science and spiritual faith, and make the former the handmaid of the latter.

The recorded facts of the appearance of the spirits of Moses and Elias to Christ and three of his disciples, of the appearance of the spirit of one of the old prophets to John the Revelator, and the declaration of Paul that one office of Christianity was to bring its disciples into communion with “ an innumerable company of angels, and with the spirits of just men made perfect,” have their illustrative facts and philosophy exhibited in this modern unfolding. The same may be said concerning the appearance of the spirit of Jesus to Saul whilst on his way to Damascus, and of numerous recorded instances of the appearance of angels and spirits, as found in the Bible and other ancient records, together with the various communications and physical manifestations which they made ; these relations of ancient facts which have long been subjects of sceptical ridicule, are completely rationalized and triumphantly defended by the parallel circumstance of to-day.

No less conspicuous are the coincidences and mutually-confirmatory parallelisms between the unseen influences and their effects as described in the ancient records, and those which occur nowadays. Even the scene which is said to have taken place with the disciples of Jesus on the day of Pentecost has had its modern parallelisms sufficiently marked to prove the possibility and probability of the account concerning it, even in its most marvellous particulars. That impressionable persons have in their days been often drawn spontaneously together in circles not previously appointed or contemplated, as the apostles appear to have been drawn together on the day of Pentecost; that in such associated relations they have been subjected to the most unmistakable outpourings of an invisible spiritual power; that the receptacles of this influence have often uttered things wholly transcending their knowledge or capacities whilst in the normal state, and that they have in frequent and most satisfactorily-attested cases, even spoken in languages which they had never learned, might here be proved by citations of testimonies overwhelming to all rational scepticism ; but I will not attempt to prove the reality of existing spiritual intercourse, as I will leave this question to be decided by the personal investigation of such of my sceptical readers as may wish to be satisfied upon this point. The general modus of the recorded ancient spiritual communings and of those which purport to occur at this day, exhibit marks of identity equally recognisable. Thus, in the tenth chapter of Daniel we find the description of a scene which has been frequently reproduced in all its essential phenomena in the modern manifestations claimed to be spiritual. We see in Daniel’s fasting and praying, as there recorded, what is now recognised as the preliminary self-discipline requisite to the unfolding of a good “ medium ; ” we see in the quaking of Daniel’s companions the ungovernable muscular contractions now known to occur to partially susceptible persons, when brought under spiritual influence.

We see in his vision of the person of the angel a phenomenon of spiritual clairvoyance which is now frequent. We see in his “deep sleep,’ and in the fact of his being strengthened by a spirithand which touched him, the now common spiritual-magnetic trance, and the manner in which strength is imparted or withdrawn in such cases ; and whoever therefore admits the constantly demonstrated realities of the modern phenomena, cannot reasonably withhold assent from this and the like ancient occurrences, nor from any of the logical corollaries as to the reliability of the moral and spiritual teachings thence originating. If the phenomena alleged to have subserved the original development of Christianity are allowed to be established by the force of living parallelisms in this day, then all the religious principles and moral precepts of Christ will assume a freshness, and may be urged home upon the human conscience with a power unknown in the ministrations of the professing Christian teachers of this day ; and what is more, the same spiritual gifts which sanctified the lives and gave such a divine and irresistible power to the reformatory labour of the early Christian disciples, will again be objects of aspiration to all zealous and pure-minded believers, and will be enjoyed by multitudes as fully as they were ever enjoyed by the prophets and seers of ancient times. It is in this way that modern spiritualism, when properly contemplated and developed, tends to conserve and bring forth in all the fervent and brilliant glow of a living reality the normal spirituality and religion of the race, which otherwise is fast tending to decay and utter extinction.

When a substantial knowledge of the existence of a spiritual ■world is thoroughly established in the mind of man, it will produce a most salutary effect upon his inner affections and his outer life; it will tend to raise him completely out of the sphere of mere brute nature, and impart to him all the dignity of an immortal, whose endlessly unfolding destiny will necessarily partake of the qualities of his endlessly unfolding aspirations.

The influence of spiritual disclosures should operate in a truly specific way, for these disclosures teach us that, however secret may be our acts and our very thoughts, to persons in the flesh, they are all seen by and known to the inhabitants of the spirit world, as clearly as we can discern objects through the most transparent glass. Tie, therefore, who would hesitate to do an unworthy deed, cherish an impure thought, or conceive an unholy intention within the knowledge of a pure-minded sister, or brother, or other friend in this world who might be grieved or shocked by the same, will, if he he a true spiritualist, be made cautious as to the regulation of his thoughts and the government of his acts, by the knowledge that such are exposed to the clear and constant gaze of some beloved friend in the spirit-world, and who cannot look upon his impurities and derelictions hut with grief. What firmly persuaded spiritualist has not felt a salutary check placed by this consideration upon the evils of his heart, strengthening him in his struggles with temptation, and encouraging his aspiration for that purity of soul in which he can stand morally naked before the whole universe, and not he ashamed. Besides, with the absolute knowledge of spiritual beings sympathising with ourselves, which these modern manifestations bring, there is naturally engendered a desire to commune with these beings, and receive their constant superior guidance. In this way, our susceptibility to their influence is cultivated and increased, and we are brought to act in our daily lives more and more under tlieir inspirations of wisdom and love, of whatever degrees or qualities they may he ; and though it is not pretended that their promptings may be safely followed in all cases, or even in -any case, without reference to the guidance of a Power superior to all spirits, it is believed that, with the safeguards against misleadings which the judgment and moral instincts of mankind in general will lead them to employ, the good that will be secured and appropriated from these channels of inspiration will, upon the whole, vastly preponderate over the evil, and that the evil itself will finally be made to work out its own destruction. Still, the admitted danger of open intercourse with the spirit-world, danger of having our own errors of opinion and practice reflected back upon us, and confirmed by sympathising spirits who are under similar errors themselves, is such as to call for this caution ; that no one should seek such intercourse without a humble desire to know the truth irrespective of previous impressions, and a prayerful looking to God for his divine guidance.

Such being the genial influence which spiritualism, as a general fact, exerts upon the thoughts, affections, and life of man, it is easy to perceive that it tends also to change and improve the wdiole relations existing between man and his fellows. Its influence in spiritualizing individuals certainly prepares them for a more spiritual consociation with each other, by imparting a deep sense of the eternal existence in which all the temporary distinctions of this life will be swallowed up and lost; it tends to impress each with the equal value of all souls ; it thus tends to destroy personal pride, aristocracy, and all feelings of exclusiveness, and to fuse the high and low together in common interests and common sympathies.

For reasons closely allied to those above, spiritualism is necessarily at war with all mere sectarianisms, with their restrictive influences, their discords, and their animosities.

The facts and principles of this new development, by their own force and spirit, discountenance the idea of a monopoly of divine favour by any class or party of people ; they proclaim unbounded freedom of thought and investigation as the birthright of every human being, and thus dissolve the bonds of mere human creeds and conventional dogmas by which the human mind has been so long enslaved, and its powers suppressed.

Spiritualism thus labours to bring each individual to the dignity of a true man, responsible to God alone for the just improvement of his faculties, and to diffuse amongst all men the spirit of mutual forbearance with each other’s errors, or diversities of thought upon the same subjects, attributing these to diversities of constitution or mental development, and expecting them to disappear as the general mind becomes more fully or more harmoniously unfolded.

If, in the contention for these principles, there have been some cases of extravagance, extremism, and violent denunciation of things true and sacred, the fault must be laid to the charge of spiritualists, and not to spiritualism itself in its true and properly understood character ; for that seeks and appropriates what is true and good in all sects and parties, and rejects only their falsities and evils, while it seeks light also from beyond all sectarian spheres of thought.

For eighteen hundred years the world has waited the coming of that day when man should live in harmony with his brother and in fellowship with God. Prophets and priests have foretold its advent, and predicted the millennium by the positive promises which have been made by the spirits of the other world. May it not be, that the shades of that long night are now shimmering into new-born day, the dawn of which calms the shadows of ages with its own bright tints of hope and promise ? Even now the prayer ascends from tens of thousands of happy hearts, disenthralled and redeemed from death to life by the power of the truths which spiritualism has revealed, that the time may soon come when peace shall reign upon earth, and good-will to man be manifest in the earnest endeavour of all to assist each other to increase their own excellence and the purity and happiness of the whole race.

If such results may flow from the effects which spiritualism may produce on the material and spiritual power of man here or hereafter, what is there to justify an intelligent mind in rejecting its claims, or refusing it a fair and unbiassed examination ? It is true we cannot at once cast off from us the opinions which we have cherished for years, but surely we all can grant, even to new ideas, that consideration which the extent and importance of their claims seem to demand ; the doctrines which we advocate ask no more. The whole subject of our religion, and the proofs which support it, cannot be learned at a glance. All, then, we ask is, that we may not be opposed with presumptuous ignorance upon a subject which we regard as holy, for perhaps its truths may burst upon the unprepared mind with all the terrible certainty which will make its application individual.

The first victory which truth gains, should be over our own hearts ; for then, whether we remain on earth or are summoned to our eternal home, we are prepared for all emergencies. Calm in the prospect of that which is before us, we shall feel, when we leave this earth, that we are only going a journey into another country, where the loved and loving await us, and where our joys, our hopes, and our aspirations are centred for ever.

Be the estimate which man may put upon this revelation what it may, whether it be welcomed or crucified, it is coming —coming in the panoply of the Infinite Father, coming with healing on its wing, to redeem man from his wanderings, and enable him to stand erect in the presence of his God, redeemed by his freedom.

I shall acid a further quotation from the same book. The following dialogue was spoken by the spirits of Cardinal Wolsey and Voltaire on the evening of Oet. 27, 1853, in a circle presided over by Judge Edmonds. The former spirit spoke through the medial powers of the judge ; while Voltaire used those of Mrs. Sweet, a member of the circle.

It had been previously written by the spirit of Bacon, through Dr. Dexter’s hand (the doctor being another member of the circle): “We wish to try an experiment; that is to impress both you” (the judge) “and Mrs. Sweet together, and to teach by a dialogue. The spirits will be Voltaire and Cardinal Wolsey.”

Voltaire said : “ What a vast revolution has taken place in the opinions of men since I was a resident of the earth! ” Wolsey.—“Yes ; the infidelity with which you were charged while here has, since then, grown immensely among men. It is not now so pretentious as it was then; but it is deeper and wider spread, and, unless arrested, will sink mankind into deeper materialism than has been known for ages.”

Voltaire.—“ Infidelity to what, and to whom ? To the law of man or of God ? Dost thou pretend to censure the infidelity of my soul, which could not bow to the narrow creeds and sectarian prejudices of the minds around me ? Dost thou say I was an infidel because I dared to speak the immortal truth which beamed in upon my soul, darkened as it was with gross materiality ? But still it was immortal truth, and possessed the very essence of the god-like divinity. My soul required a larger, a more extended plain of thought, a more unbounded field of knowledge, than the teaching of man could supply. Yea, my darkened soul hungered for light.”

Wolsey.—“I spoke of the infidelity with which you were charged; and, alas ! you know, the charge yet lives in many minds. But I want not to censure, but only to lament; for, with minds like yours, such unbelief in the teachings of the day—material as they were, and of man’s invention—might work no injury. But the same cause which operated on your mind, operated on others too weak and feeble to see the great results at which you arrived. And while with you infidelity may have been but a disbelief in the dogmas of man, in others it was a disbelief in the existence of a God, and the eternal existence of man ; and it is that which has spread with such alarming prevalence throughout the world, that a vast majority of the civilised part of it, disgusted with the teachings which you repelled, have learned to doubt that there was any existence for man but on this earth. And these dogmas have, day by day, been sinking man deeper and deeper into the love of this world alone ; and hence have been engendered selfishness and strife among men until they are, indeed, unlike what they were designed to be by their great Creator. The cause—the cause of this, is the great inquiry; for when that shall be ascertained, the remedy will be comparatively easy. What say you—for you know—is that cause ?”

Voltaire.—“My opinions, as given to the world during my time upon earth, are, indeed, tinctured with a spirit of bitterness and controversy ; but, while giving these opinions, please to remember that my mind was tortured, as it were, by an internal warfare. I looked upon mankind as beneath me in intellect and discernment. I looked upon them as puppets who might be led by any strong mind that might please to control them; and the spirit of combativeness was aroused within me that such elements should exist in the mind of man, and he still be called an immortal being. What! such man a part of the Divinity destined to exist for ever ! and yet how puny he seemed when compared with the First Great Cause from which he pretended to have sprung ! I grant, my opinions may have done some injury in some cases; but I am convinced they did much more good. They aroused the souls of many men from their cringing, low position. They broke the trammels and let loose upon tlie wing of thought many an aspiring soul. But my soul in its range became lost also. Instead of making the nice distinction which I might have done if the spirit part of my nature had been developed as well as the material, I mixed them indiscriminately, and thus lost sight of the object I had in view, and thought in my battle with the world that there was no hereafter, while I wished only to be convinced that there surely was. But the spirit in which I pursued my researches sent me back empty-handed, and more strongly girded about with the infidelity of which you speak. And my life was spent, not so much in striving to defeat the good which might be done by the Christian religion, as in battling their foolish opinions and blind credulity. Even I, with all my infidelity, could, upon the basis of my belief, mount far above them—aye, beyond their very vision—and see the glorious world revealed in the face of nature, and the wonderful revolutions of the earth. And I could be filled with a sense of awe and a feeling of unbounded liberty which they never experience in their dark and cringing position.

“ I confess I do not regret the spread of my works ; for I see far greater causes of evil, and baleful effects flowing from those causes, had there been no opposing principles to work in the great mass of mankind. They would not all bow, they would not all be slaves ; and if that which I advocated gave them one exalted thought, and enabled them to penetrate into the realms of knowledge, did it not open their eyes to see their true position ? No; I do not regret to see my teachings; but I do regret that I lived so long on earth, and became so little aware of what I might have been, of what I might have done, if I had been blessed with the light of spiritualism, which has now dawned upon the mind of man.

“ Unbelieving and uncertain, I entered the spirit world, re pelling with my very presence every approach of light which might have shone on my darkened vision. It was the material

E E

part of my nature which was developed on earth. My spirit part was lost in my wanderings for light. It was shut up in the material part as in an iron cage. Defiant and proud, entered the spirit world, not knowing—not caring to know— the hereafter I had so strenuously fought against while in the body. But let me make this confession. There was ever in my soul a still, small voice which would come from its deepest recesses, and would pierce away beyond the bounds of space and ask for light, and return dissatisfied and weary. It was a constant striving of the desire to know and the determination not to know. So my entrance there could not have been gladsome. Had not the opinions which I had spent my whole intellect and energies in propagating all come to naught as regards man’s immortality ? And I plainly saw that if the soul was immortal there must be a God—an immortal spirit—who ruled this vast and illimitable space which surrounded me. How I travelled, incessantly travelled, and strove to convince myself that it was still a material world I lived on ! How my spirit wrestled with the truth which was crushing me with such force ! and I could not realise myself as a spirit, that I had left my mortal abode. There was none with whom I could claim companionship ; for had I not denied every one of them being immortal ? There was no resting-place for me. I was ever restless, ever wandering and unsatisfied. My soul was dark and bitter within me, and I was as a maniac without power to work out any design my mind might plan.

“ I say I entered the portals of the spirit world proud and defiant. I was led away from the habitations of spirits, and was taken into mighty space. I was permitted to gaze on the wonderful works of the spirits’ abodes. To me they seemed indeed wonderful, and I was carried about with resistless force, and made to gaze until my soul became so filled with the sense of the magnificence and power which controlled these mighty wonders, that I fain would have hid myself away in the

clefts of the rocks. I yearned for companionship, and longed to tell some one how I had been misled, not by others, but by my own wild imaginings. I began to realise how insignificant I was in that great world of immortal spirits, and finally, having become so weary, so humiliated, my prone spirit thoroughly humbled, I was allowed to associate with some of the inhabitants. And now I began to realise the position I had occupied while on earth, and to see that which I should occupy in the spirit world. And it was not a pleasant one, my friend.

“A complete revolution, an entire change in my spirit organization took place, and I became a delighted learner. My ideas being already expansive, how I progressed! My soul felt the warm and glowing love of God to light it up, to help its immortal graspings, and rapidly I became associated with the great and the good, and the developed in the spirit world. I saw how great had been my mistake, and I felt how great must be the reparation I must make to atone for all which I have said, or done, or lived, which had led men’s minds away from the right path. Glorious with the light of celestial wisdom and beauty are the lessons which I have learned, and far beyond all my soul could ever have conceived in this world has been the unfolding of the boundless storehouse of wisdom and knowledge.

“ I have lived to look upon my earthly existence as a bitter warfare with the world and my own spirit nature. I have deeply regretted the opinions which I advocated, which were the means of leading any astray ; but I also feel deeply and fervently grateful to the all-wise Creator that I was made an instrument even of controversy in the Christian world, that thus men’s minds might be opened to a spirit of inquiry and progression.

The effects have not been so bad as the world believed them to be ; but the causes which led to the many contentions and discussions will still exist until man’s spirit Las worked him out of the thraldom of blind opinion and blinder prejudice and unprogressive religion. The cause of Christianity must become infidel to its present opinions before the world can arrive at the state of free and enlightened wisdom which shall make every man a law unto himself.”

Wolsey.—“I wonder not at your contempt of mankind as they were when you lived on earth; for they and their mental condition were the legitimate product of more than a thousand years of religious domination, and the extreme to which you were led, though not unnatural, was to be lamented, and it is that extreme which now so widely pervades the whole civilised world.

But the cause of it lies deeper than you have mentioned. I saw it among the religionists with whom I associated : I saw it in the cloister and at the desk, and most among those whose minds were most enlarged by education and culture. It was this : the dogmas taught as religion were at war with the aspirations of our own souls, and with the workings of the laws of God as we saw them all around us. If we sent a searching thought deep into the recesses of our own souls, we found there, innate and existent—what shall I call it ? an aspiration, a belief, an instinctive feeling, as it were, at war with that which we were taught as religion. If we sent our minds abroad, searching through the external universe, it returned to us laden with the conviction that the operations and the laws of the first great cause were equally in conflict with it. And in proportion as we were able to make this external or internal search, as the mind by culture increased in capacity to examine itself and the laws of nature, and to understand them, we recognised, we felt the overpowering influence of the teachings thence derived, that the religion taught us could not, in many respects, be true. However earnestly we might have tried to believe, however obstinately we might have resolved that we would believe, however successful we might have thought ourselves in deceiving ourselves into the idea that we did believe, there was still lingering down deep in the inmost recesses of our souls the conviction that it was not so._

“ While that was the condition of the cultivated and the educated in your day and mine, so now it is the condition of vastly greater numbers, because now knowledge is more generally diffused among men, and with that knowledge has come now, as it came then, the extreme into which you fell—the denial of a God and a future existence for man. How welcome to us would have been the revelations now making to man! How welcome ought it now to be to man, for it guards him against that extreme, lifts him from the deep degradation of such unbelief, raises him from the mire of a material existence, and opens to him a knowledge which will make indeed a new heaven and a new earth : a new heaven, because spirits fitted for it will enter there; a new earth, because man, while upon it, will learn and execute the great purpose of his existence there. With that knowledge his existence there will not be as it was with us, vain in reference to the future.

“ It is indeed a happy day for mankind that is now dawning upon them, for they will be taught to feel and will feel, as you now do, the law of love, which has, to be sure, been often on the lips, but has found the heart too closely surrounded by materialism to be able to penetrate it. That barrier is now being destroyed. The great law of love will enter there, and will show itself forth in greater regard for the happiness of each other, in the suppression of that selfishness which has so long cast its dark pall over man’s life on earth, and will teach men by the best of all possible lessons, that of experience, to know how much he will add to his happiness even on earth, as well as his happiness hereafter. It will be no longer to him a mere sentiment written on the sand of the sea-shore, to be obliterated by the first wave which the storm of human passion may excite, but will be written on the heart in letters of fire, and will.be indelible, because written with the finger of an Almighty hand.

“We see this, we who have lived on earth when it was darker and more selfish than now, because more ignorant of the high purposes of our creation. But the years that have rolled on have brought to us the knowledge that this is indeed a great reality—that there is a God, and that we are destined to live for ever !

“ Oh ! how our hearts have yearned to teach mankind the lesson the want of which we so deeply felt, the absence of which made our entrance here so sad, and left its impress for eternity, because it arrested the progress which is our destiny ! How our hearts have yearned to open to them the reality of the holy communion of spirits, for we know that thus they too shall be elevated to a nearer approach to us, and through us to a nearer approach to their Creator ! How our hearts now yearn to enable them to see the light which is now pouring in such glorious floods upon the world, to dispel the darkness which has so long brooded o’er the minds of men, and to light them to a way to a life eternal in its duration and happiness.”

The following may be taken as the great leading principles on which intelligent spiritualists unite, as stated by Mr. P. D. Owen:—

1st. That this is a world governed by a God of love and mercy, in which all things work together for good to those who reverently conform to his eternal laws.

2nd. In strictness there is no death. Life continues from the life which now is into that which is to come, even as it continues from one day to another, the sleep which goes by the name of death being but a brief, transition slumber, from which, for the good, the awakening is immeasurably more glorious than is the dawn of earthly morning, the brightest that ever shone. In all cases in which life is well spent, the change wThich men are wont to call death, is God’s last and best gift to his creatures here.

3rd. The earth phase of life is an essential preparation for the life which is to come. Its appropriate duties and callings cannot be neglected without injury to human welfare and development, both in this world and in the next. Even its enjoyments, temperately accepted, are fit preludes to the happiness of a higher state.

4th. The change of life which follows the death change, is, in the strictest sense, the supplement of that which precedes it. It has the same variety of avocations, duties, and enjoyments, corresponding, in a measure, to those of earth, but far more

elevated, and its denizens have the same variety of character and intelligence, existing too, as men do here, in a state of progress, released from bodily earth-clog ; their periscope is wider, their perceptions more acute, their spiritual knowledge much greater, their judgment clearer, their progress more rapid than ours. Vastly wiser and more dispassionate than we, they are still, however, fallible, and they are governed by the same general laws of being, modified only by corporeal disenthral-ment, to which they were subjected here.

5th. Our state here determines our initial state there. The habitual promptings, the pervading impulses, the life-long yearnings, in a word, the moving spirit, or what Swedenborg calls the “ ruling loves ” of man, these decide his condition on entering the next world, not the written articles of his creed, nor yet the incidental errors of his life.

6th. We do not, either by faith or works, earn heaven, nor are we sentenced on any day of wrath to hell. In the next world we simply gravitate to the position for which, by life on earth, we have fitted ourselves, and we occupy that position because we are fitted for it.

7th. There is no instantaneous change of character when we pass from the present phase of life. Our virtues, our vices, our intelligence, our ignorance, our aspirations, our grovelling, our habits, propensities, prejudices, even all, pass over with us, modified doubtless (but to wrhat extent we know not), when the spiritual body emerges, divested of its fleshy incumbrance, yet essentially the same as when the death slumber came over us.

8th. The sufferings there, natural sequents of evil doing and evil thinking here, are as various in character and in degree as the enjoyments ; but they are mental, not bodily. There is no escape from them, except only as on earth, by the door of repentance. There, as here, sorrow for sin committed, and a desire for an amended life, are the indispensable conditions precedent of advancement to a better state of being.

9th. In the next world, love ranks higher than what we call wisdom, being itself the highest wisdom. There deeds of benevolence far outweigh professions of faith. There simple goodness rates above intellectual power. There the humble are exalted. There the meek find their heritage. There the merciful obtain mercy. The better denizens of that world are charitable to frailty, and compassionate to sin, far beyond the dwellers in this, they forgive the erring brethren they have left behind them even to seventy times seven. There is no respecter of persons. There, too, self-righteousness is rebuked, and pride brought low.

10th. A trustful, childlike spirit is the state of mind in which men are most receptive of beneficent spiritual impressions, and such a spirit is the best preparation for entrance into the next world.

11th. There have always existed intermundane laws, according to which, men may occasionally obtain, under certain conditions, revealings from those who have passed into the next world before them. A certain proportion of human beings are more sensitive to spiritual perceptions and influences than their fellows, and it is usually in the presence, or through the medium, of one or more of those, that ultra-mundane intercourse occurs.

12th. When the conditions are favourable, and the medium, through whom the manifestations come, is highly gifted ; these may supply important materials for thought, and valuable rules of conduct. But spiritual phenomena sometimes do much more than this ; in their highest phases they furnish proof strong as that which Christ’s disciples enjoyed, proof addressed to the reason and tangible to the senses, of the reality of another life better andhappier than this, and of which our earthly pilgrimage is but the novitiate; they bring immortality to light under a blaze of evidence which outshines, as the sun does the stars, all traditional or historical testimonies. For surmise they give ns conviction, and assured knowledge for wavering belief.

13th. The chiel motives which induce spirits to communicate with men appear to be a benevolent desire to convince us, past doubt or denial, that there is a world to come now and then the attraction of unpleasant memories, such us murder or suicide, sometimes in the worldly minded the earth-binding influence of cumber and trouble, but far more frequently the divine impulse of human affection, seeking the good of the loved ones it has left behind, and at times drawn down, perhaps, by their yearning cries.

14th. Under unfavourable or imperfect conditions, spiritual communications, how honestly reported soever, often prove vapid and valueless. And this chiefly happens when communications are too assiduously sought or continuously persisted in, brief volunteered messages being the most trustworthy. Imprudence, inexperience, supineness, or the idiosyncrasy of the recipient, may occasionally result in arbitrary control by spirits of a low order, as men here sometimes yield to the infatuation exerted by evil associates ; or again, there may be exerted by the inquirer, especially if dogmatic and self-willed, a dominating influence over the medium so strong as to produce effects that might be readily mistaken for what has been called possession, As a general rule, however, any person of common intelligence and ordinary will, can in either case cast off such mischievous control, or if the weak or incautious give way, one who may not improperly be called an exorcist, if possessed by strong magnetic will, moved by benevolence, and it may be aided by prayer, can usually rid, or at least, assist to rid, the sensitive from such abnormal influence.

ADDENDA.

HOW TO FORM SPIRIT CIRCLES.

Inquirers into the spiritual philosophy should begin by forming circles in their own homes. No professional medium is necessary, but should any friend have studied the subject, and his attendance be obtainable for the first sitting of the circle, his experience may be of benefit in facilitating its proper formation, and in initiating the investigation. Should no results be obtainable on the first occasion, try again with the sitters. One or more persons possessing medial powers, without knowing it, are to be found in nearly every household.

1st. Let the room be of a comfortable temperature, but cool rather than warm. Let arrangements be made that nobody shall enter it, and that there shall be no interruption for one hour, during the sitting of the circle.

2nd. Let the circle consist of four, five, or six individuals ; about the same number of each sex. Sit round an uncovered, wooden table, with all the palms of the hands in contact with its top surface. Whether the hands touch each other or not, is usually of no importance. Any table will do, just large enough to accommodate the sitters. The removal of a hand from the table for a few seconds does no harm ; but when one of the sitters breaks the circle by leaving the table, it sometimes, but not always, very considerably delays the manifestation.

8rd. Before the sitting begins, place some pointed lead pencils and some sheets of clean writing-paper on the table, to write down any communications that may be obtained.

4th. People who do not like one another should not sit in the same circle, for such a want of harmony tends to prevent manifestations, except with well-developed physical mediums ; it is not yet known why.

Belief, or unbelief, has no influence on the manifestations ; but an acrid feeling against them has a weakening influence.

5th. Before the manifestations commence, it is well to engage in general conversation, or in singing; and it is best that neither should be of a frivolous nature. A prayerful, earnest feeling among the members of the circle gives the higher spirits more power to come to the circle, and makes it more difficult for the lower spirits to get near.

6th. The first symptom of the invisible power at work, is often a feeling like a cool wind sweeping over the hands. The first manifestations will probably be table tiltings, or raps.

7th. When motions of the table, or sounds, are produced freely, to avoid confusion let one person speak only, and talk to the table (as it were) as to an intelligent being. Let him tell the table that three tilts or raps mean “ yes,” one means “no,” two mean “doubtful;” then ask whether the arrangement is understood. If three signals be given in answer, then say : “ If I speak the letters of the alphabet slowly, will you signal every time I come to the letter you want, and, so, spell us out a message?” Should three signals be given, set to work on the plan proposed; and from this time, an intelligent system of communication is established.

8th. Afterwards, the question should be put, “ Are we sitting in the right order to obtain the best manifestations ?” Probably some members of the circle will then be told to change seats with one another; and the signals will be afterwards strengthened. Next ask, “ Who is the medium ?” When spirits come, asserting themselves to be related or known to anybody present, well-chosen questions should be put to test the accuracy of the statements, as spirits out of the body have all the virtues and all the failings of spirits in the body.

9th. A powerful physical medium is usually a person of an impulsive, affectionate and genial nature, and very sensitive to mesmeric influences. The majority of media are ladies. The best manifestations are obtained when the medium and all the members of the circle are strongly bound together by the affections, and are thoroughly comfortable and happy. The manifestations are born of the spirit, and shrink somewhat from the lower mental influences of earth. Family circles, with no strangers present, are usually the best. Possibly, at the first meeting of a circle, symptoms of other forms of mediumship than tilts or raps may make their appearance.—(From the London Spiritualist.)

In order to show the tendency of popular opinion in regard to the lingering superstitions of the dark ages, I append a copy of a leading article in the Argus newspaper of 31st March, 1875, which is the principal daily paper of Victoria, and from which I have previously made various extracts:—

“ One of our Ballarat contemporaries addresses a moving appeal to the Government to set apart a day of humiliation and prayer for the terrible visitation of disease to which this community is now, and has been for some time past, subjected.” The article is written in too serious a strain to justify us in regarding it as a grim jest; and we have, therefore, no option but to accept it as a genuine evidence of the existence in this colony of a form of superstition as gross and degrading as that of the Indian rain-maker, or of the savage who beats his tomtom for the purpose of putting an end to an eclipse. If there be one lesson which all history, all science, and all experience combine to teach us more impressively than another, it is this : that every epidemic is necessary, nay, the salutary consequence and penalty of the violation of a natural law. Nor can our ignorance ox that law be pleaded in mitigation of the punishment whicn its transgression entails. The rules for the preservation of health, and for securing immunity from disease, are simple enough and intelligible enough. During the last half century more particularly have they been laid down with admirable perspicuity and precision by a host of eminent members of the faculty, from Dr. Southwood Smith to Dr. William Budd. There is no mystery about the laws which govern health ; but they are unchangeable and irreversible, and il we choose to oppose them, they “fall upon us and grind us to powder.” To implore the all-wise Author of them to suspend them, or to set them aside because we have thought proper to ignore or to act in contravention of them, is such a proceeding as could only be resorted to by persons whose anthropomorphic conceptions of God are so debasing and debased as to assume that He is as capricious and vacillating as an Oriental potentate. It would be as reasonable to pray for a reversal of the earth’s motion on its axis, for a retardation of the speed with which it travels round the sun, or for the transformation of a stalk of wheat into a sugar-cane or a palm-tree. It is now very generally acknowledged that all zymotic diseases are the outgrowth of a seed sown and developed in the human system, and that this seed has an amazing power of self-multiplication and reproduction, like all the lower forms of organic life.

“And what,” asks Professor Tyndall, “are the crops that arise from this husbandry ? As surely as a thistle rises from a thistle-seed, as surely as the fig comes from the fig, the grape from the grape, and the thorn from the thorn; so surely does the typhoid virus increase and multiply into typhoid fever, the scarlatina virus into scarlatina, and the small-pox virus into small-pox.”

When our fields are overrun with thistles, and our pastures with the Bathurst burr, do we implore the Government to appoint a day of solemn prayer and humiliation for the eradication of these noxious weeds? When the rust attacks the wheat or the oidium the grape-vine, do we fall upon our knees and entreat the Creator to work a miracle in our behalf ? or do we set to work in good earnest to apply such curative and remedial agencies as science and experience may suggest ?

The requisite conditions being given, disease germs are bound to establish themselves, and to increase and multiply with frightful rapidity. They do so in obedience to a law which is irresistible in its force, and invariable and universal in its operation. Given impure air, impure water, impure food and impure habits, and disease and death are the necessary and beneficent results. For it is a beneficent provision of nature which causes the destruction of an organism which is no longer capable of performing healthily and happily the functions of its being. Were it otherwise, the diseased organism would speedily contaminate those forms of life which are untainted. Hence the wisdom of the instinct which impels many of the lower animals to fall upon and kill the sickly and suffering members of the herd ; just as the human surgeon promptly amputates a mangled or mortified arm or leg. Now, we might as reasonably pray for the miraculous abatement or removal of the mortification, as to solicit God to put a stop to an epidemic for the production and propagation of which we, who offer up these impious solicitations, are exclusively responsible. For, as one of the highest authorities in medical science has remarked, “ a state of civilised society is quite conceivable, in which fever germs would neither multiply nor arise; and in the event of their being introduced ah extra, would themselves certainly perish, instead of damaging or destroying the higher life.”

What answer can we possibly expect to such improper and presumptuous requests, other than that which is to be found in the language of Isaiah : “ Wash you, make you clean ; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes.” Drain your cities ; purify your habitations, and reform your personal habits. Abstain from polluting your rivers with human excreta, and your well-springs with sewage. Visit with exemplary punishment every adulterator of your daily diet. Provide for the proper ventilation of your dwelling-houses. Promptly restore to the soil in the shape of manure what you have taken from it in the shape of animal and vegetable nutriment, and do not destroy the balance of nature, and the appointed means of keeping the atmosphere sweet and wholesome by the reckless and wasteful destruction of your forests, which are also the home and harbourage of the birds, whose office it is to restrain the excessive multiplication of insect life.

All disease proceeds from an infringement of natural laws which are as inflexible in their operation as they are wise and beautiful in their design ; and it can only be prevented, or combated and subdued after it has arisen, by natural means. To imagine that it can or will be checked by any supernatural agency, is a supposition worthy of the lowest savage. In fact, we have only to turn to the newspaper article previously referred to, which bears internal evidence of having been written by a clerical hand, in order to ascertain the condition of mental fatuity out of which such a proposition as the one animadverted upon takes its rise. The writer says :—

“ In the healthiest parts of the colony, where sanitary measures would be a superfluity, owing to the physical configuration of the country, and the method pursued to keep the houses sufficiently apart to secure ample ventilation, and all other healthful advantages, disease is now raging with unparalleled ferocity, and carrying dismay and death into every household. All the knowledge of science existing in the world could not cause a change for the better in these cases, for no sanitary improvements upon nature can be made in them. The destruction is therefore inevitable. The affliction springs from a higher source than this section recognises, and this being the case, we must appeal to that great and higher source to relieve us in our trouble.”

Thus, then, sanitary precautions are unnecessary in a healthy neighbourhood, and we may proceed to make it unhealthy without let or hindrance. Undoubtedly fever does break out in the most unlikely localities, and in households which would appear to be exceptionally clean and healthy ; but we know that fever germs are contagious, and that, as Ur. Lionel Beale recently remarked in a letter to the Times, a germ as minute as a pin’s point, “if introduced beneath the skin by the slightest prick, or wafted in infinitesimal quantity in a current of air, will be sufficient to induce the disease.” And this is also a beneficent provision of nature, because it teaches the educated and well-to-do classes that their physical welbeing is dependent upon and bound up with that of their poorer neighbours, and that, if epidemics establish themselves among the abodes of these, they will very soon ravage the homes of the wealthy, so that sanitary reform is a question in which all classes have a common and an equal interest.

If, as is not at all improbable, Mr. Kerford should be asked by some of those superstitious busybodies who are always itching to obtrude their recommendations and suggestions upon the Creator of the universe, to set apart a day of humiliation and prayer, we recommend the Premier to reply in the words of Lord Palmerston, when, in 1854, the Presbytery of Edinburgh wanted him to authorise a public supplication of Divine Providence to stay the cholera. “ The Maker of the universe,” said the veteran statesman, “ has established certain laws of nature for the planet in which we live, and the weal or woe of mankind depends upon the observance or neglect of those laws.” Therefore he recommended the officious memorialists to free the towns and cities of Scotland “ from those causes and

F F

sources of contagion which, if allowed to remain, will infallibly breed pestilence, and be fruitful of death, in spite of all the prayers of a united but inactive nation. When man has done his utmost for his own safety," significantly added the Premier of Great Britain, “ then is the time to invoke the blessings of Heaven to give effect to his exertions.”—(Argus, March 31, 1875.)

MENTAL FREEDOM.

“ True happiness will dwell with those Who study and obey    .

Great Nature’s sure and certain laws Thro’ each revolving day.

Then keep your passions in control,

Let truth your thoughts employ ;

The superstitious, erring soul Knows nought of real joy.

“ The virtuous mind can ne’er expand, Nor high enjoyment reach,

Unless this charter it command,—

Free thought, free search, free speech.

“ Oh ! then, with firmness and with zeal, Work on in truth’s great cause ;

Nor weary be, nor rest, until

Free thought pervades our laws.”

ADDENDA.

To those desirous of investigating the spiritual philosophy, and of arriving at the truth by personal examination of this important subject. I would suggest the perusal of the following books, from the reading of which I have derived much pleasure and instruction :—

Report on Spiritualism of the London Dialectical Society. Published by J. Burns, 15, Southampton Row, Holborn, W„C. 1878.

Hints for the Evidences of Spiritualism. By M. P. Published by Triibner & Co., 60, Paternoster Row, London. 1872.

The Debatable Land. By Robert Dale Owen. Published by G. W. Carleton & Co., New York, and Triibner & Co.London. 1873.

Real Life in the Spirit Land. By Mrs. Maria M. King. Published by Wm. White and Co., Boston. 1870.

A Guide to Spiritualism. By J. Tyerman. Published by E. Purton & Co., 106, Elizabeth Street, Melbourne, Victoria. 1874.

Death and the After Life. By Andrew Jackson Davis. Published by A. J. Davis & Co., 24, East Fourth Street, New York. 1873.

The Principles of Nature her Divine Revelations. By A. J. Davis. Published by John Chapman, 142, Strand, London. 1847.

Spiritualism. By Judge Edmonds and Dr, Dexter. Published by Partridge & Brittan, 340, Broadway, New York, 1855.

Spiritual Tracts. By Judge Edmonds. Published by A. J, Davis & Co., New York. 1873.

A Discussion on the Unity, Duality, and Trinity of the Godhead. Reported by Ranley. Published by Triibner & Co., 60, Paternoster Row, London. 1864.

The last-mentioned book is not in reference to spiritualism,, though its author is now a staunch spiritualist, but demonstrates clearly the untenability of the Trinitarian doctrine by biblical arguments, and is well worthy of perusal.

If any who peruse this should feel instigated, from what is contained herein, to give expression to their desire in the cause of truth, will they please insert a short advertisement in the newspapers of the locality in which they reside, calling the attention of seekers after truth to the contents hereof, and I shall feel obliged, not for the purpose of any pecuniary advantage to the writer, but for the propagation of the truth, as I pledge my word that all profit derived (if any) from the publication of this shall be devoted to the furtherance of the cause of truth.

Truth is the universal enlightener, the messenger of peace, the great antidote for error. Error is the cause of all wickedness, discord, war, bloodshed, and misery. Simple truth is the forerunner of happiness, without it all is deception and delusion. Truth appeals to man’s reason ; all else must be fabulous and delusive.

THE END

PRINTED BY VIRTUE AND CO., LIMITED, CITY ROAD, LONDON

*



1

On returning- to the earth-plane, not so in the spheres where the law of affinity precludes such.

2

The oregoing plain statements in regard to the life and doings of the Great Reformer I am well aware may, in the estimation of many, appear in a literary point of view to bear but a poor comparison to the pretty romance entitled “The Prince of the House of David,” or to Farrar’s beautiful word-painted picture of his ideal account of the life of Christ. To those, however, who are unprejudiced, and are blessed with the use of their common sense, I doubt not the foregoing unvarnished account will be received as more rational, and consequently more trustworthy. I for one prefer at all times a plain truth, however roughly expressed, to an embellished lie decked in the most flowery language. Had we had an autobiography of Jesus, it no doubt would have exceeded Farrar’s work in language and the foregoing statements in simplicity. Euphonias, whose spirit voice was heard saying, “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased,” might well be proud of his offspring. For Jesus’s reception in the spheres, &c., see “ The Holy Truth,” Part II., towards the end of this volume.

3

In the tones of Spirit Kobinson, whose greeting, I may here mention, is the invariable prelude to the control of the medium by the lecturer. To the former spirit has been deputed the task of adjusting or toning the mind of the medium as a preparatory measure to the control by the lecturing spirit.

4

Animal or vital, to distinguish it from other forms of magnetism, which are less sublimated.

5

Although the material lake of fire and brimstone has no existence, there is, however, in the future state the punishment of mental anguish, which, by the law of retributive justice, follows as a natural effect of moral wrongdoing in earth life. For, whilst God is a God of love, He is also a God of justice, tempered with mercy. If we sow tares we cannot expect to reap wheat, no more than we can reasonably expect a fixed law of Him, whose wisdom is unerring, to be changed to suit our weak notions of what is best, or what we in our ignorance consider right.